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In this post, I’m going to walk you through 16 inexpensive drones for beginner pilots.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Compatible w/ GoPro Hero 3 and 4; 1080p60 and 720p60 video
The F100 Ghost GoPro Drone is an amazing value for the price.
The F100G rc quadcopter is both tough and nimble, and comes with a mount for a GoPro Hero 3 or 4, which means you could get professional quality shots. As you can see in the video below, it can be flown in windy weather and still allow for a controlled flight.
The brushless motors on the F100G not only make for a smoother, quieter flight, but allow for precise control while flying and longer flight times—at 19 minutes, this drone has one of the longest battery lives of drones on the market for this price point.
The F100G is also a good beginner/intermediate drone for still photography and aerial videography. It comes with High/Low Speed modes, which allow for greater control when it comes to getting the perfect shot.
If you decide to buy the F100G, make sure to register your drone with Force1 to get your free extra battery (value of $25).
The U49W Blue Heron drone, boasts altitude-hold and a first-person-view (FPV) screen with Camera Live Video, so you can see exactly what the HD camera of your drone sees in real time.
It also comes with an extra battery to help you fly for even longer before having to charge, and a great 720p camera for clear HD pictures and live video.
Add to that it’s impressively long flight time of 15 minutes, and you’re looking at a great drone for beginners (or intermediate pilots, for that matter) at an inexpensive price.
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.
The U49C Red Heron quadcopter looks sleek and is a great gift for the newbie drone pilot.
The retailer Force1 includes an extra battery in this model, which doubles your flight time and is great for folks logging those first few hours of flight. The Red Heron also comes with spare motors, which is a great value add, especially for beginner drone pilots.
Features & Specs
The X5UW Thunderbolt is a powerful drone with a high quality camera for the price point.
Because of its low-latency FPV video transmission straight to a built-in controller screen, the Thunderbolt is ideal for anyone who wants a fun drone to learn on, but also wants to learn how to race around obstacles with ease.
A big bonus with the Thunderbolt is that it comes with two extra batteries, which is a great value add and will allow you to fly for a lot longer before having to go back and recharge your batteries.
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 but covering different, more advanced models. Check out our Top Remote Control Drones to Buy in 2018.
These extra parts are available for the Syma X5C:
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.)
These extra parts are available for the Blade Nano QX:
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.
These extra parts are available for the MJX X400W FPV drone:
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.
These extra parts are available for the Parrot Rolling Spider:
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.
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).
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.
These extra parts are available for the Hubsan X4 H107L:
The U45 Raven is another awesome Force1 drone, with a great value at $59.99.
This drone comes with an HD camera for 720p high def aerial photos and videos with 2MP. It’s great for beginners, in part because you can fly it right out of the box without needing to adjust the drone’s position or orientation prior to flying.
Another feature to note for the Raven is one touch take off and landing, which means the drone automatically hovers at a set altitude after take off and before landing. This makes it easy to control and maneuver, especially for beginners who are not yet skilled.
It also has an “Altitude Hold” function, which makes it super easy for beginners to fly, since this allows for stability in the air, and comes in handy when you’re trying to get just the right photograph.
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 your additional charging needs.
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 the 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.
These extra parts are available for the the U818A:
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’s 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 pretty 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.
These extra parts are available for the U28W Wifi FPV Drone:
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.
These extra parts are available for the Cheerson CX-10: