So, you want to buy a drone and have a budget under $200, that’s no problem. The good news is that there are a ton of options that are now available to purchase and all you need to do, is simply type “Drones under $200” into your search bar. BAM! You’d find more drones than you can even count or open the links to. Exactly here, comes the bad news.
With these many options around, not everyone has the time to do all that research, and what’s more is that you can easily buy a piece of crap without even knowing it (and let’s be honest, a lot of them are pieces of crap). Now that is where we come in to combat the bad news by doing all this research for you so that you have only the best, tried-and-tested options to choose from.
How We Test Drones
We’ve scoured through countless reviews and drone blogs, and narrowed it down to eight choices that we think are worth taking a look at. We tried to find a little bit of everything and this post includes all those things which might be essential for someone buying a drone in this price bracket. Some of these include:
- Design: How well is the built, is it durable? Does it look good? If it comes with a controller, how are the ergonomics?
- Durability/Repairability: Let’s be honest here. You’re going to crash your drone at least once in its lifetime and a good model should not only be able to survive a few mishaps but also have easily available and commercially viable spare parts. Ease of repair is also important!
- Flight Performance: How easy is it to fly the drone? How is the stability when hovering? Does it require a lot of effort to maneuver?
- App: Is a supported app available? How intuitive is it and what sort of features are available?
- Camera Quality: If the drone features a camera, how good are the photos and videos it takes? Are they usable for digital media?
- Flight time: How long does the drone stay in the air before its battery runs out? The best drones usually have batteries running out at 25-30 minutes max.
- Legal Requirements: FAA has rules to follow for flying. It has a full list of safety guidelines for model aircraft that you should check before you take off. Non-commercial drones that weigh between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds have to be registered (there’s a $5 fee) and have to carry your license with you while flying the drone. We also let you know which of these models require you to amend to these legalities so that you don’t go around leaving this article with half knowledge.
Our Picks for The Best Drones Under $200
1. Ryze Tech Tello
Flight Time: 4-5 minutes | Camera: 720p | Smartphone Control: Optional | FAA Registration: Not Required | Indoor Use: Yes | Weight: 3 ounces
For just under $100, the Ryze Tech Tello—designed by DJI—makes for a good, inexpensive drone for first-time fliers. However, what elevates it above other inexpensive drones for kids is the fact that it can be programmed using Scratch, turning this toy into an educational device. While the drone itself is enjoyable and simple to fly, the programming could definitely be improved.
The Ryze Tello is fun to fly and has responsive controls that work for beginners and experienced pilots. Besides, the Tello has a 720p camera that records pretty good(but jerky) video and is easy to fly around. The biggest issue we had with the drone was its short 5-minute flight time, so you’ll want to stock up on a few batteries if you decide to pick it up. If you’re looking for beginner drones, the Ryze Tech Tello is a pretty good option under $200.
- Small, fast drone
- Easy to control
- Comfortable remote control
- Scratch programming language is tricky to set up
- Short battery life
2. Holy Stone HS100
Flight Time: 18 minutes | Camera: 2K | Smartphone Controlled: Optional | FAA Registration: Required | Size: 16.9*16.9*6.9 in | Weight: 1.73 pounds
If you’re wanting to get serious about your drone, but aren’t ready to empty your pocket, the Holy Stone HS100 is an exceptional mid-priced option. It comes with a flight session time of 15 minutes and a range of 500 meters, allowing some serious flying. Another great addition is the drone coming equipped with GPS and one-key return to ensure that you don’t lose it in the process.
One important point to note is that the drone is somewhat heavy at 1.73 pounds and needs FAA registration. Nonetheless, we highly recommend getting it if you want a great drone with some good quality recording. The cherry on top is that it costs around $150, which is lesser than most drones and quite under $200 as well.
- Better than average battery life for the size
- 2K camera is a great addition for the price
- GPS supported
- 5 GHz WiFi
- Quite bulky
- Battery charging time is a little long
3. Eachine E58
Flight Time: 9 minutes (each battery) | Camera: 720p | Smartphone Controlled: Optional | FAA Registration: Not Required | Size: 16.9*16.9*6.9 in | Weight: 96 grams
In the list of the best drones under $200, another beginner option is the Eachine E58. This drone is a step up from its previous versions for just a little bit more money. For the price, there’s a 2-megapixel camera with a 120-degree viewing angle and capable of 720p video, while the drone has a range of 100 meters. These are not the greatest specs around but enough for something under $100!
The drone also has a night flight function with an LED. Plus, it folds up so that you can easily carry it in your pocket. It looks quite good, similar to the DJI Mavic series drones but costs way less. One of the best parts about it is the inclusion of three batteries in the standard package! It is also quite well-rated in reviews and is a good drone to start your flying journey well.
- It comes with three batteries!
- Gravity sensor
- One-key takeoff and landing
- Not great in the wind
- Camera quality quite poor
4. Altair 818 Hornet
Flight Time: 15 minutes | Camera: 720p | Smartphone Controlled: Optional | FAA Registration: Not Required | Weight: 2.9 lbs
The Altair 818 Hornet has a striking design and color scheme and that isn’t where the list of great things about it ends. It packs in a good number of useful features that are hard to find an under-$200 price point. First off, this drone is going to last you longer than some of the others on this list. The Hornet features plastic guards around its propellers which is a great safety addition. This may add some bulk, but they protect perhaps the most fragile part of the device’s body.
The included 720p camera has a rubber damper, so you don’t have to worry about it producing shaky footage. The biggest selling point for the Altair 818 though, is its battery life. The drone clocks in at 15 minutes per battery. A bonus is Altair’s inclusion of a second battery that totals up 30 minutes of flying time right out of the box. For long term users looking for good drones under $200, the Altair 818 Hornet is a great choice.
- Long flight time up to 30 minutes with 2 batteries
- Plastic guards around propellers
- Rubber damper on camera
- Doesn’t handle wind well
- No manual take-off option
5. Holy Stone HS120D
Flight Time: 18 minutes | Camera: 1080p | Smartphone Controlled: Optional | FAA Registration: Not Required | Weight: 3 ounces
Holy Stone has been building drones for a long time now and their HS120D is the perfect option for beginners. For one, it is very easy to fly thanks to its GPS capabilities. It can automatically return home when the battery is low, or the signal is weak or lost. This is a very useful and essential feature that is underrated but can come in handy.
The high-quality 1080p camera on the drone takes amazing pictures, which you can send directly to your phone. You also have the option to turn on the Follow Me mode to free your hands and have the drone track your movements. So, if you want one of the best drones under $200 that are both fun and easy for anyone to use, check out the Holy Stone HS120D on Amazon in the link below.
- Relatively long flight time and range.
- Simple to use for beginners
- Camera quality is good for the price
- The mobile app adds functionality
- No bonus battery included
- App compatibility issues for some devices
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6. Holy Stone HS700D
Flight Time: 22 minutes | Camera: 2K | Smartphone Controlled: Optional | FAA Registration: Required | Weight: 630g
This is a slightly pricier drone, costing anywhere from $220 to $240 but it’s often found for far lesser in sales on Amazon. This is a drone that brings forth more than enough value for money, and here’s why. The drone has a camera with a vibration dampening system, similar to that on a far more expensive drone. The camera itself is pretty good, being marketed as 2K-capable and takes footage that is good for the price.
Furthermore, Holy Stone HS700D also sports brushless motors. The drone also features an onboard GPS module and many useful features, with the most important ones being an auto return to home, altitude hold, and follow me. Regarding flight times, you can get around 20 minutes with it at best which is quite remarkable. All things considered, Holy Stone HS700D really is among the best drones around the $200 mark. It’s a bit pricier than its above-featured peers but brings forth a great flying experience well worth every penny.
- 2K camera quality
- GPS enabled
- Flight time is quite respectable
- Brushless motor
- FAA licensing required
- A little over $200
7. Potensic D60
Flight Time: 18 minutes | Camera: 1080p | Smartphone Controlled: Optional | FAA Registration: Required | Weight: 0.89 lbs
The Potensic D60 doesn’t excel at any given department, yet it offers a well-rounded experience great for people who want an enjoyable first-time session. Potensic D60 features a viable 1080p camera that produces aerial footage of decent qualities and also gives a 90-degree tilt option. Moreover, not only does the drone sports GPS, but also a ton of additional GPS-powered stuff like follow me, altitude hold, auto return to home, fly-by-trajectory, and many more.
The Potensic D60 even features brushless motors which are an expensive thing to get at this price and are said to last longer than their brushed counterparts. Specs-wise, we’re looking at approximately 18ish minutes of flight time which isn’t half bad considering the number of onboard electronics. All in all, this is a great option for people looking for feature-rich drones under $200 and gets our go!
- 1080p camera gives acceptable footage quality
- Looks quite good and expensive
- Strong wind makes it tough to control
- Range is slightly below average
8. Snaptain SP510
Flight Time: 16 minutes | Camera: 2.7K | Smartphone Controlled: Optional | FAA Registration: Not Required | Indoor Use: Yes | Rotors: 4 (2 blades per rotor, replaceable) | Size: 6 x 6 x 1.3 inches | Weight: 3 ounces
The Snaptain SP510 is a popular, highly selling drone on Amazon and allows you 16 minutes of flight time. It has a range of 500m, which is quite decent for a quadcopter in its price range. The drone makes use of a GPS module to provide an easy time for users when they are flying it. A “return home” feature will automatically bring the drone to its starting position when you fly it out of range or when the battery is low. Inexperienced users can benefit from the one key takeoff/landing function, which simplifies getting the drone up in the air.
Further smart flight features like Follow Me Mode, Waypoints, Point of Interest, and Intelligent Geofence enhance safety when flying the drone while also making the experience exciting. These GPS-assisted functions make the Snaptain a responsive and intuitive drone that performs exceptionally in the air. The best part is that you can get your hands on the drone for less than $200.
- GPS assisted features are appreciated and useful
- Camera quality one of the better ones
- Above-average flight time
- First Person Mode Requires Mobile Device
- Long battery charging time