I remember shopping for my first drone. There were so many to choose from! I was too noob, so I had absolutely no idea what features a good starter drone should have.
On top of that, some of these “entry level drones” were freaking expensive, and I really didn’t want to spend my hard-earned money on a drone and have it turn out to be a lemon.
After years of flying and starting my own YouTube channel, I decided to write the review I wish I had when I was entering the drone market.
Here are the main questions you need to ask yourself when buying your first drone.
- Do you want a drone with a camera? If so, what image quality are you looking for?
- Weight: If a drone weighs over 0.55 pounds you’ll need to register it with the FFA
- Do you plan on flying indoors, outdoors, or both?
- What is headless mode? Why is it good for kids?
- Your budget. This one is obvious
In this guide, I’ll simplify the buying process for you. I’ll recommend the 3 best drones for beginners in each price range.
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Here Are Best Drones for Beginners in 2019.
Best Drones for Beginners Under 50
When it comes to beginner drones under $50 bucks there really aren’t any with cameras I would recommend. There are some out there, but the image quality is so poor it will just be more of a disappointment than enjoyment. That said, the quadcopter below by Holy Stone is an absolute steal considering its price tag! recommend
1. HS170 Predator (Best Under $50)
Note: This drone does not have a have camera. If you’re looking for a drone with a camera that’s still under 50 check out the drone below.
If you aren’t looking for a remote controlled camera drone less than $100. The HS170 might be for you, as it actually does not have a camera! Although this quadcopter does not have a camera, it is still a good quadcopter for the money. We recommend it to people looking for good drone to learn to fly on. It has all the features you would look for when purchasing a beginner level quadcopter, including great durability and headless mode. It also has propeller guards and is super easy to fly, it is definitely worth checking out. It can stay in the air for up to 8 minutes and be controlled from a range of about 30-50 meters. For under 40 dollars… might be something to consider… for more information, check out the link.
2. UDI RC 818A D
This is the earlier version of the of the copter above. The main difference is this quadcopter has a 720p camera, as opposed to 1280 x 720. This drone is time tested and is a top drone under $100 for beginners and kids. It is usually about 10 dollars less than the pro series version. It still has the same quality and fun flight features you would expect from Holy Stone. With headless mode, the ability to do aerobatic tricks, a flight time of 6-8 minutes, and a control range of 60 feet, this quadcopter never disappoints. With bright red LED lights on the back of the craft and bright blue lights in the front, it is easy to orient and fly in lowlight, or even at night. To learn more about this product, click the link below.
Best Beginner Drones Under 100
Looking for a fun new camera drone to fly around, or maybe a great gift idea? You’re in luck, we have already done the work for you, and have made a list to help you find the best drone under 100 with camera depending on what you’re planning on using it for.” Drones in this price range are great for anyone that wants to learn how to fly without the stress of breaking a more expensive product. Although these drones are very inexpensive, don’t let that fool you, as they are still packed with great technology and features. One of them even as a freaking cannon and grapple arms! We recommend checking out our comparison charts to compare each copters features and specs side by side. When looking at remote controlled drones under 100, consider what you are looking to do, as each drone shines in different areas. If you’re looking for a quadcopter to take pictures, then make sure you are picking one with a HD camera, rather than one that just looks cool. Also take a look at our list of drones under 200, because some might be just above that 100 dollar price point. Well, without further ado, let’s get into our updated 2018 list!
3. Holy Stone F181C (Best Under $100)
Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter Drone with HD Camera Review: This is one of the latest quadcopters released by Holy Stone. They have a great reputation for developing some of the best affordable drones on the market, and the F181 is no exception. You can buy this quadcopter with or without a first person view (FPV) camera. FPV means you can stream live video right to your smartphone.
Also, check out our Comparison Chart to see how the F181 stacks up with other drones in this price range.
It comes standard with a 2MP camera, allowing it to capture high quality photos/videos. It is a great quadcopter for kids or anyone just learning how to fly drones. It has headless mode (read more about this below) and is made of a super durable plastic.
This drone is seriously hard to break, and we have found that the only part we have needed to replace is the propellers after hard crashes. Luckily the Holy Stone F181 drone comes with extra propellers and replacement parts. If you are looking to buy a quadcopter to learn how to fly with or looking for a great gift idea, you can’t really go wrong with the Holy Stone F181 Chaser. The rest of this article provides an in-depth Holy Stone f181 review.
Other Cool Features
5 LED lights make this quadcopter capable of even flying at night, not to mention look really cool.
The F181 rc quadcopter drone’s motors have coreless technology to powerfully propel the quadcopter up to 100 meters using its 2.4GHZ long range remote control. These motors reduce the chance of overheating and/or burning up because holy stone implemented a cooling system inside the motors.
Its 6-axis gyro stabilization system makes this quadcopter easy to fly and control. It also gives it increased capabilities when flying outdoors or in the wind.
This quadcopter also has headless mode, which means the drone automatically orients to the direction of the controller, rather than the nose of the drone, making it easier for beginners to control. Another way to think about it is no matter what direction the drone is facing, forward is always forward and backward is always backward. If this still doesn’t make sense it will once you play with it (just trust us for now).
The battery is removable with an on/off switch, so every time you want to fly you don’t have to worry about plugging in the battery and putting the cover back on.
Using the remote controller, you can easily select what power mode you want to set the drone on. The options are 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent, which allows you to select how much power you want, depending on your skill level.
Easily start recording, take pictures, turn on the LED lights, or return the quadcopter home with the press of a button on a controller.
Also do flips by pressing the trick button on the controller and flicking the control stick in the direction you want the quadcopter to flip.
The remote controller has an LED light that lets you know if the controller is low on batteries.
4. Parrot Mambo (Personal Favorite)
The Parrot Mambo is probably the coolest drone that costs less than $100. It has a cannon and can pick stuff up! The cannon and grapple arm are both detachable, so if for some reason, you didn’t want one of them…. Well you’re crazy at that point. But… I guess you would get a slightly longer flight time, but if that’s all you’re looking for, then there are a lot better choices on this list. It has built in technology that increases stability and allows this copter to dun fun aerobatic stuns such as barrel rolls and flips.
Parrot is known for making some great toy camera drones, and the Mambo is one of their latest and greatest. It’s a ton of fun, the mambo also makes great present or gift, because no one really doesn’t like it. Although the camera isn’t the best (0.3MP) it’s good enough to just get some fun pictures. I if you’re looking for a good drone for aerial photography specifically, this probably isn’t the best choice. Easy control this Parrot drone right from your smartphone using the FreeFlight Mini app or the new Flypad controller.
Starter Drones Under $200
Looking for a solid drone to buy with a budget of around 200 bucks? If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place, as we have put together a list of the coolest and top rated copters on the market in 2018! We have even put together comparison charts, so you can compare their specs side by side! We have a lot of cool drones to show you, one of them even has a cannon! And that’s not all it has… you’ll find out the rest below. In general, In this price range, you can get a pretty sweet quadcopter. It’s hard to say what the “best drone under 200 with camera” is because it really just depends on what you’re looking to do with it. Some people are focused on camera quality, while others just want cool flight features. We highly recommend using the comparison charts (you can find the link below) to compare the specifications of these drones side by side. Keep reading our review to find out what we think are the top quadcopters under 200 on the market. Also check out our under drones under 100 and under 300 lists because some drones fall just between these price ranges.
6. Altair AA108 Camera Drone
7. Altair 818 Hornet (Best Under 200)
8. DJI Tello
Beginner Drones Under $300
9. DJI Spark
Spark, one of DJI’s latest Drones, is packed with a lot of great features for under 500 bucks stand alone. This review will cover is both the solo and bundle package.
Spark can easily be launched from the palm of your hand and has a powerful facial recognition system. Although it is less expensive than other DJI quadcopters, it is still has awesome flight modes and an obstacle avoidance system built in.[wpsm_toplist]
The Full HD Camera
This is the first drone in this price range with a mechanically stabilized gimbal, which always for clear and smooth video. Its full HD camera shoots 2.7k video (1080p after stabilization).
The camera also features something called shallow focus mode, which allows you to take crystal clear photos of an object, but leave the background blurry.
The lens has a focal length of 25mm (81.9 degrees FOV). The aperture is fixed at f/2.6 fixed. It shoots 12 megapixel photos and has some awesome photo modes including single shot, multiple shot (it shoots many pictures and you can pick the best one), AEB modes, and panorama modes (vertical and horizontal). Now, lets keeps this DJI Spark Review moving by talking about some of its flight modes.
6 Intelligent Flight Modes
Normal Mode: Well, this is obvious and doesn’t need an explanation.
Quick Shot Mode: Creates cool shots automatically that you can view and upload quickly
Dronie Mode: sub mode under quick shot, drone flies backwards and up, while keeping you in the center of the shot.
Circle: Another sub quick shot mode. Allows you to select a location or person and the drone flies around that object and gets shots from all angles.
Helix: Another quick shot sub mode that is similar to circle except the drone continues to circle the object and raise in height.
Active Track Mode: Drone tracks your location and keeps you in the center of the shot, allowing you to get some awesome moving shots
TapFly Mode: You tap where you want the Spark to fly on your smartphone screen and it will automatically fly to that location.
Tripod Mode Mode: Slow but super clear cinematic shots
Gesture Mode: Allows you to control the drone with your hands and other movements.
The drone can be controlled using gestures alone, so you really done even need smartphone or remote controller to operate the DJI Spark.
The front of the drone has a built-in obstacle avoidance system, so this drone is even safe for inexperienced drone flyers.
The bottom of the drone has 2 sonar sensors and a vision positioning camera located on the bottom of it, which makes it great for flying indoors or anytime GPS signal cannot be found. The drone does use US GPS systems as well as GLONASS positioning system, which allow for great accuracy.
This drone uses the DJIGo4 App that allows you to live stream video and share pictures on the go. It even allows for videos to be edited captured footage through the app.
The drone can also be hooked up with some awesome FPV googles that put you right into the cockpit.
The motors are on the Spark are definitely a strongpoint, propelling this quadcopter at a top speed of 31 miles per hour in sport mode. Its strong motors also are a big reason why it performs well even on windy days.
The battery isn’t a strong point of the spark, but it’s not too bad and you can always buy extras. The battery has 3 LED indicators that let you know how much battery life is remaining.
This 1480 mAh battery has three cells and weighs about 0.2 pounds. It is rated at about a 16-minute flight time, and takes about an hour to charge to full. The DJI sparks battery can also be charged wirelessly, so you can charge the drone on a portable charger on site.
This is a powerful feature that should not be overlooked. The battery charge can also easily be viewed through the DJI Application, which is a free download. Next on our DJI Spark Fly More Combo Review, let’s look at the controller.
DJI Spark Controller
The drone can be controlled with a smart phone, a dedicated controller, or simply by using gestures.
Let’s look at the DJI Spark dedicated controller. It can be operated in both 2.4GHz and 5.8Ghz. Using the controller you can stream live FPV right on your smartphone from up to 1.2 miles (2km) away.
If you want to read more about or buy DJI Spark Controller just check out the link to the left. It is included in the DJI Spark fly more combo bundle package
With a smart phone the max control range of 80 meters horizontal and 50 meters vertically. See specs table for max rage with dedicated controller.
Pros and Cons[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]
- Small and compact
- Hovers in place like a dream
- Best drone in its price range
- Autonomous flight
- 2 Sonar Sensors
- Vision positioning sensor on bottom of drone
- Anti-Collision sensor on front of drone
- Comes with a good box for storage
- Mechanically Stabilized Gimbal
- Made from durable engineering plastic
- Led indicators on rotors
- Great Intelligent flight modes
- Many colors, including white, red, green, teal, and orange.
- Drone arms are not foldable (can be a pro as well)
- Battery life of 16 minutes is a little short
- Obstacle avoidance has low range
- Doesn’t shoot 4k Video
- Could use higher frame rates