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6 of the most affordable drones released this year

Got some spare cash laying around? Here’s some of the most affordable drones money can buy right now.

Parrot Mambo Mini Drone
Image: Kevin Raposo

The idea that drones cost hundreds of dollars is largely a misconception. If you want a commercial drone, sure you will have to be willing to pay a lot of money. But if you want a little drone to play around with at home, there are literally dozens of choices. You can buy a good consumer drone for under $300. There are tiny quadcopters that cost about $50.

Price is not the only advantage of small, budget drones. You don’t have to apply for an FAA permit to fly many of these either, unlike with larger-sized drones. Keep in mind that you may have to adjust your expectations. Smaller drones usually have less than 30 minutes of maximum flying time. However, you can increase total flying time with extra batteries. They additionally require manual control at all times as these drones have to autopilot features.

Cheap drones are easy to assemble and fly. Some come with crash packs as well. For a small price, you can get a product with extra propellers and other parts that can be replaced in case the drone comes crashing down. Click here for a list of cheap drones that offer the best value for your money.

Here is a list of the best inexpensive drones of 2017 so far:

Metakoo Bee

metakoo bee

Image: YouTube

This $30 drone offers more value than what initially meets the eye. This drone comes with a barometer, so it can automatically hover. It won’t, however, automatically fly. Auto-hover makes the Metakoo Bee easier to fly than most others because the pilot doesn’t have to keep changing the throttle. The drone can be auto-launched with a press of a button on the remote as well.

It’s rather well built, but stability in the air is not that good mostly because of the tiny body. This drone can easily be swept away by a strong gust of wind. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to fly this indoors. Flight time is 15 minutes max. The battery takes about 40 minutes to charge in full. The original box comes with two extra pairs of props. If you need replacements, you can try Revell or Cheerson parts because Metakoo doesn’t sell spares.

Overall, this is a great drone that offers great value for money.

Revell Proto Quad XS

Revell drone

Image: YouTube

This quadcopter is tiny, don’t make any mistake. It’s about 28mm in length. It’s so small, the quadcopter can be stowed in the remote controller. Despite the size, this drone comes with a 6-axis gyro and 3 levels of speeds. It flies smoothly and can perform flips in the air. The smallness makes it a bit difficult to navigate in air, so it’s recommended to start flying with a low speed and then pick up speed once you feel more comfortable. It’s like a robot bee in air. The drone is highly portable so you can take it on vacations if needed.

Cheerson CX-10

Cheerson CX !0 Drone

Image: Unmanned Tech

This $15 drone is one of the cheapest you can buy anywhere. This model has been available for some time now, but the manufacturer has upgraded it this year. The drone is also very tiny, considering the price, and stays in air for about 4 minutes. Nothing can be mounted on it, like a camera. However, the controls are great so drone enthusiasts can have a blast flying one of these through the air.

Metakoo Mini Drone

metakoo mini iron

Image: YouTube

Metakoo Mini Drone is not the same as the Bee. This drone cost about $80. Why the high price tag for a “mini” drone? It comes with a remote controller and a built-in camera. There’s a corresponding app for the camera, so you can watch where the drone goes on your phone. If you get a VR headset, you will get a first person view from the drone camera. This is pretty much one of the coolest drones one can buy.

The camera is rather average, so do not expect Full HD aerial photos and video. The camera is pretty much like the cam on the average smartphone. It works to a certain extent. Picture detail is relatively good. You can fly one of these for about 5 minutes straight. The battery cannot be removed, so you will have to keep charging it.

This drone shares some features with the Bee, such as automatic hovering. The app can be used to make the drone take off or land automatically. Unfortunately, this drone doesn’t come with a separate controller. It has to be controlled via the smartphone app. It works, but can be a bit difficult with the touchscreen and having to tilt the phone.

Hubsan X4 H107C

hubsan x4

Image: FPV.tv

This $40 drone comes with a camera. It’s rather standard, so do not expect super fine detail. If you want a drone with a high-end camera, you will have to be willing to play over $1,000. The camera doesn’t come with a corresponding app that allows the pilot to watch footage in real time. So, you have to wait until the drone lands to view everything. This is not as ideal as Metakoo Mini, but it’s cheaper.

The biggest perk X4 offers is precision. This drone is surprisingly easy to fly and navigate in air. The controls are great and the drone has excellent stabilization capabilities. Also, don’t worry too much about crashing this. Parts can be replaced quickly and cheaply.

Syma X5C

This is one of the biggest budget drones out there. The body if the Syma drone measure at 31x31cm. So this drone is quite suitable for flying outdoors. The larger size adds to bulk making the drone less likely to get carried around by the wind. New pilots will also find it easier to fly the larger sized drone.  

It also comes with a wonderful 2MP camera. It captures rather low-res video, but the action is still watchable. This drone is rather popular, so spare parts are not that hard to find.

You can consider one of the above options if you dream of becoming a drone pilot. The above drones are great for gifting too, especially for kids.


This post was written by Eduardo Bridges. Eduardo is a former software engineer with his own business now. His life’s passion has always been gadgets. Eduardo write guides about where to buy the best gadgets at affordable prices on my website – bestcheaptech.com

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