Quick List: Drones Under $100Here is a quick table listing of the drones we looked at for the category of "Under $100". Each of these models passed the review checklist for our criteria. (See below for our review objectives.) A more in-depth look at each is found further down on this page. Did we miss one? Let us know!
|Hubsan X4 H107L||Camera: None|
Flight Time: 6-8 minutes
Charge Time: Up to 45 minutes
Range: 100 meters
|Syma X5UW||Camera: 1MP photos, 720p video|
Flight Time: 8-10 minutes
Charge Time: About 2 hours
Range: 70-100 meters
|U818A||Camera: 640x480, 1GB SD card|
Flight Time: 9 minutes
Charge Time: About 2 hours
Range: only about 30 meters
|Holy Stone HS170 Predator||Camera: None|
Flight Time: 6-8 minutes
Charge Time: 60-80 minutes
Range: 30-50 meters
|JJRC H26W||Camera: 3MP, 120° Wide Angle|
Flight Time: 7 minutes
Charge Time: 2 hours
Range: 300 meters
|JJRC H16 Tarantula X6||Camera: None|
Flight Time: 7-8 minutes
Charge Time: 60 minutes
Range: 300 meters
|JJRC H31||Camera: None|
Flight Time: 8 minutes
Charge Time: 70-80 minutes
Range: 70-80 meters
|Syma X8C||Camera: 2MP|
Flight Time: 6 minutes
Charge Time: 2.5 hours
Range: 50 meters
|SYMA X5C-1||Camera: None|
Flight Time: 8 minutes
Charge Time: up to 2 hours
Range: 100 meters
How We Chose The Top Drones Under 100 Bucks
We first defined an objective. We wanted to be specific in looking at all drones under $100 – so you can find one that is affordable, durable, fun and overall the best drone for you without busting your budget.
Rather than just pull out 10 subjective choices and tell you what’s good and bad about each of them – we wanted to give you a specific list of factors that helped us narrow the list. We tell you about that criteria below.
Also we consider the fact that drone flyers exist on all different skill levels. Our review team consists of an experienced RC expert specializing in quadcopters, as well as two drone beginners. In fact, one had never seen a drone other than in pictures and videos – a true newbie who had never held a controller!
We’ve lined up the page so you can easily compare and find the features that best suit you. We quickly highlight features and drawbacks in the quick table. Next we give more detail on the criteria we used to rate the best drones for under $100 dollars. Then we go into a lot more details about each of the models that made the list! Finally, we provide a place for YOUR feedback.
Drones Under $100 – The Review Criteria
To avoid swayed results for our personal favorites, we decided it was best to define the features and factors that make a particular drone the “best”. Aside from the obvious price point, here is a list we came with:
- Online Customer Reviews – it’s always helpful to see what others are saying and what their experiences are with using a specific brand of drone. We spent hours pouring over reviews, both good and bad, to see how these reviews compared to our own.
- Flying Time – it can be frustrating when you are just getting the hang of performing a maneuver or capturing the perfect video, and then your battery runs out. We suggest always having several batteries when you fly your drone.
- Range – There is nothing worse than to be flying along and have your drone suddenly lose altitude because it has lost range with the base controller. Lower end models will simply stop flying if they lose instruction from the controller, so range is very important. Be sure not to exceed it or bad things will happen.
- Charging Time – We can’t stress it enough. Buy more batteries and have a dedicated place to charge them. The faster chargers are winners, but this is one thing we considered.
- Purpose – most of the drones under $100 tend to be designed for play or for the hobbyist who is just beginning. So obviously these are not high end cameras designed to capture brillant high-quality video, or to be used by a profesional.
- Durability – There is no doubt about it, you will crash your drone once in a while. The trick is to “crash easy” and not lose your rotors or damage the drone itself. (Note: don’t fly near water or trees if you are just starting out! We learned this the hard way.)
- Flying Experience – some drones are hard to handle, we picked the best ones. We wanted the drone to be easy to calibrate, lift/lower, trim, rotate, control speed, and of course control the direction of the drone.
- The Drone Controller
Flying radio-controlled devices is great fun and drones are no exception. Sometimes our fun is cut short if the hand controller is not intuitive. You would thing that all controllers are alike but that is not the case. Whenever we had difficulty with it, we downgraded the rating and mentioned it in our notes.
Although there isn’t much you need to do to maintain your inexpensive drone, there will come a time when you want more batteries and a time when you need replacement rotors. Getting your hands on these items needs to be easy, or the drone didn’t make the list.
- Drone Flying Fun Without Frustration
We’ve been flying RC drones for many years and it’s so great to finally see products being built are affordable but go beyond being a toy. Flying drones is a great way to learn about aeronautics, improving coordination and reaction time, problem solving, and just having fun.Finally it’s all available to fit within your $100 budget! We made sure all of these models are easy enough to use for takeoff, flying, tricks, hovering, and landing.
Affordable Drones With A Camera?
Until recently, most drones selling for less than $100 bucks did NOT have cameras. If they did, the quality was poor and really not worth the effort.
This is changing. While a camera isn’t necessary to for your drone, it IS fun. This wasn’t really a huge factor, but it did weigh in on the decision making. These days only the cheapest toy drones are the only ones without a camera. You can actually get a decent drone with a camera for under $50. That price has dropped dramatically in recent years so you can take advantage of improved technology at a lower cost.
The best in class as we like to call it, the Hubsan X4 has some of the greatest performance points and is one of the best drones for under $100 dollars. There are so many good things to tell you about the Hubsan X4 with camera, so let’s get to it.
This outstanding microcopter has an impressive range, with longer distances than the other drones in this category. You can fly up to 300 feet away and stil have good reach from your controller. Next, the Hubsan X4 includes a camera with video and 2MP photo. It comes with a buit-in battery and takes around 30 minutes to fully charge – again that’s impressive with most drone batteries require 2 hours or more to recharge.
*Note: The model that includes the camera is the H107C and the one without a camera is H107L. Both are very reasonably priced at less than $60.
Flight time is somewhat disappointing, but with the quick charging time it’s easy to overlook. The Hubsan x4 FPV features are outstanding and almost unheard of for the price – which is one reason why this particular model is rated so highly by reviewers and users. It’s has a 4-inch screen on the transmitter controller that works very well.
For ease of use and determining direction, the lights and propellers help users get the drone oriented. Overall this is an exciting entry into flying drones, it’s small enough to fly indoors and is strong enough to fly outside if it’s not too windy.
As we mentioned in the beginning, there are a few variations to this model. We focused on the two most popular: Hubsan X4 H107c vs H107.
The Hubsan X4 H107c comes with a camera, which is a way better experience. You may not use the camera all the time, but there will come a time when you wish you had it. Another cool feature for both models is the expert mode which gives you greater control once you get the hang of managing the controls.
But best of all is the “altitude hold” feature. You set a specific altitude and the drone takes over controlling the height, which gives you, the pilot, once less thing to worry about.
While we almost can’t imagine not having a camera on your drone, there has been a lot of testing the Hubsan x4 h107c VS h107l to see which one is the best drone of the two. It really depends on your own needs and uses, but we would say the Hubsan H107l is far more durable without the camera.
Check out the video on the H107L for yourself.
As if all of this isn’t enough, you’ll be glad to know that you can actually get an Hubsan X4 for less than $100 – but wait that’s now all. You can even get it for less than $50! The price updates constantly, so check out the current price on Amazon, but go ahead and order one…the price can go up tomorrow!
First and foremost, since it is newer, the technology you find on this phone is unique and really designed to help beginners fly their drone like a pro. Part of the controls for the drone involve using an app on your smartphone, so you can use take off with the tap of just one key. Also take advantage of altitude hold so you can focus on other drone operations.
But the coolest part is the “Flight Plan” feature, where you create a route by drawing with your finger on your smartphone. The drone follows the path that you have just created. How cool is that?!? You won’t find that on any other drones under $100.
So with all the sleek benefits of using the new tech features, we were slightly disappointed in the short flight time which seem to average around 7 minutes. You can increase that by reducing the weight of the drone, which you do by removing the camera, landing gear and rotor guards. But then you sacrifice your camera and the durability of your drone. So it’s kind of a tradeoff depending on what is most important to you.
This is one of the larger models for this price range. Because of that we wouldn’t suggest you fly it indoors unless you are in a warehouse with tons of space. The range is about 200 feet which is good, but not as good as some others.
Overall the Syma X5UW is a slick machine that we recommend. I bought one for my nephew for his birthday and he loves it.
UDI 818A HD
The UDI 818A HD+ drone has a 2MP camera that is typical for drones in this range and it is a better version of the earlier. If you look forward to performing rolls and flips with the touch of a button, you are going to love this model. You can also choose from a high speed mode or not. This is essential is you fly in different types of environments. You will find occasions when you want to take it slower, and other times when you want open it up!
Editor’s Note: We have a slight bias toward this quadcopter because it was the first one I ever flew. It’s pretty stable and with a few extra batteries in my bag I could fly this drone for about half hour. The one part that is a bit frustrating is the drone does not respond well whenever there is a slight breeze, much less a steady wind. Although I have to say, this is the case with most lower cost drones. Once I adjusted to it and flew the drone is better conditions, it was far more fun.
This is a fun drone. Out of the box, it comes with extra rotor blades, a card reader for USB with 4GB SD card, a spare battery, and a built-in camera. Flight time is typical at just under 10 minutes, less if the conditions are challenging. This quadcopter battery takes a couple of hours to charge, but it does ship with a spare. Most of all, this drone is easy and fun to fly!
At under $100, this is one of the top models on our list.
More Drones For Less Than $100
Rather than give reviews for all the quadcopter drones we looked at, we chose only the top winners from all the criteria combined. Some were cut because of quality – like the drone with a rotor that just would not turn properly despite our attempts to calibrate and repair. We also flew a drone that was difficult to stop and turn off. That could lead to disaster!
So, now you have the list and you know how we chose the best of the best drones for under $100! You can be sure you are making a good investment and have great fun with an awesome flying experience. Ready to take off? Now you can – GO!