What can you expect from a drone that cost less than $200?
If you are looking to purchase an entry level drone, the first thing you need to take note of is not to set your expectations too high. These drones are affordable, that’s quite obvious, so you first need to understand you cannot get premium performance from them. For those of you having trouble with that, I’ve set up a small list of key things to expect from drones under $200.
Truth be told, even though these drones have decent full HD or HD cameras, without proper stabilization you can’t expect those breathtaking aerial shots that you’ve seen from DJI drones. Today we’ll see what’s the best camera drone under $200 !
Considering the fact that premium models have between 25 and 30 minutes of flight time, it is safe to say these cheap drones are nowhere near them. Average battery duration of these drones goes from 7 to 12 minutes. It’s always a good idea to buy extra batteries !
In bottom end of this price point, you’re looking at 100 meters tops. On the other hand, if you’re willing to dash out close to $200 (or slightly above that mark), operating range tends to drastically increase and can reach 500 meters or even more than that in some cases.
|Name||Image||Camera||Range||Flight Time||Best Price|
|10. Holy Stone F181||0.5MP||60m||8 min||See best offer|
|9. Hubsan H107D||480p||50m||7 min||See best offer|
|8. UDI U818A||0.5MP||70m||7 min||See best offer|
|7. Traxxas Alias||No||50m||6 min||See best offer|
|6. Holy Stone HS300||5MP||150m||10 min||See best offer|
|5. Contixo F6||720p||50m||16 min||See best offer|
|4. Altair AA108||720p||100m||10 min||See best offer|
|3. Force1 F100||GoPro||250m||12 min||See best offer|
|2. UDI U818Plus||2MP||150m||15 min||See best offer|
|1. MJX Bugs 3||GoPro||300m||15 min||See best offer|
10. Holy Stone F181
Holy Stone F181 is an insanely popular drone with close to 2,000 unique reviews on Amazon. Even though these reviews sometimes portray a different picture from reality, when it comes to this model they’re absolutely spot on. Holy Stone F181 is a great drone that delivers great value for money!
When you take a look at its price and then swing back to specifications, there is no doubt you will be positively surprised. Why? Well, because Holy Stone F181 can fly for up to 8 minutes and go as far as 60-70 meters (it can even go up to 100 in fully open area). These specifications are spectacular and that’s why many people are praising it on all bells. It comes as a no surprise that this drone is one of the best selling drones under $100.
Other than great specifications, Holy Stone F181 can also brag with gorgeous design and durable body. This bad boy won’t break after first crash. As a matter of fact, prop guards combined with sturdy frame+body give out excellent reliability and can take quite a few beatings before breaking. To summarize, if you are looking for best bang for the bucks, then look no further than Holy Stone F181 – you won’t regret it!
9. Hubsan H107D
This next model just proves Hubsan’s superiority in this price range. Hubsan X4 H107D drone is an outright beast of a drone that could’ve easily been priced $50 higher and still offer great value for money. Thing that I like the most about it is definitely the provided controller that has a 4.3-inch display for FPV monitoring.
Not only that but the controller is insanely intuitive and is able to accurately control without any sort of input lag. It’s definitely one of the best FPV drones under $200! Is that everything Hubsan H107D has to offer? Not by a long shot!
In terms of specifications, Hubsan H107D stands pretty solidly across the board. The range goes somewhere around 80-meter mark. Moving forward, even though the provided 3.7V 380mAh LiPo battery doesn’t give a positive first impression, it actuall performs quite well. More precisely, it powers Hubsan H107D for roughly 7 minutes of active flight which is pretty standard at this price range.
Lastly, I feel like its 480p camera deserves a word or two. Even though it does not provide good photos/videos, it does FPV which is equally (if not more) important. With that said, you can expect FPV to work properly for up to 80 meters as well, although some interference usually starts after you reach 50. All in all, if you want a decent drone but hate spending a lot of mone, then Hubsan H107D is your go-to option.
8. UDI U818A
UDI U818A drone has been getting a lot of praise lately. That has resulted in decent sales increase which had a pinnacle 2 months ago. Best thing about it and the one which is most frequently praising subject is definitely its build quality.
The body is uniform with 360-degree prop guards which stretch out from the centerpiece. This ensures ultimate safety and gives you a worry-free experience. Other than that, UDI U818A has a few more good things to offer so let’s take a closer look!
Even though it does not support plenty of features, UDI U818A believes in the good old saying “quality over quantity”. In addition to standard headless mode, this little fella also supports custom flight mapping. It works in a similar way to the ever so popular Waypoints mode but is not nearly as polished. Still, it is a proper refreshment to see something like this in low end part of drones’ market.
7. Traxxas 6608 Alias
If you are looking to purchase a drone for your children, then you should check this one out. It is made by Traxxas, a well-known name not just in drone but in RC cars industry as well. With plenty successful RC car models made in recent time, the folk over at Traxxas decided to broaden their horizons and kick things off with drones.
Today, we’re looking at their cheapest ones – Traxxas 6608 AKA Alias, a drone that is insanely easy to fly. Of course, this makes it suitable for children of all ages and can be considered the perfect birthday present.
Other than wide variety of skins (personally, I like red/black color scheme the most), Traxxas Alias is crowned by bright LEDs for night flight and decent battery. More precisely, this thing runs on a miniature 650mAh LiPo that can hold it in air for approximately 6-7 minutes. On the other hand, range is nowhere near my expectations. Traxxas Alias can go just 50 meters away from its controller before losing connection. Make sure you keep this in mind since you don’t want to lose your precious drone during the very first flight.
Lastly, this miniature drone does not come with a camera. Still, if you desperately want one, you can purchase camera that’s built for Traxxas 6660. It will work perfectly with Alias and will provide you with better than average aerial videos. Why? Well, because Alias is extremely stable and easy to maneuver, giving you full control at all times to take that perfect aerial selfie.
6. Holy Stone HS300
After Holy Stone F181 which was featured on the top spot, now we have another one of their models – Holy Stone HS300. This one is a bit bulkier and barely fits within $200 price mark. It’s a serious drone with decent hardware and, best of all, an excellent camera. We are talking about 5MP sensor that can record 1080p videos at 30fps.
120’ wide angle lens will allow great panoramic aerial shots. What I am basically trying to say here is that Holy Stone HS300 makes up for one heck of a cheap aerial photography platform.
Features are nothing short of spectacular either. You see, HS300 incorporates automatic altitude hold, one key return, emergency stop. On top of all that, it also comes with controllable LED lights (green and red) and adjustable speed levels. Build quality is not too shabby; with the addition of prop guards you can be sure this thing won’t break easily.
Moving forward to specifications, Holy Stone HS300 continues in the same light. It runs on powerful 7.4V 2000mAh LiPo (good news, you get an extra one for free) which is able to hold it in air for approximately 8-12 minutes, depending on nearby buildings and interference. Combine that with 150 meters of control range and it comes as no surprise to see Holy Stone HS300 at third spot on this list.
5. Contixo F6
Contixo is a well–known brand thanks to their fine array of entry level drones. With a fair dose of innovation and dirt–cheap prices, it comes as no surprise to see one of their models feature in our Drones Under $100 list.
As the title implies, I am referring to Contixo F6, a small drone with sturdy frame and solid camera. For the money, I doubt you can get a better package filled with various accessories… but more on that later. For now, let’s focus on its camera and features!
Features and Camera
A rotating camera runs the show from the front with a miniature sensor capable of recording in 720p. Obviously, you cannot expect integrated stabilization. That’s why you will occasionally notice a bit of that nasty jello effect… but nothing too significant to ruin your experience. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many features that come with Contixo F6. It is not a smart drone by any means. Still, it is nicely poised with Altitude Hold and one key 3D flips which will amaze younger users.
Other than that, you will also get a ton of accessories and spare parts inside the packaging, including spare propellers, propeller guards and even an extra battery that will double your flight time.
The only real downside of this one is the fact that its application is not exactly polished to the maximum. For example, touch controls are not transparent which means a good portion of its camera’s viewpoint is practically blocked. Other than that, I’d say Contixo F6 is a worthy entry-level drone that won’t put too much strain on your budget.
When it comes to specifications, that’s where this little birdie shines the most. You see, for much less than $200 you are basically getting a drone that can fly for more than half an hour per session. That’s per session and not charge. Remember – it comes with 2 powerful batteries (2S 2300mAh, very powerful indeed), each of which is able to endure from 15 to 18 minutes. Operating range doesn’t slack either – standing firmly at roughly 300 meters. FPV distance (yes, that miniature 720p camera supports both FPV and VR through its dedicated app) goes up to 30 meters.
Last but not least, as an extra layer of insurance for purchasing Contixo F6, you should know that they offer 1-year US based manufacturer’s warranty as well as a well-trained customer support team that offers help 24/7.
4. Altair AA108
Among the best 3 drones which you can buy for under $200 is surely the Altair AA108 drone. We are talking about a brand-new drone here that just came out, but it seems as though it’s set to take the market by storm. What exactly can this aggressively priced drone do? Is it good for beginners? Does it provide good value for money? All that and more can be read in the next 2 paragraphs.
Starting off with its specifications, Altair AA108 sports a wide-angle camera (120 degree) that is capable of recording HD aerial footage… And it does so pretty good. Despite not having hardware image stabilization, it still produces solid footage with little to no shakiness involved. Moving onto other hardware, most of you will be surprised with the power those miniature brushed motors provide.
While they might not as durable as brushless one, they can still last a long time if you operate them properly. By that, I mean you should always disarm the drone (throttle on 0) immediately after a crash. Last but not least, Altair AA108 is powered by a 1S LiPo battery which can suffice for up to 10 minutes of flight time.
When it comes to the range, Altair AA108 can only reach up to 100 meters. On the bright side, the FPV works as much as the operating range so you won’t be greeted by a black screen on your smartphone when you’re passing that line. Furthermore, Altair AA108 is insanely stable too, allowing even first-time fliers to control it without any issues. In terms of features, there are a few surprises such as altitude hold, one button takeoff/landing and even OOR (out of range) alarm which will come in handy more often than not.
3. Force1 F100
If you are looking to start off your career as a professional aerial photographer, then this next drone is surely your number one choice. It goes by the name F100 and it’s created by Force1, a relatively unknown name in the drones’ industry. However, this seems to be a brilliant entry level aerial photography drone due to its flight characteristics and sturdiness. Plus, the hardware housed inside would not put to shame even much pricier models available. So, like I said above, for all wannabe aerial photographers, Force1 F100 seems like a no brainer!
Features and Camera
When it comes to the camera many of you will be disappointed at first once they find out Force1 F100 doesn’t come with one. But how can it be a good entry level aerial photography drone without a camera? Well, that’s exactly where the fun starts. You see, Force1 F100 comes with a specialized camera mount that can fit all sorts of action camera brands. Some of the more expensive ones even come with electronic image stabilization onboard which will do wonders to the smoothness of your aerial footage.
Features are a big thing with this one too. First off, you need to know that it is powered by potent brushless motors which are quieter and more durable than their brushed counterparts. Second, this one also incorporates one key 3D flip functions which are bound to come in handy for showing off your brand new drone to all your friends.
If you love long flying drones then this one is going to feel like a special treat. Why? Well, obviously because it has huge operating range. We are talking up to 250 meters away from the provided controller. Pretty neat, huh? Battery duration is outstanding too – you can expect around 10 to 15 minutes (12 minutes on average). This, of course, depends on whether or not your F100 is carrying an action camera for recording purposes.
2. UDI U818Plus
There are many toy grade drones out there but there is no doubt about UDI making the best ones. The perfect example is their U818Plus model which provides a greatly improved experience in contrast to the standard model.
Plus, it looks a lot sleeker too, simply pulling you closer to purchase with its affordable price tag. But, of course, what kind of a deal would this be if performance wasn’t on point. Luckily, UDI U818Plus positively surprised us with raw power hidden underneath that sleek body…
Features and Camera
Camera here has received a massive upgrade coming from the standard version. Instead of a petty VGA sensor, we are looking at one that can record in HD. With 2MPX and support for FPV livestream, this is one of the best entry-level built-in cameras… there’s no doubt about that. Additionally, you can also expect a fair bit of extra functionalities with this little fella. We are talking headless mode (check out more headless mode drones), altitude hold and one button landing and takeoff. Good number of features, don’t you agree?
As far as specifications go, UDI U818Plus offers unparalleled flight time. If we are to be more precise here, you can expect anywhere from 10 all the way to 15 minutes of airtime on a single charge. That’s all thanks to a moderately powerful battery alongside coreless brushed motors that enjoy better power efficiency than traditional ones. Operating range, on the other hand, goes up to 150 meters which isn’t half bad if you don’t mind me noticing. So, with everything that’s been said about this little birdie, it seems as though it doesn’t have a single downside.
1. MJX Bugs 3 – best drone under $200?
MJX Bugs 3 Blue edition is one of those models that are just not getting enough attention from the consumers. I am talking about a great entry level model that can offer fun, reliable drone flight experience at a fraction of the cost you’d pay for a model with similar performance.
It’s true, MJX Bugs 3 is not only great for beginners but has powerful eye-candy underneath the hood that more than justify its price tag.
The only drawback is definitely the lack of camera. Still, that means you are not bound to a single camera for the whole lifespan of your drone. Given the fact MJX Bugs 3 supports not only GoPro’s but virtually all other action camera models as well, I would go so far as to say that the lack of camera is actually a plus.
When it comes to specifications, here is how the things are standing for MJX Bugs 3. It sports a solid 7.4V 1800mAh 25C LiPo battery that can endure up to 15 minutes of flight time (slightly more if you’re flying without a camera). Additionally, the range stands good at 300 meters which is a delight at this price range. To top it all off, It doesn’t take too long to charge it up so I’d definitely recommend it as one of the top drones under $200!
Drones that are slightly above $200 but definitely worth it
As the title above suggests, this drone costs slightly above two hundred dollars. Honestly, I believe it’s worth mentioning because it has so many advanced features that it’s just way better than any other drone on the list above. It is nicely poised with solid specifications as well so it is definitely worth checking out!
H501S is newest drone from Hubsan and it’s very popular. In fact, this was one of the best-selling drones on market last month. H501S comes with 7.4V 2700mAh battery that will provide you with 15-18 minutes in the air. Needless to say, this is extremely good result for a drone in this price range. But, that’s not where the fun stops, because Hubsan brings us cool features such as Altitude Hold, Follow me mode, GPS, Auto take off/landing, headless mode and FPV camera. Thanks to GPS, functions such a Return to home works like a charm.
Moving onto photography hardware, H501S comes with 1080p HD built in camera that can’t be removed. Live feed from camera is automatically transmitted to 4.3” LCD display on your RC controller. This is, in fact, very good camera. Much better than any other camera on this list (excluding drones with GoPro cameras). Control range is somewhere around 300 meters, which is, again, above average for this price range.
And the second “slightly more expensive” model featured here is XIRO Xplorer. First of all, it must be said that this bad boy comes in 3 versions, standard G and V. Standard is cheapest but it gets you only the drone. G version comes with a dedicated gimbal while V comes with both gimbal and a full HD camera for decent aerial photography. If you want to know more about XIRO Xplorer, continue reading…
This (just like all other drones on this list) is a RTF model that comes with everything you need to fly it straight out of the box. In terms of design, it sports an X-shaped frame and a sturdy body that is able to take quite a beating. Even though there are no prop guards, they are still tucked in nicely and won’t suffer any damage unless you have a high speed direct hit against a concrete wall or something like that.
XIRO Xplorer runs on a 5,200 mAh LiPo battery that allows it roughly 25 minutes of flight time, although realistically, you can expect anywhere from 18 to 22. In terms of operating range, XIRO Xplorer ranks pretty good against majority of its competitors. With FPV live stream and seamless controlling both working up to 600 meters, it becomes pretty clear why XIRO Xplorer made it onto this list.
Are such drones good for kids & beginners?
I guess there’s no other answer to this question than yes. Drones under $200 are great options for both children and beginners. Spare parts are easy to find online in case something goes wrong. Plus, most of them is relatively easy to fly around making first drone piloting steps rather accessible.
Imagine yourself right after receiving your $1000 drone. You’re thrilled, happy, eager to get it off in the air. Of course, you’re a manly man and you didn’t read through any of the instruction that came with it so you just charged it up and turned it on before taking off. A couple of seconds flying around your backyard have passed, and you find yourself in a sticky situation – your drone is heading into a wall at a high speed and you don’t know how to make a sharp turn… BAM – your $1000 investment crashed into the wall and left you with a big pile of tech trash.
In order to stop that from happening, I suggest you opt for a cheaper alternative for your first drone. You won’t miss out on anything drastic since you’re, don’t get insulted, a beginner. $1000 models come with a plethora of additional features that you don’t know how to use properly. Plus, cheaper drones are much more forgiving and are still capable of entertaining you and your family for solid amount of time. Want to find out what’s the best drone with camera under 200? Keep reading! 🙂
What should you look for when purchasing a cheap drone?
In addition to those above-mentioned traits, you should also look for certain characteristics that are marked by short abbreviations. For example, RTF, BNF, FPV, VR and all that needs to be taken into account when purchasing a drone. But, what do those abbreviations mean? Well, here’s the deal:
RTF (short for Ready to Fly) represents a drone that comes with all necessary parts and can be operated straight out of the box. In some cases (very rarely), you might need to purchase AAA batteries for the controller. Other than that, if you see RTF next to a drone’s name it means you won’t need any DIY skills to get it flying.
On the other hand, BNF (short for Bind and Fly) drones require a bit more tampering around to set up properly. You see, if you purchase a BNF drone it means you won’t get a dedicated controller. In other words, you will have to provide your own and properly bind it to your new drone in order to get it working properly.
FPV drones (short for first person view) let you experience a significantly more immersive drone flight through live feed. Whether you’re experiencing FPV via dedicated display on controller, smartphone/tablet app or through FPV Goggles, you can be sure your experience is going to be drastically improved. On the other hand, non FPV drones (as their name suggests) lack FPV feature meaning you cannot enjoy the action straight from the cockpit. Keep reading to find out what’s the best FPV drone under $200.
TIP: Buy extra batteries!
Even though this is the most frequent advice you’ll hear when it comes to premium drones, it is well worth for cheaper ones too. Just imagine yourself finally getting your drone and flying it around for a couple of minutes… only to find out you have to make a 2-hour pause before you can fly it again. It’s true. These cheaper drones tend to have awfully long charging times that go well beyond one or even two hours. That’s why, an obvious way to go would be extra batteries. Even though they depend from model to model, most of them are relatively cheap and are a worthy investment in the long run.
So, with all that in mind, let’s jump to the actual “best drone under $200” list and see what exactly do they have in store for us!
With whopping 12 models behind us, I am afraid to let you know you have reached the end of this article. As you could see, 10 of them were priced under $200, making the list filled with extremely affordable options. These 2 additional ones are still worth mentioning. They’re not crossing the $200 mark by a lot, but offer radical improvements and offer better overall experience.
Lastly, I would like to thank you for reading! If you have any burning questions or would like to add something, please don’t hesitate to leave us a comment down below!
Enjoy your day and happy flying!
6. Kidcia quadcopter
The golden middle of this list goes to a totally unknown drone. As you can see by the title, it does not even have a proper name. On the other hand, company name is visible – Kidcia. So, is Kidcia able to make proper drones? Well, judging by the fact this little bugger made it onto the list, they ought to be doing something right… Why don’t we take a closer look and see what can it offer for such an affordable price!
Feature-wise, Kidcia excels with more than few solid ones including headless mode, one key return to home, FPV and even altitude hold. But wait, that’s not all! Kidcia also supports an interesting mode called Gravity Sensor. This essentially allows you to control this drone by moving your smartphone in desired directions. It is accompanied by yet another crazy feature – Track Control. This does exactly what it sounds like – it lets you draw a track on your phone and Kidcia drone will follow. Ideally, this works kind of like Waypoints mode on premium models, but is extremely slimmed down and has only basic functionality.
Enough with features, let’s concentrate more on specifications. Starting off with the camera, Kidcia implemented a miniature 0.5MPX sensor. Even though it can record videos and photos, the quality is hideos. Luckily, it does support FPV (up to 30 meters) so you can simply connect your smartphone via Bluetooth app and you’ll be good to go! Lastly, Kidcia drone’s flight time is somewhere around 8 to 10 minutes while its respective operating range goes up to 100 meters. Not bad for an unknown drone without a proper name, right?
5. Hubsan H502S
With plenty models currently available on the market, there is no doubt the folks over at Hubsan are stepping up their game. Before their newest drone lineup, they were considered a small brand… but now times have drastically changed.
Hubsan realized it cannot pair with big guns in drone industry so they pivoted to making excellent mid-tier models for the masses. If I were to summarize their Hubsan H502S drone in one sentence, that’s probably what I would say!
First of all, I would like to point out it features durable brushless motors that can definitely stand the test of time. They’re sturdy, well-built and contain decent firepower to boost this little fella up in the air. While we’re at specifications, it’s noteworthy to add 300 meters of control range and roughly 9-11 minutes battery duration.
Interestingly enough, Hubsan H502S also comes with a built-in HD camera for those of you who want to take aerial shots. But, keep in mind the things that I stated above – don’t expect a lot of good stuff from these cheap built-in cameras. They don’t have hardware stabilization (most of them don’t even have software stabilization for that matter) which usually results in terrible jelly effect. Despite that, I still believe Hubsan H502S to be a solid drone with good design and decent all-around performance.
2. AEE AP9
First thing that I would like to point out about this drone is that it is not nearly as popular as other ones on this list. Still, despite that, it is ranked very high up at second spot which says a lot about its actual quality. So, with all that said, let’s take a closer look at it to see what’s it all about!
First thing first – AEE AP9 drone does not come with a camera. That’s the biggest downside of this drone and will drive off many potential buyers at the very first step. If you own an action camera, here are some good news – AEE AP9 supports camera mounts which means you’ll be able to take aerial shots with this one. The design is not that pretty, at least in my opinion. Luckily, it is aerodynamic and allows up to 44 mph of top speed.
5300mAH LiPo battery is in charge of keeping AEE AP9 up in air and it effectively does so for roughly 25 minutes. It has a couple of well-placed features such as GPS and auto return to home in case of connectivity issues. Maximum range is solid as well – you’re looking at roughly 500 meters of lag-free controls which is not to be taken for granted, especially at this price point.