Best Drones Under 300$ in 2017 | DroneNodes

If you search for drones online, you might be surprised at the price range, which ranges from less than $100 to over $3,000. If you’re new to drones and just want one for racing, fun or take photos/videos, there’s no need to spend a thousand dollars on a drone, not yet anyway.

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What you need is a drone that is affordable and easy to learn, yet can handle a crash or two. Drones under $100 can’t take a lot of punishment, while those under $200 can handle more. But drones under $300 are obviously more sturidier. Not only are they more durable, but these drones have more features.

Budget Drones

This guide is part of 'Budet Drone' series

TOP 5 DRONES UNDER 300 DOLLARS IN 2017:

Drone

Camera

Flight Time

Range

Weight

DN Rating *

Hubsan X501S X4

1080 p

20 minutes

300 m

410 g

88

EF Micro Drone 3.0

720 p

8 minutes

100 m

56 g

86

Arris X-Speed

Optional

15 minutes

500 m

400 g

87

Ehang Ghost Drone

2 mp

7 minutes

50 m

150 g

87

Parrot Bebop

1080p

10 minutes

100 m

339 g

89

DJI Phantom 2 V2.0

Optional

25 minutes

700m

1000g

88

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

We are looking on next categories for under 300 budget:

Best Drones Under 250 $

We always aim to pull best and affordable products in budget range, so you'll find some model even under 250$. If you're looking for some entery level drones be sure to check our budget guides for under 100 and 200 dollars. There are some really good quads to get you started in this hobby.

drone-under-50

Best FPV Drone Under 300 $

In this budget range you can find some decent kits to for FPV. But beware, before FPV flying be sure you have developed some flying skills, and know what you're doing. It can seem pretty easy to fly FPV, but it's not. If you're just starting in drones, we would recommend practicing with cheaper models, and get sense for LOS (line of sight) control first.

best-fpv-drone-under-100

Best Drone Under 300 with Camera

You can find models with higher camera quality: in this price range you can expect up to 1080p HD cameras, good enough for professional quality results. These drones also have gimbal stabilizers so the output isn’t affected by the wind. If you’re looking for aerial HD aerial photography and videography, the cameras in these drones will suffice.

Best Drones With Camera Under 300

Drone Registration

All drones that weight more then 0.55 lbd (250 grams) and less then 55 lbs. (25 kg) have to be registered with the FAA. To read further details please visit the official page of Federal Aviation Administration.

faa-weight-applicibility
drone pilot certification

How Many Crashes Can These Drones Take?

It depends on the impact and the construction of the drone. These drones are durable, but you still have to be careful. Some tips:

  • ​Fly in a safe environment so you can focus on flying and not worry about crashing into a window or hitting a person or animal.
  • Don’t be too dependent on the GPS, because if it fails you will have a difficult time controlling the drone.
  • Try basic movements like flying a circle, figure eight, oval and so on. Learn how to do these and you’ll be ready for more complex maneuvers.

Continue to FAQ

LIST OF TOP DRONES UNDER 300 $


Hubsan H501S X4

CONFIGURATION

Quadcopter

CAMERA

1080 p

FLIGHT TIME

20 minutes

SMARTPHONE CONTROL

-

WEIGHT

435 g

RANGE

300 m

FAA REGISTRATION

Required

The H501S X4 FPV has an 1080p HD camera for shooting high quality images, and this feature is complemented by its 4.3 inch, 480 x 272 LCD screen. With the screen and controls, you can see the effects of each adjustment you make. The drone also has a headless mode feature, i.e. the drone’s front will be your front regardless of its current orientation. If you want to shoot a specific area while the drone is airborne, just go to hover altitude mode to stabilize the drone. It also has a GPS that allows it to go into headless mode. The X4 has a 6 axis flight control system, and combined with the altitude mode, lets you maneuver the drone smoothly. Like other quality drones, it has an automatic return to home button, so with one-touch you can land the X4. The controls also respond well especially in ideal flight conditions. A full charge takes 150 minutes and gives flight time around 20 minutes. Flight time however, will be shortened if you use the camera continuously. The H501S X4 weighs 435 g, so FFA registration is necessary. The FAA registration may be a slight hassle, but it’s not really a big deal considering the performance you get from the H501S X4. This drone is designed for individuals 14 years and older.

+

Long flight time, 1080p HD Camera, Responsive controls

-

Remote Control batteries not included

TYPE

Quadcopter

CAMERA

720 p

FLIGHT TIME

8 minutes

SMARTPHONE CONTROL

Mobile App

WEIGHT

56 g

RANGE

100 m

FAA REGISTRATION

Not Required

The Extreme Fliers Drone has a 720p HD camera, sufficient for taking quality images and videos. The drone also supports live streaming via its 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, so it goes a little further than the standard drone. Apart from basic aerial maneuvers, the Micro Done 3.0 is also capable of inverted flying. This gives the drone more flexibility than the typical drone. Yu can also set it to auto level, another feature that helps when it comes to photography and video streaming.The flight time is 8 minutes, which is decent in micro drone segment. However, charging time takes only 25 to 30 minutes so it will be up and about quickly. You also have two options to control the drone, with the transmitter or your mobile device. The parts are also more durable compared to cheap drones.The transmitter gives you a range of 150 m, while on your mobile it is 45 m. The app also comes with half a dozen tutorials that reduces the learning curve even more. A blade removal tool is included in case you need to replace a propeller.

+

Auto leveling support, Can perform inverted flight, FPV compatible HD camera

-

Flight time is only 8 minutes

TYPE

Quadcopter

CAMERA

Optional

FLIGHT TIME

15 minutes

SMARTPHONE CONTROL

-

WEIGHT

447 g

RANGE

500 m

FAA REGISTRATION

Required

The Arris X-Speed has a rugged built, making it more durable than other drones. Parts of the drone are made from solid carbon fiber, giving it the strength to withstand more than a few crashes. Its flight time is 9 minutes, and it has a hover mode if you want to shoot a specific location.The X-Speed is also one of the fastest racing drones, so it’s ideal for racing with friends. With a radio distance of up to 1 km, the X-Speed is built for speed and wide range use. The transmission range maxes out at 500 m, but it is better to keep the distance to 300 m. The package comes with the FPV goggles, and together with the 2.8 camera gives you everything you need to get started. Another benefit of this drone is that it is assembled out of the box. No need for any complicated construction, as it’s ready to go. The drone is compatible with 4S and 3S batteries. It uses the SP Racing F3 flight controller, which is open source and easy to tweak. Most of the instructions are provided on the bundled DVD, which is a plus so you don’t have to do a lot of reading. The drone responds well to your commands, and advanced users can change the low battery alarm so you can fly it longer.

+

Very fast, Durable construction, Easy to use flight controller

-

Batteries are not included

TYPE

Quadcopter

CAMERA

2 mp/720p

FLIGHT TIME

7 minutes

SMARTPHONE CONTROL

-

WEIGHT

150 g

RANGE

50 m

FAA REGISTRATION

Not required

The Ghost Drone’s biggest strength is its ease of use. Once you download the app to your iOS or Android, hook up to a Wi-Fi network and it’s good to go. Even better, the flight time can reach up to 30 minutes. The Ghost Drone also takes just an hour or less to reach a full charge. The range is good for half a mile, and all the functions are accessible from your app. If battery runs low, press Return to Home and the drone lands. It also has a Hover and Follow Me modes, both self-explanatory. The Ghost Drone doesn’t come with a camera, but it is compatible with several popular action cams like the Hero 3, Hero 3+, GoPro Hero 4 and many others. You need to install these, but it won’t take more than a few minutes. The Ghost Drone has a 3 axis gimbal, and these are aluminum, aircraft grade for extra stability. With the gimbal locked in, the photos and videos you take are clear and crisp. Lastly, the propellers self-tighten, which helps improve wind resistance. With its customized controller, you have more control over its performance.

+

Long flight time, Well balanced, Weather resistant propellers

-

Doesn’t come with a camera

TYPE

Quadcopter

CAMERA

1080p

FLIGHT TIME

10 minutes

SMARTPHONE CONTROL

-

WEIGHT

339 g

RANGE

100 m

FAA REGISTRATION

Required

The Parrot Bebop is equipped with 1080p HD video and it is also fully stabilized thanks to its 3-axis image stabilization mechanism. This means the view doesn’t get affected by the drone’s inclination or movements. Even if there is wind, the video output remains steady.The Bebop app gives you control of the camera’s angle. Not only do you have a 180 degree control, but the drone’s movements are responsive too. The Bebop is also one of the few drones in this price range that can set up its own Wi-Fi hotspot. The default Wi-Fi settings work fine for most users, but you have the option of using 2.4 or 5 GHz. This drone has a GPS built in, and it allows you to set up a flight path on your mobile. Once you have set up the flight plan, you just let the drone take off and do the rest. Its GPS system is also accurate up to 2 m, and its Glonass satellite allows precision tracking. You can save up to 300 flights, and you’ll be able to watch it. You can also avail of the Parrot Cloud service and use it to share your flight data, video and photos online.

+

High quality stabilized video, Intuitive controls, Supports GPS map flight

-

The flight time is reduced when HD video is extensively used

TYPE

Quadcopter

CAMERA

Optional

FLIGHT TIME

25 minutes

SMARTPHONE CONTROL

-

WEIGHT

1000 g

RANGE

100 m

FAA REGISTRATION

Required

DJI Phantom-2-v2

The DJI Phantom 2 is complete system with excellent quality. The system is almost ready to fly (ARF). You have to srew the propellers by yourself. However, neither a camera or gimbal is included in basic version. DJI shop offers complete kits which then contain both gimbal and camera (usually goPro Hero 3 or Hero4). In contrast to it's predecessor, the DJI Phantom 1, the overall concept has become simpler and more harmonious. Self-locking propellers can be screwed directly without tools. It has 3S LiPo battery, simply plug and play into the quadcopter and you'reready to go. The flight time is up to 25 minutes, which is an excellent value and guarantees long flights. Bottom line Phantom 2 is easy to pilot quadcopter for taking aerial images, it's excellent way to get into drone photography if you're on the budget.  We would also advise to get extra batteries and few spare propellers. 

+

Control of camera settings in flight, Easy to use, Smartphone communication

-

Transmitter distance of 800m

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Expect from a Drone in This Price Range?

These drones are more durable than drones selling for less than $100 or $200. Many of these drones are made of proprietary material which have been fortified to withstand crashes. With cheap drones, usually it is one crash and you throw the thing in the trash. Drones in this price range are made of stronger parts, so they’re going to last longer.

In addition:

  • These are the ideal entry level RTF (ready to fly) drones. Cheaper drones don’t have the power, durability or specs to engage in long flights or racing.
  • These drones also have longer flight times. The cheapest drones can only last 5 to 10 minutes. Drones under $200 can last up to 15 to 20 minutes, but the flight time is significantly reduced when you use the HD camera. Under $300 drones can reach up to 20 - 25 minutes, and the duration isn’t significantly shortened even when you use the HD camera.
  • Higer camera quality, up to 1080p.
  • Racing: if you want to get a taste of drone racing, this is the range to begin. A few of these drones are capable of flying up to 15 mph, and with FPV you’ll see the action up close.
  • More Features: these drones have more features than cheaper drones. Headless mode, 180 degree vision control, GPS flight map and consistent Wi-Fi are found in many models. While some cheaper drones may have these features, they are better implemented in these models.
  • Higher Quality: these drones are made of superior parts and should last a long time.

What are the Requirements to Own and Fly One of These Drones?

The requirements are not that different from other drones. Many drones in this price range are between 0.55 to 55 lb. meaning FAA registration is required. Registering your drone costs just $5 and the process is straightforward. If you own one of the lighter drones, you don’t need to report to the FAA.

Are These Drones Ideal for Children and Beginners?

For an absolute beginner, you may balk at the thought of spending this much on drones, especially if it’s going to crash. However, these drones have better handling and response, so you may consider it an investment. 

These drones are not toys, which is why you see these products advertised as for 14 years and older. But if you have a tech savvy child who’s had experience with cheaper drones, they should be capable of using these drones.​

Is it Easier to Fly a Cheaper Drone Than These Models?

Some novices believe that it is easier to fly the cheap drones, as they are not complicated. In fact it is the opposite. A drone that sells for less than a $100 or $200 is harder to navigate than these models. These models are easier to learn because their controls are more refined. While they’re more expensive, you get more precision controls.

Why is There a Huge Disparity in Flight Time?

You may have noticed that some of these drones have a flight time of 10 minutes, while others can go for up to 25 or 30 minutes. The thing we have to remember with these flight times is the weather, camera usage and speed affect the duration.

Also, the flight time given in the product description is meant as a general guideline. So “on the average” a drone sold for less than 300 bucks has a 20 minute flight time. But the factors we mentioned will affect the duration.

Are These Capable of More Complex Stunts Than Entry Level Drones?

These drones can do complete 360 flips and rolls, hover, and some have invert flying support. There are also some under $200 drones that can do this too. The difference is these drones perform the maneuvers more smoothly and with less risk of losing control.

Do These Drones Have a Wider Range Than Basic Models?

Yes, some of these drones have a longer range. Most of these drones also give you the option to control the drone via the transmitter or an app. The app’s range is limited, but it is more flexible and compact than the controller.

Where is the Ideal Area to Fly These Drones?

The ideal location is any open area. It must not be populated, with no trees, poles or structures your drone could fly into.

Can I Use These Drones for Surveying, Infrastructure Inspection, Mining, Etc.?

While these drones are not toys, they do not have the capacity or power needed for those tasks. These drones are best used for recreation, as they are not capable of these heavy duty tasks.

How Hard is it to Install a Camera on These Drones?

Most of these drones have an HD camera built in. But if you have a good action camera, you may prefer to use that instead. As long as the camera is compatible, mounting won’t be an issue.

Is it Better to Build or Buy a Drone?

For a beginner, it’s better to buy a readymade drone. Unless you’re a DIY expert, building a drone can be tricky and cost more than you expect. With a built drone, you can start flying right away.

Tips for Flying a Drone

The following tips are for drones in this range, but it also applicable to other drones.

  • ​It might take a long time, but it’s best to fly the drone on a full charge. A half charge means a short flight time and can be frustrating.
  • These drones often have firmware updates. Make sure to update yours regularly to avoid problems.
  • For first time users, practice first. Fly at low altitudes and learn the basic movements before trying the flips and rolls.
  • Stock up on accessories and spare parts. No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. Whether it is due to human error or a mechanical failure, you should have spare propellers, backup battery and so on.

Conlusion

Each of the five drones reviewed here are among the best in the under $300 range, but the Parrot Bebop is the clear winner. Other drones have good feature sets but compromise in one area or the other, but the Bebop scores well in all the major departments.

Its stabilized HD video is one of its biggest attractions, as it resolves a lot of the problems with drone photography and videos. It also gives you 180 vision control, superior to the fixed camera angle on most drones. While the other drones are also good, the Parrot Bebop is our top pick for durability, performance and versatility.

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