If you want to buy yourself a new toy, why don’t you just pick one of these 10 best camera drones under $100? They won’t set you back much and will bring you a lot of joy.
Drones are one of the hottest things to own these days and sales are skyrocketing. According to Federal Aviation Administration reports, 2.7 million drones were sold in the past year, and that’s only the beginning. Rough estimations say that drone sales will see a 180 percent increase until 2020, amounting up to 7 million sold units and turning drone industry in one worth around $5.6 billion.
There are a few things you should know before buying a drone. You shouldn’t just buy a drone for the sole purpose of owning a drone. We know it is cool to say you are a proud owner of a drone, but in the long run, it is money wasted if you buy one that doesn’t fit your needs. People buy drones because their friend owns the same one or it is affordable, and later they discover it just doesn’t do what they thought it would do. If you want to fool around with a drone, you should buy a smaller drone, one that can do flips or other tricks. If you want to use a drone for some serious photography or videography, you need to get the one with a high-end camera. The point is that you need to decide on what you want your drone to do and then make the purchase.
Not all drones are easy to use or have the same characteristics. For the beginner, someone who is just getting familiar with drones, it is crucial to get the drone that is easy to fly. This way, you will get the sense of maneuvering it and have the most fun with it. It wouldn’t be fun if you would crash your drone into a tree repeatedly, would it? Also, it is desirable for your drone to have a camera since it is nice to capture the world around you from above. Camera quality usually rises with the drone’s cost. You can read more about these types of drones in our article 7 Easiest Drones to Fly With a Camera. Then there are controllers. If you want to see through the eyes of your drone, you’ll need to get one with FPV (first person view) controller.
Your drone must fit your skill level. If you already have few drones, you will maybe decide to buy one that needs to be set up in order to fly, but if you are a beginner then you have to choose the RTF (ready to fly) drone that you just need to unbox in order to get it in the air. Note that size doesn’t matter, and smaller drones can bring you as much joy as the bigger ones.
It is estimated that more than 50 percent of users buy drones that are $500 worth or more. When you think about it, this is a large sum of money to spend on this kind of equipment if you don’t intend to use it professionally. In this case, pricier isn’t always better. Given the rise of industry, drones became affordable to almost everyone without compromising on quality. You can buy a quality drone for toying around for under $100. This is where our list of 10 best camera drones under $100 kicks in.
To come up with our list, we checked the recommendations for drones under $100 from drone and tech specialized sites like Drone Supremacy, Drones Globe, Drones World and Heavy among others. We singled out the drones that were equipped with a camera and were recommended the most. Those ones flew onto our list. What are we waiting for? Let the fun begin.
10. JJRC H16 Tarantula X6
Camera: 2MP, HD
It’s up to you and your budget to pick the best Tarantula for you. This JJRC’s model comes in three editions and price groups. You can opt to buy one without a camera that will cost you around $60. The one with 2MP HD camera just barely fits into our budget and the edition with the 5MP camera will set you back around $150. The drone is fairly easy to fly and according to the reviews, it is built well.
9. JXD 509W
We are continuing our list of best camera drones under $100 with the drone that is praised for its stability in the air that enables you to take good pictures and videos. The remote control on the JXD 509W gives you the ability to use your smartphone as FPV monitor. The charging time is 60-90 minutes, but it will only give you around six minutes of fun. The low-performance battery and poor camera quality are the downsides of purchasing this model, but on all other fields, JXD 509W really impresses.
8. Syma X5UW
Camera: 2MP, HD
Although this price tag may seem a bit hefty, trust us when we say that Syma X5UW, next in line on our list of best camera drones under $100 is worth it. The drone takes 60 minutes to charge and in return, it will give you 7-10 minutes of flight time and a distance between 50 and 100 meters. Another great thing is that you get the option to use your smartphone as FPV. The camera isn’t the best one around, but at least it comes with a 4GB micro SD. If you connect your phone with the drone, the camera will save videos and pictures on both the memory card and your smartphone. When it comes to flight, there are two modes you can use, high and low, depending on your skill.
7. Eachine E40G
Features that Eachine E40G, the number 7 on our list of best camera drones under $100, offers really sound good for its price. The charging time is 65 minutes and the flight time is a respectable 8 minutes. Unlike previous drones, Eachine E40G doesn’t require a smartphone for the FPV experience since the controller comes with a monitor. The people who have tried it say that the drone acts very well while in the air and that offers a good flying experience. It has one key return feature which means that the drone will return to you with one press of a button. The only downside is that you can fly the drone up to 50 meters distance and it is said that monitor loses connection if it goes further than 15 meters.
6. JXD 509V
This is the version that came out around the time that JXD 509W hit the market. It doesn’t offer FPV experience but has a higher performance in other fields. It will take you 60 minutes to fully charge it and you can fly it up to 10 minutes. Also, the flight distance is pretty good, standing at 80 meters. The camera has an average quality for this price group but the features like altitude hold and one key return may be the things that will make the drone lovers lean towards this model.
5. Syma X8C Venture
Price: $58.99 – $69.99
Camera: 2MP, HD
Second Syma’s model on our list of 10 best camera drones under $100 really steps up when it comes to flight time and distance. It is able to stay in the air for 10-12 minutes and can cover the distance up to 100 meters. This, however, comes with a price. You’ll need 200 minutes to recharge X8C Venture again. This drone is said to have a great performance in the air, with great stability in the wind and ability to perform stunts like 360 flips. The camera is labeled as poor performing and it is the same as in some of Syma’s cheaper and older models. If you want some better performance camera, you can always hook it up with GoPro.
4. JJRC H26W
JJRC is regarded as the manufacturer that delivers good quality drones for a low price, and H26W isn’t any different. The drone’s charging time is 60 minutes and will give you 6-8 minutes of flying time. Although this is an average for its price group, the flight distance isn’t. You can take it up to 300m without losing connection and with FPV smartphone support you can watch it fly all the way. The camera quality is decent and the live video transmission is said to be above average.
3. Syma X5C (X5C1)
Camera: 2MP, HD
Syma’s X5C model, the next one on the list of best camera drones under $100, became a drone to which every other affordable drone is compared. It was praised for its stability, durability and the ability to fly it with ease. The X5C1 is basically the X5C with few slight changes. Both models had their share of recommendations so we decided to list them together. These drones are aimed at beginners and offer great fun. The charging time is lower than in most other drones on our list and stands at 45-45 minutes. After it’s charged, you can take it for a spin that will last 6-8 minutes. The camera isn’t anything special, but it will do the trick. The bad side of both Syma X5C and X5C1 is that the drone can cover just around 50m distance.
2. UDI 818A (HD)
Price: $47.99 – $62.95
Camera: 2MP, HD
The second place on our list of best camera drones under $100 goes to the UDI 818A the model that is highly regarded in the drone industry as one of the best beginner drones on the market. If you are satisfied with the basic features and don’t want to spend more than $50, you will look toward the original model. The upgraded version costs a bit more but brings a better quality camera and few improvements in durability and features. The flight time is around 8 minutes and the drone can cover 50-100 meters.
1. Hubsan X4 H107C
Camera: 2MP, HD
Hubsan X4 H107C landed in the first spot of our list of 10 best camera drones under $100 being the most recommended one. Almost every list we took in consideration went with Hubsan X4 H107C or some other H107 model and there is a strong reason for that. Like one internet user put it, it is “dirt cheap” but gives you all the basic features drone should have. If you are looking for a beginner drone, don’t look further, this is it. Still, the performances are a bit weaker than in some other drones on the list. Flight time is around 5 minutes, but if you turn off the camera the drone will stay in the air for up to 8 minutes. Another downside is that flight distance that comes around 30 meters. If you want a larger distance and FPV, you can buy an upgraded version that costs double the money.