Best Drones for under $200 for 2021 – find out which top quadcopter drones can be purchased for a low price. Reviews of Holy Stone, Altair, MJX models and more.
As you probably know, budget or entry-level drones do not typically offer the premium features or performance associated with high-end drones. For example, unlike high-end drone models, most budget drones lack high-quality cameras with image stabilization features. In fact, some do not even come with a camera. Secondly, budget drones generally have an average flight time of between 7 and 12 minutes. In comparison, high-end drones have an average flight time of 25 to 30 minutes, meaning they fly twice as long as entry-level drones. Thirdly, the average operating (flight) distance for these drones ranges anywhere from 100 meters to about 500 meters depending on the actual price of the drone. By comparison, the average flight distance for high-end drones, such as the DJI Mavic Pro, ranges anywhere from 2,000 meters to 7,000 meters. With that in mind, here is a detailed review of the top high-rated budget drones under $200 available on Amazon.
1. Altair 818+ Drone
Retailing for about $160 on Amazon, the Altair 818+ comes with rotor blade and motor protection, allowing it to withstand several low-impact crashes. What’s more, the Altair 818+ comes with a wide-angle 720p camera and a TF card that allow you to record videos in HD format from the moment the drone takes off. The drone’s battery package consists of a 2 Li-Po batteries. Each of these two batteries offers about 15 minutes of flight time. Combined, the two batteries offer about 30 minutes of flight time, meaning you can use this drone for long shoots. This drone has an operating range of 150 meters. One of the drone’s notable features is its remote control, which comes with a smartphone clip. Using this smartphone clip, you can stream first-person view (FPV) footage to your smartphone when the drone is up to 60 meters away from its remote control. The Altair 818+ also offers several new functions/modes including, among others, Customer Flight Route Mode, Emergency Landing, Headless Mode and Altitude Hold Mode. In regards to price, the Altair 818+ is available on Amazon for.
- Smartphone compatible
- FPV capabilities
- Decent battery
- High-quality 720p camera
- Easy to control
- Relatively short FPV range (up to 60 meters)
2. Syma X8HG
On average, the Syma X8HG costs about $192 on Amazon. However, despite its relatively low price tag, this drone is adaptable, durable and stable, making it particularly ideal for drone enthusiasts, both children and adults, looking to improve their drone flying skills. What’s more, unlike most budget drones, Syma X8HG offers several premium features. For instance, it comes an altitude hold feature as well as an incredible 1080p 8-megapixel HD camera. What’s more, if you wish to get better footage, the drone comes with an adapter for other action camera brands such as Go Pro. With the aforementioned altitude hold feature, you can lock the drone in a particular altitude, allowing you to shoot breathtaking stills and incredible HD videos. This drone comes with a single Li-Po batter than offers up to 10 minutes of flight time and a flight range of up to 100 meters.
- It is stable, durable, and adaptable
- Has Altitude Hold feature
- Has an 1080p 8-megapixel camera
- Easy to operate and upgrade
- Relatively short operating range (up to 100 meters)
- Lacks common features such as GPS, image stabilization and FPV
- Lacks flight modes
3. Holy Stone F181C
Although this drone costs about $100 on Amazon, this small drone is not only highly versatile, but also offers many features and capabilities associated with premium drones. According to the consumer reviews on Amazon, this drone delivers all-round performance largely due to its One Key Return feature and altitude hold feature, which is rare in budget drones. Combined, these two features allow beginners to operate the drone with relative ease. On the camera front, the Holy Stone F181C comes with a good camera capable of shooting 1280 x 720p videos. To record amazing videos and shoot perfect stills, simply trigger the altitude hold feature. However, it is important to note that this drone lacks an image stabilization feature. In regards to the battery package, this drone comes with a a 750mAh 1S Li-Po battery that delivers about 9 minutes of flight time. The drone’s remote controllers, which looks like a console, has a 2.4Hz transmitter that offers an operating range of about 80 meters.
- Comes with a host of accessories including a screwdriver, USB charging cables, blade protectors and an extra battery
- Offers many unique premium features
- Easy to fly
- Decent remote control range
- Camera lacks 4K capabilities
- Comes with only one battery, so you may need to buy extra batteries
- You can fly the drone immediately after a battery change
- Lacks image stabilization and FPV capabilities
- Not smartphone compatible
4. Altair Aerial Blackhawk
With a $129 price tag on Amazon, the Altair Aerial Blackhawk packs more punch than the average budget drone. This drone comes with blade and motor protectors, making it an ideal choice for inexperienced drone operators. The drone offers about 17 minutes of flight time and a flight distance of 500 meters. In regards to the camera, it comes with a decent high-quality camera capable of recording videos in HD format as well as shooting perfect stills. What’s more, the drone comes with an action camera mount, meaning you can mount a GoPro or any other action camera brand onto the drone to get better quality stills and videos. The Altair Aerial Blackhawk comes with myriad accessories including guards, 4 rotor blades, a screwdriver, a wrench, 4 high landing gears, an action camera mount, 1 750mAh Li-Po battery and a remote controller.
Some of the drone’s notable features include bright color-coded LED lights for night flights, brushless motors and various speed modes. Thanks to these features, you can fly this drone both indoors and outdoors.
- Comes with an action camera mount
- Performs 360-degree stunts and maneuvers
- Has bright color-coded LED lights for night flying
- Has various speed modes, allowing for both indoors and outdoors flying
- No camera included
- The action camera mount may affect the drone’s stability and battery use
5. DBPower UDI U842 Predator
This DBPower U842 drone costs about $200 on Amazon. Thanks to its motor and rotor blade protection, this sturdy and hardy drone can withstand several low-impact crashes, making it particularly ideal for inexperienced drone hobbyists who want to improve their drone flying skills. According to consumer reviews on Amazon, most consumers who have bought this drone are happy with, giving it a 4-star rating out of a possible 5 stars. The drone is designed to fly in light wind conditions and comes in different color combinations.
Looking at the battery package, this drone comes with 1 750mAh Li-Po battery that delivers up to 8 minutes of flight time. It is worth noting that this is a fast-charging battery, meaning it takes a significantly shorter time to charge, which translates to shorter downtime. In terms of the controller, this drone comes with a standard 2.4Hz controller that gives it a maximum operating range of 100 meters. Additionally, the drone comes with a smartphone app that allows you to use the gravity induction mode to control the camera angle. The drone offers different speed and flight modes, allowing you to fly it both indoors and outdoors. Its flight modes include, among others, the the RTH functionality and headless mode. The drone comes with various accessories including an extra battery and a microSD card.
- Good battery life
- Flies both outdoors and indoors
- Stable and relatively easy to fly
- Decent camera quality
- Comes with an extra battery and microSD card
- Smartphone app control
- Below average hovering capabilities
- Weak rotor blade protector
- Video lags in first-person view (FPV) mode
6. MJX Bugs 2W
If you are into drone flying, cinematography and videography, you should consider buying this drone. The MJX Bugs 2W costs anything from $170 to $200 on Amazon depending on the seller. However, compared to other entry-level drones, this drone offers superior features and capabilities. Some of its notable features include FPV transmission capability, a GPS, brushless motors and a high-quality 1080p camera capable of recording breathtaking videos in HD format. Additionally, it has an altitude hold feature, stable flight path, and return home capability. You can fly this drone for up to 18 minutes without recharging or changing the battery. Thanks to its 2.4 GHz remote controller and 5.8 GHz FPV transmission feature, the drone has an operating range of 1,000 meters and an FPV transmission range of 500 meters.
- A long flight time
- 5G Wi-Fi FPV range
- An HD camera
- Return to home feature
- Brushless motors
- Altitude hold
- Lacks an extra battery
- Lacks orbit capability
- The GPS waypoints are not programmable
7. WingsLand S6
With a $200 price tag on Amazon, the Wingsland S6 entry-level drone comes equipped with myriad premium features including among others, a GPS and GLONASS dual satellite navigation. It is easy to operate and carry around thanks to the foldable arms that make storage easy without breaking any part. According to consumer reviews on Amazon, this is arguably one of the best budget selifie drones on the market today. The drone features a foldable design, making it portable. However, one of its most notable features is probably its 4K30P camera with digital image stabilization that is capable of recording 4K quality videos at 30 frames per second. What’s more, the drone has a smartphone app that offers, among other things, video editing and composition capabilities. In addition to the awesome camera, this drone also comes with brushless motors that reduce wear and tear significantly. The drone’s battery package consists of a single Li-Po battery that delivers about 10 minutes of flight time. Its operating distance is about 80 meters.
- Foldable Design
- Light weight and easy to use
- An excellent camera
- Brushless motors
- Object avoidance attachment
- Excellent features
- Battery needs boosting before use
Factors to Consider when Buying a Drone
Some of the important factors to consider when buying a budget drone include:
Speed and height — You should buy a drone that meets your height and speed needs. For example, if you want to record live-action footage during games, you need a drone that can fly relatively high and relatively fast in order to capture the action accordingly. On the other hand, if you need a drone that can record videos at parties, you do not necessarily need a fast drone.
Replacement parts — Over time, you will need to replace or repair some parts of your drone such as the propeller, gears and battery. Because of this, you should ideally purchase a drone with readily available replacement parts.
Camera type — This is an important consideration, especially if you are into videography and cinematography. At this point, it is important to note that some drones come with a camera while others do not. Additionally, some drones come with an action camera mount. Some of the key factors to consider when choosing an action camera include megapixels, ability to control the camera angle, and video resolution.
Budget drones comes in all shapes, colors and sizes. Additionally, these drones have different features and capabilities. For example, some budget drones have an action camera mount, whereas others come with functionalities smartphone compatibility and FPV capabilities. Additionally, some come with a wide range of accessories including replacement batteries and rotor blades. Some of the important factors to consider when buying a drone include the camera type, replacement parts, as well as speed and height. If you are looking for a good budget drone, consider one of the seven drones discussed in this article.