Have you ever wished you could own an aerial vehicle that can fly all over your neighborhood or city at any time of the day? Advancement in technology can make that dream come true by providing you a wide array of a quadcopter that has some amazing features. Since the inception of affordable drones, media and content development companies including digital marketers have managed to improve the quality of their content.
Thousands if not millions of people nowadays own one or more drones The demand is still high across the globe, and this explains the sharp increase in the number of drones manufacturing companies. One of the primary factors that customers look at when evaluating drones is their features and capabilities. For example, if you love spending time outdoors hiking or exploring, you can invest in an advanced drone that can take an aerial footage of your entire expedition in HD. Such drones also have GPRS feature that is designed to accurately determine your location and keep track of all your movements from above.
You can see summary of content here
- 1 Connection between Price and Features
- 2 Bonus Tips about Affordable Drones
- 3 TABLE : BEST DRONES UNDER $50/ $100/$200/$300/$500/$1000:
- 4 Top 3 Drones Under $50
- 5 Top 3 Drones Under $100
- 6 Top 3 Drones Under $200
- 7 Top 3 Drones Under $300
- 8 Top 3 Drones Under $500
- 9 Top 3 Drones Under $1,000
- 10 Know the Weather Conditions to Avoid
- 11 Flying Etiquette
- 12 Know the Meaning of Certain Terms
- 13 Warranty
- 14 Features and Capabilities
Connection between Price and Features
Over the last one year, we have seen a close relationship between the price tags and features. Since a large number of the customers who purchase drones are tech savvy, the manufacturers have no option but to make sure that each drone that they release into the market has features that resonate with the needs of the customers. Also, they have to strike a balance between price and features.
Ordinarily, you would expect that drones with advanced features to be expensive and those with fewer features to be lowly priced. Well, that is not the case in this industry. We have come across some drones that are cheap but have excellent features. Nonetheless, it is important to consider not only the features and price but also other factors such as durability, efficiency, and functionalism before placing an order. You should avoid drones that have numerous negative reviews to avoid spending your hard-earned money on a product that won’t last for long or offer low-quality footages.
Bonus Tips about Affordable Drones
As with any new generation electronic gadget, it is essential to make sure that you learn how it functions before going outdoors and trying to fly it to avoid damaging it. Most experts recommend experimenting with the cheaply priced drones before proceeding to the expensive and more advanced ones. Doing so will help you to master the controls and ensure that you get the best results when you finally get the advanced drone.
Let us dive in and look at 18 super quadcopter in the market. We have organized the drones based on the price, from $50 to $1,000 to make it easy for you to digest the information.
TABLE : BEST DRONES UNDER $50/ $100/$200/$300/$500/$1000:
|SYMA X5C||2MP||30m||8 min|
|Husban X4 H107C||0.3 MP||100m||8 min|
|Eachine E010||No||35m||8 min|
|Holy Stone HS200 FPV RC||2MP||120m||9 mins|
|SYMA X8C||2MP||200m||12 min|
|Tarantula X6||No||100m||10 min|
|JXD 509W||1MP||80m||8 min|
|Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition||1MP||50 M||12 mins|
|UDI U28-1 FPV||1MP||100m||9 mins|
|3DR Solo Quadcopter||GoPro||500m||20 mins|
|Cheerson CX20 FPV RC Drone||GoPro||300m||20 mins|
|Blade 180 QX||EFC-721||150m||10 mins|
|DJI Phantom P3-Standard Drone||12 M||300m||25 mins|
|Parrot BeBop 2||14M||300m||25 mins|
|Parrot BEBOP 2FPV||14 M||300m||25 mins|
|DJI Mavic Pro||12 M||500m||27 mins|
|DJI Phantom 3 Pro||12 M||300m||25 mins|
|AEE AP10 Drone||16M||500m||23 mins|
Syma X5C is a fantastic drone that is lightweight, durable, and small. This affordable drone is an ideal choice for the first time pilot as it has simple controls and it’s user-friendly. It is fitted with a 720p camera that you can use to take excellent aerial footages and photos both indoors and outdoors. The developer has worked smart to enhance its efficiency and performance in different weather conditions. The controls have been fine tuned to make it easy for new users to master and take full advantage of irrespective of the environment or weather conditions. All the recordings are automatically saved in a 4GB card. There is also a USB card reader slot that you can use it store more footages. Even though the camera is not mounted on the gimbal, it is strategically installed under the drone and set at the right angle.
Husban X4 H107C
Husban X4 H107C is another affordable drone that is relatively stable and has an HD camera to ensure that you never miss a detail when flying it. There is two version of this drone; one is fitted with a 480p camera while the other one has a 720p camera. Both are under $50 in most online stores such as Amazon. One of the highlights that give it an upper hand in the market is that the controls are basic and it’s very responsive. Even though it does not have a flip button like other models in the market, you can initiate one by quickly changing the direction using the controls. You might want to carry extra batteries if you intend to fly it for long hours. You can quickly know the amount of power available by looking at the LCD screen. Its flight time is 5-8 minutes and the range is 100 meters.
If you love flying drones indoors, Eachine E010 is a perfect option for you. Apart from being very user-friendly and efficient, it is durable and can survive many pinballs off walls and other items in the rooms. Its compact design makes it easy for one to carry it around when going on a vacation or holiday. The ducted propellers don’t produce any sound so one may never notice that there is an unnamed vehicle hovering around the house. Once you get the hang of it, you can upgrade the camera to get even sharper and clearer footages. The flight time is 6-8 minutes, and the range is 50- 100 ft. You can easily carry it in your backpack as it only weighs 16.7 grams. Even though this tiny drone is durable can withstand many falls, strive to learn how to fly it well as too many falls can compromise its functionalism.
Holy Stone HS200 FPV RC
Holy Stone HS200 FPV RC that you can leverage to take 720p real time video and you can synchronize it with your android and iPhone phone. Apart from taking aerial footages, you can also use this advanced and affordable drone to take high-quality aerial photos. Most of the drones in this price range have only 2-3 modes, HS200 has four different modes to suit the skill level of different users. For example, if this is your first time to fly a drone, it is recommended to start with the low mode before proceeding to the advanced modes to avoid crashing it. You can record 720p videos while indoors or outdoors and the battery only takes 650 mAh 60 minutes to fully charge. The maximum transmission range is 120 minutes and playing time is 9 minutes max. Its maximum range is 50 meters, and it is possible to get more flight time by flying it without the propeller guards.
Syma X8C has gained a massive traction since its launch due to the many features that it offers. This drone is ideal for taking long videos at it can stay airborne for 12 minutes. A 2000 mAh battery powers the big propellers and brushed motors, and the flight distance is 200 meters max. Despite being heavy, it is ultra-stable and has a durable shell that protects its components from harsh weather conditions such as high winds. It comes with a 2 Megapixel camera that can capture decent footages, but we have realized that apparently, this drone flies better without it. Also, note that the total weight of the drone with the battery and camera installed is 601 grams.
Tarantula X6 is a neat, nimble and among the most reliable and affordable drones in the market today. It’s available in blue and black colors and only weighs 1282 grams. To enhance its orientation especially on night flights, it is equipped with 7 LED lights. Two of the lights are positioned on the front side of the cockpit, one at the top, and one under each arm to complement its unique spider look. X6 can withstand harsh weather conditions as it’s fitted with top-notch professional blades/propellers and EVA shock mounts that protect it from damage. Each of the motors has a tiny connector to enable you to replace any dead motor quickly and without disassembly the entire drone. The 7.4 V 1200 mAh Li-Po battery can keep it airborne for close to 8 minutes, and you can install an advanced camera such as GoPro or 1080p Full HD camera to improve the quality of the aerial footages.
JXD 509W is the Wi-Fi version of the famous JXD 509G drone that has over the last few months recorded thousands of sales. Its propellers are flexible and are positioned at 90 degrees thereby reducing the risk of it to bend or break if it crashes or hits a wall. Despite its fair price, it has some amazing features that you will love such as the headless mode, automatic landing, altitude holder, and one-key home return. In the recent past Altitude, Hold feature was only available in the advanced drones, but we have seen more affordable drones with this capability. As the name suggests, activating the Altitude Hold feature will ensure that the drone flies at the same altitude. It also comes with a barometer than you can use to monitor air pressure. JXD 509W also tries to maintain a consistent air pressure to compensate for the altitude loss or gain by adjusting its propulsion.
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition is among the top rated and affordable drones in the market today. One of the most important aspects that give it a higher cutting edge is that you can connect it to your Android or iOS smartphone to enjoy 720p HD live video streaming. You can also share pictures and videos with friends and colleagues straight from AR. You can record a 12 minutes aerial video using one or two cameras that are fitted on the drone. One of the cameras is strategically located in front of the drone while the other one is placed under the drone. The first camera is HD while the second one is VGA. Since the second camera has low resolution, it is recommended to use the first camera which is HD. It is also important to note that this is a self-stabilizing drone which means you do not have to struggle with the controls to keep it stable when flying in different weather conditions.
UDI U28-1 FPV
UDI U28-1 FPV is a compact and reliable drone that is ideal for both beginner and experienced drone pilots. It comes with an extra battery that you can use to get more flight time especially when outdoors. U28-1 FPV 500mAh battery can be fully charged in one hour, and there is a 4GB micro SD card that you can use to store all your videos and pictures for future references. It also comes with spare blades that you can use to replace the faulty ones. By activating the headless mode, you will be able to fly it easily as well as perform crazy turns by leveraging its 360 degrees roll capability. Another feature you should try out is the altitude hold that allows one to fly the drone at a constant altitude. All the controls are displayed on an LCD screen to give you full control of the drone when on the ground or airborne.
3DR Solo Quadcopter
The 3DR Solo has a unique controller that resembles the conventional video game console controller that has push-commands that make it easy to transition from video games to a real drone. Taking off, landing, and snapping a photo or changing camera angle and other controls can be done in one-push button command. You can also connect the drone to virtually any display by using the HDMI port. With a GoPro, you can video stream wirelessly, and the transmission range is up to half a mile. To enhance its stability when airborne, 3DR solo drone has an advanced 3-axis Solo Gimbal that makes it easy to fly it in different weather conditions. The 5200mAh Li-Po battery allows it to record for up 20 minutes continuously and at a top speed of 55 mph. Unlike other similar affordable drones in the market, it does not come with a camera, and so it is recommended to purchase a GoPro or any other camera and install it.
Cheerson CX20 FPV RC Drone
Cheerson CX20 has an impressive performance, and the controls are ideal for any skill level from a beginner to an experienced drone pilot. You can enjoy the best flight experience by activating the GPS altitude and Altitude control modes. If you don’t want to spend time on the controls, you can use the MX autopilot system that works for hand in hand with the Intelligent Orientation Control function. For a lighter flight, you can detach the external camera mount on the shell. The maximum transmission range is 300 meters at a 2.4GHZ ISM frequency. The total weight is 6 pounds, and it can fly at a top speed of 18 mph. Its stability and flight performance is significantly enhanced by both GPS multi-rotor capabilities as well as the new era MX autopilot system. Since it does not come with a camera, consider purchasing a GoPro to get maximum utility from it.
Blade 180 QX
Blade 180 QX is ranked among the most compact, lightweight and high-performance drones in the market that is under $300. One of the features that set it apart from the rest is the SAFE technology and exceptional transmitter capabilities. It comes with an E-flite EFC-721 camera that you can use to capture excellent videos and photos using its three distinct flight modes. There is also an AS3X stability system to ensure that all your pictures and footages are clear and the drone flies smoothly irrespective of the terrain or weather conditions. You can also program the transmitter to work as a DSMX 5+ channel instead of Spektrum 5+ channel transmitter. Based on our tests, the flight mode range is 5-8 minutes can you can switch from video record to image capture and vice versa by touching the camera control button once. Despite its many features and capabilities, this drone only weighs 1.8 pounds.
DJI Phantom P3-Standard Drone
This is arguably one of the best drones you will find under $500. Many users have given the drone 4.5 stars out of 5 coupled with excellent customer reviews. For a mere $469, you get a 2.7K HD video camera capable of taking stunning 12 Megapixel photos. You can control it with your smartphone from as far as half a mile away using the DJI go app that you can download free of charge from the Google PlayStore as well as the iOS app store.
The DJI Phantom P3 comes equipped with GPS assisted flight features that give you the ability to take amazing images and videos. It has an intelligent battery that gives you up to 25 minutes of flight time. You can get the high-quality images and videos with the included Point of Interest, Waypoints, and Follow Me modes. It also has a wide range of accessories including radio controller, an 8 GB Micro SD card, 2 full sets of propellers, as well as 1 battery, and a charger.
Parrot BeBop 2
Parrot BeBop 2 is a top of the range drone for the experienced pilot who wants something fresh and advanced. It comes fitted with a 14 megapixel fish-eye camera that allows you to capture images and record aerial videos in 1080p. Thanks to its superior and long last 2700mAh battery, this drone can remain airborne for 25 minutes. The powerful and durable motors enable it to sort in greater altitudes comfortably. To give you exceptional visibility, it has a powerful rear flash LED that you can leverage to connect to Google PlayTM or App StoreTM. The propellers are engineered to shut down in the event of a collision automatically thereby keeping you and the drone safe. You can take pictures and film videos at a 90 degrees angle without losing the quality. Its exceptional stability and powerful motors enable it to fly in virtually any weather condition.
Parrot BEBOP 2FPV
Parrot BEBOP 2 comes with a complete FPV pack to ensure that you get maximum utility for every dollar that you spend on this advanced drone. The 2,700mAh rechargeable battery has the capacity to offer 25 minutes of continues flight time. Its 14 megapixel camera that has a 1080p resolution is strategically installed on the front section to enable you get crispy clear footages. Through software optimization, the quality of the images has tremendously improved as compared to other Parrot drones in the market offer. The 8GB internal storage space is enough to store up to 10 recordings but this is dependent on the size of each recording. You can free up some space by directly connecting it to your Mac or PC and transferring some of the recordings to the computer hard drive. For clear view of what the camera is recording, you can activate the FPV mode.
DJI Mavic Pro
If you are looking for a powerful drone that has a compact design, then DJI Mavic Pro is an ideal choice for you. After use, you can fold it down to the size of a water bottle and this makes it absolutely easy to carry it along. With its new generation OcuSync transmission system, it can deliver up to 7km of transmission range. The powerful motors enable it to fly at a maximum speed of 64kph. for up to 27 minutes. In addition, its sensor redundancy and Obstacle Avoidable capabilities boosts reliability and flight safety. By relying on its Flight Autonomy technology, this drone is able to identify obstacles as far as 15 meters ahead of its position and it can fly at a speed of 36kph while circumventing and avoiding the obstacles. It can take hover and take 4k aerial footages in a broad range of environment using its Absolute Precision Flight Autonomy technology.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter
This is one of the most acclaimed affordable drones the world over. It has received worldwide acclaim for its top of the range GPS, and for the mobile device compatibility. The Phantom 3 Pro has one of a kind artificial intelligent system that allows the drone to remember the details of every flight you have taken, such as the last time of flight, the distance, location, as well as the flight route.
You also get a Vision positioning system through pre-installed sensors that complete hundreds of calculations in real time, allowing you to focus on the getting the best video and photo quality. It implements the GLONASS, which allows for precision during flight and accurately locks onto the satellites with heightened accuracy. By downloading the app, either from your Android or iOS app store, you can get the exact location of the drone as well as the takeoff point or you can call the drone back to the starting point. Once you release the joystick, the Phantom 3 Pro will stop and hover on the spot. With just under a $1000, it is among the most affordable drones you can get for less than $1000.
AEE AP10 Drone
AEE is one of the renowned drone manufacturers in the world today. Customer reviews give it at least 4 stars out of 5. You get the basic accessories including propellers, long life battery that allows for novices and professionals alike to get the most flight time of all affordable drones under $1000. With one of the best HD quality cameras in the world, you get some the best quality in video as well as photos. You can as well use your smart mobile device to control the drone by downloading the app from the iOS app store as well as from Google’s Play store.
The drone is also equipped with stabilization technology that allows you to take precise videos and photos using the 16 Megapixel camera. You can buy the ST10 camera, aerial searchlights, spotlights, as well as an interface adapter to give you an absolute flight experience. You can also get a paddle protection ring to make the drone resilient against crashes. With large 10 inch properly allows it to resist high wind speeds.
Let us shift gears and look at the primary factors that you need to consider when buying a drone.
Know the Weather Conditions to Avoid
Different drones have varying weather resistant capabilities. There are some that can withstand strong winds while others are difficult to fly or control in harsh weather conditions. Needless to say, if you fly the drone in conditions that it was not designed to handle, some of the components such as the blades and motors may fail or break down completely. The best time to fly a drone is when there is little or no breeze. Note that some of them are so lightweight that little wind can cause it to fly uncontrollably.
There are some residential and commercial places that do not allow anyone to fly a drone overhead due to security and privacy reasons. For instance, if you fly a drone over a military base, chances are that it will be shot down and confiscated. You might also be sued for breaking the stipulated laws. To be on the safe side, be careful which places you fly the drone to avoid unnecessary tussles with the authorities and your neighbors.
Know the Meaning of Certain Terms
Now that you have purchased a drone and you are ready to test it out, you need to know the meaning of certain terms that are used by the manufacturers. Here are three of the essential terms that you will come across:
- RTF = Means Ready to Fly. You will be required to install a propeller to fly the drone
- BNF = Means Bind and Fly. More often than not, you will need to by a controller separately even though the drone is completely assembled.
- ARF = Means Almost Ready to Fly. Most of the kits don’t come with a receiver or transmitter. We have come across some that lack flight controllers, electronic speed controls, and even motors.
Most of the manufacturers offer a comprehensive user manual that lists down all the abbreviations and terms that you need to master. Read them to get maximum utility from your drone. Check the description before placing the order to be sure of all the components in the package. Otherwise, you might end up spending more money than you had budgeted for if the essential things such as the controller are not included in the package.
Check if the manufacturer offers a warranty and the specific components that are covered. Ideally, there are some damages that may not be covered by the warranty. With this information at hand, you will be able to know if a particular drone is worth buying. As mentioned earlier in this buying guide, you should steer clear of drones that have a poor reputation in the market to avoid getting a raw deal.
Features and Capabilities
As you can see from the affordable drones that we have reviewed, each of them has unique features and capabilities. However, they vary based on the target customers that the manufacturer intends to purchase the drones. Make sure that you go through the description and evaluate the value that each feature adds to the drone to make an informed decision.
Finally, purchase any of these affordable drones from an accredited supplier or reseller to get utmost value for your money. Be sure to also take good care of it and continuously learn how to fly it to avoid additional expenses on repairs.