With drones on a steep rise in recent months, people have finally accepted them. More and more of them are opting to buy one for themselves or their kids. If you are among them, then you have come to the right place. Your son / daughter wants a drone and doesn’t accept NO for an answer? You are actually thinking of buying one but you don’t have a single clue on what to look for or how much money you want to spend on it? Well, I got you covered with this awesome list of 10 best budget friendly drones where we’ll see what’s the best drone under $200. Later you can check out our list of Drones Below $300. All drones featured on this list are under $200 which means you will not have to rob your piggy bank to buy your LO a nice new toy.
Table : Drones under $200
|10. UDI U818A||30m||9min||See price now|
|9. JJRC H8D||200m||10min||See price now|
|8. Traxxas Alias||100m||15min||See price now|
|7. Syma X8W||100m||7min||See price now|
|6. HUBSAN H107D X4||100m||7min||See price now|
|5. Parrot AR. Drone 2.0||50m||12min||See price now|
|4. Kidcia Quad||100m||10min||See price now|
|3. AEE AP9||500m||25min||See price now|
|2. Holy Stone HS300||150m||15min||See price now|
|1. MJX Bugs 3||300m||15min||See price now|
Types of drones under $200
Let’s face it, for under $200 you will not be able to find the perfect, all-around drone that can be used for racing, tricks and casual aerial photography. These models are highly limited to one and perhaps two of those. For instance, you might pick up a smooth 5.8G FPV racer that’s agile enough to pull out all sorts of tricks… but it’s camera and stability aren’t that good to suit your aerial photography needs. Or, on the other hand, you get a stable model such as MJX Bugs 3 which can output perfect aerial footage when paired up with a nice camera… but it’s too bulky and slow for tricks and doesn’t feature 5.8G for FPV. So, with that in mind, let’s take a quick look at what different types of drones are all about!
Most notable brands in this price range
Realistically, Syma is still having a tight grasp on drone market below the $200 price point. With a lot of powerful (and highly popular) models available, there’s nothing stopping them from growing even bigger. Another thing that proves their dominance is the sheer number of copycats which are trying to pick fruit off their X5 and X8 models.
Moving forward, there are 2 more brands that are standing tall in this section – Hubsan and Holy Stone. Even though Hubsan is now slowly pivoting to high and medium-end markets, they still feature a few stellar models under (or around) the $200-mark. Holy Stone, on the other hand, is enjoying a lot of popularity with HS170 Predator, F181, and HS300, all of which are exceptional models just waiting to be picked up.
Accessories you should know about :
Even though all models from the list below are RTF (ready to fly), you should still consider buying some extras. In addition to spare parts, and I can’t stress enough just how important they are, you should also consider purchasing the following:
TOP 10 DRONES UNDER $200
10. UDI U818A
I’m going to start this list off with an interesting looking model that has amazing specifications. It’s called UDI U818A and could very well suit all your cravings for drone flying. So, without much further adue, let’s jump straight to action and see what’s this little fella all about!
UDI U818A packs an astonishing number of features for way below $200. The best feature (in my opinion) is the support for VR headsets. This means that its FPV camera can be used to display live video feed to your VR headset. Combine that with a quality 2MPX HD camera, bonus power bank which quadruples its flight time and an industry standard 6-axis gyro stabilizer and you got yourself a pretty good drone for a relatively cheap price.
In terms of specifications, this is where UDI U818A shines the most. Believe it or not, this little bugger can fly up to 10 minutes and go as far as 100 meters away from its controller. Even though we’re at the top of this list, on your way to the best model you will realize that these are generally the average (if not above that, come to think of it) specifications you can expect. So, with that in mind, there’s no doubt UDI U818A is a worthy purchase!
9. JJRC H8D
On the 9th spot we have an interesting drone made by JJRC. It’s called H8D and possesses excellent FPV capabilities paired together with a hobby-styled controller and a whole bunch of accessories. But, why is it placed so low on the list then? Well, it doesn’t have the best specifications which are clearly its biggest downside…
JJRC H8D comes in a beautiful blue aluminum case with quality foam making sure everything is perfectly fitted in its place. It features FPV with a separate LCD screen that comes with the package. It is easily mountable on the transmitter and even sports a sleek shader which will come in handy on sunny days. Furthermore, JJRC H8D’s exact dimensions are 18 x 14.4 x 6.2 inches and it can fly around for roughly 8 minutes. The range goes up to 50 meters which is, if we are to be completely honest here, not that much.
When it comes to those awesome accessories I told you about above, you are getting 3 500 mAh batteries, 2 spare motors, 4GB storage card, USB card reader, battery charger and 4 spare propellers. The drone is RTF (ready to fly) which means all you have to do is charge it up and it is good to go.
8. Traxxas Alias
Traxxas, a company that’s more known for its RC cars than drones, has a very special treat for us. Their entry level 8806 model, commonly referred to as Alias, has some interesting features that you might like. With an insanely sleek design, just like its big brother Aton, Alias looks unearthly. The question is, though – is its performance on the same level as design?
It rocks high powered brushed motors and a lightweight body, enabling it to go really fast. Come to think of it, I would not be surprised if Traxxas Alias is the fastest drone on this list. Other specifications aren’t half bad either. Airtime hovers around 12-15 minutes due to the 650mAh LiPo battery hidden inside. Range, however, is looking even sharper. You can expect around 150 meters, perhaps a bit less than that if you’re surrounded by trees, buildings and similar.
The best thing about Traxxas Alias is its ability to carry a miniature camera. Yes, by default it does not come with it… but buying one isn’t a huge investment. For example, you can get the extremely popular BrightTea 808 #16 V3 for as little as cca $50. It weighs only 17 grams and can be easily mounted with velcro.
7. Syma X8W
Syma did a good job with the default X8G drone model. Now, they went one step further and made a small upgrade. They renamed it to X8W and added in a 2MP FPV camera that is able to broadcast live feed up to 50 meters away. Is this enough for it to be a worthy under $200 drone? Let’s see…
Starting off, it needs to be said that Syma X8W is quite a big drone (especially for this price range). Luckily, that only makes it more stable during strong winds and gives you better image smoothness. It comes with prop guards as an extra layer of safety. Don’t take them off – you’ll lose the safety factor and get a minimal (we’re talking just a few seconds here) boost to airtime and speed. If you ask me, there’s no way that’s worth the risk.
The only con of this drone is its excessively long charging time. It takes more than 3 hours to fully charge it… And you will only get around 7 to 8 minutes of flight time after a full charge. Luckily, the range is standing much better at roughly 100 meters. As I’ve already stated above, FPV is half that but still enough to justify the price. Other than that – it’s FPV 2MP camera is able to produce good quality feed and capture excellent HD videos, which is always a great virtue of budget drones.
6. HUBSAN H107D X4
Hubsan has made quite a few budget drones in recent times, but none of them stands out from the crowd as their H107D X4 model. It’s a beautifully compact drone with shiny LED lights underneath each set of blades. But, is that all Hubsan H107D X4 has to offer? Let’s check it out and we might even find out!
The most important thing about Hubsan H107D X4 is the fact it features FPV. Surprisingly enough, it is able to perform extraordinarily due to the 5.8 GHz controller that comes with it. It features a clean design and a decently bright LCD display that you’re going to use for FPV. Furthermore, Hubsan H107D X4 can go on for roughly 8 minutes and travel up to 100 meters away from its controller with FPV feed still running. Combine that with only 30 minutes per charge and you’ll understand why it is so popular!
The built-in camera may not be the best on the market, but it will give you an awesome FPV experience. However, if you want to step up a notch, you can always pair this birdie up with a set of FPV goggles. Needless to say, they’ll provide you with an even more immersive experience unlike any other.
5. Parrot AR. Drone 2.0
If I was to judge these drones solely on their appearance, then the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 would be a clear winner. It comes in three colors: snow, jungle, and sand. Each has unique patters on the main body which make it look incredibly cool.
Another very important aspect of this drone is the fact that it does not come with a controller. It relies on your smartphone for piloting… Luckily, it supports both Android and iOS devices… Hopefully, you’re not stuck with a Windows phone because that would render this drone unusable. Moving forward, Parrot AR 2.0 has quite a lot of airtime – up to 10 minutes to be more precise. Unfortunately, operating range works via WiFi which is a clear sign it’s not going to be good. You’re looking at roughly 50 meters after which you will lose connection.
Parrot Ar Drone used to be the best drone under $200, but it’s somehow outdated now. This is mostly due to the fact its dedicated FreeFlight app isn’t getting any more updates. Luckily, Parrot AR 2.0 community is huge and filled with enthusiasts who created a 3rd party app that allows even more control over this little birdie.
4. Kidcia Quad
If you are one of those people who are more interested in features than specifications, then you will surely love this one. Kidcia has a very special model that incorporates a miraculous number of features never seen before in this price range… And just for setting the record straight -Kidcia quadcopter costs slightly over $100.
Believe it or not, Kidcia quadcopter features headless mode, FPV, one key return and altitude hold. Unfortunately, FPV (uses integrated 0.5MPX camera) works via WiFi which means it’s going to be slightly laggy and lack numbers in operating range department. On the bright side, check out the last two features. Usually, they only work with GPS-ready drones. However, several entry level models (including this one) come with new technology which enables OKR and AH to work without GPS. They’re not perfect, but still get the job done.
In terms of specifications, Kidcia is most likely going to disappoint you. It sports approximately 8 minutes of airtime and has control distance up to 100 meters. FPV, on the other hand, suffers from WiFi connectivity and can only reach 20-30 meters. Is that enough for Kidcia quadcopter to land some sales? Well, it actually is. People love extra features and this drone stands tall in that department. In addition to those mentioned above, Kidcia also implemented 2 more (yes, I saved the best for last) – Gravity Sensor and Track-Controlled mode. The former will let you control your drone by moving your smartphone through the air, just like you would control your car in a racing simulation f.e. Asphalt. The latter is technically a slimmed down copy of Waypoints. It allows you to draw a small flight plan for your drone, but it’s not nearly as accurate as GPS-powered Waypoints mode.
3. AEE AP9
Here we have the AP9 made by AEE Technology. It’s a gorgeous little birdie that does not come with a dedicated camera. Instead, this cute little drone comes with a bracket which has support for GoPro cameras. This basically means you can place any action camera that you have lying around (might be a problem to fit some of them appropriately, but with a little DIY spirit everything is possible) and record aerial videos.
Starting off with features, it needs to be stated that AEE AP9 comes with integrated GPS. It allows a handful of useful features. They include altitude hold, semi-autonomous flight, and unparalleled stability. In terms of top speed, you’re looking at approximately 44mph with GPS turned off and 20-30mph when it’s on. AEE AP9 runs on 5300mAh smart LiPo battery that ensures up to 25 minutes of airtime. The range is outstanding too – cca 500 meters is bound to be enough for most of you.
In terms of camera support, AEE AP9 works with GoPro HERO models as well as AEE S-Series. This is because it comes with 2 different mounts. Additionally, it’s noteworthy to add that its battery takes just half an hour for the initial charge. After that, it drops down to around 2 and a half – 3 hours which is unsurprising considering its huge capacity. All things considered, if you’re looking for a promising aerial platform with GPS and you already own a GoPro, AEE AP9 is well worth checking out!
2. Holy Stone HS300
The silver medal goes to Holy Stone HS300 – a simple yet outstanding across all departments. First of all, we’re talking about a massive drone here. Holy Stone HS300 weights in at 1.4 pounds (0.633 kg) which is a lot above the average in this segment of drones market. But, is it good for a drone of this caliber to weigh this much?
Quite frankly – it is! Holy Stone HS300 is insanely easy to control. Due to its weight and size, it’s incredibly stable which, of course, improves the overall flying experience. More importantly, this baby sports a 5MPX camera that is capable of recording 1080p footage at 30 fps. Needless to say, videos are nice and smooth, just like you would expect from a drone made by Holy Stone.
Feature-wise, Holy Stone HS300 has one key landing, headless mode, adjustable speed settings, one key rolls and altitude hold. Last but not least, let’s check out the specifications of this bad boy! With a powerful 7.4Volts, 2000mAh, Li-Po battery running the show, Holy Stone HS300 can fly for roughly 8 to 12 minutes. In terms of range, you’re looking at approximately 150 meters. Not bad for a drone that costs slightly under $200.
1. MJX Bugs 3
After 9 awesome models, now we’re going to talk about the best one! At the top spot, we have MJX Bugs 3, a drone that’s already been mentioned for its superior stability. In addition to that, you should know that MJX Bugs 3 is also the perfect aerial photography platform on-the-cheap. It’s huge, stable, durable… and does not come with a camera…
Yup, MJX Bugs 3 does not come with an actual camera. Fortunately, it comes with a mounting bracket that supports a huge number of action cameras. GoPro’s are on the list as well… What this means is that you can basically put a freakin GoPro Hero 5 Black if you own one. Better the camera – better the footage. As simple as that. MJX Bugs 3 will aid with unparalleled stability and your action camera will do everything else. What more could you ask for?!
When it comes to specifications, MJX Bugs 3 will blow you away. Roughly 300 meters of range and cca 15 minutes of airtime make this birdie among the best in this price range. That, combined with aerial photography potential make MJX Bugs 3 the best drone under $200 that’s currently available on the market.
Not seeing what you were looking for? Why don’t you check out our list of Drones Below $100?
I hope that this list has helped you with picking the right drone for your needs. As you can see, drones are not so expensive as they used to be a couple of years ago. Cheapest models can be found for well under $100. You can check those models HERE. All in all, if you are opting for a $100-$200 model, you can’t go wrong with any of those that are listed above.