By Etha Mathilde
Updated June 29, 2018
Best Cheap Drones 2018

Drones have become the new fun gadget on the market and even pros use it too. However, If your needs are more attuned to a beginners’ model, its ideal to play around with the cheaper drones. Good thing is there are drones available on the market now that are under a $100.

As you get started though, it would be best to also check the FAA website to understand rules and regulations. Yup, there’s some level of governance over the use of a drone.

When you’re ready, we’ve gathered the best drones at an affordable price.  These inexpensive models are good enough to take real pictures and videos too. This guide can help you can choose the best one for you depending on your needs.

Product
Image
ModelBrandFly Time / Charge TimeOther Features 
DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone with Wifi Camera Live Video One Key Return Function Headless Mode 2.4GHz 4 Chanel 6 Axis Gyro RTF, Compatible with 3D VR HeadsetX5CSyma7 mins. / 100 mins.• Equipped with HD camera
• 6-axis gyro stabilization system
• Spread spectrum remote technology
• Anti-interference ability
Buy on Amazon
SYMA X5C 2.4G 6 Axis Gyro HD Camera RC Quadcopter with 2.0MP CameraMJX X400WDBPOWER9 mins. / 120 mins.• Equipped with WiFi camera
• 6-axis gyro stabilization system
• 3D flip and roll
• One-key turn
• 2-speed switchable mode
• Headless mode
• Out of range and low-battery alarm
• Compatible with 3D VR Headset
Buy on Amazon
Haktoys HAK905 7' 4 Channel 2.4GHz LED Light Up RC Quadcopter with 6 Axis Gyroscope and 360° Spins and Turns - Colors May VaryHAK905Haktoyss9 mins. / 45 mins.• FAA drone registration not required
• 2-speed modes
• Headless mode
• Out of range and low-battery alarm
• Compatible with 3D VR Headset
Buy on Amazon
DROCON U31W Navigator FPV Drone for Beginners with 2MP HD WI-FI Camera RC Quadcopter with Altitude Hold and Headless ModeU31WDrocon7 mins. / 30 mins.• With angled 1200 HD camera
• Altitude hold mode
• One-key turn
• 2-speed switchable mode
• Headless mode
• Emergency stop
• Out of range and low-battery alarm
• Compatible with 3D VR Headset
• Smart phone control mode
Buy on Amazon
Hubsan X4 H107C+ PLUS H107D+-03 Motor Set of 4 motors for Quadcopter Drone - FAST FREE SHIPPING FROM Orlando, Florida USA!H107C+Hubsan7 mins. / 80 mins.• 6-axis gyro stabilization system
• Altitude hold
• Multiple flight modes
• True Direction function
Buy on Amazon
Holy Stone F181W Wifi FPV Drone with 720P Wide-Angle HD Camera Live Video RC Quadcopter with Altitude Hold, Gravity Sensor Function, RTF and Easy to Fly for Beginner, Compatible with VR HeadsetCF181Holy Stone9 mins. / 80 mins.• Altitude hold function
• One-key turn
• Headless mode
• 3600 4-way split
• 50-100 meter range
Buy on Amazon
UDI U818A-HD 2.4GHz 4 CH 6 Axis Headless RC Quadcopter w/ HD Camera, Extra BatteryU818AUDI9 mins. / 120 mins.• Headless/IOC function
• 6-axis gyro stabilization system
• 3600 eversion
• 2-megapixel camera
• Extra LiPO battery and 4GB memory
Buy on Amazon

Our picks work well for both indoor and outdoor use with fly times between 7 to 9 minutes of continued use.  We’ve included picks that have kid/beginner functions like one-key controls and switchable 2-speed options too. Moreover, even on a tight budget, these picks include extra features and accessories that make for additional fun.

The DBPOWER MJX X400 comes from a well-known name and is popular among budget favorites. See, this sub-$100 model tops the drone world’s budget options from great design to stellar performance.

The DBPOWER MJX X400W easily earns our “Best in Value” for its full-featured set at the best price. For one, it shoots 720 HD videos that can be directly accessible on your phone. With this, you get the full drone’s-eye-view on your phone screen as you keep it fastened on the remote control.  You see what your drone sees from the sky as you drive it.

Also packed in this model’s design is an easy control option for “headless mode”. It means regardless of orientation, you can easily control the drone’s direction as you please.  This makes it an excellent beginner drone.

Moreover, you can enjoy a 3D view of what the DBPOWER MJX X400W captures by connecting a VR headset.

Some customers say it’s too light and gets blown off course easily.

Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Captures 720HD videos with WiFi camera
  • 6-axis gyro stabilization system
  • 3D flip and roll
  • One-key turn
  • 2-speed switchable mode
  • Headless mode
  • Out of range and low-battery alarm
  • Compatible with 3D VR Headset
  • 9-minutes flying time
Cons
  • Connectivity unstable in longer range
  • Too light for windy locations/weather

Costing less than $100 with an excellent feature set, the DBPOWER MJX X400W makes for a great beginner drone.  More than that, it has a good camera and a WiFi feature that gives you the drone’s view on your phone. Getting all that under an affordable price tag, easily wins it our “Best Value” title.

Most didn’t think they’d actually get a decent drone under $50, but that was before the Syma X5C. It makes a great choice for quadcopter fans and there are great reasons why it’s one of the top choices in Amazon. That’s because despite being cheap, you get a good feature set with the X5C.

For a low price tag you get the perfect beginner drone with a 720p camera. With that, you can enjoy capturing eagle-eye views of the world around us.  Additionally, it’s designed with a six-axis gyroscope for stable flying indoors and outdoors. However, you’ll want to keep it away from windy weather and locations.

Controls are easy and accessible over a 150 ft. range. That’s a good distance to play in the air for beginners.  Moreover, while there can be some drawbacks with an inexpensive model, the X5C is quite sturdy. However, should you ever damage this unit from any first timer crashes, you’ll have no problem purchasing cheap parts for replacement,

When it comes to flying time, you get up to 7-minute flight time with model from a 90-minute charge.

Easily gets blown away by winds.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Built-in camera
  • Easy available cheap parts
  • 150 ft. range
  • 6-axis gyro stabilization system
  • Spread spectrum remote technology
  • Anti-interference ability
Cons
  • Too light for strong winds
  • 7-minute flying time

The X5C offers a fantastic deal for first-timers.  It’s a drone already popular in the quadcopter world. With a fair battery life, a built-in camera and stellar range for beginners, we highly recommend it considering its overall value.

Haktoys HAK905 makes a fun night-party toy out of a drone with its design. It comes with a set of frames that lights up in colorful bright LED lights. It’s a beauty flying over a dark indoor space or outside the night sky.

More than fancy lights, the HAK905 also comes with 2-speed controls and can do 3600 aerial flips. Then, with its Li-Po battery, you get to enjoy uninterrupted flying time of 9 minutes from a 45-minute charge. Moreover, it can fly over a wide 350-range without interruption from other drones in the same area. That’s because it uses a 2.4GHz frequency for controls.

Finally, with its six-axis stabilization tech you can enjoy a smooth flight with the HAK905 without hitting walls.

Most user complaints were due to defective units. Other than that, the product works great for its price.

Pros
  • 9-minutes of flying time
  • Colorful LED lit frames
  • Six-axis stabilization tech
  • FAA drone registration not required
  • Uses 2.4GHz frequency
  • 2-speed modes
  • Headless mode
  • Out of range and low-battery alarm
  • Compatible with 3D VR Headset
Cons
  • Short range, ideal for indoor use
  • Too lightweight

The HAK905 packs a ton of fun. Kids especially enjoy its light-up feature and find this model easy to control. Its range and build is best for indoors but it’s still okay for outdoor use. Additionally, though its range isn’t as great for outdoors compared to the Drocon U31W it’s still a lot cheaper. It’s definitely a drone newbies can enjoy.

The Drocon U31W may be a budget option but it packs an excellent quadcopter feature set that surprises most buyers. It earns our “Best for Outdoors” title for a number of good reasons. For one it provides HD video and pictures with a solid 1200 wide range lens.

More than an HD camera, what makes the Drocon U31W perfect for outdoors is its legit barometer. This feature built-in to its “altitude hold mode” lets you hold your drone altitude accurately. This means being able to sustain continued flight at the same level while you capture perfect selfies and aerial shots. Plus, you get awesome shots too with its full 720p HD camera.

When it comes to controls, you can choose to rely on its standalone controller or use its smartphone control mode. Controls are easy and intuitive coupled with a VR video mode for easy remote flying via your phone. Its easy controls make it great for children and beginners.

Now, if you’re worried about getting cheap for cheap, you’ll be assured with its 1-year warranty. This means your unit is protected from any factory defects.

Users feel the flying time is too short.

Pros
  • Intuitive controls
  • Smartphone control mode
  • Altitude hold mode supported by barometer
  • 720p camera
  • Comparable to expensive brands
Cons
  • Batteries not included
  • 7-minute flying time

With a great range, altitude control and other amazing features, the Drocon U31W makes an impressive choice for its price. While it’s marketed for children, this full-featured drone impresses any age.

Sometimes, great things come in small packages. In this light, the inexpensive H107C+ drone. This miniature drone comes with great features for a fun flying experience, with a price tag under $50.

You wouldn’t want to practice on a pricey model, which makes a low cost mini drone a good place to start. The Hubsan H107C may be cheap but it gives you a good 150 feet range and comes with a 720p camera. The camera may not get you award-winning pics but quality is good enough You can keep flying for 7mins on a 40-minute charge and keep it stable afloat with its altitude hold feature.

If you’re worried about controlling this palm-sized model, there’s not much to worry about. Since it has a six-axis gyro it gets increased stability. It keeps a smooth and stable flight enough for you to capture nice pictures from the flight.

A few customers had problems with calibration due to defective units though replaced without a problem.

Pros
  • 6-axis gyro stabilization system
  • Altitude hold
  • Multiple flight modes
  • True Direction function
Cons
  • Not the best camera
  • 150 ft. range
  • Only 7-minutes of flying time

The Hubsan H170C+ flies on a fair battery life for its size and price. It also comes with a good quality camera for a miniature and provides semi-stable footage. Additionally, this model is easy to control and comes with beginner features to help a newbie learn to fly. Considering its very affordable price point, it’s quite a miniature wonder and a good choice for miniature drone fans.

If you’re graduating from introductory drones, here’s solid choice for intermediate drone fliers, the Holy Stone F181. It’s an affordable quadcopter that takes you to the next level of drone flying.

The Holy Stone F181 is easy to fly and comes with an altitude hold function for taking steady photos.  Meanwhile, as you learn controls you avoid damages with the help of its propeller protectors. Additionally, its body is made of sturdy ABS plastic that protects from any altitude bumps.

Furthermore, controls are easy to get used to with its video-game-console like design. This remote is powered by 4x AA batteries that last a good 30 days of use. Meanwhile, the unit itself is good for 9 minutes of flying time on an 80-minute charge.

As for pictures, its 2-megapixel camera may not be the most impressive. However, it shoots stable pictures.

Pros
  • Propeller protectors
  • Sturdy build with ABS plastic body
  • 9-minute flying time
  • Altitude Hold
  • Headless mode
  • One-key turn
  • 4-way 3600 flip feature
Cons
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • No live feed/streaming via smartphone

The Holy Stone F181 comes with sturdy build and good feature set. However, its camera isn’t as impressive and cannot provide a live feed of the drone’s view. To be realistic though, this feature usually comes with the more expensive models.

Taking off beginner training wheels like headless mode, and the one-key turn is can mean preparing for some damage. However, this drone is sturdy and ready for that. This makes the Holy Stone F181 a fantastic drone choice for intermediates.

Looking for the best place to start in the drone world? The UDI-U818A is the best affordable choice to get you ready before you jump into more advanced flying.

An early note though, equipped with a 2 mega-pixel camera, it doesn’t have the best for video and photography. However, if you’re simply out to sharpen your flying skills and practice on a cheap model it’s a great choice. Just keep the expectations on par with its price range.

The UDI 818A is easy to fly even for an inexperienced pilot. The controller: sports, albeit boxy and comfortable, provide an easy to understand control design. It’s not too hard to keep this bird in the air.

Meanwhile, though the UDI 818A doesn’t have a smartphone/WiFi device feature, you can rely on its LCD display. It gives a view of thrust, battery level, and signal strength while you fly. Better keep an eye on this info too because it has a 90-feet max height with no warning feature. That’ll help you keep it from dropping off the sky.

This drone gives you an 8-minute flying time through its 500mAh battery. It takes a long 2-hour recharging time but you can also opt to purchase spare batteries for only $10.

Pros
  • Headless/IOC function
  • 6-axis gyro stabilization system
  • Easy-to-learn controls
  • 8-minute flying time
  • Cheap extra batteries
  • LCD display of drone information
  • 90 feet max height
Cons
  • No warning system for low battery
  • 2-hours to charge
  • No WiFi/smartphone control options

The UDI 818A is fun to fly and easy to keep in the air. It gives a fair amount of flying time for its price.  It’s easy to understand controls and stable 6-axis gyro makes it the perfect drone for beginners.

Conclusion

The best affordable drones come with good flight time and recharge time. We’ve listed models that go from 7 to 9 minutes in-flight. Despite being under a $100, some of these quadcopters even come with smartphone control and an HD camera. For a competitive price, you get cool features, a lot of fun and outstanding video and images.

The best of the bunch? We’ve picked the DBPOWER MJX X400. For a fair recharge time, it gives one of the best flight times. Plus, it has a camera good for HD video and pictures. Overall, it has an impressive feature set considering its price. Feel like we missed something among our picks? Let us know in the comments below.

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