Are you looking for an easy way to enter the drone world? Or maybe you’re searching for the perfect gift for your kid? If so, this article will help you make up your mind what to get. I will show you my best 5 recommendations for entry-level quadcopter drones under $100. Please keep in mind that any “top-5” type of list is very subjective, as different people value different things. That being said, I will show what I personally believe is the current top5 quadcopters on the market you can buy for under $100. These quadcopter drones are not only a ton of fun to play with, but they will also give you a good idea what flying a drone really is and hopefully will make your transition to bigger and better drones much easier.
Without further ado, let’s get to the list:
The Holy Stone F181 is an impressive quadcopter for beginners, and a really great place to start your drone experience, especially if you want a camera quadcopter. This is mainly because of the lower rates of the quadcopter (it has 4 rates, so you can start slow and build your way up), which makes it a perfect choice for every learner, as the yaw is slower.
But it’s also great for intermediate and even advanced drone flyers and it never gets boring, because once you get to the fastest rate the drone becomes a lot of fun to play with.
It has a HD camera, return home key, headless mode, range of around 100meters, flying time of around 7-9 minutes and 80 minutes charging time.
- The drone looks really cool, especially with the lights on, as they are nice and bright
- Holy Stone is notorious for its amazing customer service
- You can easily tell the drone’s orientation during night flights (blue light is front, red light is back)
- The HD camera allows you to take pictures & videos with the click of a button on the remote
- The yaw isn’t fast (There are 4 rates in total, and the yaw is the same in all rates), so the turns aren’t very quick. This con is also a pro if you’re an absolute beginner, so have this in mind 🙂
- If you’re doing a flip, there’s a delay with the yaw (probably for around a second), so if you’re doing a backflip make sure you do it before you approach an obstacle, otherwise you won’t have enough time to react because of the yaw delay and you’ll crash the drone
The Syma X8C is a rather big quadcopter drone. With its size of 14 x 13.9 x 6.9 inches and weight of 8.5 ounces, this drone is great for starters/intermediate flyers, and it gives a great impression what flying a drone this size feels like. I personally always recommend my friends to start with something inexpensive and easy to fly and move their way up to bigger and better drones once they feel more comfortable flying. And that’s the whole idea here – this is a nice, inexpensive entry-level drone, which is a ton of fun to fly. It has a built-in 2MP camera, 2 rates of speed, headless mode, 2000 mAh battery capable of 10-12 mins of flight time (it takes around 3 hours to fully charge it) and
What’s interesting about this drone is that the LED lights are reversed – they are red in the front and green in the back, so don’t be surprised if you crash this drone sometimes because of that (it has happened to me many times already).
- It comes with a spare set of props
- It comes with a card reader and 4 GB Micro SD-card
- The camera angle is adjustable
- There’s a light indicator showing if the camera is filming or not
- You can mount your own camera (such as GoPro or Mobius)
- The drone is really smooth and stable in the air
- The camera is only 2MP
- The yaw is a bit slow
- Sometimes the camera is shaking a lot, because it’s attached straight to the body of the drone
One of the latest entry-level drones from Syma is the X5HC. This little guy is extremely light, sturdy and can definitely take a beating. It features a 2MP detachable camera, capable of taking surprisingly nice and clear shots for a drone from this price range. It also has headless mode and the newly added feature to the Syma X5 range – Hover mode. This mode enables the user to let go of the controller once the drone reaches a certain altitude, and the aircraft will continue to maintain this altitude until the user moves it up/down. The flight distance of this unit is roughly 30-50 meters but during my tests I was able to fly it even further, around 80-100m. You can enjoy flying the Syma X5HC for about 7-9 minutes, which is quite alright for a beginner drone, priced under $100. Check out my extensive review of the Syma X5HC here.
- Very sturdy, compact & lightweight drone
- Hover function
- Flies really smoothly
- Good camera quality for the price
- Due to it’s small weight, it’s easy to get the drone blown by the wind
- Landings can be tricky due to altitude hold
Without a doubt this quadcopter drone is a good value for the price. It gives you plenty of features, it flies well and it’s a lot of fun to play with.
This drone is an improved version of its younger brother – the UDI U818A HD ($62). The price difference between the older and newer model is worth mentioning, but in my opinion is definitely justified. First off, it flies a lot smoother than the 818A HD. The controls are very accurate and overall the drone is a lot more responsive to your input. The camera in this unit is a lot more clear and sharp, which is a great deal for some potential customers. Another improvement is the addition of headless mode, which allows beginners to fly and learn the quadcopter a little bit easier. The drone also supports one key return home, so if you’re out and about and you lose sight of the drone or you lose control you can press that button and it will fly right back to you.
The best reason why this drone is such a good deal is simply because you get so much stuff coming with it in the package. First off, you get an SD Card-reader and a 4GB SD-card in the package. You also have 4 extra propellers in case the regular ones need to be replaced. The unit comes with 2 batteries (500 mAh, 3.7V, charging time around 1:30-2h), which give you flight time of around 7-9 minutes each. In case you drain your batteries quickly, you also get a 2200mAh power bank for free, so you can charge the drone while you’re on the go (you can charge both batteries at the same time).
The UDI U818A HD+ has 2 different speed modes: Mode1 is a bit more scaled-down and Mode2 is more aggresive – choose the appropriate one depending on your skills.
- Tons of stuff included in the package (2 batteries, power bank, 4 extra props, 4GB SD-card, card reader)
- Improved HD camera
- Stable and smooth flying drone
- Headless mode
- Return home key
- Low flight time, might be discouraging for beginners
- Due to low weight, the wind can alter the drone’s course easily
This is without a doubt one of the very best beginner quads you can get under $100. Hell, this one goes for even under $50! If you are new to the quadcopter hobby and you just want to test the water, this is definitely a great option. This particular model does not come equipped with a camera, but on a sub-$50 drone, you probably don’t even need it. It’s a great way to learn the basics of flying and get a feeling of what it is to control a drone. The Hubsan X4 is a very slick and compact quadcopter, which can easily fit in the palm of your hand. It has LED lights on its bottom so you can easily tell which is the drone’s front and back. The battery lasts around 7-8 minutes and takes roughly 30-45 minutes to fully charge. The flying range you get with the Hubsan X4 is around 100 meters, which is much better than some of the competition. You also have 2 flying modes – Normal and Expert, depending on your flying experience. The controls of the aircraft are extremely responsive and because of that you can do tons of tricks/flips/barrel rolls with it and it’s incredibly fun to fly this little guy around.
- Extremely cheap, can’t be beaten for the price you pay
- Good range for a quadcopter this size
- A lot of fun to fly
- Lacks more refined features/settings, but that’s totally OK for a quad under $30.