Nowadays, you can find decent quality drones under $500 or even less, but if you’re willing to spend $1000, then you can get a high-performing drone with great drone features. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through the best drones under 1000, examining each model’s build and design, battery life, and camera quality to help you make the perfect model for your needs.

Whether you’re a professional videographer looking for cinematic aerial footage, or simply a hobbyist searching for a top-quality waterproof drone, we’ve got you covered.  

Best Drones Under 1000


  • Product Dimensions:12.83 x 7.99 x 10.51 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.75 pounds
  • Video Capture Resolution: 2160P
  • Effective Still Resolution: 12 MP
  • Video Capture Format: 4K/60fps
  • Flight Time: 20 minutes
  • Max Transmission Distance: OcuSync 3.0, 10 km

Design and Build

The first drone on our list is the DJI FPV Combo. Upon first glance, it’s evident that DJI is targeting the higher end of the FPV market by offering a similar set of goggles and camera as their previous high-end low-latency system, along with a new remote control (and an optional motion controller).

The drone has a distinct FPV design with tri-blade propellers that extend far enough forward to absorb the impact of any head-on collisions and a sturdy frame adorned with vibrant multi-colored LED lights.

However, upon closer inspection, there are noticeable deviations from the typical self-constructed devices. The fpv drone is equipped with collision sensors, including two forward-facing, two downward-facing, and two infra-red altitude sensors. 

Battery Life and Flight Time

According to DJI, the FPV drone can fly for up to 20 minutes; however, this estimate is contingent on windless conditions and a speed of 25 mph. In reality, flight time is approximately 10 minutes per battery, depending on environmental conditions. Although this is not much compared to other camera drones, it’s still significantly better than many standard FPV drones in the market. 

Camera Capabilities

Flying the DJI FPV drone is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling models offered by DJI. However, compared to the Mavic and Phantom drones, its camera capabilities are a bit limited. That being said, the DJI FPV still has some pretty impressive video functions.

The camera has a 12MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and can capture some stunning visuals. It comes with a 14.66mm equivalent lens, giving you a 150-degree field of view and a fixed f/2.8 aperture. The camera also has a fixed focus range from 0.6m to infinity, so everything in your shot will definitely look sharp.

You can even choose from Standard and D-Cinelike color profiles, which gives you a ton of flexibility when it comes to color grading. 

See DJI FPV Combo price on Amazon

DJI Air 2S

  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 9.96 x 3.03 inches
  • Item Weight: 1.31 pounds
  • Video Capture Resolution: 5.4K
  • Effective Still Resolution: 20MP 
  • Video Capture Format: 5.4K/30fps
  • Flight Time: 31 minutes
  • Max Transmission Distance: OcuSync 3.0, 1080p, 12 km

Design and Build

Another best drone under 1000 is the DJI Air 2S. With its sleek design, the Air 2S bears a strong resemblance to the Mavic Air 2, with only a few subtle differences. It boasts a foldable design, with the front arms extending outwards and the rear arms pivoting downwards and outwards during flight, allowing for easy portability.

It’s also incredibly compact, measuring a mere 183x253x77mm when unfolded and 180x97x80mm when folded. Weighing at 595g, this lightweight drone is only slightly heavier than the Air 2 and just over half the total weight of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, despite its larger camera size.

Battery Life and Flight Time

The Air 2S is equipped with an impressive maximum flight time of 31 minutes, though it does fall three minutes short of its predecessor, the Air 2. Keep in mind that this duration is attainable only in calm weather conditions. When considering variables such as weather changes and the return to home feature, the actual flying time typically ranges around 20 minutes per battery.

Camera Capabilities

Equipped with a 20MP 1-inch sensor, the drone’s camera delivers an 88-degree field of view or a full-frame equivalent focal length of 22mm. It also has a fixed f/2.8 aperture and a focus range of 60 cm to infinity.

While the edges of still images may appear marginally softer than those from the Mavic 2 Pro, this difference is hardly noticeable in everyday use. And when recording videos, the Air 2S captures sharp footage across the entire frame. With its impressive camera capabilities, this very light drone is sure to elevate your aerial photography and videography.

See DJI Air 2S price on Amazon

Autel Robotics EVO Lite+

  • Product Dimensions: ‎9.65 x 6.1 x 10.04 inches
  • Item Weight: ‎4.8 pounds
  • Video Capture Resolution: 6K
  • Effective Still Resolution: 20MP 
  • Video Capture Format: 6K/30fps, 4K/60fps
  • Flight Time: 40 minutes
  • Max Transmission Distance:12 km

Design and Build

Another top-notch drone under 1000 is the Autel EVO Lite+. The Lite+ drone follows the same design pattern as most small foldable drone. With four pivoting arms, it’s a breeze to set up and take off. In terms of size, the Lite+ is quite similar to its competitors, but it does weigh in at 820g, which is about 20% heavier than the DJI Air 2S.

However, much of this additional weight is due to the battery, which takes up significant portion of the rear superstructure of the drone. Unlike other models, where the battery is fitted inside the drone, the Lite+ battery slides in from the back and doubles as the power-on button. This amazing drone design makes the battery easily replaceable and allows longer flight times.

Battery Life and Flight Time

The Lite+ drone boasts a battery capacity of 6,174mAh (68.7 Wh), a huge increase over the 3,500mAh (40.42 Wh) of its DJI Air 2S competitor. This generous capacity translates to an impressive maximum flight time of 40 minutes compared to the 30 minutes of the DJI drone.

Although most Air 2S owners consider the 30-minute claim a bit of a stretch, the Lite+ can hover for even longer when the battery levels get low. Although we wouldn’t advise pushing it that far, the Lite+ can easily fly for at least 30 minutes before hitting 20% capacity, providing ample opportunity to capture breathtaking shots without feeling pressure for time. 

Camera Capabilities

The camera on the Lite+ drone is labeled with a ‘6K’ tag and has a maximum video resolution of 5472 x 3076 at 30fps for video and 5472 x 3648 for still images. This camera resolution is almost identical to that of the DJI Air 2S, but what sets the Lite+ apart is its ability to adjust the aperture from f/2.8 to f/11, providing greater control over exposure and reducing the need for ND filters.

The 5.4K resolution sensor of the Lite+ camera also allows for a generous margin for cropping in post-production or lossless zoom in 4K, 2.7K, and 1080p capture.

Beyond 4x zooming, there is little practical benefit, but the Fly app allows up to 16x zoom for those who want to experiment with pixelation.

See Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ price on Amazon

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)

  • Product Dimension: ‎6.73 x 9.65 x 2.44 inches
  • Item Weight: 0.55 pounds
  • Video Capture Resolution: 4K
  • Effective Still Resolution: 48MP 
  • Video Capture Format: Up to 4K/60fps, 4K/30fps HDR
  • Flight Time: 34 minutes
  • Max Transmission Distance: OcuSync 3.0, 1080p/30fps,12 km

Design and Build

Last but definitely not least is the DJI Mini 3. The Mini 3 has a distinctive design that sets it apart from its Mavic family siblings. Instead of sharp lines and angular angles, the Mini 3 Pro has a more curvaceous silhouette, with rounded edges and smooth contours that give it a futuristic look.

Despite its compact size and featherweight construction, the Mini 3 Pro can also handle even slightly windy conditions with ease, boasting a wind resistance of nearly 24mph. 

Battery Life and Flight Time

The DJI drone series is known for its continuous battery and flight performance improvement with every new release, and the Mini 3 Pro is no exception. Its new 2,453mAh Intelligent Flight Battery, weighing only 80.5g, promises an impressive average flight time of up to 34 minutes.

However, as with any drone, there are variables to consider, such as weather conditions and return to home function. When factoring in these variables, the actual flight time ranges between 20-25 minutes. 

Camera Capabilities

The Mini 3 Pro’s 12.1MP 1/1.3-inch sensor is an improvement from its previous model, allowing for stunning 48MP photos. However, as with many DJI drones, there is a slight reduction in sharpness toward the frame’s edges when capturing stills. 

Moreover, some lateral chromatic aberrations may be present along high-contrast subject edges. Nevertheless, these minor issues do not detract from the overall excellent image quality of this mini drone.

See DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC) price on Amazon

What Other Drone Brands Offer the Best Drones Under 1000?

Aside from DJI and Autel Robotics, several other drones brands offer high-quality drones under 1000, including:

  • Holy Stone: Holy Stone specializes in affordable, high-quality drones perfect for beginners and experienced drone enthusiasts. One of their most popular models is the HS720E, which boasts a 4K camera, 19 mph speed, and up to 46 minutes of flight time.
  • Ryze Tech: The Tello by Ryze Tech is an ideal choice for beginners on a budget, as it is a small drone that packs a punch. Despite its compact form, it has advanced features such as automatic takeoff and landing and VR headset compatibility.
  • Parrot: Parrot is a well-known brand that provides a variety of user-friendly and budget-friendly drones. The ANAFI and ANAFI USA are two exceptional options for anyone seeking good camera drones with 4K video capabilities and advanced functionalities.

Read more: Best Drones Under 900 [Honest Review]

Why Can Only a Few Drones With Digital Stabilization Produce Very High-Quality Videos?

Drones with digital stabilization stabilize camera images by cropping them, resulting in a loss of resolution and image quality. 

On the other hand, drones with mechanical stabilization use physical mechanisms like gimbals to stabilize the camera, resulting in smooth and stable footage without sacrificing image quality. 

While mechanical stabilization is more effective, it can also be more expensive and heavier, which is why some drone manufacturers use digital stabilization instead.

Do I Have to Register My Camera Drone?

If you want to fly a camera drone in the United States, it’s important to know that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires registration for drones weighing over 0.55 pounds (250 grams). 

The registration process can be completed by anyone at least 13 years old and doesn’t necessarily have to be the person operating or buying the drone. For those outside of the US, make sure to check local drone regulations before purchasing a drone.

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