What is the best cheap drone?

QBest cheap drone?

What’s the best cheap drone?

Let’s break this down into segments, like, under $100, under $300….. I’m not sure what the most logical segments would be, can you suggest?

AThe Answer

Top Cheap Drones

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When it comes to purchasing a quality drone device, you do not need to pay thousands of dollars to find an enjoyable flight through the sky. The important question to ask when searching for an adequate drone is what level of flight experience the user of this drone has. If the answer is “none or not much experience”, then there are quality starter-level options for under $100 brand new. If your answer is “a fair to good amount of experience” then you may need to reach a bit deeper into your wallet to find a drone capable of challenging you, but there’s no need to fret, great drones for those with experience in flying them are available for under $500 brand new as well. I think this is an important distinction when categorizing ‘cheap’ drones, because more professional options will almost always cost a bit more, but can still be considered cheap in regards to their higher quality makeup. There are many options when it comes to drones, but I’ll offer you some of the top-rated and most affordable products on the market at both the beginner level (~$100) and the experienced level (~$500).

Under $100

Syma X5C 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Explorers Quad Copter Drone with Camera cheap_drone_1
The Syma X5C is one of the best bargains when it comes to choosing one of your first camera drones. For just $51.50 new on Amazon3, you get a ton of great features, stable structure and control, and an incredibly fun camera to boot. The Syma X5c has 6 axis controls and incredibly stabilized flight, handling environmental pressures like wind quite well. It’s flight radius is about 50 meters, allowing it to be very adventurous for it’s low price. With up to 8 minutes of flight time and easy controls, the Syma has plenty of leeway when flying and taking photo/video.

It has a 360 degree eversion camera (2 MP photo/video camera) is a decent attachment to a soundly functioning drone. Although the pictures aren’t horribly pixelated, it should be noted that this isn’t quite an HD camera either, making it a drone geared more towards beginners or hobby flyers then professional photographers and videographers. Still, it’s a fun way to explore and capture your surroundings, and the sturdy build makes it a safe and fun flight for most ages and experience levels. Below is a test flight video to give you a better example of the camera and flight capabilities.

For optimized use, I definitely recommend purchasing some extra Teenitor 3.7V batteries to extend flight time and fun while your are out. It’s sleek white design is especially sturdy, so extreme caution and experience isn’t necessary when it comes to enjoying this drone. It has stable, yet flexible propellors and little plastic roll cages on the edge of each wing to help with proper landing and flight. This is the perfect drone for any type of flyer, from children to adults, beginners to experts looking for a relaxing flight. This drone is perfect for parks, open neighborhoods, or simply an adventure through your very own backyard!

UDI U818A-1 Discovery 2.4GHz 4 CH 6 Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter with HD Camera RTF
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Inching closer toward the $100 mark, we find the UDI U818A-1 Discovery, which is another great deal and high quality drone that is for both beginner and expert drone flyers. It has admirable qualities like precise control (6 axis gyro), a 4 channel function providing easy operation, and an HD camera. It also has fun aesthetic qualities like signal lights and easy 3D rolls. It has impact resistant and easy to replace parts, two joysticks for unlimited flight direction, and four flexible and protected propellers. The UDI U818A thrives off of it’s sleek design and convenience of control, making it both futuristic and easy-to-use at the same time.

For the current price of $94.99 on Amazon1, you can purchase a quality drone that is comparable to some drones that reach the $500 mark. The flight control and the HD camera are the two standout features on this device. The UDI U818A has the ability to do complex tricks like 3D flips and rolls with ease, along with an integrated design that lends to the precise positioning of the aircraft. The UDI currently comes with an extra battery pack as well, doubling the flight time from 9 to 18 minutes. Another awesome function of the UDI U818A is the two different flight modes you can switch between. Flight mode one maximizes your gyro-stability, allowing for easier control, while flight mode two is geared toward 3D expert control. Therefore, the two modes make it a fun and challenging experience for drone pilots of all experience levels.


The HD camera, which UDI has recently upgraded from 720p to 1280p, is another reason why this affordable drone is worth every penny. The forward facing camera captures clean and stable video/photos through the photo button on the remote controller, which both captures pictures and records film. The stock MicroSD card has enough space for a handful of flights, and along with the extra battery, the UDI is conveniently built to stay in sky for a lengthy experience. The USB data cable allows you to export these pictures and videos directly onto your computer, the quality of the camera also includes great color and white balance.

If your budget is able to reach the $100 area, I think the UDI is the finest in it’s lower tiered price range. It’s compatibility with all levels of experience makes it extremely versatile, while being engineered with both your safety and the drones safety in mind. LED running and signal lights make it possible to fly at night. Recommended use starts at the age of 14, this futuristic is both a thrill to fly and easy on your wallet!

Under $500


Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Power Edition Quadricopter
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While searching for a drone model that qualifies as more professional, there are some great options that don’t require thousands from your pocket. In fact, the Parrot AR Drone is currently available for the bargain price of $400 on Amazon, and is jam-packed with features that make it well worth it’s price. With an amazingly powerful high density battery, the Parrot drone has up to 18 minutes of flight time per battery and flight radius of about 50 meters. Auto-stabilization makes it safe to fly both indoors and outdoors, and the power edition package comes with extra HD batteries and propellors, making this sleek, red drone the full package.

Extra propellors come in various colors, so that you can add some different flair to your Parrot if you so desire. The intuitive pilot function makes taking off and landing a breeze, while also offering both the camera and the drone stability while in flight. With the ‘AR. FreeFlight 2.0’ App and the Parrot’s Wifi capabilities, you can actually control the entire flight from your phone or tablet, simply tilting the device in whichever direction you want the drone to fly towards. It’s also pretty easy to do expert tricks like flips and rolls on the Parrot AR, and it’s intuitive motor makes any emergency landing an easy and automatic experience.
The Parrot AR.Drone features smartphone compatibility that allows for intuitive piloting through it’s HD camera. The HD camera can both send a live stream to your smartphone/tablet or record the footage straight onto it’s MicroSD card. For those who wish for even more space for video storage, a USB plug-in is formatted onto the drone to allow for larger memory. Parrot also has an online community called Drone Academy, where drone users can upload their flight videos, location, and data with each other. The HD camera creates some really high quality video from some really great heights, as you can see by the flight test video below!

DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter
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Another adequate choice for under $500 is the DJI Phantom, made by a well-known company in the drone industry. Although DJI has drones in the $1000-2000 range, the Phantom is only around $400 new on Amazon, and it still has exceptional features and function. The Phantom has a Naza-M autopilot system that lets you configure your own parameters and an advanced GPS positioning system that allows for outdoor flight in windy conditions. It also has a fail-safe operation that allows for safe landing if the transmitter is lost.
The DJI Phantom is extremely well structured for it’s low price, and it also functions like high quality drone. It flies at up to 22 mph, allowing quick speed for up to 15 minutes of flight time. This is a really speedy and sturdy drone that flies impeccably for it’s price. It’s communication distance goes up to 1000m, allowing for a great adventure where ever you decide to fly!

This is a great, simple drone, but it does have it’s downfall. The only minor issue is that the DJI Phantom does not come with a stock camera. BUT… they do come with a mount that is compatible for almost all GoPro Hero cameras (newest model is available on Amazon for $499.99.)

Holy Stone® RC Drone with HD Camera
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If you don’t have a GoPro and/or aren’t ready to make that commitment, the Holy Stone RC is another great low costing drone, equipped with a decent HD quality camera. It performs well for its price range, and flips four ways if you can master it. However, its downside is its short battery life, and charging the batteries takes well over an hour.

All in all, you’re not going to find a better functioning drone for under $500 than the DJI Phantom. The lack of camera is compensated by it’s fun speed and easy control, but it’s definitely worth it to go all in on a GoPro to enhance your flying experience.