The Hubsan H502S Desire is a great starter drone. It offers stable basic flight and some GPS functionality, usually unheard of in a sub-$100 drone.
- 10 - Minutes
- 720p - 30FPS
- 11 - MPH
- 300 - Meters
The UDI U818 is a series of toy drones that you can find online or at your local store. These are not fantastic drones, but...
- 8 - Minutes
- 720p - 30FPS
- 11 - MPH
- 50 - Meters
The Walkera Rodeo 110 is the smallest in the Rodeo line of racing drones. A great beginners drone for the racing world.
- 6 - Minutes
- 45 - MPH
- 100 - Meters
The Hubsan H501S was one of the first GPS-enabled drones from Hubsan with brushless motors and a 1080p camera.
- 20 - Minutes
- 1080p - 30 FPS
- 45 - MPH
- 300 - Meters
The Syma X8 Pro is an impressive drone for the Syma line, with GPS, FPV video and a camera gimbal, but it's still a toy-class...
- 9 - Minutes
- 720p - 30FPS
- 11 - MPH
- 200 - Meters
There are a lot of good drones on the market today, figuring out what you want and need of a flying machine is a smart place to start, as is finding your ideal budget. We’re here to help – complimenting our other priced drone lists, let’s explore the best drones under $200.
Best drones under $200
- Hubsan H502S Desire
- UDI U818A HD+
- Parrot AR Drone 2.0
- Walkera Rodeo 110
- Hubsan H501S Brushless
- Syma X8 Pro
What can you expect from a $200 drone?
A $200 drone in today’s market is going to be the higher-end of the toy class quadcopters. These will be simple machines with lower-end cameras, but may offer GPS or other tools to allow stable flight and even an autonomous hover mode.
Let’s be clear, a drone at this price point should be thought of as a fun way to experience flight, and you certainly will. Drones in this range, however, are not ideal camera drones.
As you add more features to a drone, you add more weight. It is likely that your $200 drone will weigh more than 0.55 lbs, which means that you are fully subject to the flight laws of the FAA in the United States. You do not have to register your drone, but all the rules apply. Know where and when you can fly before you head out, fun can be had, but getting into trouble is easy if you fly in the wrong places.
If you are flying for pay, or any other form of compensation, you must operate under a different set of rules and possess a commercial drone license. We call it the Part 107, it’s not too hard to get, but it will take some time to learn all the rules. We want to help you learn the rules and get your commercial license, check out our drone pilot training material.
Hubsan H502S Desire
August 2016Release Date
At launch, the Hubsan H502S Desire was one of the very best toy-class drones that Hubsan produced. It rocks basic GPS and flight features like a follow-me mode. The little drone still has brushed motors, which is a clear distinction in the Hubsan line between their low and high-end models, the higher end models have brushless motors. Don't hold this against the H502S, it may not be as fast or battery efficient as the brushed models, but it still flies very stable, holds a hover quite well and the FPV through the 720p camera gives you that fun flight experience.
You can get into the Hubsan H502S Desire for around $100 today, that's approaching half of its initial price at launch.
November 2015Release Date
The UDI U818 series has a few drones to speak of, one of the best is the U818A HD+. The HD+ model comes with a 720P camera and some basic GPS functionality. This is a toy-class drone, the type you have likely seen in the electronics department of your local supermarket. There is little to say about this machine, it flies fairly well, for a toy-class machine, it is affordable and is great to learn on. There is no FPV, the camera just records and takes photos for viewing afterward.
Check out the UDI U818A HD+ for around $80.
Parrot AR Drone 2.0
September 2012Release Date
As you may have noticed, Parrot makes a lot of drones. Most of their machines are toy-class or commercial drones, with a few in between. Parrot likes to play with different designs, including fixed-wing planes and, like the AR Drone 2.0, standard quadcopters. The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is like most of their machines, made of foam and plastic. This is great for making light-weight crafts that are easy to operate, and safe for young pilots.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 offers a 720p camera for FPV flight, and holds up very well considering its age. Check out the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 from around $180. Be forewarned, this is a discontinued drone, it sold for under $100 for a time.
Walkera Rodeo 110
January 2017Release Date
Walkera makes some fun racing drones. One of the best is the tiny Walkera Rodeo 110. Make no mistake, this machine is not the fastest or most agile or powerful around, it's just a solid offering for a small starter racing drone. You'll want a larger machine, and likely to build your own custom machine from the ground up, if you want to go pro, but a few of these booting around the backyard is great fun.
All the basics are covered in this little racing drone, so check out the Walkera Rodeo 110 for $170 today.
January 2018Release Date
The Hubsan H501S was one of the first GPS enabled drones from Hubsan to offer a 1080p camera and brushless motors. This sounds like a common thing, silly to celebrate by today's standards, but this was a game changer for Hubsan and the toy drone market. Looking at 2017 and earlier, most toy-class drones, which included most all of Hubsan's drones, used inefficient brushed motors and all flew in what you might call ATTI mode. While the early drones had no navigation or a tools for object avoidance or flight assist, GPS in the H501S gave it the ability to hover and even set a GPS controlled route through the mobile app on your smart device.
With RTH functionality and more, the Hubsan H501S remains one of the best drones that live in between toy-class and what we might call the premium experience of full GPS flight control. Check out the Hubsan H501S for around $168 and watch for deals as low as $150.
Syma X8 Pro
October 2018Release Date
We've always said that the Syma X5C is our favorite toy drone for first time pilots, well, the Syma X8 Pro is a cut above. Syma thought through the features and design of the X8 Pro to build a functional machine that looks good and offers functionality not found on their lower-end machines. The 720p camera is mounted on an one-axis gimbal, connect to your mobile device for the live video stream and GPS takes things to new heights.
The Syma X8 Pro is note as good as machines like the DJI Spark, but for $200, it's a decent consideration.
March 2018Release Date
Built using many DJI parts, and sold on the DJI site in partnership with DJI, it is a common misunderstanding that this is a DJI drone. The Ryze Tello is a fun little machine that serves many purposes. On the surface, it's a functional and capable high-end, toy-class drone. You can fly by mobile device, remote control or, in the case of the Educational versions of this machine, you can code your own functionality.
The Ryze Tello is an attractive first drone for many pilots and parents of potential pilots. There are even a few different partnerships, like the Iron Man edition Tello.
Surely there are more drones under $200?
There sure are. The list of drones under $200 is ever evolving. Many players have been adding value through updates and increased functionality, but other drones have been hitting the market as well. Of course, if you are unsure of your budget, maybe go a little smaller, we’ve got some lists that might help.
Best drones under $100
Our list of cheap drones, the machines under $100 is a solid collection of toy-class drones ready for your training needs, or to keep a child happy.
Best drones for children
We also explored inexpensive flying machines in our list of drones for children. Kids will love to fly one of these great machines, you just have to pick your budget.
Air Hogs toy drones
Finally, we put together a list of some of our favorite flying machines from Air Hogs. Make no mistake, they offer way more drones than we could write about, and almost all of them fall well under $100.
We would be happy to hear what you think are some of the best drones under $200, especially if you have any disagreements with our list. We certainly try to be fair, but the truth is, there are just so many drones in this segment, we haven’t tested enough of them to be sure. Visit out expertise in the drones under $1000 list, they fit our passion for aerial photography a little better.
Is there a $200 drone landing near you any time soon?
Frequently asked questions
Are cheap drones any good?
There are quality drones at nearly any price bracket, however, what makes a drone good for us may not be what you need. We like to fly stable machines to capture the best possible aerial photos and video, there are no “cheap” drones that can manage that. Ignoring a camera, if you fly to experience flight, there are solid machines for decent prices. Most racing drones are very affordable compared to a camera rig, as an example.
How high can I fly a $200 drone?
400 feet, or about 120 meters. No matter what your drone is physically capable of, almost every country around the globe has a legal height restriction for drone flight. Most of the drones in this price range offer connectivity up to about 800 feet, so if laws permit, you’ll be able to fly close to your max connectivity range above the ground.
What’s the difference between a toy drone and a real drone?
As with many things, how you use it determines what it is – if you fly for fun, it’s a “toy.” Breaking it down, however, you should expect drones under about $50 to offer almost no flight assist features, and minimal connectivity range. Drones up to about $200 start to get brushless motors, greater connectivity range, maybe GPS and a simple camera. When you get passed about $500, you’ll start to get automated flight modes, cameras with stabilized gimbals, and much improved flight range. Things only get better from there.