The popularity of drones seems to be on an exponential growth curve. As more players and aspiring enthusiasts enter the market, the amount of options that are available to the user has never been higher. In this article, we will focus on the best drones under 200. This price bracket is highly important because that is where most beginner-friendly units are found. If you are looking for an affordable drone that comes with a host of great flight features and is very easy to use, there is a high chance that you will find the perfect unit for you in this price range.
Things to know before picking the best drones under 200
Picking a drone that is priced just under $200 can be tricky at times. This is the price range where the quality is better than that of entry-level options but still below what you would get from the high-end models. Navigating through this mid-range and being able to identify the drone that is suitable for you require having some degree of familiarity with how these devices work. To help you achieve this, we have compiled what we believe to be the key factors that you should focus on when you are looking for the best drone under $200.
Control and navigation
This is one of the first things that you should look out for. A good drone should be easy to control and has to be able to navigate in a smooth and balanced manner. This is especially important if you are a beginner with no prior experience in handling unmanned aerial vehicles.
The flight time
The flight time indicates the period that the drone can stay in the air before the battery runs out of charge. The two main elements that are involved in determining this metric are the batteries and the efficiency of the device itself. In the sub $200 bracket, you can expect to get a flight time that is between 6 to 10 minutes. It is also worth noting that some models give you the possibility of adding more batteries, which contributes to extending the flight by quite a bit.
The flight range
The importance of this factor will vary depending on your experience and the type of activity that you are using the drone for. For big projects that rely on sophisticated aerial imagery, you would want a drone that has a very long range. However, a beginner should not be that concerned with the control range since the main focus should be on learning how to handle the unit, and having it close to the user can help avoid potential crashes. Generally speaking, the average flight range of drones that are below $200 is around 100 meters to 500 meters.
The flight features
At this range, you should expect a little bit more features than what the cheap entry-level units offer. The must-have functions are the ones that are geared toward facilitating the flight and automating certain aspects in order to make everything easier for beginners. The list includes essential modes such as the altitude hold that enables the drone to hover, the headless mode that fixes the direction of the flight to the position of the remote, and the one button takeoff function that controls the launch and the landing of the drone.
Even if you are not that passionate about aerial imagery, it still wouldn’t hurt if your drone was equipped with a good camera that can capture high-quality photos and videos. If you want to avoid the blurry images that are associated with subpar cameras, the minimum that you should settle for is a 2MP camera that boasts an image resolution of 720p.
The type of motors
This factor is rarely discussed. While this might no matter as much the previous points, you still need to know the types of motor that are available to you and the main differences between them. The two most common types are brushed motors and brushless motors. The first option is generally more affordable while the second is more efficient, powerful, and significantly less noisy.
Great customer service is needed with any type of purchase. But this is even more so the case when dealing with competitively priced units that are used by beginners. More often than not, a novice user will need help setting up the device or fixing the small issues that end up occurring down the line. When that happens, responsive and helpful customer services can give them full assistance in a professional and unambiguous manner.
Frequently asked questions
1 – Are these drones suitable for indoor use?
The answer to this question will vary depending on your level of familiarity with drone control. These devices are quite bulky and only an experienced flyer would be able to navigate them in such a confined space.
2 – Can I buy one of these drones for my children?
This is not recommended. While we describe these drones are relatively easy to master, children have different requirements and these units would definitely be too complicated for them.
3 – Is a registration needed for these devices?
Registering a drone is required for units that exceed 250 grams in weight. This is done through the FAA and is only applicable to people living in the United States.
This is the latest offering from one of the most promising new companies in the industry. It is mostly designed to accommodate beginners and users who are not comfortable with the notion of spending over $200 on their first drone. It boasts a unique design that is characterized by a set of rings that act as propeller guards. Besides enhancing the overall look of the drone, these guards contribute to keeping the device safe, especially when you are still learning to operate it.
As far as the features and capabilities of this unit are concerned, the list is pretty much comprehensive and encompasses everything that you need for a safe and easy flight. The drone is conveniently controlled through the highly optimized FlyingSee app, a great tool that provides with a host of great settings and gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to navigation. Furthermore, you can create your own customized path via the app, a feature that is rarely seen in entry-level and mid-range options.
If you are an aerial imagery enthusiast, you will not be disappointed by the quality of the built-in camera as it is in the top list of best camera drones under 200. The resolution is quite decent for the price and the 120 degree lens offers a wide viewing angle that is ideal for capturing panoramic images of the landscape around you.
- Great features for the price
- The wide angle lens of the camera
- The plastic propeller guards are effective in protecting the drone from the impact
- The FlyingSee app is highly responsive and easy to use
- It comes with a custom path feature
- The customer service is very helpful
- The button placement of the remote controller is poorly thought out
- It does not handle the wind very well
This lightweight drone from Force 1 has a lot going for it with regards to design and flight capabilities. The U45W Bleu Jaw manages the difficult task of catering to the needs of experienced users and beginners alike. It has a one-button takeoff/landing function that allows you to get the drone in the air in an instantaneous fashion and its compatibility with multiple batteries provides you with a very long flight time
The camera that comes with the drone is simply excellent. It records high-quality videos at a frame per second rate of 30 and captures crystal clear HD pictures thanks to its 2MP resolution. The overall quality might not be suitable for full-fledged professional work, but its level of performance is still adequate enough for any semi-professional project.
The flight capabilities that this drone boasts are remarkable, to say the least. Beginners will surely appreciate two features in particular; the headless mode that orients the device and fixes its trajectory to the position of the remote, and the altitude hold mode that enable the drone to a specific area in order to capture more stable images. In addition to these helpful flight modes, the U45W is FPV-ready and affords you the luxury of following the drone in real time via Wi-Fi, it’s currently one of the best fpv drones under 200.
- The design of the remote is very sleek and original
- The drone gives you a first-person view of the flight
- It is compatible with VR headsets
- The image resolution is great
- It is equipped with a number of convenient flight features
- It has a one button takeoff/landing function
- The AA batteries that power the remote controller are not included in the package
- The frame is made from light plastic and does not feel durable enough to handle rough weather
3 – Holy Stone F181C
The Holy Stone F181 is another great option for beginners. On top of having an eye-catching sleek design, it has several features that assist the user throughout the learning process and it is the perfect introduction to the world of best drones under 200 with camera. Unlike many other alternatives at this price range, the Holy Stone has only 4 rates, which is the ideal number for a complete beginner. With that being said, it is still a high-performing drone that can be effectively used more advanced users.
The HD camera delivers great images and its wide angle lens gives you a beautiful panoramic view from any angle. The flight time can reach 10 minutes on conservative use and the control range is around 100 meters. When it comes to flight features, the Holy Stone F181C has all the functions that you would expect at this range; headless mode, altitude hold function, and the one key return home. Additionally, it is equipped with a 6 axis gyro stabilizer that ensures the drone’s balance and comes with the 3D flip feature that enables you to perform a wide array of aerial maneuvers with a push of a button.
- The drone is very well designed
- Customer service is responsive and very competent
- It is capable of a number of impressive aerial maneuvers
- It is beginner-friendly
- The device is equipped with lights that increase its visibility at night
- It is equipped with a 6 axis gyro stabilizer that steadies it in flight
- The instructions in the manual are not always clear
- There is no light that lets you know when the battery is charged
Holy Stone is one of the top drones under 200 brands in the industry, so it is only natural that another one of their models would make our list. Their products are known to offer the highest quality to price ratio, especially at the entry-level and mid-range price brackets. To that extent, this unit comes with a comprehensive set of flight features that includes everything from the headless mode to the altitude hold. Moreover, the remote is very well designed and the control range of this unit is just shy of 100 meters, which amply sufficient for a beginner.
The camera, while not up to the standard of professional use, is still good enough for a wide range of aerial activities. The lens has a viewing angle of around 120 degrees and the resolution is at 720p. More importantly, the HS110D offers live transmission of all your videos to any type of device via Wi-Fi.
Besides the regular features that we are used to seeing in this type of drone, the Holy Stone holds the distinction of being one of the few affordable models that are compatible with VR glasses. This will help you create an interactive viewing experience that is superior to what you can expect with regular FPV transmissions. Unfortunately, the VR glasses are not included in the package.
- It is extremely easy to use for beginners
- The drone is equipped with gravity control
- It is compatible with VR headsets
- The flight time is good for the price
- The package comes with a lot of replacement parts
- The battery is easy to change
- A dedicated charger is not included in the package
- The propeller guards don’t look heavy duty enough to withstand powerful impacts
5 – Potensic F181DH
The sleek and original design is not the only thing that is worth noting in this drone. In fact, this is one of the most durable units on the market. It comes in a stylish aluminum box that can be used to carry the drone and includes a full set of accessories and spare parts. The specs of the F181DH RC are typical of the average mid-range model; the flight time can surpass 10 minutes when used in a conservative manner, the control range is around 100 meters, and the battery fully charges in just under 90 minutes.
As stated above, durability is without a doubt the strongest suit of the Potensic. The frame is made from high-quality materials that give it the ability to handle any type of impact. Furthermore, the device boasts a balanced weight distribution that allows it to navigate through rough weather, including strong winds that exceed 20 Km/h.
The other highlight of this drone is its amazing image capabilities. The 2MP camera captures images that are vivid and clear and records videos are a near-professional frame per second rate. In addition to this, the F181DH offers live video streaming of all your content from the drone to your smart devices.
- The price is great
- It offers live video transmission
- The resolution of the camera is great for such an affordable unit
- This drone is one of the sturdiest on the market
- It comes in a case that can also be used to transport the drone
- It comes with headless mode and altitude hold
- The instructions are fairly ambiguous and hard to follow if you are a beginner
- Recharging the batteries takes a very long time
As a final note, we would like to reiterate that all the units that we reviewed in this guide are excellent and perfectly suitable for any beginner who needs an accessible introduction to the world of aerial unmanned vehicles. Before making a purchase decision, make sure to go over the reviews again and check the specs of each unit before committing to anything.