It’s hard to argue that drones aren’t changing the world in a major way. They’re being employed by everyone from the military to government agencies to construction and real estate operations, and the future of drone delivery is right on the horizon. Can you get a drone that can do all those things for less than $50? Of course not, but you can get a great beginners drone that provides you with the best hands-on tools for learning drones operate.
Whether you’re looking for a toy or an educational exercise, HotRate has the tools to help. The 10 models we review are each a contender for the best drone under $50 in 2020. In addition to the review section, our comprehensive guide can help you understand the best specs to consider.
TL;DR - 10 Best Drones Under $50:
- Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini RC Helicopter Drone
- DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone
- Hubsan X4 (H107C) 4Ch 2.4GHz RC Quadcopter
- Cheerwing CW4 RC Drone
- Force1 Drone Quadcopter
- DROCON Drone X708W Wi-Fi FPV
- EACHINE E61HW WiFi FPV Quadcopter
- Syma X5C 4Ch 2.4GHz RC Explorers Quadcopter
- Potensic A30W FPV Drone
- ScharkSpark 1080P FPV Drone
1. Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini RC Helicopter Drone
Holy Stone is one of the most prominent and best manufacturers of drones on the market, so it's no surprise that their budget model HS170 Predator is a strong contender for the best drone under $50. Its sleekly futuristic design is complemented by a great range of features that include a headless security mode, a selection of controllable LED lights built in, and three different speed modes for pilots of varying skill levels.
But the fundamentals here are also strong. The six axis gyro technology ensures a level of stability that's a step above the average drone for less than $50, and it makes the process of performing flips and rolls a complete breeze. This remote control drone also sports a substantial level of wind resistance, so it's a mini drone that will perform well but in your home and in the outdoors.
2. DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone
The X400W by DBPower is pressing right up against our maximum price point, but it arguably offers the broadest and best set of features you can find in a $50 drone. The dedicated remote control also includes a mount for your phone, and it's through there that you can access this drone's camera. This 640 x 480 resolution camera streams directly to your phone's screen so you can accurately capture video more accurately, but it also comes compatible out of the box with virtual reality headsets.
The camera is undoubtedly the big ticket feature here, but it's not all the X400W has to offer. Headless mode is also included, and you can forego the controller entirely and pilot it with the intuitive app interface on your phone. It also doubles as a stunt drone built for the beginner crowd, allowing you to perform a roll with a single button press.
3. Hubsan X4 (H107C) 4Ch 2.4GHz RC Quadcopter
The X4 by Hubsan comes in at right around $30, and while it's not the most powerful drone that we're highlighting on this review list, it's easily one of the best values around and one of the best drones for kids. That price tag will make it a pretty easy impulse buy for plenty of consumers, but it's a buy that will really pay off. That's because the X4 comes with a camera equipped that can shoot both videos and stills.
Just keep in mind that you won't be shooting world class photography here. There's no compatible app, so this drone instead shoots automatically without input from the operator. But it's a great way to live vicariously through the experience of the drone. And the presence of four channel support and six axis stabilization means that you don't have to concern yourself overly with the threat of crashing.
4. Cheerwing CW4 RC Drone
The CW4 is comparably priced to the DBPower X400W, but it's an easy contender for the best drone in its class. It's not that one is better or worse, it's more that each drone does different things best. That takes the form of the 1080p camera that comes built in. That resolution is the best you'll find for a drone under $50, and it maintains a smooth 30 frames per second. A microSD card allows you to save all your videos, a decision that at least partly justifies the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity.
But despite a lack of a companion app, this drone model under $50 controls well with the packaged in remote, and the safety features make it a fantastic drone for kids. One key takeoff and landing, a headless mode, and a hold altitude mode are combined with three speed modes for easier handling of this drone.
5. Force1 Drone Quadcopter
The Force1 includes a lot of the things that make the Cheerwing CW4 one of the best drones, and it manages to do so for about $20 less. Most prominently positioned is the presence of a 720p camera that offers great resolution and performance, and just like the CW4, this model makes use of an SD card rather than a first person view for camera footage. It offers a respectable wide angle of 120 degrees.
But this best drone is also outfitted with a range of advanced features that can grow with you as you develop your skills. Those just starting to learn the ropes will be happy to find a one touch landing and takeoff function, but its sturdy frame is likely to withstand a crash if you do something wrong. Easy to perform flips and an altitude hold function round out the features here.
6. DROCON Drone X708W Wi-Fi FPV
The DROCON drone sports a truly imposing style that looks like it could be handled by a Navy SEAL operator, but it's an easy drone to fly, and the impressive quality of its camera makes it one of the best drones under $50 regardless of your skill level. This drone's camera runs on Wi-Fi and feeds the results directly to your phone so you can guide the video yourself, and it even comes with a mount for the remote control to hold your mobile device.
That camera is the best selling point for this drone, but it's not the only one. A ton of convenient features like a one key return button, and continuous stunt rolls make this both a fun drone to fly and a great means to capture the best and most sophisticated videos, and the quad copter design creates a high level of stability.
7. EACHINE E61HW WiFi FPV Quadcopter
The Eachine E61HW doesn't look like it should belong on a review list for drones under $50. It's boxy but attractive design has a professional polish that not many drones for kids accomplish, and the combination of a WiFi FPV camera and the fact that it's so easy to fly means that it's still one of the best drone for amateur adults looking to learn the fundamentals of drone operation. The Wi-Fi enabled camera delivers consistent video feeds, and it's even compatible with a virtual reality headset.
You'll find the traditional features like seamless 3D flips and headless mode, but more confident operators will find a best feature in the trimming mode which gives you more control over the drone's tilt. And not a lot of drones under $50 allow you to plot trajectories for your drone by simply drawing a line on the screen of your phone.
8. Syma X5C 4Ch 2.4GHz RC Explorers Quadcopter
The Syma X5C is marketed as the best drone for beginners, and while we can't definitively state that, it's easily one of the best drones under $50. A very reasonable $36 price tag gets you a simple but highly stable drone that comes with a camera built right in. And while you don't get a first person perspective or Wi-Fi support, the fundamentals of operating the quad drone Syma X5C is easy to pick up, and a number of safety features help encourage you.
There's a six axis gyro stabilization system that keeps the Syma X5C nice and balanced even if you're still picking up the basics, and it also sports a very high level of wind resistance. The Syma X5C is an appropriate drone for kids both indoors and outdoors. Photos and videos can be shot with a simple button press, and stunts are also easy to perform.
9. Potensic A30W FPV Drone
Potensic's A30W flies like a dream. The combination of a very nicely designed app along with a gravity induction mode provides a great sense of stability to this quadcopter. The first person camera offers a resolution of 720p - which isn't the best in the business - but its selection of complementary features more than makes up for it. Getting this drone up in the air is as simple as pressing a single button, and the same goes for landing it.
Then there's the auto hovering system that allows you to line up the perfect shot without worrying about blurring. And if you find yourself not caring for the remote controls, just ditch the controller entirely and navigate this quadcopter using the gyroscope in your phone. There's even the option to direct your quadcopter through the air using waypoints. It's as simple as tapping your finger on the camera screen.
10. ScharkSpark 1080P FPV Drone
The ScharkSpark quadcopter doesn't come with a camera, but it offers a variety of features that can likely make up for its absence. Three different speed levels are included, and swapping between them is as simple as the press of a button. That makes it appropriate for amateurs while also ensuring that more advanced pilots still have something to do. It also supports takeoff and landing handled through a single button press on the remote control.
But what's especially cool and unique about this quadcopter is its design. It's one of the most compact drones around, but it can also fold back into itself to fit directly into your pocket. Either way, it's appropriate for flying either indoors or out. 3D flips can be accomplished with a quick twist of the stick, and it offers some of the best range and battery life of any quadcopter in the price range.
Drones Under $50 Buyer’s Guide
We already have a comprehensive ultimate guide to drones that covers everything from how they work to their history to what best features to look for when shopping. Since this review guide is focused on cheap drones, we’ll instead provide some more focused tips on shopping smarter. We’ll also answer some of the most commonly asked questions, so read on to learn more!
Take a Camera First Approach
We recommend that the first thing you consider when looking for the best model drones under $50 is whether or not you want a camera. The camera is easily the most expensive feature on a drone for beginners or kids, but it’s also one of the best. But if you don’t think you’re going to be using the camera very often, you can easily get the best range of secondary features available and pay less by investing in a drone without one.
If you decide you do want a drone with a camera, you’re left with two options. A quad drone with a first person view camera makes use of Wi-Fi to stream that video directly to your phone. Drones under $50 with this feature typically tend to press hard against the price ceiling for this review list, but they are available. If you want to be deliberate with your photography or control your drone with touchscreen trajectories, you’ll definitely want to look at an FPV drone. If the FPV quad drones you find here don’t meet your needs, you may want to check out the drones under $100 list.
Alternately, there are many more drones under $50 contain a camera that doesn’t have a Wi-Fi interface, and they tend to be cheaper. They capture footage as the drone sees it, but in some rare cases, you can snap photos or start shooting video with the press of a button. It’s not a feature that lends its well to accurate photography, but kids often love to see what their world looks like from the sky.
Start With an Easy to Fly Drone
Once you move beyond cameras, the most prominent drone features to look for are generally targeted at ease of use. Our review list includes models with a pretty significant variety of ease of use functions, so we’ll break some of the more important one down below.
- Drones with headless mode make use of an internal gyroscope that automatically orient them with the ground. Thinking in three dimensions is one of the most difficult skills to grasp when flying a drone, and while headless mode may sacrifice some of your control, it does help you more readily become comfortable with flight.
- One button key return can be a lifesaver if your drone is in desperate need of charging or if you lose sight of it. Just press the key, and the drone will return automatically to your phone or controller.
- Altitude hold is one of the best features to have when trying to manipulate a drones camera. It stabilizes the drone at a specific height to prevent shaking and more accurately read your environment through your display.
- Many quadcopters can perform 360 degree flips with a simple tug of the controller. It’s one of the best ways to toy with stunt performance before you’ve developed higher level flying skills.
- Some drones come with accessories. These include extra batteries, replacement parts, and more. Chances are that you’ll crash your quadcopter at least once, so having these tucked away can be a very useful thing.
It’s Good to Have a Battery Plan
The flying time for a budget quadcopter is disappointingly short. The best models can give you 15 minutes of operated flight time before they need charging. The worst offer only about 5 minutes. And while that might be fine if all you have to do is plug your drone into the wall for a few minutes, the charging times are even longer. You can expect at least 30 minutes per battery and usually an hour or more.
For that reason, batteries are some of the best accessories you can invest in. Many drones come with an extra battery, but even that won’t be enough for some operators. How your flight time weighs against the charge time is a good question to consider, and battery life obviously has a major impact on the flight distance as well. If you’re using an FPV drone to shoot photos, you may want to consider looking at models that offer the best battery lives so a lack of charge doesn’t ruin your perfect shot. But in either case, you’ll probably want to stock up on some spare batteries.
Consider How Much Aesthetics Matter
Once you put aside the different types of cameras that can come equipped on a drone, you’re left with a lot of overlapping features. But the drones under $50 we’ve included on our review list offer a lot more variety in terms of aesthetics. You’ll find pure white models with a Minority Report vibe and brightly colored models that look like tools and militaristic looking curved designs with black and red accents. A drone is more fun to fly if it looks cool doing it, and despite the cool cameras many of the best model drones under $50 include, these are toys first and foremost. Consider what aesthetics are going to look the coolest, but you probably shouldn’t make that your top priority.
Also keep in mind whether LED lights are important to you. LED lights tend to be more visually appealing than plainly colored drones, and many drones under $50 include them as a way to add an extra feature without spending too much. But they serve a practically purpose too. If you plan on flying your drone at night, these lights can provide you with the best visibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Buy Drones?
Whether you’re in the UK or elsewhere, Amazon is still one of the best place to buy the best drones. They offer a huge range of different models and typically manage to keep lower prices than you’d find at specialized retailers. If you’re looking for the best drone, you may want to look towards a company that can customize you a model, but for a beginners drone model under $50, Amazon will generally offer you the best value all around, especially if you have a Prime account. We’ve provided convenient Amazon links under each cheap drone review.
Which Drone Should I Buy?
That depends on what you want your drone to do. There’s a wide variety of different drones on the market, even at the restrictive price point of $50. When shopping for the best drones under $50, consider the features that matter to you. Whatever your reasoning for shopping for the best drone, you’ll find a lot of variety on our review list above.
How Much is a Mini Drone?
The prices for drones can fluctuate wildly depending on their purpose and features, and those for professional use can quickly climb to prices of hundreds of dollars. But if you’re looking for a simple mini drone, you should never have to look at anything beyond drones under $50. If you do decide you’re looking for something a little more heavy duty, you can always check out our guide to drones under $100.
Where Can I Go to Learn More?
This guide is just scratching the surface of drones available to you, but whether you’re looking to get drones cheap or opt for a more high-end model, we can help. We have review guides for the best drones under $300, $200, and $100 for you to read. But if you’re simply looking for some more comprehensive advice about what drones are and how they work, you’ll want to read our ultimate guide to flying drones.
If you’re looking for a new drone, cheapest doesn’t have to mean shoddiest. Our review list breaks down some truly great models, and we think there’s something here to satisfy just about anyone’s needs. We hope you’ll read each of our reviews and let our guide serve as your bible for drone shopping.If you liked our article on drones under $50, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.