Top 5 Best Drones Under $100
With so many drone options out there it can be confusing for a newcomer to the hobby to even know where to begin to buy a drone. In this article we pick out the top 5 best drones under 100 bucks. Keep reading to find our top pick!
As one of the fastest growing hobbies among tech buffs, photographers, and enthusiasts alike, drones offer a unique experience unlike any seen before in the world of hobbies. I remember when I was younger, one of the coolest things to do was to go down to the hobby store, buy a model rocket, and shoot it off in a field down the road. Now there are drones with cameras that can flip, swoop, and record video. On top of all that, they are even available affordably under $100 price point.
For any newcomer interested in diving into the world of drones, look no further. RC Hobby Review has compiled a list of some of the best affordable drones under $200, and not a single one that follows will be priced higher than one hundred dollars. As beginner it can be a bad idea to jump right into a mid-range or expensive drone, that you could easily crash and total. There are even affordable cheap drones with camera attachments that we'll look into. We'll break each one down, exposing the pros and cons, and ins and outs so that even complete beginners will be able to find the perfect drone for them. Without further ado, here are is the list.
In case your in a hurry.. Our top pick for best drones under $100 is:
- Little drone for kids and adults that's a...
- VR headset compatibility,fly with a...
- Tello has two antennas that make video...
Last update on 2018-09-25 at 01:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Quick Comparison Table
DJI Ryze Tello
There might be a lot of toy drones on the market, but they can be pretty tricky for a kid to master. Enter the Tello.
Ryze Robotics took this issue to heart by collaborating with DJI and Intel to create a toy style drone with a simple to use phone app.
It weighs about three ounces and just under four inches across without the guard. It flies for about 13 minutes uninterrupted and can reach speeds of a little over 17 miles per hour. The range is just over 300 feet.
The dual antenna transmission makes video clear and stable despite its size. The video is 720p HD quality with 30 frames per second, and you can also capture stills of five megapixels. The video is recorded directly to the smartphone, unfortunately, instead of a memory card. The upside? Instant access. The downside? Taking up space on your phone.
It has autoland and auto takeoff functions. Plus, it can land directly in your palm because of its onboard vision position system. It utilizes Scratch as the coding system so you can write programs for specific functions.
It’s a good beginners drone for under $200 that doesn’t feel so much like a toy. There are a lot of toy drones out there that are frustrating to fly and don’t work, but the Intel-powered chip in the Tello, plus the well-executed smartphone app, make this drone a good one for young fliers or those looking for a budget option to get started.
One downside to this model is its weight. Drones must be lightweight to fly, but this one is highly susceptible to outside winds. It’s intended to be operated indoors or in a covered space.
-Good for beginners and children
-controlled by a smartphone app
-instant access to video
-too basic for expert flyers
-light enough to be blown away in mild winds
-the video takes up space on your phone
MJX Bugs 3
The Bug 3 is an entry level photography drone with a serious adrenaline streak. It’s a ready-to-fly FPV racer (sports flyer) with brushless motors for more speed. It has enough power to carry a HERO4 shaped camera. In fact, this might be our favorite budget GoPro drone (or GoPro style).
It has two flight modes, racing, and camera, that help you either stabilize for video or move a lot faster. It doesn’t have prop guards so that it’s lighter weight to account for the camera, but the landing gear helps keep the drone from getting damaged during landing.
Flight time lasts anywhere from 15 to 17 minutes of continual use. The remote is easy to use, but you have to assemble it by screwing in the thumb controls. The buttons control the camera, the flight action, and the mode of flight.
It has a range of about 1600 feet with full control. It has an LED light on the nose to help you orient the drone when it’s far away or if you’re flying in low light conditions. You can turn the light off under the canopy.
It doesn’t come with any automatic flying capabilities, but it’s a good starter camera for someone who wants to take some professional video but doesn’t have the coin for a full-scale GoPro drone. You must manually fly the drone, which is good if you want to be an expert and manual controls but might be frustrating if you’re a light hobbyist.
-Excellent budget video drone
-will help you master manual controls
-a wide range of flight
-flies for up to 17 minutes continually
-heavy enough to fly outdoors
-doesn’t come with a camera
-no automatic capabilities
Holy Stone F181C
The Holy Stone is a ready-to-fly drone that’s great for those who need a budget outdoor drone. It comes with a 2mp camera that can shoot 720p HD quality video. It’s a bit on the heavy side, so it’s suitable for beginners who want something forgiving while flying outdoors.
It can take aerial shots with the altitude hold function, accessed by releasing the throttle. The drone hovers in place to get the shot. If you’re first starting out, you can operate it in headless mode to get a better idea of what it can do. It has a one-key return, and you can even perform aerial tricks and flips once you’ve mastered necessary controls.
It weighs about 14.1 ounces and is roughly 12 by 12 inches. The transmitter operates to a range of about 330 feet with a flight time of approximately seven to ten minutes of continuous operation.
It’s on the heavy side but still falls under the FAA’s regulations, so there’s no need for a license. It has slow yaw (rotation around the vertical axis), but that shouldn’t stop you from doing some tricks. The photo resolution isn’t terrible, but there’s not much stabilization during flight times.
It’s a good beginner outdoor drone under 100 for people on a budget who need to get the hang of flying and taking video before investing in the big leagues. If you’re expecting stunning video, you’ll probably be disappointed.
-heavy enough to handle outdoor use
-comes with a camera to practice taking video
-has an altitude hold function
-has a one key return
-headless mode is available
-small flight time
-video resolution isn’t great
-slow yaw for tricks
The Force1 is a drone made for beginners and pros alike. It features live video controlling through the smart app and is an excellent budget buy for someone who wants to guide a drone through video mode or for families who want a single drone for kids and parents.
It’s FPV ready for tricks and maneuvers. Plus, it has an altitude hold function for taking aerial shots. It’s only about ten inches across, and it has a continual flight time of about 12 minutes. It has a range of about 260 feet.
It’s compatible with any smart device, but here’s the thing. You don’t have to use a smart device to control the drone. If you want to take advantage of flying without live video control, you can operate the remote alone. If you need video visuals, attach your smart device.
This makes it excellent for people who want a video control option, but don’t always have access to a smart device or wifi. It doesn’t render your drone useless. The included camera is a nice feature, but it’s a got a little bit of shake to the videos. Videos are 720p HD with a wide angle shot. It has an altitude hold option for stills.
It comes with extra propellers and two batteries, plus the drone, charger, and camera. Even though the range is somewhat limited, it’s best for backyard flying where you won’t need too much distance.
You can fly it inside, but it’s a little noisy. You probably want to stick to a limited area outside because of the limited range, and the weight of the drone makes it susceptible to wind. We can see this drone with a family, however, with a variety of abilities.
-optional live video controlling
-comes with extra propellers and batteries
-good mix of beginner and intermediate functions
-one button flight options
-light enough to get blown around by the wind
REDPAWZ FPV Racing Drone
Redpawz drone is an affordable all in one FPV drone. It includes a small, race ready drone, remote control, and a pair of FPV goggles. The 2.4 GHz control, the most common type, has a 6-axis gyroscope for perceiving changes in position and get accurate aerial positioning. Basically, it's a lot of the stuff necessary for a racing drone.
The goggles are well made and increase how we perceive the movement of the drone. They have a one button auto channel search for a natural pairing. It operates on 5.8G rather than wifi like toy drones. The view from the googles is crisp and clear, better than other toy drones at this budget.
It has all the racing drone features including headless mode, one-touch return, three speeds, 360-degree roll, and all directional choices. It’s meant to fly indoors and outdoors and has a flight time of about five to six minutes.
It’s got a range of only about 100 feet, but the drone is tiny enough that this is enough range to get some racing practice in. It only allows you to fly in stabilized mode, which is suitable for beginners but might bore more experienced flyers.
It is very tiny, only about an ounce, so fly it at your own risk in high winds. It’s definitely a good buy for someone who wants a beginner all in one FPV set up but isn’t ready to invest in a professional kit yet. If you’re hoping to carry a camera, this one isn’t going to be great.
-complete FPV system
-three different flight modes for a beginner or more advanced fliers
-goggle view is excellent for this budget tier
-uses professional 5.8G instead of wifi
-really short flight time (but does have a quick charge time)
-only stabilized flight mode
-if you have glasses, the goggles won’t fit over them
Holy Stone HS150 Bolt Bee
Holy Stone’s Bee is an adorable racing drone done in bee inspired colors yellow and black. It has LED lights on the front so you can locate it in low light conditions. Its design is intended to get rid of any unnecessary space and weight to make it faster.
The battery is designed to prevent overpowering and burnout. It delivers power more efficiently, and you can take the battery out completely to charge with a USB.
Flying the drone is pretty exciting. It’s super nimble, and the design of the arms makes the whole thing very maneuverable. Flight time is about nine minutes, and the drone can get up to 30 miles an hour. It’s pretty serious.
This drone is a good option for those looking to upgrade from a toy drone to something more like a professional racing drone. It comes with headless mode and flip mode. Plus, the remote is clearly labeled so even if you’ve never picked up a drone remote before, you know exactly what’s going on. It has a range of about 230 feet, plenty of space for a more serious race. It’s well balanced and can handle a little bit of wind.
The only issue is that it doesn’t come with live video control. You’ll have to upgrade for that.
-well balanced to withstand a little weather interference
-better designed battery for more power and better protection
-five speed modes for beginners through more advanced fliers
-controls are easy to understand
-arm design handles speed well
-no visual control
-the controller is bulky and might be difficult for small fingers
SYMA X5C-1 QuadCopter
A great choice for any novice to drones, the Syma X5C-1 Quadcopter is one of the best drones under 100 that anyone could hope to buy. With 360 degrees of full range motion and throwing flight function, along with a high stability during flight due to its design, this is a great drone with the true beginner in mind.
Along with a smooth stability in the air granted by its four propellers, the Syma X5C-1 Quadcopter also comes equipped with a 720p HD camera. This convenient addition makes the X5C one of the most affordable cheap drones with camera attachments. Wildly popular with beginners, and drones for kids are also a great gift for parents to give them and not break the bank at the same time.
With a size small enough to make it good for flying inside or outside, this affordable quadcopter also comes with a light attachment, which also makes it a great drone for flying at night. The downside to all of these attachments, however, is that the Syma X5C Quadcopter has a relatively short battery life. It can be flown for up to seven minutes before needing to be charged again, but spare batteries can be purchased and precharged, so that you'll never need to wait. Due to the popularity of this drone spare parts and accessories can be easy to come by.
When taking all of the specifications of the Smya X5C1 Quadcopter in mind, it is a drone best suited for the true beginner as a good starting drone. It can also be for those interested in experimenting with some light photography, or casual indoor or night flying. Other than the short battery life, this drone has it all, and remains one of the best drones for anyone interested in seeing just what drones are all about. The Syma X5C-1 a great starter drone with a camera in our opinion. The Syma is also an excellent drone to learn to fly.
- Very affordable for the quality
- 720p HD camera
- Durable drone
- Easy to get parts
- Can fly outdoor and indoor
- Short flight time
- Long charge time
Check out the video below for a quick overview on the Syma X5C-1
Yanni Syma X5UW
Another one of the Best Drones Under 100 with Camera
While it may be slightly more expensive than the previous drone we've already looked at, the Yanni Syma X5UW is quite possibly a top beginner drone currently on the market. As one of the few cheap drones with FPV capabilities, the Yanni by Syma is a great drone for the tech junkie and VR enthusiast alike. With its downloadable app, "SYMA GO", flying is both simple and fun. By drawing a route on the screen with your fingertips, the drone's autopilot will read it and follow the given path. This is possibly one of the best features of the Yanni Syma, as it is a drone that can be flown without the aid of a transmitter.
With an altitude hold mode, which keeps the drone at a specified altitude, the Yanni Syma can hover, ascend, and descend at the push of a button, making this one of the easier drones to manipulate in the air once you get the hang of it. At the same time, the Yanni does have similar downsides in terms of charging time, flight distance, and flight time. It takes over two hours to charge, can travel to fifty meters away, and its battery can last for up to ten minutes of flying time. Even with all of these faults in mind, it would be hard to do worse, considering all that you get with it. Best recommended for the more serious beginner interested in FPV drone racing.
- Two batteries
- Auto take off and land
- Good headless mode
- Can be flown using phone's accelerometer
- A little too light
- Video not very stable
Check out the video below for a quick overview on the Yanni Syma X5UW
UDI 818A HD Drone
Great drone for less than 100 bucks
Another one of the great drone on this list with the beginner in mind, the UDI 818A HD Drone is electric powered, radio controlled, and equipped with six gyroscopes for stabilization. Although it can take a decent beating, it is recommended that this drone not be flown above asphalt or concrete, as it is still made of plastic, and can break if improperly used.
The UDI 818A comes ready to go right from the box. The only thing necessary is to charge the battery, which can take up to an hour. While this can be annoying, the wait is worth it, as the 3.7V 500mAh LiPo battery lasts a full two to three minutes longer than Quadcopters like the Syma X5C. Along with that, included in the box are also four backup propellers, a mini screwdriver, battery charger, and USB connector for the attachable camera so that pictures and videos can be saved right on to your computer.
Although this HD Drone can be flown safely outside, make sure to avoid too much wind whenever possible. This is a lightweight drone, and as such it is susceptible to harsher weather conditions than some of the heavier, higher end drones. For hobbyists just itching to go out on blustery days when the wind is howling, try leaving the drone at home and taking a kite out instead.
The UDI 818A HD Drone is of more or less equal in terms of quality to the Syma X5C Quadcopter, however the popularity and spare part availability of Syma X5C give it the edge in our opinion. The UDI 818A takes our number three spot for the best drones under $100 and is another drone great for the beginner.
- Easy to find parts
- Great handling
- Easy setup
- Excellent price
- Low battery life
- Camera is not very good
Check out the video below with flight footage on the UDI 818A
Hubsan X4 (H107L)
Hubsan X4 (H107L)
One of the Best Small Drones Under 100
The Hubsan X4 makes the number four spot on our list. On the other end of the spectrum of affordable drones, the Husban X4 offers what few others in its category can. The first thing you'll notice is its size, as the Husban X4 is hardly bigger than a standard smart phone. Due to its smaller frame and lighter weight, this tiny drone is best when used indoors, or outside on a calm day with no wind, as it could get carried away by any particularly large gusts.
One of the most useful features of this drone that makes it great for beginners is how stable it remains while in the air. It even has a no-tip function to allow for an even smoother fly. This is the best small drone for less than $100, for the beginner looking to experiment with a fast, versatile, and extremely smooth flying drone at a shockingly affordable price. It comes with a 2.4ghz transmitter, spare propellers, and a USB charging cable, charges in forty minutes, and offers a decent amount of flight time averaging out at nine minutes.
The size and weight of this small drone make it perfect for travel and fun on rainy days, but after long enough it can leave something to be desired, as it features no camera or FPV function.
- Great to fly indoors
- Small and easy to travel with
- Easy setup
- Very low price
- Stable flight
- No spare parts
- No camera
- Very light, may not be good for outdoors on windy days
Have a quick look at the Hubsan X4 in the video below
Syma X11 R/C Quadcopter For Under $100
Syma X11 R/C Quadcopter For Under $100
An Affordable Drone
Finally, in the number five spot for this list is the Syma X11. For the drone enthusiasts who may feel a little intimidated by some of the larger drones, the Syma X11 R/C Quadcopter is a perfect alternative. This little R/C unit is 15 x 4 x 8 inches in its dimensions, and weighs just over fifteen ounces. It is a good drone for those who are more comfortable with other R/C units and want something that is easier to control with a price point that is reasonable.
The Syma X11 comes with a six axis stabilization system for smooth flight, along with a prop guard and spare set of four propellers. The 2.4ghz transmitter binds the quadcopter and the transmitter together so that other radios won't interfere with them, which can be a problem for other transmitters.
It's clear from the shorter battery charge time, short flying time, and flying distance of forty meters or less, that the X11 is a drone built for smaller purposes. The forty-minute charge time is perhaps the X11's most convenient feature, as it makes it one of the drones with the shortest charge times, while also able to live up to a comparable battery life of models like the X5C and UDI 818A.
The biggest downside to the Syma X11 is that it comes with no camera attachment. This is a good drone for beginners only interested in flying for fun and seeing what drones have to offer, but any hobbyist interested in taking pictures or video will want to keep looking. However those looking for an affordable drone, this one might be just what you are looking for.
- Fast charge time
- Performs good stunts
- Easy setup
- Easy to control
- Blades can break off easily
- No camera
- Short flying time
Check out a video review of the Syma X11 below
Tips For Choosing The Best Drones Under 100 Dollars
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good drone. Many good products can be accessed at less than 100 dollars. Granted, you will not get the best quality drone on the market. Certain premium features are not accessible at higher prices.
In this section of the post, we will help you choose the drone under that's suitable for you. Here are some aspects and features you should consider when shopping for a drone:
- Headless Flying Mode
Some drones are designed with the headless mode which makes it easier to operate the quadcopter. This feature allows you to fly the drone with no regard to the head of the device. Instead, the drone will move with respect to the direction of the remote controller. The headless flying mode is particularly important to beginners since they don’t have enough experience flying such devices.
- One-key return
This feature will make your drone come back to the remote controller with the push of a single button. Some devices in this price range also have a one-key take off feature which flies your drone when you press the given buttons. These features are ideal for inexperienced flyers since the quadcopter can easily get lost when it gets out of sight.
Most drones in this price range don’t have a high-quality camera. Those with cameras are usually lacking in other features. The camera is more important to people who are interested in aerial photography. When shopping for a drone with a camera, you should also check whether it can transmit live feeds from the quadcopter’s perspective. Others can simply take pictures.
Quadcopters at this price are unlikely to have high-quality cameras, but you still need to check the photo and video resolution of your camera. If you are not exactly interested in aerial photography, you can choose to pick a device with higher performance and simply attach a keychain camera.
- 360 Degree Flip
Some drones also come with the 360-degree flip feature. This can be entertaining, especially for kids. You simply need to push a button, and the drone will flip.
- Altitude Hold Mode
Closely related to the 360-degree flip feature is the altitude hold mode. This feature allows the drone to hover in the air and even ascend or descend, making it even easier to manipulate.
With the altitude hold mode, you will be able to focus more on the elevator controls and aileron since you don’t need to pay attention to the throttle stick. This feature is best used in calm environments since wind can affect the altitude readings of the drone.
- Gyro Stabilization
The gyroscope is meant to sense the angular velocity of the drone and, therefore, keep it stable while in motion. Ideally, you should go for a quadcopter with 6-axis gyro. These have two 3-axis gyros and are more resistant to displacement when flying.
If you choose a lighter drone, you should consider flying it indoors since the weather can affect the stability of the device. Manufacturers usually state the strength of the wind that would affect the quadcopter, and these guidelines should be followed strictly. Otherwise, you may end up losing your drone.
- The Flight Time
Drones are designed to fly for limited periods. Products within this price range are bound to have short flight times, but you can easily get one that can fly for 10 minutes. The shortest flight time should be five minutes.
You can lengthen the flight time by buying additional batteries. In some cases, the drone will need resting time between flights, so you should read through your manual first. Using the drone in fair weather will allow you to fly it for a longer period since it can turn and make other movements easily.
- Charging Time
The batteries can take up to 2 hours to charge fully. You should consider the charging time when shopping for a drone, especially if you don’t plan to get extra batteries. People with multiple batteries can just charge them a day before and enjoy flying the quadcopter for some time the following day.
To enjoy longer flights, you may have to get rid of the camera since it adds weight to the drone. Also, the cameras are normally designed to connect to the copter, and this consumes the battery faster. You can choose to upgrade your battery, although this may eventually make the quadcopter heavier.
The distance you can fly the drone can be anything over 50 meters. Kids and inexperienced flyers will enjoy using a drone with a range of only 50 meters. However, other people might need to get one with a range of at least 100 meters. This is usually the best available range for drones at this price point.
In some places, flying drones beyond your level of sight is limited or even prohibited. If you live in an area with such laws, you shouldn’t concern yourself much with finding a quadcopter with a long range.
The weight of the drone will affect its speed. If you are looking for a racing drone, be sure to go for a light one. For the best performance, you may have to abandon other features such as the first-person view (FPV) camera.
If your drone is heavier, you may have to register it before flying it for the first time. Lightweight drones are also not suitable for use in harsh weather. Such devices are usually meant to be used indoors.
- The Warranty
Drones are covered by warranty agreements, and these can be used to assess the quality of the product. Typically, quadcopters of lower quality will have shorter warranties while those of higher quality will have more extended warranties. It is important to go through the agreement and the user manual since not all types of damages will be covered.
- Spare Parts Availability
As a rookie flyer, you will almost certainly crush your quadcopter as you learn how to fly it. That is why manufacturers usually include spare parts in the box. For a drone under 100 dollars, you should look for at least four extra propellers and one mini screwdriver.
The box should also have a charger for your battery. If your drone has a camera attached to it, you should also expect a USB cable to transfer the pictures and videos to your laptop or phone.
- The Controller
The controller or transmitter is meant to help you manipulate the quadcopter remotely and wirelessly. If you are looking for a hobby-grade quadcopter, you should find a controller with at least four channels.
Most quadcopters have controllers with 2.4 GHz frequency. If you want longer ranges, you should look for those with lower frequencies. Your controller should also have an ergonomic feel, meaning the keys and buttons should be well positioned. The best way to tell how a transmitter feels in the hand is by referring to user reviews.
What is the Verdict?
The Syma X5C-1 was our top pick for this roundup, for the reasons of stability, wind-resistance and just being a great all around quadcopter is this price range. The popularity of this model means you will be able find lots of spare parts and find more answers to problems when you have questions. That being said, all the models we reviewed here make for great drones and a good bang for the buck. We hope the information we provided helps you find the best drone under $100.
Enter your text here...