Drones range in price from less than $100 to several thousand dollars, and the best drone for you isn't necessarily the most expensive one. The best drone for you depends on your experience level and how you plan to use it.

As the price goes up, drones become more powerful and capable of carrying extra hardware such as a stabilizing mount and action camera. But the real cost difference is in the brains of the drone — the flight controller and onboard processor — that make it more stable and maneuverable, and allow it to perform more functions in the air. For drones with built-in cameras, the cost will also increase with the quality of the camera.

Drones for beginners

At the entry level (ranging from around $50–$200), most drones are small and light, and sometimes maneuverable enough to fly safely indoors. Their size and basic technology make them difficult to control outside, especially when there's wind. Camera-included models will capture lower-quality images and video than more expensive drones. These are a great way to get your feet wet in the hobby and learn the basics of flying.

beginner drone

Intermediate drones

At the next level, ranging from around $300–$1,000, drones are bigger, heavier, and designed for easier, more stable outdoor flight. These drones either come with a quality onboard camera (720p video or better), or can be equipped with an external action camera. Use these drones to fly around a park, take a cool vacation video, or get a bird's-eye view of your house.

intermedia drone

Advanced drones

Spend upwards of $1,000 and, in addition to 4-rotor drones (quadcopters), you'll find drones with 6 or 8 rotors for added lift and more stability. Included cameras can take stunning photos and 1080p video or better. If a camera is not included, these drones can be equipped with an external action camera, plus a high-quality stabilizing mount for the smoothest picture quality possible.

advanced drone

Advanced flight controllers and GPS, along with feature-packed software and open-source programmability, allow you to control your drone in practically any way imaginable, including premapping flight paths for completely autonomous flights. For serious photographers, these drones unlock cinematic angles and scenes that until now you could achieve only with a charter plane or helicopter.