Looking for a drone that costs less than $200? The market is saturated with cheap, toy drones, and it can be tough to filter out which is the best.
Toy drones under $200 are great for a variety of purposes, including introducing kids to drone flying and practicing on yourself before you fly a more expensive drone (you really don’t want to mix up your left and and your right and accidentally fly your new DJI Mavic into a pool).
Note that while all of these drones technically can take videos, the video quality is pretty low — think about the same quality as the camera on your Razr phone back in year 2004. But, for such a low price and ease of use, these drones are a great gateway into the world of drone flying.
All of these drones are also “FPV” drones, meaning they offer a smartphone app you can connect your drone to, and see in real time what the drone’s camera sees.
Here are four of my top picks for toy drones for fall of 2017:
- FADER drone by TRND labs: The $129 Fader drone is one of the easiest to fly, with auto takeoff and land buttons. This is my number one pick because it’s the perfect mix of an awesome drone that is easy to fly, and also at a great price point (it’s the second cheapest on this list).
One of the things I actually love about this drone is you charge the drone via a USB port directly, rather than having a separate battery that you have to charge and then plug in. This is an awesome feature because you don’t have to worry about keeping track of (or losing!) one more electronic piece — the actual battery. Instead, you just charge the drone via a port directly on the drone’s body. Less unnecessary stuff is always good!
2. GoolRC T32 RC Foldable: At just $59.99, this drone is the cheapest of the bunch. A price point that low is tough to beat, which is why it comes in at No. 2 on this list. The drone doesn’t make the top spot because it was harder to control than the Fader.
A nifty feature of the GoolLRC T32 was that it is actually foldable. Similar to the DJI Mavic, this drone’s arms actually fold-up. But while nifty, I didn’t find this feature particularly useful, since the drone is so small in the first place (this is much more of a selling point for something like the Mavic). At less than $60, you really can’t go wrong with this drone.
3. SPECTREdrone by TRND labs: With auto-takeoff and land as well as altitude hold, this drone is the easiest to fly of the bunch. At $149, the Spectre drone is slightly upgraded from its cousin, the Fader drone. It also has aerobatic capability, it can do 360 flips too.
The main difference between this and the FADER is you end up paying $20 for a slightly easier flying experience. Personally, I like the flying to be a little more difficult (I primarily view these cheap drones as training gateways to something better), but if you arelooking for a fun toy, it might be worth paying $20 to save the headache and have any easier time flying it.
4. Extreme Fliers Micro Drone 3.0: This drone is really special, having launched on Indiegogo and raised 3,078% of its goal. It also has really neat features, like a gimbal that can tilt vertically to capture different angles (rather than pointed straight ahead, which is the case with most toy drones). It comes with a Google Cardboard-like headset for FPV, which is a nice touch.
Ultimately, this is the most expensive drone in the bunch, coming in at $199, which is why it doesn’t snag a spot on the podium.
Still, either of these four drones are a great pick for a back-to-school gift — or something to put on your holiday wish list.