Best Drones under $200 in 2020 (and what to avoid)
Looking for a good quality drone under $200 can be tough as you're not yet in the more professional budget area.
In this article you'll learn about what specs to look for in a drone of this price, what to expect and what are my top picks for a few categories.
At this price, every dollar counts in getting yourself a better or worse drone and the differences can be significant.
I'm going to cover the main features of basic camera drones, not FPV or otherwise niche quadcopters.
Keep in mind that you shouldn't expect high level camera drones like some of the newer DJI models. If you think you can expand your budget a bit, I recommend you check out my top drones under $500 list, or my latest comparison between the Mavic Mini, Mavic Air and Fimi X8 ( all great camera drones).
Proper image stabilization in a camera drone is probably the most important factor you should look for, if you want to take great photos and videos that are not shaky.
I had to update this article for 2020 as some new drones have been released, that strangely enough actually come with 3 axis gimbals at prices as low as this.
You'll find all of them on this list.
As a sidenote, if you want to learn more about what drones are, check out my article on the types of drones out there .
Drone Return to home (and GPS)
The return to home feature usually comes with any GPS drone (which all on this list are).
It's helpful in many situations, however, the most prevalent ones are:
- return to home on loss of signal
- return to home on low battery power
The “home” point is nothing else but the spot where you first launched your drone from.
I also made a list with my favorite Return To Home Drones, and they are sorted by price, so you can pick the best one for your budget.
Most drones that come with GPS will not only hover steadily in the air, but also have the RTH option and usually a few flight modes too, like circle around, waypoints and so on.
Battery life and Range
Checking a drone’s battery life will help you make calculated decisions when and where to operate it. The least thing you’d want is to see your drone crashing in the sea because you were not aware how long its battery could last.
Luckily, most drones show a live battery indicator and also come with the option to return to home on low battery or loss of signal (at least that's the case with the drones I recommend in this article).
Another thing you should consider is the drone’s range, as it depends on what you plan to do with the drone.
I have also compiled my ultimate list with long range drones, if you want to focus more on this specific trait.
The range of a drone can greatly vary depending on the wifi interference, whether you bought it from Europe (CE mode has lower range usually) or USA(typically the best range).
What are the Best drones in this price range?
This is a quick Ranking of my top picks for the best camera drones I’d recommend for different people with different needs, all considering your budget is under 200 dollars.
I have a more detailed review of each one bellow the article. Use the quick navigation above to get there.
This list is in order of what I consider to be better overall AND what value for money that drone has.
All these quadcopters are super high quality and you can’t really go wrong. It’s up to you to decide!
My top pick (Xk x1)
5.SJRC F11 Pro (long range and battery life)
No image stabilization
The SJRC F11 Pro is the 2k version of the original, a drone with tons of battery life and great build quality.
It doesn't have any image stabilization however, but the image quality is quite top notch.
You can change the camera angle from the transmitter, which also happens to be quite compact.
This is a GPS drone that can return to home when signal is lost and has a visual range of about 500m (and 1km controller range).
Like all the drones on this list, it comes with powerful brushless motors, that are more durable in time.
The foldable design and the fact that it comes with a very usable carrying case, makes it quite perfect for travel.
One small downside would be that the image has some fisheye effect to it, but that's also because of the wide angle of the lens.
When it comes to battery life, you'll be getting about 25 minutes in real life.
4. Funsky 913(Best GPS drone under 250g)
16 min battery
The funksy 913 must be the best beginner drone under $200 in my opinion.
It made it on this list after I tested it myself and got mind blown by its build and image quality.
The main fact I love this drone is because it's super silent (much more than any other drone I've tested).
It's small enough to fly without a permit in most countries (including USA) and it still has TONS of power.
It comes with brushless motors and some really high quality plastic.
Unfortunately you can't change the camera angle while you're flying, only before flight, but even though it doesn't come with a gimbal to stabilize it, the footage is creamy smooth.
The three bladed propellers allow it to fly quite fast, yet you can still set it up to fly slowly for taking better footage.
I found its GPS to be some of the most stable ever and the return to home is quite precise.
3.JJRC X9 Heron ( Best selfie drone under $200)
2 axis gimbal
The first drone on this list with a capable 2 axis gimbal, the JJRC X9 heron is a drone that I reviewed recently and comes with some impressive specs.
It's not perfect, but the 2 axis gimbal and lightweight frame make it quite a good travel companion.
It does have an optical flow camera for better stability during flight, along with GPS.
Comes with return to home option (even in low battery).
One disadvantage would be the fact that it doesn't come with GLONASS(the russian version of GPS). This means the flight stability is a bit inferior compared to some other drones on this list.
2.WLtoys XK X1( best camera drone under $200)
2 axis gimbal
The Xk X1 from WLtoys is a drone that I tried and reviewed hands on, and was really impressed with the quality of footage I got from it.
The gimbal is one of the best I saw in the industry, while the camera is not half bad either.
If you're looking for the best footage under $200, this might just be it.
You can control the camera to move up and down, but it's not that smooth, as you have to press buttons instead of using a scroll wheel.
The carrying case that it comes with is absolutely great, same quality as the actual Phantom 4, that this drone resembles.
The drone does return to home very precisely and also flies quite stable.
1.ZLRC SG906 Pro (Best Foldable drone under $200)
2 axis gimbal
The ZLRC SG906 Pro made a huge leap from the original, just because it added a better camera and a good 2 axis gimbal.
Just like the original, it comes with a great build quality, brushless motors and great battery life.
You can use this drone for exploration, as it comes with a 50x in app zoom (you do lose quality though).
It flies super stable also thanks to its optical flow sensors underneath and GPS+GLONASS system.
The standard controlling range is 1km, but 500m is what you should expect from the visual range(FPV)