DJI's Mavic 2 Pro (9/10 WIRED Recommends) is in a class of its own—it's the best drone you can buy right now if price is no concern. The image and video quality are amazing, and the ability to travel—and track objects—at 45 miles per hour means you're not going to miss a shot. The omnidirectional obstacle-avoidance will keep the drone out of the trees, and the 25-minute flying time means you can stay aloft longer. It's expensive, but in this case, you get what you pay for.
Want to keep your budget below $300, we suggest you choose one of the Altair drones we recommend. Altair is a great company (learn about Altair) out of Nebraska and provides top notch customer service! Shop the Altair Outlaw SE which goes 600+ meters and has a battery life of 15 minutes or more! Altair also offers the Falcon as a budget option for younger drone pilots and the 818 Hornet as an option for ages 10-14.
This drone has a lot of really cool features. Although it’s only 90 mm in size, it has 7500KV brushless motors capable of running 2S or 3S batteries. That means this thing will fly like a mini bullet! To drive each motor, the Armor 90 has a 4 in 1 ESC capable of handling 10 amps of power per motor. It’s also Oneshot/Dshot300 compatible for super fast motor response times.
It’s incredibly lightweight– similar to the weight of your smartphone. This means it doesn’t require government registration, so you can start flying straight out of the box. The Mini offers three-axis stabilization for a smooth flight, and 2.7K video resolution may be less than the desirable 4K, but it’s good enough for many. At a flight time of around 30 minutes, it rivals some of the higher-end models when it comes to airtime.
There are a few downsides to this drone, the main one being the price. At $1,999 USD, not everyone will be able to afford it. It also uses a 2 axis gimbal, so panning motion is not very smooth. Since it doesn’t have a controller, that also means you can’t fly the drone farther than wifi range will allow. The biggest issue with this drone in my opinion is the size It’s not much larger than the Mavic 2 when unfolded, but that’s the problem, it doesn’t fold up at all. This means if you want to fit it into a camera bag or small backpack, you’re just out of luck.
There’s nothing particularly special about the Syma X5C, but it works and it’s really cheap. It’s a blast to fly if you’ve never flown anything before and it’s cheap enough where you don’t have to feel bad if you lose it on the roof top of your house. That’s probably why it has over 4,200 reviews on Amazon, which is a number that no other drone has come close to.
The Altair Aerial has an amazing 720p HD Realtime FPV setup with the Flyingseee App that comes free with the drone. If you’re looking for a racing FPV drone you’re going to want to spend $300 or more and find something custom made, but this FPV drone will definitely satisfy most flyers who are looking to spend $120.00 or less. The customer service offered by Altair is amazing, you can read more about it in our full review of this drone.
If the Mavic 2 Pro didn’t exist, I would say this is obviously the best drone of all time. It’s not as compact as the Mavic Air, but the extra features more than make up for it. It’s a true workhorse, which is probably why DJI created an enterprise drone based on the Mavic 2 Zoom. There’s really nothing I can find to complain about with the Mavic 2 Zoom other than the fact that the Mavic 2 Pro has better video quality. But if that extra bump in quality isn’t worth the extra $250, go with the Mavic 2 Zoom.
Out of all the ready-to-fly racing drones out there, the Falcore is one of the only sets that comes with almost everything you need to get flying. Connex designed their own drone, battery, and controller from the ground up to give new drone users a streamlined flying experience. The only thing you will need to buy for the Falcore is some good FPV goggles or a monitor that has an HDMI input. You could even use DJI Goggles!
This drone is so fun to use. I am an amateur with drones so it has been fun learning to fly it. The drone is very lightweight and is a nice size. I love that you can view what you are recording on your cell phone, this makes it so much easier if you are recording for a specific type of video. At first I was a bit confused on how to get the drone started but after some practice it got easier. The drone was easy to pair with my Samsung Galaxy 6 phone. The drone is easy to lift off and I have been able to learn to land after a few tries. I did bang it a couple of times and so far it has not broken. I tried the tracing route feature and it is really cool. The batteries don't last a really long time ... full review
If image quality is your priority, then you might opt for the Mavic 2 Pro over the Zoom. The 2 Pro is equipped with a 1” CMOS, 20-megapixel camera co-engineered in partnership with Hasselblad, the world’s leading manufacturer of medium format cameras and lenses. The Zoom’s camera system is still professional-grade however, with a 1/2.3” CMOS, 12-megapixel sensor.
The price for this little drone is only about $30. It’s one of the cheapest quadcopters you can buy (but cheap isn’t necessarily a good thing). It’s very fast for how small it is, but at the same time since the rotors are so small and close together, people have found that it’s a bit hard to do bank turns with it. Since the Proto X is so cheap, there is a chance that you could buy a defective one, but you can always just send it back.
One thing that people overlook when searching for toy drones is the controller. Some come with tiny controllers and others like this one come with a larger controller. You might prefer the smaller controller for convenience, however the larger controller will make the drone easier to control. It will also make transitioning to more expensive drones like the Spark and Mavic Pro seem more familiar.
The dimensions of the HubsanZino Pro drone are 11 x 9.6 x 4.5 inches and it weighs 4.41 pounds. It has a removable 3S battery with a power of 3000 mAh. Different types of flight modes like automatic return-home, loss control failsafe, panorama, orbit, tracking, GPS, image tracking, follow-me, headless mode, waypoint, line fly mode, vision auxiliary landing and orbiting mode are available in this camera drone.
The nice thing about buying a cheap drone like the Vision 250 is, you can buy it, fly it for a few weeks, fly it for a few months, or until you outgrow it. Then when you’re ready to build your own racing drone, you can use all the money that you didn’t spend before and spend it on things that will last years, like a good versatile controller and some HD goggles.
The Hubsan X4 H107C has super stable flight capabilities, gives you approximately 10 minutes of flight time, includes gyro sensitivity that can be adjusted based on your personal preference, and a 0.3MP camera that can record video and take picture paired with a Micro SDHC card. The only feature that seems to exist, and is worth mentioning, is that it can do a 4-way flip, which could be fun and something interesting to add to a video.
It does include a camera, although not the greatest quality but still fun to play around with. This drone, like many others also has a headless feature, but also features an altitude hold function or hover which is something most of the less expensive drones do not have. This is especially useful when trying to learn how to hover. FPV is not possible with the small LCD display on the controller but it does give you some vital information about the drone during flight.
If you want to take drone activity to new heights (literally), the DJI Mavic 2 Pro makes a pretty great splurge. This drone is an evolution of its predecessor, capable of staying airborne for 31 minutes and hitting speeds of 44 miles per hour during flight — faster the previous generation. But we think drone aficionados will find their true joy in the new DJI software. Features like ActiveTrack 2.0 assist the drone with following moving subjects autonomously. Seeing real-time video is better than ever in 1080p with the addition of OcuSync 2.0, and eight gigabytes of storage (with SD card capacity up to 128GB) allow for plenty of HD footage or images from the 20MP camera.
The Falcore has a lot of cool technology inside of it, but this drone isn’t heavy on pro racing features. There is an OSD, but you can’t adjust any settings on the flight controller from the OSD like you can on the Vortex 180 and it runs Cleanflight which isn’t as good as Bataflight. Another thing that you might not think about is range. The video transmitter and receiver have a range of 1000 feet to 3000 feet depending on the environment you’re in. Although this is fine for most park flights, there are races that might require a more reliable signal at those farther distances, and with a traditional analog FPV setup it’s easy to get more range with better antennas.
The Phantom 4 is an impressive photography drone that features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 4K 30fps video, and 12MP stills. If you don’t require 4K video, there are also options to shoot in 2K, Full HD, or 720p. The 12MP sensor on the Phantom 4 camera has an ISO range of 100-1600, and the camera also supports auto exposure bracketing, EV bias, and HDR imaging.
The Mavic Air is an excellent camera drone for those on the go, offering a foldable design and a powerful 4K camera. Built to accompany you on any adventure, the Mavic Air is smaller than the Mavic Pro and offers many of the same great features. This camera drone can capture crystal-clear 32MP Sphere Panoramas by stitching 25 images together. The sky can’t be captured due to the limited gimbal tilt range, but a zenith stitching algorithm completes the full 360° shot.
Camera drones enable us to access spaces and create compositions in fresh new ways compared to a traditional handheld camera. They are increasingly used in a variety of occasions: for professional aerial photography or cinematography, recording moments in different sporting events, getting cool travel snaps, and capturing unique photos for special events like weddings.
Now that you know what to look for in low cost drones, let’s get right to the list. If you’re in a hurry or looking for the best of the best, check out our top and budget picks. They’re what we consider to be amazing drones that are incredibly high quality without the high price tag. If you want to be sure you’re getting the best drone for you, be sure to read through our other eight picks. They’re all amazing choices for anyone looking for a great drone with a camera. Happy flying!
The EVO has obstacle avoidance sensors on the front and in the back. In the font, you get two obstacle avoidance cameras (same as the Mavic). On the back, you’ll find not cameras, but a IR sensor for obstacle avoidance. IR sensors or good for close obstacle detection, but they don’t work for seeing obstacles that are more complex or far away. The Mavic Air and Mavic 2 use cameras on the rear, so they will naturally do better at avoiding obstacles at higher speeds. In any case, if you need obstacle avoidance on your drone, the EVO has it.