Best Drones for under $300 for 2021 – find out which great flying quadcopter drones can be purchased on a budget. Reviews of Yuneec, MJX and more models.
Drone enthusiasts are truly spoiled for choice thanks to the availability of entry-level, mid-range and high-end products. Mid-range drones provide a number of decent features that make flying fun.
Some of the best drones under $300 include:
1. MJX Bugs 3 Mini
This product is an innovative entry-level drone with interesting technical features that are designed to help beginners learn to fly. When the drone came out, MJX Bugs 3 was a small but appreciated and significant revolution in the industry.
The introduction of an entry-level unit with a simple camera impressed enthusiasts. After demonstrating its ability to produce drones of even higher quality, such as the Bugs 2W, MJX returned to the market with the Bugs 3 Mini. The product is a miniature sports drone that is ideal for novices.
The MJX Bugs 3 Mini drone is a unit with a good quality-price ratio. It boasts a competitive price combined with decent technical features.
Inside the package, you find the remote control, two sets of propellers, a charger, tools to fix the propellers, the manual and the landing feet. However, the unit does not come with a camera but it can accommodate one. On the other hand, the Headless Mode allows the drone to respond to the commands of the controller efficiently.
The MJX Bugs 3 Mini drone is made of carbon fiber and plastic. With slightly larger dimensions than other compact drones, it can guarantee decent agility and excellent resistance to shocks and falls without causing serious damage to the frame and other parts.
It is the first brushless MJX drone. What does this mean? In short, the term brushless means the unit’s motor comes without brushes. Oftentimes, the motor has brushes that allow it to work (according to the laws that regulate magnetism). With brushless systems, it is possible to generate current in ways that enable the unit to modify the orientation of the magnetic field.
One of the strengths of the MJX Bugs 3 Mini drone is the presence of decent features. In addition to the Headless Mode, there is a high-temperature protection system that prevents sudden breakdowns. The six-axis gyroscope allows great stability even on windy days and enables users to perform acrobatic maneuvers. Price – $129.99.
– 6-axis gyroscope
– Radio controller with a range of 328 yards
– Headless Mode functionality
– 850mAh 45C LiPo 2S battery
Pros and cons
- Ideal for inexperienced pilots
- Provides a battery life of 10 minutes
- No camera
2. MJX Bugs 5W
After dominating the entry-level scene (drones under $300) with the Bugs 2, the Chinese manufacturer MJX introduced the Bugs 5W. The new product represents a natural evolution with many improvements suitable for those who want to start testing a drone that has many of the piloting aid systems associated with high-end units.
MJX Bugs 5W is equipped with MT1806 1500KV brushless motors that ensure reduced friction and less heat loss. Inside the package, you will find the remote control with the appropriate housing for your smartphone. You can use a mobile application to view images via the smartphone screen. The transmission distance is guaranteed for about 328 yards.
The battery is an 1800 mAh LiPo with a rechargeable connection and it lasts about 15 minutes of flight. The drone remains stable thanks to the barometer and the presence of a GPS that keeps it at the same height and the desired position even in windy conditions.
When it comes to the radio control, there are two quick keys for takeoff and landing that will help the less experienced handle these operations with ease. The Return to Home mode is activated automatically when the drone loses the connection with the radio control. In addition, it has Follow Me and Orbit functions to follow the radio control and for a 360-degree view.
Before flying, it is necessary to calibrate the GPS. Turn on the radio controller while holding down the red button and wait for the acoustic signal. Turn on the drone and place it on flat ground (remember to close the battery) and wait for the acoustic signal.
Check on the connection between remote controller and drone. Calibrate the GPS (movement on the horizontal and the vertical plane) and wait for the LEDs to light up. Start the propellers with the red button (with the padlock). Press the Take Off button or cross the sticks in the middle to start having fun.
The camera takes 8 MP photos and shoots videos at 1080p 30 fps. It saves them on a micro SD card (not included in the package), which can be inserted at the back of the camera. The camera can be rotated on the vertical axis through a special command placed on the remote control. Price – $218.
– Altitude Hold
– 1806 1500KV brushless motors
– 2.4GHz Mode 2 radio controller
– Wi-Fi camera
– Headless Mode
– Return to Home mode
– Waypoints function
Pros and cons
- Stability and accuracy
- Good price to quality ratio
- Ease of use
- Antennas are fake
3. Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon
The Typhoon is equipped with a Full HD camera and it is compatible with the new generation action cams, such as the GoPro. The unit, which is one of the drones under $300 offers a number of fun features like the Follow Me mode (a default feature that allows the Typhoon to track your position and your gestures). On the other hand, the Watch Me mode allows you to take dynamic selfies (the drone flies overhead while the camera remains fixed on you).
This Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon drone impresses with its design, the quality of its camera and ease of piloting. Despite some slowness due to its weight, it is pleasant to fly thanks to superior stability, which is perfect for capturing quality footage.
The product is a good investment for those looking for a quadricopter with professional features. It is a solid drone, which despite only managing 60fps to 1080p offers a good quality to price ratio.
The Q500 arrives in a beautiful Yuneec style white box emblazoned with the photo and the product name. The box is equipped with a convenient handle. If you are not willing to buy the carrying case you can also use the box itself.
The design of the Typhoon Q500 slightly resembles the DJI Inspire thanks to the H shape of the frame. The drone has a smooth design with rounded corners. The main material is the plastic that covers all the drone electronics. The main colors are gray and black. This drone is not available in other colors.
The CGO3 camera can shoot 4K video at 30 FPS, capture 12MP photos and it has a CMOS sensor. The feature is supported by a 3-axis gimbal and can be used with the SteadyGrip.
Yuneec, with its experience in the field of radio-model and electric-powered aircraft, offers a drone that is simple to fly, intuitive, ergonomic and equipped with a camera that makes some professional multi rotors blush.
– 3S 5400 mAh battery
– CGO3 camera
– Remote controller with a 5.5-inch screen
– USB adapter/charger
– 8GB micro SD card
– 3-axis brushless gimbal
Pros and cons
- Can shoot 4K videos
- Follow Me mode
- Smart Mode – directional controls according to your position regardless of the orientation of the drone.
- The camera offers a few adjustments. Opt for the Pro version if you are looking for superior rendering
Drone selection tips
Before you buy a drone, you need to determine the type of drone you need. Would you like to buy a recreational drone to have fun, take pictures or for filming? Or do you need a professional drone? The latter will allow you to monitor a beach, a building, a monument, and most of the time, it will film or take pictures. In this case, you must be a professional pilot who can justify a pilot license.
If your goal is to participate in drone races. Opt for a racing drone that can handle high-speed obstacle courses.
Size and weight
Manufacturers increasingly offer smaller drones, some of which do not exceed 1.9 inches. The advantage of this type of drone is that it is portable. The remote control is often heavier and bulkier than the drone. Their lifespan is short since they cannot exceed 200 flights. Control of the flight is difficult and autonomy is limited. Depending on your use and budget, opt for larger drones. These units are heavier but more powerful.
When building a drone, the first criterion of choice is engine thrust and you can get the test statistics that are usually found in the data supplied with the engine. The major manufacturers carry out relevant tests and make them available to customers.
Weight calculations allow you to determine the maximum thrust that each engine provides. Studying the engine thrust tables makes it possible to determine the ideal option. It is important to ensure that the size of the engine matches the chassis.
If you are unsure, it is best to find a guide, a tutorial or a multi-rotor drone similar to the one you want. This will allow you to gain an understanding of the types, engine models and associated equipment that can be used as a starting point for your construction.
A propeller that has a small pitch will have greater traction at low speeds but its speed will be limited. Conversely, a propeller that has a large pitch will have lower traction and higher maximum speed. Refine the weight estimate to choose the right battery. Once all the components have been chosen, it is possible to decide on the LiPo battery needed.
Consider the total weight of the quadcopter and choose a battery according to the final total weight of the drone.back to menu ↑
The latest addition to the Chinese manufacturer Yuneec’s recreational drones, the Q500 Typhoon 4K is positioned on the market as a choice alternative to the expensive DJI and 3DR quadcopters, especially the DJI’s Phantom range.
Mid-range products offer better performance but the price is higher. At this level, you can expect improved stability of the camera and the inclusion of several features that greatly enhance the flight experience.
It is difficult to highlight camera drones without mentioning DJI, the brand that has conquered a significant slice of the market with superb products. The DJI Spark is a compact camera drone that weighs only 0,661 pounds. Its finish is impeccable. The unit is elegant and gives an impression of solidity thanks to the use of magnesium alloy. The properties of this material are recognized for its impact resistance.
Its autonomy is a little disappointing and it is obviously attributed to the choice of a 1480 mAh battery. Maximum flight time takes about a quarter of an hour and experts recommend purchasing several removable batteries to explore device’s features.
The camera is equipped with 3D recognition and programmed to identify faces, obstacles and movements. It is mounted on a stabilizing nacelle on a vertical and horizontal axis, which compensates for the movements of the drone to provide stability.
The controller is not included, which is rarely the case in the unit’s price range ($400 – $600) but you have access to a fairly complete companion app. The application allows you to take a picture according to predefined parameters. The 12-megapixel sensor offers a full HD experience and the mechanical stabilization works wonderfully well.
The Eachine Wizard X220 is a racer class drone and a fairly imposing machine capable of flying in FPV races that evolve into freestyle. It comes with a wider X shape, which is made of carbon arms.
This is the second version of X220 from Eachine and it is a ready-to-use racer. The unit comes with everything you need to take off when you leave the box. The motors are 2206 to 2300KV brushless models that are protected from impact by plastic parts. Special care has been taken in choosing the color of the components.