You’re looking for an affordable quadcopter under $100 but you don’t know where to start? Well, how about this article?! Why? It features a comprehensive list of 10 outstanding (yet very affordable) entry-level drones that could, in fact, become your next purchase.
Finding the correct drone can be a tough task, especially if you’re a first-time buyer who never operated one before. Worry not my friends… we at DronesWorld understand your struggle, thus we’re providing you with this list of Top 10 drones under $100. So, let’s see what we got in store for you!
Table : What is the Best drone under $100 ?
|10. Syma X5C-1||HD||7min||30m||See best offer|
|9. MJX X708W||HD||8min||80m||See best offer|
|8. Redpawz R011||FPV||5min||50m||See best offer|
|7. UDI U818A||HD||9min||30m||See best offer|
|6. Air Hogs DR1||FPV||5min||50m||See best offer|
|5. Holy Stone HS160||HD||8min||70m||See best offer|
|4. MJX X400W||HD||9min||100m||See best offer|
|3. Holy Stone F181C||HD||9min||80m||See best offer|
|2. UDI U49C||FHD||12min||150m||See best offer|
|1. DJI Ryze Tello||HD with EIS||13min||100m||See best offer|
10. Syma X5C-1
First up we have a drone well below $100 and it’s made by one of the most popular entry-level drone manufacturers – Syma! They are well known for having the best value for money models and are actually enjoying quite the praises from their fans. Nothing different can be said about their X5C-1 model, a slightly upgraded drone which sports a camera and flies undeniably well.
Syma X5C-1 is not a big drone by any means. In fact, this little bugger is only 31 cm in length and width and 8cm in height with mounted prop guards. But, that doesn’t stop it from performing extremely well for a beginner’s quadcopter. It flies smooth, there isn’t that much drift going on, but even if you end up experiencing it, the transmitter features trim sliders which will quickly solve all of your issues.
Moving onto the camera, Syma X5C-1 has a built-in 2MPX CMOS sensor which can record aerial videos in HD resolution at steady 30fps. You shouldn’t expect professional quality imagery with this one. It costs less than a proper meal at a restaurant so you are basically getting what you’re paying for…
Highly affordable price tag
Honestly speaking – you’re actually getting a lot for your money here! Syma X5C-1 doesn’t just offer an HD camera but solid specifications too. For those who want more precise numbers here, operating range goes up to 30 meters and flight time tends to stretch all the way up to 7 minutes. This is solid result for drones under $100.
Even Syma isn’t the best drone under $100, it has its advantages. This highly affordable camera birdie runs on 3.7V 500mAh LiPo battery, but you can buy spare ones up to 750mAh without feeling any difference in flying performance. So, with everything said above taken into account – if you’re just looking for a cheap drone that’s ton of fun to fly and you aren’t that worried about fancy features, you really can’t go wrong with Syma X5C-1!
9. MJX X708W
MJX might not be as popular as Syma is at the lower end of the market, but it sure as heck plans on getting there. MJX is a relatively new brand on the market which just recently gained some popularity thanks to its Bugs 3 and 2W models. However, when it comes to drones under $100, we’ll be talking about here X708W and it doesn’t share that much things with Bugs series. Perhaps it looks a bit like B2W, but the internals are completely different. Let’s see what exactly does this little bugger has in store for us!
Quite a long range for such a cheap quad
The best thing about this one isn’t its camera… even though it’s a great sensor. It’s not the battery life either. The best thing about MJX X708W is its lengthy operating range that stretches out to more than 80 meters which is quite the feat when looking at the price this birdie goes for.
Additionally, it flies for around 8 minutes too, making sure you get every last bit of fun from your flying sessions and recording with its built-in HD camera. As for charging time, you will have to chill for around 90 minutes between flights to properly charge its battery.
But that’s not all folks… MJX X708W is not only a long range flyer… but a great flyer as well. It’s insanely stable and, despite the obvious lack of altitude hold, it’s still not that difficult to keep it hovering in one spot. For those of you demanding more features, you will not be let down by X708W. Headless mode, return to home, 1-key flips and adjustable flying speed are all easily accessible, making this drone an excellent purchase for first-time flyers.
8. Redpawz R011
After examining 2 great all-around performance coming in at affordable price tags, now we are heading into a completely different territory. This here is a miniature FPV racing drone called Redpawz R011. We are talking about a brushed micro quadcopter featuring a miniature camera for FPV purposes. It’s quite a nimble flyer and I’m sure that it will be a real treat for anyone even remotely interested in FPV racing!
Everything you need for your first FPV racing steps
Redpawz R011 is basically a complete RTR FPV package. What does this mean? Well, not only will you get the drone as well as its dedicated transmitter but you will also get an FPV headset with a 40 channel video receiver. The quality is actually pretty good although there’s no diversity so your FPV feed will be limited to around 50 meters. The same goes for operating range. Even though the transmitter is outstanding in every way, it doesn’t do a good job in terms of range.
Last but not least, Redpawz R011 runs on a 3.7V 200mAh 35C LiPo carrying the typical tiny whoop design. Even though their capacity isn’t that huge, these tiny batteries can still provide you with around 5 minutes of flight time per charge. With that in mind, extra batteries are a good idea – you can get cheap Dinogy 260mAh 50C LiPo’s which will give you extra flight time as well as punches which are of crucial importance for every real FPV racer out there.
Get yourself some extra batteries
If there’s one thing my years of experience in FPV racing have taught me, it’s that you can never have enough batteries for your racers. Even though Redpawz R011 isn’t exactly the highest-profile drone, it’s still fun to race and can teach you a whole bunch… and that’s exactly why you should at least consider investing in several extra batteries. Don’t forget about extra chargers too – the more you have the less time you will be forced to wait between your flying sessions. Take this advice into account and you will be turning into a proper FPV racer in no time. Good luck!
7. UDI U818A
The original version of UDI U818A nowadays costs well below the $100 mark. And, believe it or not, it’s a great deal at any time of the day! How come? Well, first of all, this camera birdie sports great value for money as well as an extremely durable frame. It’s a bit on the heavy side of the deal, but that extra bit of weight ensures it’s extremely durable when flying through the air. What else is there to say about this little bugger and what are the main reasons for its inclusion in this list? Well, all that and more can be found out in the next 2 paragraphs below!
First things first – UDI U818A sports a great design with one simple thing in mind – durability. With that in mind, don’t be surprised to see this warrior experience a number of catastrophic crashes and live to tell the tale. It’s really robust which makes it the perfect option for beginners and children.
Apart from that, this little bugger is a stable flyer as well. Among its most notable features are headless mode, custom flight mode and wifi-based FPV for that extra bit of immersion. UDI U818A also does 360 flips and possesses a 2MPX HD camera for recording aerial photos and videos.
As for the actual performance, UDI U818A is decent at best. Like I said above, it’s a bit on the heavy side which means less agility. With that being said, UDI U818A is not exactly the fastest model out there. It can develop decent speeds but high-speed maneuvers aren’t its strong suit. Numbers are telling a fine story though – UDI U818A flies from 6 to 9 minutes and can reach more than 30 meters away from its dedicated transmitter. What are your thoughts on UDI U818A? Is it one of the drones you’re planning on buying soon? Tell us your thoughts down in the comments section below!
6. Air Hogs DR1
The 6th spot on our list of top drones under $100 is reserved for another outstanding FPV package which is bound to provide younger audiences with highly immersive FPV flying experiences. However, this package has a bit of a twist to its tale, and that’s something which will be explained down below. For now, let’s just see what are you getting inside the package and what kind of performance can you expect when flying this miniature birdie.
Another entry-level masterpiece
While Redpawz R011 brings a more authentic FPV experience with a full-sized transmitter and a proper video transmission system (5.8Ghz analog vs WiFi digital transmission on DR1), Air Hogs DR1 is catered more towards absolute beginners. Well, absolute beginners and children, if we are to be more precise here. As far as its specifications are concerned, Air Hogs DR1 stands pretty solid when compared to similarly priced quads. Its operating range hovers around the 50-meter mark and its flight time stands at 5 minutes which is somewhat of a standard for entry-level FPV racing drones.-
Will there be lag?
This leads us to the real question – will there be lag? Yup – many of you who know your way around different types of FPV transmissions will be asking this question. And it’s all for a good reason – Air Hogs DR1 comes with WiFi FPV (it even comes with one of those good old VR boxes in which you’re supposed to put your smartphone for full VR immersion) and it’s known for not being the best solution for racing. Even though WiFi FPV carries a digital video signal of much higher quality than an analog one, the biggest issue is latency. And Air Hogs DR1 isn’t spared either – the lag is definitely noticeable, but I doubt it will cause you any serious issues since DR1 isn’t too fast for the lag to be too problematic.
Here we have yet another model made by Holy Stone. There is actually another one down below which offers unparalleled all-around performance. HS160, on the other hand, is designed to be a pocket-friendly selfie drone carrying the most basic of features. That does not mean it’s bad by any means – it sports a great camera and is indeed a highly affordable solution for casual selfies.
Affordable selfie drone
If we were to describe this drone in just 3 words, it would go something like this – affordable selfie drone. It’s true and I already said that above in the introductory chapter. Holy Stone HS160 is compact, foldable, easy to fly and carries a solid HD camera. On top of that, the camera comes equipped with a WiFi video transmission module. In layman’s terms, this means HS160 has FPV which you can enjoy straight through your smartphone via their dedicated app. Talking about FPV, you’ll be experiencing around 30 meters of video transmission. No worries though, the provided transmitter makes for much better operating range.
Solid controller and great specs
This transmitter also allows for easy smartphone mounting and is generally quite ergonomic which isn’t something we’re used to seeing with in this price point. Operating range extends to around 70 meters which is more than double the FPV range. Last but not least, Holy Stone HS160 runs on a 500mAh 3.7V LiPo battery (you get an extra one in the package) which produces around 7 to 9 minutes of flight time.
So, with all that in mind, I’m sure the majority of you will agree with me that HS160 is a pretty decent selfie drone considering its price tag. It might not have all those bells and whistles more expensive models are boasting with, but it’s still able to snap a sweet selfie or two…
4. MJX X400W
The wooden medal for the 4th best drone under $100 goes to X400W by MJX. We are talking about a drone that’s not nearly as popular as MJX Bugs series. In fact, just a small portion of you have already heard about it, so it’s safe to say X400W is pretty unknown. And it’s a shame… a real shame. This little fella is a potent entry-level drone sporting nice features and admirable specifications. The best thing about it – it’s just so damn nice to fly. You will have to try it to understand how good it really is.
Fun little flyer
MJX X400W is not a huge drone which makes it that more fun to fly. It’s quick, nimble, has good rates and is generally really easy and entertaining to fly around. This is especially true for children who are going to be swept away by its flight performance. However, flight performance is gone to waste if this little bugger does not have proper features to support it…
Luckily, features are plentiful too. MJX X400W offers one key return, 3D flips, 2 adjustable flying speeds, headless mode and to top it all off – FPV! It’s quite a feature packed product, don’t you agree? But wait, there’s more… This bugger supports VR too, meaning you can put that good old Google Cardboard to good use and experience FPV the way it’s meant to be experienced.
It will sweep you off your feet
If you are a young adult (or a grown up child), there is no doubt MJX X400W will be a blast! It’s quick, agile and has a solid feature-set to provide you wit ha generally awesome performance. Talking about performance, specs are not half bad either. Flight time goes up to 9 minutes and operating distance clocks in at around 100 meters. So, with such good specifications taken into consideration, there is not a single doubt that this little bugger will sweep you off your feet.
Another one of Holy Stone’s impressive entry-level models has made its way onto this list. As the title implies, we are talking about their F181C model, one of the most popular products in the Drones category on Amazon. What’s the key to such high popularity? Well, I am sure you will understand it once you skim through the next 2 paragraphs.
Solid camera and great number of features
Starting off with the camera, Holy Stone F181C doesn’t feature a built-in one. Instead, it opts for an easily mountable module carrying a HD-ready CMOS sensor. It is a 2MPX miniature camera that is actually quite decent in terms of its photo and video quality. You won’t be swept off your feet with the results and they will probably be shaky due to the lack of EIS, but for the money you’re paying here… it’s more than good value.
Luckily, features are a much stronger factor to Holy Stone F181C. The most important one – altitude hold. It’s not precise as you’ve come to expect from more expensive models, but it’s enough to allow you some freedom while trying to take a selfie. Moving forward, Holy Stone F181C also comes with 1-key flips, headless mode and 1-key return to home. Spice that up with 4 adjustable flying speed stages and you’re good to go!
Excellent beginner-friendly performance
When this birdie starts flying though… you will soon realize that’s where it shines the most. Holy Stone F181C is insanely stable which is going to be awesome for younger operators. It’s quite quick too, especially in the 4th (maximum) speed where it shows its full potential. Numbers are ranking pretty good too, but that’s to be expected from a model made by Holy Stone. More precisely, this birdie flies for around 8 minutes and can go all the way up to 100 meters away from you.
2. UDI U49C
On the 2nd spot, we have another great drone which will surely amaze you with its spectacular performance. It kind of looks like one of those above-featured ones, doesn’t it? More particularly – UDI U818A. Well, they both sport a similar design with extra durability as the main focus. True – it does exceed our price point of $100 ever so slightly, but considering just what kind of value for money you’re getting here… I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s more than a valid choice.
Yes – the key thing with UDI U49C is its extra durable design with thick prop guards surrounding all 4 blades. This will ensure your drone bounces off of direct obstacles without any sort of damage to its motors and propellers. Plus, UDI U49C sports a miniature camera that can record aerial videos in 1280×720 resolution.
There are several notable features as well, most important of which is definitely Altitude Hold. It’s a rare sighting of AH at such a low price point so it’s surely worth pointing out. What this feature does is it lets your drone keep flying at a constant position without your manual throttle adjustments.
A stylish transmitter and great all-around specs
The transmitter you are getting with UDI U49C sports 2 antennas that will bring much better operating range than traditional controlling systems with just a single antenna sticking out. If we are to be more precise here, UDI u49C operating range goes to around 100 to 150 meters. Combine that with roughly 12 to 15 minutes of flight time and you’ll realize what a great package you are getting with this one. Plus, on top of all that you will also get an extra battery as well as spare propellers and motors. It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me!
1. DJI Tello
Here it is guys – the best drone under $100 which you can purchase right away! It goes by the name Tello and it’s a special little drone everyone should know about. Oh, this is the first time you’re hearing about this little bugger? Well, that’s actually not surprising considering it hasn’t been on the market for too long… but it’s a great one nevertheless – made by Ryze and DJI, a product of their special collaboration which will amaze both children and more experienced users.
Best collaborative drone I’ve seen in a long time
It was already mentioned above that Tello is basically a love child between DJI and Ryze. And it goes without any doubts that Tello is a marvelous drone… so yeah, it’s pretty noticeable that Ryze Tech and DJI did a pretty good job. In fact, this is the best (and, as a matter of fact – one of just a few) collaboration in drone industry so far. How come?
Well, at the first sight Tello might not seem like much. Heck, it sports mere brushed motors, a petty LiPo battery, and HD camera. What’s so special about that? Well, Tello incorporates a powerful 14-core Intel processor and is running on the latest DJI flight tech. Also, it brings a bunch of smarter features at a very affordable price point, making it break the boundaries of current tech at this price range.
Impressive technology inside
In terms of those smarter features I was talking about above, I was mainly referring to failsafe protection (Tello will land safely if it loses signal to the transmitter or the smartphone), Scratch-based programming, low battery protection and even auto takeoff/landing. Also, it supports 3rd party controllers which transform it from touchscreen controls to physical controls.
We shouldn’t forget about its brilliant little camera either. As I mentioned above, it can record videos in HD (720p), uses special software to stabilize (EIS) and also transmit them directly to your smartphone. And lastly, Tello can fly around for up to 13 minutes and reach up to 100 meters, making it among the best ranking drones on this list.
First and foremost – these cheap ass drones all come running with simple brushed motors which aren’t exactly made with state of the art technology. While they do their job Ok, they usually suffer from low mileage. In other words, these brushed motors have flight times of up to 6 hours which means you’ll have to buy new ones if you want prolonged action with your drone.
Another crucial factor for a well functioning (and more expensive drone) is its GPS module. Unfortunately, these modules are quite expensive meaning we won’t be seeing them with drones under $100 just yet. In the future, who knows what will happen… but right now, the cheapest GPS drone you can get is the awesome MJX Bugs 2W. You can read more about it in our Drones BELOW $300 article.
For aerial photographers, altitude hold is probably the most important feature right after gimbals for stabilization and scene manipulation. However, altitude hold is reserved for more expensive drones which not only use barometer but GPS data as well to create the best stabilization possible. Yes – AH is available on some of these cheaper models but it’s not that accurate.
In terms of image stabilization, you won’t believe that one of these cheap under $100 actually sports electronic image stabilization (EIS from now on). Of course, I am referring to Tello by Ryze and DJI which pushes the limits of casual aerial photography on a budget. Thanks to a decent CMOS sensor and EIS, Tello is capable of recording brilliant aerial footage and does so with proper style.
How come these last few drones are so much better than the others above them?
Well, it’s all about the price tags, am I right?! As I mentioned above, one or two of our top spots actually slightly exceed the $100 mark which is basically why they can offer better performance.
Another notable figure is the fact that the first positioned drone is made in collaboration with DJI, and we all know what they’re capable of. So, with that being said, it comes as no surprise to see some advanced features with Tello such as EIS, Vision Positioning System and failsafe protection.
You can’t go wrong with any of the drones featured above!
Even though the several top positioned drones carry mighty specifications and better general performance, the truth is you really can’t go wrong with any of the 10 models featured above. Depending on your choice, of course, you can get tiny FPV racers, long-range flyers, solid camera birdies and highly versatile drones that offer great all-around performance.
However, it needs to be said that there are also many cheap drones with questionable quality. That’s basically the primary reason for making this article and filling it with cheap ass drones in the first place. So, what I’m basically trying to say here is this – if you are a first-time buyer and you want to stay on the safe side, I warmly recommend picking one of 10 drones above.
Yup – with that last section being done and dealt with, I am afraid we have reached the ending point of this article. As I said in the beginning – buying a drone, especially a first one, can be a tough nut to crack so you better soak in all the knowledge you need before making that decision. Still, even if you pick a wrong one, it’s not the end of the world considering the fact we’re talking about a ridiculously low price point.
In the end, I’d like to thank you all for reading with the hope that the list above cleared all your dilemmas and given you a lot of information to work with.
Until next time,