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If you’re looking to break into using drones as a hobby, spending less than $100 is the perfect way to do it. You’re sure to find a beginner-friendly drone that can help you gain your footing.
What are the best drones in this price range?
Here are the top beginner-friendly drones under $100:
- Ryze Tello
- Holy Stone HS200
- DEERC D10
- Holy Stone HS280
These practice drones are jam-packed with enough safety features, and you can even photograph your most memorable moments.
Ahead, I’ll review each drone and share some pointers to help you make a confident purchase.
1. Ryze Tello #
Dimensions: 98 x 92.5 x 41 mmWeight: 80 g with battery and propellersMax Range: 100 mMax Altitude: 30 mMax Speed: 8 m/sMax Flying Time: 13 minsCamera: HD
✅ Pros #
- Effortless to begin flying
- Includes propeller guards for safe flights
- Has great auto modes for showing off or taking videos and photos
- Very lightweight
- Has a variety of failsafe protection, from low-battery alerts to collision detection
❌ Cons #
- Although it has a video positioning system designed to help it hover, this isn’t this drone’s strong suit
The closest you’re getting to DJI for under $100 is the Ryze Tello. This drone is powered by DJI tech, which is reason enough to strongly consider it as your first drone.
If you want a drone that doesn’t look like a toy while still fitting your price range parameters, you’ve got it in the Tello. This is a distinguished-looking drone that thinks it’s a toy, as it has so many fun features.
The HD camera with its Intel processor can shoot in 5 MP quality. Built-in electronic image stabilization is designed to clarify your images so you can be proud to show them off amongst friends.
The Tello is very easy to figure out, even if you’ve never picked up a drone before. You can toss it into the air, and it will begin flying.
You can control this drone through your phone with the Tello app or use its compatible controller, which looks like a video game controller and has a smooth feel and responsive controls.
The Tello flies for 11 to 13 minutes, and in that time, you can use EZ Shot modes, hover the drone, bounce it, or perform aerial stunts like flips.
Portable, lightweight, and easy to handle, the Tello has a slew of safety features that will protect your new purchase. For example, the drone indicates when its battery is low, so you know to pack it in.
External propeller guards make this drone safe for kids and adults alike!
2. Holy Stone HS200 #
Dimensions: 280 x 260 x 80 mmWeight: 124.5 gMax Range: 150 mMax Altitude: N/AMax Speed: N/AMax Flying Time: 9 minsCamera: HD
✅ Pros #
- Highly appealing design
- Can fly even in moderate winds
- Good camera quality
- Has many beginner-friendly automated features
❌ Cons #
- Takes a long time to charge
If we’re going by looks alone, the Holy Stone HS200 might be the best drone on this list. Its streamlined shape and bright red color scheme make it attention-grabbing, and its price makes it covetable.
This drone checks a lot of boxes for what beginners should have. Its HD camera with a 120-degree wide-angle lens produces footage in 720p quality.
You can transmit footage in real-time, sharing the highlights of your adventures and making your friends green with jealousy.
It includes several unique modes controllable through the Holy Stone app. In Gravity Sensor Mode, you can hold your phone and fly the drone.
The standard altitude hold feature helps the HS200 hover stilly to take photos or videos. You can also use the beginner-friendly headless mode.
Two batteries produce a flight time of under 10 minutes but don’t push the drone’s weight up too much. The HS200 is just light enough for beginners at 124.5 grams.
It includes a phone holder and prop guards, and your purchase even gets you four spare propellers so you can pop them off and replace them if they get damaged during a flight.
3. DEERC D10 #
Dimensions: 340 x 340 x 65 mm unfolded Weight: 160 g Max Range: 100 mMax Altitude: 100 mMax Speed: 14 mphMax Flying Time: 15 minsCamera: HD
✅ Pros #
- Comes with lots of spares, including four propellers and prop guards
- Adjustable speed settings ideal for beginners
- Has decent camera quality
- Durable frame built from ABS plastic
❌ Cons #
- Doesn’t reach very high speeds
DEERC is another brand to explore if you want a low-cost beginner drone. The D10 is one of my favorites, and perhaps it will become yours too.
Its HD camera can shoot in a photo and video resolution of 1280 by 720p, which is quite impressive for this drone’s low cost.
The futuristic appearance of this drone wins it brownie points, as does its foldable design. You can easily carry this drone around with you on all your adventures without it hogging up too much space.
The ABS plastic frame keeps this drone’s weight down to a tidy 160 grams. That plastic frame can also handle moderate bumps and bruises but probably not any intense crashes.
The included remote has easily accessible functions and feels great in your hands, two factors that definitely matter when considering your beginner drone options.
What kind of automated features does the D10 have? It includes single-button takeoffs and landings, trajectory flights, headless mode, and altitude hold.
Another awesome beginner-friendly feature is the adjustable speeds.
You don’t have to zip this drone around on its highest speed right out of the box. You can gradually work your way up to faster speeds as you become more comfortable and familiar with the drone.
The gesture commands are a standard feature, but I quite like the voice control option. The D10 listens when you speak, responding to commands such as taking a selfie or video!
4. Holy Stone HS280 #
Dimensions: 329 x 210 x 53 mm unfoldedWeight: 151 gMax Range: 100 mMax Altitude: N/AMax Speed: N/AMax Flying Time: 13 minsCamera: UHD
✅ Pros #
- Has two speeds so beginners can learn at their own pace
- Offers fun automatic features, including one-key takeoffs and landings and gesture mode
- Has decent camera quality for the price
- Includes custom trajectory maps
❌ Cons #
- Not so good in the wind
- No stabilization options for the camera
Another affordable drone from Holy Stone to have on your radar is the HS280.
This FPV drone boasts a 1080p HD camera with an 80-degree adjustable lens and 1920×1080 photo resolution.
Transmit your images as you take ‘em, then share them to social media later or add them to your growing portfolio.
Planning your flight routes is tremendously easy with this drone, even if you’re a complete beginner. You can draw flight maps in the Holy Stone app and then watch as your drone replicates the path.
Auto takeoffs and landings take some of the pressure off you, as you don’t have to fret about crashing your drone trying to launch it into the sky or get it back down to the ground.
The HS280 has an emergency stop safeguard designed to prevent it from plummeting.
Its 13-minute flight time is just enough for a few quick spins in the sky. It takes about 70 minutes to charge each battery (two are included), so you won’t be out of action for long.
More beginner-friendly features to explore are auto hovering, headless mode, voice commands, and gesture control.
Impress your friends by doing a peace sign and then watch as the HS280 takes a selfie of you and your buddies.
This drone has two speed options, so I recommend starting with the slower speed. You’ll graduate to the faster speed in no time if you practice enough!
Best beginner drones under $100 FAQs #
Am I limited to toy drones if I spend under $100? #
Although toy drones proliferate the market between $30 and $100, you can buy a higher-quality drone if you know where to look. This list illustrates that beautifully.
Although all four of these drones are beginner-friendly and inexpensive, none look like toys. They’re not high-tech drones, but they resemble proper drones and come in fun colors and flashy designs.
You’ll feel proud to fly your drone around your neighborhood or at the park.
Do I have to register a drone under $100? #
You only have to register a drone if it exceeds 250 grams or 0.55 pounds.
Drones in this price range are only moderately durable. They’re just not made with strong parts because that would make them too costly. Lightweight pieces keep the drone weight down.
A drone under $100 also has little to no payload support. It can perhaps hold your phone, but that’s about it. That will also keep the weight manageable.
» MORE: How to Register Your Drone: Step-by-Step Guide (with Screenshots)
Can I get a DJI drone for under $100? #
DJI drones are typically quite costly unless we’re talking about some entries in the Mini series. Even then, you must expect to spend at least $300, so those drones are a bit outside of your price range.
The Rytech Tello is a good compromise. It features DJI tech but isn’t a DJI drone outright, so you can stick within your budget and enjoy the backing of one of the best brands in the drone game.
Best beginner drones under $100 buyer’s guide #
Although $100 isn’t a lot to spend, you want to use your money wisely. You’ve seen the drones we’ve recommended. Here are some pointers to help you choose the best one for your needs.
Camera quality #
A drone for under $100 is not going to have the greatest camera quality, but you at least want HD quality for shooting photos and videos.
Three-axis stabilizing gimbals are out the window on your budget, but ideally, your drone should have some means of preventing shakiness, whether that’s EIS or another feature.
Without it, you’ll have to hover your drone to take photos, as aerial shots will come out blurry.
Automated features #
GPS-driven, automatic drone features are a must in beginner drones. You can use them to launch and land your drone and do stunts and tricks that you can’t yet pull off manually.
Expect standards like hovering, altitude hold, and headless mode. Drones with gesture and voice control are especially cool to have!
A drone that costs under $100 isn’t designed to last forever, but you don’t want to crash it on your first day out, either. Safety settings will prolong your drone so you can get ample time with it.
Auto RTH in case of low battery or diminished signal is a lifesaver. The same can be said of low-battery warnings, automatic landings, and add-ons like propeller guards.
Speed settings #
Technically, you can lump speed settings into safety features, but this is an important enough point I thought it warranted its own discussion.
A drone that costs under $100 will not be fast, but some are still speedier than brand-new pilots might feel comfortable with.
If your drone has two or three speed settings, you can start out on the lowest setting and slowly gain speed as you rack up more practice sessions.
This will reduce your risk of crashing your drone because you panic or simply don’t have enough experience.
Battery life #
The last consideration when selecting a beginner drone under $100 is battery life.
You shouldn’t expect anything spectacular here, but the battery or batteries should support close to 10 minutes of flight time for what you’re paying.
Of course, advertised battery life versus true battery life are never identical, so don’t be surprised if a drone that promises 13 minutes of flight time depletes its battery in 10 minutes.
Weather conditions like wind can further reduce battery life.