The best drones under $100 (but over 50) have found diverse applications, the most common being its use by beginners looking to learn how to operate a quadcopter. A good machine for such a role must be easy to fly and remain durable even after crashes.
Getting the best drone in the market can be quite tricky, especially when the low prices are comfortable. Thus, it is important that you first identify the features you expect in your drone. We will recommend that you get a drone that packs all the required functions for easy flying, including updated operating software and remote control, among others.
Who are these best drones under $100 meant for?
The primary targets of these drones are the beginners. Thus they make great choices for people just starting their journey into the drone world. As beginners, there is bound to be mistakes while learning, and these affordable models help you learn quite well without incurring huge expenses.
Apart from the beginners, these drones under $100 are also targeted at children. Gadgets for kids aren’t meant to be expensive; else it will be a wasteful investment. Unlike adults, children do not understand the best way the drones work. Thus they will end up breaking them in no time.
What these best drones under $100 offer?
As it is for every gadget out there, a buyer must set realistic expectations when buying a cheap drone (or other devices). If you set expectations that are too high, chances of being disappointed ultimately are high, and this may ruin your drone flying experience. Instead of the high standards, expect far less from the device and let it surprise you instead while providing you with so much excitement in the process. You may consider buying a spare drone also.
The remarkably fast rate of development currently obtainable in the drone industry means new inventions keep emerging almost every day, including affordable drones with impressive features. Inexpensive drones are now available more than ever, with the best budget drones available for less than $100.
In no time, the world will embrace this relatively novel and exciting technology, with everyone, including beginner and expert quads, owning a quadcopter. We understand how tricky it can be to get the best inexpensive drone that meets your needs without upsetting your budget. Thus, we have compiled a list of the best drones under $100 available in the current market.
The Best Drones Under $100 Comparison Table
2MP 720P HD
2MP 720P HD
2MP 720P HD
3.9 x 3.7 x 1.6 inches
12.6 x 12.6 x 3.3 inches
6.7 x 5.9 x 2.4 inches
11.8 x 11.8x 3 inches
12.6 x 12.6 x 2.6 inches
*Scroll right on mobile device to see every item
The Best Drones Under $100 Reviews
DJI Tello Quadcopter Drone
Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.7 x 1.6 inches
Camera: 5-MP records JPEG photos and 720p MP4 video
Control range: 100m
Flight time: 13min
Weight: 2.88 ounces
Tello Quadcopter Drone Review
In the bid to provide a simple toy drone that will be safe and simple for kids, the Tello was invented by Ryze Robotics in collaboration with DJI and Intel. The toy-style drone can be controlled via a phone app, and it is straightforward to use.
With a weight of about three ounces, and a width of about four inches (without the guard), the Tello can conveniently stay in flight for 13 minutes straight, while reaching a top speed of about 17 miles per hour.
Tello has a range of just over 300 feet, and despite its size, it produces stable and clear videos, courtesy of its dual antenna transmission. You can get a 720p HD quality video with 30 frames per second, and conveniently capture stills of up to five megapixels. Unfortunately, users can only save the recorded videos on the smartphone and not on a memory card. While you can access these clips almost instantly, it takes up all the space on your phone.
Tello also offers automatic takeoff and landing, and the inbuilt vision positioning system means it can land safely on your palm. The operating system was coded using Scratch. Thus you can write programs for certain functions.
Tello feels like a real beginners’ drone, and the Intel-powered chip present in the drone, combined with the excellent smartphone app, makes it a top choice for young fliers seeking to get an affordable drone to get started.
The weight of the Tello is one slight disadvantage – it reduces its ability to fly outdoors. Nevertheless, it is meant for indoor use or in a covered space.
- Excellent for starters, especially children
- Can be easily controlled via a smartphone
- Offers immediate access to the video
- Good for the money; and
- Customizable coding component
- Not suitable for expert flyers
- Too light and can be blown away in mild winds
- The videos do not save on the memory card, thus taking up the phone space
Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter Drone
Dimensions: 12.6 x 12.6 x 3.3 inches
Camera: 720P HD Camera
Control range: 50-100 Meters
Flight time: 7-9min
Weight: 4.9 ounces
Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter Drone Review
If you are looking for an outdoor budget drone that is ready-to-fly and cheap, then the Holy Stone Quadcopter is for you. With a 2 MP camera capable of shooting 720p HD quality video, the Holy Stone is relative, slightly heavier. Thus, it is suitable for outdoor flying.
There is an altitude hold function that allows you to take aerial shots by releasing the throttle. Once the throttle is released, the drone hovers in place and take the shot. As a beginner, the headless mode will help you to understand the capabilities of the drone better. Once you’ve gotten conversant with the features, you can do aerial tricks and flips with the drone.
The weight of the Holy Stone is about 14.1 ounces and a dimension of 12 x 12 inches. The range of the transmitter is 330 feet, with the ability to stay up to seven or ten minutes of in air at a go. Despite the weight, it is still in line with the FAA’s regulations, and you will not require a license. The drone has a slow rotation around the vertical axis, i.e., yawn, although you will still do some tricks conveniently with it. The resolution of the photos taken by the drone is not so bad. However, there is reduced stabilization during flight times.
The Holy Stone is an excellent beginner outdoor drone under $100, especially for people interested in learning how to fly drones and take videos before moving on to the bigger drones. Do not expect much from the videos captured by the Holy Stone.
- Excellent size and weight
- Suitable for outdoor use
- An inbuilt camera for learning video capturing
- The presence of an altitude hold function, one key return, and the headless mode
- Short flight time
- Poor video resolution
- Slow yaw for tricks and flips
EACCHINE E58 Quadcopter Drone
Dimensions: 6.7 x 5.9 x 2.4 inches
Camera: 2MP120° Wide-angle 720P HD
Control range: 80-100m
Flight time: 7-9min
Battery Type: 3.7V 500mAh Lipo
Charging Time: 60-70min
Weight: 3.36 ounces
EACCHINE E58 Quadcopter Drone Review
Here is an ultimate drone that can take aerial images and footages of professional quality. There is an inbuilt FPV function in the HD camera, with a 120-degree wide angle lens that can be adjusted to take excellent and crystal-clear aerial images from all angles. You can connect the FPV system to your phone via a WiFi real-time transmission, and access the drone’s view from your phone’s screen while sharing with family and friends.
EACCHINE Is quite portable, all thanks to its foldable and compact fuselage design. There is a spare drone arm for an immediate replacement of a damaged or broken arm. The ‘altitude hold’ feature improves the flight experience by allowing pilots to lock their location and height, while the drone hovers around to take a stabilized and clear footage of any location.
You can send the drone into flight with a single click, and make it land with another click. The body is protected from damages due to impact by the emergency landing gear feature. The special effects, courtesy of the 3D flip feature, is another impressive feature of the EACCHINE.
The headless mode is designed to align the remote and the front of the drone, thus making flying easier and faster. You may use the trimming feature to tilt adjustments while ensuring that the flight remains stable.
The EACCHINE also packs a real-time transmission and an easy-to-use headless mode, making it great for sharing footages and flight experiences and moments on the social media. Interestingly, you get all these exciting features with drone for just under $100.
- Quick setup for flight
- Real-time connectivity via WiFi
- Compact and portable design
- Impressive camera
- Restricted flights in winds
- Short flight time
DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone
Dimensions: 11.8 x 11.8 x 3 inches
Camera: 2 MP Camera 720P HD
Control range: 100m
Flight time: 8-9min
Charging time: 120min
Weight: 4.9 ounces
DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone Review
Besides being a compact drone, the MJX X400W boasts of a top build quality and sturdiness, courtesy of the flexible plastic body. The drone is kept safe from self-damage or damages to properties by the prop guards, and the red accents on the white body highlight the impressive exterior design of the drone.
Flight is smooth on this drone, with an impressive climb and turning rates that meet the demands of even expert fliers. You can count on the stability of the X400W when in windy conditions – the six-axis gyros do a good job maintaining hovering with lateral winds. You can access the FPV stream on your smartphone via a WiFi connection. With the dedicated app, you can activate the camera and record sharp videos and images. It is important to note that the HD 720p camera is primarily for delivering an FPV live stream, rather than shooting pictures and videos. You can also connect this drone with a 3D VR headset if you want to enjoy a 100% immersive FPV flying experience.
You get up to 9 minutes flying time from the inbuilt 3.7V 750 mAh battery, and you can replenish the juice with about 2 hours of charging. The extent of the battery time depends on the flight intensity. Thus, the battery will lose juice faster when you use the FPV function.
If you are interested in getting a hand on FPV flying, this drone comes as an affordable but excellent choice for beginners.
- Works with a VR headset
- Stable and seamless flight
- FPV video available in real-time
- Minimal lags in the FPV stream
- Absence of camera gimbal
- Short flying time
Holy Stone HS200 FPV RC Drone
Dimensions: 12.6 x 12.6 x 2.6 Inches
Camera: 2 MP Camera 720P HD
Control range: 120m
Flight time: up to 9min
Charging time: 90min
Weight: 3.81 ounces (FAA Registration NOT Required)
Holy Stone HS200 FPV RC Drone Review
Here is an affordable ready-to-fly drone meant for beginners. With the Holy Stone HS200, you have a 2MP camera and advanced features like return to home, one button takeoffs, and landings, and altitude hold, all packed in a single machine.
The included 3.7V 650 when fully charged, offers about 9 minutes of flying time, and you only need about an hour to refuel. If you wish to have the drone in action for an extended period, simply purchase additional batteries. With the controller, you have up to 120m of control range, but reduced to just 50m when you activate the FPV mode. Even with this, you can still conveniently take videos at reasonable distances.
You can stream and record videos and images with the 2 MP at a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. There is no screen on the controller. Thus, the FPV video feed is only accessible via your smartphone. You can also control the HS200 directly from the same smartphone.
There are four-speed modes on the Hs200. Thus, it is compatible with all levels of flying experience. Considering the excellent features and the affordable price of this drone, it is a bargain. The drone comes in an exquisite red body, which is further highlighted by the dark black propellers.
Are you about starting your FPV drone flying journey? Get yourself an HS200 and take decent aerial videos and photos seamlessly.
- Altitude hold and return home functions
- Four-speed levels
- Reduced flight time
- Extended battery charge time
- Rigid camera view
Top Factors And Features To Look Out For In The Best Drones Under $100
Directions Covered and Headless Mode
Almost all drones can turn or yawn. However, you need to check if your machine banks sideways and come with the third axis of flight, which is responsible for its upward and downward movement. A drone with such features can be used in learning the fundamentals of flying, including banking, pitching, and yawing.
Your mastery of these control modules will enable you to enjoy crash-free experiences with your drone, and navigate easily out of tight situations – like when your drone gets lost in the middle of a tree. Also, ensure that your potential cheap drone can cover all directions of the compass.
Headless mode is another prerequisite feature for your dream device. Also referred to as cheater mode, the headless mode allows you to direct the drone to see any direction it goes as forward. Thus, you do not have to bother about flipping it around and bringing it back to your location at the end of a flight. Once the headless mode has been activated, simply push the joystick in the corresponding direction you want your device to move towards.
Accessibility to spare parts
Before settling for any of the best drones under $100, ensure that the spare parts are easily accessible. You will definitely require an extra pair of propellers, other than the inbuilt pair, as well as essential tools to fix the spare when the inbuilt gets bad. You will also need sufficient protectors for your quadcopter – they come handy in protecting your drone from getting damaged, damaging properties, or injuring people during clumsy flights and landings. An extra pair of batteries is also a good buy, especially in instances where the drone is expected to serve longer than usual. The batteries of most drones under $100 are usually sold in six-pack sets, alongside a charger. With this set, you can get an average flight time of 5-10 minutes before recharging them or switching them with charged ones. It is important to note that the battery time depends on the blade protectors and the presence or absence of a camera.
Size and Weight of the Drone
The maximum distance your quadcopter can cover, and where it can be flown, are determined by its overall weight and size, i.e., the weight after all the attachments or payload have been added. The best drones under $100 usually weigh less than 0.55lbs. Thus, they can be flown in most open areas in the US, except in airports and buildings if you have no license.
Conversely, a drone weighing over 0.55lbs will need an aircraft identification number, in addition to getting registered with the FAA. However, having a license is not compulsory, once you adhere to all set flight rules.
Irrespective of the dimensions of your quadcopter, they must not go higher than 400ft above the ground. Likewise, you must always maintain a clear line-of-sight with the machine at all times. You are also expected to adequately inspect your device before each flight session, to ensure its readiness and airworthiness. This is necessary to prevent unnecessary flight accidents.
The software operating systems available in drones differ across brands. Thus, while in the market, you may find acronyms like OPTI, ATTI, and others – all of which indicates the flight mode within the machine. Although most of these modes offer the primary role of flight stabilization and assistance tool, it is important to understand each.
For example, OPTI has a built-in Optiflow Sensor (a downward facing sensor), which functions by picking out the patterns on the ground to ensure that the drone maintains a straight position. ATTI, conversely, works a bit differently. With the ATTI, the drone employs other techniques apart from the external sensors to keep the drone in the right orientation and altitude. Thus, the drone can hover in place, or drift slightly around with the wind serving as a push. You will also find a GPS in some drones, and they help the drone to maintain coordinated and precise flights and landings.
Must-Dos Before Flying Your Drone
- Go through the user guide and understand.
- Do a thorough check of the components of the drone before and after every flight. Watch out for damages or signs of damage.
- Always consult the FAA official mobile app for the latest updates about any requirements or restrictions about flying drones for your area (if any).
- Ensure that your drone doesn’t fly over power lines, structures, or people.
- Avoid flying your drone in heavy rain or wind – it may end up damaged by the strong wind gusts or the heavy downpour.
- Ensure that your drone is 100% charged before the flight. Note that most drones have a flight time of about 7 to 8 minutes max, so it is best to land your drone when the battery time is close to lapsing.
- Turn the camera on only when you have confirmed that the location is safe and legal for drones.
- Ensure that your transmitter controls are in neutral while the throttle is at zero.
- The transmitter must be on before activating the drone.
- After turning on the drone and the transmitter, place the drone on a flat surface and throttle up and down to pair with the controller. Complete the recalibration by pulling the controllers down and to the side simultaneously. This ensures that your drone doesn’t veer to the side when it eventually takes off.
- Ensure that no people or animals are along the path of your drone while in flight.
After an initial hype about the need for small drones for personal use, the devices are now cheaper and accessible more than ever. A small drone holds so many potentials, from impressive aerial photography to learning how to fly a drone.
Before releasing the regulations for personal and commercial drones, the FAA allowed the use of drones in a legal grey area of the United States. However, under the new rules, only drones of accepted weight are allowed to fly without a license. Drones considered overweight are required to obtain a license to operate them legally.
All drones weighing less than half a pound needs no license or registration – you can start flying them as soon as you unbox. Furthermore, you can use such drones for learning purposes, by starting with indoor practices before taking the party outdoors.
The longest flight time you will get from most drones is about 6-7 minutes, and you may need to charge the batteries for about an hour or an hour and a half. But if you desire to have them in action for longer periods, certain models come with power banks designed to offer extra juice and extra flight time.
When getting a drone, check if it has a “headless mode” – a setting that allows the drone to orient itself to the controller instead of its directional head. When activated, the headless mode helps beginners to fly a drone easily and safely.
It is highly recommended that you get drones with excellent durability and replaceable parts, after all, beginners are bound to banging these tiny aircraft into something in the process of learning the ropes of flying.
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