If you are looking for a quality drone that will not set you back more than a medium-priced smartphone, then you have come to the right place. As the title implies, I will list out the best 10 drones priced under $300… Ranging from $200 to $300 to be more precise (here’s list of drones below $200). With that out of our way, let’s jump straight to the list and see what is the best drone under $300!
What types of drones can you get at this price range?
Realistically speaking, you cannot really expect a marvelous drone under $300 to pose as a great all-around solution. Instead, what you can do is decide which type of drone you’d like to have… and then decide which one to buy based on your preferences. Don’t worry, there aren’t that many types of drones in this price range – only two! First being FPV racers and second being amateur aerial photography platforms. Below you can fin short explanations on what to expect from both of these types.
As their name suggests, FPV racers come with FPV streaming which brings an extra level of immersion to your flying experience. Keep in mind that I am referring to 5.8G FPV and not that trash WiFi method. Not only is WiFi FPV laggy but it also has short range. On the other hand, 5.8G FPV quadcopters provide silk smooth footage and work on a much bigger geographical area. Plus, they’re usually much smaller and possess greater maneuverability than bulky aerial photography drones.
AMATEUR AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY
This second drone type that can be found for less than $300 looks a lot different than FPV racers.
For starters, most (if not all) of these drones are much bulkier and usually come with landing gear. Also, they often possess anti vibration mounts for action cameras. Some even go to an extent and offer a motorized gimbal system that is able to significantly improve image stability.
Average specifications you should look for
In the next couple of sections, I’ll go through the average specifications of drones under $300. Keep in mind that they aren’t anything special (it would be stupid to expect premium-grade performance now, wouldn’t it?) but still get the job done. Depending on your personal preferences, you are free to sway these in your favor. For instance, if you don’t plan on exploring your surrounding area but instead want to shoot awesome pictures, then long range shouldn’t be a worry. Furthermore, if you’re more interested in racing and exploring, then you don’t need an FHD camera… Enough on that – let’s jump straight to the average specifications so you don’t get lost in the numbers once you go out to purchase a drone.
What sort of features can you get?
What good is a high-spec drone if it doesn’t have a solid base of features too? Features are of utmost importance for every single drone on the market. Take the high-end models for example – they all contain ton of advanced features, making them versatile and viable for all sorts of usage scenarios. But, when it comes to drones that cost less than $300, advanced features are not that common. In most cases, there will be LED lights, headless mode and perhaps that cheap gyroscope-powered version of return to home. However, Hubsan H501S is perhaps the cheapest drone that features GPS, altitude hold and follow me. If you’re more interested in advanced features and that sort of things, then Hubsan H501S is the right one for you!
Table : Drones Under $300
|10. Cheerson CX20||300m||15min||See price now|
|9. SYMA X8G||100m||12min||See price now|
|8. Holy Stone HS300||150m||15min||See price now|
|7. MJX Bugs 3||300m||15min||See price now|
|6. Parrot Bebop||2000m||11min||See price now|
|5. XIRO Xplorer V||500m||20min||See price now|
|4. 3DR Solo||800m||22min||See price now|
|3. Traxxas Aton||300m||15min||See price now|
|2. UpAir One||800m||15min||See price now|
|1. Hubsan H501S||300m||20min||See price now|
10. Cheerson CX20
We are starting off with Cheerson’s CX20 drone which is one of the best-selling drones in this price range. Its users have been praising it a lot recently, and it comes as no surprise considering it has everything you’d expect from a $280 piece of tech. You want me to be more precise? Well, here it is…
Dedicated 6-axis system enables Cheerson CX20 to fly smoothly and withstand strong winds. it is pretty easy to control and thanks to its size and weight, it handles mild wind without any issues. Moving forward, its 2.4 Ghz remote controller makes piloting flow with nothing but ease. It does not come with a built-in camera but you can, of course, mount one… if you already have one, that is. It supports all GoPro models but other action cameras are most likely mountable as well.
When it comes to specifications, things are looking pretty solid for 10th position. With approximately 300 meters of operating range and up to 15 minutes of airtime, Cheerson CX20 can definitely provide you with plenty of fun. Unfortunately, the biggest issue with this birdie is the battery charging time. For roughly 15 minutes of flight time, you will have to charge the battery up for 2 hours. For this reason, I warmly recommend you going for a pair of extra LiPo batteries.
9. SYMA X8G
If you want to make awesome panoramic videos with your drone, then SYMA X8G is the one for you. In addition to features we usually see on drones in this price range (LED lights, One key 3D roll, 6-axis gyro etc…), this bad boy also has a proper action camera. Unfortunately, Syma X8G does not have GPS or smart features that would make it stand out from the competition. Despite that, it’s still a well-versed beginners’ aerial photography training platform… and as such it definitely deserves a spot on this list.
Moving forward, Syma X8G has an 8MP camera and is able to shoot full HD videos. It is secured by a mount case which means it won’t break if you happen to make a piloting mistake. Don’t confuse this mount with a motorized gimbal as they’re not even similar. Mount, as its name suggests, serves only the purpose of mounting (attaching) the camera onto drone’s body; while motorized gimbals allow much more interactions and features.
Considering this is an entry-level aerial photography platform, the most important aspect is definitely its camera – and Syma X8G passes that test in a pinch. However, when it comes to specifications, it is not shining in brightest of lights. This little fella can go only up to 100 meters away from its controller and endure close to 12 minutes per charge. All in all, Syma X8G still seems like a solid drone. Once again, the most important thing about it – it has an awesome camera that will amaze you with its outstanding photos and videos.
8. Holy Stone HS300
Holy Stone seems like an awesome drone and it’s ready to clear that out for us in a moment! You see, this excellent drone doesn’t come near the $300 mark but still provides solid performance and a generally enjoyable flying experience. What’s so good about it? Here’s the deal…
First things first, it needs to be said that Holy Stone HS300 sports a 1080p camera mounted on an anti-vibration mount. It’s not a gimbal by any means, but still, does the job of removing excess jello and shakiness. As long as you don’t expect masterpieces in terms of aerial videos – Holy Stone HS300 will do you good! Specifications are not too shabby either. HS300 sports up to 150 meters of range and its 2S 2000 mAh battery runs as long as 8 to 12 minutes.
In terms of features, the first thing you should know about this model is the fact that it does not have GPS… but you wouldn’t even expect it considering the price tag. However, Holy Stone HS300 features some well-placed features which are usually GPS-powered, but they’ve implemented them in a GPS-free environment. I’m talking about one key landing, altitude hold, and one key rolls. They might not be as precise as their GPS-powered counterparts – but they still get the job done without any issues!
7. MJX Bugs 3
Now we have a special treat for all you aerial photography lovers out there. I present you – MJX Bugs 3 – a seriously potent drone that could serve as a great beginners’ aerial photography platform. What does it bring to the table and how good it really is? Find out that and plenty more by reading the following two paragraphs.
Starting off at the camera – many of you will be surprised to see this birdie does not come with a camera. So why is it a potent aerial photo platform then? Well, for the sole reason of lacking a camera, actually… Due to the fact it comes with a GoPro HERO supporting mount, you can easily transform it into a mighty cinematographic machine. Plus, its specifications will surely be enough for your starting runs. It goes as far as 300 meters and can stay in the air up to 15 minutes. Not bad, right?
In terms of other hardware, one more thing needs to be brought to your attention. Obviously, I am talking about the fact MJX Bugs 3 incorporates brushless MT1806 1800KV motors that provide plenty of lift-power and ensure durability. Combine that with a powerful 1800mAh LiPo battery and low voltage buzzer and you’ll understand why MJX Bugs 3 is such a popular choice!
6. Parrot Bebop
Even though Parrot Bebop 2 is already making a great name for itself out there on the market, a lot of people are still opting for the original Parrot Bebop. Even though, in terms of specifications, the upgraded version beats the original with ease… such a huge price gap is surely among the reasons for its sales. But, can Parrot Bebop offer anything else? Let’s see!
Taking off with its camera, Parrot Bebop is using a 14MPX wide angle (180 degrees) camera that has 3-axis image stabilization control. For further image adjustability and other options, you will need to examine the FreeFlight app that’s used for controlling this beauty… But that’s only if you can’t afford the Sky Controller which proves to be the ultimate method of controlling Parrot Bebop and Bebop 2. Not only does it give physical buttons with great tactile feedback but also boosts the range up to 2 kilometers which is awesome at this price range.
In terms of features, Parrot Bebop is an excellent drone that even includes a GPS module. With it, you’ll also get flight map control (basically waypoints mode with a twist), parrot cloud service (for sharing data such as videos, photos and flight info) and most importantly – return to home feature which will save you a ton of nerves. All things considered, Parrot Bebop perhaps isn’t on par with Parrot Bebop 2, but the price difference makes it a serious contender in entry level market. With that said, if you are looking for a popular drone with lots of smart features and a great camera – Parrot Bebop is the one for you!
5. XIRO Xplorer V
The first thing you need to know about XIRO Xplorer V is the fact it comes in several different versions. Without going in depth version-wise, let’s just say that the focus of this explanation is V version. Not only does this one incorporate a 3-axis gimbal but also a dedicated 1080p camera that will provide you with marvelous aerial shots. Want to know more about this model? Keep on reading!
In terms of features, XIRO Xplorer V is actually a pretty well-versed drone. Thanks to GPS, it supports several awesome features including follow me, orbit, auto return to home and more… The icing on the cake in the form of a range extender puts the thing into perspective and gets me to think even better of this gorgeous little drone. Come to think of it, even beginners will find XIRO Xplorer V a delight to play around with. It sports intuitive controls, great (highly responsive) 2.4Ghz controller and great build quality, ensuring it’s still running even after a crash or two.
Lastly, we have come to the specifications… and still, the same story continues for XIRO Xplorer V. With a powerful 5200mAh LiPo battery, this baby can endure up to 25 minutes per charge. That aside, it can also fly within 500 meters from its controller, making it a stellar explorer. Not bad for an under $300 drone, right?
4. 3DR Solo
On the 4th spot, we have Solo by 3D Robotics. It’s a very interesting drone which has received an impressive price drop recently. A couple months ago, 3DR Solo couldn’t even fit into the best drones under $500 list, but now it’s sitting comfortably under $300. Is the price drop result of a malfunction or false advertising? It’s nothing like that actually – 3DR Solo looks and performs like a proper beast.
Believe it or not, this little fella incorporates GPS thanks to which it has access to a wide variety of features. All of them can be accessed via its dedicated iOS and Android app. It has excellent GUI and is easy to use – you won’t believe how rare it is to see today. Unfortunately, it does not have a camera. However, you can purchase a 3-axis gimbal that supports GoPro HERO3+ or HERO4 action cameras. It comes without a doubt any of those 2 will make up for some awesome aerial footage.
Specifications are not to be taken for granted either. 3DR Solo can withstand approximately 25 minutes in the air without camera or gimbal mounted. When they’re mounted, you’re looking at 20ish minutes of airtime which is above average at this price point. The range is around 800 meters, not too bad either. And finally, with over 30 sensors and an open source platform behind it, 3DR Solo is probably the smartest drone you can find at such a low price tag. But does smarter always mean better? I’ll let you decide that one…
3. Traxxas Aton
If you have not yet decided whether you want a racing or a filming drone, then this hybrid one might just be your cup of tea. After doing a great job with Alias, the good folk over at Traxxas seem to have done it again. Not only does their Aton model look badass but it also has some serious power underneath that beautiful canopy. In the next two paragraphs, you can learn more about it… trust me – chances are high that this little fella will sweep you off your feed!
With a top speed of more than 50 miles per hour and great stabilization, this bad boy can race and film as he pleases. As usual, it has GPS, air brakes and even the well-known return to home feature that we are used to seeing on many drones these days. Unfortunately, Traxxas Aton does not have a camera so you will have to use your own. You can even splash a fair bit of extra cash in order to buy a gimbal version which supports motorized action camera mounts. This is extremely important if you want to take amazing aerial videos that will amaze not just you, but everyone else who takes a look at them too.
Specifications-wise, you’re looking at approximately 200 to 300 meters of range paired up with up to 20 minutes of airtime. All in all, this is a top quality drone and it just falls short of the first 2 places due to the fact it does not come with a camera.
2. UpAir One
We’re getting real close to the number one spot now… You can almost feel it, right? Well, before the best drone under $300, we have the runner up. It’s none other than UpAir One, a drone which will immediately remind you of DJI Phantom models. That’s because, quite frankly, it’s a mere copy… But is it one of those worthless copycat trash? Let’s find out!
First things first, you need to know that UpAir One lets you choose between 2 different cameras – 2.7K and 4K version. Each of them supports 5.8G with the only real difference being in the resolution. The price gap isn’t huge either – roughly $50. Come to think of it, everyone interested in aerial photography should really consider going for this one. Not only does it have an excellent camera but it has a motorized gimbal too. Combine that with altitude hold, auto return to home and GPS – you’ll realize just how potent UpAir One is.
Moving forward to its specifications, things are continuing to look great. UpAir One comes with roughly 800 meters of range, out of which cca 600 will be FPV friendly. It runs on 5400 mAh 11.V LiPo battery. It’s charging really quickly (1 to 1.5 hours) and can give up to 15 minutes of juice. All in all, UpAir One seems like an excellent amateur photography (even cinematography) option which, at this price range, is probably the best AP package you can get.
1. Hubsan H501S
After 9 awesome models that you had the chance to see so far, now it’s time to meet the best one – and I’m talking about Hubsan H501S. It is not a huge model by any means. In fact, it is probably the smallest one featured on this list. Yet, with a fine array of features and above average specifications, there is no doubt Hubsan H501S deserves the top spot on our Drones under $300 list. Want to know more about it? Keep on reading and find out!
First of all, it needs to be said that Hubsan H501s incorporates GPS which brings a few extra features to the party. I’m talking about altitude hold, one key return and follow me, all of which will serve you more often than you think. But that’s not all – despite its small size, Hubsan H501S is insanely stable and generally seems like a beginner-friendly drone. Some praise deservedly goes to its miniature built-in camera too – it allows 1080p recordings and doesn’t suffer from too much jello (just make sure you calibrate your props before recording).
Like I said above, specifications of Hubsan H501S are above average. It runs on a 7.4V 2700mAh Lipo battery which gives up to 20 minutes ( averagely 18 in normal flying conditions) per charge. Furthermore, the range hovers around 300 meters. It’s also worth mentioning that Hubsan H501S offers a solid FPV experience too. It works through 5.8Ghz frequency and that small LCD monitor shows off pretty decent stream quality.
Not seeing what you’re looking for? Why don’t you take a look at our list of Drones Below $500?
Now that you have had the chance to take a closer look at some of the best drones in this price range, I am sure that you have an easier job of picking the one you want to buy. Keep in mind that these are all top-quality drones that will fulfill your expectations… even exceed them in some cases.
The key in this entire purchasing process is, like I’ve said before, lowering your expectations. Realistically speaking – you can’t really expect premium-grade performance from a mere under $300 quadcopter. And finally, I would like to sway your attention to another aspect that I forgot to mention above – spare parts. Make sure your drone has plenty of spare parts available since you never know when you might break something. Usually, spare parts aren’t expensive but will allow you to revive your drone and keep flying it around whenever you want.
Thank you for reading!
Until next time…