The Best DJI Spark Alternatives: Are the Cheaper Options Any Good?

Last updated: 1st May 2020
DJI Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini

Holy Stone HS700D

Holy Stone HS700D

Ruko F11 Pro

Ruko F11 Pro

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The DJI Spark is without a doubt one of the best personal drones to come on the market in the last few years.

However, if you need a drone for a specific purpose, you can go with some of the DJI Spark alternatives for as much as half the price.

Some drones are more compact and easy to use, or have even better cameras than the Spark. Drones like the DJI Spark are getting better and cheaper each day — but can they really compete with arguably the biggest name product in the mid-range budget? 

The Best Drones Like the DJI Spark

The DJI Spark alternatives currently available will rarely beat the top product in all fields, but most excel in their specific categories and provide a cheaper option that could do everything you need.

Certain aspects of drone technology became very easy and cheap to produce.

This lead to products that are much cheaper than the Spark, while having at least some of the same capabilities.

Others are closer in price but have features that surpass the capabilities of the leading brand — think Apple versus Samsung.

Let’s dive into the options at your disposal right now.

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The Mavic Mini has replaced the hugely popular Spark model and will become one of the most popular drones of all time.

DJI Mavic Mini
  • Flight Time: ~28 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~90 minutes
  • Range: 3000m / 9842ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 5.4GHz & 2.4Ghz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 3-axis gimbal 2K Camera with 12MP
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 2500m / 8200ft
  • Weight: 249g / 8.78oz
  • Working Temperature: 0°C ~ 40°C
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

The specs on the DJI Mavic Mini are nothing we haven’t seen before from DJI products, but never in this small of a size.

The full diagonal distance of the drone is just above 8 inches, with the base being even smaller. Generally, even a child could hold the Mavic Mini comfortably in their palm. Landing and takeoff from the palm are also the best way to operate it.

Other features follow the DJI standard. The drone is exceptionally easy to operate and has all of the autonomous features as its larger cousins.

The controller does give more range to your device and has that tactile feel. But, if you want to use the Mavic Mini with just your smartphone, that is possible as well. The DJI Fly app is one of the best drone apps available.

What most people will be interested in is the camera, and that is where this model shines. The 2K camera has a 3-axis gimbal and an 83° FOV angle. As the camera can swivel up to 90°, it will give you a wide range of filming options.

The CMOS chip may only have 1/2.3” (6.17mm by 4.55mm) but comes with 12MP effective pixels. This would make the DJI Mavic Mini one of the best smartphone cameras available, but also the one that flies.

Ability to autonomously follow your face, your friends, and any area you designate will allow you to get some genuinely cinematic shots with your drone.

Professional photographers will see the low ISO capability and low frame rate in 2K, but for most other users, there will be no issues. 

The DJI Mavic Mini can become a primary tool of many vloggers, YouTubers, and Instagramers. And, for any experienced drone pilot, they will be a lot of fun and a great experience to fly.

+ Pros

+ Amazing portability
+ Excellent autonomous options
+ Long battery
+ Excellent camera
+ Long range

- Cons

- Narrow field of view
- Low wind resistance

An incredibly strong drone offering at this price with 2K video and a long battery life.

Holy Stone HS700D
  • Flight Time: ~22 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~360 minutes
  • Range: 1000m / 3280ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 5GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 90°Adjustable 2K Camera with 12MP
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 800m / 2624ft
  • Weight: 520 g / 18.34 oz
  • Rated for outdoor use

Holy Stone refined its ‘700’ model and came up with a 700D that comes with an integrated camera. This camera has a pivot that is more advanced than the one coming in the original 700’s box.

The former model indeed allowed you to include a GoPro or similar sports cameras, but that would considerably surpass the price tag of the DJI Spark — a drone that is often compared with this model.

The HS700D has a GPS function that will stabilize the drone in place when you are not controlling it, allowing you to make subtle adjustments to the picture you want to take. The 13MP camera gives a clear view and a very detailed picture.

The drone can record video in 2K quality, and has follow me functionality to automatically follow the controller. But, the video is not as good as some other models — though you’re usually looking at a bump in price to reach 4K quality.

Aerial pictures are where this drone shines. Even beginner drone pilots will be able to take the drone hundreds of feet in the air and snap magnificent photos. Picture stabilization is very good and it is possible to review them on your phone instantly.

Once you take your perfect airborne picture or the twenty minutes of battery time are almost up, you can use the ‘go home’ feature to return the drone safely. It will land inside a 2ft radius of where it took off from.

+ Pros

+ GPS guidance
+ Picture stabilization
+ 22-minute battery life
+ Very maneuverable
+ 13MP camera

- Cons

- Fixed wings
- Bulky legs

Arguably the best drone around with these specs. A true competitor to the DJI Spark in this price bracket.

Ruko F11 Pro
  • Flight Time: ~28 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~210 minutes
  • Range: 1219m / 4000ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 5GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 90°Adjustable 4K Camera with 13MP
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 500m / 1640.4ft
  • Weight: 520 g / 18.34 oz
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

The Ruko F11, as well as the newer Pro version that we’ve featured here, is so good that many people argue it’s superior in all ways to the DJI Spark. It has almost identical features and the only thing instantly different is the design — and it’s a design that we love.

Unlike the Spark, the Ruko F11 Pro has harder edges and looks more aggressive, which some people will prefer.

When you look on the inside, the F11 has a couple of obvious advantages. With almost double the battery size, it gives a lot more flight time. Additionally, the 4K camera provides awesome picture quality.

The app that comes with the drone doesn’t have as good an overview as the one coming with the DJI models in our opinion, but it has all of the same features. You can order the drone to follow you, to track your movement, or to fly to a certain waypoint.

Using the GPS to fly your drone will allow you to make smooth videos even if your drone gets further away.

Flight assistance is very good, using a single button to take off and land.

Finally, there is the gesture command option, allowing you to take selfies and videos without touching the controller.

Pricewise, the F11 Pro offers incredible value — providing top tier quality for a lower-middle market price.

For anyone wanting all of the features of the DJI Spark but not really wanting want to burn a hole in their bank balance, we believe the Ruko F11 Pro is probably the best choice on the market.

+ Pros

+ Full GPS automation
+ Extreme controller range
+ 4K video
+ Excellent 28-minute flight time

- Cons

- Mediocre app

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4K video, reasonable flight time and a sub-$200 price, what’s not to love?

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le-idea IDEA20
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  • Flight Time: ~16 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~220 minutes
  • Range: 200m / 655ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 5GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 90°-axis gimble 4K Camera
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 200m / 655ft
  • Weight: 250 g / 8.8 oz
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

The DJI Spark is known for getting very nice aerial videos that can make you a star of your little social media bubble. It seems that the le-idea IDEA20 does that a bit better and is one of the best DJI Spark alternatives for around half the cost.

While you can fly the IDEA20 using a dedicated 5GHz WiFi controller, it also comes with an app. The drone is exceptionally easy to fly and behaves well even in slightly windy conditions.

But, the 4K camera in the front is what it is all about. It has a wide sensor and can take crisp videos with no lag whatsoever. It can also take good quality still photos.

If you want to take passing shots or to survey something than you can take the video footage as it is. For more detailed shots you will want to stabilize the video in an editor after shooting. Generally, the result can be a magnificent 4K video with a stable picture with no blur.

The drone has a GPS optical flow and several other autopilot features that will make your filming project much easier and your flying much more enjoyable.

However, when you’re packing this many features into a much cheaper drone than the Spark, you’re undoubtedly going to sacrifice something. In the IDEA20’s case this sacrifice is reliability — whilst many drone pilots get along with it just fine, some customers have reported issues with regards to defective functionality and lower than advertised flight time.

+ Pros

+ 4K video
+ Good wind resistance
+ Very responsive and easy to fly

- Cons

- Doesn't have a premium build quality
- Flimsy controller
- No native video stabilization
- Short range

A safe, easy-to-fly racing drone with a hugely immersive FPV flight experience.

Parrot Mambo FPV
  • Flight Time: ~10 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~45 minutes
  • Range: 100m / 330ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 5GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: FPV 1080p Camera
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 100m / 320ft
  • Weight: 62 g / 2.2 oz
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

Some drone pilots don’t care about making the perfect selfie or taking pictures and videos for their vlog. Some simply want a good flying experience with their drone, with as much fun as possible and the ability to record as a bonus.

The Parrot Mambo Fly offers just that, as it is an easy drone to fly and has additional options when you purchase the entire set. The entire drone is designed to carry attachments, making it very versatile.

On its own, the drone arguably flies better than the DJI Spark and has better options when hovering and changing altitude. The internal AI assists with turns and dives, preventing the drone of flying off against your will.

The whole set includes a dedicated remote control and a detachable FPV camera connected to goggles that will change your perspective to being exactly on the drone. With the goggles on, you can even race the drone around trees and tight spots.

Beginner drone pilots will need to keep most of the autopilot controls on. But, once you acclimate to wind, drag, and inertia, you can disengage these options and start flying like a pro, doing all kinds of tricks.

Finally, there is a possibility to detach the camera and attach a small nerf-like cannon. This will bind you to an on-ground view, but allow you to shoot from your drone.

+ Pros

+ Stabilization sensors
+ Swappable attachments
+ Good app
+ Very maneuverable
+ Immersive FPV goggles

- Cons

- Poor camera quality
- Some connection issues at longer ranges

This small and nimble quadcopter is a world of fun thanks to its highly sensitive flight controls.

Hubsan H501S X4
  • Flight Time: ~20 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~210 minutes
  • Range: 600m / 1970ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 2.4GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: Fixed 1080p camera
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 400m / 1310ft
  • Weight: 410 g / 14.46 oz
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

Most DJI Spark alternatives focus on obtaining a good balance of features and being easy to fly. The H501S is different.

Beginner drone pilots will find a somewhat steep learning curve even with the GPS hovering and automatic return home features. Flying is by no means hard, as this is still a personal drone, but this quadcopter will respond much more sensitively than some other models.

The benefit of this exchange is that the Hubsan is much more maneuverable than most other models. The long brushless blades offer quite a bit of lift and the drone can pick up a lot of speed.

Once you have the hang of how the drone is responding you will open a whole new world of flying. The quick turns and even some tricks can make for an awesome flying experience. And the battery will hold about 20 minutes, which is impressive for a drone of this size.

Most of the autopilot assistance can be disengaged and you can sail on wind and blades with complete freedom.

While the 1080p camera is nothing to write home about, it provides a good FPV experience on the screen and will allow you to see what the drone sees from around 500 meters of more than 1500 feet.

+ Pros

+ 20-minute flight time
+ Wide range
+ Very quick to turn and dive

- Cons

- Unreliable firmware updates
- The fixed camera can make it wobbly

This beginner-friendly quadcopter is great for all ability levels and comes with a spare battery.

Altair Aerial 818 Hornet
  • Flight Time: ~15 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~120 minutes
  • Range: 150m / 490ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 2.4GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 120° angle 720p camera
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 60m / 200ft
  • Weight: 520 g / 18.34 oz
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

From all of the DJI Spark alternatives, the Altair Aerial 818 Hornet is by far the easiest to fly. It has large stabilizing blades and a lot of AI assistance that will make your first drone piloting experience a breeze, even if it is windy.

The flight time on this drone is around 15 minutes but it comes with an additional battery to double the time of your fun. And there is no need for you to stop flying, as it takes only a single button to raise the drone off the ground to a flying height.

Pre-set functions will do all of the tricky parts of drone piloting and leave you just to move it where you want. It doesn’t have the hand-gesture features like the DJI Spark, but it has a dedicated button for takeoff and landing, and a GPS hover option that will always keep the drone in the same place.

Finally, there is a detachable 720p HD camera included in the set. With a smartphone, this will give you an FPV of where your drone is heading. But, if you have a VR set for your smartphone it can change to a real flying experience.

And, even if you hit something on the side, the blades will be protected with a plastic casing. This will leave you to simply let your drone land and give it another go.

This drone is not only suitable for novice pilots but children as well. The whole family can have as much fun with this drone as with the Spark, for just a fraction of the price.

However, you do sacrifice the premium build quality that the Spark and some other alternatives offer.

+ Pros

+ 2 x 15-minute batteries included
+ VR headset compatibility
+ Suitable for kids

- Cons

- Wide frame
- Noisy
- Not compact
- Cheap feel

Buyer’s Guide to DJI Spark Alternatives

To find out how to pick out the best DJI Spark alternative we first need to know what made this little drone such a popular device. What made the Spark special?

When searching for the perfect drone, we are often tempted to simply take what is the most popular. While that may not be a bad idea, we can get a lot more bang for our buck if we know exactly what type of drone pilot are we.

There are no wrong answers and it is okay to want a drone for an amateur movie project. Drones are made to be fun and if you get that from your flying you have made a good choice.

What Makes the DJI Spark So Good?

In a single word, it is versatility.

Spark is a portable drone, that is easy to fly and maneuver, and that makes good photos and videos. This wide appeal for those who don’t really know what to expect from a drone is what placed the Spark as the top personal drone.

But, if you are willing to do just a bit more research, you may find a better option for much cheaper. There are truly a lot of affordable drones that surpass the Spark in a specific category.

Generally, you should always focus on a reputable manufacturer and a tested product. As it is a flying contraption, ‘’having flaws’’ can often mean that the drone is completely inoperable. A single crash can sometimes scrap the whole copter.

Once you know the drone is good, you can focus on why you need it. If you are looking solely to have fun flying or to take pictures, you can get the same joy with products a fraction of the price from the DJI Spark. 

Why Might You Need an Alternative to the DJI Spark?

Every good buyer knows that they should never focus on the price, but rather the value of the product. This simple change in perspective will probably save you a lot of money, and provide you with a better flying experience.

You might still be new to the drone scene and don’t have any experience as a drone pilot. In that case, you will want to avoid expensive drones. Crashing five hundred dollars into the ocean or a cliff will burn a hole in your pocket and your desire to fly drones.

Going with something cheaper that has the same or better flying capacity will keep you relax, and even willing to share your drone with the rest of your family.

Business Purposes

Flying drones is an excellent hobby that can also be good for your health. Spending time outside and focusing your eyes is akin to bird watching and can be beneficial for both the body and the mind.

But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use a drone to start a business or to assist your existing business. There are a lot of options depending on the field, and even more affordable drones.

The obvious first contender is aerial photography. Not often can you climb 300 feet and get a smooth passing shot of a field, city, or landmark. And that is something easily done with a drone, even when there is no elevation whatsoever.

Additionally, making videos of weddings, birthdays, and other occasions can be much easier if you can simply set the drone to follow someone around and take videos and pictures.

Next, there is security. Drones can be equipped with all kinds of cameras, and you can supervise your whole property from the comfort of your home. In many cases, this is a cheaper and safer alternative than having a watchman on the ground.

Finally, a lot of farmers and ranchers use drones to supervise their crops or animals. By going up, you can easily see dry spots or patches in your land, without needing to inspect every part on foot.

What to Look for in a DJI Spark Alternative?

If you trust the manufacturer and know that the build of the drone is sound, you should be looking for your personal value.

In some cases, this will mean opting for a bulkier drone that has a better camera. In other cases, it will be a drone with fewer gestures and autonomous features but more speed and battery life.

The best way to find the best DJI Spark alternative is to focus on the feature that you will use the most. Find out where you fall on the list and explore your options.

If you plan on becoming a drone enthusiast and are willing to dedicate a little bit of time for research, there isn’t a chance that you will miss your perfect drone, and the perfect alternative for the leading brands and models.

DJI Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini

The Mavic Mini has replaced the hugely popular Spark model and will become one of the most popular drones of all time.

Holy Stone HS700D

Holy Stone HS700D

An incredibly strong drone offering at this price with 2K video and a long battery life.

Ruko F11 Pro

Ruko F11 Pro

Arguably the best drone around with these specs. A true competitor to the DJI Spark in this price bracket.