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.
Last updated: August 13, 2021
You might think that finding a decent drone at an adequate price is next to impossible. With so many different options on the market today, it is not far from the truth. Of course, if you want the best drone under $600, you need to know what to look for.
When we were looking for the drones for our list, we first looked for models that are great for filming quick-moving videos. That way, you will actually be able to tell what you recorded, rather than just a blurry mess. We also looked for those models with high definition 4K cameras since they can record incredibly high-quality videos. Next, we looked for drones that have different speeds and control ranges. That way, you will have an easier time finding the right model for the application you have in mind. After all, if you are just looking for a model for your kid to use, you certainly don’t need the same type of model if you are a videographer.
This drone features a 2-axis stabilized camera that is capable of recording in 1080P. It can fly at a maximum speed of 31 mph and has a flight time of 16 minutes. The control range is 1.2 miles. This model can be controlled with a remote, app, or your palm.
Why is it special? Of all the different drones that we looked into, this model is by far our favorite. It is the complete package thanks to its thoroughly well-thought-out design and features. It is nice and light and easy to travel with, yet powerful enough to deliver a high-top speed, and 2-axis stabilized 1080P camera. This camera is more than capable of capturing exquisite footage wherever you choose to fly the drone.
This model also features a large control range of a little over 1 mile. While the controller is really well made and easy to use, you also get the option to utilize an app for control. You can also use the Palm Control mode for a more intuitive flying experience.
What are the flaws? Though there is a lot to like about this drone, it does have one drawback that you will need to take into consideration. This model has a relatively short flight time when compared to some of its competitors, which might limit its usefulness for more extensive filming sessions. Of course, you can purchase extra batteries to combat this issue, but this will still require you to land the drone and swap the batteries, so be sure to bear this in mind before you make your final decision.
This model features a 12 MP camera that is capable of recording in 4K and can utilize a 4x digital zoom. It has a maximum speed of 35.8 mph and can fly for about 31 minutes at a time. Its range is 6.2 miles. This model can be flown with its controller but also has some app capabilities.
Why did it make our list? This is a great drone, thanks to its lightweight and innovative design. As such, you can expect the very best of pretty much everything with this model. It can stay in the air for up to 31 minutes at a time, can fly up to 35 mph, and has an enormous control range of up to 6.2 miles. These statistics make it a great option for anyone that really wants to extensively explore their surroundings.
The camera is another highpoint for this drone, as it is capable of recording in 4K. This will help you to create crystal clear videos. The camera also features a 4x digital zoom, which makes getting a closer look a whole lot easier.
What is not ideal about it? One of the best things about this drone is its enormous control range. It can easily be controlled up to and including six miles of distance, which is stupendous. One thing to keep in mind with this range, however, is that the built-in GPS system is not always completely accurate. This is especially true in more remote areas. Of course, as long as you stay well within the control range, this shouldn’t be too big of an issue but is still worth considering before you make your final purchase.
This drone has a 3-axis mechanical gimbal camera that is capable of recording in 4K UHD. It has a very high maximum speed of 40 mph and can remain in the air for about 35 minutes. It has a control range of 2.5 miles and utilizes a smart tracking mode to allow you to maintain its whereabouts. It can be flown with its remote control.
What makes it stand out? If you are looking for a drone that can stay up in the air for a long time while also being able to fly extremely quickly, then this is a great model to check out. With this model, you can easily keep it aloft for over 35 minutes at a time while also topping out at 40 mph.
This foldable drone is also completely rain-proof and has a control range of 2.5 miles. Its smart tracking mode makes it very easy to keep track of when in the air, and its 3-axis camera is capable of recording in 4K UHD. Between its stabilization and picture clarity, you should be able to record some epic footage with this model.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? The only real issue that we found with this model is that you need to reset the camera after each time that you fly. After the drone is powered down and the battery is recharged, you will need to go into the settings and reprogram the camera to your preferred mode. Thankfully, this doesn’t take too long, but it will add time before each flight.
This model can record in 720P and utilizes an FPV (first-person view) style camera. It can fly at two different speeds for a limited amount of time. Each flight can only last about 7 minutes, and the control range is only 160 feet. This drone can be flown with the remote control or an app.
What makes it stand out? Something that really helps to set this model apart from its competitors is its budget-friendly price. This model will not cost you an arm and a leg, making it a perfect purchase for anyone that wants to dabble in the world of drone photography without making too large of a commitment.
This model is also one of the quickest charging and easy to use drones on our list. The app is especially useful, as it allows you to design different flight patterns that the drone will automatically follow. This drone is also quite lightweight, making it an ideal companion to bring along with you when you travel.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind? For anyone that is looking to do some serious drone flying and photography, this model might not be the best option. While it is a great value, it has an extremely short flight time and control range. You can only keep this aircraft up in the air for about 16 minutes at a time, and you will always also need to keep it within 160 feet of your controller. This limits the amount of footage that you will be able to capture at one time.
This drone features a 3-axis stabilized camera that can record in 4K UHD. It can fly at about 20 mph for 23 minutes at a time. Its control range is 2.5 miles. This model comes with backup batteries, propellers, and a carrying case. It can be flown using its remote control.
What do we love it for? There is a lot to like about this drone from a first-time buyer’s perspective. For starters, it comes with plenty of gear that will allow you to get flying right off the bat. This includes extra batteries, extra propellers, a carrying case, and even a car charger. All this extra gear makes it much easier for a new flyer to get off the ground quickly.
This drone has a lot of nice features, too, that make it a great choice. It has a large control range and can stay in the air for over 20 minutes with each charge. The 3-axis stabilized camera is also able to record in 4K UHD, which will allow you to capture amazingly crisp and clear panoramic views of wherever you choose to explore.
What were we disappointed with? This drone is a great value for anyone that is just breaking into the world of drone flying. It provides tons of extra features and parts, which make it an excellent choice for anyone that wants to always have spare parts. The instructional manual, however, is not very user friendly. The instructions can be somewhat difficult to follow, making this a good option for a first-time buyer that has a bit of flight experience already.
Things to Consider
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the best drone for under $600. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those as well if you need any further information.
Features to consider when choosing a drone
As more and more drones come onto the market, there are more and more features that you need to consider. Don’t worry, however! We have put together a comprehensive list of features so that you can buy your new drone with confidence.
One of the best things to do with a drone is to use it to get amazing shots of interesting objects from the air. Drones allow you to see the world from a bird’s eye view. Of course, not all of the different models go about this in the exact same manner. There are several different features that you need to consider when you are looking for a drone-based camera it utilizes. Some of these considerations include:
Definition – Perhaps the most important consideration when it comes to a camera’s features is going to be the definition, or how clear the picture will be. After all, you don’t want to send your drone for awesome footage and then not be able to make out what you shot. Thankfully, all of our models shoot in the clear video, though you will definitely be able to see a bit more with a 4K camera, like the one on the FIMI X8SE, compared to a 720P model, like that of the Syma Camera Drone.
Latency – Something else to keep in mind with your drone is how much latency, or lag, there is between what the drone is shooting compared to what you see on the controller. While having a few milliseconds of latency is to be expected, it is better to get a smaller amount, like you will with the DJI Spark, since that can make the difference between hitting or avoiding an object.
Stabilization – It is also a good idea to look for a drone that has some sort of stabilization system. That way, your video won’t give you motion sickness due to excessive amounts of shaking. You can get drones with either 2-axis or 3-axis stabilization. If you want to keep your filming as steady as possible, then a model like the Hubsan Zino Pro is a good option.
Another important consideration that you should take into account is how fast you want your drone to be able to fly. Obviously, the faster you can fly, the more ground you can cover and record. On the other hand, this also increases the likelihood of accidentally crashing your device, especially if you are an inexperienced pilot.
If you want a fast-flying drone under $600, then we highly recommend you check out the FIMI X8SE, which has a top speed of 40 mph. If, however, you want to keep things at a slower pace until for cinematic shots and to keep from losing control of your drone, the Hubsan Zino Pro is a good choice since it can only go 20 mph.
Maximum flight time
You will also want to take how long you need your drone to fly into consideration as well. Longer flights will mean more powerful batteries, which will increase the overall purchase price. Of course, this will also mean that you can keep your drone in the air for a longer time, which will give you a better chance at capturing the footage you desire or exploring a bit more terrain.
If you don’t need a really long flight time and want to save a bit of money, then the Syma Camera Drone is a good choice. Anyone looking for longer flights and doesn’t mind spending a bit more money should check out the FIMI X8SE as an option.
Something else to keep in mind is where you intend to fly your drone. This will help you to figure out how much control range you need to effectively view everything that you desire. It is always a better idea to look for a model that has a larger control range than you think you will need. That way, you are covered in case you need to go a bit further than you originally had in mind. After all, the last thing that you want is for your drone to fail because you lost the signal sending it too far away.
If you want the biggest control range possible, then the DJI Mini 2 is going to be the model for you. This little beauty boasts an impressive 6-mile range, which is the top on our list.
Dimensions and weight
The size and weight of your new drone are only going to come into play in a few different situations. If you are planning to use your drone around your home, then you probably do not need to worry about how much space it takes up or how much it weighs since you can pretty easily store it away without too many issues. Of course, if you want to take your drone traveling or camping, then you will want to look for the smallest and lightest model possible to save on the packing room.
In this case, the best drone for traveling is going to be the DJI Mini 2, which only weighs about 8.8 ounces. It is also, as the name would suggest, quite small, which makes it very simple to slip into a pack without weighing you down or taking up too much room.
When it comes to choosing a drone, you should also carefully examine the different options for controllers on the market as well. After all, even if you have a great drone, you won’t be able to use it properly if you don’t like the controller. Most controllers are very similar in their designs, however, which makes choosing one a bit easier.
You need to be sure to get a controller that has a large enough screen so that you can easily fly your drone but is also small enough to fit well in your hand. That way, you can comfortably control your aircraft as you explore the world around you with ease.
Most of the time, you are going to utilize the controller to fly your drone and the memory card to save your footage. You can, however, also utilize an app with all of the different models on our list to some degree. The most useful function for any app is that it will allow you to share your footage more freely from your drone when you have an internet connection. On some models, like the Syma Camera Drone, you can also direct the flight path of your aircraft.
As with any other piece of technology, drones come with lots of different features that you should consider before you make your final purchase. One of the most helpful extras has got to be additional batteries or propellers. Even if you are extremely careful, mishaps will occur, which makes the importance of extra propellers essential. Extra batteries will allow you to keep flying when one set needs to be recharged, which is always a big plus.
Another nice feature to keep in mind is a digital zoom. This will allow you to take a closer look at objects while you are flying without having to actually get your drone closer. This can keep your aircraft much safer since it will let you get a better look at things without risking an accident.
Having a 2-axis or 3-axis gimble system simply means that the camera is stabilized. Both of these systems work very well, though the 3-axis gimble is better equipped to provide clearer video footage since it is completely steady. A 2-axis system is still quite steady, though you will notice more movement in horizontal movements. However, 2-axis systems are usually much more cost-effective and don’t drain the battery life of the drone quite as quickly as a 3-axis gimble system.
Unless a drone specifically states that it is waterproof, it is most likely only water-resistant. This means that it can withstand some splashes of rain without malfunctioning but will not be able to fly in a complete downpour. Waterproof models will survive this type of deluge but cannot be fully submerged in water without damage.
In order to fully charge a battery for your drone, you should set aside 60 to 90 minutes if it has been completely drained. If you have only used it for a short period of time, then you will not need to charge it for all that long. Just make sure that you don’t constantly keep the battery plugged in, however, as this can cause it to overcharge, which could limit the battery’s life.
Out of all the different drone models that we checked out for our list, our favorite is definitely the DJI Spark. This drone is incredibly easy to use thanks to its innovative and lightweight design. The camera can record in 1080P, and the drone has a large control range and high-end top speed. We highly recommend that you check this model out! You won’t regret it!
The DJI Mini 2 might be lightweight and smaller than average, but don’t let that fool you. This drone has an extremely large control range, a high-quality camera that can record in 4K UHD, and a fast top speed, making it an excellent option.
The FIMI X8SE is going to be the best drone under $600 if you are looking for a model that can stay up in the air for a good long time. This model can stay aloft for over 30 minutes while also reaching a top speed of 40 mph.