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The Cheapest Drones To Buy For 2017

What are looking for in a drone? If a price tag above $100 is more than you want to pay, you still have plenty of options. You can get a high-quality drone that will meet your needs without needing to drain your break account. If you are new to the world of drones, a toy or hobby drone is the way to start. As you get better at piloting them, you can graduate up to a more expensive drone with more features.

The best thing to do before you just dive in and buy a drone is decide on what you want to use your drone for. Some drones come with HD cameras and FPV systems (allowing you to see video transmission in real time). Some have integrated GPS systems, which aid you while flying your drone, especially if it can cover some distance. And even cheap drones allow you to connect to your smartphone, tablet or PC with its software.

Let’s take a look at some cheap drones that are $100 or less to get you started on the path of drone piloting.

UDI U818A HD+

Drone Cheap

This updated version of the UDI U818A gives the pilot new features to the already durable and maneuverable drone. The UDI U818A HD+ offers a return home mode to bring the drone back to you when you’re done flying, headless mode so you don’t have to worry about if you flying the drone the right way, and a 720p camera that includes a 4GB SD card. You also get an extra battery, extending your flying time.

Cons:

  • The batteries do not last long even fully charged
  • Hard to control even in the lightest wind
  • No WiFi capability
  • Loses connection with remote and stops responding, causing it to fly away

AIR HOGS HELIX X4 STUNT

cheap drones with camera

One of the most durable drones for about $100, this one has a dense foam frame that can crash without it hurting the drone. It includes ducted fans for more stable flight and foam bumpers that protect the propellers. Since the frame is a dense foam, the drone is very light, making it perfect for performing aerial stunts. While you can fly outside, it flies best indoors.

Cons:

  • Not powerful enough to fly outdoors in the slightest breeze
  • Bad customer service
  • Difficult to control
  • Hard to calibrate and get it to fly level partly due to the trim
  • Batteries do not last long enough to learn how to fly

SKY VIPER V950 HD

cheap drones

This little drone is a great for anyone wanting to get into aerial photography and videography. It has an HD 720p camera with a 4BG SD card and can be adjusted up to 130 degrees. Plus, you can capture 360 degree panoramic views mid-flight with a single touch of a button. This is pretty rare for drones at this price range. With a resilient polypropylene frame, it’s a good drone for performing aerial tricks like barrel rolls.

Cons:

  • Poorly constructed
  • Loses signal to the remote too easily and flies away
  • Customer support is virtually non-existent

HUBSAN X4 H107C

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Great for beginners and experienced pilots alike, the Hubsan X4 H107C offers pilots two separate flying modes: beginner and expert. The beginner mode lets you get a hang of flying a radio-controlled drone by lessening the sensitivity. Expert boosts the controls’ sensitivity so you can do things like front, back and sideways flips. It features a 720p camera and an extra battery. The drone is small, making it great for indoor flight, but it can handle some heavy winds.

Cons:

  • No direct control of throttle
  • Auto level feature does not work well
  • It does not come with prop guards
  • It requires a proprietary battery

BLADE NANO QX RTF QUADCOPTER

best cheap drone

The Blade Nano QX Quadcopter is the perfect one for a beginner because it has features that allows it to be flown indoors. The Blade Nano is equipped with SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology, which helps the novice pilot with taking off and crashing. There are two modes for flight – stability mode and agility mode – that allow you to get a hand of flying and if you want, you can just let it hover in the air.

Cons:

  • There are problems keeping the remote connected to the drone
  • Issues with the battery fitting into the drone properly
  • Terrible customer service
  • There are issues with the batteries ranging from not charging to catching fire

PARROT MINIDRONE ROLLING SPIDER

cheap drone with camera

This fun drone gives you two piloting options that makes it one of the coolest on this list. You can fly it normally like any other drone or you can attach the wheels to the drone and pilot it up a wall, across the floor or even on the ceiling. This drone is controlled completely with your smartphone or tablet using the Freeflight 3 app, giving you the ability to access the stunts that are programmed into it. One downside about this drone is that it is only equipped with a 360p camera, unlike many of the other drones listed here that has a 720p camera.

Cons:

  • Drone loses connection to remote and flies away
  • No support for the Freeflight 3 app
  • Parts break too easily
  • Batteries don’t charge

SYMA X5C

cheap fpv drone

While this drone doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, it really is a great drone for the beginning pilot. It is a stable, responsive quadcopter that includes a camera. It’s not the best camera but it gives the newbie pilot something to learn with. It can stay in the air for about 6 minutes and can get out to 50 to 100 meters before losing signal.

Cons:

  • Hard to fly in any wind because it is so lightweight
  • Battery doesn’t stay charged long enough to fly
  • Hard to control
  • Poor customer service

CHEERSON CX-10 MINI

cheap quadcopter

The smallest drone on the list, the Cheerson CX-10 Mini Drone fits in the palm of your hand. Don’t let the size fool you. This cheap drone is still a stable quadcopter drone that features three sensitivity modes on the controls. It is capable of some advanced maneuvers and it’s just a fun little drone to play with. Its small size also makes it perfect to fly indoors.

Cons:

  • The drone can only get 3 to 4 feet away from the controller before it loses signal
  • Hard to control
  • Product seems to stop working after 1 to 2 flights
  • Battery charger is not well made

EACHINE H8

quadcopter cheap

The Eachine H8 is another miniature drone, but it’s bigger than the Cheerson Cx-10 Mini due to the prop guards that extend past the body of the drone. It comes with a headless mode, LED lights, a one key return to home feature and a 3D tumbling stunt programmed into it. It’s lightweight so flying it outdoors could be a problem. You’ll get about 7 minutes of flight time and about 30 meters from its transmitter before losing the signal.

Cons:

  • Product is not made well and breaks very easily
  • Battery is difficult to recharge
  • Instructions are not well-written
  • Product seems to stop working after 1 to 2 flights

MJX X902

cheap drone camera

If you like spiders, then you are going to love this drone. The prop guards reach downward from the propellers making it look like a spider. Plus, they offer your drone some extra protection in the event your drone crashes. It has bright LED lights, a slow and fast speed, 3D tumbling and plenty of stability. It can reach 30 meters and 7 minutes of flight time without lag issues.

Cons:

  • Difficult to fly and does not hover
  • No customer support available to resolve issues
  • Product is not made well and breaks very easily
  • Battery life is very short

HASAKEE MINI

best cheap quadcopter

While Hasakee is not a name that is known among drone owners, they still managed to put together a nice little mini drone that comes in two colors – blue and yellow – and complimenting black propellers and guards. It has live FPV capability thanks to its 0.3MP camera. It has a headless mode, two speeds and a 360-degree roll programmed into it. It’s able to get more than 50 meters from you before losing signal and can stay in the air up to 7 minutes on a charged battery.

Cons:

  • Drone will not connect to WiFi
  • Trim drifts making it hard to take photos
  • Difficult to fly
  • Batteries will not hold a charge

AKASO X5C

cheap camera drone

Syma has managed to put out a few good drones like the X5C. It is a small, lightweight drone that features plastic prop guards designed to provide shock resistance and decrease the impact of collisions. It can do 360 flips, continuous rolls and has an HD camera that captures decent aerial photos and videos. With built-in LED lights, it can get about 100 meters away before experiencing lag and can say up in the air for about 6 minutes.

Cons:

  • You must remove the battery to charge it

JXD 512W

drones for sale cheap

It’s hard to find crash proof drones under $50, but the JXD 512W is exactly that. It has the standard features you find on most drones at this price range, like 6-axis gyro stabilization, a one key return to home and headless mode, but it also comes with a VGA camera with 640x480 resolution and FPV transmission. Yes, it’s a basic camera, but not too bad for this price. You get about 15 meters before it lags, even with the FPV running and four minutes of flight time. This is cheap drone that fits the bill for someone just starting out.

Cons:

  • Charging cable is not a standard USB connector and difficult to replace

UFO 3000

cheap gopro drone

Night flights just got better with the UFO 3000. It has super bright LED lights that circle the propeller guard and provides maximum visibility. You can also freak out your neighbors with its 3D stunts, one key 360 flips and two speed modes. It’s actually a pretty nimble little drone. Plus, you get an extra battery, giving you a total of 14 minutes flight time when both batteries are charged.

Cons:

  • Batteries do stay charged long
  • Difficult to control
  • Trim keeps it from hovering properly
  • Not kid friendly

MJX X400

drones cheap

A nice drone that gets 8 minutes of air time and a distance of 100 meters, this cheap drone offers you FPV Real Time Transmission thanks to the WiFi C4005 0.3MP camera. It connects to your Android or iPhone using the included application and gives you the ability to see exactly what it is recording on your phone or tablet screen. While it’s not good enough to videotape a wedding or other outdoor event, it’s a good drone to learn on.

Cons:

  • Camera app will not work on certain types of Android or iPhone phones
  • Very difficult to assemble

JJRC H31

cheap drone for gopro

The JJRC H31 gives you 150 to 200 meters and 8-10 minutes of flight time all for under $100. It’s not heavy in the feature department, making it a good beginner drone, but it does offer high stability and performance. The prop guards and landing legs give it a nice look and since this small to medium size drone has a prop guard, you can fly it indoors.

Cons:

  • Difficult to learn the controls on the remote
  • States that camera comes with it but it must be purchased separately
  • Faulty flight controller or programming causing tilt

TARANTULA X6

cheap video drone

One of the few cheap drones on our list that doesn’t come with a camera, the Tarantula X6 still has the ability to carry one. It’s got enough power to carry an action camera, such as a GoPro so you can get some fantastic aerial shots with the 6-axis gyro control. This drone is also very easy to repair by yourself, such as replacing the motor if it should happen to burn out. The 7.4V 1200mAh LiPo battery gives you up to 10-12 minutes of flight time and you can reach anywhere from 80 to 100 meters before you lose your signal. It has LED lights, a headless mode and 360-degree stunt programming.

Cons:

  • Product is made poorly and is fragile
  • Guards and landing gear break easily
  • Difficult to control

AIR HOGS MILLENNIUM FALCON QUADCOPTER

Cheap Quadcopter Drone

Star Wars fans will love owning their own Millennium Falcon, complete with authentic LED lights and sounds. It also has a hyper drive stunt programmed into it. It is made with a durable foam body and four concealed propellers. It has a 200-foot flying range before the drone loses contact with the remote. It’s a great drone for kids who enjoy the movies and need to pretend they are Han Solo for just a little while.

Cons:

  • Battery life is short and it is hard to charge the battery up
  • Difficult to fly (unless you’re Han Solo)
  • Customer service is very difficult to get a hold of
  • Controllers have been known to stop working and charging
  • Difficult to control outdoors with any type of wind

Final Thoughts

From beginner user to professional user, there are plenty of long range drones on the market for you to choose from. Most of the ones on this list are designed for the experienced user but there are some here that are perfect if you want to introduce the joy of radio-controlled flight to a young family member.

Read up on the drone you are interested in buying before committing to one. Learn everything you can about it so that you know what additional equipment you may need, if you need to purchase a camera for your drone and what type of batteries it takes. Also, be aware of what type of setup your drone may require. Not all of them are ready to use as soon as you open the box. There may be some setup required.

Always be aware of the area you are flying your drone in and any FAA regulations in the area. Invest in FAA flight zone information so you can keep it out of any no-fly zones. Many drones are required to be registered with the FAA. Make sure you check in your area to see if you need to register it prior to use. Use your drone responsibly and always ask before videoing any type of event where others are involved.

Cheapest Drones

While cheap drones may not be flashy or have all the bells and whistles of their more expensive counterparts, they are fun to fly and really give the beginner pilot a chance to hone their skills before purchasing a more expensive drone. Adults and children alike will be able to enjoy these drones and will have countless hours flying them around. Many of the smaller drones are great to fly around the house without the worry of the wind taking them away.

Once a beginner is ready to move on, there are plenty of options in the $100 to $200 range that are great for taking that next step and spreading your wings into the world of radio controlled flight.