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The best cheap drone for beginners
The Tello has a basic camera and is far and away the easiest drone to fly in the sub-$100 category.
May be out of stock
*At the time of publishing, the price was $80.
The DJI Tello makes it easy for beginners to start flying but also has enough extra features to make it satisfying for pilots with more experience. In addition to its ability to reliably hold position and its 13-minute battery life, the Tello can autonomously take photos and 720p videos of you from the air. Those features are normally reserved for more-expensive photography drones, making the Tello a fun pick for budding aerial photographers. Plus, the batteries and build quality of the Tello are beyond anything else available for the price. Because its top speed is slower than that of some competitors, the Tello isn’t the best choice if you’re primarily interested in race and agility piloting.
A fast-flying photography drone
The Snaptain S5C is surprisingly agile for a photography drone and takes 720p video.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $65.
If the Tello is sold out or you want a drone that’s faster, cheaper, and more fun to fly, the Snaptain S5C is the next-best choice for photography drones under $100. However, it isn’t nearly as easy to pilot as the Tello, has an inferior build quality, and uses lower quality batteries that need to be monitored more closely to avoid dangerous failures. The 720p video it captures (akin to the Tello or an iPhone 5) won’t satisfy photo snobs, either, but it’s enough for basic video and photos for social media.
Hubsan X4 H107C
The best cheap racing drone
If the idea of racing drones at top speeds appeals to you, the Hubsan X4 H107C is an inexpensive way to get started.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $25.
If you like the idea of whizzing around obstacles at high speeds while testing your reaction time as a pilot, the Hubsan X4 H107C is our favorite cheap racing drone. It’s among the fastest drones we tested while still being easy to handle (with some practice). It’s also simple to set up, small enough to keep in your back pocket, and cheap enough that you won’t feel bad crashing it over and over and over again. Unlike models from DJI and Snaptain, the low-resolution camera isn’t meant for photography, and the H107C doesn’t pack in extra autonomous features.
An agile indoor drone
If you want to practice agility flying in the house, the Eachine E010 is fast and fun to fly but small enough it won’t break things.
If you’re just looking for a toy drone that’s easy enough for kids to fly, you should consider something that can be flown indoors without the need to wait for clear days and calm winds. Flying indoors doesn’t have to involve smashed windows and strewn-about pillow feathers.
If your child is ready to handle a controller and start honing their piloting skills, the inexpensive Eachine E010 is the best choice. It’s so small and sturdy that it tends to bounce right off of walls and the floor, so you can keep flying instead of resetting after a crash. The E010 is tiny and comes with a bit of a learning curve, but it lets you practice quick piloting maneuvers indoors with less severe consequences than flying a larger drone through the kitchen.
GreEco Set of 2 Pop Up Goals
The best gate for racing
Fast and easy to set up, GreEco’s Pop Up Goals are what we always reach for when we want to create a drone obstacle course.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $51.
If you want to practice your piloting or race drones against friends, we think the GreEco Set of 2 Pop Up Goals is the best option for racing gates. The two half-circle gates spring open in seconds and stand up on their own whether you’re flying indoors or outdoors. We always reach for these instead of professional-style gates and flags that cost several times more because the GreEco setup is so much faster.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Drones Under $100