DRONES UNDER £500
£500 gets you quite a lot these days when it comes to drones. We take a look at the best drones under £500 in the UK today.
Best Drones Under £500
The mid priced drone market is one of the most competitive spaces for UAV’s and if you know exactly what you want/need and exactly what you don’t, then you should be able to make your budget stretch pretty far and buy a drone that is perfect for you.
Of course, a £500 budget is still going to involve some level of sacrifice as generally the more you spend the more you are going to get – so before you buy just be sure of what your priorities are – after all, £500 is a decent wedge of cash so be sure to spend it wisely.
At the time of writing, all of these drones were less than £500 and we have tried to show you the best place to buy through our links provided.
|Drone||Image||Camera||Max Flight Time||Ease of Use||Overall||Price Checker|
|1. DJI Phantom 3||2.7K UHD||25 mins||5/5||Best Under £500||Check Price|
|2. Parrot Bebop 2||1080p HD||25 mins||5/5||Best for FPV||Check Price|
|3. Potensic D80||1080p HD||18 mins||5/5||Best Overall Value||Check Price|
|4. DJI Spark||1080p HD||16 mins||5/5||Easiest to Use||Check Price|
|5. Walkera F210||1080p HD||9 mins||5/5||Best Racing Drone Under £500||Check Price|
|6. Holy Stone H100||720p HD||15 mins||5/5||Best Budget Option||Check Price|
Now you might think that this will just be a list of DJI, Hubsan and Parrot drones – and whilst all of these manufacturers do make an appearance on this compilation – we do have some other brands that bring something to the mid-price range quadcopter party.
Any time you a considering a tech purchase such as this you should be crystal clear on the key features that you want. Do you need 4K video, a super steady gimbal, excellent battery life, high res still shots, FPV capability, a separate controller etc? The list could go on and on and you most likely would love all of those things we just listed – the chances are that you will have to compromise on one of those things so be clear on what you want and what you need.
No-one wants to buy an expensive toy that never gets used so know what you want from the outset – if you need to write a list then so be it.
1. DJI Phantom 3
Best All Rounder and Best Camera – 9/10
DJI have been dominating the drone market for the last few years now and much of their success can be put down to their Phantom series of drones. Although the Phantom 3 is not the latest in the series, it still packs plenty of punches and as a more budget offering these days it has plenty of premium features that the other drones on this list simply cannot compete with.
The only thing that might rule this drone out for you is if you need full 4K video – the Phantom 3 records up to 2.7K super HD video – but what really sets the Phantom 3 apart is the mechanical stabilisation and incredible software that superbly complements some seriously impressive hardware.
Technically, the Phantom 3 is just slightly over our £500 budget, but it was such a tight call that we had to include it in this list. The Phantom 3 ticks so many boxes with 25 minutes of flight time, 12MP camera, 2.7K video and 3 axis mechanical stabilisation – you will be hard pressed to find a drone better than this at this price point. It’s nearest serious competitor is probably the Mavic Air but you are going to pay an extra £250 for the extra 1.5K resolution and a few other impressive upgrades.
The Phantom 3 has all the usual trimmings you would expect with a DJI drone and ships complete with the dedicated Phantom 3 controller. There is no screen for FPV built in, but you can quickly and easily connect your smartphone and place it in to the controller’s phone holder for a perfect FPV experience when using the DJI Go app. The controller has a range of just over half a mile which is generally more than you are ever going to need and if you do ever lose connection for any reason then you will find the drone flying back to you.
This quadcopter has full GPS and you can use this in a range of ways – not least to track your drone on a map or use it to plot your next waypoint.
The 12MP camera can output files as jpgs or as DNG RAW format so those looking for professional quality shots will not be disappointed. The camera has a 94⁰ field of view and the 2.7K video is recorded at 30FPS and is super steady thanks to the gimbal.
If you need a drone that has pretty much everything other than full 4K then the Phantom 3 is still leading the way at this price 3 years on.
2. Parrot Bebop 2
Best For FPV – 8/10
It is hard to remember sometimes that Parrot was one of the companies that were really at the forefront of commercial and accessible drones for the masses. The Parrot Bebop 2 comes in well under the £500 price ceiling and competes well in this sphere. The reason for the cheaper price is that Parrot have launched their newest drone – the Anafi (which is out of budget for this article) which means you now get a lot for your money with the Bebop 2.
Plagued by software issues earlier in its life, the Bebop 2 now has a reputation for solid performance and can be purchased with reasonably priced upgrade packages that provide true FPV through a headset for well under £500.
Again, the Bebop 2 does not feature 4K video recording capabilities but it does record in full 1080p HD and has a 14MP camera with a 180 degree fish eye lens.It can output images in jpeg and DNG RAW files like the Phantom 3 and has an impressive 25 minute battery life.
One of the reasons the Bebop 2 is cheaper is that it does not ship with an official controller so you have to use your smartphone to control the drone. There are no issues here and we found the app to very responsive with a range of features for photographs and video – the one drawback is that you will only get a range of around 250-300m with your smartphone. You can purchase the Sky Controller from Parrot if you wish which will give you an improved range of up to 2km.
One area that the Bebop is let down by is the need for in-app purchases for certain features. The drone has capacity for GPS tracking and visual tracking using the ‘follow me’ feature – but you will need to buy this in-app as an upgrade – this is poor from Parrot in our opinion. That being said, even with the small in-app fees you are still getting a hell of a lot of tech for your money with the Bebop 2.
3. Potensic D80
Best Value – 8/10
Potensic is a name that is becoming synonymous with quality budget drones and the D80 is right up there in terms of quality. Sporting a fixed 1080p HD camera that transmits real time footage to your smartphone (that you can holster in the supplied controller), the D80 performed much better than we expected in terms of image quality. The lack of mechanical stabilisation (like the Parrot) will be a deal breaker for many but if you can get past that then you have got a lot of drone here for your money. Potensic even supply you with a robust carry case so you can transport your new drone safely.
What the D80 lacks in mechanically assisted stabilisation it makes up in other areas. The drone comes equipped with GPS and an air pressure sensor – both of which really help support steady flight and we were pretty impressed with the smoothness and steadiness of our videos. Photographs were also super crisp and colours were natural yet vivid.
The battery life of the D80 is around 15-18 minutes depending on usage and you can purchase new batteries if you want to double or triple that flight time. The batteries are of the modular variety much like those of more expensive drones.
The Potensic D80 is well suited to those wanting an FPV experience and can be used with third party VR googles and thanks to the software there is almost no noticeable lag in streaming transmissions.
With follow me, auto return to home, headless flying mode and a range of other camera shot types, the D80 easily makes it to position 3 on our list and if you can live without a gimbal and 4K this has to be a serious contender.
4. DJI Spark
Easiest To Use – 8/10
It’s no great surprise to see two DJI drones in the top 5 drones under 500 list and to blunt the Spark could easily command top spot. We edged it in to fourth spot based purely on cost as it is going to set you back at least £100 more than the Potensic and you will need to decide whether it is worth the extra.
On the face of it the two stack up pretty similarly with the Spark having 16 minutes of flight time and a 1080p HD camera that can take 12MP stills. The killer feature for the Spark is the 2 axis mechanical gimbal that performs extremely well for a drone that weighs just 300g.
For you extra cash, the Spark gives you some seriously simple to use features and wins hands down on camera shot types. Gesture control and active track allows you to control your drone with gestures and track your subject with ease.
In fact, we would say that the Spark is the easiest drone to fly on this list and if sharing on social media is your thing then the Spark makes this easy too. If we didn’t have the Phantom 3 as an option then the Spark would probably be in first place on this list – so if you want something small, powerful and easy to use then the Spark could be the perfect choice.
5. Walkera F210 Racing Drone
Best Racing Drone Under £500 – 8/10
If you have heard of the Walkera F210 then you probably already have an idea that it is for you – if you haven’t heard of it but have a thirst for speed then you are going to love the Walkera. Marketed very much as a racing drone, this is probably the finest racing drone at this price point and comes with everything you need to get going.
Shipping with the Devo7 controller, the Walkera is ready to impress out of the box and with 300g of drone loveliness under the hood it certainly does so.
Comparing battery life of the Walkera F210 to another drone on this page is probably a little unfair (typically around 8-9 minutes), what you do need to know is that you have some serious power at your fingertips with the ability to adjust the parameters of the drone depending on what you need to use it for – but for most it will be racing.
For those indoor or low light races the F210 sports a HD night vision front facing camera and has a 120 degree FOV. We have never seen anything as responsive as this drone and there is literally zero lag between the controller and the drone. For experienced racers who have their own controller you can buy a bind-n-fly version too.
6. Holy Stone HS100
Best Budget Option – 7/10
In terms of tech, the HS100 is pretty much the least well equipped of all the drones on this page but if you are looking for a great budget option then this is a good choice. It may only have a 720p HD camera but with 120 degree FOV and a 90 degree adjustable camera it offers a good degree of versatility.
If you want a trackable ‘follow me’ mode then you are in luck as the Holy Stone HS100 has that very feature. 15 minutes of battery life means this quadcopter holds its own against more expensive competition and with return to home, headless flying modes and altitude hold it is also pretty easy to pilot.
Extra batteries are not wildly expensive and we have to say that Holy Stone have pulled a blinder with this drone. You can enjoy FPV using your smartphone with the supplied controller that looks very slick – in fact, it was of our favourite controllers of the ones on this list with sticks that feel much more premium.
A 500m range will give you plenty of room for manoeuvre and its landing feet will make you look like a pro from your very first take off and landing.
Other Sub-£500 Drones Worthy Of Mention:
- Yuneec Breeze 4K
- Hubsan H501S
Best Drones Under £500 Under £500
The mid-range drones are one of the most competitive markets in the industry and as the tech improves and the prices lower these drones are more accessible now than every before. We have compiled the best of the best at this price and categorise these drones so you can choose which one is right for you.
DJI Phantom 3
Our number one drone under £500 is hard to beat and although we cheated a little by sneaking it in to this list you can’t really complain when it has the best camera by far coupled with 3 axis mechanical stabilisation – this one is hard to beat on all levels.
- Ease of use
- Value for money