Don’t Waste A Fortune: Best Drones Under $200

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BEST OVERALL

Altair 818

Altair 818

5/5

BEST WITH GO-PRO

Blackhawk Drone

Altair Aerial

4.5/5

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Force1 Drone

Force1 U818A

4.3/5

The world has gone drone crazy and it seems that everyone these days has a flying quadcopter of their very own.

If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on your very own drone but don’t know where to start, the experts would recommend aiming for one under $200 for your very first purchase.

Thankfully, finding the best drones under $200 isn’t too much of a challenge, as long as you know what you’re looking for. 

At this price, you’re able to get one that’s fully functional and has quality features, so you can learn the basics about these unmanned aircraft and build up your experience in the meantime.

This buying guide is a comprehensive guide to shopping for the top drones under $200 and it covers the best overall, as well as GoPro and beginner friendly picks. 

With our help, you’ll find out exactly what features matter when shopping for a drone and why $200 is the magic number when it comes to getting your very first device.

Our Recommendations For The Best Drones Under $200

Drones come in all shapes and sizes, but when you want to get something quality for under $200 there are recommended styles you should aim for. 

These are our finds for the best drones for the money with features that will impress beginners and seasoned pilots alike.

BEST OVERALL

Altair 818 Hornet Drone

Altair 818

This is a lightweight done intended for use by the whole family, comes equipped with a 720p high definition camera, and lets you stream video and pictures straight to your smartphone with the downloaded app.

As a top pick for beginners and intermediate users, you can adjust the speed to suit whatever level you’re comfortable at.

Customers loved everything about the construction of this drone that made it incredibly easy to fly. The camera is high definition and it takes amazing aerial shots and is a great upgrade from the original model. 

The drone comes with spare parts and an additional battery which is a nice little bonus and saves you from spending more money down the line on replacements.

This drone comes with auto takeoff feature which is handy at first, but as you’re hoping to build up your skills it puts a dampener on things. 

Having a manual function would be good to learn how to do it yourself, so keep this in mind if you’re getting a drone to learn the basics of takeoff and flight. 

There are three controller skill settings which let you up the challenge a bit, but where these are located on the controller isn’t the best for accessibility.

These minor negatives aside, there are heaps of cool features to brag about with the Altair 818 Hornet Drone. It’s got two batteries included with 15 minutes each, so you’ll get 30 minutes of fly time from the one charge.

The flight stability is incredible for this price range and makes it very easy to learn the moves for people of all ages.

Priced at around $170 when you shop on Amazon, the Altair 818 Hornet Drone has everything you could ask for in a camera drone at this price point. 

With a 12 month limited warranty and a durable but lightweight feel, it’s the perfect pick for your first drone or something that will do it all without breaking the bank.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Camera: 2MP
  • Resolution: 720p
  • Fly Time: 30 mins
  • Weight: 2.9lbs
  • VR Compatible: No
  • Memory Size: Stream
  • Range: 490ft

RUNNER-UP

FORCE1 U45W BLUE JAY DRONE

Force1 U45W Blue Jay Drone

On the cheaper end of the scale but still with a lot to offer is the Force1 U45W Blue Jay Drone. 

This is a super lightweight drone that has a built-in 2MP camera that offers 720p of high definition resolution and an included SD memory card with 4GB to store all of your favorite pictures and videos from each flight.

For such an affordable model, people found that the Blue Jay Drone could take a beating and was made pretty durable. 

This is nice to see in a cheaper model and it means even in the practice stages when you’re not flying the best, you don’t have to worry about breaking your first drone just because you didn’t stick the landing properly.

On the downside, this drone is seriously lacking in battery power and you’ll get between 7 to 10 minutes from a single charge depending on how you’re flying. 

Most customers weren’t impressed with this because they found they were just getting the hang of flying when it was time to return home because the battery had run out of steam.

Other notable features that make it worth considering including the 328ft range it’s capable of and a seriously lightweight feel of just 4.2oz. 

This helps it to fly with ease and gives you better control, but it’ll still be durable enough for serious pilots to enjoy as well. 

It’s VR compatible and although doesn’t include the headset, just knowing there’s an option to enjoy 360 degrees of bird eye views makes it pretty enticing.

The Force1 U45W Blue Jay Drone might look like one of the cheaper alternatives but don’t be fooled by the price. 

For around $130 when you shop on Amazon, it has all the high tech features a drone should and is lightweight enough for anyone to master. If you can look past the seriously low battery life, there’s a lot it has to offer.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Camera: 2MP
  • Resolution: 720p
  • Fly Time: 7 mins
  • Weight: 4.2oz
  • VR Compatible: Yes​
  • Memory Size: 4GB
  • Range: 328ft

ALTERNATIVE

Holy Stone HS110 Drone

Quadcopter

Holy Stone is a large manufacturer of drones and the HS110 is one of their earlier models from a few years ago. 

Priced under $200 it’s a great drone for those who want the full experience without the high price tag. 

With VR compatibility, mobile control options, and a 720hp camera that lets you view everything in real time, you’ll love all of its features.

This is a step up from some other basic models we’ve reviewed because it features things like a home button that will bring it back to you if it goes out of sight. 

The quadcopter uses 2.4Ghz technology which means no interference and with a multi-axis gyro, you can learn a whole heap of cool tricks, including 360-degree spins.

There are some bad points worth mentioning, and most notable is the poor battery life and short range. 

Some people were only about to get around 150 feet with this drone and with a battery that only lasts 9 minutes there are definitely better options on the market. 

If you want to stream video of your flight, the range for that is only 150 feet as well, which is seriously lacking.

The Holy Stone HS110 comes with FPV camera, an altitude hold function that lets you stay in one place in the air, and four-speed modes to choose from. 

Everyone from beginners to experts will still find it a challenge to fly, so there’s no danger of getting bored.

You can pick up the Holy Stone HS110 for around $200 on Amazon so it’s one of the costlier choices we’ve reviewed, but it also has a lot more tech. 

It’s up to the buyer to decide whether they can sacrifice on a seriously low range and battery life in exchange for these features, so it all depends on what you want from your drone.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Camera: 2MP
  • Resolution: 720p
  • Fly Time: 9 mins
  • Weight: 3.8oz
  • VR Compatible: Yes​
  • Memory Size: Stream
  • Range: 164-328ft

BEST WITH GO-PRO

Altair Aerial Blackhawk Drone

Blackhawk Drone

If you’re someone who prefers the option to use a camera, this Go Pro compatible drone will be your ideal pick. 

Altair Aerial is a trusted name when it comes to drones and they’ve managed to create an impressive model without the need for a camera. 

You’ll get a massive range of almost 1,000ft and a huge battery life of 17 minutes when it’s running on the medium throttle, which is a lot more than most can offer at this price.

As the best quadcopter under $200 without camera features, there’s still a lot else we can talk about with the Blackhawk. Customers were impressed at how it handled and was able to do flips and spins with ease. 

This one is a little more durable than a beginner’s model and it’s made with quality in mind, proving you can get a lot for the $200 price tag.

On the downside though, there are some missing features that you might not want to be without. 

You won’t find any altitude control and the prop guards aren’t very durable. Most customers found that removing them helped it to fly better so you will have to be prepared to do some tinkering.

The Altair Aerial Blackhawk Drone is compatible with GoPro Hero 3 and 4 so you can mount it on if you need. With a weight of around 3lbs, it’s a little heavier than some but it’s all thanks to a solid construction.

It has a 6-axis gyro and built-in automatic lock protection so there’s no need to fear a lock that burns out your engine.

Very reasonably priced at around $120 on Amazon, if you’re happy to give up on your search for the best camera drone under $200 and opt for one without, it’s definitely our top choice. 

With a 12-month limited warranty and 30 days return option, you can feel pretty safe in the fact that the Altair Aerial is a well-made device that is also fantastic value for money.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Camera: N/A
  • Resolution: N/A
  • Fly Time: 17 mins
  • Weight: 3.1lbs
  • VR Compatible: No
  • Memory Size: N/A
  • Range: 984ft

BEST FOR BEGINNERS

Force1 U818A Drone

Force1 Drone

When you’re an absolute beginner and buying your first drone, you probably don’t want to spend $200, so the Force1 U818A Drone is our choice for the best camera drone under $150 that would suit newbies. 

With a 720hp resolution and 4GB SD included so you can record all of your flights, it’s a great way to learn how to use your new device.

Customers were impressed at the controller that came with this and found it was easy to fly and make corrections. There’s a one press button that lets you do flips so you can have a lot of fun playing with it. 

Even though it’s made of plastic it’s pretty durable during a crash landing, which is one of the top things to look for as a beginner drone pilot.

On the downside, the range is lacking at around 328ft and you’ll get just seven minutes of battery use. 

However, to sweeten the deal, Force1 has included two batteries with this so as long as you remember to charge them both you’ll get about 14 minutes of power before the low battery signal starts to flash.

Other notable features include the very lightweight construction and a weight of just 4.6oz. For a model so affordable it’s got a very clear picture from the camera and it includes its own memory card to store everything. 

With a 6-axis gyro and headless mode, there are plenty of expensive features to brag about as well.

If you’re looking for your very first drone you can head to Amazon to get the Force1 U818A Drone for around $80, but there’s no word of a warranty from the manufacturer. 

For first timers, this has everything you need, and then some, so it’s our top choice for new drone pilots.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Camera: N/A
  • Resolution: 720p
  • Fly Time: 14 mins
  • Weight: 4.6oz
  • VR Compatible: No
  • Memory Size: 4GB
  • Range: 328ft

Why Your First Drone Shouldn’t Be The Most Expensive

Couple Bought A Drone

It can be tempting to splash out and get a drone that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars when you’re just getting into the hobby, but it’s not recommended.

Learning to fly a drone takes time and patience, and occasionally some damage, so start off with one that handles well but won’t matter all that much if it ends up crashing and breaking.

The magic number for an affordable drone that still has all the features seems to be the $200 mark.

Once you get a handle on your flying skills and know what features are important to you, your next drone can be a serious upgrade and one that has been thoroughly researched.

FAQ About Drones

Becoming an expert on drones doesn’t happen overnight, so anything we can do to educate ourselves will make for a better flying experience.

Here are some commonly asked questions about drones to give you some guidance into what to look for.

What Can You Expect From A Drone Under $200?

These days, it’s easy enough to get a quality drone for under $200 that would suit beginners and intermediate pilots. 

The standard range can go up to 1,000 feet, they come equipped with cameras, and battery life last as long as 20 minutes in some cases.

What To Look For When Buying Drone Under $200?

There are some key features you’ll want to consider when shopping for a drone under $200 including battery life, weight, design, materials, range, and camera.

A drone will in this price range usually focuses on a specific feature like a quality camera or long distance range, but not be proficient in every area.

Quality Of Video In Such Drones?

Most drones at the $200 price tag come with 720hp resolution cameras. 

While this is sufficient for hobbyists, if you want to take high definition videos and images, something with 1080hp resolution is recommended.

How To Connect The Drone With Gopro?

If you want to connect your drone with a GoPro it will need to be compatible first and foremost. 

You can set up the drone and GoPro attachment through the relevant smartphone app so it can feed video during the flight.

Flying With Affordability

There’s no need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars just to get a good drone, as you can see by our top picks.

Whether you’re a beginner or ready to step it up to the next level, these represent some of the best drones under $200 on the market, and any one of them will make you a very happy pilot.

Getting into the world of drones isn’t just about getting the biggest and best machine you can start with, but learning the ropes and understanding what makes a good model.

You might have a preference for range over camera quality or the gyro design over weight, so take the time to learn how they work and then upgrade once you’ve got a handle on how drones really fly.

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