Today we’ll talk about 10 best inexpensive drones that can be bought for less than $100! Of course, you cannot expect these models to perform like high-end ones. But, despite that, they are still uniquely good in their own right. If fun is what you’re looking for and you don’t want to spend a ton of money, these next 10 drones are definitely good enough to satisfy you.
3 Things to Consider When Purchasing The Best Drone Under $100 With Camera
There are three things we’d like to point out before you go and get yourself an awesome drone on the cheap:
1. Not All Drones Are RTF (Ready to Fly) Out of the Box
Be careful when buying your first drone! Pay attention to the abbreviations following the drones’ names. I’m referring to stuff like BNF, ARF, and RTF. These abbreviations are there to inform people about what sort of package they’re getting. Here’s what they mean:
Stands for almost ready to fly. This abbreviation represents DIY packages with a ton of additional hardware needed to get the drone up and running.
Stands for bind and fly. This abbreviation represents drones with receivers installed, but there’s no controller/transmitter is in the box.
Stands for ready to fly. RTF packages include everything you need to get the drone up and running right out of the box!
2. Some Drones are Difficult to Operate
Not all drones fly the same, and not all drones are made equal! Remember those two things – they ought to come in handy in the long run. Some drones are more responsive, have a clean app interface without any bugs and offer lag-free first-person view (FPV) feed. Others are laggy, act like they have a mind of their own and come packed with bugged apps that fail to do their job properly. If you’re a first-time flyer, it’s best to look for beginner-friendly drones!
3. Learn Your Local sUAV Rules and Regulations
Last but not least – always make sure you’re staying on the right side of the law! That means you should thoroughly examine all of your local sUAV rules and regulations. If you’re still not sure what you are and aren’t supposed to do, giving the authorities a call is never a bad idea!
10 Best Drones under $100
10. Sanrock X105W
Let’s start our quest of finding the best drones under $100 with a model that comfortably sits way below our maximum price. Meet Sanrock X105W, a bulky drone with a dedicated camera that costs slightly over $60. It packs great value for money and, if you don’t want to spend big, seems like the ideal solution on the cheap!
Camera and Features
Despite the fact Sanrock is a completely unknown drone brand, they managed to cram in a proper 720p camera in their X105W model. Not only is the camera itself great for the price tag but it also features WiFi FPV, allowing you to get that extra bit of immersion while flying around your backyard. Best of all, it has a primitive anti-vibration system that makes it miles ahead of similarly priced drones and their shaky of cameras.
With a stellar array of features such as altitude hold, one key takeoff, one key landing, 3D flips, and headless mode, this thing is a breeze to fly and suits children of all ages. It’s not exactly DJI caliber, but it gets by just fine and, thanks to its size, is able to hold off its flight route even during windy days.
To be honest, the range of this little bugger isn’t the greatest. Most of the time, you’ll be getting around 100 meters, which is not spectacular even at this price point. However, Sanrock X105W justified such a short-range with an exceptional battery. This thing comes with a hefty 1500mAh LiPo that can endure around 13 to 15 minutes in the air, depending on your flying speed and whether or not you’re using the FPV feature.
9. MJX Bugs 3
MJX might not be the most popular brand anymore, but it sure did a great job with one of their first-ever models – the Bugs 3. Their biggest breakthrough – a drone that brought them incredible popularity back in the days… money too! With that said, it’s not surprising to see it still being a popular choice among people who already own GoPro cameras.
Camera and Features
So yeah, as you could’ve concluded on your own, MJX Bugs 3 does not come with a camera. However, it can still be used for aerial photography. How? Well, it comes with a camera mount. Yep, this thing rocks an action camera mount. It’s an old school! So, let’s take a closer look at it and see whether or not its specifications aged well!
Last but not least, let’s talk about the specs of this flying bugger. Spoiler alert – they’re pretty good! In other words, if you’re looking for a drone that can fly around for quite a while and you’re on a tight budget, then MJX Bugs 3 might just be the ideal solution for you! With its cca 300 meters of operating range and 10 to 15 minutes of flight time, MJX Bugs 3 isn’t ashamed of anyone! In fact, I doubt you’ll find a cheaper drone that sports such good specs and has a dedicated action camera mount you can hook your GoPro to!
8. DROCON X708W
Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat – DROCON X708W is among the best-looking drones under $50! It sports a sleek design coupled with fancy decals and red eyes up front, making it look like a proper menace. And it really is one – DROCON X708W is fast, agile, and provides a ton of entertainment for the entire family.
Camera and Features
Best of all, X708W features an integrated 480p camera that supports the first-person view over WiFi. The range is not the greatest (30 to 40 meters at best), but it’s present, and that’s what matters. FPV, even though its WiFi, will give you that feeling of being inside the cockpit of an aircraft, and that’s an experience unlike any other. As for the features, DROCON X708W comes with headless mode, one key return, and 3D flips with just one press of a button.
DROCON X708W comes with just one 550mAh battery, though, and it can last for approximately 7-8 minutes, depending on your style of flying. If you’re pushing it too hard on the throttle all the time, don’t be surprised if it runs out at the five-minute mark. This thing packs a decent range too. You can expect around 80 meters in unobstructed areas, which is pretty good when compared to similarly priced competitors.
7. Snaptain S5C
I feel like Snaptain S5C is in every list we make around here. And why not – it’s affordable, packs an extra battery, and features solid performance all across the board. Snaptain S5C looks cool too. It’s a toy drone, no doubt about it, but it offers much more than similarly priced competitors. So, without further ado, let’s see what exactly makes Snaptain S5C a viable option for under $100 drone purchase!
Camera and Features
Snaptain S5C comes with a dedicated controller. It’s not the best looking or the most comfortable one I’ve ever seen, but it does the job alright. If you don’t like it, you can always control the bugger with gestures only. It’s a bit trickier, but once you get a hang of it, you won’t be able to go back to the conventional controlling method. Plus, gesture controlling your drone significantly ups the coolness factor!
As for additional features, Snaptain S5C sports VR headset support (VR headset not included), headless mode, altitude hold, gravity sensor (for controlling), and even voice control. It also sports a solid 720p camera with WiFi FPV, another excellent feature at such an affordable price tag.
Snaptain S5C runs on brushed motors and packs around 6 to 7 minutes of flight time. Additionally, FPV range extends to around 40 to 50 meters, which is decent WiFi coverage. Lastly, operating (control) range goes much further than that, almost double. We’re talking 80ish meters without cut-outs and no noticeable input lag.
6. AKASO A31
Priced just above Snaptain S5C, AKASO A31 brings forth a lot of increased functionality. For starters, it sports a better camera, is much larger, and can provide fun flying experience for both kids and adults. And it does all of that for roughly $70, even less if you manage to get it on sale. What makes it so special? Well, let’s see…
Camera and Features
For roughly $70, you’re getting a 1080p camera, WiFi FPV, and several handy features that you’re bound to use every now and then. We’re talking 3D flips, headless mode, speed variations, and one key return. The latter is obviously the most important one, and it’s pretty accurate considering the fact AKASO A31 does not feature onboard GPS.
AKASO A31 comes with a miniature 3.7V 750mAh LiPo battery that gives it around 8 minutes of flight time. And that’s if you push it like crazy and do all sorts of tricks with it while enjoying the benefits of WiFI FPV. Plus, they’re pretty cheap so I would advise you getting a few extra ones to extend your flight sessions. Just make sure you wait a few minutes between each flight so you don’t burn those tiny brushed motors. As for the range, you’re looking at around 100 meters for the controller and 50ish for FPV. Needless to say, both numbers fare pretty well against the competition.
5. Simrex X900
Next up, we have Simrex X900, an interesting drone with plenty of aces up its sleeves. It’s close to our set price tag ($100) so keep that in mind. However, for what it’s worth, it’s worth every penny. In fact, I’m sure you’ll think so to once I walk you through its key characteristics. So, let’s not waste any more time and jump straight to business!
Camera and Features
This foldable fella is a genuinely decent aerial photography drone for beginners. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t get professional quality aerial footage from it, but its 1080p camera is not to be taken for granted. Plus, with features such as optical flow positioning, altitude hold, and one key takeoff and landing, shooting images and videos with X900 is much easier than on most of its direct competitors.
Simrex X900 doesn’t fail to deliver in the specs department either. With around 13 minutes of flight time and cca 100 meters of operating range (half of that for FPV), Simrex X900 fares pretty well against similarly priced competitors. In other words, if you’re looking for a proper foldable drone under $100, this one will not let you down!
4. UDI U818 HD+
Meet the UDI U818 HD+ drone. 4th best drone under $100 with camera has everything it needs to be at the very top of the food chain. It is easy to handle, reliable and extremely durable with its prop guards that go all around the entire frame making sure it’s durable and crash-resistant. With all that on the mind, let’s take a closer look at UDI U818 HD+ to see if all this hype is justified!
Let’s start off with the features! This little fella sports headless mode and one key 360 flips that will surely amaze everyone watching. Unfortunately, as far as features go, in addition to those two mentioned above, UDI U818 HD+ incorporates only Low Battery Alarm and LED lights. But the lack of features is compensated with more than a solid HD camera. More about it down below.
UDI U818 HD+ camera records in HD at 30 frames per second. Needless to say, it is by far the best camera option in this price range. Still, there’s no stabilization which might cause that annoying jelly effect from time to time. All in all, UDI U818 HD+ is an awesome entry-level model, capable of delivering a ton of fun for everyone playing with it.
3. JJRC H68
Giant camera and even bigger propellers are the first things you’ll notice about JJRC H68. The brand JJRC has been around for quite a while, and surprising enough, it aged pretty well, just like its older best drones under $100. The price tag of their H68 has been dropped significantly, though, so buying it right now for roughly $90 is a proper steal and here’s why:
Camera and Features
For starters, JJRC H68 has a gigantic camera. As stated above, it’s the first thing that you’ll notice once you lay your eyes on this little bugger. The second thing is, obviously, the uncanny resemblance to DJI Phantom lineup. The camera is not that good, though, as it’s capable of shooting mere 720p footage. It’s good for the price, don’t get me wrong, but don’t set the bar too high otherwise you might end up disappointed.
It’s good for capturing family gatherings from a new perspective or recording your adventures in nature. Any kind of professional work is a no-go, for sure. Features reveal that too, with only the most basic ones present. I’m referring to the likes of headless mode, altitude hold, and FPV.
Here comes the best part about JJRC H68 – the specifications. Believe it or not, this sucker can fly for up 18 minutes, courtesy of its massive 1800mAh battery. Best of all, you get two batteries inside the bundle, meaning you’ll be getting upwards of 35 minutes of flying straight out of the box. Lastly, the range isn’t half bad either, maxing out at around 100 meters. FPV range, however, has plenty of room for improvement as it often starts cutting out at just 50ish meters.
2. Holy Stone F181
Holy Stone’s F181 is currently one of the bestselling entry-level drones on Amazon. It has close to 2,000 reviews, most of them incredibly positive ones. As a matter of fact, the overall review rating is 4.5 stars which just proves how excellent this little fella is. But, what can you expect from it? Well, why don’t we check that out real fast!
Starting off with features, you will be happy to know it sports One Key Return to Home, headless mode, altitude hold, and One Key Flip. Even though it technically isn’t a feature, the extra batter you will get inside the package is still a noteworthy addition.
Moving forward to the specifications, F181 by Holy Stone ranks pretty well with other similarly priced competitors. Depending on interference and weather conditions, it can go as far as 100 meters (but realistically, you’re looking at 80 max in day-to-day usage). Battery-wise, roughly 8 minutes of flight time is more than decent.
Lastly, it’s important to say a thing or two about its built-in camera. It incorporates a 2MPX sensor that can effectively shoot in HD resolution. Still, the sensor isn’t light-friendly which means there isn’t enough light coming into your frames. While that might not be an issue during the day, you can forget about night shots.
1. Potensic T25
If you’re looking for the very best drone for around $100, then Potensic T25 is the one you’re looking for. Yes, it goes for slightly more than $100, but bear with me here as it’s well worth the extra couple of bucks. It has an excellent set of features and specifications that will leave you speechless. The price/performance ratio of this little bugger is absolutely amazing, which is why it’s found its place at the top spot on our list!
Camera and Features
Potensic T25 features a solid 1080p camera that will allow you to shoot crisp aerial footage no matter where you go. FPV is supported too, just like VR headsets, which are purchasable separately. Most importantly, though, Potensic T25 comes with an integrated GPS module and it’s important for two reasons.
First, it makes the drone much more stable, even in windy conditions, which is something non-GPS drones can’t execute properly. Second, it paves the way for additional smart features like follow me, altitude hold, and auto return to home. But there are other, more affordable drones that support these features, you might think. And yes, that’s true, but they don’t have GPS which means they aren’t nearly as accurate as Potensic T25!
Specs-wise, you’re looking at a very potent drone here. Not only does Potensic T25 offer an excellent set of features but it also boasts with ridiculous specs for the price point. Its control range stretches all the way to 300 meters, with pretty good coverage at massive heights, great for panoramic shots with its 1080p camera. Additionally, it packs a hefty 1000mAh battery capable of providing roughly 8 minutes of the flight time. Pretty solid for a drone that costs just slightly above the $100 mark.
Pay Attention to These Things Before the Maiden Flight
One Day Before the Flight Session
- Check the weather forecast – this is an absolute must!
- Make sure everything is up to date, including your controller, smartphone/tablet, drone app (for camera drones), and the drone’s firmware.
- Make sure all of your batteries are charged up! If they aren’t – charge them!
- Don’t forget your SD cards!
Immediately Before the Flight
- Visually inspect your drone and make sure everything is connected properly.
- Check to see if there are any loose wires.
- Check if all the propellers are mounted properly and tightened accordingly.
- Inspect the wind speed and direction, either manually or with a smartphone app.
- Make sure your SD card is in the drone before the takeoff.
Right After the Takeoff
- Take things slowly – hover in midair for half a minute and monitor your drone’s behavior and sounds!
- Make sure there’s not too much drift on either end!
- Don’t forget to press the RECORD button!
5 Useful Accessories That Will Make Your Flights Much More Enjoyable
Obviously – extra batteries are at the top of our list of awesome drone accessories. They share the top spot with extra propellers and motors because they all come in handy. Especially batteries because let’s face it, you need them the most. Sure, your drone can’t fly without a good set of propellers and four functioning motors, but those things don’t break with each flight. Extra batteries, on the other hand, are always a massive plus as they greatly extend your flying sessions.
Most of the above-featured drones under $100 can be charged via power banks. Yep – all they require is a simple 5v connection and that’s exactly what the majority of power banks can do these days. The capacity is all on you – just make sure the one you buy has the correct connector – USB A not USB C!
Sunshields for your FPV monitor or smartphone is worth every penny. If you’re not the biggest fan of VR flying or you’re just starting out, when flying in sunny conditions with little to no shade to go around, sun shields are an absolute must. You won’t see a thing without it, trust me. They come in various shapes and sizes and are pretty cheap. They should be in the backpack of every serious drone operator.
Landing pad can greatly help you achieve that perfect landing that won’t do any sort of damage to your drone. In most cases, when flying over urban areas, there will be plenty of concrete footing to land your drone. However, if you’re planning on flying your drone in forests or other remote areas with little to no clearance for takeoffs and landings, that’s exactly where landing pads come into play!
Yep, as silly as it may sound – bringing a chair with you on your flight session can be a great idea. Even more so if we are talking about longer flight session… and even more so if you have chronic back pain as I do.
Should My New Drone be Registered with the FAA?
That depends. If your drone weighs in above .55 and 55 pounds, then yes – you will have to register it with the FAA. If that’s too much hassle for you, you can always opt for a lighter drone. Just beware, though – lighter usually doesn’t mean better in the drone world.
How Do I Register My Drones with the FAA?
Registering your drone with the FAA is fairly simple and will take no more than five minutes of your precious time. That said, the fastest way to complete the registration is to head right on over to FAA’s Register Drone page where you will be familiarized with the whole process.
If your drone is between 0.55 and 55 pounds and you’re only going to use it for recreational purposes, you’re supposed to register as a modeler and label your drone with your registration number. On top of that, you’ll also have to provide the FAA with your email address, physical address, and both the brand and model of your drone. I almost forgot – the registration fee is $5.
How Often Do I Need to Renew My Registration?
The FAA states that drones’ registrations expire three years after the initial registration or renewal. If your drone’s registration has expired, you submit the renewal application as soon as possible.
What can you expect from an average drone in this price range?
When you are buying such a cheap drone (while we’re at it, it’s not just when you’re buying cheap drones but virtually all cheap gadgets out there) the key is in having realistic expectations. If they are set too high you will end up really disappointed and that will greatly ruin your drone flying experience. On the other hand, if you don’t expect it to be any good, it might even surprise you and provide you with a ton of fun. Who knows, perhaps you’ll want to buy a spare one as well…
The drone industry is developing remarkably fast; new low-cost drones are coming to the market with new features and at lower prices. Nowadays it is easy to find and purchase inexpensive drones, which is basically why we created our list of the best drones under $100.
As far s the average specs go, you can expect around 100 meters of range and 10ish minutes of flight time. Yes, I know that’s probably below what you initially thought you’d get, but it’s still an okay experience. The cameras, at this particular price point, aren’t going to sweep you off your feet either. We’re looking at mere 720p (sometimes upscaled to 1080p) footage, typically without reliable anti-vibration solutions.
You think the situation is bad and that you’re getting a fancy brick for $100? Trust me, the situation today is far greater than, let’s say, five years ago. The drone tech has come such a long way that we’re continually seeing massive improvements in drone quality, across the entire spectrum…
The average flight time you can expect from drones that cost $100 or less is around 10 minutes. Luckily, you can easily bypass this limitation by purchasing additional batteries. Most of these drones feature affordable 3.7v batteries, so purchasing one or two extra ones is always a good idea.
I’d say the average operating range for the best $100 drone goes around the 100-meter mark. MJX Bugs 3 and Potensic T25 lead the charge in this department, reaching 300 meters with ease. That said, if you’re looking for long-range drones under $100, these two are definitely the best options.
AVERAGE CAMERA QUALITY
Even though there are a few models listed below that feature a 1080p camera, the vast majority are still using sensors that capture aerial footage in age-old 720p resolution. However, what’s more, important than the resolution at this price point is vibration dampening, as it’s able to drastically improve the smoothness of aerial footage captured by these affordable flyers.
FAQ: Best Quadcopters Under $100
Who are these drones under $100 ideal for?
The obvious answer might be to beginners, but is that really so? Well, it’s true to the extent that these cheap models are great for people who are trying to get into drone hobby. I remember my first steps – I destroyed my Traxxas Aton in just a week while learning the controls.
My ego was too big to put it in a beginner’s mode… So the combination of my negligence and Aton’s speed (yes, Traxxas Aton is incredibly fast) resulted in me having to buy another drone after just a week.
The second answer would be for children! There’s no need to purchase a $1k drone for your kids to play with. It’s practically throwing money in the garbage. They don’t know how to use them correctly and they will most likely break them pretty fast. It’s like buying a bulldozer for a man who only operated a forklift in his entire life…
How important camera quality is in this price range?
Realistically speaking, camera quality in this price range isn’t that important. It’s all, more or less, the same cr*p. The variations are small, non-existent in some cases. They’re all pretty shaky in terms of footage, and much better when it comes to shooting still images.
It all comes down to your expectations. The best way to approach camera quality on these drones is to look up sample footage on YouTube. Once again, they’re all (more or less) shaky with the only difference being in the color reproduction and sharpness of the given sensor.
Can I use my GoPro camera with any of these drones?
Even though the drone market is not featuring a ton of drones that sport GoPro mounts, there is one on this list that can actually carry one. The name is MJX Bugs 3, and it is sitting comfortably in the ninth position. In fact, it’s one of just a few drones left on the market that do support camera mounts for GoPro action cameras.
When and why did not have camera mounts become a trend in the industry, you might ask. Well, it all comes down to peoples’ preferences when buying their first drone. Typically, they want drones with a camera, be it very low-quality ones, and FPV support. And they want it for two reasons:
- First, they want to take aerial footage no matter how bad the quality is.
- Second, they want to taste that sweet FPV feature, greatly upping the immersion and creating a unique flying experience.
- Long story short– if you own a GoPro camera and you just want a solid aerial platform to bring it to a new perspective, then MJX Bugs 3 is the obvious way to go.
Are there any foldable drones in this price range?
SHORT ANSWER – yes, there are!
Long answer – foldable drones are all the craze nowadays. Ever since DJI Mavic Pro came out, all affordable drone makers tried to copy its unique foldable design to cater towards even the neediest of customers. Fast forward two years and that trend have grown even larger. DJI released several new drones, each more successful than its predecessors (Mavic Air, Mavic 2 Pro, and Mavic Mini), and all of them feature foldable designs…
What to expect from the best drone under $100?
As mentioned earlier, you can’t really expect a lot from these affordable little buggers. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll get what you’re paying for… but don’t succumb to unrealistic expectations to avoid ending up disappointed in your purchase.
Specs-wise, these drones can achieve upwards of 10 minutes of flight time and 100 meters of flight range. Needless to say, these numbers vary from model to model and it’s up to you to decide which of them you’re going with.
Are Drones Under $100 Good for First-Time Flyers?
What about affordable drones and first-time flyers? Is that a good combination? Well, I honestly can’t see anything wrong with it. As you’ll learn down below, these drones are ideal for kids and as Christmas/birthday presents, so I see no reasons why they aren’t ideal for first-time flyers as well. After all, they’re simple to use, pretty intuitive to keep in the air, and aren’t fast enough to kill a person. One can still walk out with a boo-boo, which is not something I’m trying to belittle, but I’m sure you get my point.
Are These Drones Good for Indoor Flights?
Yessir – most of the above-featured affordable drones under $100 are suitable for indoor flying. We’re talking about smaller models such as the Snaptain S5C and DROCON X708W. While other drones can also be flown indoor, I can’t really recommend it because of the wicked combination of bulkier frames and overall stability… or should I say, the lack thereof?
Are these Drones Safe for Kids?
Obviously, drones can be pretty dangerous. Not all drones are kids-friendly. When talking about kid-friendly drones, we’re typically talking about drones that go below the $100 mark, making this list the perfect list of drones for kids out there!
So yeah, all of these drones are, more or less, safe for kids to use. Just make sure they understand the risks of flying over other people or, God forbid, flying into each other. Despite the fact none of these drones are crazy fast, direct crashes will still hurt, no matter where they land.
What are the Best Drones Under $100?
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? This whole piece has been, pretty much, one giant answer as to this question. If you want nothing but concrete names, there’s a comprehensive list of awesome models above. If you’re too lazy to scroll on your own, click here and we’ll take you there.
How Far Can Quadcopters Under $100 Go?
As mentioned earlier, you can expect around 100 meters from a middle-of-the-pack drone under the $100 mark. If you opt for something like a Potensic T25 or MJX Bugs 3, you can expect slightly more than 100 meters. Close to 300, I’d say, in wide and clear areas at least.
Are Quadcopters Under $100 Good for Presents?
Yes – affordable drones that cost below $100 are definitely great for presents. They are not too expensive, yet it will definitely amaze both the parents and the kid you’re gifting it to. If you’re buying affordable drones as a Christmas present, it’s best to do your shopping on Amazon as there are tons of Christmas deals you can snatch. For roughly $100, you’ll be able to get a much better model than usual!
Where to Find Spare Parts for these Drones?
I’d say Amazon is your best choice here, although spare parts for these drones can be problematic from time to time. It all depends on the drone you have and the spare part you’re looking for. With stuff like motors and propellers, you should be all good since they don’t come in proprietary shapes and sizes. There are several variations out there, usually divided into size-based categories. As long as you kno0w what you’re looking for, you should be all set!