Best Budget Drones 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews
Are you looking to enhance your photography by providing incredible aerial shots? Do you simply want to get out into the open airs without spending years training for a pilots licence? Or are you just looking to pick up a new exciting hobby? Then a drone might just be the thing for you.
When it comes to finding the right drone for you it can be a slog to filter through the selection on Amazon, which is why we have done it for you. Covering some of the best deals we could find on amazon, we have compiled a list of cheap drones saving you both time and hassle. But that’s not all, we have also produced a handy guide that you can refer back to helping you make the best informed decision when it comes to selecting which of the many cheap drones is the best fit for you!
10 Best Budget Drones of 2020
1. Holy Stone HS210
First up on our list of top 10 best cheap drones we have the Holy Stone HS210, a quadcopter built specifically for beginners. The Holy Stone HS210 boast an incredible 21 minutes of flight, thanks to the 3 supplied batteries lasting 7 minutes each. Charge all 3 up fully to get the most out of this cheap Holy Stone UAV!
The Holy Stone HS210 also comes with a wide array of flight modes. Beginners will get the most out of this quadcopter thanks to its use of a hover mode, giving you more control with less effort. That’s not all however as this drone also features the much coveted headless mode, never again will you lose track of which direction this UAV is facing!
You will never have to worry about losing the Holy stone HS210 as it includes a low battery power alarm giving you time to use the nifty remote control to get your small drone to return to home. Takeoff and landing have also been made easy as you can just use the one key start/land functionality.
So many useful beginner features at such a cheap price is what makes the Holy Stone HS210 one of the best cheap drones on this list for beginners.
2. Syma X5UW
Camera Type: 2mp Wide Angle
If you are looking for a cheap drone with a built in camera then you would be hard pressed to find a better option than the Syma X5UW. A 720p HD camera adorns the front of this quad-copter offering a first person perspective which can broadcast live video to your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. Simply download the SYMA GO app on your mobile device and get a birds eye view of the world.
The app doesn’t only function as a live camera feed however, you can also draw a flight plan on its built in map and let the drone fly itself. Get high quality videos without the need to pick up your remote control! Ease of use is the name of the game here, as this FPV RC drone also features an automatic altitude hold mode. This mean you no longer have to worry about constantly adjusting the controls to keep this FPV drone in the air.
Charging the drone itself is also pretty simple as it utilizes a USB charging cord meaning you simply plug this into an USB port and get on with your day. If you have been looking through drones with cameras all day then look no further as the Syma X5UW could be the quad-copter for you!
3. Simrex X300C
Camera Type: HD Camera | Battery Life: 22 minutes
Featuring the latest 6-axis gyro flight control systems, the Simrex X300C is one of the best cheap drones currently on amazon! This drone features one of the largest amount of features on this last thanks to Simrex’s incredible designers. The 1080p HD camera provides unsurpassed image quality, which is rare to find in an FPV drone at such a low price.
Fold-able design means this UAV is perfect to put in your backpack and take it out amongst the hills, beginner pilots will love this feature. losing the remote control is also not an issue as you can control this FPV drone through the featured SIMREX app.
VR users will also find something to love when it comes to the Simrex X300C as you can hook this drone up to your VR headset and experience a whole new level to your flying experience. 3 unique speed modes mean that this drone is not only great for novice pilots, but intermediate pilots as well!
Finding a quad-copter that features as many flight features as the SIMREX X300C within this price range is nigh on impossible.
4. Eachine E58
Camera Type: 2mp Wide Angle | Range: 30m | Controls: Remote Control
When it comes to cheap drones it is hard to find a perfect balance of saving money without sacrificing build quality, the Eachine E58 seems to solve this issue. A low learning curve and impressive 720p camera makes this one of the best cheap drones for camera and video photography on this list. The camera itself utilizes a first person view giving your footage an impressive inclusive feel making you feel like you are flying alongside this UAV.
The drone itself is simple to fly as it utilizes a multitude of features built specifically for beginners. An impressive altitude hold mode maintains the drones flying height giving you more freedom when it comes to control. This is supported by a user friendly headless flight mode preventing you from losing track of which direction the quad-copter is currently facing. Battery life is also no slouch as this UAV comes supplied with 3 lipo batteries offering a combined total of up to 25 minutes of flight time!
If you are looking to get a photography drone that doesn’t sacrifice quality and functionality then the Eachine E58 is just what you need. What’s more, a great option for a top drone accessory is a pair of FPV goggles – check out our best budget FPV goggles list to see more.
5. ATTOP X-Pack 1
Camera Type: HD Camera | Controls: Remote
The next product on our top 10 best cheap drones list is the ATTOP X-Pack 1 featuring an innovative flight path planning mode and smart voice control. One of the few camera drones on the market to feature voice control, the ATTOP ensures that you spend more time getting the photos you require as opposed to fiddling with tedious controls.
The 720p HD camera provides 120 degrees of incredible quality, giving you the means to capture your masterpiece. The drone can be operated through an app using any of your mobile devices, which works in tandem with the voice control system making this camera drone exceptionally easy to fly.
The X-Pack 1 features a built in G-Sensor helping you guide your quad-copter with ease through your Android or iOS device. The XT GO app also allows you to draw a path for your UAV using gesture control. ATTOP have thought of everything when it comes to enhancing your beginner drone experience.
6. SNAPTAIN SP650
Camera Type: HD Camera | Battery Life: 12 Minutes | Range: 60m/180ft | Controls: Voice/Gesture
One of the biggest drone manufacturers when it comes to drones under $100, SNAPTAIN have potentially outdone themselves with the SP650. An exceptional 4 flight modes make this one of the best drones when it comes to complete accessibility. Choose from gesture control, voice control, gravity control or remote control and find the method that suits you the best!
That’s not all as the SP650 features one of the highest quality cameras on this list. Offering up to 1080p video recording, the build and design of this model isn’t the only part of this UAV that is high end. All your footage and photos can be saved on an SD card, simply slot one into your quad-copter and you can save all your memories in one place.
Charging should take no more than 2 hours, and thanks to an impressive 24 minutes of flight time, the downtime on this drone is almost at zero. This is one of the best drones for beginners you will find anywhere!
7. UDI RC
Camera Type: HD Camera
Have you always wanted to go up in the air and fly but didn’t have the money for a pilots licence? Then the UDI RC looks like it might be the next best step thanks to it’s VR compatibility you will truly feel like you are flying. The included 720p camera provides a decent high quality means of recording your journeys adding an additional layer to this RC drone.
Beginners can rejoice as both the headless mode and altitude hold function are constantly praised, so you know you will have no qualms when it comes to getting the hang of controlling this UAV during flight. If you are ever unsure of any aspect of this UAV, then contact the 24/7 support line and ask as UDI are always there to help or provide any assistance.
A 6-axis gyro provides incredible stability, helping novice UAV pilots build familiarity quickly with their new device. The drone itself is exceptionally easy to fly, if you don’t believe us then dive into the amazon reviews and you will see hundreds of customers all agreeing that the UDI RC is perfect for beginners. Exceptional customer support and beginner features make this a standout starter drone and an excellent introductory experience.
8. Bellwether JJRC H68
Camera Type: 720 HD | Battery Life: 20 Minutes | Range: 80m
Offering an exceptional 40 minute flight time, the JJRC H68 could provide the longest battery life on this list. Features like an anti shake 720p video HD camera and headless mode orientation make this one of the best budget drones for photography on this list.
Quickly execute cool tricks and flips in the air using the conveniently placed 3D flip button making you feel like a stunt pilot. This is accompanied by this models sleek white design, offering a futuristic style. Take off is easy due to the one key start operation which is supplemented by an impeccably durable landing gear. The 3 speed modes add to this package, making this a good option for professionals and beginners alike!
Bellwether have built one of the sturdiest items on this list, which durable prop guards and replacement rotors, this quad-copter is comparable to higher end models.Durability is hard to find in this price range, but the Bellwether JJRC H68 has it in bundles.
9. ATTOP x2w
Camera Type: 720P HD | Battery Life: 25 Minutes | Range: 30m | Controls: App controls
One of the best choices on this list for both kids and beginners alike, the ATTOP x2w is a package bursting with excitement. A myriad of features such as headless mode and hover mode offer an excellent launch point when it comes to entering the flying universe. One key takeoff and landing function helps this drone return to home when you are finished using it.
Users can opt to connect this drone you your smart phone offering a whole new level of control when it comes to control methods. Turn on your smartphone and use your phone screen to draw a flight path, thanks to the newest trajectory flight tech. That’s not the only reason this UAV is suitable for kids however. ATTOP have developed a unique AR game that you can use alongside the provided app offering an entirely new dimension of fun to this product.
This is without a doubt not only one of the best drones for beginners, but an incredible cheap drone option for kids too!
10. SNAPTAIN A10
Camera Type: 720P HD | Battery Life: 7 minutes | Range: 80 meters
Portability without compromising performance is what this SNAPTAIN A10 quadcopter specialises in. Both the quad-copter and the rotor blades themselves are fold-able, giving the ability to carry this quadcopter with you wherever you go. Voice and gesture controls comparable with high end models provide an expensive feel to this UAV that is unexpected.
If you are looking for a cheap drone that you can use for photography then it looks like the SNAPTAIN A10 is perfect for you. The built in 720p HD camera offers drone pilots the means of recording their flight and adds impressive depth to this starter drone. 15 minutes of flight time using the two supplied batteries also help ensure that you capture that you snap that perfect photo using the internal rolling shutter.
At this price point, the SNAPTAIN A10 is not only one of the best cheap drones for photography but also an excellent all round pick for best cheap drone.
What is the best drone for $100?
Best choice for $100: SNAPTAIN SP650
Trying to decide between such an incredible list of the best cheap drones available in 2020 has been exceptionally difficult. However, we have decided that the SNAPTAIN SP650 is our choice for the best cheap drone for $100. Featuring an incredible 1080p camera and a range of features built with the user in mind, the SNAPTAIN SP650 is one of today’s best deals!
Best Cheap Drone Overall
Best overall pick: ATTOP X-Pack 1
This list consists of some of the best cheap drones you will find on amazon today, which has made choosing an overall best pick a tough task. We can’t produce a list of today’s best deals without choosing an overall pick however. This award goes to what we think is the best overall pick on this list, the ATTOP X-Pack 1. An incredibly sleek design and a whole host of control options make this our choice of pick when it comes to today’s best deals.
Choosing the best budget drone for you
When it comes to choosing the drone that is right for you, there are a multitude of things you should consider before making purchasing your UAV. Each drone is vastly different, which is why we have created this handy buyers guide that you can refer back to when trying to find the UAV for you.
Ease of Flying
One of the biggest factors that can alter whether a drone is suitable for beginners or is a better fit for advanced flyers, is how easy the drone itself is to fly. It is always a good option to ensure that your first drone is fairly easy to fly and then choosing a slightly more difficult UAV once you have gotten used to it.
When it comes to what makes a drone easier to fly than others, there are certain things you should be on the lookout for. If a drone utilizes a Hover Mode then you will have a much easier time flying it. A Hover Mode essentially means that the quad-copter can stay in one place for an extended period of time. This is incredibly useful for beginners as you will no longer be required to keep adjusting the drone as it will simply stay in the same place.
Another useful hallmark to keep your eyes peeled for is the use of a Headless mode. If the drone is headless this can help prevent confusion when it comes to deducing which way your drone is facing. You won’t constantly worry whether your UAV is facing away or towards you as the direction it’s facing should matter when it comes to controlling your headless drone.
How long the battery of your drone will last before it needs charging can play an integral role on deciding on which UAV is best for you. Some cheap drones have incredibly low battery life and therefore will require you to bring a set of spare batteries just in case. Others may have a really long battery life but could take a while when it comes to charging the battery fully.
Your average UAV should last around 10 minutes in the air before requiring either a new battery or charging. Higher end drones however can last up to anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, however expect to pay a lot more for these.
Potential buyers should also take into consideration how long it takes to charge the battery fully. Some batteries can take up to 2 hours to fully charge meaning you may have to sit around for a while before you can go out and fly your drones.
Not to be confused with how far the drone can fly in a single use, the flight distance (or flight range) is a measurement of how far away the drone can get from you during operation. Although a really high flight range might be alluring, you should always remember that drones should only go as far as you are able to see. There’s no use getting a drone that can fly beyond your sight line as you won’t be able to control it correctly then. Typically you will find that drones that travel further than 50 meters aren’t really necessary.
Price shouldn’t be affected too much by flight range, especially considering most beginner drones will have roughly the same flight range anyway.
Availability of Spare Parts
Something that is often overlooked, how easy it is to get spare parts for your done if it is ever damaged should be one of your top considerations. Not only will this increase the lifespan of the drone itself, but it will also save you money in the long run. It isn’t uncommon for most drones to come with at least a spare set of rotors and an extra battery, but you should always check what is included before making a purchase.
Aside from requiring spares for repairs, it can also be a good idea to purchase a spare battery. This means when you are out flying and your drone begins to run low, you can easily switch in another fully charged battery offering you a longer use time.
Although it may be cheaper to purchase a model that was made abroad, it will also usually mean it is harder to access spares when required. It is sometimes advisable to purchase from a company that has a large presence in America so you know spare parts are easily accessible.
This consideration goes hand in hand with availability of spare parts, as a more robust and durable drone is less likely to ever require spares. One sure method of checking whether or not the drone you want is durable is by checking both the manufacturers reputation as well as user reviews of that specific drone.
Ensuring that the any drones you are interested in come from a company that has a good track record when it comes to reliability is a surefire way of saving yourself money and hassle further down the line.
How much does a decent drone cost?
Deciding how much you can and can’t spend on a drone is one of the top considerations you should make before diving in. If you are just starting and are new to the drone industry, then you shouldn’t expect to pay more than $200. This should net you a decent drone at a reasonable price, without running the potential of you deciding that this hobby isn’t for you after spending $500 on a drone.
Although this guide is mainly for beginners, intermediate users may also be interested in knowing how much they should be spending. We wouldn’t recommend spending much more than $600 as most drones between the 200-600 range are exceptionally high quality. Due to the drone market quickly evolving, you may find that an intermediate model has quickly been replaced by a newer version. Therefore, it’s best not to spend too much if you don’t necessarily need to.
How to Stay Safe Flying Your Beginner’s Drone
There are a few methods you can use in which you can guarantee safety when it comes to flying your drone for beginners. To help you out we have come up with a brief checklist ensuring that your flight experience is both safe and enjoyable:
- First and foremost the best method of ensuring safety is to read the drone user manual that is provided with most drones. It is also a good idea to see if there is an informative tutorial video breaking down how to fly your drone before you go out for a test run.
- Always avoid obstacles whenever you are out flying. Some high end drones may have a built in object detection sensor however the best method of ensuring safety is to manually make sure that you are avoiding potential collisions.
- Try to find an open area away from houses and telephone wires when you go out to fly your drone. This is especially true when it comes to novice flyers, telephone wires are especially hard to see and crashing your drone into one of them by mistake can cause all kinds of havoc.
- Try to avoid animals where possible as the noise of your drone can spook them and cause potential harm to both them and your drone. Birds are especially prone to the ultrasound noise that drones produce which not only causes them distress but can potentially cause them to attack your UAV.
These are just a few ways in which you can protect both you and surrounding area when flying your drone. Always check on both the manufacturers website and with other drone users for the best safety tips!
Model Aircraft Registration
Registering your drone is an extremely important first step before you take it out in the skies. There are two types of registration that you may need for your drone depending on whether you plan on flying for recreational or commercial reasons. We have created this handy guide to help you through the registration process.
If you only plan on flying your drone for fun then you will have to register your drone and follow the recreational guidelines. Some drones however do not need to be registered, always check with the manufacturer before purchase. Below you will find the steps and guidelines that you will need to follow to ensure you are getting the most out of your recreational drone:
- Firstly you will need to register your drone through the FAA website. You will then need to mark the outside of your drone with the registered number and carry proof that you have registered with you at all times.
- Whenever you fly your drone, you must ensure that you are doing it completely for recreational reasons.
- If you are flying your drone in uncontrolled airspace, referred to as Class G, then your drone must always be below 400 feet.
- If you plan on flying your drone in controlled airspace ( B, C, D and E Class) then you must obtain authorisation in one of three ways. Either through the LAANC website, the DroneZone site or by obtaining written permission from the Federal Aviation Administration themselves.
- You must always keep your drone within sight, whether that’s within sight of you are somebody who you trust.
- Never fly your drone at night unless it features some form of lighting system which you can use to constantly track your drone.
- Do not interfere with manned aircraft
- Never fly your drone over a moving vehicle or an individual who you do not know
- Your drone must also never interfere with emergency response teams such as mountain rescue or law enforcement activities.
- Much like regular manned vehicles, you must never fly your drone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also be wary of some medication as this can cause drowsiness and impeded on your ability to fly the drone correctly.
- Last but not least, always fly your drone in a careful and respectful manner.
There are an additional set of rules that commercial unmanned pilots must abide by to ensure that they are never in breach of the rules. As well as following the recreational guidelines, commercial pilots will also be expected to follow the Part 107 rules. These can be found online or by contacting your local government. You must also pass a knowledge test that has its own rules which are as follows:
- You must be at least 16 years old
- You must be able to read, write, speak and understand English
- You must also be in a fit mental and physical condition to fly an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)
Once you have passed this test, which again can be found on the Federal Aviation Administration site, you can then register your drone for commercial reasons. Registration fee costs as little as $5 and will cover you for up to 3 years.
You should be made aware that if you do not follow these guidelines correctly then you may be liable for civil or criminal penalties. These guidelines are also constantly being updated so make sure you visit the Federal Aviation Administration website regularly to ensure that you are never at risk of breaching your registration. This site can be found at https://www.faa.gov/uas/.
New Drone Regulations
Whether or not you require a license for your drone is an extremely common question when it comes to first time drone users. You typically wont require a specific license when it comes to flying your unmanned vehicle for recreational purposes. As mentioned in the previous section though, you must register your new drone with the Federal Aviation Administration.
If you are planning on using your drone for commercial reasons, then it starts to get slightly trickier. We have covered this in our previous question so always refer back to that if you are unsure. Regarding licences however, it isn’t too different to recreational users. There are some slight differences such as not being able to fly your drone at night without express permission.
When it comes to ensuring you are following the regulations always check the Federal Aviation Administration website at https://www.faa.gov/uas/.
Can you fly drones in the rain?
Although it is becoming much more common for drones to be built with water resistance in mind, it is still best to never fly your drone during rain. Rain can short circuit your drone, shutting it down and causing it to crash. Not only does this pose a risk to the drone itself, but depending on how far away you are from your drone you may potentially lose it forever if it lands in a wooded area.
Water damage may not only short circuit your drone however it may also cause it to fly uncontrollably. This is extremely risky as the drone may cause property damage or crash into a telephone wire causing an area wide power cut.
It is probably a good idea to never fly your drone in rain regardless of how water resistant it is.
Can you fly drones at night?
The answer to this depends on where exactly you are wanting to fly your drone at night. In most places throughout the US it is completely legal to fly at night, as long as it is for recreational purposes. If you plan on flying your drone at night purely for fun then you are more than welcome to do that. However, if you are a Part-107 licensed pilot and are planning on flying your drone for commercial reasons, then you will require a waiver. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are likely to grant this waiver as long as your drone is outfitted with anti-collision lights.
The best thing to do when it comes to flying your drone at night is to check with the rules and regulations in your current state or county. You should have no problems if you are a recreational flyer, but if you plan on flying for commercial reasons always check with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Are Drones Noisy?
How loud a drone is depends entirely on the build quality of the drone itself. You will tend to find that cheaper drones are particularly loud, especially during takeoff and landing, whereas higher quality drones will typically be slightly quieter.
Distance from the drone also has a massive impact on how lour or quiet it is. If a drone is really high in the air then it will be much harder to hear. Drones also tend to emit a constant ultrasound noise which can scare animals, especially birds, so this is another factor that should be taken into consideration.
You may struggle to find a silent drone, however if you are willing to pay a little bit more than average, you can expect your drone to be fairly quiet.