The Best Drones Under $200: Getting More For Your Money
Drones used to be expensive pieces of equipment. So costly, in fact, that they were mostly reserved for the military, industry, and people with bottomless pockets.
Fortunately, that’s mostly a thing of the past.
Drone technology has already evolved to the point that you can get one for a steal. You can now get a top-of-the-range commercial drone for less than $1,000, and you can get excellent recreational ones for less than $100.
So really, there’s no excuse not to get one anymore!
With that, let’s walk through some great drones you can buy for less than $200.
What to Look for In A Sub-$200 Drone
Before you go off searching in our list below for the best drones that costs less than $200, we recommend that you first know why you’re buying one. Is it to take those breathtaking shots during your next family vacation? Is it to travel with? Do you just want something to play with while you’re out in the park?
You want to have a general idea of what you’ll use the drone for.
Now, why is this important?
It’s important you know your drone’s use case because, despite plenty of features being available at the sub-$200 price point, some will specialise in certain things over others.
For example, one drone might have a better camera but lack intelligent flight modes. Or it might have above-average flight time but has a lousy camera quality.
If you know the purpose of your drone, you’ll know what features to prioritise and which ones you can give up. This makes it easier to buy the right drone for you.
To give you an idea, here are some of the things you need to look out for:
One of the main reasons you might want to buy a drone is to take some really cool looking aerial photos and videos. Or maybe you travel a lot and would love to take awesome selfies in some of the world’s most idyllic locations.
That’s why we’re looking at the camera first. The good news is that, even at the budget level, there are plenty of drones with excellent cameras. You’ll almost always get HD quality cameras, usually at 1080p resolutions, when looking in the $150-$200 bracket.
You also want to consider the camera’s Field of View (FOV). If you prefer to take lots of panoramic shots, then a wide-angle lens would be beneficial. A wide FOV is also helpful for racing drones since you can see more of what’s in front.
However, if your goal is to take stunning photos, a wide-angle FOV isn’t ideal. It distorts the horizon too much, leading to unnatural-looking images that can feel amateurish.
If short films or videos are your thing, make sure that the drone is able to shoot video at a decent frame rate without choppiness or lag.
For making the most out of the camera, a drone needs to have excellent flight capabilities. A stunning camera is useless if the drone can’t stabilize itself well enough to take actual photos or videos. This leads to shaky footage or blurry images.
A drone’s flight performance, in truth, is a factor that all drone owners must consider.
First, you have to check for basic flight features. Beneficial ones include the ability to hover in place without input from the pilot, which is especially great for beginners. Plus points if the drone allows for quick landing and takeoff at the touch of a button.
Next, look at the ease of controls.
If you’re into drone racing and want to hone your drone flying skills, this is essential. Are the manual controls fluid? Is the drone responsive? Does it feel clunky with unnatural movements? Even if you just want to fly your drone recreationally, it’ll be much more enjoyable if it was easy to maneuver around.
Finally, look at its intelligent flight modes, like Follow Me or Orbit. This almost always requires that your drone be equipped with GPS (or rarely, visual recognition technology). With this, your drone will be able to fly on its own. This is great for taking selfies and fly-by videos.
If you want uninterrupted fun times with your drone, getting one with a longer flight time — AKA battery life — is essential.
Flight time is actually directly related to the capacity of the drone’s battery. A higher capacity battery will make for longer sessions per charge. In cheaper drones, expect flight time to be around 6-10 minutes.
Flight times can vary based on the listed number in the specs because how long your drone can actually fly is dependent on a lot of factors like wind, temperature, and the features you’re using.
You can opt to consider a drone with better flight time. Alternatively, you can just buy some spare batteries to keep it going for longer. Some are even delivered with a spare, helping you to double the life of your drone with ease.
Having some safety features installed on your drone is always a good idea, regardless of its price. After all, protecting your investment is a sound move.
Different drones have different safety features, but the most common is Auto Return. This makes the drone automatically return to its takeoff point, whenever its battery reaches critical levels. This removes the risk of your drone just dying mid-flight and crashing to the ground.
This feature does require GPS capabilities, which is another reason to get a drone with it built-in.
Some drones also have alarm features that warn you if the battery is about to get too low. This gives you enough time to land the drone safely. Alternatively, many good quality drones will automatically land your drone when the battery has run out.
Affordable drones rarely have obstacle avoidance features, which can come in really handy, especially during autonomous flight. This is a shame but they require sophisticated AI — and that costs.
Racing Drone Considerations
Racing drones are a different beast altogether. While most of the considerations above also apply when you’re choosing one, there are two more factors you need to be aware of.
One is speed. How fast a drone can fly isn’t really a biggie when it comes to photography and recreational drones, but it is with racing drones. In fact, it’s one of the most important. Duh.
A drone’s speed is the result of many factors, such as its frame, motors, and propellers. You’ll want a brushless motor drone that can thrust forward at good speeds.
The other consideration is support for First Person View or FPV. This allows you to see what the drone is actually seeing through its onboard cameras. Not only does it put you right in the action, but it will enable you to react to obstacles better.
When considering a drone for FPV, you need to make sure there’s no lag in the streaming time. Bonus points if it’s VR-compatible.
The Best Drones Under $200
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Hold on, a drone with a 4K resolution camera for less than $200? Yep.
- Flight Time: 14 – 16 minutes
- Range: 250 meters
- GPS Equipped: Yes
- Flight Modes: GPS One Key Return, Follow Me, Altitude Hold, GPS Position, Waypoint, Orbit
- Camera: 5G WiFi 4K resolution with 120-degree wide-angle FOV
- Weight: 280g
This foldable drone clearly took inspiration from DJI’s Mavic series — everything from the profile to the controller. So if you ever wanted to have a DJI-like drone for less, this is it.
At the heart of this jet black budget flyer is a 4K resolution camera that is able to take good quality shots. The image quality is definitely a step above other HD cameras in the price range.
However, when compared side by side to more expensive 4K cameras, it just doesn’t hold up. It also doesn’t have a gimbal or gyroscope installed, which means footage can be jittery if you make sudden dramatic moves while shooting your video.
But it would be unfair to compare it that way. If you factor in its price, it really is a fantastic camera compared to its peers.
Its other features also add more merit. It has a host of flight features, like Altitude Hold and GPS Return, that makes flying this drone a breeze. Advanced autonomous modes like Follow Me and Waypoint make it easy to create cinematic shots without much flight experience.
Other pluses include an above-average flight time of around 16 minutes and support for FPV mode via high speed 5G WiFi connection.
All in all, the Eachine E520S is a commendable drone in the below $200 price range. It might not surpass the DJI Mavic Air that it’s perhaps trying to imitate, but it nevertheless is a worthy purchase based on its own merits.
This sub-$200 racing drone can reach top speeds of over 70 kilometers an hour.
- Flight Time: 10 minutes
- Range: 100 meters
- Top Speed: 20 m/s (72 km/h)
- Camera: 720p HD FPV camera
- Weight: 1.24 kg
The Hubsan H123D X4 is one of the best budget racing drones if you’re looking for maneuverability at high speeds.
You can partly thank the H123D’s frame for that. It’s made up of a lightweight, yet extremely durable, carbon fiber skeleton. This material is highly resistant to damage and wind and — along with its brushless motors — allows the drone to fly at top speeds of up to 72 km/hour.
The included remote controller is the other part of the equation on why this drone is a joy to fly. The built-in 5.8 GHz receiver ensures fast communication between controller and drone, which makes for very responsive controls.
The high-speed transmitter also ensures seamless communication with the onboard 720p HD camera. This creates a real-time video feed when in FPV mode.
Since it’s a racing drone, it lacks a few flight modes. However, what it does have is an Auto Return Mode, which makes it automatically return to its takeoff point. If you want to impress, you can also turn on Acro Mode, allowing you to do aerial flips and 360 degree maneuvers.
Overall, we like how the Hubsan 123D X4 is built. The top speed and ultra-responsive controls will please both beginners and pro racers alike.
The Altair Falcon comes with a no-frills design, packing everything into features instead.
- Flight Time: 10 minutes (per battery)
- Range: 125 meters
- Camera: 720p HD camera with 120-degree wide-angle FOV
- Weight: 147g
The Altair Aerial Falcon is a great quality drone; one of the more recognized names in the English-speaking drone market. It’s a model that easy to fly and maneuver, making it a fantastic recreational drone.
At the core of the Falcon’s ease of flight features is their proprietary Autonomous Hover and Positioning (AHP) System. With it, the drone will hover automatically even if you let go of the joystick controls. It compensates for environmental factors that might knock it off its position, like strong winds.
The Falcon might be an affordable drone, but it’s great for experienced drone pilots as well. The remote controller is very intuitive to use, please it’s easy to grip. You can also attach your smartphone to enable FPV, which the Falcon supports.
The camera, while at a modest 720p resolution, is still able to take good quality videos and crisp photos with ease. Just don’t expect 4K quality.
The 8-10 minute flight time seems short, but don’t worry. Altair foresaw this and included a spare battery, so you can use it to keep on flying for 16-20 minutes.
You also get Custom Flight Routing Mode using the smartphone app, allowing you to direct the Falcon with simple tap commands.
Overall, the Falcon is a fantastic addition to Altair’s roster. It’s jam-packed full of features at a price that won’t break the bank.
This is one of the best HD camera drones under $200, with good battery, range and flight modes.
- Flight Time: 12 – 15 minutes
- Range: 500 meters
- GPS Equipped: Yes
- Flight Modes: Quick Launch, Follow Mode, Auto Return, Altitude Hold
- Camera: 1080p HD camera with 120-degree FOV
- Weight: 700g
For those who want to enter the world of drone photography at a budget, the Holy Stone HS100 is one of the top choices you can make. At below $200, you get a winning combination of camera quality and flight features.
At the core of its camera features is optimized 1080p HD video recording.
For an amateur videographer, this is a fantastic camera that captures excellent stills and videos. The 120-degree FOV is wide enough to capture sweeping aerial shots, while the 90-degree adjustable angle gives you plenty of flexibility.
Another great use of the camera is the HS100’s support for FPV. You can use it with your smartphone app, or hook it up with a VR headset for a really incredible flying experience.
It’s cool for setting up that really great looking shot – as if you yourself were really flying inside it!
Supporting the excellent camera is the HS100’s flight capabilities. Thanks to the onboard GPS, it’s able to stabilize its position with the Altitude Hold feature. With it, you’ll be able to achieve smooth, crisp shots that don’t jitter.
For selfies, you can also use the Follow Me mode for autonomous flight. It’s also capable of bringing itself back to its starting point using the Auto Return feature.
Overall, for those looking to make videos with their drone footage, the Holy Stone HS100 is a great place to start.
This is a fun recreational drone that allows First Person View and 720p HD video recording.
- Flight Time: 12-15 minutes
- Range: 150 meters
- Camera: 720p HD camera with 120-degree wide-angle FOV
- Weight: 1.3kg
The Force1 U49WF combines the best of a camera and FPV racing drone (minus the high top speed) in the form of an easy to fly, VR ready recreational drone.
One of the critical things we enjoyed with the U49WF is the VR mode. With it, you’ll get an impressive first-hand view from your drone’s perspective. It makes the drone flying experience much more immersive and fun.
The 720p HD camera does a spectacular job of capturing crisp real-time video, and the 120-degree FOV allows you to see a wide panoramic view.
Fortunately, you don’t need an advanced certification in drone flying to be able to maneuver this one. The U49WF boasts a stable Altitude Hold mode that allows hovering in place without pilot input. Beginners can also make use of 1-Key Lift and Land Mode, achieving smooth landings and takeoffs at the press of a button. It’s a shame that it’s just missing GPS features like Return to Home.
Three-speed settings allow you to fly much more confidently. Plus, it has safety features like out of range alarms and prop guards to make flying much safer for everyone.
Everything in this drone is built to help you maximize your fun when flying. That’s why we recommend the Force1 U49WF as a fantastic recreational drone at a bargain price.
Under $50, but still capable of reaching a 50km/h top speed. Crazy!
- Flight Time: 5-7 minutes
- Range: 100 meters
- Top Speed: 50 km/hour
- Camera: None
- Weight: 68g
The Holy Stone HS150 is a tiny budget racing drone that’s built to zip around like an angry little bee.
First, let’s talk about the most critical spec in a racing drone: speed. The HS150 clocks in at a maximum speed of 50 km/hour, and can achieve this in seconds. You can fully adjust this with the throttle in the remote controller, plus five speed modes.
The HS150’s controller is built for performance racing, as well. Everything is laid out in such a way that they are all easy to reach. The joysticks are responsive, and the whole controller feels right when you hold it. It makes for comfortable gripping even in the heat of racing action.
It’s also equipped with a 6 axis gyro for better flight stability and control. This is most likely to compensate for its lack of any flight stabilization, like Altitude Hold. Though for racing drones, this is mostly unnecessary.
The drone itself is durable for its size, and the frame is small enough that it can achieve maximum aerodynamics. Expect it to survive quite a few crashes – the mark of a good racing drone.
The only qualm we would have with the HS150 is the 10-minute cooldown time in between flights. Holy Stone recommends this to maximize the life of the drone’s parts. While we’re all for taking care of our investment, the long wait is a bit of a mood killer.
The HS150 also lacks an onboard camera, so that means there’s no option for FPV flight. For those who want to practice racing with this mode, this is a real bummer.
Despite this, the Holy Stone HS150 Bolt Bee is a superb racing drone at less than $50. But don’t let the price fool you – this is a high-speed drone that is plenty of fun.
There’s a 720p / 2MP camera in this easy-to-fly and budget-friendly beginner drone.
- Flight Time: ~ 10 minutes
- Charge Time: 75 minutes
- Range: 30 meters
- Remote Controller: dedicated controller included
- Camera: 720p HD / 2MP
- Weight: 100g
The UDI U818A is one of those rare toy drones that doesn’t actually feel and look like one. For one, it has a built-in 720p HD camera, which allows budding photographers to have fun taking pretty decent photos.
As a toy drone, the U818A has many flight features that make it easy even for a child to operate. Headless Mode is one of the most useful since it allows the pilot to control the drone without needing to know the “front” direction. This lessens the learning curve, and the child can focus on just flying.
In addition, the 6 Axis Gyro feature allows better control over the drone, allowing for more precise and stable positioning. The pilot wouldn’t need advanced flight skills just to keep the drone afloat.
The propellers are also equipped with an elastic protective circle, which acts as prop guards. It protects both the drone and the child in case of crashes, which can prolong the life of the propellers themselves.
Kids love tricks, and the U818A has lots of them. With 360 Eversion flight mode, they can perform mid-air flips and rolls with a touch of the button. It gives kids a lot of fun and confidence when flying!
Overall, the UDI U818A is a drone that blurs the line between toy and pro. It’s safe enough for kids to use, yet has some great features that an adult user will appreciate.
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An incredibly cheap toy drone from Potensic, for beginners and kids.
- Flight Time: 7 minutes
- Camera: None
- Weight: 340g
Potensic manufactures some excellent drones at amazing prices, and they continue this tradition with their toy drone, the D10.
This ultra-compact mini drone is great for your kids flying indoors. Its small size means it won’t do much damage when it inevitably hits something. Propeller guards also help protect your D10 from damage — and your kids from injury — if the drone accidentally crashes.
The D10 is loaded with flight features that are specifically made with the total beginner in mind.
One-touch takeoff and landing allow the newbie pilot to get right in action without learning how to do the maneuvers themselves. Altitude Hold mode also allows the drone to stabilize itself while hovering, without ever needing input from the pilot.
Headless Mode is useful for making the D10 easier to fly by making the controller direction match the direction of the drone. Pushing right on the controller will also make the drone turn right, regardless of where it is faced. This is much easier for kids to grasp, making controlling the drone easier for them.
What this means is that your kid is free to focus on actually flying the drone, which is where the fun is. The D10 is even capable of doing 360 maneuvers once they get bored of standard flying stuff.
In our opinion, the Potensic D10 is a great entry to get kids into the world of drones. It has the same ease of flight and stability as the other “adult” drones in the Potensic line, just without some of the other more advanced features.