TABLE OF CONTENTS

18 Cheap Drones for Beginners (Under $175)

Updated With New Drone Models for Summer 2017

Note: Fly safely and responsibly, folks. Never flown before? Learn to fly for free over here. Need to get your FAA commercial drone certificate? Start studying over here.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through 17 inexpensive drones for beginner pilots.

At UAV Coach, we often suggest starting off with a less expensive system. This is so you can hone your skills before moving on to the bigger guns (like the DJI Phantom 4) or the Yuneec Typhoon H).

The models in our list below don’t have all the bells and whistles of higher-end drones for sale, but you’ll be surprised at how advanced their features can get.

Also, you may want to consider learning to fly using a drone simulator. We’re pro-simulator over here and recommend buying the Great Planes RealFlight Drone Simulator. Great physics and many models to choose from. There’s also this free FPV simulator if you’re interested in learning how to race 🙂

Note: If you live in the U.S. and want to earn money as a professional drone pilot, check out our step-by-step guide to getting certified.

Drone technology has come a long way, which means we’ve been able to pack more capabilities into smaller, less expensive packages.

These are some of the most affordable (and popular) UAVs on the market today, and they’re great for anyone looking to get some flight practice under their belt. They’re also great gifts for both adults and kids.

Don’t want to scroll down and read all the specs and just want to see the full list?

Here ya go:

Check out the full specs of our list of 17 cheap drones for beginner pilots below:

Note: All specs/features come from either the manufacturer or retailer.

Note #2: When checking out prices, we’ve included models available for sale on Amazon, one of the largest and most respectable online drone retailers. We do our best to keep these listings up-to-date on a regular basis, but if you see something we missed, let us know at support@uavcoach.com.

Note #3: Big thanks to USA Toyz and Force1 RC, who sent us a lot of models on this list to test and review. Both USA Toyz and Force1 RC are U.S. based companies that sell through Amazon. Unlike many of their non-U.S. counterparts, they offer quality customer service, user manuals you can actually understand, and good business ethics. Many of the models on this list link directly to these companies, particularly the first 5 listings.

01

DJI Spark

camera

12MP Still Photos / 1080p/30 Video

battery life

16 Min

good for

Hobbyists

The Spark is a selfie drone that takes off from the operator’s hand and automatically enters “Gesture Mode”, which lets users send it into the air and shoot a video with pre-defined flight paths, like circling, following, or filming from straight up.

With it’s gesture recognition and obstacle avoidance technology, it’s not an exaggeration to say that DJI’s Spark is probably the most user-friendly drone on the market.

If you want to fly longer distances with the Spark you have the option of using a smartphone app for flights over 100 yards away, or you can use a remote control (the Spark can fly a distance of 1.2 miles). The Intelligent Flight Modes available with more professional DJI drones—such as TapFly and ActiveTrack—can also be found on the Spark.

QuickShot

The Spark comes with DJI’s new QuickShot mode, which automatically creates a 10-second video from the footage captured in your flight.

QuickShot allows you to avoid all the work needed to take raw footage and create a final video. Instead of taking your footage, uploading it, editing it, and then downloading it, QuickShot simply creates a video for you using your best shots.

Key Specs

  • Flight time/battery life: 16 minutes
  • Transmission distance: 1.2 miles
  • Speed: Up to 31 mph
  • VPS Range: 98 feet
  • Gimbal: 2 axis
  • Effective pixels: 12MP
  • Weight: .66 pounds (SUPER light)
  • Camera details: 1/2.3 Sensor Powerful Lens, 1080p resolution
02

U818A Wifi FPV Drone

camera

720P video @ 30 FPS

battery life

8-10 Min

good for

Hobbyists, FPV Racing

UDI is a highly reputable (and affordable) drone manufacturer that’s been constantly upgrading their training / beginner sUAS models over the last couple of years.

This model, the U818A, boasts altitude-hold and a first-person-view (FPV) screen, so you can see exactly what the HD camera of your drone sees…in real time. Great practice for those of you looking to get into FPV racing.

But that’s not all! You also get bonus VR goggles, an extra battery, extra propellers, AND and a bonus power bank for additional charging.

Box Contents

  • 1 U818W
  • 1 Controller
  • 2 Batteries
  • 1 USB Battery Charger
  • 1 SC Card reader
  • 1 4GB SD card
  • 4 Spare Blades
  • 1 Spanner
  • 1 Manual

The camera can capture 720P video at 30 frames per second (with an SD card). This is one of the most popular training quadcopters on the market, and I like this particular package because it comes with an extra battery.

The LCD screen on its transmitter displays a full range of flight stats to keep you in the know. Its light but durable frame makes it a great quad for new pilots to practice with.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the the U818A:

Features

  • Forward-facing camera takes HD video and HD photos with color and white balance
  • Movie resolution upgraded to 1280 * 720 at 30 frames per second
  • FPV and VR headset compatibility
  • Removable Micro-SD (TF) card stores enough for several flights
  • Data port and USB Data Cable – upload your new AVI and JPEG files to Facebook, Email, Photoshop LCD radio controller
  • LCD screen displays full flight status
  • Extra battery to double your flight time
  • Photo Button snaps pictures, Video Button starts & stops video recording[/color-box]

Specs

  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Size: 13.4 x 13.0 x 2.2 in
  • Weight: 1 pounds
  • Charging time: about 90-120 minutes
  • Flying time: about 8-10 minutes
03

U45 Blue Jay WiFi FPV Drone

camera

720p, 2MP

battery life

8 Min

good for

Hobbyists, FPV Racing

An exclusive training quadcopter from USA Toyz / Force1 RC, the U45 Blue Jay is one of the more durable beginner quadcopters out there. As you can see by those propeller guards, they can take quite a beating.

This makes it great for beginners, but more experienced pilots will enjoy this quad as well. The Blue Jay has a skillful Custom Route Mode as well, where you can drag your fingers across your mobile or tablet app screen to create an automated flight path.

Box Contents

  • U45W Drone
  • 2.4Ghz Controller
  • 3.7V 500mAh Battery x 2
  • USB Battery Charger
  • 4GB SanDisk Micro SD Card
  • SD Card Reader
  • Spare Propellers x 4
  • Screwdriver
  • User Manual

Features

  • FIRST PERSON VIEW with VR HEADSET COMPATIBILITY: Watch live video feed of your flight from your iPhone or Android Smart mobile device with the FPV WiFi feature.
  • ALTITUDE HOLD FUNCTION: SUPER EASY DRONE FOR BEGINNERS TO FLY: Makes controlling the drone a breeze for beginners and stabilizes aerial photography. This is the ideal beginner drone with a lot of the latest features typically found on higher end models.
  • ONE TOUCH TAKE OFF AND LANDING: Drone automatically hovers at a set altitude after take off and before landing making it easy to control and maneuver, especially for beginners who are not yet skilled.
  • CUSTOM ROUTE MODE -Trace the desired flight path on the mobile app screen and the drone will fly along the path unassisted
  • HD CAMERA: Capture 720p high definition aerial photos and videos with 2MP camera; Sync it to your controller to really bring life to your flights!
04

Focus FPV Drone with HD Camera

camera

720P HD

battery life

8 Min

good for

Hobbyists, FPV Racing

The Focus FPV Drone comes with an extra battery, spare propellers, and a 4GB Micro SD Card.

Another tried and true model with FPV capabilities if you’d like to practice FPV racing or master multirotor orientation with a more affordable beginner model.

Box Contents

  • FOCUS FPV Drone
  • 2.4Ghz Controller w/Display
  • 2 x 3.7V 500mAh LiPo Battery
  • 2 x 3.7V 450mAh LiPo Battery
  • USB Battery Charger
  • 4 x Spare Propellers
  • 4G Micro SD Card
  • Mini Screwdriver
  • Instruction Manual

Features

  • FIRST PERSON VIEW – Watch live video feed straight from the pilot’s seat with FPV and a built-in screen on your controller
  • CATCH IT ALL ON VIDEO – This drone with HD camera lets you to capture aerial photos and video of your flight in 720p With this Drone’s 720p HD camera, you’ll be able to capture amazing aerial photos and video of your flight
  • FISH EYE LENS – Its camera is equipped with a fish eye lens so you can enjoy a wider view of your flight
  • EASY TO FLY – Full, digital stabilization keeps you in control making this a great drone for beginners
  • HEADLESS MODE & RETURN HOME – The drone can automatically detect its location which means no positioning is needed before flying; Plus, Return Home brings it right back to you!

05

U28W Wifi FPV Drone

camera

720P

battery life

7 Min

good for

Hobbyists, FPV Racing

The U28W Wifi FPV Drone is a tiny but mighty drone that can reach fast top speeds. And because of the low-latency FPV video transmission straight to a built-in controller screen, it makes this ideal for anyone who wants a fun drone to learn on, but eventually be able to race around obstacles with ease.

Given the size of the frame, the motors are fairly powerful, making this drone super fast and agile. As with many of the other models on this list, it has an easy “flip” button which is fun to see through the built-in FPV controller screen.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the U28W Wifi FPV Drone:

Features

  • FIRST PERSON VIEW with VR HEADSET COMPATIBILITY: Watch a live video feed of your flight on an android or iPhone device with the FPV WiFi feature; Syncs instantly and brings life to your flights!
  • CUSTOM ROUTE MODE – Trace the desired flight path on the mobile app screen and the drone will fly along the path unassisted
  • WIDE ANGLE HD CAMERA & EXTRA BATTERY FOR LONG FLIGHT TIME: Capture pristine aerial videos and photos in 720P high definition on 4GB Micro SD, 120º wide angle format; Double your flight time with extra battery
  • 3D STUNTS: Perform 360º flips and rolls with the push of a button; View all of your flips and twists in real time straight from the controller screen
  • EASY TO FLY FOR BEGINNERS: Custom route mode allows pilots to draw out their desired flight path in the Flyingsee app. High/Low Speed Mode makes drone easy for beginners to master; FAA Registration NOT Required

06

Syma X5C

camera

720P, 2MP HD at 30 FPS

battery life

7-9 Min

good for

Hobbyists

Even in moderate winds, the Syma X5C held up really well during my test flights. This exclusive package comes with an extra battery, effectively doubling your flight time. You’re also getting extra propellers as well.

The Syma X5C also comes with a forward-facing HD camera (720p) and 2GB SD card. That, plus a few autonomous features like headless mode and one-button flips and barrel rolls, makes this a great drone for beginners.

Note: We have other lists of drones, similar to this one buy covering different, more advanced models like: 13 Remote Control Drones to Buy in 2016.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the Syma X5C:

Features

  • With Headless Mode, no need to adjust the position of aircraft before flying
  • One key to return function makes it easily find the way home
  • 4 Channel can do ascend, descend, forward, backward, left sideward fly, right sideward fly and rolling 360°
  • HD VIDEO CAMERA: 2MP HD video camera (Resolution: 1280 x 720; Framerate: 30 FPS) lets you take high-resolution pictures and videos during flight. Comes with 2GB Micro SD Card!
  • Lightweight airframe with nice durability
  • Battery protection

Specs

  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Charging time: 90-120mins
  • Flying time: 7-9mins
  • Control distance: about 30m

07

Blade Nano QX RTF Quadcopter

camera

720P HD

battery life

10 Min

good for

Hobbyists

Gizmodo calls the Blade Nano “The Best Drone for Advanced Beginners.”

First, it’s got SAFE technology. SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope. It helps you prevent crashing your drone and assists you in takeoff (two necessary skills for any newbie pilot).

If at any time you lose control or need to take a breather, simply let go of the sticks and the quadcopter will hover in place.

When you get more advanced, switch the quad to agility mode to perform skillful maneuvers and hit top speeds.

The Blade Nano is a beginner drone (for under $100) that will carry you into the veteran landscape. (Blade was also featured in our list of drone companies to watch, among a few of the other manufacturers in this article.)

Extras

These extra parts are available for the Blade Nano QX:

Features

  • Features exclusive SAFE™ (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology with stability and agility modes (if you get in trouble, just let go of the sticks)
  • Small enough to fly in any room or office
  • Tough, lightweight airframe with blade guards
  • Potent brushed motors that provide smooth and powerful lift
  • Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can switch the SAFE system to agility mode for faster flying speeds and more maneuverability

Specs

  • Frequency: 2.4G
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • Size: 35.8 x 21.3 x 11.4cm
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Flying time: 10 minutes

08

MJX X400W FPV

battery life

8-9 Min

good for

Hobbyists, FPV Racing

The MJX X400W FPV is a drone with a camera that offers an affordable option for pilots looking to experiment with low-level aerial videography and an FPV experience.

You can control the X400W drone from 100 meters away, and your flight time is about 8-9 minutes.

The MJX X400W FPV drone is stable enough for newbies, but packed with enough features for more advanced pilots.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the MJX X400W FPV drone:

Features

  • HEADLESS MODE: Usually, the forward direction of a flying multi-rotor is the same as the nose direction, by using Headless, the forward direction has nothing to do with nose direction, the direction will be the same as your remote controller
  • 3D SPLIT SCREEN DISPLAY: Compatible with 3D VR HEADSET on MJX FPV APP, use your own VR HEADSET (NOT INCLUDED) to see the world in a different way
  • FPV REAL TIME TRANSMISSION: Connect your phone with the drone and the view will be shown directly on your phone, thus enjoy the world above the horizon
  • ONE KEY 3D ROLL: With the latest technology of 6-Axis Gyro flying control system, it can fly very stable and take better pictures and it can finish the 3D roll with one key, it is very easy to use even for the beginner

09

Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider

battery life

8 Min

good for

Hobbyists

Ever wished you could walk on walls? Well, now you can live vicariously through your drone.

The Parrot Rolling Spider comes with detachable wheels on both ends. You can fly the drone like normal, or attach the wheels and roll across the floor, up walls, or across the ceiling.

You can also control this drone with your smartphone or tablet, using the FreeFlight 3 app.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the Parrot Rolling Spider:

Features

  • Fitted with a propeller circuit-breaker in the event of a crash
  • Removable wheels to roll anywhere: across the floor, up the walls or across the ceiling
  • Take aerial shots like selfies from the sky with the embedded vertical mini-camera
  • FreeFlight 3 app offers an intuitive control from your smartphone or tablet through Bluetooth® Smart and is free
  • The first quadcopter to fly and roll on the ceiling

Specs

  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Charging time: 1 hour
  • Flying time: 8 minutes (6 minutes with wheels)
  • Control distance: 20 meters

10

Symca X11C

camera

2MP HD

battery life

8 Min

good for

Hobbyists

The Syma X11C Quadcopter is one of the most affordable quadcopter options a beginner UAV pilot has. With its 6-axis gyro direction stabilizer flight control system, 3D lock to help for more precise flying, and blade protector to help with minor crashes, this is a great inexpensive quadcopter for beginners.

Features

  • 6-axis gyro direction stabilizer flight control system
  • 3D lock for more precise flying
  • No assembly required
  • 360 degree eversion – lets you continuously roll the quadcopter in the air, do flips and tricks.

Specs

  • Includes 2MP HD Camera
  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz

11

NightHawk DM007

camera

2MP

battery life

6-8 Min

good for

Hobbyists

For a new pilot who’s looking to experiment with aerial photography, you might want to consider the NightHawk DM007.

It comes with prop guards and landing gear standard, which is nice for a drone this size. However, I have read that the blades tend to pop off (but a little super glue can solve that).

Extras

These extra parts are available for the NightHawk DM007:

Features

  • 2MP Camera (comes with 2GB memory card and card reader)
  • Dual mode (Beginner mode and Professional mode)
  • LCD monitor can show the throttle, LED light, battery and signal conditions
  • Ready to fly
  • Strong anti-drop capabilities, uses high strength metallic materials, and equipped with a full range of multi-angle crash protection cover
  • Replaceable aircraft batteries
  • Two different speed modes

Specs

  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Charging time: About 80-90 mins
  • Flying time: 6-8 mins
  • Control distance: About 150 meters

12

Hubsan X4 H107L

camera

720P, 2MP

battery life

8 Min

good for

Hobbyists

The Hubsan X4 H107L is the model I learned how to fly on.

It’s pretty basic but flies well. It has a built-in 720 pixel camera. Its compact size still makes it an excellent indoor flyer. Please note that this model does NOT come with an extra battery, propeller guards, etc. Consider getting a “crash pack” from the link below. I wish I would have bought one when I first started flying this thing back in 2014.

The Hubsan X4 H107L is a great first model for the newbie pilot, but pretty bare bones compared to some of the other models on this list.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the Hubsan X4 H107L:

Features

  • Lightweight airframe with nice durability
  • 2.0MP, HD 720p (1280×720)
  • 4 “super bright” LEDs
  • Video recording module included (requires a Micro SDHC card)
  • The transmitter (TX) supports both Mode 1 and Mode 2 stick configurations

Specs

  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Charging time: about 30-40 minutes
  • Flying time: about 8 minutes
  • Control distance: 100m

13

Hubsan H111 Nano Drone

battery life

5 Min

good for

Hobbyists

As you can see from the image, the Hubsan H111 is one of the smallest quads on the market, comparable to the size of a quarter.

But they still managed to fit 3 gyros and 3 accelerometers in there. This isn’t the drone to show off your best moves with, but for a beginner, it will get you airborne, learning the controls, and comfortable enough to move on to more expensive drones.

Read More: How to Fly a Quadcopter — The Ultimate Guide

Extras

These extra parts are available for the Hubsan H111:

Features

  • WORLD’S SMALLEST QUADCOPTER! 4-channel mini copter with a lightweight design; Fits in your palm; FAA Registration NOT Required
  • FEATURES: 360° flips/rolls, 2.4GHz transmitter, LED lights for night and USB charger Included
  • INCLUDES: Nano drone, blade guard, 2.4 GHz controller, LiPo battery, USB charger and 4 spare blades
  • GREAT DESIGN: Tough 1 piece frame, position recovery technology and built-in gyroscope for stability
  • MEASURES approximately 2″ x 2,” CHARGE TIME 30 minutes, FLIGHT TIME 5 minutes. Ages 14+

14

Yi Zhan Tarantula X6

battery life

10 Min

good for

Hobbyists

(First off, how cool does this quad look?)

The Yi Zhan X6 comes with a fairly long battery life (10 minutes), and features great maneuverability. It’s easy to control, even for beginner pilots, which makes it a great option for getting started with quadcopters. Also, despite how big it may look in the image, it is on the smaller side of the market. This makes it great for indoor flying.

However, it’s also powerful enough to hit high speeds outdoors, making the Yi Zhan X6 a fun quadcopter for beginner to intermediate flyers.

Features

  • 7.4V, 1200mah, 30C high capacity and high discharge rate Li-Po battery, charge about 150 minutes, play up to 10 minutes.
  • Up/down, left/right, forward/backward, sideward fight, turn left/right and one button 360 degree flips.The 6-axis system allows the quad to be hand launched
  • Easy to control, even for pilot beginners. Up to 100m(328ft) with 2.4GHz wireless remote control.

15

JYU Hornet FPV Quadcopter

camera

720P HD

battery life

22 Min

good for

Hobbyists, FPV Racing

The JYU Hornet FPV Drone features altitude hold, which helps stabilize aerial photography and video while in flight and makes it a great drone for beginners.

The Hornet also features headless mode, which orients the drone to be in the same direction as the transmitter before flight, and eliminates the need to adjust aircraft orientation before flying. Add to this the Hornet’s LiPo batteries, which double your potential flight time, and this is a great quadcopter to help you learn the ropes for FPV flying.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the JYU Hornet FPV Drone:

Features

  • ALTITUDE HOLD MAKES IT A GREAT DRONE FOR BEGINNERS: Controlling this drone is a breeze for beginners and its altitude hold functions helps stabilize aerial photography and video while in flight. FAA Registration NOT required
  • FIRST PERSON VIEW (FPV): Watch live video feed on built-in controller screen
  • HD CAMERA: Capture amazing high-res aerial photos & video of your flight using the drone’s 720p HD camera and upgraded 4GB Micro SD Card
  • HEADLESS MODE: Eliminates need to adjust aircraft orientation before flight; the direction will be the same as your transmitter, making the drone easy to fly and is great for beginners
  • DOUBLE YOUR FLIGHT TIME: Includes 2 LiPo drone batteries and 2 LiPo controller batteries to extend the fun!
16

UDI U845

battery life

6-9 Min

good for

Hobbyists

With the UFO-like UDI U845, you can achieve real-time video-transmission, or FPV, by connecting your iOS or Android device via WiFi.

Most of the models in this list are pretty similar, but where the UDI U845 stands out is that it’s a hexacopter, meaning that it’s got 6 sets of motors and propellers instead of the normal 4 that you’d find in a quadcopter.

The reason this is important is that you’ll get extra redundancy if one of your motors or propellers fails during flight.

Also, with this model you’ll get an extra, replaceable battery. When your first battery dies, simply swap it out for another one and you’re good to go for another 6-9 minutes!

Extras

These extra parts are available for the UDI U845:

Features

  • HD WiFi Camera: Achieve real-time FPV by connecting with IOS or Android via quadcopter wifi real-time video transmission (FAA Registration NOT Required!)
  • Gravity Induction: Allows you to fly your rc drone forward, backward, left or right in correspondence to the angle at which you hold your mobile device! You can now be in total control
  • Bonus Battery: Your U845 FPV Drone includes an extra battery to double your flying time! It can be swapped or charged in place easily via USB! Each battery lasts 6-9 minutes per flight
  • Headless Mode: Makes easier flight and better control, no worry about drone direction when flying
  • Easy Safe and Fun to Fly: The headless mode, low voltage alarm, 360° flips function ensure you fly your copter at ease, fun and safe, no worry about the quadcopter fly away

17

U32 Freedom

battery life

8-10 Min

good for

Hobbyists

The U32 Freedom Drone has some powerful brushed motors and the unique ability to fly inverted, which is a unique feature, as well as an easy flip function that makes it well worth the cost.

The drone itself stays light weight by integrating the circuit board into the frame of the drone. It also comes with propeller guards and landing skids, something you don’t get standard with most drones in this price range. LED lights also make it suitable for flight in low-light conditions.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the U32 Freedom Drone:

Features

  • AWESOME STUNTS: 4 channel design makes flight simple and stable; Do impressive 360° flips and stunts
  • FLY YOUR DRONE LONGER: Super powerful motors allow quadcopter to fly way longer and more efficiently
  • ELIMINATE DAMAGE: Its elastic plastic frame boosts performance and protects propellers upon crashing
  • DOUBLE YOUR FLIGHT TIME: 2 bonus batteries are included to charge in place; 8-10 minutes per battery
  • NIGHTTIME FLIGHT: Body LEDs light up the night sky allowing you to clearly see your drone at night

18

Cheerson CX-10 Mini

battery life

4 Min

good for

Hobbyists

Allow me to introduce one of the best-selling RC multirotors on Amazon — the Cheerson CX-10 Mini.

It’s a best seller for a reason. This thing is a perfect quadcopter for beginners, and veterans will enjoy flying it as well. It’s great for all skill levels.

The Cheerson CX-10 Mini is (super) small and durable, so even if you do end up losing a few propellers, spare parts are inexpensive. Despite its size, Cheerson still managed to pack a 6-axis flight control board in there for advanced maneuvers.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the Cheerson CX-10:

Features

  • Model: CX10. Color: Bright Orange. Body Material: ABS Plastic. Main Rotor Diameter: 1.14″ / 2.9cm. Speed Control: Integrated. Required Radio: 4Channel. Frequency: 2.4G.
  • Flight Time: Approx. 4-8 minutes. Charging Time: About 30-40 minutes. Battery: Rechargeable 3.7V 100mAh Lithium Battery. Transmitter Battery: 2 x 1.5V AAA Batteries (Not Included)
  • Control Distance: About 40 meters. . 6-axis design makes the gyroscope adjustable, promoting flying stability. Suitable for: Ages 14+
  • Powered by a piece of rechargeable 3.7V 100mAh lithium battery. 3-level adjustable speed flip function.
  • Package Includes: 1 x Mini UFO QuadCopter 1 x USB Cable, 1 x Transmitter, 2 x Main Blades, 1 x User Manual

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