BEST DRONE UNDER 1000 IN 2020

By Scott Thompson

Table of Contents

So you’re looking for a badass drone under $1000? 

You’ve come to the right place. 

At this price point you will get the best value for the money. The drones in this category have some incredible features. For under $1000 you can get a quadcopter that’s great for those starting out, or great for a seasoned drone pilot looking for more professional image specs. 

Keep in mind that If you are looking for the highest quality available in video and camera specs, $1000 will not be enough. Top of the line drones at the time of writing this email will run you $1500+…..If you are looking for the best of the best in regards to visuals , read this article where we rate the best drones for movie level quality.

From our extensive research the best drones under 1000 are:

  • MAVIC AIR 2 : BEST FILMMAKING DRONE
  • AUTEL ROBOTICS EVO QUADCOPTER  : BEST VIDEO QUALITY
  • PARROT ANAFI : BEST FOR TRAVEL
  • PARROT BEBOP 2
  • DJI MAVIC
  • FIMI X8SE 2020

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS ARTICLE:

In this article we will explore:

  • TOP FEATURES you can get for one thousand dollars
  • FEATURES you can not get for one thousand dollars
  • TOP DRONES in this price range
  • WHO each drone is best for. 

WHAT FEATURES CAN WE EXPECT FOR 1000 IN A DRONE?

What features can we expect to get for the price tag of $1000?! Drones in this price range will deliver the most value for the money. 

TOP FEATURES WE CAN EXPECT FOR UNDER 1000

  • 4K VIDEO CAPABILITIES: At this price point you should expect 4k resolution . You should expect to have a variety of frame rates to shoot at to change your footage ( 24 , 30 , 60). Some drones in this price point will give you HDR video capabilities with high quality 10 bit recording. These are some basic features we will get on these drones. So high resolution video is something you should expect to get.
  • RAW .DNG PHOTO CAPABILITIES: If you are unfamiliar with RAW shooting , it is the ability to capture more information in a picture in order to edit better in post prediction. Raw .DNG files can retain vital information to a photo. This will help you create the most professional version of this image when editing in a program like lightroom. Raw format is a professional photography feature.
  • FLIGHT MODES: Many cheap drones claim to give you intelligent modes to fly with , but rarely do they work . These drones all deliver high quality modes that are easy to use. Popular modes like ORBIT, FOLLOW ME , and WAYPOINTS are fun modes to use while shooting. They are kinda like AUTOPILOT settings that let you shoot yourself or some other subject without fully piloting the aircraft. Drones in this price range all will come with amazing flight features that work as intended.
  • ADVANCED SAFETY FEATURES: This is the price threshold where we begin to see great features for safety, like Obstacle Avoidance . Some of the drones on this list can even alert you when other crafts are entering your airspace. This is a huge sales point because it makes flying that much more safer. Safety is critical when flying these machines. It is not always easy to see everything in your drones path. 
  • INCREDIBLY SMOOTH FLIGHT: On more expensive drones over $500, we should expect the flight to be incredibly smooth . When a drone can’t handle wind or makes jerky movements it can mess up our cinematic footage. Therefore quadcopters in the price range should deliver stable and smooth flight. They all have high preformance brushless motors that offer great flight performance.
  • CAMERA GIMBAL: Lower priced drones usually don’t have gimbals that control the camera. They are “fixed” meaning you can’t point the camera in other directions than the craft is flying. You have to aim the entire aircraft in a direction to get a shot. Higher priced drones will give you up to 3 axis of movement to get a lot more diversity in your camera angles. Most drones in this price range will give you camera movement controls.
  • EXTENDED FLIGHT : You can expect higher flight times in these drones. The usual flight times are between 20-30 minutes of flight time. Drones in this price point also offer father flight distances letting you control the craft from miles away. They tend to have better radio transmission which is helpful for staying connected to your drone at all times.

WHAT FEATURES CAN WE NOT EXPECT FOR UNDER 1000?

Although we can get many features for this price point, it’s important to understand what you won’t get. This way you can understand why higher priced drones cost what they do. Also if the high end features are important to you you may want to save up and get the higher end models. Keep in mind these are luxuries in the drone world and most people can live without these features. 

  • INTERCHANGEABLE LENSES: Pro level Drones for video and photography will give you the ability to change lenses. For any professional camera operator , many understand how critical changing a lens can do for your visuals. High end drones like the DJI INSPIRE 2 will give you these features , however will cost much more that $1000.
  • .DNG RAW VIDEO: Although many drones can capture raw images at this price point, raw video is another situation entirely. Raw video is usually used in cinema level quality projects. 
  • BETTER CAMERA GIMBAL CONTROL: Although most drones in this article give you a 3 axis gimbal, they do not get you 360 degrees in each axis. If you seek greater camera mobility ….you may need to pony up more money. 
  • HIGH SPEED FLIGHT : Some drone shots require the drone to move fast. If you are seeking a drone with high speed or advanced sport mode . Like chasing cars up to 60 mph , you will need to purchase a higher end model like the DJI inspire 2 which clocks at 58 mph

BEST DRONES UNDER 1000

Currently there are many amazing drones on the market under 1000. Each drone has unique features that make it stand out in different ways. For this reason we categorized each drone in the following categories. Best drone for travel, photography, videography, filmmaking, and beginners. Read on to see which drone we picked for each category.

MAVIC AIR 2 : BEST DRONE UNDER 1000 FOR FILMMAKERS

DJI is leading the way for consumer drones . Many of the technologies in their products are their own innovations. The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a great drone, and has inherited many technologies featured in higher priced drones like the Mavic Pro 2 and Inspire 2. 

For an in depth review of this drone please read this article

We chose this drone for best filmmaking drone under $1000 for 3 main reasons. Top Notch video features , smooth flight , and next level safety features

  • VIDEO FEATURES: The Mavic Air 2 takes an amazing 4k video. It can shoot in multiple frame rates. It can shoot in 10 bit D-log which is a similar format as used in the Mavic Pro 2. Another great feature for cinematography shooting is HDR video. For those filmmakers on a budget this mode gets you high levels of dynamic range that will help you get the most cinematic footage . It also will match cinema camera better as they have more dynamic range.

  • SMOOTH FLIGHT: Smooth flight is essential for “movie like” camera movements. If your drone can’t handle high wind or is is unstable in any way, you may lose a shot. This DJI Mavic Air comes equipped with the most advanced flight system that DJ has released thus far. 

  • NEXT LEVEL SAFETY: DJI revealed a new technology AIRSENSE on this drone making it one of the safest you can fly on the market. You can see aircrafts entering your airspace which will help you avoid them and minimize collisions. Many times when creating a cinematic shot you will fly drone in hard to fly areas. When you need a shot you may risk it all. With this drone you can push the limits because of its advanced obstacle avoidance.

Highlight recap on the Mavic Air 2

  • 4k video HDR option 
  • 48 megapixel camera
  • Camera gimbal 3 axis 
  • 24 mm lens equivalent
  • Flight time 30 minutes
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Small in size

AUTEL ROBOTICS EVO QUADCOPTER 4K

BEST VIDEO QUALITY DRONE UNDER 1000

If you’re looking for incredible high quality video in your drone footage then the Autel Robotics EVO may be your best bet. Many content creators have chosen the EVO over DJI products due to the amazing images it produces. One of its most popular settings is its vibrant 4k at 60 fps shooting mode for slow motion footage in high resolution. 

We chose this drone for best video quality under $1000 . Autel Robotics specializes in high resolution drone cameras and offers higher end 6k and 8k options .  They currently offer the lowest priced 6k and 8k drone on the market ( EVO II 8k $1495 ) 

Some highlight specs of the EVO 4k

  • 4k video up to 60 fps
  • 30 minutes flight time
  • 4 mile radio transmission 
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • 12 megapixel photo
  • Smooth flight
  • Obstacle avoidance
  • 22mm equivalent focal length

PARROT ANAFI : BEST TRAVEL DRONE UNDER 1000

Released in July 2018, The Parrot Anafi quickly grew to one of the best drones on the market. Even though this drone is over 2 years old , the company still releases updates to the software to continually improve it. ( I love it when companies do this ) Recently adding a FPV mode so you can fly this drone with the cinematic footage viewed hier VR style goggles. A Pretty epic feature when you’re traveling , you can explore uncharted areas through a first person view.

We chose the Anafi for Best Travel drone under $1000 because of its small size and camera features.

  • SMALL IN SIZE: One reason we feel this drone is best for traveling is it’s incredibly small size. It only weighs 11.3 oz making it incredibly light. The dimensions are small as well 6.9 X 9.4 X 2.5 inches. It can easily fit in any small backpack or even fanny pack. The small size is a definite plus for those who don’t want to lug around a heavy setup.
  • VIDEO AND CAMERA FEATURES: This small drone packs a punch for its incredible small size. This drone can shoot 4k HDR and take images at 21 megapixels. It offers a 1 axis gimbal 
  • 35 miles per hour top speed
  • Intelligent Flight Modes
  • FLIGHT TIME 25 minutes
  • FPV FEATURES
  • 4k 30 FPS
  • EASY TO USE FREEFLIGHT 6 APP
  • CAN FIT IN SMALL BAG
  • Very little barrel distortion in camera
  • 2.5 remote control range

BEST DRONE UNDER 1000 FOR BEGINNERS

If you are a beginner drone pilot and have a budget of $1000, then we have three recommendations for you. We recommend the DJI Mavic Pro , the FIMI X8SE 2020 , and the Parrot Bebop 2. These drones are slightly lower in price point and are great for beginners and intermediates. These drones all have great camera and flight features for you to enjoy. See links below.

DJI MAVIC : The original Mavic Pro is a great beginner drone for under $1000.

FIMI X8SE 2020 : The Fimi X8SE 2020 is a great drone for those looking to learn to fly. (see full article here)

PARROT BEBOP 2: A fun drone for beginners and intermediate drone enthusiasts.

Conclusion

There are many amazing drones on the market under $1000. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced, this price point has something for everyone. We hope this guide has helped you find the best option for your needs. Now go fly!

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