March 6

Top 5 Best Drones Under $100: Budget Options for 2020

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We get it, not everyone has $300+ to spend on a fancy DJI Drone under 300, and wading through all the crappy, "Ali Express Specials" in the under 100 dollar price range can be a daunting task. But there are some diamonds in the rough, and in this article, we've listed our top 5 drones under 100 bucks: with cameras, specs, and features to match far more expensive, name-brand drones.

In a hurry? After 36 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

Snaptain A15


92/100
OUR RATING

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Why it is better?

It offers almost 10 minutes of flight time on a full charge and can be flown to a maximum range of 90m. This amazing drone boasts a host of high-performance features, including one key takeoff/landing, voice control, flight trajectory, different speed modes, just to mention a few. 

The camera also shoots decent quality stills and allows live video sharing. The best part is that you get to enjoy all these remarkable features for an affordable price under 100.


1. Snaptain A15 
- Best Overall Pick - 

Snaptain A15
92/100
OUR RATING

[amazon fields="B07JNNP35P" value="button"]

  • Camera: 720p HD Camera 
  • Max Range: 7-10 minutes
  • Flight Time: 90 m

The Snaptain A15 drone is a beginner drone pilot's dream! It was specifically designed for inexperienced enthusiasts by an American brand that has gained an impressive reputation in the short period of time since they entered the drone industry, producing reliable drones such as the S5C model.

This drone comes with a sleek and foldable design that allows you to comfortably stow it inside your backpack when you’re on the go. It is compact and feels virtually weightless so you won’t have to worry about FAA registration before flying it. 

What’s impressive is how the manufacturer managed to squeeze so many awesome features in its tiny body. While some specifications are meant to give newbie pilots a smooth introduction to drone flying, others are unique enough to interest a seasoned drone user.

Camera

The A15 drone comes equipped with a 720p camera. It will not win you any aerial photography awards but is decent enough to excite any first time drone users. The camera has a 120-degree field of view, which allows you to capture maximum details in one shot; however, this can manually be adjusted to customize the viewing angles.

The A15 drone camera will take awesome aerial shots and record home video footage. What’s even more impressive about the camera is the FPV capabilities, which allow you to record and transmit real-time videos to your smartphone.  

A micro SD card slot has conveniently been included to enable you to save your recorded files for future reference.

Performance 

The Snaptain A15’s performance in the air is nothing short of amazing. The drone will offer you around 7 to 10 minutes of playtime on a full charge cycle, which will probably be insufficient for an advanced pilot but something that a newbie can work with. Luckily the manufacturer has included an extra battery in the package to double your fun time.

It has a relatively short range of 90 meters when flying it with its ergonomic and easy to operate controller. The drone is quite agile in the air and can pull off some pretty impressive mid-air tricks. From 360-degree flips to other interesting manoeuvres, it has what it takes to provide your friends with a great aerial show.

Intelligent flight functions such as headless mode, altitude hold, return to home make flying this drone a walk in the park for users. The fact that it can execute voice commands makes it even more suitable and interesting for first-time drone pilots.

You also get adjustable speed modes to customize the flight according to your level of experience, as well as other advanced features like gravity sensor mode and trajectory flight, which allows you to preset the drone’s flight route. 

Features

  • One key takeoff/landing
  • Altitude hold and headless mode
  • Flight trajectory and speed modes
  • 3D aerial flips
  • Voice control
  • 3D view mode

Pros

  • Easy to operate, compact and portable
  • Great overall performance for the price
  • Real-time FPV video transmission
  • Wide-angle view
  • Great for beginners
  • Extra battery included

Cons

  • Short flight range
  • Not stable in windy conditions
  • The voice command feature could be improved

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2. DJI Tello 
- Best Name brand pick - 

Tello
89/100
OUR RATING

[amazon fields="B07BDHJJTH" value="button"]

  • Camera: 720p Camera 
  • Max Range: 100m
  • Flight Time: 13 minutes

DJI is a legitimate industry leader when it comes to the manufacture of small camera drones. This Chinese company keeps pushing the limits with every new drone they offer and this is clearly witnessed with their DJI Spark and DJI Mavic Mini drones.

The same can be said about this impressive little drone. It will help you learn the ropes if you’re still a novice to drone flying with its easy-to-use features. In addition, it comes with a quality camera to capture impressive selfies and videos, as well as other advanced features.

In a nutshell, the DJI Tello is a tiny and practical camera drone that will be great for kids, teenagers, and pensioners. Its overall performance makes it one of the best drones you can get for under 100.

Camera

The drone features a 5MP camera that shoots 720p videos at 30 frames per second. The camera has a 82.6-degree field of view, and although the footage quality is not the best out there, this is something you can make do with, especially from a drone under 100.

A feature called EZ Shots on the drone makes recording footage easy and fun for users; it consists of modes like Circle, 30, Up and Away. Unfortunately, the DJI Tello does not have internal memory and neither does it come with a micro SD card.

Instead, you get to transmit live videos to your phone or tablet, thanks to the quadcopter’s FPV experience. The Tello app enables you to set the quality of photos you’re taking and will prove useful for those who like to share selfies on their social media. 

You can also use a VR headset to make the experience much more satisfying if you want to. 

Performance 

The DJI Tello has impressive aerial capabilities, but before you launch it into the air, you’ll need to download the Tello, the drone’s controlling app, on your smartphone. This is because the drone doesn’t come with a separate controller.

That being said, the quadcopter will offer you around 13 minutes of playtime, which is quite impressive for a drone under $100. Its two-cell 3.8V battery will take about one and a half hours to fully charge and LED lights on the drone blink to show you that the battery is charging.

The Tello drone can fly to a maximum horizontal range of 100m while its vertical cap is a modest 10m. Optical sensors located at the bottom help with its positioning and hovering while a high-quality processor on the drone enables it to respond to hand gestures.

You’ll have an easy time flying this little guy! The controls are straightforward and you get to use a range of amazing in-built flight modes that take the strain off the experience. Functions such as automatic takeoff/landing, throw and go, as well as altitude hold mode make the process safe and simple for a first-time user.

The drone can also perform 8D flips in the air and its Vision Positioning System allows it to hover more precisely in a given location.

Features

  • 8D flips and low battery warning
  • Automatic landing and takeoff
  • Multiple flight modes
  • Electronic image stabilization
  • Vision Positioning System
  • "Throw and go" takeoff

Pros

  • Very affordable and easy to fly
  • Amazing flight modes
  • Decent flight time for an affordable quadcopter
  • Great overall value for money

Cons

  • No internal storage
  • Doesn’t support some smartphones/tablets
  • Can’t fly in windy conditions
  • No USB cable

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Snaptian S5C
88/100
OUR RATING

[amazon fields="B07GPNZSMY" value="button"]

  • Camera: 720p HD Camera
  • Max Range: 80m
  • Flight Time: 15 Minutes

If you’re looking for a low-priced camera drone with high-quality specs, you might just find it in the Snaptain S5C. The drone boasts a sleek frame with futuristic looks and a design that was specifically geared towards the inexperienced drone pilots.

This drone has a host of advanced features that make it one of the coolest drones you can get for way less than 100. From a gravity sensor to FPV experience, you’ll have memories worth keeping. It is also compatible with a VR headset, which will fully immerse you into the drone experience.

The drone’s lightweight design makes it more suitable for indoor flying and if you have to fly it outside, make sure the conditions are as calm as possible. 

Camera

The Snaptain S5C drone comes with a 1280 by 720p camera. The FPV feature ensures that you can stream live videos share photos straight to your smartphone. If you are an active social media user, you’ll have a blast using the S5C.

The camera is WiFi-enabled, so uploading your latest photos and video to your Instagram or Facebook will happen almost instantly. Video editing is quite simple and your recorded files are automatically saved to the micro SD card included in the drone for your convenience. 

Although the footage may not have professional quality, they are good enough for any hobbyists out there.

Performance 

The S5C is an amazing drone to fly. It is very light ( less than 150g) , meaning you’ll have a difficult time flying it in windy conditions. One of the best features for beginner pilots on this drone has to be the 6-axis gyroscope, which gives the drone altitude hold.

The S5C has a flight time of about 15 minutes, which is on the upside for the market of drones under $100. The range is nothing special; you can fly it to a distance of about 80m. Luckily, other interesting features make up for the underwhelming range.

Voice and gesture control technology has been used on the drone to make the experience more fulfilling for you. The gesture control allows you to take quick pictures with the simple movement of your hand (you’ll need to stay within 3 meters of the drone for it to work).

However, to use the voice control feature, you’ll have to download the app. A built-in gravity sensor enables you to control the quadcopter by simply moving your smartphone while a WiFi warning system alerts you to any potential availability of connection or loss.

Other intelligent flight modes like trajectory allow you to predetermine the path of your drone’s flight by drawing it on your smartphone beforehand. The headless mode is another useful feature that will particularly suit first time pilots.

The remote control has to be the most unappealing feature on this drone. It is relatively generic and the appearance might be mistaken for a video game controller. However, it has simple simple functions that make for an overall user-friendly operation. 

Features

  • 6-axis gyroscope stable hovering
  • VR headset compatible
  • Gesture and voice control
  • One key operation, gravity sensor

Pros

  • Affordable with impressive performance
  • Comes with an extra battery
  • Multiple speed levels
  • Durable construction
  • Agile in the air, long flight time

Cons

  • Short flight range
  • Camera quality could be better
  • The battery needs frequent charging

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Altair Falcon
85/100
OUR RATING

[amazon fields="B07XZHT5BL" value="button"]

  • Camera: 720p 
  • Max Range: 125m
  • Flight Time: 8-10 minutes

Full disclosure: The Altair Falcon will cost you a little more than $100, but we had to include it in our list of best drones under 100 because of its endearing features and overall performance. 

Produced by a brand known for its high-quality and low-price drones, this quadcopter does not disappoint with its collection of advanced specifications. One feature that makes it stand out from the competition has to be the Autonomous Hovering and Positioning System, which is unique to the Altair brand. This system system keeps the drone in place during flight, eliminating left to right and up and down variations in flight.

Overall, this is a fine piece of machinery that will act as the perfect starting point for new drone pilots.

Camera

The drone comes with a 720p live-video camera, which by now is something you should expect at this price range going by the previous drones we’ve reviewed. It can take decent enough photos for personal use, and the AHP system ensures that the camera stays stable in the air while preventing the footage from blurring.

The 120-degree camera lens makes for a wide field of view that will capture more details in a shot. A microSD card slot has been included, although the drone doesn’t come with a card. This means you’ll have to buy one separately, which we recommend getting the max size of 32GB.

Performance 

The Altair Falcon can hover in the air for about 10 minutes, however as you will be getting two batteries, this pushes the flight time to 20 minutes, which is among the best in the price bracket and something that you could potentially find in drones under 300. 

The drone has an operating flying range of 125m, which is also impressive. Beginners will be impressed by advanced features like the custom routing and Autonomous Hover and Positioning system. This functions to keep your drone steadily hovering in one place to allow for excellent still photography.

It can also be flown at different speed modes, allowing you to select a mode that you’re most comfortable with based on your level of skill. Switching from one speed mode to the other is pretty straightforward; simply press on the right joystick on the controller until you hear different beeps.

Another beginner-friendly function includes the one-touch takeoff/landing, which eliminates the jitters of an inexperienced pilot. FPV live video sharing also helps to enhance the fun of flying the drone. Propeller guards are included in the package, which you can decide to fly the drone without once you start wrapping your head around the art of drone piloting.

Overall, the Altair Falcon has a "plug and play" operation that will favor any learner. 

Features

  • Autonomous Hover & Positioning system
  • Plug and play operations
  • 2 batteries for double the flight time
  • 120-degree field of view
  • Custom routes, live video sharing
  • Propeller guards

Pros

  • Easy to operate, long flight time
  • Excellent for taking still shots
  • Micro SD card slot
  • One-touch takeoff/landing
  • Portable design
  • Multiple speed modes

Cons

  • Can’t fly it in windy areas
  • Slow recharging
  • Toy-like appearance

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5. HolyStone HS110D  

Super Budget Pick -

Super Budget Pick
80/100
OUR RATING

[amazon fields="B078WKT1HL" value="button"]

  • Camera: 1080p Camera
  • Max Range: 7Km
  • Flight Time: 10 minutes

If you want to spend even less on a budget drone, there is no better option than the Holy Stone HS110D. This pocket-size quadcopter has so much to offer for the price. It is a great acquisition and a glimpse at the features it offers might convince you that “cheap is not always expensive”!

The Holy Stone brand is not new to the world of cheap drone making. It has a range of popular drones under its belt, with models such as the HS210 Night Elf and the HS 150 Bolt Bee. 

Known for their mix of quality and affordability, Holy Stone does not disappoint with the HS110D; a drone that incorporates professional-level quality in an entry-level priced device. You get a lot more than the best drones under 50 can offer you!

Camera

The HS110D uses a bottom-mounted 1080p camera that can capture fairly decent footage for the price. It's not the best quality, but the photos seem fine if you manage to keep the drone steady. 

A 120-degree lens on the camera makes for a wide FOH that allows you to capture more details in your shots. The app further lets you maximize your creativity and share memorable moments on social media effortlessly.

The altitude hold feature proves crucial when you want to shoot distortion-free stills while also making it a joy to fly for beginners and kids.

Performance 

The drone is constructed with ABS plastic to give it a lightweight but durable design that can survive the many knocks and crashes you’d expect from trainee drone pilots. The flight time is around 10 minutes on a full charge, which you can extend by buying extra batteries for more fun with the drone.

The controller supports a maximum range of about 50m, which is honestly dismal, but not worth complaining about at this price range. There are different speed modes which can be used to customize the flying experience. A simple press of a button will automatically launch the drone into the air and land it whenever you want it to.

This drone is very agile in the air and is capable of performing some in-flight stunts such as 360-degree flips to offer your friends a free aerial show. Other flight modes like the altitude hold and headless mode make the flying experience much easier for beginners who are still learning the ropes. 

Downloading the mobile control app gives you access to further interesting features such as making use of multiple functions including voice and gesture control, trajectory flight and gravity sensor which work to make the experience much more fun and rewarding. 

There is also a low-battery power alarm that will go off when your battery is nearly running on empty. The battery on this drone is powered by directly charging the drone. 

Features

  • Voice and gesture control
  • Trajectory flight
  • Gravity sensor mode
  • 3D flips and headless mode
  • Adjustable speed modes
  • Modular battery

Pros

  • Easy to fly and very cheap
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Customizable flight speeds
  • Durable build
  • Clean and refined app

Cons

  • Short flying range
  • Doesn’t respond adequately to voice commands
  • No micro SD card

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FAQ

What is the Best Inexpensive Drone?

The market for cheap consumer drones has been expanding in recent years with everybody looking to get in on the drone experience. With the increasing demand, companies are making the most of this opportunity to produce inexpensive drones that everyone can afford. 

With the existing rivalry among industry players, drone manufacturers are trying to fit as many features they can into these small drones. That is why you’ll find so many drones today carrying high-quality features that were previously reserved for premium drones.

If you’re still new to drones and flying them, choosing the best drone from a sea of budget drones can be a tough ask. Apart from the models we have reviewed above, some of the best inexpensive drones you can buy include:

Do I Really Need a Camera on My First Drone?

Buying your maiden drone can be an exciting time. However, you might have to decide whether to buy a drone with a camera or one without a camera. This is actually a matter of preference and it will boil down to what kind of action you expect from your first drone.

If you’re just looking to get a cheap drone that you can enjoy playing with at home, then I don’t see why a camera on your drone would be necessary. However, if you plan to capture great selfies for your social media or record aerial footage of landscapes , then a good-quality camera drone is the way to go!

Can I Buy these Drones for My Kids?

The majority of drones under 100 dollars can be the perfect toy for your kid. These drones are not only fun to fly, but also come with a lightweight design, which makes them safe for kids. They also don’t have much power in their motors and are more responsive to controls. Check out our review of the best drones for kids.

Why Should I Buy a Cheap Mini Drone?

Mini drones may be tiny, but they offer a lot of benefits for drone enthusiasts. There are many situations where buying an inexpensive mini drone over its larger and pricier counterparts may be the more sensible option. The reasons why you should buy a mini drone are:

They are Easy to Transport

Small drones are more practical when you want to transport them. If you spend a fair share of your time on the road, you might want to go with a compact quadcopter that is not only easy to throw in a backpack without adding to much weight to your luggage.

This is something you’ll only find in small drones. And the best part is that their controllers are just as small, so traveling with them should not be an issue. 

Doesn’t require FAA Registration

Small drones are usually very lightweight, and this ensures that you won’t need to register with the FAA to fly them. This will save you all the bureaucracy and the extra expense required for registration. 

Normally, all drones weighing more than 250g require to be registered with the FAA before you can fly them, even if it is just for recreational purposes. Most of the cheap mini drones available, alongside the ones we’ve discussed above, will typically weigh less than the FAA threshold.

Crashes are not Destructive

The advantage of flying a small drone is that even when you crash it on the ground, the impact may not be as damaging compared to a larger drone. This is because the low weight reduces the impact when it hits the ground.

This is the kind of drone you want to be flying if you’re still learning the ropes of drone piloting. As a beginner it is expected that you’ll be smashing your drone against mid-air obstacles and executing sloppy landings more than a couple of times. You want a drone that can survive such mild impacts and still be intact. This outcome will be a more likely if you are piloting a smaller and cheaper drone. In instances where your drone gets damaged, replacing the parts will be cheaper for you.

You can fly it indoors

As seen in the reviews above, cheap drones come with a relatively short flight range. This means they are more practical to fly indoors at times when you don’t want to venture outside. The same cannot be said for large drones with a long flight range.

Additionally, there are times when it is too windy to fly your drone outside, or maybe the weather doesn’t just allow you to. Your only option in this situation would be to fly indoors. 

They are great for beginners

Low-price drones are more suitable for newbie drone enthusiasts who are still learning the basics of drone flying. They generally come with simple features and controls that will give you an effortless introduction into flying quadcopters. 

This makes them the perfect tool to learn how to fly drones. You’ll know how to takeoff/land, hover, roll and even yaw at low speeds as you prepare yourself for more sophisticated drones in higher price categories. 


After it’s all said and done, we recommend...

Snaptain A15


92/100
OUR RATING

[amazon fields="B07JNNP35P" value="button"]

It beats the competition because of the following features:

  • One key takeoff/landing
  • Altitude hold mode
  •  flight trajectory
  • 3 speed modes and 3D aerial flips
  • Voice control
  • 3D view mode and 90m flight range
  • 10-minute fight time

Conclusion

Owning and flying a drone doesn’t always have to be an expensive affair! With the ever-increasing customer base for cheap camera drones, manufacturers are competing to produce affordable drones with highly functional features to appeal to the budget consumer.

Above we have reviewed some of the leading models that we believe are the best drones under 100 in the market today. Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate drone enthusiast looking for an affordable drone model, these should be a great option for you. 


Lada

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