The Best Cheap Drones with Camera in 2023

best mini drones

Our Picks

This article introduces all the best cheaps drones at different prices, no matter you want a budget drone for kids or an affordable drone for photography, you can find the best one for your needs.

After spending a week’s time doing research on more than 30 drones that top the sales online by reading reviews from other websites, studying customer feedback, collecting information from forums and social media, and watching massive YouTube videos. We have come out with a list of the top cheap drones for you.

 

Why you should trust me?

As the founder of Cult of Drone, I have nearly 5 years of experience working with DJI. During my time there, I was in charge of the DJI Online Store operation and participated in every major new product launch.

I am an experienced drone pilot, and I own a Phantom 3 Advanced, a Ryze Tell, a Mavic Pro, a Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Air 2, and a Mavic Mini.

 

Budget drones under $50

Q9s Drone for Kids

Our rating: 4.3 out of 5

Suitable for: 14 years and up

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 60m 
  • Flight time: 7 minutes per battery
  • Charging time: 55 minutes

best mini drones

The Q9S drone is a great beginner drone for kids. Users said that it’s good for indoors flying, it’s soft but durable and doesn’t damage the walls and other things when crashing.

People also like this drone for its cool features like the shining LED lights when flying at night, 3 different speed modes, flip, one-key takeoff, and so on.

Another thing users commented is that the built-in controller is easy to use and flying the drone is very easy to learn.

What users don’t like are the short battery life, fairly long charging time, and poor performance when flying outdoors.

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Potensic Upgraded A20 Mini Drone

Our rating: 4.3 out of 5

Suitable for: 14 years and up, especially beginner pilots

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: N/A
  • Flight time: 5 – 6 minutes per battery
  • Charging time: 35 minutes

best mini drones

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Syma Mini Drone

Our rating: 4.3 out of 5

Suitable for: 8 years and up, especially beginner pilots

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 70m (230 feet)
  • Flight time: 6 – 8 minutes
  • Videos: 720p

best mini drones

People commented that as a starter drone, this model is excellent and a lot of fun when used indoors, but outside use is a little bit challenging since it has no GPS or optical image stabilization to keep it in place on windy days which also means it’s not capable of taking decent photos or videos.

One of the things that impressed the users most is the durability. Some said that they crashed it a couple of times – banged in the wall, ceiling, floor, and even themselves and the drone survived all of it.

The real flight time is 5 – 8 minutes depending on how you use it. Many say this is a little bit disappointing but pretty standard for the size, the good thing is it comes with 2 batteries which offer you a longer flight time.

You can either control it via your phone (use wifi connection) or the remote that comes with it, when controlling with your phone you will be able to experience the FPV mode though the transmission is a bit laggy.

Pros

  • One-key backward, take-off, and landing
  • Control with Smartphone App or Remote
  • 3D Flips & Roll
  • 2-speed modes from low to high are suitable for both beginners and experienced pilots
  • 2 batteries included
  • FPV Mode
  • Great durability
  • Well-designed transmitter with ease of use and has many options that are found in expensive drones

Cons

  • Charging takes over 90 minutes
  • WiFi transmission for FPV is laggy
  • Too small for far-flying, not very suitable for outdoor use
  • Motors will heat up with high-speed spinning. You will need to cool the motor down for 10 minutes between each flight.

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Cheap drones under $100

The Ryze Tello

Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

Suitable for: Beginner pilots, kids, and teenagers.

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 100m (300+ feet)
  • Max Flight Height: 30m
  • Max Flight time: 13 minutes
  • Max Speed: 8m/s
  • Photos: 5MP
  • Videos: 720p
  • Stabilization: EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization)

best mini drones
This drone really packs a decent amount of features into a fairly small body. Many people think highly about its durability and reliability, saying that you may or will crash it many times, but it would work just fine. I personally crashed it more than 10 times but nothing goes wrong.

Another thing that users like the most is the flight performance, claiming that this one does what it does very well while cheap drones are always a challenge to fly. It’s pretty stable in light wind, and very easy to control, plus the picture and video quality are good enough.

Different people seem to find all that they need from it. Beginner pilots said it’s perfect for practicing their flying skills, kids love it for the cool features like 8D flips and bounce mode. Every time I fly it, my two-year-old girl always asked me to make the drone stunt. Teens use it to program and hobbyists experience FPV flying with VR headsets.

People do have small problems like controlling with phones, not like a controller, operating via the App on your phone may cause slow and sluggish controls, many suggest to get a 3-party controller. Most users would also get at least an extra battery for longer flight time.

It’s neither the cheapest nor the most expensive among all that reviewed, but just like many people commented, it’s a great drone to start out with. The flight performance of this drone is much better than those have a lower or similar price.

Pros

  • Precise hovering. The altitude and position hold work quite well.
  • Good Reliability, you may crash many times and it will survive just fine
  • Up to 13 mins flight time
  • 100m flight distance
  • 5MP photos & 720P Videos with Electronic Image Stabilization that ensures the quality
  • Record coordinated short videos with Circle, 360, and Up & Away
  • Auto Takeoff/Landing
  • Low Battery Protection
  • 720P HD Live View
  • VR headset compatibility. Fly with a breathtaking FPV(first-person view).
  • Extensive accessories supported
  • Programmable with Scratch
  • 8D Flip allows you to perform cool aerial stunts
  • Bounce Mode makes the drone up and down automatically
  • Powered by DJI and Intel, excellent flight performance

Cons

  • No controller included
  • Only one battery in the package, need to pay for extra ones
  • No compatible 3-party Bluetooth controller for Android

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The Holy Stone F181C

Our rating: 4.4 out of 5

Suitable for: 14 years and up. Supervision needed for kids

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 100m (300 feet)
  • Max Flight time: 9 minutes
  • Max Speed: 14 m/s
  • Videos: 720p

best mini drones

Most people like this mini drone for its easy-to-fly, saying that it’s a good choice not only for entry-level but also for intermediate flyers. You can get a lot of fun flying it. It also performs pretty well when flying indoor. Some parents bought this for their child and really enjoyed the time flying together.

Responsive customer service is one of the few things people commented too. If you encounter any problem with the drone, the customer support team would walk you through it, if it’s something that can’t be solved, you can get a replacement very quickly.

Another thing that impressed users is that the drone comes with a lot of extra accessories like a spare battery, SD card, blades which you may need to pay if choosing another brand.

People also commented that the camera is very shaky, so don’t expect too much on quality videos and photos. It’s too susceptible to wind or any slight breezes when flying outdoor, and could be easily blown away. The real flight time of one battery is around 6 minutes, which is also not satisfactory.

Pros

  • One-Key Return & Landing
  • Up to 9 minutes of flight time
  • 3D Flips & Rolls
  • 4 Speed Control Modes
  • Left/Right Hand Operation Mode
  • Durable and solid
  • Remote included, the controls work very well, pretty clear and easy to use
  • Come with two batteries, offers a longer flight time.
  • Easy to attach the camera
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • No FPV (First Person View)
  • Altitude hold is not as good as advertised.
  • Shaky videos & photos
  • Poor performance outdoor, drift even in light breezes
  • Descending speed is too slow
  • Motors will heat up with high-speed spinning. You will need to cool the motor down for 10 minutes between each flight.

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SANROCK U61W Drone

Our rating: 4.2 out of 5

Suitable for: 14 years and up. Supervision needed for kids

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 100m (300 feet)
  • Max Flight time: 12 minutes
  • Charging time: 80 minutes
  • Videos: 720p

The SANROCK U61W is a fun, cheap drone for beginners. It comes with a lot of accessories like an extra battery, propellers that will save you money. Users liked it very much saying that it’s a durable drone, had no problem after crashing into the walls and windows a few times.

It has a live video transmission and the latency is relatively low. The hover feature also works great for a drone at this price point.

People also liked the easy-to-use app and the capability of connecting with a VR headset to experience FPV flying.

However, people do have complaints about this drone, here is what they don’t like the most:

  • Not very stable sometimes, it drifts randomly in one direction
  • It doesn’t descend automatically when it’s out of range
  • The English manual is extremely poor, if you are a newbie to drone, it may take you some time to figure out how to control it.

 

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Cheap drones $100 – $200

Holy Stone 2K GPS FPV

Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

Suitable for: 14 years and up. 

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 600 m (1968 feet)
  • Max Flight time: 18 minutes
  • Videos: 2K 

best mini drones
The Holy Stone HS100 drone comes with built-in GPS which makes it capable of auto RTH (return to home) and follow you around. It also makes flying very safe and stable cause it can maintain its position even on windy days.

It packs Headless Mode, Altitude Hold, and One-Key takeoff and landing, users said that it’s a responsive drone really easy to use or learn to fly.

People do have complaints, saying that the App is not stable, and the video would freeze sometimes, also, the average battery life is only about 12 minutes.

Note: You need to register with FAA or a local institute before flying the Holy Stone HS100.

 

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Contixo F30 Drone

Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

Suitable for: 14 years and up. 

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 800 m (3000 feet)
  • Max Flight time: 16 minutes per battery
  • Videos: 4K 

best mini drones

The Contixo F30 is a small compact drone that comes with a foldable design. It weighs less than 0.55lbs / 250g so you don’t need to register with FAA.

Users said it’s a nice drone. The photo and video quality are great for the money. What also makes it stand out is the extra battery, sd card, and travel case that come with the drone. You don’t need to spend money on these must-have accessories.

This drone packs GPS so it is capable of Follow Me, and auto Return to Home. It also has some intelligent features like TapFly and Point of Interest, making flying and shooting more easier.

What people don’t like are:

  • The App is glitchy
  • Customer service is slow
  • The camera angle is not adjustable during flight

 

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Cheap drones for $200 or more

DJI Mini 2

Our rating: 4.8 out of 5

Suitable for: 14 years and up. 

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 6.2miles (10 km)
  • Max Flight time: 31 minutes
  • Max Speed: 47km/h
  • Max Wind Resistance: Level 6
  • Videos: 4k 
  • Zoom: Yes

DJI Mini 2 is the upgraded version of the Mavic Mini we recommended before. Compare to the first generation, it packs a better camera capable of smooth 4K videos, 12MP photos, and Zoom feature.

Most people like this drone for its 249g (0.55 lbs) weight and potability, saying that they don’t need to register before flying in many countries like the US,  UK, and many EU countries (but you still need to follow the local drone laws when flying).

Another thing that makes the DJI Mini 2 the best cheap camera drone for photography is the outstanding flight performance. It packs 2 downward sensors and GPS for stable hovering and flying. It can fly as far as 6.2miles (10 km).

The HD live video transmission not only gives you an FPV flying experience but also facilitates your video shooting.

What impressed users also includes the long flight time, Mavic mini allows you to fly 31 minutes with one battery. This is pretty much the same as DJI’s $1000+ flagship drone Mavic 2.

Pros

  • Long flight time per charge – 31 minutes
  • Foldable and portable
  • Ultra-lightweight – 249g (0.55 lbs)
  • High-quality camera – 12MP photos and 4K videos
  • Intelligent flight modes for easy shooting
  •  720p HD live video transmission
  • Built-in easy-to-use video editor

Cons

  • No obstacle avoidance sensors
  • Lacks object tracking and hyper-lapse modes

 

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If you think the DJI Mini 2 is a little bit pricy for you, and the longer range, 4K camera are not what really need, then the first generation Mavic Mini would be more suitable for you. It’s a lot cheaper than the DJI Mini 2.

Mavic Mini

Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

Suitable for: 14 years and up. Supervision needed for kids

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 2.5miles (4000m)
  • Max Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Max Speed: 47km/h
  • Max Wind Resistance: Level 6
  • Videos: 2.7k @30fps

best mini drones

Pros

  • Long flight time per charge – 30 minutes
  • Foldable and portable
  • Ultra-lightweight – 249g (0.55 lbs)
  • High-quality camera – 12MP photos and 2.7K videos
  • Intelligent flight modes for easy shooting
  •  HD live video transmission
  • Built-in easy-to-use video editor

Cons

  • No 4k camera
  • No object avoidance sensors
  • Lacks object tracking and hyper-lapse modes

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Ruko F11 Pro

Suitable for: Beginner pilots who also want to get into aerial photography. Not suitable for kids.

Key Specs

  • Max Flight Distance: 0.75 mile (1200m)
  • Max Flight time: 30 minutes
  • Max Wind Resistance: Level 7
  • Videos: 4K

best mini drones

The Ruko F11 Pro has many features that more expensive drones have, like TapFly, Follow Me, Point of Interest. It makes both flying and shooting more easily and intelligently.

Users said that it’s very easy to use, and the camera is adjustable during flight, it can go from straight ahead to straight down. The max battery life is 30 minutes and you can get nearly 25 minutes in real-life situations. This is pretty good compared to many toy drones.

It comes with built-in GPS, so you can expect a stable flight and Return to Home feature.

What users also liked very much is the extra battery and carrying case that comes with the drone, you don’t need to pay for those necessities.

In terms of downsides, here are what people complain most:

  • The camera has a slight fish-eye effect
  • Stabilization is not very good
  • You do have to register it with the FAA, but the registration only takes like 5 minutes
  • It takes too long to fully charge the batteries
  • Hard to tell front from the back while in the air (Recommend using a colorful sticker).

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Conclusion

Overall users thought these drones are doing a great job for what they do, allowing them to experience the fun of flying, advancing their flying skills.

Of all the cheap drones reviewed in this article, The Ryze Tello is the best starter drone in terms of durability, price, flight performance, camera, and safety, but if you expect more like better flight performance, longer flight time, and a high-quality camera, then the DJI Mini 2 is the best for you. 

If you are looking for a toy for kids, then the Q9s Drones for Kids will not let you down.

Due to limited resources, we are unable to test and research every single one in the market, we would like you to share your experience with us. If you have any questions, please contact us by leaving your comment below.、

 

What you should consider before buying a cheap drone?

When it comes to choosing the best mini drone, there are so many aspects to consider such as your budget, your skill level, and usage, which vary from person to person. After our research, we have concluded the following factors that you should mainly pay attention to.

1. Whom is this drone for and what’s your purpose? The first thing you need to figure out is whom you buy this drone for, then you will know what features are important to you. For example, if you are looking for a cheap toy drone, then you will not pay attention to the camera, speed, and so on.

2. Longer Flight Time. The longer a drone can fly, the more enjoyment you will get. 5 minutes is a must otherwise you will find yourself ending up with frequent takeoff and landing.

3. Good crash resistance. No matter you are a novice or an expert, it’s inevitable that you may crash many times on walls or in trees. A durable one would save you a lot of trouble and money.

4. Easy to use. As most users of mini-drones are beginner pilots or even young children, easy-to-use plays a critical part, functions like auto takeoff and landing, return to home will greatly smoother your flying.

5. Fun to fly. Drones that are packed with features like flipping, FPV (first-person view), bouncing, or programming are so much fun.

6. Prompt Customer Service. Although you may have done everything you have to, read the manual several times, watched the videos on how to fly, chances are you might still encounter issues during your first flight. Good and prompt customer service will greatly remove the blue and frustration this may cause.

7. Control range. This is something that determines how far your drone could go. It can reach a distance as long as 2 kilometers or as short as 30 meters.

8. Budget. The price of mini-drones ranges from $30+ to $300+ depending on brands and capabilities. The huge difference means you may easily get lost trying to find the right one. A clear budget plan will help you only focus on a small list.

 

Tips for flying a drone

Many people may think that cheap and small drones are easier to fly, but the truth is the more expensive a drone is the simpler it is when it comes to operation. After doing research on a few hundred cases of accidents with customer feedbacks, below are what can help you significantly reduce the risk of crashing or flyaway.

1. Read the manual carefully until you fully understand how to operate, and know all the limitations, and don’t try to do anything beyond your new drone’s capabilities.

2. If you are a pilot with zero flying experience, practice it indoors before you take it out.

3. Give some basic training to anyone who wants to try, especially kids, and be ready to take back control any minute.

4. Avoid trees, bushes, lakes, rivers, and buildings if you are fresh.

5. Don’t fly in strong winds and make sure the battery is always fully charged before taking off.

6. Check the battery life regularly so that you can get it back before falling to the ground

7. Always keep an eye on your drone if you don’t feel positive flying it blindly.

For more flying tips, check this website for more details.

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