Today, we’re zeroing in on the lightweight champions of the drone world – those tipping the scales at under 250 grams.
Why 250 grams?
It’s the magic weight that keeps the FAA at bay, freeing you from certain regulations and paperwork.
With a hefty dose of research, hands-on testing, and a few cups of strong coffee, I’ve crafted the ultimate list of the best drones under 250 grams for 2023.
But wait, there’s more! I’ve also created a guide to help you make an informed choice when buying your sub 250 g drone.
Ready to take off on this adventure with me? Let’s get airborne!
In a Hurry? Here is My List of the 7 Best Drones Under 250 grams
|Drone||Price||Flight Time||Camera||Range (km/miles)||Special Features||Weight|
|DJI Mini 3 Pro||34 minutes||4K/60 fps Video||Up to 10 km/6.2 miles||GPS, GLONASS, Obstacle avoidance, Follow Me Mode||249 grams|
|DJI Mini 2 SE||31 minutes||4K camera||Up to 10 km/6.2 miles||GPS, GLONASS, Intelligent flight modes, DJI’s Fly app||249 grams|
|DEERC D20||10 minutes||720P HD camera||40-50 meters/0.02-0.03 miles||Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, 3D Flip||240 grams|
|Holy Stone HS110D||10 minutes||1080P HD camera||100 meters/0.062 miles||Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, 3D Flip||145 grams|
|Autel Robotics EVO Nano Plus||28 minutes||4K RYYB Lei-ca Camera with Sony Sensor||Up to 4 km/2.5 miles||3 Directions Obstacle Sensing, 1/1.28″ CMOS sensor and 50MP lens, 3-Way 360° Obstacle Avoidance||249 grams|
|Holy Stone HS710||22 minutes||4K camera||1000 meters/0.62 miles||GPS, Follow Me, Waypoint Flight, Tap Fly, Point of Interest||240 grams|
|Potensic ATOM SE||2×31 minutes||4K EIS Camera with Sony Sensor||Up to 4 km/2.5 miles||Sony 4K 30 FPS Video, Smooth shooting technology, GPS, Wind resistance scale 5, Follow Me, Waypoint||249 grams|
Test and Reviews: Top Drones That Weigh Less Than 250 Grams
Let’s dive into the world of drones that weigh less than 250 grams. As a seasoned drone pilot and professional photographer, I’ve had the pleasure of testing out some of the best drones in this category. Let’s take a look at my top picks for 2023.
DJI Mini 3 Pro: Best Pro Drone Under 250 g
- Remarkable flying experience with easy handling
- Lightweight design with an advanced camera system for 4K videos and 48MP photos.
- Tri-directional obstacle-sensing feature for added safety.
- Ideal for both beginners and experienced users seeking a high-quality drone.
- Flight Time: Up to 34 minutes
- Video: 4K
- Weight: Less than 249 g
- Range: 10 kilometers
- Obstacle Sensing: Tri-directional
- Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
Flying the DJI Mini 3 Pro is always a remarkable experience. It is easy to handle in the air and is quite forgiving of my mistakes.
Its lightweight design made it easy to carry around and set up.
The advanced camera system shoots 4K videos and 48MP photos, which is good enough for almost any non-commercial activity.
The tri-directional obstacle-sensing feature adds an extra layer of safety, making me feel more confident while flying the drone. Overall, it’s a fantastic drone for both beginners and experienced users.
The Mini 3 Pro is a significant improvement over its predecessors, with better flight time and more advanced features.
Some users have reported issues with the DJI app, but in my experience, it’s been smooth sailing.
How does the Mini 3 Pro compare to the Autel Robotics EVO which is also on our list?
The DJI Mini 3 Pro and Autel Robotics EVO Nano Plus, while both weighing 249 grams, have some notable differences.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro offers a longer range of up to 10 km and comes with DJI’s Fly app, which includes a variety of intelligent flight modes.
On the other hand, the Autel Robotics EVO Nano Plus has a high-end camera with a Sony sensor and advanced features like 3-way 360° obstacle avoidance. However, these additional features come at a higher price point compared to the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
- Its lightweight and compact design makes it easy to carry.
- Packs a lot of features into a small drone. Advanced features like Follow Me Mode and Obstacle Avoidance
- Extended flight time of up to 34 minutes allows for more exploration and capturing.
- FocusTrack is not available while recording in certain video modes.
DJI Mini 2 SE: Best Value
- Easy to fly with automatic takeoff and landing feature.
- Decent camera quality with 2.7K video and 12MP photos.
- A solid choice for beginners or those seeking a portable, easy-to-use drone.
- Offers good value for its price.
- Flight Time: 31 min
- Video: 1080p, 2.7K.
- Weight: under 249 grams
- Range: 10km
- Wind Resistance: Winds up to 38 kph.
The DJI Mini 2 SE is very easy to fly, much thanks to its automatic takeoff and landing feature. The camera quality is decent, with 2.7K video and 12MP photos. It’s not quite as advanced as the Mini 3 Pro, but for the price, it’s a solid choice.
However, I did notice that the video capture resolution was a bit lower than some other drones under 249 grams, but it is still quite good.
Overall, it’s a great drone for beginners and those looking for a portable, easy-to-use option.
- Lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around.
- Good flight time
- Long transmission range
- Video capture resolution is lower compared to the pricier 249gram drones.
- Beginner-friendly, which might limit advanced controls for experienced users.
DEERC D20: Best Budget Choice
- Fast and responsive, handles light breezes well.
- Comes with two batteries and two charge cables for quick turnaround.
- Great for beginners or those seeking a small, fast drone.
- Budget-friendly without compromising on performance.
- Flight Time: 10 min
- Video: 720p
- Weight: 69 Grams
- Range 40-50 meters
Flying the DEERC D20 Mini Drone was a unique experience. The drone is surprisingly fast and responsive for its size. It was able to handle a light breeze quite well.
The drone comes with two batteries and two charge cables, which means you can get back to flying quicker.
However, I did experience some issues with the app used to view the pictures and videos. It crashed and required a specific order to get it to work.
Despite these issues, I was impressed with the drone’s performance and durability. It survived a couple of crashes with only minor scratches. Overall, it’s a great little drone for beginners or those looking for a small, fast drone.
- Smart & advanced functions like voice control, gestures selfie, and intelligent follow guidance.
- Capable of performing stunts like 360° flip and flight course drawing.
- Delicate & safe design with emergency stop and low power alarm functions.
- The drone app used for viewing pictures/videos crashes sometimes.
- Can sometimes lose calibration while using headless mode.
- Batteries don’t last very long.
Holy Stone HS110D: Runner Up, Best Budget Drone Under 250g
- Versatile drone with a wide-angle camera for decent-quality photos and videos.
- Struggles a bit in windy conditions due to lightweight construction.
- Great for both beginners and experienced pilots.
- Offers a fun and enjoyable flying experience.
- Flight Time: 10 min
- Video: 1080p
- Weight: 145 g
- Range: 100 m
The Holy Stone HS110D is a versatile drone that’s great for beginners and experienced pilots alike. It has a wide-angle camera that captures decent-quality photos and videos.
The altitude hold and headless mode features make it easy to fly, even for beginners.
However, some users have reported issues with the drone’s durability, so handle with care.
I also did notice that the drone struggled a bit in windy conditions due to its lightweight construction.
Overall, it was a fun and enjoyable experience flying the Holy Stone HS110D drone.
- Multiple control options, including Voice Control, Gestures Control, Trajectory Flight, and Gravity Sensor Control.
- 2 modular batteries, supporting a 20-minute flight
- Not GPS enabled, so it can’t perform functions like follow me or return home, custom waypoints, etc.
- The video/image quality, while decent, is not as high as some might expect.
- Lghtweight and made of plastic, making it susceptible to wind gusts and damage from hard crashes.
Autel Robotics EVO: Runner Up, Best Pro Drone Under 250 Grams
- Professional-grade drone packed with advanced features.
- High-quality camera that captures stunning 4K video and 20MP photos.
- Good obstacle avoidance for safe flying.
- Ideal for professional drone pilots who need advanced features and can afford a higher price point.
- Flight time: 28 minutes
- Video: 4K RYYB Lei-ca Camera
- Weight: 249g
- Range: 10KM (6.2 miles)
- 3 Directions Obstacle Sensing
The Autel Robotics EVO is a professional-grade drone that’s packed with advanced features. It has a high-quality camera that captures stunning 4K video and 20MP photos.
However, it’s a bit pricier than some of the other drones on this list.
Luckily it comes with good obstacle avoidance, so you will feel safe flying it.
- Lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around.
- The 4K camera and 50MP lens shoots high-quality images and videos.
- Long flight time of 28 minutes
- Quite expensive compared to other models on the market.
- May require some technical knowledge to operate effectively.
- Some users may find the drone’s features overwhelming.
Holy Stone HS710: Great Value
- High-quality and affordable drone with an intuitive and responsive controller.
- 4K camera for good shots and GPS functions for easier flying.
- Battery life could be improved.
- Great for anyone looking for a high-quality and affordable drone.
- Flight Time: 22 min
- Video: 4K
- Weight: 240 Grams
- Range: 1000 m
I had the chance to test-fly the HS710, this is what I found. The controller is intuitive and responsive, and the drone responded well to my commands.
The 4K camera captured some good shots, and the GPS functions added a level of automation that made flying easier.
However, I did notice that the battery life could be improved. Overall, it was a great experience and I would recommend this drone to anyone looking for a high-quality and affordable drone.
- Equipped with a 4K camera, providing high-quality images and videos.
- It has multiple GPS functions such as Follow Me, Waypoint Flight, Tap Fly, and Point of Interest, enabling automatic flight.
- Easy to fly, with features like Altitude Hold, Smart Return to Home, and Emergency Stop.
- Some users reported that the image quality doesn’t seem to be as high as expected.
- The battery life could be longer, especially considering the drone’s lightweight.
- The setup process can take some time and patience.
Potensic ATOM SE: Runner Up Best Value Drone Under 250g
- Compact and lightweight drone, perfect for travel.
- Decent camera that captures 4K video and 12MP photos.
- Impressive flight time with 2 batteries included.
- Ideal for frequent travelers wanting to capture high-quality aerial footage.
- Flight Time: 31 minutes
- Video: 4K EIS Camera, Sony Sensor
- Weight: Less than 249g
- Range: 4km
- Max Speed: Up to 16m/s in Sport Mode
- Wind Resistance: Level-5
Last but not least, we have the Potensic ATOM SE. This drone is compact and lightweight, making it perfect for travel. It has a decent camera that captures 4K video and 12MP photos. The drone’s foldable design and easy-to-use controls make it a convenient choice.
The flight time is impressive, and you get 2 batteries so you can keep flying for a good while.
The DJI Mini 2 SE and Potensic ATOM SE, both under 250 grams, offer different strengths.
The DJI Mini 2 SE features a 4K camera and a flight time of up to 31 minutes, with a range of up to 10 km. It also comes with DJI’s Fly app, which includes a variety of intelligent flight modes.
The Potensic ATOM SE, on the other hand, boasts a longer flight time of 62 minutes with the two batteries included but has a shorter control range of up to 4 km
- Lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry around.
- Long flight time with two batteries included.
- High-quality camera with Sony sensor for clear and stable images.
- Strong wind resistance, ensuring stable flight even in windy conditions.
- GPS Auto Return feature for safety.
- Wi-Fi connectivity might not be as reliable as other connection types.
- The maximum speed might be too fast for beginners.
Why Choose Drones Under 250 Grams?
As a professional photographer and certified drone pilot, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with drones of all shapes and sizes. But let me tell you, there’s something special about those that weigh under 250 grams.
The Magic Number: 250 Grams
Why 250 grams, you ask? Well, it’s not just a random number. It’s the magic weight set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Drones that weigh 250 grams or more have to be registered with the FAA.
That means paperwork, fees, and, let’s be honest, a bit of a headache.
But if your drone weighs in at 249 grams, you can skip all that. It’s like being in a VIP club where the entrance fee is…less weight.
No Remote ID, No Problem
One of the significant advantages of drones under 250 grams is that they don’t need to be Remote ID compliant.
But what does that mean?
Remote ID is a system that provides identification and location information about drones in flight, which can be received by other parties. According to the FAA, it’s crucial for integrating drones into the National Airspace System safely and securely.
However, the FAA’s final rule on Remote ID, which came into effect in April 2021, requires most drones operating in U.S. airspace to have Remote ID capability.
This includes broadcasting information about the drone and its control station or take-off location.
But here’s the kicker: drones weighing 249 grams or less are exempt from this rule.
This exemption is particularly relevant for drones from DJI, a leading manufacturer in the drone industry. DJI drones, like the DJI Mini 2 and 3, weigh in at exactly 249 grams, skirting just under the FAA’s weight limit.
This strategic weight allows these drones to offer advanced features typically found in heavier drones, without the need for Remote ID compliance.
So, when you choose a drone under 250 grams, you’re not just choosing a lightweight, portable device. You’re choosing a drone that offers greater freedom and flexibility, without the regulatory hoops.
Now, let’s talk about safety. Smaller drones are generally safer to fly, especially for beginners.
They’re less likely to cause damage or injury if something goes wrong. Plus, their small size makes them more portable and convenient to carry around.
Imagine being able to take your drone with you wherever you go, ready to capture stunning aerial footage at a moment’s notice.
Maximum Capability, Minimum Regulation
For those of you looking to get the maximum amount of capability in your drone while still avoiding regulations, a drone that weighs 249 grams is your best bet. You get all the benefits of a high-performance drone – camera quality, flight time, range – without the regulatory headaches.
It’s like having your cake and eating it too.
Key Factors: What to Look for In a Drone Under 250 Grams
I’ve learned that choosing the right drone is a bit like picking out the perfect pair of shoes. It’s not just about the size (or weight, in this case); it’s about the fit, the features, and how it suits your needs.
So, let’s dive into the key factors you should consider when buying a drone under 250 grams.
Camera Quality: Say Cheese
First up, let’s talk about camera quality. In the world of drones under 250 grams, you can expect everything from basic cameras to high-definition wonders.
But here’s the thing: a good camera is about more than just megapixels. It’s about color accuracy, low-light performance, and stability.
It’s about how the camera handles motion and whether it can keep your shots sharp even when you’re zipping around at high speeds.
So, when you’re shopping for a drone, don’t just look at the camera specs. Look at sample footage, read reviews, and consider how you plan to use your drone.
Because at the end of the day, the best camera is the one that lets you capture your world in all its glory.
Special Features: More Than Just a Pretty Flyer
Next, let’s chat about special features. Some drones come with a ‘Follow Me’ mode, which is like having your very own flying paparazzo.
Others offer time-lapse capabilities, perfect for capturing those breathtaking sunsets. And let’s not forget about obstacle avoidance – a feature that’s saved my drone from a nasty collision more times than I care to admit.
Flight Time: The Long Haul
Now, onto flight time. In the realm of sub-250-gram drones, you can expect anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes of flight time.
But remember, just like with electric cars, your mileage may vary depending on how you fly.
Pushing your drone to its speed limits or battling strong winds can drain your battery faster.
Range: Go the Distance
Range is another important factor. Most drones under 250 grams offer a range of around 500 meters to 4 kilometers. But remember, just because your drone can fly far doesn’t mean it should.
Always keep your drone within your line of sight and follow local drone regulations.
The Price is Right
Finally, let’s talk about price. Drones can range from the price of a dinner for two all the way up to a month’s rent.
My advice? Beginners and casual users should start with a more affordable drone. Once you’ve got the hang of flying and know what features you want, then consider splurging on a more expensive model.
Keep these factors in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect drone under 250 grams.
Tips for Flying Drones Under 250g
Flying a drone that weighs under 250 grams can be a bit different from handling their heavier counterparts. These lightweight drones are more susceptible to wind and may not have the same range or battery life.
In my years of flying drones as a licensed drone pilot, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way.
- Watch the Wind: Lightweight drones can be easily tossed around by the wind. So, always check the weather before you fly. If it’s too windy, it might be best to save your flight for another day.
- Start Slow: Don’t rush into complex maneuvers or high-speed flights. Start slow, get a feel for how your drone responds, and gradually push its limits as you gain confidence.
- Keep it in Sight: Always keep your drone within your line of sight. Not only is this a good practice for safety, but it’s also a requirement in many places.
- Use Beginner Mode: Many drones come with a beginner mode that limits speed and range. This can be a great way to get a feel for your drone without the risk of losing control.
- Respect Privacy: Just because your drone can fly anywhere doesn’t mean it should. Respect people’s privacy and avoid flying over private property without permission.
- Stay Charged: Keep an eye on your drone’s battery level. The last thing you want is for your drone to run out of juice mid-flight.
Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you fly, the better you’ll get. So, get out there, have fun, and happy flying!
Q: What makes a drone under 250 grams FAA-friendly?
A: Drones weighing under 250 grams do not need to be registered with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). This makes them more convenient for many users, as there are fewer regulations and restrictions to comply with when flying them.
Q: How does the Mavic Mini compare to DJI Mini SE as a beginner drone under 250 grams?
A: Both the Mavic Mini and the DJI Mini SE are excellent choices for beginner drones under 250 grams.
They offer similar performance, features, and flight times. The DJI Mini SE is often considered slightly more beginner-friendly due to its lower price point and simplified controller design.
Q: What are the benefits of a GPS drone in the best beginner drone under 250g category?
A: A GPS drone in this weight class offers several benefits, such as better flight stability, the ability to return to its takeoff point if the connection is lost, and more accurate hovering.
These features make it much easier for beginners to learn how to fly a drone safely and confidently.
Q: Which is the best beginner camera drone under 250 grams with a GPS system?
A: Currently, the DJI Mini 2 SE is one of the best beginner camera drones under 250 grams with a GPS system.
Its GPS-enabled features, like the ability to return to the takeoff point and to hover accurately, make it an excellent choice for beginners seeking a drone with enhanced flight stability and safety features.
Q: How does the Holy Stone drone compare to other small drones under 250 grams?
A: Holy Stone offers several small drones that weigh less than 250 grams.
While they may not have the advanced features of more expensive drones like DJI, many Holy Stone models are well-suited for beginners due to their lower price points, ease of use, and durable designs.
Q: Why do some drone enthusiasts prefer drones that do not need to be registered?
A: Many drone enthusiasts prefer drones that do not need to be registered because it simplifies the process of owning and operating a drone.
Drones under 250 grams are exempt from registration, meaning there are fewer regulatory hurdles and costs involved, and less concern about having to comply with stringent FAA rules.
Q: How does the range of a drone that weigh 249 grams compare to larger drones?
A: The smaller drones often have a shorter range compared to larger, more advanced drones.
However, many models still offer a decent flight range suitable for recreational use and aerial photography. For example, the DJI Mini 2 has a maximum flight range of up to 10km, which is impressive for a drone in this weight class.
Final Thoughts on the Best Drones Under 250 Grams in 2023
We’ve taken a deep dive into the world of drones under 250 grams, exploring the ins and outs of these lightweight wonders.
We’ve looked at why choosing a drone under 250 grams can be a smart move, especially if you’re keen to avoid the FAA’s registration requirements and the need for Remote ID compliance.
I’ve shared my personal experiences and insights from testing some of the top drones under 250 grams in 2023.
Whether it’s the DJI Mini 3 Pro with its impressive camera and flight time, the Holy Stone HS710 with its beginner-friendly features, or the Potensic ATOM SE with its long flight time and high-quality camera, there’s a drone out there for everyone.
So, whether you’re a seasoned drone pilot looking for a lightweight addition to your fleet, or a beginner keen to dip your toes into the world of drone flying without the regulatory hassle, I hope this guide has been helpful. Remember, the sky’s the limit! Happy flying!
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