Drones are becoming more popular in the recent years. Some use it just as a toy, some for hobby (drone racing), and some for aerial photography. Those are just the most popular uses of drones nowadays. Some more unconventional uses are for surveillance, military, and even agricultural inspection.
Because drones look pretty cool, you may think that they’re also pretty expensive. That is actually true for most drones but believe it or not, there are actually drones that are surprisingly affordable.
So, in this post, we reviewed the five best cheap drones under $100. The list starts with our top pick – the Force1 U818A Quadcopter.
Top 5 Best Cheap Drones Under $100
1. Remote Control Drone with Camera – U818A Discovery HD Camera Drone Long Range Flying Drones for Adults or Kids
The Force1 U818A is a quadcopter with 720p HD camera. It is great for both adults and kids.
Force1 U818A is easy to fly drone that’s also capable in executing stunts with just one push of a button. There is also a 2-speed switch so you can easily switch from slow to high speed. It also has a Headless mode feature so it can independently orient itself to your location. With one button, you can also make it return to you no matter where it has flown with its Return to Home function. Its 6-axis gyro enables it to fly smoothly.
As mentioned, it is equipped with a 720p HD camera. It can take and record videos at 30 frames per second. It also comes with a 4GB microSD to store all your photos and videos. You may also transfer those photos and videos through the data port and cable.
It is powered by 3.7V 500mAh Li-Po battery and even comes with a spare one. Typically, it has the flight time of 18 minutes. It is also equipped with LED lights that will flash when your battery is already low. In addition to the package is a 2200mAh power bank, and of course, its battery charger.
Included in the package are four extra propellers, the 2.4Ghz transmitter, a USB card reader, and a user manual.
Easy to fly, with Headless Mode and Return to Home functions
Equipped with a 720p HD camera
Comes with microSD card to store your photos and videos
18 minutes flight time
Does not have other basic features for beginners such as altitude hold and auto take-off/landing
2. Holy Stone HS200 FPV RC Drone with HD WiFi Camera Live Feed 2.4GHz 4CH 6-Axis Gyro Quadcopter with Altitude Hold, Gravity Sensor and Headless Mode RTF Helicopter
The Holy Stone HS200 is another budget-friendly and beginner-friendly quadcopter. It has the basic features that you would need if you are a new flyer. Its features include Headless Mode that takes the position/direction of the flyer, One-Key Return Home so you can easily have it back in case you lose control, and the Altitude Hold to keep its height at the steady and you would just have to mind the direction that you want your drone to take.
Holy Stone HS200 is also equipped with a 720p HD camera with FPV (first person view) feature. With this feature, you can see what your camera sees through your smartphone. Yes, you can connect this drone to your smartphone. Not just for the FPV feature but also to navigate your drone. You can also access all other features through your smartphone.
It has the flight time of 7-9 minutes while charging the battery takes 60 minutes. It is powered by a 3.7V 650mAh Li-Po battery but you need to buy a spare if you want to cut back your waiting time.
Its controller lets you fly the drone around 50-100 meters away. It also comes with a phone holder should you want to use the FPV function anytime. It also has an extra set of propellers in case you break the first set.
With headless mode, one-key return home, and altitude hold
May be connected to your smartphone
Short flight time
Camera is not really HD and it lags when using the FPV feature
3. Holy Stone HS200D FPV RC Drone with 720P Camera 120°FOV Live Video WiFi Quadcopter for Beginners and Kids RTF RC Helicopter with Altitude Hold 3D Flips Color Black
The Holy Stone HS200D is said to be the upgraded version of the Holy Stone HS200. In terms of design, it gives the impression of being aerodynamic. You will be able to see the smooth curve of the body that negates the air drag and maximizes speed. It is also equipped with landing legs so the impact won’t directly affect the body of the drone and the camera. You can also choose between two available colors – black and red.
Holy Stone HS200D boasts of an impressive 2MP 720p HD camera. It is also adjustable but adjusting can only be done manually and cannot be done remotely. It promises a more reliable FPV mode with its upgrade wifi signal that produces smoother live video feed even at great distance.
When it comes to flight performance, the HS200D can do 360-degree flips. It is also equipped with the Headless Mode and Altitude Hold that will surely make drone flying easy and enjoyable for beginners. In addition, you can also easily switch among three speed modes. You can start off with the lowest speed setting especially if you are just starting with drone flying. Then you can adjust the speed as you get the grasp of the controls.
It also has a built-in 6-axis gyro stabilization system to ensure smooth flight experience. You can also choose among the three-ways to fly the HS200D – Remote Controller, Virtual Controls, and Gravity Sensor.
Easy to fly with 3 speed modes
Equipped with basic features for beginners such as Headless Mode and Altitude Hold
Enhanced wifi signals
Upgraded design with landing legs
Still average camera quality
4. Quadcopter Drone with Camera Live Video, Drones FPV HD WiFi Camera with Remote Control
QCopter Quadcopter Drone is powered by a 3.7V 1100mAh battery that boasts of 15 minutes flight time. Even better, the package provides a spare battery for the drone. All in all, you can have 30 minutes flight time with this QCopter Drone.
It is also equipped with a 720p camera with wifi FPV feature. With this feature, you can take photos and videos directly to your smartphones. You can also enjoy the view that your camera is seeing with this FPV feature.
It also features Quad Altitude Hovering for a stable flight, a 360-Eversion feature for flips, and RTF function to easily fly the drone.
This drone is also designed with landing legs for impact protection, and LED lights for night illumination so you would not lose your drone in the dark.
It is particularly packaged for the beginners as it already comes with a crash kit so you don’t have to worry about having to look for replacement parts. The crash kit contains extra drone gear mounts/shafts, snap-on motors, propeller, even camera repair and replacement parts.
Up to 15 minutes flight time, with extra battery to extend fly time
720p camera comes with wifi FPV feature
With Altitude Hovering and RTF functions
Designed with landing legs and LED lights
Comes with a crash kit
Does not have one-key take-off/landing and return to home feature
5. SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone with 720P HD Camera
Snaptain S5C is another beginner-friendly quadcopter. It comes with the basic features such as one-button take-off/landing, return to home, headless mode, and the 360-degree flips and rolls. It also has the Altitude Hold function and Gravity control. These features make the drone practically easy to fly even for new drone flyers.
The stylish Snaptain S5C comes in black coating with blue coloring around its hull body frame. It is made of ABS plastic material that makes it extra durable so you would not have to worry too much about crashes or accidents. The blue coloring is also LED lights for virtual assist positioning. These lights also prevent the drone from getting lost in the dark.
Snaptain S5C comes with a built-in 720p HD camera that is said to deliver high-quality images. You can also connect your drone to your smartphone through the wifi so you can maximize its FPV function.
It has the flight time of nine minutes, which is slightly above the average. It is also packaged with a spare battery, an extra set of propellers, a remote controller, and a USB charger.
The drones we listed here all seem to be pretty much similar. You might think that all drones are just like them but such is not the case. There are actually many different types and categories of drones. So, to avoid making this post way too long, we will just discuss one category and the types of drones belonging to the said category.
In particular, we will focus on the types of drones based on their ability. We have beginner, trick drones, racing drones, photography drones, GPS drones, and delivery drones.
Beginner drones are basically those that are packaged in such a way that you may already fly them once you take them out of the box and put in the battery. You don’t need to set-up anything and their flights are easily stable.
Trick drones are small, fast, lightweight, and maneuverable. They are for more experienced flyers that have fun when they can do various exhibitions with their drones.
Racing drones are almost similar with trick drones that are small and lightweight. However, they may not be as maneuverable but they are extra fast. FPV is also an important feature so the pilot knows where the drone is going.
Photography drones are equipped with either detachable or built-in camera. They also have features (such as Auto Hover) that will enable you to take photos and videos better. And of course, they have the capability to be connected to smartphones.
GPS drones are less popular since they are not really intended for hobbyists. Rather, they are typically use in the military, construction, and agriculture. These drones can fly further from its transmitter and for longer times.
Delivery drones are perhaps the least popular type yet but they are becoming more well-known in companies. They are particularly built to carry some weight as they are used to transport various products.
How to choose the right drone?
With the continuously developing technology, more and more types of drones are being made available in the market. Every year, or almost every month, another drone is being added to your options.
So here are some tips to help you choose the right drone for you, according to Drone and Quadcopter. Starting from choosing the cheap one, maybe for your first drone, to the succeeding drones that you may want in the latter months or years.
Choose a drone within your skill level.
There are drones designed to be hard to fly, and there are drones that are practically beginner-friendly. Some are made to be suitable for children while some are built for more experienced flyers.
If you really want to have fun and enjoy drone-flying, you must first determine and admit your skill in flying a drone. You can’t immediately buy those drones for professionals and expect to learn flying right away. You’re just most likely to damage the drone, your surroundings, or even hurt yourself.
Drones for beginners are usually quite heavier but sturdy, and with safety features. They are also easier to fly, and usually more affordable.
Choose a drone that does what you want.
A drone may be able to do many things. However, it’ll be hard to find one that will be able to do just about everything you want it to. So, to narrow down your choices, next thing you want to determine is what you want to do with your drone.
There are drones that you can fly indoors, while there are others that fly better outside. Some can easily perform flips and tricks, while others have camera that will allow you to take photos and videos. Some can fly through farther and wider distances while some can fly just a few feet from you.
Make sure that you’ll select the drone that will best deliver what you want to do so as to have a great drone flying experience.
Select only the features you need.
As you determine what you want to do with your drone, you can also determine the features you need.
If you want to try indoor drone flying, you may immediately want to eliminate those models that don’t come with propellers. If you want to use the drone for photography and/or videography, definitely you’d want one with camera; perhaps you’d also prefer those with FPV feature. If you want to fly your drone in long distances, then look for those GPS-enabled and with long battery life.
Choose a combination of quality and affordability.
Just like other devices, price is one important consideration as you purchase a drone. With many options to choose from, the most expensive one does not mean that it’s the best drone for you.
It’s always better to read the specifications of the drone you are eyeing to make sure that it can do what you want it to. Also, reading the reviews will help you know the drone better, straight from other customers and users. Specifications and reviews help you genuinely compare and balance the quality and price of the drone.
Safety Precautions on Drone Flying
From Tom’s Guide, here are some safety tips on drone flying:
Don’t fly above or near people or animals.
Know your drone. Before you fly your drone high up and far away, learn the controls first and get the grasp of its flight.
Always examine your drone before you fly. Make sure that your rotors or motors are not damaged or they could send your drone out of your control.
Fly cautiously and carefully. Make sure to land your drone before completely draining out its battery.
Be considerate. Some drones may be noisy and scary. Be wary of how the people think and feel about you flying a drone. If you decide to fly indoors, also consider your furniture, appliances, and even pets.
As you may have noticed, the drones we reviewed in this post are all beginner-friendly. It shouldn’t be a surprise since those who are just starting with drone flying as a new hobby would not really want to spend much.
Also, most are equipped with some pretty cool features that can make you easily show off to your friends even if you’re just a beginner. These drones also have propeller guards so you don’t easily damage your rotors.
Evidently, even at very affordable prices, you can buy a drone to fly that’s durable and feature-rich. We hope that you were able to choose the right one for you. So, fly safe!