Best Drones Under 200$: Top Quadcopters on a Budget in 2017

Perhaps you’ve tried an entry level drone and just realized how fun it can be. However, drones sold for less than a hundred bucks often don’t last very long. They can break down easily, not to mention flight time and features are limited. If you want to go beyond the basic drone but not yet ready to splurge, you may want to look into the best drones under $200 currently avaible.

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There are a lot of drones sold for less than 200 dollars, tons of small quadcopters that can look similar - but they’re not built equally. To help you decide, we have picked out the best drones in this price range. We’ll be taking a look at their features so you’ll know just how far these drones can take you. For someone that wants to seriously get into the hobby  we would recommend getting FPV model, and start practicing on Drone Simulators.  If you're getting the drone as a present or to young kid, then you can check other models with alot of built-in stabilization features. 

'Drone Under 200' guide is divided into sections, so you can jump into the reviews right now. But if you want to know more about  general features of drones in this price segment, can proceed to FAQ.

Budget Drones

This guide is part of 'Budget Drone' series

TOP DRONES UNDER 200 DOLLARS IN 2017:

Preview
Walkera Rodeo 110 Racing Drone with Devo 7
Blade Inductrix FPV RTF Toy, Yellow
Brushless Motors RC Drone with Waterproof Carrying Backpack Case-MJX Bugs 3 Brushless Drones Set, 300Meters Control Distance, 15 Mins Flying Time RTF Drone Gopro for Drone Racing
Model
Walkera Rodeo 110
Blade Inductrix FPV
Bugs 3 Brushless
Flight Time
6 min
4 min
15 min
Camera
720 p
25mW
720 p
Weight
148 g
24 g
420 g
Range
150 m
100 m
500 m
Level
Best FPV Drone Under 200
Best Micro Drone Under 200
Best Camera Drone Under 200
Preview
Walkera Rodeo 110 Racing Drone with Devo 7
Model
Walkera Rodeo 110
Flight Time
6 min
Camera
720 p
Weight
148 g
Range
150 m
Options
Level
Best FPV Drone Under 200
Preview
Blade Inductrix FPV RTF Toy, Yellow
Model
Blade Inductrix FPV
Flight Time
4 min
Camera
25mW
Weight
24 g
Range
100 m
Options
Level
Best Micro Drone Under 200
Preview
Brushless Motors RC Drone with Waterproof Carrying Backpack Case-MJX Bugs 3 Brushless Drones Set, 300Meters Control Distance, 15 Mins Flying Time RTF Drone Gopro for Drone Racing
Model
Bugs 3 Brushless
Flight Time
15 min
Camera
720 p
Weight
420 g
Range
500 m
Options
Level
Best Camera Drone Under 200

We are looking on next categories for under 200 budget:

Best Drones Under 150 $

You can also find quadcopters under $150 budget range. We're aming to provide best value drone in given price range. Some cheaper models might suit your needs, or if you never flown a multirotor before, we would recommend to start with low cost models under 100 bucks and don't worry to much when you crash it. It's part of learning experience.

drone-under-50

Best FPV Drones Under 200 $

best-fpv-drone-under-100

Maybe you watched some drone racing videos, so you know FPV stands for first person view. High Quality drones for FPV racing are still above this price range. But you can start sharping your FPV skills with cheaper models. Getting used to flying while looking through drones camera has some learning curve, so it's better to learn and test with more affordable FPV models.

Best Drone Under 200 with Camera

Almost all drones on this list have integrated camera. Camera qulity is still modest but you can pull some great photos and videos. You're probably aware that you can't shoot masterpieces, but you're gonna learn alot while playing and testing your photography skills.

Do I need to register my drone with the FAA?

Only drones used for commercial purposes require FAA registration. This rule applies to all commercial drones regardless of the price. 

faa-weight-applicibility
drone pilot certification

LIST OF TOP DRONES UNDER 200 $

Nowadays, you don’t have to hardcore hobbyist burning through electronics with soldering iron to craft your racing drone. If you want to try FPV on a budget Walkera made a perfect solution for you. Despite its small size, Walkera Rodeo 110 (110 carbon fiber frame) provides great quad with decent flight performance for beginners in FPV segment. It’s RTF model, so it’s ready to fly out of the box. It comes with Devo 7 RC Transmitter; this is universal 6-channel TX that operates at 2.4Ghz. The transmitter works selectively on 8 AA batteries.

RTF FPV Drone

Recommended RTF FPV Drone

Walkera Rodeo 110

More goodies in the box include 850 mAh Lipo batteries and a set of spare propellers. We would advise getting extra battery packs and even more propellers, never can get enough of them. Flight time can be stretched to 5-6 minutes, if you don’t push it to the max.

Lipo batteries recharging with supplied recharger takes just a few minutes which is extra plus. It comes with 600Tvl HD wide-angle camera that is placed behind a plastic frame to protect against collisions. The package doesn’t include FPV goggles, without them you can only fly with the line of sight LOS. Fortunately, the goggles are not so expensive as the used to be; you can check few models we tested in this FPV guide. Among others Eachine EV800 (operates at 5.8Ghz) would be good fit in this price range. To wrap it up, Walkera Rodeo 110 is excellent beginner FPV quad, although we would always recommend having few hours practice time on Drone Simulators before engaging in acro mode.

+

Carbon based, Comes with an Transmitter, RTF , Affordable replacement parts

-

No OSD, No telemetry, Light sensitivity of the FPV cam

Blade Inductrix FPV is the successor to Blade's popular 'Inductrix. Drone racers love this micro-quadcopter because of the extremely stable flight. Innovative SAFE technology distinguishes Inductrix of the competition. The predecessor of this Blade Inductrix FPV had no camera, but a group of handy guys got an idea to build a model with built-in camera with 5.8GHz transmitter. Rest is history, this phenomenon became known worldwide under the name "Tiny Whoop”. With a size of 83 x 83 x 28 mm, the blade Inductrix FPV is a quadcopter of micro-size.

RTF FPV Drone

Recommended RTF FPV Drone

Tiny Whoop

Due to the weight of only 24 grams and shielded propellers the Tiny Whoop is very suitable for indoor use. Challenge your housemates to a FPV drone racing competition! The camera is beautifully incorporated into the yellow housing Blade Inductrix FPV. Blade Inductrix FPV is equipped with a 5.8GHz micro FPV system.

The transmit power is 25mW and this means a range of about 100 meters. The use of a 5.8GHz micro FPV system it is possible to view the video using a standard 5.8GHz FPV glasses like Fat Shark, Walkera Goggle, Boscam, Eachine etc. Compared to its predecessor, the battery been upgraded. Blade Inductrix is equipped with an E-flite 45C Lipo 200mAh battery. With a full charge, you can fly up to 4 minutes. The Ready-To-Fly (RTF) version comes with 4-channel remote control to control the drone, and 4.3inch monitor with integrated 40-channel 5.8Ghz receiver. Tiny Whoop is great way to get into FPV world.

+

RTF - ready to fly model, Great FPV starter

-

Not durable, Short Flight Time

The Hubsan X4 H501C comes with a 1080p HD camera, perfect for taking crisp images and videos while in the sky. And if there is a specific area you want to take a picture of, just use the GPS Altitude Hold to hover and lock the drone’s position. Beginners will like its headless mode, as it will keep the X4 controls confined to a single direction based on its present orientation. The flight time is good for approximately 20 minutes, with control distance good for 200 meters, giving you lots of room to fly around. 

RTF  Drone

Recommended RTF  Drone

Hubsan X4 H501C

Once flight time is up, use the X4 One Key Return to land. It takes about 150 minutes to fully charge the X4, which is quite long but understandable given the flight time. With its 6 gyro axis and 2.4 GHz frequency, the X4 provides you with full control. The drone can do a full 360, great for stunts or just taking in the view.

The X4 also has a failsafe mode, so in case of an emergency, the controls will automatically land the drone. This is an important safety feature that reduces the possibility of fatal crashes.

+

Long flight time, HD Camera, Has a failsafe mode

-

Very few online feedback available

The Drone 2.0 Elite has a flight time of approximately 15 to 20 minutes fully charged, which is on average for these drones. It has a 1280 x 720 (720p) HD camera for high quality photos and images. Updated to match the FAA requirements, this certified refurbished drone has been fully tested. You can control the Elite from your smartphone or tablet if you download the free app (available for iOS and Android). The app is easy to use and it allows you to share photos and videos you took with the Elite with friends.

RTF  Drone

Recommended RTF  Drone

Parrot AR. Drone 2.0

The Elite has a one press auto return, so with a tap you can land the drone. In the event your connection to the drone is lost, the built-in GPS activates its failsafe mode, landing the unit.

If you’re still learning flight maneuvers, you can enter headless mode, whereby the controls are confined to a single direction set according to the drone’s current path. The Elite has brushless motors which have been designed to be extra durable, and its propellers self-tighten for enhanced flight. Its GPS also enables it to hover and hold its position at the altitude you specify.

+

Comes with an HD camera, Free piloting app for your mobile, Can fly up to 20 minutes

-

Difficulty flying in low light environments

The Bugs3 is powered by a brushless motor which minimizes heating by cutting down engine friction. This also means you get more out of the battery and longer flights. The flight time is up to 18 minutes on a full charge, and its low battery indicator will alert you if it’s charging time. The flight range is 300 to 500 meters, so there is lots of time and space to fly and do flips. It also uses a 6-axis gyro flying control system for precision flips and rolls. The Bugs3 does not come with a camera, but it does have a gimbal camera mount adapter for a camera.

RTF  Drone

Recommended RTF  Drone

Bugs 3

The shockproof mount is compatible with SJCams, Xiaomi Yi and GoPro action cameras so you can shoot images and videos in flight. The Bugs3 also has built-in LED lights to assist in night time flying. And whether you’re flying day or night, the Bugs3 can take more than few hits with its pure nylon fiber frame.

Like with other drone, the flight time depends on how it is used. If you mount with a camera, this will be reduced. However, it won’t be by much – you can still expect around 15 minutes – very good numbers.

+

Excellent flight time, Durable engine, Has a low battery indicator

-

Does not come with camera

The U28-1 comes with a 4 inch LCD screen on the controller, giving you a clear view from the drone’s perspective. It is also equipped with a 720p HD camera, perfect for taking high quality videos and photos. It also has a 4GB Micro SD card, and the camera’s wide angle lens give you the best shot. The U28-1 doesn’t need FAA registration, so beginners can remove another item form their preflight checklist. The controller is oversized for easy access, and it syncs with the drone upon startup. The U28 also lets you go into headless mode so it goes left or right regardless of the direction.

RTF  Drone

Recommended RTF  Drone

UDI U28-1

U28-1 is also capable of 360 degree rolls and flips, and by moving the sticks around, you can perform a lot of aerial maneuvers. The U28 has a 6 axis gyro system for more precise maneuvering.

The U28-1 has altitude hold and you can set the drone in a specific position to shoot videos or photos. It also has a low battery indicator, so you can quickly bring the drone down for a recharge.

+

Range is good for up to 300 feet, Controls are very responsive, VR and FPV compatible

-

Fixed camera angle

The Sky Viper allows you to stream 720p HD photos and videos on its oversized controller. At 20 frames per second, the resolution is pretty good for its range. This edition has been upgraded with its wide angle 120 degree lens for cleaner shots. The v2900PRO also uses H264 video compression so they don’t consume as much space. The viewing app is available for free download, and from your controller you can lock and hover the v2900PRO. Its GPS allows you to precisely position the drone, something you will want when shooting images or videos.

RTF  Drone

Recommended RTF  Drone

UDI U28-1

With its FPV mode, you can see from the drone’s view as you move the joystick around. Its geo-fencing capability means you can set up a flight boundary. You could use this for instance, to ensure the v2900PRO doesn’t fly out of transmission range.

With auto land and launch, you can hover and land the drone with a single button press. The v2900PRO doesn’t need FAA registration, so you can fly this out of the box. Its body is made of Duraflex, giving it the strength necessary to deal with more than a few bumps.

+

HD camera included, Has autopilot features, Brushless motors

-

The 20 minute flight time cut's in half if you take a lot of videos

Frequently Asked Questions

Drone

Camera

Flight Time

Range

Weight

DN Rating *

720p

6 minutes

150 m

148 g

92

25mW

4 minutes

100 m

24 g

93

1080 p

20 minutes

200 m

435 g

88

720 p

12 minutes

150 m

420 g

55

Optional

15 minutes

500 m

447 g

91

2 mp

7 minutes

50 m

150 g

87

1080p

10 minutes

100 m

339 g

90

* DN Rating calculates tech specifications and includes various review scores from Amazon, Wired, PC Magazine, PC Advisor, CNET

How Long is the Flight Time of These Drones?

The short answer is that compared to entry level drones, flight time is relatively longer. Drones sold for less than $100 usually have 3 to 10 minutes flight time. In contrast, these drones have an avarage flight duration of 10 to 20 minutes.

However, the 20 minute flight time is based on an “ideal flight”. That is, the drone isn’t doing a lot of 360 rolls or other aerial maneuvers. Just like with any drone, use of HD cameras take its toll on the battery. If the drone takes HD photos and videos while doing flips and rolls, the battery will run out faster. If you like to push on throttle don't expect long flight times.

How Durable are Frames in this price range?

Drones in the sub $200 range are more durable than entry level editions. Basic drones are often made of plastic that break apart when the unit crashes. In comparison, these drones have more durable parts. Many are made of Duraflex or other proprietary components to enhance the durability.

Anyone who’s ever flown a drone will crash it at least once. That’s okay because it is part of the learning curve. That’s also why it is a good idea to get a drone in this price range. It isn’t so expensive your heart will race every time it crashes, but not too cheap you throw it away quickly.

What Can I Do with an Under $200 Drone?

It depends on the features, but most of the time you can expect the following:

  • Take HD Photos and Videos: most of these drones are equipped with a 720p camera. Combined with an altitude hold / hover mechanism, you can take pictures or videos of specific locations.
  • First Person View: some of these drones have a built-in LCD screen with the controller. This allows you to see the sky from the drone’s point of view so it’s like flying from a first person perspective. So apart from looking at the actual done, you can just keep an eye on things from your controller.
  • Aerial Acrobatics: all of these drones are capable of doing flips and rolls. These drones however, are usually not fast enough for drone racing, but they can fly for extended periods.

These are just some of the things you can do with a drone in this range. While some people may look at consumer drones as just toys, they can be a lot more than that. As a photographer for instance, you could use the pictures a drone takes for your work.

Do These Drones Use Brushless Motors?

A lot of consumer drones – regardless of price range – have brushless motors because they’re more durable. They also need less maintenance, and it doesn’t cause any voltage drops. Brushless motors also have a better power to size ratio and don’t generate as much noise as brushed motors.

Are Drones in This Price Range Suitable for Beginners?

Yes, drones sold for less than $200 are appropriate for beginners and intermediate level users. With these drones, there is a nice balance between usability and features. With headless mode, auto return and altitude mode, a beginner can learn how to use the drone without incessant crashing.

These drones are generally easier to control than cheaper models. If the controller comes with a screen, you can make minute adjustments to the control and see the effect from the drone’s POV.

What is the Avarage Charging Time?

Charging time is not necessarily tied to flight time, as it depends more on the drone’s design and structure. The range is from 20 minutes to more than two hours. 

Charging time is often tied into quality and capabilities. The cheapest drones charge more quickly because the power and flight duration are low. Drones in this price range take longer to charge because of their higher specs.

How Do I Prolong the Battery Life?

The rule is the same for all drones, no matter the price range. The more intensive the flight activities are, the quicker the battery will drain. Conversely, keeping the flight simple and judicious use of the camera extends battery life.

Limitations of Drones in This Price Range?

Quality wise, these drones are above the entry level, but they’re clearly not as durable as those in the $500 above range. Also keep in mind: 

  • ​Not all of these drones have cameras, let alone HD. However, those that don’t usually have camera mounts if you want to install them.
  • Not all the drones have geo-fencing, so you can’t impose restrictions on their flight movement.
  • The image and video quality varies. While many of these drones have HD cameras, the output may not always be consistent. The results can be affected by the flight speed and weather condition among other factors.

What is the Average Range?

The typical range is around 250 feet, but other models can reach up to 300 feet or more. Even with the expanded range, the same rules apply for these drones as well the cheaper and more expensive ones, i.e. no flying near airports or commercial buildings.

Can I Mount Any Camera on My Drone?

No, you can only mount the cameras the model supports. Basically, these drones either have a built-in camera or allow you to install one. If you’re a beginner, it’s better to go with a built-in camera. If your main goal is to take quality videos and images, you may want a drone that lets you install the camera you want.

If you’re going to buy a camera equipped drone, check the specs. For high quality output, the camera must have a gimbal to stabilize the image while in flight.

What about Maintenance?

These drones don’t need a lot of maintenance. Of course, it’s a different matter if it crashes. If that’s the case, inspect the unit for signs of damage. Unfortunately if you're not so tech savy, when you hit the drone hard; break the frame or motors; you'll probably need to displace the unit.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Drone

  • Read the owner’s manual first. These drones have become more intuitive, but it’s still a good idea to read the manual to avoid problems.
  • Make sure you have an extra SD card. The newer drones use compression technology to shrink video size, but you’ll still end up using a lot of space if you shoot a lot of videos.
  • Do not fly the drone at night unless you’re experienced or it has LED lights. Some drones in this range do have night lights, but others don’t.
  • These drones have more durable frames than the cheaper drones. But avoid flying them near trees or other structures they might crash into.
  • No matter how much the drone costs, do not fly them in the rain or under windy conditions. A little breeze is fine, but strong gusts will induce a crash.

Conclusion

All the drones are high quality, but if we have to pick our favorite in this price range it has to be the Blade Inductrix aka Tiny Whoop. It has the features that both beginners and experienced flyer will appreciate. Apart from it's micro size it's ideal for beginners, esspecially those who want to learn about FPV.

In Camera Drone Segment Bugs 3 uses Geo-fencing that reduces the possibility of the drone getting lost, and the one-touch land and hover control adds to the appeal. The camera quality is excellent and the controls are very responsive. While it’s not the only one with an LCD controller screen, its quality surpasses most of those in this price range.