The Best Drones Under $400

Drones are some of the most popular electronic devices in today’s world. However, many shoppers write off the machines as being too expensive. While some models do fetch a hefty price, there are many great options for people on a budget.

The drones in this article don’t just fall under $400, they do so while still giving you the complete drone experience. It is easy to assume that cheaper models are low-quality, but that could not be further from the truth.

Quick Summary

  • The Outlaw SE is a quadcopter drone perfect for both new and more experienced pilots alike. The device’s wonderful GPS keeps it in known areas, while the “follow-me” mode allows it to go wherever you move. There is also a return-to-home feature that kicks in when it loses connection or runs out of power, and the 1080p camera offers a 110 panoramic field of view. The 600-foot range is a wonderful bonus as well.
  • The Holy Stone HS720 is an incredibly useful drone capable of capturing any and all shots with its 1080p camera. The device is also able to transmit live video and has a great 26-minutes of flight time per battery. Its range is 1600 meters, making an excellent long-range model, while the GPS system gives you both follow me mode and custom flight path options. The waypoint path system is flawless, and the travel-friendly casing means you can easily take it on any trip.
  • In terms of beginner drones, few match the Altair 818 Hornet. This device comes with numerous ease-of-life features, such as headless and altitude hold mode, and also offers one touch take-off and landing. The smartphone compatibility is simple, and complements the 15-minute flight per battery time. There is also a 720p HD camera, making this a perfect option for people interested in aerial photography, as well as a 6-axis gyro and low battery alarm.

Who Should Get This?

Drones below the $400 price range are perfect for any user looking to save some money. Premium devices tend to be more expensive, but you don’t have to sacrifice quality when going down in price.

Cheaper models also tend to be a bit more user-friendly. That makes them a good choice for beginners, or people just getting into the drone hobby. Young users may especially like the functional UI that tends to come with more affordable options.

Best Drones Under $400: What to Consider?

Battery Life

Drones, even premium options, do not stay in the air for long. The best models tend to fly for 15 to 25 minutes on one charge, while some only stay airborne for 4 or 5. That is a big difference, especially in terms of what you’re able to shoot. Always look for models with more flight time, and focus on ones that come with quick-charging or replacement batteries.

Range

Your drone’s purpose is to get great shots, which often means sending them out into exotic or hard-to-reach places. For that reason, you want a machine that has a long or flexible range. Not only will that give you more versatility, but it also allows you to send the device on an adventure if you see something interesting or stumble upon a cool view.

Durability

Regardless of how careful you are, your drone will get beat up. Wind and weather both damage the exterior, and crashes happen to the best of us. Always invest in a sturdy device that can stand up to the test of time. Not only do you want to use a machine from a trusted company, but it also helps to look for models crafted from fiberglass or carbon as opposed to ABS plastic.

Best Drones Under $400: Our Picks

1. Outlaw SE


One of the best drones under $400, the Outlaw SE offers a fantastic GPS with a return-to-home feature to ensure the device never gets lost. On top of that, there is a follow-me mode, as well as a high-resolution camera and 110-degree panoramic field of view. It also has a flight time of 20-minutes.

What we Like:

  • Great GPS capabilities
  • Good battery life
  • Panoramic video camera
  • Useful for both new and experienced fliers
  • 600 foot range

What We Don’t Like:

  • Lack of propeller guards
  • Needs recalibration with every battery recharge

>> Learn More <<

2. Holy Stone HS720


The Holy Stone HS720 is the complete package for an affordable drone. It not only has a range of 1600 meters, but it also comes with 1080p capabilities, video live streaming, and a fantastic GPS system complete with follow me mode and custom flight path. A quick drawing on the screen will bring it back in real-time.

What we Like:

  • Easy to take on trips
  • Simple controls
  • Return home mode
  • 2k camera at an affordable price
  • Follow me mode and custom flight path
  • 5GHz live video transmission

What We Don’t Like:

  • Takes a while to charge

>> Learn More <<

3. Altair 818 Hornet


A great recreational option, the Altair 818 Hornet is a solid choice for any new fliers. The machine has simple, intuitive controls along with headless mode, altitude hold mode, multiple speed settings, as well as one touch take-off and landing. It has a 15-minute flight time and can be controlled from your smartphone as well.

What we Like:

  • Excellent stability
  • Headless mode
  • 6-axis gyro increases stability
  • 15-minutes of flight time per battery
  • 720p camera
  • Extended flight range

What We Don’t Like:

  • Can go off course in heavy winds

>> Learn More <<

Useful Tips and Resources

Flying a drone is not as easy as it first seems. If you want tips on how to get started, this guide covers all of the bases.

The tops in this video then expand on that article by showing a few more advanced maneuvers.

Final Words

Drones are great fun, especially when they don’t cost an arm and a leg. While the devices were expensive when they first came on the market, they have gotten much more affordable over time.

Every drone in the above guide offers great value for the price. All of them will give you excellent shots, and they each come with wonderful features. Picking out a cheap drone is not easy in a crowded market, but the three above models are truly special.

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