When it comes to drones, the sheer amount of choices is enough to confuse a beginner. Obviously, you would’ve heard the names of major players like DJI, Parrot, etc. However, most of these drones are quite expensive, and are not really meant for beginners. So, if you want to get into flying drones, and are looking for an affordable one to learn on, here are the 8 best drones under $100:
1. Parrot Mambo
Quite easily one of the best, and most “fun to fly” drones that you can get under $100, the Parrot Mambo is not really a camera drone, or a racing drone. It’s just a drone that you can have a lot of fun with. The Parrot Mambo comes with a cannon, a grabber, and 50 cannon balls. Yes, you read that right, the Parrot Mambo can be used with a cannon or a grabber, and can therefore result in a lot of fun.
The Mambo comes with an autopilot that takes over if you stop controlling the drone with your smartphone, or remote control. Moreover, in the event of a crash, the motors will automatically stop to reduce damage to the drone, and the rotor blades. With a full charge of the included 3.7V 550 mAh battery, the Mambo can fly for around 8-9 minutes. The listed price of the drone is $119.99, but it’s available on Amazon for a much more affordable price of $99.49.
Buy on Amazon.com ($99.49)
2. Dromida Vista UAV
The Dromida Vista UAV is the first, and only performance drone on this list. Most performance drones will cost you much more than $100, but the Vista UAV fills in the gap pretty well. The drone comes with a 3 axis gyroscope, and a 3 axis accelerometer, which ensures the smoothest flights, even for complete beginners. If you want to impress your friends, you can use the “flip” button on the controller, to flip the drone in the air, without having to do anything else! Isn’t that cool?
The Dromida Vista UAV’s remote uses a 2.4GHz signal to communicate with the drone. The remotes use Secure Link Technology, which ensures that a secure, unbreakable connection is created between the drone, and the remote. This is helpful if you and your friends want to fly a number of Dromida Vista drones in close proximity, as it ensures that the connections don’t break due to interference. The Dromida Vista UAV comes with four selectable flight modes: Easy, Normal, Advanced, and Experienced. The Easy mode is best for complete beginners, and as you improve your skills, you can switch the flight modes, to get even better at flying a drone. The drone packs a 850 mAh battery, which will last you for 12 minutes of flight time, after only 30 minutes of charging.
Buy on Amazon.com ($69.99)
3. DBPOWER MJX X400W
The DBPOWER MJX X400W is a great camera drone that comes with a 2 MP camera, capable of shooting 720p videos. The drone supports Headless Mode. This means that unlike conventional drones, the drone’s flying direction is relative to the direction that the transmitter is pointing in. This makes it easier to understand the orientation of the drone, and is perfect for beginners. Another cool feature in the DBPOWER MJX X400W, is the one tap button that can let you pull off some great rolls, and flips. This will definitely leave your friends awestruck. The drone comes with a battery that will last you for a 8 to 9 minute flight, on a 120 minute charge.
The most interesting feature of this drone, however, is the FPV support that it offers. FPV, or First Person View, is a feature that can let you use your VR headset, to see through the drone’s camera. This gives you a feel of actually being in the air, and makes the experience just that much better. The FPV footage transmitted by the drone has a very low latency, which means that you will be experiencing it almost in real time, which is pretty great.
Buy on Amazon.com ($79.99)
4. Syma X5C-1
The Syma X5C-1 is a superb camera drone that is perfect for learning to fly drones. The drone comes with a 6 axis gyroscope, which means that you’ll get a stable flight, and the drone is beginner friendly. The Syma X5C-1 comes with a 2MP camera, that is capable of shooting 720p videos, and has a range of 30 metres. 30 metres is not a lot, but while you’re learning, 30 metres is actually quite enough. The drone also has LED lights to make it easier to figure out the front side of the drone, and to keep the drone visible at night.
The Syma X5C-1’s remote control comes with an LCD display, which will keep you informed about the status of your drone, while you’re flying it. This is helpful, as you can easily keep an eye on the elevation, and battery status of your drone. Since this drone is beginner friendly, it comes with blade protectors, so you can “safely crash” it without hurting the drone, or yourself (or your pet). The Syma X5C-1 is very competitively priced, and is a great drone for taking your first step into the world of drones.
Buy on Amazon.com ($49.97)
5. UDI U818A-HD
The UDI U818A-HD is another drone that is suitable for beginners. The camera drone comes with a 2MP camera, that is capable of shooting videos in 720p resolution. Now, 720p may not be much, but it’s a pretty great feeling to watch your first aerial footage, even if it’s in HD. The drone supports TF cards to save videos, and uses the FAT file system to do so. You can use a card with a maximum size of 32 GB with the drone’s camera. One of the best features of this drone, is that it supports Headless Mode. The controller with the UDI U818A-HD also comes with an LCD display, to keep you informed about various stats while you’re flying.
The UDI U818A-HD has a total flight time of 6 to 9 minutes, after a 120 minute charge time on the battery. So, if you’re planning to shoot a lot of aerial footage, you should probably buy a couple of extra batteries. The drone also comes with a high/low speed setting, so you can fly at the speed comfortable to you. With an almost-decent range of 80 metres, the UDI U818A-HD is a great drone for beginners, and can make the perfect gift for someone interested in drones.
Buy on Amazon.com ($54.80)
6. Blade Inductrix
If you’re looking to learn (and practice) flying drones inside your house, you can’t go wrong with the Blade Inductrix. This tiny drone comes with Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (or SAFE) to ensure a smooth flying experience in any environment, and the highly durable construction of the drone means that it won’t break if you crash it on your living room wall. The blades are also covered in blade protectors, so the chances of getting someone hurt with the drone’s rotor blades are extremely low.
The Blade Inductrix packs a 3.7V, 150 mAh battery, which gets fully charged in almost 30 minutes, and will let you fly the drone for almost 6 minutes. Unfortunately, the drone doesn’t come with Headless Mode, so you’ll always have to keep a track of the orientation. However, this can be used to train yourself for flying professional grade drones, if that’s something you’re interested in. The Blade Inductrix does use LED lights to help you with figuring out the orientation of the drone, so you can use those as cue lights when you need to.
Buy from Amazon.com ($74.99)
7. Syma X8C Venture
Another sub-100 dollar drone from Syma, the X8C Venture is a camera drone that comes with a 2 MP shooter, capable of shooting 720p videos, which will serve you just fine, for a beginner drone. The drone comes with Headless Mode, so it’s perfect for beginners, as you wouldn’t have to concern yourself with keeping a track of the orientation of the drone. The Syma X8C comes with a 6 axis gyroscope for better flight stability, and greater control; and, with the blade protectors, you’ll be okay with minor crashes while you’re learning.
The Syma X8C packs in a whopping 2000 mAh battery, that will take almost 200 minutes to completely charge, but due to the size of the drone, it only lasts for around 7 minutes of flight time. The drone comes in at 50cm by 50cm, and is 19cm tall, so it’s by no means a small drone, and the flight time is what you’d expect from a sub-$100 drone of this size.
Buy from Amazon.com ($62.88)
8. Hubsan X4
The Hubsan X4 is the only camera drone on this list, that is suitable for both indoor, and outdoor use. The drone comes with a 2 MP shooter attached to the bottom, capable of shooting aerial videos in 720p – a feature that is common to all camera drones in the $100 range. You can use a microSD card with the drone, to save all your aerial footage, but you’ll have to purchase that separately. This drone comes from a brand that is pretty well known for good quality drones, for both professionals, and beginners, and the Hubsan X4 is a great drone for beginners.
If you’re interested in performing acrobatic stunts such as flips, and rolls, the Hubsan X4 is perfect for that, as it is capable of doing 360 rolls, and flips. So, you can easily impress your friends with your excellent skills. The drone packs a 830 mAh Li-polymer battery, that will last you for a 7 minute flight, after being charged for almost 30 minutes. If you want to be safer while flying the drone (indoors, or outdoors), you can purchase blade protectors separately, to make sure that the drone (and anyone in the vicinity) remains safe.
Buy on Amazon.com ($35.65)
9. TDR Robin 5.8G FPV Drone
The TDR Robin is a great camera drone, packed into a small enough form factor, that it can fit right in your palm. The camera on the Robin is a 2MP shooter, capable of 720p recording, and the remote control comes with a built-in screen, along with a sunshade, so you can easily see your recording even in sunlight. The drone comes with “Headless Mode“, so it’s perfect for beginner fliers, and it even has an “Auto Return” button, which will make the drone come back via the shortest path, eliminating the fear of losing your drone.
The TDR Robin features a trick button, as well, which will let you perform great aerial stunts, all with the push of a button. The drone comes with a modular 380 mAh battery, rated at 3.7V. The battery can last the Robin for around 5 to 6 minutes of flight time, after a charge of 150 minutes, which is something I dislike.
Buy on Amazon.com ($99.99)
10. Holy Stone HS170 Predator
The Holy Stone HS170 Predator (not the Predator used by the USAF) is another indoor drone, that comes with a Headless Mode, which makes it a good choice for beginners. The drone packs a 6 axis gyroscope, for smooth flights, and proper leveling of the drone. Something that you’d have to do yourself, on drones that are not meant for beginners, and offer much more control over the flight. The drone has a rather short range of 30 to 50 metres, depending on the presence of obstacles, and other interfering signals.
The drone comes with a 3.7 volt, 350 mAh battery that would last you for a 6 to 8 minute flight, on a 60 minute charging time. So, if you want to fly for longer periods of time, you will need to purchase additional battery packs to keep the Predator going.
Buy on Amazon.com ($45.99)
SEE ALSO: 10 Best GoPro Action Camera Alternatives
Buy These Cool Drones Under $100
These drones under $100 are the best ones that you can get for learning how to fly drones, or just as a hobby. Unless you’re a professional, in which case you should definitely only consider going for DJI Phantom Series, Parrot drones, or the GoPro Karma, these affordable drones are the best option to get into drones, and to make your way towards the more expensive, and feature rich drones that are available in the market. Do make sure that you check your local air laws before you fly a drone, as there are many restricted, and no fly zones.
As always, we would like to know your thoughts about drones, the laws surrounding them, and the best drones that you’ve used. Also, if you know of any other drones under $100 that you think should be on this list, do let us know about them in the comments section below, along with any unforgettable experiences you may have had with drones.