AADeals Force Flyer building block toy drones star wars and lego knockoff

When shopping for drones, we understand you probably have a budget, we certainly understand that you want to get into flying quadcopters and other fun drones without breaking the bank. To this end, we took some time to think about the drones that should prove worth your time, and all for under $100. In this case we mean ‘cheap’ as in inexpensive, so here they are, the best cheap drones.

Jonathan Feist, Drone PilotJonathan Feist

Why trust Drone Rush?

I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.


What cheap drone should I buy?

Hubsan H111: Resilient starter drone

Hubsan H111 nano drone in hand

The Hubsan H111 is a fun starter drone. It’s small enough to be safe for indoor flight, it won’t hurt if it bumps into your finger (you’ll still feel it though, so be careful,) and it won’t break the bank if you happen to break it.

The Hubsan H111 has limited flight time, and can be tough to master without any flight-assist features, but it’s a superb craft to hone your skills or get your start in the hobby.

What we like

  • Affordable
  • Fun
  • Resilient
  • Easy to operate

What we don’t like

  • Tough to master
  • Limited flight time
  • Best kept indoors

Hubsan H111
Hubsan H111
  • Fun to fly
  • Safe for indoors
  • Good trainer
The Hubsan H111 is a fun indoor drone, offering few flight features, great to use to learn to fly.

The Hubsan H111 is one of the best nano drones for flying around the house. It is a tiny machine that fits in the palm of the hand, flies slowly and is small enough that it is unlikely to cause harm to you or your house when it crashes. Enjoy a low-risk simple flight experience.

Syma X5c: Easy to learn on

Syma X5C front

The Syma X5C-1 Adventurer is a rather simple toy-class drone. It does come in different configurations with a tiny camera, different landing gear, propeller guards and other accessories, but we found it best to fly with minimal attachments to extend the battery life. Easy to operate with few flight-assist features, the X5C is a solid starter drone. 

What we like

  • Simple
  • Resilient
  • Parts and accessories are plenty

What we don’t like

  • Flight time with accessories is poor
  • Limited connectivity range
  • Low powered, struggles in the wind

Syma X5C
Syma X5C
  • Great beginner's drone
  • Easy to fly
  • Resilient
An excellent starter drone, the Syma X5C is resilient, reliable and easy to operate. Nothing fancy h

An excellent starter drone, the Syma X5C is resilient, reliable and easy to operate. Nothing fancy here, just a simple toy-class drone to practice flying a drone.

Ryze Tello: A little more advanced, and educational

Ryze Tello DJI toy drone

The Ryze Tello is a versatile little starter drone. You can fly it by smartphone app, get the optional remote control, or even learn to code to send custom navigation commands. Tello offers decent flight time and has some fun accessories, plus, for those that care, it is made of mostly DJI flight components, which has proven to offer more reliability than other toy aircrafts out there.

What we like

  • Educational
  • Fun
  • Fly indoors or outside
  • Many ways to control the drone

What we don’t like

  • Controller is an optional add-on
  • Flight time could be longer

Ryze Tello
Ryze Tello
  • Educational drone
  • Safe for indoor flight
  • Fun to fly
The Ryze Tello is one of the most capable and versatile mini drones around, enjoy different designs,

The Ryze Tello is one of the most capable and versatile mini drones around, enjoy different designs, code your own flight features, or just fly in your living room for fun.

DJI Robomaster TT Tello Talent
DJI Robomaster TT Tello Talent
Built for the classroom, the DJI Robomaster TT Tello Talent is an accessible platform to learn how t

Built for the classroom, the DJI Robomaster TT Tello Talent is an accessible platform to learn how to code drone navigational techniques and more. A welcome educational drone.

Hubsan H502S Desire: Starter drone, with a little camera


The Hubsan H502S Desire is a reliable starter drone. It still relies on trimming a gyro sensor for a stable hover, no GPS included, but it’s one of the least expensive drones around with decent flight time and a functional FPV camera. Don’t expect to be snapping amazing photos or video from the sky with any drone under $100, but at least you can see where your drone is going with the H502S Desire.

What we like

  • Easy to fly
  • Fun
  • A simple drone

What we don’t like

  • Only decent flight time
  • Limited connectivity range

Hubsan H502S Desire
Hubsan H502S Desire
  • Stable starter drone
  • Simple and reliable
The Hubsan H502S Desire is a great starter drone. It offers stable basic flight and some GPS functio

The Hubsan H502S Desire is a great starter drone. It offers stable basic flight and some GPS functionality, usually unheard of in a sub-$100 drone.

UDI U818: Readily available drone

UDI 818A HD drone

The UDI U818 series was one of the most accessible drones in North America for a long time. You could find a version of it at most box stores and online retailers. Different configurations included cameras, extra parts and more, all ranging from around $50 up to about $200. This is a simple toy-class drone, fun for bopping around the back yard.

What we like

  • Availability
  • Simplicity

What we don’t like

  • Limited flight time
  • Limited connectivity range

UDI U818
UDI U818
  • Discontinued
  • Basic aircraft
  • Fun for beginners
The UDI U818 is a series of toy drones that you can find online or at your local store. These are no

The UDI U818 is a series of toy drones that you can find online or at your local store. These are not fantastic drones, but they are solid starter machines.

Blade Inductrix Switch Air

Blade Inductrix Switch Air VTOL drone top and side

For many in the hobby community, Blade is a favorite brand, with little micro quads in the Inductrix line. The versatile little quad has been put to use in a few ways now, the latest of which is a VTOL craft, of sorts, that is safe to fly indoors. Best suited for larger rooms, but still, safe indoors. The bent quad provides a slight forward attitude hover, and when you get moving fast enough, the wings take over and keep the machine aloft. From what we hear, the wings help in turns more than they actually ‘fly’ the drone, but hey, we are intrigued by this design, and the whole kit and experience can be had for a very low price, all things considered. 

Check out the Blade Inductrix Switch Air for $49.

Nano Drones

We’ve dedicated an entire list to the smallest of the flying machines. While, technically, they are great cheap drones, we’ll send you over to our Best nano drones list to get the palm sized toys.

Best drones for beginners

Admitting that you’ll find similar drones on this list as the cheap drones list above, we step things up beyond the $100 price point this time. The idea is that, as much as we preach that you should start on a cheap drone, you could, effectively, start off on a more expensive drone. The addition of GPS, with the ability to hover in place autonomously, makes for a much more stable and safe flying experience. Check out some of the best drones for beginners today.

Best mini drones

DJI Mavic Mini folded in hand

Let us know when this starts to get confusing, there are nano drones, mini drones, small drones and more. There are fewer options when you start looking at larger drones, but for smaller, more affordable consumer drones, plenty to see. Consider checking out our Drone sizes explanation post to see what’s right for you. Otherwise, here is our list of the best mini drones you can buy today.

Best drone for kids

If you are not buying for yourself today, instead looking to put a flying machine in the hands of a youngster, we’ve tested out on a six and ten year old, they agree, these are the best drones for kids.

If you were here looking for a gift for a young one, perhaps a non-flying drone?

Fun robots

Star Wars stormtrooper robot

No beating around the bush, there is only one flying drone on this list, but the rest are drones, of a sort, land based drones… They’re robots, but you know what, they’re fun robots that we want to play with too. 

That’s the end of our list. Other than actually taking the controls, I hope you’ve found most all of the particulars that you require to get your first quadcopter into the air. Do not be afraid of them, but do treat them with respect. Do not go too fast with them, learn the basics and ensure that you have your drone for years to come. Finally, there is no point spending a ton of money on your first craft, get one of these little toy class trainers to learn the basics of flight. You’ll be the master of the air in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I really buy a cheap drone?

You do not need to buy a cheap drone as your starter drone, no, but it’s a pretty good idea. Higher-end machines, such as the newest DJI drones, offer amazing flight stability, and all come to a reliable hover if you let go of the sticks. Those higher-end machines are usually GPS enabled drones – backed by vision sensors for additional accuracy, and obstacle avoidance sensors to avoid collisions – which make it very easy to fly successfully.

A low-end drone requires some skills on the sticks to keep it airborne in a stable way, and that is the main benefit of buying a cheap drone, to become a good pilot with a low cost.

Are cheap drones any good?

The concept of “good” depends on your needs of your drone. If you want a simple craft to learn on, to practice and hone your skills, a cheap drone is great. If you want to capture amazing photos and video from the sky, don’t count on a cheap drone to make you happy.

Do I need to register my drone if I only fly in my backyard?

In the United States, and many other countries, as long as you intend to fly outdoors and your drone weighs 0.55lbs, 250 grams, or more, you will need to register before you fly.

Officially, the moment your drone is self propelled and no longer physically in contact with the ground, it is in the FAA’s jurisdiction. Further, the country has been arranged in various classes of airspace, so you may need to request and receive authorization to fly before you even head to the back yard.

Learn more:
International drone laws
Airspace maps

What about Remote ID, surely these toys do not need a digital license plates?

The FAA has taken a hard line on this matter, all drones, regardless size or price, will be classified by weight and usage for Remote ID classifications. All drones that weigh 0.55 lbs, 250 grams, or more, and/or that will be used for commercial purposes, will need to be equipped with a Remote ID transmitter. There’s more to it than that, but if your drone weighs more than 250 grams, be prepared to update, fly only in registered FAA ‘safe’ zones, or retire your machine.

Do I need a license to fly?

Yes, the FAA requires pilots of any aircraft to be licensed. The TRUST Certification is easy to get, free, and has no age limits. These drones could also be flown for pay, in which case they are operating under the Part 107 guidance, requiring the pilot to acquire their Part 107 certificate.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our most passionate readers to get instant access to tech reviews as they arrive!