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The Best Drones Under $100

Cheap thrills.

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Remote controlled drones used to be something just the military used, but a few years ago they were downsized and rolled out for consumers and just took off, pardon the pun. Suddenly everyone was flying drones with cameras, and you couldn’t visit your local park without hearing a quadcopter buzzing in the sky above. They’re still quite popular thanks to a booming market filled with every type of drone imaginable; from uber expensive units with high-res cameras to tiny “toy” drones, and everything in between.

Naturally, a lot of people are curious about drones, and want to give them a try, but don’t want to drop a ton of cash on a video drone that’s just going to end up in the bushes, or worse. With this situation in mind we set out to find the best cheap drone for beginners, and reviewed five of the most popular models. To help us out in our quest we enlisted two advanced pilots with hundreds of hours of flight time under their belts, and together we were able to run our collection of drones through their paces.

After the dust settled on our launch pad, it was clear which drone was our top choice.

The Best Drone for Beginners

Holy Stone HS170 Predator

Read our review See it on Amazon / See it on Amazon UK

Don’t let the photo above trick you into thinking this is a full-sized drone, because it isn’t. The HS170 is tiny, and measures just about six inches across, making it roughly the same size as the hand-held remote control you use to pilot it.

It’s small enough to be considered a “nano” drone, and its insect-like size makes it quite agile. This could be bad news for beginners, but luckily it offers three levels of sensitivity, allowing it to fly smoothly regardless of your experience level. And when things go sideways, an extra set of propellers are included, so you’ll be back in the sky in no time.

The best part about the HS170 is that it’s only £40, so even if you do slam it into a shrubbery you’re not out too much money. Heck, at this price you can buy two just so you have a backup. It does not include a camera, however, so it’s just a drone to hone your flying chops.

More Great Beginner Drones

Syma X5C Explorers Quadcopter

Read our review

See it on Amazon/ See it on Amazon UK

The Syma X5C is a great drone for the price as it’s only about £50 and includes a 2MP camera that shoots both stills and video. The footage you can create with it is about mid-2000s cell phone quality, but it’s good enough for practice until you can upgrade to a more professional drone. The X5C is light and maneuverable though, making it excellent for beginners, and the included prop guards are also handy in the event it comes in contact with a tree or other obstacle.

This is the drone to get if you’re on a tight budget and want to play around with aerial photography basically, but just don’t expect much from the camera and you’ll be fine. Holy Stone F181 Quadcopter

Holy Stone F181 Quadcopter

Read our review See it on Amazon / See it on Amazon UK

The Holy Stone F181 is a great drone for beginners that is easy to fly and includes a 2MP camera, so you can dabble in some aerial photography as well as let it zoom around your local park.

It’s priced a bit higher than other beginner drones as it includes a ton of extras such as second battery and the cables to charge both batteries at the same time, extra props, and a card reader for the included micoSD card. It even includes spare parts for the motors in case one of them gives up the ghost. Its four sensitivity levels ensures it can be enjoyed by pretty much any type of pilot regardless of skill, and its headless mode is perfect for newbs.

UDI 818A HD+ RC Quadcopter

Read our review

See it on Amazon / See it on Amazon UK

The UDI 818A is built to survive crashes, making it excellent for inexperienced pilots. It includes unique wrap-around guards for each of its four propellers, turning it into a battering ram almost, and allowing you to fly with the confidence that it can handle whatever abuse you might inadvertently subject it to. Even if you do bang it up a bit, it includes two sets of extra props, so you can replace them easily and get back to flying.

It also includes a 2MP camera for experimenting with still and video footage, and its dual sensitivity levels should be sufficient for pilots of any skill level.

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