I am sure all of you are aware of the fact that drones are everywhere around us. First, they were considered as secret army stuff, but lately, they are considered as modern man’s toys. At first, there were not so many drone manufacturers and thus, they were quite expensive in their early days. But that has changed because lots of startups are focusing on drones. They developed a healthy competition on the market causing the prices to drop significantly lower than a few years back. Nowadays, we can find small drones (without cameras) for as little as $20. But, these drones are miniature (they can fit in the palm of your hand) and, quite frankly, I am not even sure is it OK for me to call them drones in the first place. Other very popular category is Drones Below $200. Don’t worry, I am not going to be showing you 10 of these cam-less kids toys… Nope! What I am going to do is show you best “real” drones that you can find for less than a hundred bucks, we’ll find out what’s the best drone under $100! That sounds awesome, right? Well, I bet you are eager to find out more about them so I’ll cut to the chase and jump straight to business!
Table : Drones under $100
- table coming soon
Not seeing what you’re looking for? Here’s list of Drones Below $300 you might be interested in!
What do RTF and BNF stand for?
If you are in the process of buying your first and haven’t done a lot of research on drones, chances are high you stumbled upon abbreviations such as RTF and BNF were left puzzled. Well, don’t despair since you can find thorough explanations down below:
Short for Ready To Fly. Drones with RTF tags in names/descriptions represent fully assembled models with everything needed to take them out for a flight straight out of the box. Battery, transmitter, receiver, and all that good stuff – RTF models have it all and provide the quickest setup for enjoying your first drone piloting steps.
Short for Bind and Fly. If you stumble upon a BNF drone, it means it’s fully assembled but requires binding before flying. What this essentially means is that you will have to provide your own transmitter. To seasoned drone pilots, this is not an issue since they always have spare transmitters available. On the other hand, if you are a first-time user, you might want to hold onto RTF models for now.
What to expect from entry-level drones?
In terms of performance, you simply cannot expect amazing, premium-like numbers. That’s now how things work… Drones under $100 perhaps aren’t as advanced (both in features and specifications) as top flight models, but what’s important is that they’re able to provide just as much fun. This is even more true for beginners and first-time flyers who will be amazed no matter what drone is in question.
Still, in terms of specifications, drones under $100 generally have around 5-10 minutes of flight time and 50-100 meters of operating range. Include a 2MPX camera in the equation together with a gyroscope and basic controller and you covered half drones featured down below.
Who are these drones aimed at?
I’d be straight up lying if I told you these aren’t meant for beginners… because most of them are. Sure, they can keep an experienced flyer entertained too… But beginners are in their blood (or, should I say wires?) since they provide a worry-free experience, price-wise of course, served as a jumping board to the hobby.
Likewise, if you are thinking of buying one of these suckers as a present for your children/grandchildren/nephews, you can rest assured the decision is on point. Kids, generally, enjoy toy drones and, truth be told, buying them a super expensive one would be like throwing money into the garbage. Why? Well, first of all, no matter how talented they are, kids tend to crash their drones in a frequent manner. Second, I doubt buying a DJI Phantom 4 Pro would bring a lot of benefits to kids as they’re not nearly skilled (and knowledgeable) enough to use its features in a handy way.
What I am basically trying to say here is that you shouldn’t spend a lot of money on a drone for kids. As a matter of fact, drones under $100… heck, even drones under $200 are more than enough to keep them happy. Plus, they’ll be able to hone their skills in a “cheap but safe” environment and become ready for a mid-tier upgrade somewhere in the future… once they get older.
Parts availability is of crucial importance if you want an enjoyable drone piloting experience. Drones break, don’t think they don’t. Heck, even premium models need new propellers or motors every once in awhile… What I’m basically trying to say here is – don’t think you won’t need spare parts. That means you should do a research and see if they are available for the model you’re thinking of buying. Most commonly, you’ll find yourself in need of extra propellers and motors… especially if your drone is using brushed ones. If they get stuck in the grass after a rough landing, chances are high they might end up burning out. Extra batteries are always nice to have – they’re worth the investment, that’s for sure!
FINALLY, HERE COMES THE LIST OF TOP 10 BEST DRONES UNDER $100!
10. Syma X5C
Syma is, by far, the most popular entry-level drone brand. They have a huge number of drones available, but the most popular one is their X5C. A dirt cheap drone with a lot to showcase. What exactly is it capable of? Let’s take a closer look and find out!
Syma X5C sports a clean white finish with 2 spare sets of blades, one blue and other red. As a matter of fact, you get a whole heap of accessories in the package: a carrying case, extra Li-Po batteries, a 1-year warranty, 4GB Micro SD Card, charging cable, battery charger and to top it all off – a users manual… which, let’s be realistic, no one ever reads!
Furthermore, Xyma X5C has amazingly responsive controls so your flying experience is bound to be awesome. With this being said, it is one of the most beginner-friendly models currently available on the market. In addition to all of this, it also sports a 2MP camera which can shoot decent quality videos. What’s even better, as many other models featured in this list, it does not require the FAA registration. Lastly, specifications – Syma X5C can travel up to 60 meters and has 7 minutes of airtime. Charging time goes around one and a half hour mark, so picking up a few extra batteries would significantly improve your experience.
9. MJX X300C
Moving one step at a time and now we’re standing in front of MJX X300C. This little birdie might not be the most popular one out of the bunch, but it sure can keep you well-entertained. With built-in prop guards, miniature 0.3MPX camera and a dedicated app for FPV purposes, MJX X300C could prove to be the optimal drone for some of you.
The looks of MJX X300C are not exactly godlike. It has a white finish with 2 blue colored blades on the front. Although, on the bright side, it does have a couple of interesting features – headless mode and one key return. Headless mode represents a type of flight in which the drone doesn’t have a front and back side. It moves in all directions depending on your joystick. One key return function speaks for itself – it allows the drone to fly back to the controller with a single push of a button.
Specifications wise, MJX X300C can be controlled until it reaches 100 meters. Airtime is solid too – 8 minutes. The biggest downside in this department is charging time – 2 hours. That’s why I warmly suggest going for an extra battery, or heck, even two wouldn’t hurt.
8. Blade Nano
As its name strongly implies, Blade Nano is an incredibly small drone that can easily fit into the palm of your hand. With optional prop guards, excellent agility and the implementation of advanced features, Blade Nano could prove to be a worthy contented inside the “under $100” market section. Let’s take a closer look and see what does it bring to the table!
First of all, it needs to be said what an awesome job the folk over at Blade did with the design of this beauty. It sports black/yellow color combination and a well-built centerpiece out of which 4 prop arms stretch out. 2 rear props are black while 2 in the front are yellow, nicely finishing up the design in a sleek manner. Enough about the design now, let’s talk more about what’s this baby all about! In terms of features, Blade Nano is equipped with Blade’s exclusive SAFE technology that incorporates extra stability and agility that’ll greatly help you during your flights. Even more so if you’re a beginner.
It is powered up by 4 brushed motors. Even though these are known to burn out occasionally, Blade Nano uses high-quality ones so there should not be any worries when it comes to that. Additionally, it’s also noteworthy to add that we’re talking about a BNF model here. This means you will have to supply your own DSM2 or DSMX transmitter if you want to get this baby flying. Lastly, Blade Nano can endure more than 7 minutes of flying time. On the other hand, operating range depends on your transmitter. But, generally speaking, you should expect 30-50 meters with most entry-level DSMX or DSM2 models.
7. Holy Stone HS170C Predator 2
Perhaps not the most known drone manufacturer, Holy Stone has a cute little drone prepared for us. These folk managed to do a great job with their newest model – HS170C Predator 2. The drone itself looks outright amazing with its minimalistic black finish with 2 white blades in the front. It even sports a miniature camera, but more on that later. For now, let’s see what sort of performance can we get out of this miniature drone.
First of all, it needs to be said that the range isn’t as good as I initially hoped. You’re only going to get around 50 meters which could be problematic for some of you. On the other hand, airtime is decent at 8 minutes, so nothing to add there. Charging time is good as well – for those 8 minutes of airtime you’ll need to charge this baby up for roughly an hour.
Lastly, like I’ve already mentioned above – Holy Stone HS170C Predator 2 sports a miniature 2MPX camera. It is able to capture 720p videos (in only 30FPS though) and comes with a 4 gig Micro SD card that’s used for storage. Furthermore, Holy Stone HS170C Predator 2 has great wind resistance and is generally very easy to control. All in all, if you’re looking for an agile mini drone, look no further as Holy Stone HS170C is exactly that!
6. JXD 509W
JXD 509W is another massively popular drone that’s been a solid choice for many first time flyers all around the globe. And it’s not a surprise! This bad boy features an X Shaped design which looks rather cool. Combine that with its silver / black finish and you got yourself one of the prettiest drones featured in this list. But, looks aren’t the only thing JXD 509W can brag around with…
You see, this birdie also possesses an HD camera that is able to broadcast flight live (AKA FPV). In addition to that, it also features a one key return function which enables it to return from where it took off with a push of a single button… and a LED light for those cool night flights.
Moving forward to the specifications, JXD 509W starts to encounter first problems. Even though we’re at an extremely low price point, it’s still bad to see up to 50 meters of operating range. It’s just too low… Luckily, the battery makes sure to wash out that bitter feeling with up to 8 minutes of airtime. So, in the end, I’d like to make a small summary on this one – Even though it has certain drawbacks (I’m talking about range, of course), I believe JXD 509W is still an excellent drone that’s doing great in terms of sales. Plus, you get extra parts within the package including an extra 800mAh battery that’s going to provide you with a lot more flying time. If that’s not enough for you to buy this beauty, then you’re a tough cookie to break… Luckily, we still have a couple of great models ahead of us – perhaps one of them will bring you down to your knees!
5. PowerLead Pqad D015
One of the best drones under $100 is surely the PowerLead Pqad D015. Not only does it work with an insane stability and is a proper breeze to fly even in stronger winds, but its max distance is around 150 meters which is amazing in this price range. But, is the range and outstanding stability enough to take the golden middle on this list? Let’s check it out and see for ourselves!
Even though it might look big and bulky on the pictures, the truth is PowerLead Pqad D015 is a fairly small drone. However, it still has a set of nice features that will surely surprise you once you start flying this thing around the backyard. Most notable ones are failsafe headless mode, 360 rolls, precise hovering and a dedicated 2MPX camera. Aerial footage is actually pretty good since the drone is stable. With that said, I’m sure PowerLead Pqad D015 will amaze you in this department.
Lastly, it needs to be said that this little bugger is fully charged in less than 90 minutes and its battery can withstand up to 8 minutes of flight time. Unfortunately, it does not feature FPV mode, but it surely makes up for it with everything else it has to offer!
4. UDI U845
If you are looking for an alien-like drone, then your search has come to an end. Meet UDI U845, a UFO(ish) drone with awesome specifications and outstanding design that keeps one thing in focus – durability. Yes, it’s true – if you want a highly durable drone that will survive a fair share of mishaps, go for UDI u845 and you won’t be disappointed.
This UFO hexacopter incorporates a sturdy frame that has built in prop guards for ensuring ultimate safety during flying (and crashing). It’s nicely stable as well. Come to think of it, you can even use this baby indoor (looking for best indoor drones?) if you want – it’s that safe! In terms of features, UDI U845 incorporates headless mode, FPV (WiFi FPV unfortunately), and one key 360 flips. It works with a miniature HD camera that’s actually surprisingly good.
Specifications-wise, our little UFO here can fly up to 9 minutes which is slightly over the average numbers for this price point. Moving forward, it’s also noteworthy to add its operating range which is not that good. You’re looking at roughly 50 meters… The FPV range is even shorter – around 20 meters… but you can’t expect anything more from a WiFi powered model. Still, UDI U845 sweeps the ground with competition due to its highly durable body. So, if durability and SciFi design are your thing, UDI U845 is a no brainer!
3. Tarantula X6
The bronze medal for the best drone under $100 goes to Tarantula X6. We are talking about an insanely popular (and beginner friendly) drone which incorporates stellar features and specifications to follow. It’s easy to control, has decent stability and is equipped with a stellar camera which can be used for recording aerial videos and images. So, for all of you looking for an aerial photography go for dirt cheap, continue reading about Tarantula X6 and you might even go for it!
First things first – Tarantula X6 comes with a mini HD camera that records videos in 720p. It can be tilted upwards and downwards, allowing you to take full control over your recordings. Also, it is easily removable too, meaning you can do a camera upgrade when you stumble upon a good deal in the future. Regarding the features, Tarantula X6 has one key 3D flips, LED lights and shock camera mounts that increase video stability and eliminate that annoying jello effects.
In the end, I’d just like to say a thing or two about its general performance and specifications. Tarantula X6 runs on a 1200mAh LiPo battery. It’s not the most powerful battery out there, but it can still hold this beauty in the air for up to 10 minutes. Last but not least – the range of Tarantula X6 stands tall at amazing 300 meters, making it the longest flying drone on this list. So, if you want to spy on your neighbours or buy a neighborhood patrol drone for dirt cheap, then Tarantula X6 could prove to be the best option!
2. Hubsan X4 H107D
Even though at the time of its release, this drone cost slightly more than $100, the price has dropped recently and is now a proper contender for the best drone under hundred bucks. Come to think of it, Hubsan H107D provides unparalleled value for money and is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a cheap, entry-level model. So, without much further adue, let’s see what is this little fella all about!
In terms of performance/specifications, Hubsan H107D is standing tall with decent numbers. If we are to be more precise here, it has 8 minutes of flight time and up to 100 meters of lag-free range. Sure, it’s not the best out of the bunch… but it’s still above average, which is nice. In terms of flight stability, I’d dare to say Hubsan H107D is in the middle of the pack. It’s not too shabby but there are issues during stronger winds.
What separates Hubsan H107D from the crowd is its ultimately pleasing FPV capability. Even though there are WiFi versions out there (they are even cheaper than this version that I’m describing here), today we’re focusing on the 5.8G FPV edition that comes packed together with a controller featuring 4.3-inch LCD screen. FPV works up to 100 meters just like the stock operating range. Stock? Well, yeah – I almost forgot to tell you there are plenty of modifications you can do to this little fella. As a matter of fact, modding was a part why this baby is ranking so high on this list.
1. UDI U818A HD+
At the moment, UDI U818A HD+ drone is the best model under $100 This drone features a nice black design that will surely amaze your inner child. In terms of reliability, this is as safe as they get. Plus, as an added form of durability, UDI U818A HD+ has built-in propeller guards which spread across the entire build. But, are prop guards the only thing this baby is capable of? Of course not… why would it be ranked #1 if it’s bad…
UDI U818A HD+ possesses a 6 axis gyro for extra stability when flying during strong wind resistance. It is able to achieve a wide variety of stunts which won’t take too much practice in order to make them perfect. It features headless mode which eliminates the need to adjust its position before flying. Due to its small weight, UDI U818A HD+ does not require the FAA registration. In addition to all of this, this model also features a handy return home function which is activated with a single push of a button.
The HD+ in its name represents a miniature 2MPX camera that’s able to shoot videos in 720p. It’s decent enough for casual aerial photography but it won’t amaze you with its quality. On the other hand, what might amaze you are specifications. More precisely, I’m talking about roughly 70 to 100 meters of operating range and cca 8 to 10 minutes of flight time. Not bad for a drone that costs less than $100, right?
Now that you had the chance to look at some of the cheapest drones under $100 currently available on the market, I am sure you have a better understanding of what to look for in one. As you could see above, the main specifications for drones are as camera quality, battery duration, and flight range. In addition to this, it’s nice to have a drone with a sturdy frame so you don’t have to worry about breaking it every time you make a bad maneuver. Another feature that some drones have (don’t expect it at this price range though) is water resistance. You would be surprised at how many drones have it, but unfortunately, you will have to dig deeper into your budget if you want one of those…