Top 7 best drones under $200 in 2018 – No BULLSHIT

More and more cheap drones are getting released these days that are better than the last generations and older guides won’t help you find the best ones in 2018.

There are many drone makers in China that have started actually producing higher quality stuff for amazing prices.

top drones under 200

My Top Camera drones under $200

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!

1.MJX BUGS 3

  • Very Fast
  • Super Cheap for what it does
  • works with gopro
+min
Battery Life
m
Range

2.Syma X8HG

  • High Durabiliy
  • Has camera Included
  • Works with GO Pro
+min
Battery Life
m
Range

3.WLToys Q696 A

  • Super cool lights
  • Comes with gimbal
  • Has camera included
min
Battery Life
m
Range

4.MJX BUGS 2

  • GPS
  • Has included Camera
  • controller with monitor
min
Battery Life
m
Range

5.Hubsan H501S

  • Great Signal Range
  • GPS
  • Works With Go Pro or standard camera
min
Battery Life
m
Range

6.AOSENMA CG035

  • Pretty cheap
  • GPS
  • Works With Go Pro
min
Battery Life
m
Range

7.JJRC H55 Tracker

  • Under $100
  • GPS
  • Full HD camera
min
Battery Life
m
Range

How to pick a cheap drone

First of all, if you’re new to the hobby, you better check out my infographic with the beginner drone buying guide that will teach you the basics.

However, here’s the main points you should usually look for in a drone:

  • Camera Quality
  • Motor Type
  • Battery Life
  • Range and GPS
  • Form and Size

Camera Quality

At the price of around 200 dollars you should get a drone with a pretty decent quality camera, preferably at least 1080p Full HD.

However, the most important factor when it comes to the footage quality is how stable the drone flies, and that means you’ll probably need a camera gimbal (Stabilizer).

Bellow​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ you have a comp​​​​​​arison between a stabilized video and an unstabilized one:

There is one VERY important distinctionbetween long lasting powerful drones and poorly built ones, and that is the motor types.

Usually the very cheap drones you’ll see at prices under 50 usd will have brushed motors, but sometimes even more expensive ones up to hundreds of dollars have cheap motors and many people won’t even know about it.

Motor Type

What is the difference between brushed and brushless motors?

Brushed motors, as stated above, are found in cheaper models because they are cheaper to make, however they are also:

  • less resistant
  • not even close as powerful as brushless ones
  • can be even noisier and cost you more in the long term

You can find here a better explanation on brushless motors and their importance.

So the logical choice is to look for brush-less motorsespecially in drones around 200 dollars and even 100.

You can also check my top cheap brushless drones article to get a look at my favorite, yet not expensive quadcopters on the market.

Battery Life

As you can see in the diagram bellow, a good timing for a drone in this price range is over 15 minutes.

Drones like the MJX Bugs 2 can fly even for over 18 minutes with no problem.

 So there’s no use in getting a drone that will only fly for barely 5 minutes.

 
HIgh Battery life
Over 15 minutes 83%
Medium Battery Life
Around 10 minutes 58%
Low Battery Life
Under 6 minutes 30%

GPS is quite an expensive feature to add to a drone, so not all drones have it, but I’ll show you a few quadcopters that have both GPS and a very big range of flight.

Range and GPS

Global Positioning System is useful for a few functions:

  •  return to home ( to the precise position it took of from)
  •  point stability ( the drone will fly in the same spot correcting its position even in windy conditions)
  •  waypoints and other functions (these appear more in drones over $400)

In terms of connection quality you should check drones with 5.8ghz conectivity as they usually have the biggest range and suffer less interference.

If you’re interested in a bigger range, don’t get the ones that can only be flown with a smartphone, because the wifi range is very limited, usually at a maximum of 50m.If you can, you should look for over 1km in range, prefferably.

Form and Size

In the end of 2017, after the release of the all popular DJI Mavic drone, more and more drone companies try to imitate the foldable design to save some space or just look cool.

Foldable drones are a brand new thing and they are actually helpful sometimes because they tend to be more compact, however, a bad design can break the drone utility and at this price we really want to look for the other more important factors.

You might also be looking for a selfie drone, or one that has a very small form factor, and while there are many cheap ones, they’re not as good as advertised and you might want to invest in a bigger more capable quad-copter for now.

Drone with best quality footage under $150

Syma x8hg

Camera Quality
75%
Flight Time
41%
Range
62%
Additional Functions
68%

From all the drones I know of, this one is probably the most impressive when it comes to getting consistent quality footage.

At $150 it won’t be amazing, but certainly lacks downsides found in other cheap drones like image jello effect and the video is pretty stable too.

Here are 2 videos showing unedited footage samples

These are the Syma x8HG features

It comes with a FULL HD 1080p camera that can also record in 60 fps for slowmotion in 720p quality.

The camera mount can also carry a go pro hero 4(and lower) or most other action cameras (including a 4k cheap one)

Range is not a big problem with this quadcopter, because it has a signal strenght of about 100m, however for most people that might be too low, especially considering it doesn’t have GPS

Range is not a big problem with this quadcopter, because it has a signal strenght of about 100m, however for most people that might be too low, especially considering it doesn’t have GPS

Flight time is around 7 minutes with the standard battery. If you buy a few additional batteries you’ll be good to go. 

Other functions of the quadcopter include:

  • Micro SD card can be inserted
  • Easy to replace brushed motors
  • Headless mode
  • Can do flips
  • You can calibrate the gyros

Who do I recommend the Syma drone for?

This quadcopter could just as well be a good first drone. However, I’d recommend starting on something smaller and cheaper first to learn how things go.

The good thing about this drone is that it is relatively modular and can be later upgraded with a way better 4k camera (or go pro hero) and it can even support a gimbal.

The gimbal will greately improve image quality.

Gearbest coupon:

Best drone with GIMBAL stabilized camera

WLToys Q696 A - best drone to learn before DJI

Camera Stability
89%
Flight time
60%
Range
68%
Camera Functions
73%
WLToys Q696 A

This drone might just be the perfect option if you want to buy next some DJI drone that comes with a stable gimbal and a movable camera.

You will learn how to handle the camera angle and take the shots that you want in a similar fashion.

I don’t remember of any other drone at this price range to also include a capable 2 axis gimbal. The WLToys q696 A is a brushed motor drone who comes with a pretty well stabilized camera system.

Between all the drones presented here, this is going to be the most stable footage, however you won’t be able to change the camera, so you’ll have to stick with that quality for now.

Also, the brushed motors will last less than brushless, but keep in mind that they are easy to replace and very cheap. So that shouldn’t be a problem.

This is a full review and footage for the WLtoys drone

These are the WLToys Q696 A features

It comes with a FULL HD 1080p camera that can also be moved while in the air (very useful)

Comes with a 2 axis stabilized gimbal that helps you get a better shot.

gimbal

Battery life is fairly good at 11 minutes per flight.

Other functions of the quadcopter include:

  • Micro SD card can be inserted
  • Altitude Hold
  • Headless mode
  • Gimbal can be moved up and down to change position
  • Has really cool lights for the night
  • 5.8 ghz monitor with transmitter included

What people should buy the WLToys Q696 A

WLToys Q696 A buy package

This drone is for people who want to have control over what they see on the screen.

As I mentioned above, it might be a good starting point if you want to get into more expensive drones like DJI ones that also have  the ability to change camera angle.

I see this drone as a beginning into cinematography, but it can just as well be used for fun.

The altitude hold is also very useful for shots.

Best GPS Follow Drone for GO PRO

AOSENMA CG035 - gimbal can be attached

Camera
70%
Flight Time
Web Designer 60%
Additional Functions
Web Designer 86%
AOSENMA-CG035-no-gimbal

his drone comes in multiple versions, some of which already have cameras. However, I don’t recommend buying those as they are pretty low quality. It has brushless motors that are strong enough to carry a bigger weight. 

The best bet with this drone is to get a go pro/ action camera and put it in the case it comes with and fly like that. 

There’s also the option to invest a little more and buy a good Gimbal to get absolutely amazing footage.

Here's a video footage with a gimbal

This is how the GPS follow me mode works

These are the AOSENMA CG035 features

The version I recommend I the one found on amazon without camera. You can later mount a gimbal and your favorite action camera and get amazing footage.

It has GPS and that means it comes with great functions like:

  1. Steady hover
  2. Auto-return to home
  3. GPS follow me 

Battery life is fairly good at 10 minutes per flight.

Other functions of the quadcopter include:

  • circle mode (point of interest flying)
  • headless mode works very well
  • powerful brushless motors
  • very good hobby grade controller sticks
  • very fast in no gps mode

WHO should buy the Aosenma

aosenma

If you already have a go pro or action camera or plan to get one, this is one of the best drones you can get at this price.

However I’d strongly suggest you invest in a gimbal to get the top quality footage.

For people who want the version with camera, Gearbest has it a great price.

Keep in mind, this is a pretty high quality drone with many functions, so it’s worth the price.

The 2 Best drones with a camera under $200

MJX Bugs 2 - All in one package

Camera
62%
Flight Time
89%
Range
89%
Additional Functions
79%
mjx bugs 2 black quadcopter with gps and long range

There are 2 versions of Bugs 2 available:

  • Bugs 2c – which is under $200 but has no live wifi FPV
  • Bugs 2w- which is a little over $200 but has live connection to your phone

If you order any from Gearbest here’s an 18% off coupon:RC18OFF

This is the drone under $200 that will give you the most bang for your buck. There is another one from the same company that I saved for last that also has amazing quality for the price.

But if you want awesome specs this is the one for you.

This drone is very high quality and features the following advantages and disadvantages:

Positives

  • GPS
  • Auto Return Home
  • Long battery life >16 min
  • Huge range over 1km
  • Full HD camera

Negatives

  • Camera is not stabilized
  • camera can't be upgraded

Here's a video footageof the bugs 2 drone

Hubsan h501S is it better than the Bugs 2?

Camera
62%
Flight Time
91%
Range
89%
Additional Functions
83%

Update: there’s also a newer version of the Hubsan H501 called H501A that also features a wifi connection to your phone and an app where you can plan things like waypoints, making it more useful than the Bugs 2.

In any other way, the Hubsan h501s is almost the same as the Bugs 2. The price however is a little steeper, sometimes getting a little over $200.

Positives

  • GPS
  • Auto-return home
  • Long battery life >16 min
  • Huge range over 1km
  • Full HD camera
  • Can have waypoint mode for H501A version

Negatives

  • Camera is not stabilized
  • camera can't be upgraded

Hubsan h501S is it better than the Bugs 2?

Bugs 2 vs Hubsan H501s which one to pick?

There are 2 versions of bugs 2 as well as 2 versions of Hubsan.

They can range between under $200 to over that, depending on model.

I feel that the Hubsan (especially the H501A) has a few more features compared to the Bugs, but some people might just not need it.

If you’re strict on the budget and want to go under $200 better order from Gearbest and use the coupon code: RC18OFF

My top pick: Best Brushless drone under $100

MJX Bugs 3 - best bang for your buck

Footage Quality
83%
Flight Time
81%
Range
76%
Power And Durability
80%
bugs 3 with action camera

This is my favorite drone of all time and if a friend were to ever ask me for a powerful beginner GO Pro drone, this would be it!

And you can find it for under $100 too!

To get this under $100 just get it from the site I also ordered it from and enter the code at checkout: RC18OFF

This drone has the minimum things required to make it just great. And the price is what makes it stand from the competition.

Getting Brushless motors, a good range and awesome battery life at this price range is absolutely insane.

Here's some amazing stable footage of the Bugs 3

To achieve this stable footage you need a good action camera like the Elephone Explorer Proand the stock camera mount with some cool post processing.

These are the MJX BUGS 3 features

It comes with a camera mount for action cameras the size of go Pro Hero 4 and lower.

It has powerful brushless motors that can carry a heavy camera and even do flips with it

Battery life is quite amazing at over 15 minutes per flight.

The signal range is said to be around 200m which is quite good in my oppinion.

Other functions of the quadcopter include:

  • It has a modular design and other cameras can be mounted
  • In sport mode it becomes a total beast fun to fly
  • It can do flips with the camera mounted
  • It’s powerful enough to resist strong wind
  • Has really cool lights for the night

What people should buy the MJX Bugs 3

bugs 3 with action camera

This is for everyone really, but maybe not children.

Beginner or advanced, you will certanly not regret buying the Bugs 3. 

And coupled with a good camera and some skill, even videographers can do some cool things with it!

Fastest way to get going with this quadcopter is to order it from amazon bellow

JJRC H55 - Cheapest GPS drone under $100

This comes as a surprise in 2018, because I have never seen a drone this cheap to actually have GPS on it. It also comes with a 1080p camera and can take pretty acceptable video.

So, if you’re on a budget, better watch my review of the JJRC H55 bellow and you might be surprised:

You can get this drone from gearbest at a very affordable price and with up to 3 additional batteries, that will give you up to 30 minutes total flight time!

Use couopon code at checkout

As a conclusion, the best drone sunder $200 that I chose tend to have brushless motors for power and longevity and each has their uses depending on what you want to use them for.

I picked from the best ones I could find and this list with the top drones under $200 is updated for 2018, so you’re getting the best currently available. Have fun picking the best one for you!

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