10 Best Cheap Drones of 2018


We often associate the word cheap with tacky or substandard. I would have agreed with this a generation ago. But today get a lot more for much less money than we ever did. This is due to consumer demands and advances in technology. Drones are no different. This guide looks at the most affordable and capable of the cheap drones available.

The products here are not cheap as in second-rate. A better word to describe them would be affordable or inexpensive. This is a broad statement, though, and the next section looks at what it all means.

NameCameraFlight TimeRatingPrice

F100 Ghost Quad

1080P HD action15 minutes


DJI Spark Quadcopter Fly More Combo

1080P HD15 minutes


Force1 U49C Camera quad

720P HD15 minutes

Cheap Drones By Budget:

Click below to get detailed information on each drone.

About this Affordable Drone Guide

I’ve taken the thoughts and opinions of other industry experts and real user feedback into consideration. The result is an good list of the most popular drones at the best prices. In other words, great value products that won’t break the bank.

I’ve also put them into three price categories for your convenience. They start with the cheapest drones at the top and next to each product is an Editor’s star rating.

The table below lists the affordable drones in the order they appear in this cheap drone guide:

Make & ModelCameraFlight TimePrice Check
Force1 U49C Camera quadcopter720P HD15 minutes
Force1 X5UW Camera quad720P HD8 minutes
SYMA X5C-1 RC Quad2MP high-degree7 minutes
F100 Ghost Quad1080P HD action15 minutes
Holy Stone F181W720P HD9 minutes
Force 1 U49W Drone720P HD15 minutes
Hubsan H501S X4 Quadcopter1080P HD20 minutes
Contixo F18 Camera Drone1080P HD16 minutes
Traxxas Aton Action QuadMount only25 minutes
DJI Spark Quad Fly More Combo1080P HD15 minutes

Cheap Drones Under $100

I’ve put three cheap drones in the less than 100 bucks category. These are not toy drones but they are toy-like in their construction. They are also the perfect choice for kids and anyone else who wants to dip their toe into the world of consumer drones for the first time.


Force1 U49C Red Heron Camera Quad Review

The Pros

  • Affordable little quadcopter
  • Amazing value
  • +6 more
  • Easy to fly at any level
  • Beginner friendly flight modes
  • HD camera
  • Stable in calm skies
  • Durable (can take a few knocks)
  • Bonus battery and extra motors

The Cons

  • Slow flyer even at speed 3
  • Lacks thrust
  • +1 more
  • Not stable in windy weather

Force1 X5UW Thunderbolt Camera Quad Review

The Pros

  • Affordable price tag
  • Popular beginner drone, great user feedback and ratings
  • +5 more
  • Easy to fly, stable in normal conditions
  • Two extra batteries (3 total)
  • First Person View (FPV) capable
  • Fly using smartphone movements
  • Feature packed: Gravity Induction, Altitude Hold, Headless Mode, and Custom Routes

The Cons

  • Short flight time but does have two bonus batteries
  • Range and charging time not specified on public specs
  • +1 more
  • Not good in the wind

SYMA X5C-1 Explorers RC Quad Review

The Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Bonus batteries
  • +6 more
  • Great beginner drone
  • Two flight speed modes
  • Fun to fly
  • Decent range
  • Crash resistant
  • Inbuilt camera

The Cons

  • Short flight time
  • Instructions could be clearer
  • +1 more
  • No headless mode

Cheap Drones Under $200

My top drones for less than 200 bucks are a step up from the cheaper UAVs above. They have similar features to the much costlier drones but their quality is average rather than exceptional. They are still capable crafts in their own right and ideal for entry-level pilots on a $200 budget.


F100 Ghost Quadcopter Review

The Pros

  • Amazon’s Choice product
  • Bonus battery
  • +4 more
  • Detachable action camera
  • GoPro mount for HERO4/5
  • Decent range
  • Extra shells (black and white)

The Cons

  • No return home function (RTF)
  • Not water resistant
  • +1 more
  • RC buttons not clearly marked

Holy Stone F181W Drone Review

The Pros

  • Best seller, high ratings
  • Easy and safe beginner craft
  • +3 more
  • Protection frames
  • Bonus battery
  • Multiple speed control

The Cons

  • Short-ish flight time
  • Smartphone mount won’t accommodate larger phones and phablets
  • +1 more
  • Low warning light difficult to see in daylight

Force 1 U49W Drone Review

The Pros

  • Great looking quad, easy to fly
  • Headless mode
  • +6 more
  • Bonus battery doubles flight time
  • WiFi First Person View (FPV)
  • Custom route mode
  • Altitude hold
  • 1-key takeoff/landing
  • Rubber-damping helps to stabilize camera during flight

The Cons

  • Average camera quality
  • Average range
  • +1 more
  • Long charging time

Cheap Drones Over $200

My final picks range from over 200 bucks but don’t exceed $600. What we have here are cheaper drones in the mid-tier range. There are many products available in this category. The ones below are the best quadcopters I could find in this class during my extensive research.


Contixo F18 Camera Drone Review

The Pros

  • Great value all-in-one drone kit
  • Lightweight & robust
  • +8 more
  • Easy to fly quadcopter
  • Intuitive CONTIXO F18 App
  • Decent flight time
  • FPV Capability
  • Full high definition 1080p camera
  • Advanced GPS assisted hovering
  • Auto + Smart + Failsafe + Low Voltage Return to Home features
  • Four throttle control modes

The Cons

  • Long charging time
  • Footage can become slightly pixelated when flying too fast

Traxxas Aton Action Camera Quad Review

The Pros

  • Great quad for any level
  • Sleek design and customizable
  • +9 more
  • Easy for beginners to fly
  • Three flight modes
  • Fast 50mph in Sport Mode
  • Air brakes
  • Long flight time (battery life)
  • Various safety features
  • Return to home
  • LED lighting
  • Easily accessible spares

The Cons

  • Looks toy-like
  • No camera included
  • +1 more
  • No FPV capability

DJI Spark Quad Fly More Combo Review

The Pros

  • Easy foldable design, lightweight easy to travel with
  • The perfect selfie drone
  • +6 more
  • Smart flight modes, simple for beginners
  • Hand gesture controls, mobile or DJI transmitter
  • Camera gimbal stabilized
  • Obstacle avoidance (only forward facing)
  • Return To Home feature
  • Dual-band GPS

The Cons

  • Not working well with some Android mobile devices
  • No 4K option
  • +1 more
  • Shot flight time for a drone in this price category

Hubsan H501S X4 Quadcopter Review

The Pros

  • Smart & affordable camera drone
  • Well-built, durable quadcopter
  • +7 more
  • Easy-to-fly at any level
  • Follow Me feature
  • Headless mode
  • Accurate return to home feature
  • FPV capability
  • Brushless motors
  • Decent flight time

The Cons

  • Long charging time
  • Quite noisy
  • +1 more
  • Some reports of spotty FPV transmission

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