Glenn loves writing: no wonder he decided to become a journalist without too much thinking right after his high school. When not working for his magazine, he writes for us on a freelance basis, putting all our findings together.
Vincent is a professional videographer who seems to know everything about the industry. He got his first quadcopter as soon as they appeared on the market, so if any drone-related question arises, we know who to ask.
Photographers and videographers seeking to avoid the weight restrictions put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can achieve this with the best drones under 250 grams. As long as they stick within the weight limit, which includes fuel and onboard components, they don’t have to register their models before operating them. However, such lightweight models often mean poor construction and low-quality cameras, so choosing the most decent one can get tricky.
We reviewed the dimensions and weight of several drones to narrow down to compact ones that weigh less than 250g. Next, we factored in the features of the camera, lens, and sensor to ensure they are capable of taking high-quality footage. Our team also assessed the control range, maximum speed, and flight time of the best drones under 250 grams to test their coverage and maneuverability, and to ensure you can fly them for a substantial period. All the recommended products are lightweight and compact, and feature great cameras that are ideal for kids and beginners as well as for professionals.
Holy Stone HS120D is among the bestselling drones under .55 pounds for a good reason. It features tracking features such as Custom Path, Follow Me, and Object Trace and GPS support to assist return flights when the drone is out of range, or the battery runs low. It also includes Altitude and Headless modes for easy orientation.
Some of the notable features include control range of 300 meters and maximum flight time of 18 minutes.
The camera is 2K UHD with 120° FOV and adjustable FPV. It captures 2048 x 1152p videos, making it the best 1080p drone under .55 pounds, and the Gesture Control takes automated shots that are instantly shareable on social media.
Buyers also receive a bonus backpack for convenient transport and storage, two 3.7V 1200mAH rechargeable batteries that can be switched for continuous operation, a 5V USB charging cable, 4 propellers, 4 guards, and 2 landing gears. It takes 2 hours to charge each battery.
Each rotor tip has built-in LED lighting that indicates the calibration status.
Holy Stone HS120D supports micro SD cards with a maximum memory capacity of 32GB, and you can control it with a remote controller or via app with online matching buttons. One key is used for both takeoff and landing and for return to home.
What we liked: It is reasonably priced, has decent flight time and several drone tracking functions, and resolution output of 1080p HD.
What could be better: The main complaint regards losing the drones despite the tracing features. Besides that, this drone is not foldable, but that should not be a deal breaker since it has a compact profile.
Our Upgrade Pick has been upgraded with stronger connection, powerful motors, improved battery life, and high-quality cameras with 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor that are better than the 2.7K of its predecessor. It comes with a 4K camera with capture rate of 30 frames per second and a 12MP camera. To maximize resolution, DJI Mini 2 is equipped with a 3-axis motorized gimbal for to stabilize the signal for minimal interference. The resulting videos have 720p resolution.
It features integrated OcuSync 2.0 that optimizes transmission to a distance of up to 10 km by adjusting between the frequencies.
DJI Mini 2 is the best professional drone under 250 grams with impressive flight time of 31 minutes, maximum speed of 35.8mph, and control range of up to 4,000 meters.
It has automated flight paths and supports both GLONASS and GPS to provide precise location.
The upgraded camera can now generate raw images as well as JPG images, and you can magnify the images by up to 4 times and edit them to add filters and soundtracks.
You can fold the compact drone to fit in your packet and fly it without prior registration by FAA.
What we liked: It has excellent range and battery life, and stabilization to produce high-quality images. It also comes with guards to minimize damage from impact.
What could be better: Although buyers appreciate the level 5 wind resistance, they would like the drone to also have ActiveTrack, which detects obstacles during flight.
Ryze Tech Tello is mainly designed for kids and beginners, but you will find that there are several features that will benefit professionals, too. For starters, it is one of the best lightweight drones under .55 pounds for beginners, weighing only 81 grams.
The drone flies at a maximum speed of 17.9 mph in operational range of up to 100 meters, lasting for a maximum of 13 minutes in flight. It is powered by DJI, which should make this model a bargain considering drones with this technology tend to be pricier. DJI pioneered the first preassembled drone as well as several other inventions.
The camera captures 5MP photos and videos at HD 720p resolution, and two antennas stabilize the signal for live transmission.
You can operate the drone with the Tello app, which transforms your phone into a recording device, or you can write code for the commands with Scratch, a mobile programming language. Update the software to use the motion commands.
The drone is capable of 360-degree views and midair flips, and, owing to EZ Shots function, you can share the footage on social media. Once you connect to the app, you will see a red video recording button. Since there is no slot for memory card, the captured images and videos are sent to your phone via the app.
The package includes a set of propeller guards, 4 propellers, propeller removal tool for quick disassembly, a Lithium Polymer battery, and a micro USB cable.
What we liked: It is the best drone under .55 pounds for beginners and kids that is also a fun tool to learn coding.
What could be better: Image and video quality could be better if the Wi-Fi connection remained stable.
If you have limited budget but would still like a drone with features fit for a professional, we would recommend Cheerwing W1PRO as the best drone under .55 pounds.
It is equipped with a 1080p HD front camera, a 720p bottom camera, a clip to attach a phone for FPV, and optional guards to mitigate damage. The 1080p camera has an adjustable viewing angle of up to 120º, and the drone supports smartphones as well as SD cards with maximum memory of 64GB.
The drone has maximum flying time and control range of 18 minutes and 250 meters respectively. Users can switch speed, and the LED lights improve visibility at night.
It comes with 2 rechargeable 7.4V 1800mAh batteries, so you can swap them for minimal interruptions, an extra propeller for quick replacement, a remote controller with two handles, and a manual. The inclusion of a second battery is convenient because charging time is 200 minutes. The remote controller uses 4 AA batteries bought separately.
This affordable model is compatible with smartphones and features GPS mode to track your surroundings. You can activate Waypoint or Follow Me mode on the app so you can recover the drone in case of low battery or lost signal. Palm’s control mode suits selfies, Maintain Altitude mode remembers previous settings, and Optical Flow mode for custom flight path.
What we liked: It comes with 2 cameras, 2 rechargeable batteries, and phone attachment. We also like the decent flight time, GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity, and compatibility with SD cards for memory expansion.
What could be better: Charging takes a while, and taking clear pictures can be tricky in windy weather since the camera is fixed, and this model lacks gimbal or Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) function.
Long gone are days when you had to spend a minimum of $1000 to purchase any drone. You can now get the best drones under .55 pounds for beginners, such as SIMREX X300C, which costs less than $100.
It is capable of 360-degree flips in 4 different directions, flight time of up to 10 minutes, and maintaining current height even when you release the throttle stick. This is achieved with headless mode functionality that lets the drones remember the active settings, so it doesn’t detour.
The drone features 6-axis gyro flight control system and flies at a remote control range of 30 to 45 meters. It is available in 4 optional colors.
The controller utilizes AA batteries, which are not included. Instead, the package consists of a phone holder, charging cable, one Lipo battery, 4 additional propellers and their protection frames, and a user manual. The manual advises users to gently adjust throttle for precision since the motors are very responsive and to take breaks between flights to let the drone cool.
This drone under .55 pounds is not weatherproof, so avoid flying the drone in windy or rainy weather that may damage internal components like the battery.
It takes approximately an hour to fully charge the battery. Keep the included cable because it is the only one that can charge it.
SIMREX X300C may be controlled with a remote control or with an iOS or Android phone. It features a 110° wide angle first-person view (FPV) camera with resolution of 1920 x 1080. You can view the live footage on your phone. Beginners will find it easy to operate because you only use one key for takeoff or landing. There are 3 selectable speed modes.
The protection ring prevents damage of the propeller, and the foldable design makes it portable.
What we liked: We like the FPV camera, low pricing, easy controls, additional propellers, and the protective features.
What could be better: It has limited flying time, the remote batteries are not included, and the holder may be too small for some phones.
4 extra propellers
Altitude Hold Function
Dual forms of control
3 Speed Modes
360° Flips & Rolls
Small phone holder
Let’s review the most important factors you should keep in mind before buying the best professional drones under 250 grams to make an informed decision. Read on to learn more about apps, size, resolution, and flight time, among other features.
Features to consider when choosing a drone
The best drones under .55 pounds for beginners should be within reasonable budget, easy to control, made with durable materials to withstand impact and capable of producing high-quality footage.
Dimensions and weight
The size and weight of your model matters for maneuverability although you don’t have to worry about this with drones under .55 pounds since they are designed to be lightweight and compact. For instance, SIMREX X300C has dimensions of 3.9 x 2 x 1.2 inches and weight of 221g.
Majority of the best drones under .55 pounds for beginners are X-shaped quadcopters with 4 propellers.
Professional drones under 250 grams capture videos with 4K resolution while decent budget models record at 720p.
Some drones allow you to add an additional camera, and others are capable of FPV, which lets you stream the footage on your phone.
Another camera feature that will make your experience worthwhile include stabilization systems that adjust the camera angle by panning and tilting it, and steady the lens to reduce vibrations from the drone’s motion. They are integrated into the device to improve image quality.
Premium drones may have cameras that detect obstacles along the flight path and allow users to create custom navigation routes via GPS for future reference.
Sensor and lens
They are either integrated into the device or added as an accessory to enhance quality. Large lenses and sensors will generate superior resolution because they can capture more light even in dim conditions. However, the sensor size does not correlate to pixels, which determine the actual resolution. More pixels translate to sharper images with more details.
Consider products that have 360-degree adjustable viewing angle so you can position the camera wherever you like.
Since all drones have specified flight time, which is limited in budget drones, high speed is beneficial because you can extend coverage and record more footage in a short time.
Maximum flight time
Confirm the maximum flight time of the drone to ensure it is sufficient to produce substantial footage. Starter drones can last up to 10 minutes while advanced ones such as DJI Mini 2 can fly for a maximum of 31 minutes.
Flight time differs according to the size of the drone and the battery capacity. As well as the maximum flight time, consider the period it takes to charge the battery fully. To reduce interruptions, some brands provide two batteries that can be swapped to charge.
All the drones under .55 pounds we have reviewed indicate the range of distance that allows for a stable signal. You can control Holy Stone HS120D and SIMREX X300C within a maximum range of 300 m and 45 m respectively. The drone loses signal when you exceed the range, resulting in blurry or shaky images since it cannot read your commands.
The remote controls of drones come with two joysticks that are similar to the ones used in game controllers. The sticks control the altitude, including pitch and roll, and rotation and throttle. It should fit comfortably in your hand and responsive with intuitive controls that are easy to use. The featured drones under .55 pounds are easy to use because they use a single key for takeoff and landing.
You will also find hands-free drones that support gesture and voice control as well as some that let you attach your phone as a viewing screen, and others controlled via downloadable apps, which we will discuss next.
The professional drones under 250 grams that can be controlled via proprietary apps on iOS and Android platforms support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The apps show real-time videos and feature several flight modes that are programmable for custom use. They indicate location, track the drone, return it when the battery is depleted or the signal lost, and remember saved routes and previous settings. Some will mirror the controls on your remote controller online. These apps come with integrated GPS systems to identify locations accurately.
Ryze Tech Tello is compatible with Tello app. When you update the app, you can program commands for the drone with Scratch, make your phone a recording device and capture images instantly with EZ shots. Another drone that uses an app with several user modes is Holy Stone HS120D. They include Headless mode, which assists in drone orientation, Custom Path for saved routes, Follow Me and Object Trace for tracing and returning your device, and Altitude mode to maintain flying height.
Spare parts: Fortunately, all the models we have recommended come with bonus propellers and protective guards to reduce impact damage. Established brands like DJI will also have spare parts and related accessories at the ready for separate purchase. These could be carrying cases, lens filters to reduce glare, batteries, chargers, and landing gears.
Phone attachment: It is not available in all drones, so confirm that your gadget has room for that if you want first person view in real time.
Memory card: To increase storage capacity, look for drones under .55 pounds that support memory cards.
LED light: Apart from improving visibility at night, the light also indicates the status of your calibration.
GPS refers to Global Positioning System, a system that help you to navigate by indicating your exact location from any geographical part of the world. It is an essential feature found in the best drones under .55 pounds for beginners to help them. You can use it to locate a missing drone, create custom flight paths, and maintain the designated height when flying it.
Calm weather is preferable when flying drones under .55 pounds because their lightweight makes them susceptible to detouring in windy weather. You should also avoid flying your drone in the rain unless it is certified as waterproof.
Theres is no app that works with all types of drones. First, some drops lack Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability, and secondly, drones generally work with proprietary apps such as the versatile DJI app.
Holy Stone HS120D won us over with diverse drone flight modes, 18-minute flight time and app and GPS support, and multiple accessories, including a carrying case, 2 batteries, and landing gears.
DJI Mini 2 greatest strength is its maximum control range 4,000 m, half-hour flight time, and the 4K camera, making this model the best professional drone under 250 grams. It has high speed of 35.8 mph, a powerful sensor, 4X zoom function, and 3-axis motorized gimbal, which stabilizes connection for high-quality images. To optimize output, our Upgrade Pick is also equipped with OcuSync 2.0 for improved transmission over a long distance and ActiveTrack for obstacle detection.
Ryze Tech Tello is the coolest drone under .55 pounds for beginners and kids because you can control it via Tello app or create your own commands with a mobile programming language. The drone provides 360-degree view and captures instant shareable photos.