20 years ago, the concept of drones would sound like something that came out of a science fiction film. Remote control airplanes have been on the market for many years, but flying them requires a massive space with good visibility. The skills needed to prevent a crash can take years to master. But the drones on the market today can be flown anywhere from inside the house, to a dense urban environment to even the sprawling countryside.
Zipping through the sky with responsive, intuitive controls is an experience that will bring a smile to the face of even the most jaded adult. And yet the concept is simple enough for even a child to grasp. With many of the top drones retailing for thousands of dollars, it might feel like this hobby is out of reach for most consumers. But technology has come a long way, and there are many products on the market that cost less than dinner and a movie.
#10 – Voomall XT001A Mini Headless Quadcopter
While drones can be simple to use, there is a bit of a learning curve. Flying an expensive new drone into a wall can cause irreparable damage to it, and making contact with a person could cause bodily injury.
Fortunately, the Voomall XT001A is both priced for entry level enthusiasts while remaining safer and easier to use than competing products. It’s four powerful blades are protected from all angles by a plastic shell. The outer shell means that the drone will not come into any harm if it makes unwanted contact with obstructions.
The included remote gives you full control over the direction and throttle of the main engines, with additional switches allowing you to change gears. One of the coolest features of this drone is the 360-degree flip button, making it easy to perform a cool looking trick from anywhere in the sky.
Want to fly your drone at night? The included LED lighting means that late night adventures are sure to grab the attention of anyone in the area. Retailing for only $34.99, this is a very affordable way to get started with drones.
#9 – Voomall JJRC H22
If you’re looking for something that offers a little more control, the Voomall JJRC might be for you. Compared to the previous model, this one offers motors with a little more power. This means you’ll be able to zoom around the skies with more velocity, performing 360 degree flips with the included 4-channel controller. For additional stability, this drone comes complete with a 6-axis gyro control system which keeps the top side up and avoids unexpected dips and banks.
Although this model gets rid of the full body enclosure, bumpers on either side of the blades prevent damage from bumping into obstacles. Priced just a little over $20, this drone offers more bang for your buck than any other product on the market.
#8 – Super Mini Rc Helicopter Drone Indoor Quadrocopter
For a product that can be used indoors, look no further than this mini RC drone. Despite the incredibly compact design (just over a cubic inch!) this little guy sure packs a wallop. The compact blades allow for extremely precise control, an absolute necessity in an indoor environment. Full headless mode means that you have complete control over the drone’s movement.
The included controller has the option to manually adjust the throttle, direction, or let the drone balance itself by using the controls for forward and side-to-side movement. Despite its size, you’ll never have to worry about losing this indoor drone as it fits right into the controller once you’re ready to put it away.
If you’re ready to step up to an intermediate drone, the XDrone HD is an excellent choice. Not only can it be used both inside or outdoors, but the 150-foot range means that you’ll be able to explore nearly as far as the eye can see. But what’s the point of all this range if you can’t capture the moment? The built in 720p video camera captures a birds eye view of your entire flight.
With the included 1gb micro SD card you’ll be able to produce a clear video of your explorations suitable to be watched on your phone or computer. Tricksters, prepare to be impressed.
The build in 6 axis gyroscope makes sure your drone never goes out of control, while the build in programming allows for back flips, front flips, barrel rolls and double back flips all at the touch of a button. For only $105, this is a serious product available for a serious bargain.
#6 – PowerLead Pqad D015 WiFi Camera Drone
The 5.8ghz “Spread Spectrum” technology is designed to cut through interference caused by cordless phones, power lines, radio towers and all of the other signal sources found in an urban environment. Like other drones in this price range, this $89 item includes a 720p HD video camera so you can relive the excitement of your explorations.
#5 – UDI I818A HD Quadcopter Drone
If you want a powerful drone that is still suitable for beginners, the UDI I818A is an excellent choice. The fully enclosed blades protect the drone from obstacles coming from any direction. Despite being designed for newbies, the flight experience with this unit is still top notch.
The 6 axis gyro keeps it stable in turbulent conditions, while the 3d locking system lets it hold it’s position without any input from the controller. The improved battery life and 4gb memory card mean you’ll be able to take long distance flights around your home base and capture the whole thing in glorious HD video.
#4 – Voomall MJX X300C
Want to watch real time video from your own smartphone without breaking the bank? The Voomall MJX was made for you. Just hook your apple or android phone into the included remote control to stream 720p video from the perspective of the drone itself.
While streaming video means that you’ll be able to fly outside your direct line of site, it doesn’t mean that you’ll lose track of your drone. The single touch “return to home” feature allows you to call back the drone in the event you lose track of it. At only $60, This is the cheapest way to experience the fun of real time video.
#3 – RC Drone with 2MP HD Camera
Here is a unit that is suitable not only for beginners, but also experienced drone pilots. 4 different sensitivity modes let you change exactly how much control you have over the flight path. Set it to low and let the six axis gyroscope take over, keeping the unit stable while you gently guide it as you see fit.
Once you start to get the hang of flying, you can increase the sensitivity giving you the ability to turn on a dime and fly through the sky at lightning speed. Capture it all on film with the massive 4GB SD card and 720p camera. With a build in compass and one-touch “return to home” feature, the drone will never be lost.
#2 – Holy Stone HS110W FPV Drone
This product takes many of the features of high end drones and packs them into an easy to use product. Featuring a gravity sensor, this device is able to manually hold its own altitude. This means that you won’t need to keep your hand on the throttle at all times, as the drone will be able to maintain its position in the sky in spite of interference from changing wind directions or air pressure.
The 720p real time camera can link up with your mobile phone allowing you to experience the action from the palm of your hand. The videos can be saved directly onto your android or apple smartphone, ensuring you’ve got clips of all the coolest places you’ve explored.
Combining the stable flight system with a long range and real time video means that this product is one of the best values on the market. At only $99, it’s rare to see such a wide feature set for such an affordable price.
#1- DBPOWER FPV Wi-Fi Motion-Sensing Quadcopter
If you’re looking to get most advanced drone available for under $120, you have to give the DBPOWER FPV Wi-Fi drone a look. Wi-Fi communication coupled with a high power 2.4ghz remote means that you can explore anywhere inside the insane range of 260 feet.
If you’re bored of the standard control system and want to try a fully encompassing flight experience, this drone can use the motion sensors in your phone to control the movement. By using the gyroscope and air pressure sensor, the drone keeps itself stable in all directions. Simply tilt your phone however you like and the drone will follow suit. This all takes place while crystal clear 720p video is fed back to your phone to make you feel like you’re in the pilot’s seat.
Even though the control may look standard, it still offers a superior flying experience. It has a lightning fast response time in a simple, easy to use package. With many drones, takeoff and landing can be a challenge due to the changing air pressure caused by rising up from the ground. But with the DPPOWER model, all you need to do is touch a single button and instantly be lifted to a stable height of 1.5 meters.
Generally, when you are purchasing an inexpensive drone you’re forced to trade off some of the best features just to save a few bucks. But with advanced flight sensors, a massive flight range, multiple control schemes and a real-time video stream, this is the best way to get a complete drone experience for only $115.
Experiencing all the features this drone has to offer will help you develop your own flying style, so if you choose to upgrade you’ll know exactly what improvements you’ll want to look for in your next model.
These affordable models are not just for consumers with limited financial resources. We highly recommend that any budding enthusiast begin with one of these inexpensive models to get a feel for the drone experience. Many of them are designed to be easy to fly, while still helping you build skills that can be transferred to more complicated models. If you do decide to upgrade in the future, having experience with a simple drone will help you understand what features you need.
This can prevent you from spending big money on things that you don’t really want or need. As you’re learning to fly, there is a small chance of an accident. It’s much better to make mistakes with a simple, easy to replace model instead of an expensive one. Obviously, a product that costs as much as a used car will be a little more feature-rich than the products we’ve curated below, but we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how advanced these entry-level models can get.