Best Cheap Drones

Electronics & Computers

It would appear that drones are the general public’s latest favorite toys. And why not? With the evolution of technology, drones are no longer singularly for the military. These crafts are affordable, compact, and have a variety of uses. This means that if you are in the market for a drone, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Of course, since you are probably on a budget, you may be looking for the best cheap drones available.

Well, you have come to the right place – we have picked out a variety of drones that should fit even the lowest budget. At the same time, these are top-notch machines that will boast excellent flying patterns and be easy to maneuver. So, without further ado, here are your top picks:

Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter Drone

Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter Drone with HD Camera RTF 4 Channel...
  • Equipped with one key return & headless security system to assist beginners and help prevent losing the drone
  • Altitude hold function: powerful air pressure altitude hold function allows the drone to hover at it's current height...
  • One key 360° 4-ways flip (left, right, forward, backward), Continuous roll for perfect action and wonderful performance
Why we like it: The Holy Stone F181C RC Quadcopter drone is ideal for beginners who want to learn the ropes but are also looking for quality.

Editor’s rating:

The F181C is undoubtedly one of the best drones for beginners, particularly at this price point. While it has enough advanced features to keep expert pilots happy as well, this is best suited for those who are just getting started.

So, what makes the F181C such a good option for beginners? Well, to start with, it arrives at your doorstep almost completely assembled. All you have to do is to screw in the prop guards and landing gear which really shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. The company has even provided a screwdriver to help things along. Then, there is also the fact that the drone weighs around 14 ounces, meaning that you don’t require FAA registration to be able to fly it.

The other advantage is that flying this drone is quite simple. There are four speeds to choose from and beginners can opt for the lowest one until they have become used to the process. To add to this, the controller looks and functions a lot like a game console controller, making it relatively easy for anyone with previous video gaming experience to work it. You should be able to get a flying time of about 8 minutes when it is fully charged, along with a range of about 50 to 100 meters.

Of course, what really matters is how the drone flies. One of the features that really stands out with a drone of this price is the Altitude Hold Function. This ensures that the drone remains at the current height even when you let go of the throttle. The Headless Mode is also great for beginners as it corrects the course of the drone, ensuring that the drone’s right and left always aligns with yours. What’s truly fun about the F181C is the 3D flip feature that lets you flip the drone in four different directions. The other piece of good news for novice pilots is that the drone can be ordered to return to you with the press of a button.

While there is no doubt that this could be the best drone under $100, the F181C is not without its faults. Perhaps the main inconvenience is to do with the camera features. First, there is no first person view so it can be difficult to determine just what it is you are photographing or recording from the air. Second, the quality of the camera is quite poor which means that your footage is not nearly good enough for professional use. Last but not least, despite the 6-axis gyro technology, the drone isn’t sufficiently stable to capture non-blurry footage.


  • Easy to fly for beginners
  • Altitude Hold function
  • Has flip feature


  • No first person view
  • Camera is of poor quality
  • Inefficient cleaning modes

TOZO Q1012 X8tw RC Quadcopter Drone

TOZO Q1012 Drone RC Quadcopter Altitude Hold Headless RTF 3D 360...
  • Phone direct control with transmission OR transmitter contorl with Smart phone. Apple IOS / Android phones compatible
  • Altitude Hold. You can release the throttle stick and the drone will keep the current height. One key take off and...
  • Headless Security Mode. The pilot can fly the drone to any location without worrying about which diretion the drone is...
Why we like it: The TOZO Q1012 X8tw drone offers up exciting features such as easy handling and FPV for both beginners and experts alike.

Editor’s rating:

What stands out about the Q1012 is that it is a great drone for pilots of all stages. So, regardless of whether this is your first time or umpteenth time flying a drone, you will find something to keep you entertained.

Now, not only is the drone easy to setup, it is actually foldable. This means that although you are getting a medium-sized drone, it has the portability of a mini or pocket-sized drone. If you like to travel, this drone is going to come in handy. Its low weight also means that you don’t have to go through the additional trouble of an FAA registration process.

What makes the Q1012 ideal for beginners is obvious from the very start. This is the one-button takeoff and landing feature. Even if you have absolutely no experience in flying a drone, you will be able to take to the air without any problems at all. Then, there are the three variant speeds. In the initial stage, the drone is very easy to control although it doesn’t fly that fast. Once you have mastered this, you can pick up speed although this requires you to have better control over the drone. The final stage is where the drone offers superior performance but also necessitates a skilled and steady pilot.

The drone is also equipped with both Headless function and an altitude-hold feature. These add to the ease with which you can fly the drone, particularly when you are trying to get it back to you. As you can see, it has something for everyone.

What takes the Q1012 up a notch, though, is the fact that it is equipped with first-person view. See, the camera picks up the images and you are able to view it on your phone. In fact, instead of saving the images and video on an SD card, the drone transmits it to your smartphone. Of course, depending on your opinion, this could either be a good or bad thing. The camera can be described as being average at best so you shouldn’t expect professional looking images or video.

The main drawback with this drone is its inability to stay on course when there is wind blowing. This, of course, is hardly surprising considering how little it weighs. Nonetheless, it can still prove to be quite frustrating. Apart from that, the only other real complaints are that the range on this drone isn’t that great and even when fully charged, you can’t expect it to be able to fly for too long.


  • Very affordable
  • Works well for beginners and experts
  • FPV mode
  • Altitude hold function


  • Average quality images
  • Poor range
  • Short flying time
  • Difficulty staying on course when windy

Altair Aerial AA108 Drone

Altair #AA108 Camera Drone Great for Kids & Beginners | Free Priority...
  • ✅PREMIUM 720P CAMERA DRONE W REALTIME VIDEO: The Aerial AA108 comes with a 120 Degree Wide-Angle 720P HD camera that...
  • ✅EASY TO FLY - The Altair Quadcopter is easily piloted & has Headless Mode, Altitude Hold & 1-button takeoff &...
  • ✅STABLE FLIGHT & DURABLE CONSTRUCTION for Long Lasting Fun! The Altair also has Custom Route Modes, Use your...
Why we like it: The Altair Aerial AA108 drone is great for beginners and experts alike, offering numerous features including decent flying time, good video, and FPV.

Editor’s rating:

With the Altair Aerial AA108 drone, you may have to extend your $100 just a little bit. However, it is completely worth it if you do, since you get an abundance of features for just a slightly higher price. This is definitely a middle-of-the-range drone.

The first thing that should be discussed regarding the AA108 is how easy it is to fly. Well, the good news is that the drone caters to both novices and professionals. This is because it comes equipped with three flight skill levels. So, although you can get started with this drone, it also has enough of power to help you go faster and higher, the more skilled that you become. With a flying time of almost eight minutes on each battery, this is good news.

From a beginner’s point of view, it is actually quite easy to learn how to maneuver the AA108. This is mostly because of how small the drone is – in fact, this works well indoors too while you are practicing your skills. Its size is also what allows for faster and sharper turns, making it less likely that you will crash it. However, the controller can be a bit difficult to use since it has a rather slick and sleek design that makes it rather slippery.

What’s great about this drone is that it has all of the modern features that you could possibly need. This includes the headless mode and altitude hold feature. You can even take off and land the drone with the help of a single button.

Now, the first-person view can often make taking pictures and recording video with a drone a great deal easier. This is why it is great that the AA108 offers it. Speaking of the camera, the manufacturer touts a 720p feature. While you may not actually get the same level of HD as with a smartphone, the camera is actually quite good. This, however, is as long as you maintain a slower speed otherwise the picture tends to get a bit choppy. It may not be the best cheap drone for photography but it will definitely make the list.

The AA108 also has a lot of useful features that aren’t typically found at this price range. For instance, there is an emergency stop function that shuts off the motor before you crash into something. So, depending on how high up the drone is, you could actually end up avoiding serious damage. Another beneficial feature is the out-of-range alarm that lets you know when the drone is getting a bit too far away from you.



  • Extended flying time
  • FPV feature
  • Altitude hold feature
  • Emergency landing and out-of-range alarm
  • One button take-off and landing feature


  • Images and video can get grainy at higher speeds
  • Slipper controller

Force1 F100 Ghost Brushless Drone

Altair #AA108 Camera Drone Great for Kids & Beginners | Free Priority...
  • ✅PREMIUM 720P CAMERA DRONE W REALTIME VIDEO: The Aerial AA108 comes with a 120 Degree Wide-Angle 720P HD camera that...
  • ✅EASY TO FLY - The Altair Quadcopter is easily piloted & has Headless Mode, Altitude Hold & 1-button takeoff &...
  • ✅STABLE FLIGHT & DURABLE CONSTRUCTION for Long Lasting Fun! The Altair also has Custom Route Modes, Use your...
Why we like it: The Force1 F100 is one of the better affordable options for flyers who are looking for better flying and camera quality.

Editor’s rating:

Let’s face it, if you want the best cheap drone for filming or photography, you are going to need to increase your budget a little bit. So, if you are willing to spend upwards of $100 on your drone, the F100 should be a top choice for you.

Since the focus on this drone is the photos and video, let’s start there. Now, the drone comes equipped with its own HD camera which is able to capture footage in 1080p format. As such, you can expect some pretty high-resolution footage. In case, you aren’t happy with what the F100 has to offer you, you can simply use a GoPro Hero 3 and 4 since the drone is equipped with the mount. Unfortunately, these are the only GoPro’s that the mount accepts.

Of course, you still might have some trouble capturing the shots that you want. This is because the drone is equipped with additional stabilization features to prevent it from moving around. Also, because there is no first-person view, it can be tricky to see precisely what you are videoing until later on. The good news is that the stabilization issues should work themselves out once you have become more skilled at flying the drone.

Now, it isn’t just the camera that you are paying extra for – the F100 boats a brushless motor design. Simply put, this allows the drone to be more powerful while also remaining more efficient. This increases your flying time considerably, allowing you to get around twice what is expected of other cheaper drones. Not to mention, you get two batteries with the drone which doubles your flying time again. The F100 also has a much greater range and you may be able to control the drone up to 500 meters away!

The drone has two modes built into its programming. There is a slower option for beginners, making it easier for them to control the drone. The faster option makes it more fun to try out various spins and tricks on the F100. The more advanced control allows for just enough power to keep even experienced flyers entertained.

One of the more annoying features of this drone is actually to do with the charger. Once plugged in, you can expect your drone to take up to two hours sometimes to fully charge up. This means that you can’t fly your drone as often as you might like. Apart from that, this is possibly the best drone under $500 for you.



  • Good quality camera
  • Suitable for beginners and experts
  • Longer flying time
  • Greater range
  • Easy to do tricks


  • Extensive charging time
  • No FPV
  • GoPro camera mount for only Hero 3 and 4

QCopter Quadcopter Drone

Quadcopter Drone with Camera Live Video, Drones FPV HD WiFi Camera...
  • NEVER LET BATTERY LIFE INTERRUPT YOUR SESSION AGAIN – Your QCopter Quadcopter Drone with Camera comes with a powerful...
  • SUPERIOR STRUCTURE FOR A SEAMLESS EXPERIENCE – With its superiorly made materials and stabilization system, shooting...
  • BE A PRO IN 10 SECONDS – Operate your QCopter using your phone to enjoy realtime viewing right from your controller....
Why we like it: The QCopter Quadcopter drone has plenty to offer both children and adults with excellent control, FPV, and extended flying time.

Editor’s rating:

One of the main downfalls of most drones under $100 is that the flying time is too short. The best that you can hope for is several minutes at a time before the battery runs out and your fun has to come to an end. Well, with the QCopter, you can enjoy yourself for a little longer. Not only is the battery able to power the drone for longer, you also get an additional one for free. This typically amounts to close to half an hour of flying time. Considering the price point of this drone, it’s quite impressive. However, the downside is that it takes the batteries longer to charge.

The other thing that makes this drone a good buy is the fact that it is equipped with first-person view. The images or video that are captured can be instantly viewed on your smartphone. If you prefer for the images to be stored on the drone, then you have this option as well. It may not be the best drone for photography but you will certainly be able to get some decent shots and video out of it.

The QCopter is a good choice for beginners and perhaps even kids. This is because it is quite easy to get a handle on flying the drone with only a little bit of practice. The gyro feature adds some much-needed stability to the drone so that you don’t waste as much time and energy keeping the drone steady. Another reason that novices will find this drone useful is that it comes with a crashpack included. You no longer have to go searching for the pieces and parts that you need, should your drone happen to crash into something.

Crashing is quite possible for newbies since the drone has a tendency to drift off course in the wind. So, unless you are quite skilled at flying the QCopter, you may encounter some issues in the beginning. Even when you are more experienced, it is best to avoid heading out into stronger winds.

The drone offers just as much excitement in the nighttime as well. The QCopter has more LED lights than most other drones which makes it quite visible against the night sky. Sure, the FPV will not be useful at this time, but it is certainly a fun option, nonetheless. You will just need to remember that the lights contribute to the draining of the battery so you will need to cut your flying time short if you are keeping them on.


  • FPV mode
  • Extended flying time
  • Easy to fly
  • Great for nighttime flights
  • Decent camera resolution


  • Drifts off in wind
  • Batteries require longer charging time


DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone with Wifi Camera Live Video One...
  • HEADLESS MODE: Usually, the forward direction of a flying multi-rotor is the same as the nose direction, by using...
  • 3D SPLIT SCREEN DISPLAY: Compatible with 3D VR HEADSET on MJX FPV APP, use your own VR HEADSET (NOT INCLUDED) to see the...
  • FPV REAL TIME TRANSMISSION: Connect your phone with the drone and the view will be shown directly on your phone, thus...
Why we like it: The DBPOWER MJX X400W works well for intermediate users that are looking for additional features like real-time transmission.

Editor’s rating:

The X400W is touted as being a good choice for beginners but depending on who is flying it, that is debatable. See, this drone has a bit of a learning curve, not to mention, a controller that does take some getting used to. As such, it may not be the optimal option for a starter drone.

What makes this drone such a great buy is the first person view and the real-time transmission that comes along with it. All of you have to do is to sync the drone up to your smartphone and you will be able to see exactly what it sees. This comes in particularly handy for photography or video enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, there does appear to be some lag time between what the drone is capturing and the images that appear on your phone. This could prove to be a problem with photographs. Still, at this price point, it is a welcome feature.

The camera is actually quite decent although you can’t expect the same resolution or clarity as your smartphone. Still, it is enough to keep most hobbyists happy, even if it can’t be used for professional purposes. The camera and its features drain the battery somewhat so the expected flying time of about ten minutes can sometimes be halved.

Apart from this, the X400W flies like a charm, once you have figured out how to control it. In fact, it is so responsive that this is one of the few drones that you can fly indoors as well. Now, the drone has two speed features with the lower one being for beginners and the higher one reserved for experts. This all or nothing approach can be a bit tricky when graduating from one speed to another.

One of the features that will prove to be useful for novice pilots is the headless mode, which makes it easier to maneuver the drone. When this mode is initiated, you can also activate the one-key return function, ensuring that you will not lose your drone while you are getting used to flying it. There is also the additional fun option of being able to flip the drone with relative ease.

The thing that you need to be careful with is flying this drone in even mild winds. It is quite light and has a tendency to fly off course and it can be difficult to gain control over the drone again. It is best to keep the drone inside during less than ideal weather.


  • FPV mode with real-time streaming
  • Responsive controls
  • One-key return home
  • 3D flip feature


  • Takes a while to learn how to use it
  • Strays off course in winds
  • Lag time during real live streaming

Syma X5C RC Quadcopter Drone

Syma X5C 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Explorers Quad Copter w/ Camera
  • A key 360o roll, continuous roll for perfect action and wonderful performance.
  • Build-in 6 axis gyroscope for precise hovering in the sky
  • Using spread spectrum technology for further remote distance, best anti-interference ability, least power consumption....
Why we like it: The Syma X5C Quadcopter drone is inexpensive, easy to use, and provides you with value tenfold its price.

Editor’s rating:

It will not take you much research to realize that the Syma brand and the X5C, in particular, are well-known for their high-quality drones at very low prices. This is partially why this is an excellent choice for anyone who is just beginning to venture into the territory of drone flying.

What makes the X5C such a good pick for a beginner quadcopter is the fact that it is quite responsive to the controller. So, even if you have only been flying for a short time, you will find it quite simple to make the drone fly and move as you please. The size and the weight of the drone also mean that making turns is quite easy, with it being able to make tight, quick movements. If you are feeling adventurous, the drone does have a flip feature that you can use.

While the actual process of flying this drone will prove to be easy, you have to first figure out the controller. Here, there are a lot of knobs, dials, and buttons so it will be a while before using it becomes instinctive. This is because many of the controls don’t have any labels to indicate their function. Fortunately, the attached LCD screen provides you with details such as battery power and throttle.

Now, you would imagine that the low weight of the X5C would count against it when things got a little windy. True, this is not a drone that is meant for more than a breeze but it still manages to hold its own, nonetheless. This is largely due to the well-functioning 6 axis gyro which also works to stabilize the drone while it is recording or taking pictures.

Speaking of pictures and videos, the X5C is equipped with a 2MP, HD camera. While it doesn’t have the quality associated with higher-end drones, the resolution and clarity of this camera are actually quite impressive. Of course, you are still better off viewing the images on your phone rather than a large screen where the flaws may be more noticeable.

It should be noted that this drone doesn’t offer much in the way of flying time. At most, you can expect seven minutes as long as you avoid using the camera or attaching any additional gear to the drone. At the same time, the drone will take up to a 100 minutes to recharge. The only good news is that it can be charged by plugging the drone into your laptop via a USB cable.



  • Very low price
  • Decent camera
  • Good stability
  • Easy to fly


  • Low flying time
  • Extensive charging time
  • Controls take some getting used to
  • No FPV

UDI U818A RC Quadcopter Drone

UDI U818A-HD 2.4GHz 4 CH 6 Axis Headless RC Quadcopter w/ HD Camera,...
  • The UDI U818A HD has the Headless/IOC function. Usually, the forward direction of a flying multi-rotor is the same as...
  • 6 AXIS GYRO - Equipped with the latest 6-axis flight control systems, 3D lock, More scheduled flight, operating more to...
  • 360° Eversion - One key 360°roll,continuous roll for perfect action and wonderful performance
Why we like it: The UDI U818A Quadcopter is a fast and nimble drone that works well for all types of pilots.

Editor’s rating:

The design and build of the U818A may not look like many of the other drones that you have seen. Well, this unique structure has a purpose. See, it offers the best of both worlds of both small and larger sized drones. The large rotors that are widely spaced are a nod to bigger drones and this feature ensures that the drone remains stable throughout the flight. At the same time, the lightweight and actual dimensions of the drone ensure that you have a speedy and nimble toy on your hands.

This drone has been equipped for beginner flyers in the sense that you will find it quite easy to figure out how to get it to fly. However, you will need to keep in mind that this is a relatively low-tech drone. So, it is entirely up to you to keep the drone up in the air and stable. The good part about this is that you feel become quite the skilled flier when you manage to fly this drone.

The U818A offers up two modes for the user. The first mode is made for beginners and it helps to keep the speed low so that you can get a handle on the controller. With the second, though, you get to go at full speed and you will need to completely rely on the skills that you have picked up.

As mentioned, the stability of this drone is quite good which does go a long way in helping you learn how to fly. However, the drone is a tad flimsy due to its very low weight and it will not take much for it to be knocked off course by a gust of wind. That being said, it can be argued that the U818A is made for crashing. It is strong and has been built to take a considerable amount of abuse so you can expect to use it for quite a while.

The one area that the U818A will let you down is with the camera. This isn’t too surprising considering how very small the device is. Also, it captures video and images at 640 x 480 pixels. This means that the video and images aren’t going to have the greatest resolution. It can be difficult to distinguish details in smaller objects and the colors look distorted, especially at a distance. So, while this is a great drone to fly, you shouldn’t buy it for the camera features.


  • Modes for beginner and expert
  • Very durable
  • Builds flying skills


  • Poor camera quality
  • Easily thrown off course
  • No FPV

Hubsan X4 H107D Quadcopter

HUBSAN X4 Quadcopter with FPV Camera Toy
  • Control distance: 50 - 100meters, Live video distance: around 100 meters
  • Latest 6-axis flight control system with adjustable gyro sensitivity
  • Lightweight airframe with nice durability
Why we like it: The Hubsan X4 quadcopter is a great drone for anyone interested in overhead views and a decent range.

Editor’s rating:

So, the main draw with the Hubsan X4 is that it is an FPV drone completely. This is because the controller comes equipped with an FPV transmitter that relays video back to you in real time. Therefore, wherever your drone is flying over, you will be able to see. If you would prefer it, the video can be captured onto an SD card on the transmitter and recorded.

Your live streaming experience is greatly improved by the 6-axis flight control system that is complete with adjustable gyro sensitivity. This prevents the drone from instability while it is in the air. As a result, the images that you receive are great deal clearer and aren’t affected by the movement of the drone.

While this feature is certainly exciting and useful, you should limit your expectations on the kind of quality that the camera can afford you. The resolution and clarity will be decent although you shouldn’t expect anything in the HD range. Of course, with this price tag, it is as good as it is going to get. The other thing that makes the FPV live streaming feature such a joy is the range that you are able to get. You should be treated to views about a 100 meters away, live!

While it isn’t exactly difficult to learn how to control the X4, it isn’t exactly instinctive either. This is definitely a drone that you are going to need to practice with before you head out into wide open spaces. See, the drone is rather light which means that unless you are completely in control at all times, it tends to move with the wind. With this in mind, beginners should also avoid flying the drone too high. After a certain distance, the drone is not as responsive to the controller.

Where the X4 fails is with battery longevity. This is both the craft and controller itself. If you are lucky, you will be able to keep the drone up in the air for several minutes at a time, before the battery is drained. So, it can help to have additional batteries so that you can get more out of your drone. Unfortunately, this does little to alleviate the issue with the controller as you will need to keep switching out the batteries every so often. This can make it difficult for you to fly the drone on a regular basis.



  • FPV real-time transmission
  • Stable
  • Good range


  • Flies off course easily
  • Requires skill
  • Battery drains quite quickly

BLADE Nano QX RTF Quadcopter

Blade Nano QX RTF Quadcopter with SAFE Technology | 4-Ch DSMX...
  • Features exclusive SAFE™ technology with stability and agility modes
  • Small enough to fly in any room or office
  • Tough, lightweight airframe with blade guards
Why we like it: The Blade Nano QX RTF Quadcopter is a no-fuss, no-frills drone that is great for those who want to have lots of indoor fun.

Editor’s rating:

So, the first thing that should be noted about the Nano QX is that it doesn’t come equipped with a camera. This is a drone that is meant for individuals who simply love flying or are hoping to race their drone with someone else’s. After all, the lack of a camera means that the quadcopter is considerably lighter than some other options.

Now, the question remains how well does the Nano QX fly? The answer to that would be – quite well. This is a speedy little drone that is able to zip in and out of spaces quite quickly. The fact that it is so small makes it very simple to maneuver, particularly down narrower corridors or lanes. Also, the drone happens to be very responsive to the controller which makes maneuvering it even easier to manage.

These are all great features to have when you are indoors. However, when you attempt to fly the quadcopter outside, you run into a few issues. The biggest being that even the slightest gust of wind alters the course of the drone. If there are any structures nearby, there is a good chance that the drone will go spinning into it. If you do intend on using this drone outdoors, you are going to have to wait for an incredibly still day.

One of the perks of the Nano QX is the SAFE feature that comes along with it. Once this is activated, you can let go of the controls and the quadcopter will continue to hover in midair. This doesn’t mean that you can ignore the drone, however, as there is still a chance that it will fly away from you. Nonetheless, it does offer some respite for new flyers.

Considering the size of the batteries, it is not unexpected that the drone can’t stay up too long in the air. Still, it typically manages about eight minutes on a single battery which isn’t too bad considering other drones in this price range. The upside is that the batteries actually charge a lot faster than other models so you can get back to flying relatively soon.

Another reason that the Nano QX is easy to fly is due to the controller. It has a simplistic design that is simple to figure out and easy to use. Even those with no experience will pick up the necessary skills quite quickly.



  • Works well indoors
  • Easy to fly and maneuver
  • Decent flying time
  • SAFE feature


  • No camera
  • Flies off course outside
  • No additional features

Your Guide to Buying a Budget-Friendly Drone

Here we take a look at all of the factors that go into buying the best cheap drone for yourself:

Types of Recreational Drones

Before you settle on a drone, you need to figure out what you are hoping to achieve with your drone. This is because there are a few different types of drones available on the market. To figure out which ones suit you best, you have to first outline the purpose of the craft.

Some pilots simply want to be able to fly their drones around, much like they would any other remote-controlled craft. In this case, most standard drones will do as the main requirements are easy maneuvering, stability, and perhaps, speed.

Others prefer to use their drones for racing purposes. Here, the drones need to be lightweight yet steady and come equipped with powerful engines. As you can imagine, the chief focus with this type of drone is speed and they are often equipped with first-person view features to make racing easier.

Then there are the drones that are meant for aerial photographs or videos. These are undoubtedly one of the most popular options available on the market. The drones either have a camera built into their structure or they are equipped with a mount to allow for a camera to be attached. With these drones, the quality of the camera is often just as important as the machine itself. Also, these drones need to have good stability to provide you with clear, steady footage. First-person view certainly comes in handy here.

Children and adults alike are also entertained by trick drones. These models tend to be smaller and lighter than other designs. They are able to move in such ways that they can flip and do other tricks while in mid-air.

RTF, ARF, and BNF Drones

Drone kits also fall under the categories of Ready to Fly (RTF), Bind-N-Fly (BNF), and Almost Ready to Fly (ARF). This essentially refers to the time, effort, and additional accessories required to assemble your drone.

Most beginners should stick with RTF kits. With these, the drone arrives out of the box, almost completely assembled. All you are expected to do is to fasten the landing gear, prop guards, and anything else that you might find in a crash kit. Oh, and you will require batteries for the controller. To sum it up, RTF kits come with the controller (transmitter), the receiver, battery, and the charger.

If you are a little more tech-savvy, you may consider getting a BNF drone. Here, the drone arrives with everything that you require except for the transmitter. This provides you with the opportunity to get a transmitter of your choice and “bind” it to the receiver.

ARF kits are well-suited to individuals who prefer to build the drone themselves. While you get many of the basic components with the kit, there is also a lot that is missing. This often includes motors, electronics, servo’s, and even binding agent. The advantage here is that you get to customize your drone. At the same time, these projects can take a lot longer to complete.

General Advice for Buying a Cheap Drone

If you are attempting to spend the least amount of money on a drone, there is some comforting news for you – more expensive drones aren’t always better. The primary benefit of high-priced models is that they are often capable of flying for greater distances without draining their battery too quickly. Nonetheless, there are still some things that you will need to think about if you want to find the best possible option:

Fixed Wing vs. Quadcopters

All you have to do is to take a cursory glance at the drones available for public consumption to realize that quadcopters seem to rule the industry. Although not uncommon, fixed-wing rotors aren’t as widespread.

First, let’s break down what these two terms mean. Fixed wing rotors have a rigid structure, much like an airplane. The machine propels itself upward by using forward momentum. These aircraft are often propelled by either an electric motor or a combustion engine. Quadcopters, on the other hand, consist of four rotors that are in constant motion. This is what generates the thrust upwards.

There is no denying that fixed wing models have their advantages. Still, non-commercial users tend to find quadcopters easier to fly. For one thing, quadcopters take the lead in terms of hovering. Such a feature makes them better suited for taking pictures or recording video. The takeoff with quadcopters is also much simpler. Unlike with the fixed rotor models, quadcopters can take off from a stationary spot and don’t require a runway or launcher of any type.

Brushed Motor vs. Brushless Motor

With many drones, you are bound to come across terms that refer to either a brushed or a brushless motor. Now, you don’t need to know all of the details about how these motors work. The gist of it is though that brushed motors rely on magnets that are in contact with the spinning shaft of the motor. Brushless motors, on the other hand, use electronic processes to keep the rotation going.

One of the main differences that you will notice is that brushless motors tend to be a bit more expensive than brushed models. At the same time, they do have a longer lifespan and help to keep the drone quieter as well.

Flying Time

The reason that the battery life is important here is that it is directly related to flying time. With many of the beginner quadcopters, you will find that this is one of the biggest issues. The cheaper drones often have shorter flying times. Typically, you can expect no more than 10 minutes from a single battery. Usually, though, the flying time is closer to 6 to 8 minutes. This can be rectified by opting for several batteries for one model. Then, you will be able to fly for longer periods at a time, at a stretch.

The thing to remember with flying time is that numerous aspects of the drone itself can affect it. For instance, any additional weight such as prop guards and cameras are going to cause the battery to drain faster since the drone will have to compensate for it. Also, flying at full throttle is also going to deplete the battery faster. Even filming and FPV can drain your battery.


The other thing to contemplate is how much range you would like. This refers to how far your drone can fly away from the transmitter (controller) while still responding to commands. Again, for drones under $100, this will be about 50 meters to 100 meters away. However, if you are looking to spend a little more, there are drones under $500 that will allow the drone to have a range of between 300 and 500 meters.

Tips for Buying a Beginner Drone

Most people looking for the best cheap drone with a camera are beginners. Since you are only just venturing into the world of drones, it doesn’t seem sensible to splurge too much on this hobby. Well, if this is the first time that you are buying a drone, here are some of the features that you should look for:


First and foremost, find yourself a drone that is durable. Unless you have a great deal of experience with flying other unmanned aerial vehicles, you will undoubtedly crash a few times – it is practically inevitable. Therefore, you need a drone that can stand up to a decent amount of abuse. Look for those that are made from stronger plastics and where many of the elements are either covered or protected. In fact, you are sure to find a drone or two that is equipped with its own crash kit. This contains spare parts that you can use in the event that the original ones are damaged.

Varying Speed Levels

One of the easiest ways to tell if a drone is meant for novices is by looking at the speed options that come along with it. The ones that are designed to be learning models will have between two to four-speed levels that you can choose from. If you really have no prior experience with these sort of crafts, it is best to get with a greater range of speeds.

At the lower speeds, you will be able to learn how to maneuver the craft. You will be able to build your skills as far as flying forward, turning, and flying upwards. It may even help you learn tricks. As the speeds get faster, you will be able to utilize the skills that you have learned to keep the drone on its course, without losing track of it.

Headless Mode

The first few times that you take your drone out for a spin, you will realize that it can be a bit difficult to determine whether the front or the back of the drone is facing you. Sure, there are different colored lights placed in the front and the back to help you out with this but it can still be a bit confusing during the daytime. Even if you do have a handle on the direction of the drone, trying to fly it while the front is facing towards you can be tricky. For instance, although you direct the drone to the right, it will move to the left, due to the direction that it is in.

The Headless Mode can help to alleviate these issues. When it is activated, it doesn’t matter where the drone is facing. If you attempt to move it to the right, it will do so. This feature is quite useful in preventing crashes and accidents.

Altitude Hold Mode

This is a feature that is becoming more popular among beginner quadcopters. Here, the drone is able to hold its position in the air even when you let go of the throttle. You are then able to maneuver the drone a little easier since it is more stable. This is a great feature to have when you have to contend with both wind and air pressure while flying a drone. It used to be that feature was only found on premium models but fortunately, it is now present with several budget options.


When you are learning the ropes, it is not unusual for the drone to fly away from you while you are busy with the controls. Of course, this is precisely why it is a good idea to get a drone with the return-to-home function. Simply by pressing a button, you will be able to call the drone back to your position.

Tips for Buying a Budget Drone for Aerial Photography and Filming

For many individuals, the primary perk of having a drone is being able to take pictures with a camera attached to the drone. Now, when buying cheaper options, there is one caveat that you should be notified off.

Now, it is unlikely that you will get an HD or high-resolution camera that will live up to its claims. Sure, you are bound to get one of decent quality but true clarity may be out of your reach at this price point. However, if you want to maintain a semblance of professionalism without draining your bank account, there is a solution. In this instance, you should look for a drone that is equipped with a camera mount instead. One of the more common options with budget models is drones with GoPro mounts. This way, you can attach a much better quality camera for superior photos and videos.

Image and Video Quality

If you don’t want to attach an external camera, then you are simply going to have to look for the best cheap drone for photography. You should be aware that it will most likely be a 2MP camera fastened to the drone.

When it comes to images, think about the pixels that the camera is capable of producing. At the lower end, you have 640 x 480 which is what most inexpensive models will offer up. For better results, though, you may want to consider a camera that offers 1024 x 768 pixels. When thinking about quality, you should also keep image size in mind. For instance, if you are only going to view the pictures on your phone, you can get away with the lower quality. On the other hand, if you are going to print them out or view them on a laptop, flaws will be magnified.

Moving onto the best cheap drone for filming, resolution again should be your foremost concern. The good news is that most of the cameras will offer up at least 720p and may even go up to 1080p. You should be warned that the resolution will not be the same as what you can expect from digital cameras or even your smartphone.

First Person View

While FPV has multiple uses, it comes in particularly handy for those who want to take good quality pictures or video. With this technology, the camera on the drone is able to transmit the video live to either the controller or a smartphone if the model uses an app.

Since you are in the line for a cheaper model, then the two terms that you should familiarize yourself with is 2.4GHz analog and 2.4GHz digital. One of the most common options is 2.4GHz, with good reason. See, it doesn’t require to buy any additional hardware and the quality is also quite good. With the analog option, however, video tends to be a bit fuzzy.

Stable Hovering

The camera can’t be entirely responsible for the clarity of the images and video – the drone must play a part as well. This is why, in order to produce good pictures, a drone has to be able to hover in a stable manner, at least for a short period of time. It is only then you will be able to get a steady image, free of fuzziness.

Tips for Buying a Budget Racing Drone

Since it is easier for more people to own drones, racing is becoming quite popular. While many budget models may not be ideal for racing, you can still make do. As you can imagine, the motor power and speed are rather important here. So, you will need to look for drones that cater to more experienced pilots.

At the same time, you are also going to want a lighter drone as it allows the craft to move more quickly. The downside of overly light drones is that wind can throw them off course quite easily. Fortunately, many of the races are held indoors to help counteract this issue. Nonetheless, you should be aware of how these drones behave in such weather conditions.

It will also be useful to invest in a more durable drone as it is quite likely that you will crash during the heat of the race. At the very least, get a drone with parts that can be easily ordered and replaced quite quickly.

An FPV feature on a racing drone is quite useful, particularly if the race tends to take place at a greater distance. Of course, you should look for a higher-end option or where the drone and the transmitter operate on the same frequency. This will ensure that there is less lag time between the two devices.

Understanding the Regulations

Even before you buy a drone, you need to understand the FAA regulations that are in place regarding such a craft. These differ, depending on where you live. In most states, there aren’t specific guidelines to follow although there are generalized regulations in place. You should always check with your local government, though, to ensure that you are flying your drone legally.

The tricky thing is that these rules and guidelines tend to change quite suddenly. So, it can be difficult for drone owners to stay on top of things. To be on the safe side, it may be a good idea to register your drone with the FAA. This way, if there is a crash or altercation with public property, you may not deal with as much backlash.

As mentioned, there are some universal rules that you have to follow, regardless of where you live. To start with, you should keep your drone hovering below 400 feet at all times. Even then, it is important that you keep your craft within your line of sight at all times.

Now, there are some areas that you are simply not allowed to fly your drones in. This includes over stadiums, public events, or even large gatherings. You can’t fly the craft over private property or anything that is considered as a National Landmark. Another area that you should stay away from are airports or any place where other aircraft will be flying. It is advised that you fly your drone at least five miles away from the nearest airport.

Of course, it can be difficult to remember all the restrictions imposed on drone pilots. This is why the FAA has set up a B4UFLY mobile app that provides you with real-time information.

So there you have it, a complete guide to buying the best possible cheap drone on the market.

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