Electronics

Best Drones Under $100 For Photography & Flying

 

Drones are a great invention. They became popular a few years ago and the demand for them has grown during that timeframe. High-end drones cost thousands of dollars, so not everyone can afford them. That’s why, i decided to take my time and write about the best drones under $100 for this year. Let’s take a look at them.

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Which Is The Best Drone Under $100?

5. Force1 UFO 3000

Best For Kids

Our Ratings:

Durability
80%
Quality
70%
Value
70%

The Force1 UFO 3000 is one of the better drones in the market, thanks to its captivating look, that as its name implies looks like a spaceship, and it is one of the best-looking drones on the market. It is also excellent drone for kids thanks to its ease of use, LED lights, and its fun factor, on top of that it delivers excellent features to its affordable price, that makes it a very compelling drone.

First off I want to praise the excellent design of the Force1 UFO 3000. This drone sports a super modern body that is streamlined and refined to make it move quicker than most drones in this price range.

What makes this drone more attractive is its, ultra-bright LED lights on its prop guards that shine bright green and blue light, this makes the drone visible at night and some users have reported that you can take breathtaking long exposure shots thanks to this feature. During my testing, it revealed to be true, and with time I could draw words using the long exposure on my camera.

The drone comes with a super useful and convenient remote transmitter that offered excellent controls. From the controller you can use all of its features, like the two speed modes, low and high, one button takes off and landing, headless mode, and from there you can also perform amazing tricks like the 360-degree flip.

I found this drone appropriate for indoors in low power mode, and for outdoors in high power mode. Inside its package, there are also two 3.7v lithium batteries, that each has 10 minutes of flight time and take about an hour to charge, a USB charging cable, spare propeller blades and a user manual that explains the drones every function.

For its listed price, the Force1 UFO 3000 delivered excellent flight and stability even in windy conditions, however, I would not recommend flying it in the wind as a beginner due to its lightweight. All things considered, this drone doesn’t have any weak points and will keep you satisfied.

4. Holy Stone HS170

The Cheapest

Our Ratings:

Durability
80%
Quality
80%
Value
85%

The Chinese drone company Holy Stone has produced some extremely capable drones in recent years and all of them have been very popular and fan favorites. Despite being the cheapest in their lineup the Holy Stone HS170 is their most popular drone and also the highest rated in Amazon, as most beginners have opted to start with this due to recommendations. It comes with a nice set of features, good flight time and ease of use.

The Holy Stone HS170 is a compact and lightweight drone sporting a bright cobalt finish around its body and frame, and on the middle of its main body, you will locate the Holy Stone logo.

This drone has excellent shock-proof curved legs that absorb the majority of impacts and on top of that, it sports prop guards for even more protection. The protection aspect is especially important for beginners that tend to crash the drone in their learning process, resulting in a very durable machine.

I can comfortably say that the Holy Stone HS170 is one of the easiest drones to learn to fly, an absolute beginner can easily fly this drone without any prior experience. Due to its small size, you can easily fly it from the palm of your hand and you can easily fly it out of there, without any concern. The drone also comes equipped with three-speed modes that allow for a beginner to learn to operate a drone appropriately with the low-speed setting then progress to higher settings.

Despite being the cheapest drone on this list the Holy Stone HS170 provides a comfortable 8 minutes of flight time, and if you wish to double your phone I would suggest you invest in an extra battery, also it is worth stating that the battery takes about 60 minutes to charge.

The Holy Stone HS170 comes with a nice set of features such as the headless mode and altitude hold function, which are perfect for every pilot regardless of skill level. Other than that it features one-button take-off and landing, and it can perform 360-degree flips, for that price these features are exceptional.

3. Syma x5

The Most Durable

Our Ratings:

Durability
85%
Quality
85%
Value
95%

You can choose whichever option on this list regarding your drone and would still have a blast, however, if you want the most durable drone built from the most rugged materials than you definitely should try the Syma x5. It is very easy to fly, and it has plenty of availability for spare parts from the manufacturer. Considering the price there is virtually no caveat with this excellent drone.

First off I want to talk about the exceptional build quality of the Syma x5. It has a pretty bulky body, a wide and thick construction that looks like it carries a lot of weight, but to everyone’s surprise, this drone was light and very manoeuvrable in the air. Furthermore, this drone features a great pair of landing skids, that prevent your drone from getting damaged from rough landings, that will happen.

On top of that, it has landing gear on the sides of each propeller and the excellent prop guards, overall I can comfortably say that the manufacturer has put effort into making this drone as durable as it can be.

Thanks to the 6-axis gyro direction stabilizer, the Syma x5 is one of the easiest drones to fly, it keeps the drone balanced in the air, and its body keeps it stable even in windy conditions. The controller provides you with one of the best flying experiences you can get, as you won’t have to take up a learning curve because it has none, it is very intuitive and with the 100-meter range, you won’t have to worry about losing it.

The flight time of this drone is about 8 minutes in total, but it was a little disappointing considering the 500 mAh battery, plus it takes about 100 minutes to charge form drained, but if you take the price into consideration it is still pretty good.

If you want a drone for your children or a drone that you know that you’ll crash often and don’t want to tinker around much with repairs, this affordable Syma is perfect for you.

2. Eachine E58

Best Camera

Our Ratings:

Durability
95%
Quality
90%
Value
95%

Those new to this hobby probably aren’t aware of the excellent Eachine E58, that is what I would call a compact, foldable, radio controlled, pocket drone. It sports a cool design, one of the best cameras in this category and it also comes at under $100. Other than that the Eachine E58 is perfect for every skill level, due to its speed levels, that let you ease into the hobby and as you gain confidence, you can use its higher speeds.

The Eachine E58 comes in a nice package containing the drone itself, the transmitter, a battery, a micro USB charging cable, prop guards, spare blades, a small screwdriver for assembly, and the user manual that provides excellent information, simply you have everything to get started.

Like I said earlier, the Eachine E58 is a pocket drone, small and compact that can fit into your cargo pant and jacket pockets with ease. Despite being very lightweight, it feels solid and sturdy, unlike other drones that are pocketable that tend to get damaged after first uses. You can easily throw this drone in your backpack without worrying about any issue.

In this price range and size, generally drones have either very lacklustre cameras or not at all, fortunately, the Eachine E58 is equipped with a 2MP sensor, and can capture video at 720p with 30 frames per second. Additionally, the camera can also be pivoted horizontally from 0 to 90 degrees, to give you amazing shooting opportunities.

Design and aesthetics wise, I am impressed with this drone, because it rocks a high-end premium look. It has a subtle and simplistic construction and paints job while still looking futuristic, the drone features a remote control that is extremely intuitive and of good quality.

With its altitude hold ability, and three-speed settings that provide 30%, 60% and 100% of the power you will get the most of this drone. I would recommend the lowest setting for beginners so you will get the hang of controls and speed without being overwhelmed, and at the highest speed, even the most experienced fliers will have tons of fun.

1. Tello Quadcopter

Best Overall

Our Ratings:

Durability
100%
Quality
90%
Value
95%

Even though DJI makes high-end drones, they managed to make one of the best drones under $100. DJI has always manufactured and designed one of the best drones in the market, one of their best drones is the Tello Quadcopter priced at under $100, but without any compromise at the quality. The Tello Quadcopter features a decent flight time, amazing camera, amazing ease of use and durability, it is appropriate and will provide ample fun for all skill levels, regardless if you are an absolute beginner or an experienced pilot.

I was amazed to see that even a non-experienced beginner pilot will gain lots of confidence with the Tello Quadcopter, that is controllable via the smartphone app or the separately sold remote control. However, it provides plenty of fun for experienced fliers as well, which was a major advantage.

In this price range, most of the drones provide a very lacklustre battery life, but in this case, the Tello delivers 13 minutes of flight time. This is crucial for a beginner because 6 minutes of flight time in most drones will ruin the experience for inexperienced flyers. This drone sports an amazing 5MP camera with an 82.6-degree field of view, on top of that it is capable of recording 720p footage at 30 frames per second.

Moreover, it is equipped with a 14-core Intel CPU that delivers excellent video and stability, to further enhance that aspect, it employs electronic image stabilization for decreased blur and increased motion picture.

I was particularly impressed with the pressure sensor that held altitude and provided amazing shooting opportunities without having to focus on flying the drone. The pressure sensor is also responsible for calculations about the drone’s altitude during the flight and in turn, will provide you accurate and precise parameters and information about it.

It is extremely easy to use, with its one-touch take-off and landing features, one of my favourite features for beginners, and it gives you alerts when the battery is running low and the drone is getting out of your range. You do not need to be worried, though, because the drone will land itself safely if either of the scenarios happens.

The Tello Quadcopter has proven itself time and time again, with its features and durability that it is one of the best drones in the market regardless of the price.

About the author

Kevin Mobley

Kevin Mobley

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