You don't have to spend a fortune to get your hands on a drone or cool flying quadcopter. When you know where to shop and what to look for, you'll find the best drones for under $100.
If you're new to the world of drones, there are a few things you need to know. Some drones may require assembly, but they don't always state this clearly on the package. You'll see acronyms like RTF (ready to fly), BNF (bind and fly), and ARF (almost ready to fly). A BNF drone comes assembled, but without a controller, so you'll have to buy it separately. An AFR drone is usually a kit that's partially assembled, so you might have to purchase several parts to complete it. For beginners, ready-to-fly drones are really ideal. You'll also want to look for a drone with six-axis gyro stabilization, as this type of gyroscope technology provides more stable flight and control in windy weather, preventing crashes.
It's important to note that, depending on its size, you might need to register your drone. According to the FAA, any flying aircraft that weighs more than 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds must be registered. Definitely check and comply with the federal laws to avoid any trouble.
To help get you started, here's a quick roundup of the best drones for under $100. They're all RTF and guarantee a good time.
The Best Drone Under $100, All Things Considered
With the DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone, the sky is the limit. This drone provides a first-person view (FPV) in real time, displayed right on your smartphone.
Why it's great: Compatible with most smartphones, the MJX H app provides a live feed and gives you the flexibility to adjust the camera's settings right on your phone. It features a 3-D split screen display that'll work with your own VR Headset. Like the option above, this drone also features six-axis gyroscope technology and even has a headless mode that controls it automatically (so you don't have to). It'll fly up to 100 meters away and do 360-degree flips and stunts for up to nine minutes. Plus, when you're ready to land, all you have to do is press the "return home" key, and it'll fly back to you.
What fans say: "This drone is awesome. Not only can you connect your cell phone to it, it's very easy to control and you can modify the settings to make sure that you are flying level."
- Requires FAA registration
Also Great: A Mini Drone With Strobe Lights For Added Fun
The UFO 3000 Bright LED RC is a cool mini drone that's capable of lighting up the night sky.
Why it's great: Similar to others listed here, this small, inexpensive drone is a great option for beginners, thanks to its headless mode and one-button flip tricks. Featuring four vivid neon green and blue LED lights that glow mid-flight, it has two speed settings that work for more daring stunts. What's more, it comes with additional lithium batteries to extend your flight for a total of 18 minutes.
What fans say: "This mini drone looks awesome in the sky. It's a pretty decent drone for beginners and the LEDs make it easy to keep track of especially if it's dark outside. Plus, it does pretty cool stunts."
For A Little More Cash: A Splurge-Worthy Quadcopter Bundle
The U818A HD+ Discovery Drone is the dream quadcopter bundle for both hobbyists and professionals interested in aerial photography.
Why it's great: This drone includes a 720p HD camera, a bonus 4-gigabyte memory card, and easy-to-use controls. And with its six-axis gyroscope technology, this drone is stable even on a windy day. However, if you want to up the ante, it can do 360-degree flips and other mid-air stunts with the push of a button. It also features a handy low battery alarm that notifies you when it's time to land.
What fans say: "I have never owned or flown a Quadcopter but always wanted to. After tons of research, I decided to buy the UDI 818A HD+ RC. I am so happy with my choice. It is easy to learn, nice size, and very very durable. The HD Camera records much nicer videos than I expected it to. It also comes with everything you need."
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