So you have decided to take a step up from those cheaper drones? Finding the best drone under $200 is not a quick process. Be sure to check out the latest additions for 2018.
Some new players have taken over the number one spot.
There are several high quality choices that come with much better features than less expensive drones.
Don’t worry though, that is what we are here for. Today we are going to try to help you find the right drone for you and your budget.
What To Look For?
You’re not going to get a Hollywood quality drone under $200, but there are some very cool drones that don’t break the bank and are great for racing, videography, and simply having fun.
Don’t Go Too Cheap
When looking at drones under $200, you might be tempted to base your decision on price, but that’s not the right way to go about things.
Sure, a $40 drone might look more appealing than a $100 one, but will you be able to fly the $40 drone?
Many of the cheaper ones lack auto-balance, auto-altitude, and other functions that make flying much easier, which can be incredibly frustrating for beginners.
It’s better to spend more and buy a drone you (or your kids) will actually use, instead of spending less and only using the drone once.
Is the Camera Included?
Many of the drones under $200 will include a camera, but some of the ones that look highly appealing might not come with a camera which allows them to be in the under $200 section with more features.
If you already have a GoPro or another action camera, then a drone with a camera mount is all you need, but if you don’t already have a camera or want the First Person View (FPV) option, then you’ll need a drone that comes with a camera.
The Basic Features
The features of the drone you get will vary, but here are some of the more basic ones you should look for:
- Altitude hold– If you’re looking for a FPV or videography drone, then this feature is a must. It simplifies flying and makes it easy to capture high quality footage without needing to be a professional pilot.
- Headless mode– This means that the front of the drone will always face in the same direction no matter how you turn it. This makes flying much simpler and is great for beginners.
- FPV mode– Does the drone transmit video to the controller or you smartphone? If not, then you can’t fly it in FPV mode.
- Auto liftoff and landing– These aren’t required, but they can make your life easier as a beginner.
- Movable camera– Most drones at this price range will have stationary cameras that only face forward which isn’t ideal for videography.
- Is the controller included?– Some drones require you to have a smartphone to control it, so if it doesn’t come with a controller and you don’t have a smartphone, you’re out of luck.
It’s important to stay safe when flying, especially if you’re teaching kids how to fly. You have to set a good example after all!
Here are some safety things to think about before and during flying:
- Don’t fly over private property and off-limit areas- Check B4UFLY to see where you can use the drone in your neighborhood.
- Remember to register your drone with the FAA– If your drone is over half a pound, you have to register it with the FAA before flying.
- Don’t go above 400 feet- There’s a higher chance of private planes and hang gliders at that height, and they won’t be able to see and/or avoid you.
- Don’t fly over roads- Always act as if your drone can break and fall down at any moment and ask yourself: “if it falls down now, how bad will it be?” If the answer is very bad, don’t fly there!
Are These Drones Good For Beginners or Kids?
They’re easy to fly, many of them have beginner control modes, and they have many features like altitude hold, headless mode, and others that make flying a breeze.
If you’re planning on buying one of these drones for your kid, you can be sure that he or she will enjoy flying it and won’t get frustrated with it.
Most of these are also durable so they’ll survive the crashes you’re bound to have as a beginner pilot.
Top 13 Recommendations
We looked through tons of drones and settled on the 10 below as your best option for a drone under $200.
Holy Stone F181W
Holy Stone consistently products quality drones that are usually top sellers. Building on the success of the F181 they have introduced the F181W
The F181W model is exactly the same as the F181 model with one major difference.
It has full FPV capabilities and you can control the drone with Holy Stone’s mobile app from your smart phone.
This model is only about $10 more so you would wonder why they would just include the FPV capability with the regular model.
Either way, for an extra $10 it is almost too good a deal not to get. Maybe it is a marketing ploy by Holy Stone as an “upsell”
Overall, if you are looking at purchasing the Holy Stone F181 you might as well get the F181W for a few extra bucks. FPV capability opens up a new world of possibilities with your drone that most people tend to seek out.
Drocon Blue Bugs
There are 3 reasons to choose DROCON Blue Bugs Brushless Drone – flight time, range and power. If you’re looking for a specific drone that does all three… way better… last longer… fly faster and film in pristine HD all the time, this is the best option for you.
The DROCON Blue Bug has a powerful and efficient brushless motors which is considered as the Rolls Royce of drones. It can be launched towards the stratosphere at a neck breaking pace and can calmly hover at a suitable height for that perfect shot.
It has a control that is very responsive as well as covering a large area during flight making it easier to track the exact location of the drone. The Blue Bugs is ready to go right out of the box.
The user doesn’t need any setup, just turn the controller and plug the battery and you can go ahead and fly the Blue Bug right out of the box.
The DROCON Blue Bug doesn’t have any built-in camera, but it can carry all the popular HD action camera available in the market like GoPro (the action camera is not included though).
To maintain the battery, avoid charging it after use, allow enough time to let it cool down. When charging is complete, make sure to remove the battery to avoid overheating.
The Force1 X5UW is an amateur drone that is stuffed with highlights. It supports an HD camera with a live FPV feed that you can access through the free application.
The X5UW includes an altitude hold, auto-takeoff, and landing features and additionally a headless mode to enable the amateur to pilot.
It additionally accompanies three batteries and an alternative to enroll for a fourth so you can fly throughout the day. This drone is exceptionally suggested for tenderfoots, however, it can likewise be a good time for the further developed pilot.
The altitude hold works and works fantastic. Like all drones with this capability, you will encounter some vertical drift after some time or when flying at top speed, yet this element will surely help beginner pilots and will help with better video streaming for all pilots..
The Thunderbolt creates a perfect picture and its horizontal field of view is wider than most inexpensive drones, making it somewhat easier to fly using FPV. Perhaps above all, the lag time amongst drone and smartphone is small, which is extraordinary.
In some WiFi FPV drones, we have observed the latency to be a major concern that limits the usefulness of FPV.
The controls are like other advanced mobile phone controlled drones and it works fine. Utilizing a smartphone is better with this drone over numerous others due to the altitude hold that makes it easier to control.
Most of the time, we lean toward using the remote, yet a few people will locate this convenient.
The Force1 X5UW is a magnificent drone. If this drone is in your price range, then this is highly recommended, we don’t think you will be disappointed.
Husban X4 H502S
The X4 H502S is packed with features you’re bound to enjoy.
It’s a pretty small drone, but it has everything you need as a beginner pilot.
- GPS auto position and return to home– There’s a GPS in the drone and the remote, so it will “return to home” if it’s out of range or if you press a button on the controller. It also has a follow-me mode to record all of your adventures without having to control the drone yourself.
- Headless mode– When this drone is up in the air it’s hard to tell where the front is, but with headless mode you don’t have to worry about that.
- Camera included– This drone comes with a 720p camera which is perfect for FPV flight.
- Extra battery– It comes with an additional battery to double your flight time and maximize your enjoyment.
The drone’s range is only 200 meters which isn’t much, but you can triple the range by performing a couple of easy modifications.
If you want to read our complete review of the drone, or if you’re interested in the modifications, click here.
The Force1 F100 is a fun drone that has the best camera out of all the drones on this list.
It’s also packed with tons of features you’re bound to love:
- Brushless motors– The brushless motors provide a smoother, quieter flight. This means the drone is easier to control, and you get better quality audio from the camera with less shake and better colors.
- 1080p camera included– The camera that comes with the drone isn’t as good as a GoPro, but it still records high-quality video that’s above and beyond what the other drones in this price range can do.
- Stunt mode– Press a button to enter stunt mode and flip your drone like a pro. This mode is great for impressing your friends!
- Bonus battery- The F100 comes with a bonus battery to double your flight time.
The biggest issue of this drone is that it’s a partial rebrand of the cheaper Bugs 3 drone that is also on this list.
However, the Bugs 3 doesn’t come with a camera, and Force1 has better customer service so the price difference makes sense.
Click here to read our full review of the F100 and see if it’s the right fit for you!
The F181DH is a small, but fun drone that is jam-packed with features.
- Altitude hold mode– This mode is a must for racing drones as you don’t want to have to deal with managing the height of your drone while trying to go as fast as you can.
- FPV flight– With 720p video streamed straight to the remote control, you can enjoy flight without having to look at your drone. Just be careful with flying out of view if you don’t have much experience. It might lead to a lost drone!
- Headless mode– A must-have for beginners. Makes piloting much easier.
- One key takeoff and landing– This isn’t as important, but it prevents drone damage from rough landings.
- Extra battery and SD card– Double your range and record video right away with the included 4gb micro SD card.
Overall this drone leaves a very positive impression, and the only issue with it is that you can’t move the camera up or down which decreases the type of video you can record.
We have a longer review of the Potensic F181DH here.
AR Drone 2.0 Power Edition
The AR Drone 2.0 is the same for both the Power and the upcoming Elite edition.
The only difference between the editions is the battery and the extra propellers that come with it.
The drone has some great features like:
- Auto-stabilization system– The drone will automatically balance itself and fight low-speed winds. It won’t help with strong gusts, but it shouldn’t stop you from flying on a day with light winds.
- FPV video mode– The high-quality 720p video can be viewed in real-time on your phone.
- Phone controls– This drone doesn’t come with a remote control and you need to have an Android or an Apple phone to control it. You can either tilt your device or use the virtual joysticks which aren’t as precise as physical ones.
- One tap video sharing– The drone automatically records video to your smartphone and you can share it to YouTube in one tap.
- High-capacity battery– You get a higher capacity battery of 1,500mah and one extra battery with the same capacity with the Power edition. The Elite edition only comes with a smaller 1,000mah battery.
- 3 sets of extra propellers– You get 3 full sets of black, white, and blue propellers that you can customize to your heart’s content.
The range of this drone isn’t great as you control it using Wi-Fi and adding a GPS module costs another $50, but it’s still a fun drone to use.
However, Parrot has stopped all software updates for this drone so only get it if you’re okay with not getting any bug fixes or updates.
You can read our review of this drone here.
AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition
The drone that comes in this edition is exactly the same as the drone in the Power edition so it comes with all of the same features like: auto-stabilization, FPV video mode, phone controls, and one tap video sharing.
However, the Elite edition lacks the higher capacity battery and you don’t get any extra propellers.
With the Elite edition, you get to customize the body color, so if customization is important to you, this might be the better choice, especially since you can buy a 2,300mah battery and get more flight time without needing to pay for the Power edition.
This drone has the same issues like the need for a smartphone, a low operation range, and no software updates, but if that’s not a deal-breaker, this might be a good option for you.
Check out our full review of the AR Drone 2.0 Elite edition by clicking here.
DBPower UDI U842
The UDI U842 is one of the best drones under $200 on the market. It’s jam-packed with features, and it’s pretty cheap considering everything you get with it.
- FPV flight– This drone has a camera and you can get beautiful 720p footage streamed to your phone. Sadly, this only works if the drone is 90 feet away from you or closer which isn’t far at all.
- Many control options– You can control the drone using the provided remote, or with your smartphone. You can even use the gyro-sensors on your phone to control the drone by tilting your phone which is ridiculously cool.
- Headless mode– A must-have for a beginner!
- VR flight optimized– This drone is VR-optimized, so if you have a VR headset, put your phone in there and enjoy feeling as if you’re flying.
- Bonus battery and 4gb micro SD card– Double your range and start shooting video right away when you get the drone.
While the UDI U842 is a great drone, it also has some issues like low battery life and instructions in broken English.
You can check out our full review here to see if this drone is a good fit for you.
MJX Bugs 3
The Bugs 3 is one of the most popular that’s ever been produced.
It has a ton of features, but be careful: it doesn’t come with a camera!
- Brushless motors– The brushless motors allow for a smoother, more controlled flight with minimal overheating. This decreases the audio distortion when recording video also.
- Automatic high temperature protection– This drone with slowly shut down if the motor temperature gets too high. This is important because you don’t want to burn up your expensive toy when you’re having so much fun with it!
- High capacity battery– The higher capacity battery allows for about 18 minutes of flight time which is longer than most of the other drones on this list.
- Long range– The drone has a range of 400 meters which can be doubled with some antenna mods.
- No camera– This drone DOES NOT come with a camera, so if you have an action cam this is the best option for you. However, if you need a camera, we recommend one of the other options on this list.
The propellers on this drone also aren’t the best, so you should get a couple of replacement 7 inch propellers if you buy this one.
You can read our full-review here if you’d like to know more.
Holy Stone HS300
The Holy Stone HS300 comes right under the price limit of this list.
- Wide-angle 1080p camera– The wide-angle camera isn’t a GoPro, but it can still record high-quality video with no issues.
- One key return– If you lose your drone, press the button and it will come back to you.
- Headless mode– A must-have.
- One key landing– Simplify your landing and make sure you don’t damage the camera and the drone.
- Auto-altitude hold– A must-have if you want to record video that actually looks good.
- Extra battery and 4gb SD card included– They’re even nice enough to include an extra battery to extend your flight time.
However, the drone is a bit delicate so you have to be careful when landing and flying around. The camera might break, especially if you’re an aggressive flyer, so this drone might be best suited for the cautious types.
Check out our review here.
U45 Blue Jay
The Blue Jay is a best-selling drone for a reason.
It has all of the features you could want from a drone, and you get all of it at a very reasonable price.
- Smartphone route customization– Take your phone and draw on top of the map to make your drone follow your preset path.
- FPV flight– Get live-video straight to your smartphone using the drone’s Wi-Fi.
- 720p camera– The camera isn’t amazing, but it’s exactly what you would expect to get at this price.
- Altitude hold mode– A must have.
- Headless mode– Another must have.
- 1 key landing & takeoff– Not necessary, but good if you don’t want to damage your drone and want to be safe.
- Extra battery and power bank– Double the drone’s range and charge on the go with the included power bank!
However, the drone doesn’t come with batteries for the remote controller, so make sure you have 4 AA batteries and you’ll be ready to fly!
However, it might be a bit too complicated for someone who isn’t patient and doesn’t want to figure the controls out before having fun. See our full review.
Holy Stone HS 400
The HS400 is a very popular drone that is perfect for FPV flight and another great option.
- Movable 720P camera– This is one of the few drones on this list that allows you to remotely move the camera. This makes recording professional-looking video much easier and the next feature makes it a breeze!
- Altitude hold mode– Altitude hold mode makes it much easier to record beautiful video as you can focus on controlling the camera without having to worry about maintaining the perfect drone height.
- FPV mode– Connect your drone to your phone to see real-time footage and practice your FPV skills.
- One key return– If you end up using the FPV mode to fly the drone somewhere you can’t return from, simply press the return button and it’ll come back to you.
However, this is a drone you shouldn’t get if you don’t have a smartphone because you need a smartphone to have the video recording capability.
There’s also some lag in the video when the drone is 50+ meters away, but it’s nothing major. Check out our full review.
There’s hundreds of drones out there, but how do you know which is best for you?
Your needs are unique and not every drone is a fit for every person, but we hope that you find the right drone for you in our list above.
If you don’t find anything you like, please leave a comment below with your needs and we’ll try to find a good one for you!