There are a lot of good drones on the market today, figuring out what you want and need of a flying machine is a smart place to start, as is finding your ideal budget. We’re here to help – complimenting our other priced drone lists, let’s explore the best drones under $200.
Unlike our list of drones under $100, we’re stepping up from simple toys today, but, of course, we’re not getting as advanced as the machines on our list of drones under $500.
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.
As you add more features to a drone, you add more weight. It is likely that your $200 drone will weigh more than 0.55 lbs, which means that you are fully subject to the flight laws of the FAA in the United States.
Best drones under $200
Hubsan H502S Desire: Reliable toy drone
The Hubsan H502S Desire is a reliable toy-class drone that helped us grow to respect Hubsan as a brand. The drone itself is reliable and reasonably stable, the FPV camera it’s a camera-lover’s dream, but it provides a low-latency video feed to the controller. The H502S Desire is a great drone for beginner pilots, with enough features to learn how to fly, and a price that many can afford for a hobby.
Should I buy the Hubsan H502S Desire?
Make no mistake, if you want a GPS-enabled drone and to capture some epic photos and videos from the sky, you’re looking at the wrong list of drones today. Having said that, the H502S Desire is one of our absolute favorite toy-class drones, we used it when we were still learning to fly, and we often put it in the hands of new pilots.
- Easy to fly
- Good video signal
- Moderate battery life
- Older drone
UDI U818: Available everywhere
The UDI U818 was a very popular drone for a while, not necessarily because for its flight features, more because it was available to buy everywhere. We recall seeing variants of the U818 at every grocery store, toy store, and more in our part of the world. This toy-class machine flew off the shelves, mostly as parents were buying them for their children.
Should I buy the UDI U818?
If you are looking for a toy-class drone, and you can still find this old machine for sale somewhere, it is a worthy purchase for a simple backyard flyer. To be fair, we never liked this machine ourselves, but there’s nothing, technically, wrong with it.
- Accessible drone
- Easy to fly
- Lots of parts and accessories
- Lower-quality build
- No or very low quality camera
Walkera Rodeo 110: Racing drone
The Walkera Rodeo 110 is a fun and agile little racing drone. Serious racers fly larger and more powerful machines, but serious racers were once beginner racers, and they might have started off with the Rodeo 110 as well. Get a feel for the hobby of drone racing with this drone.
Should I buy the Walkera Rodeo 110?
Racing drones are a different breed of aircraft. They’re harder to fly, do not have flight assist features, have very limited flight time, and usually require you to bind them to expensive third-party remote controls. If I haven’t scared you off, the Rodeo 110 is a fantastic starter racing drone, we think you’ll enjoy it, or at least respect it for helping you get into a new hobby.
- Harder to fly
- Fast and agile
- Short flight time
- Requires third-party remote
Hubsan H501S: Efficient motors
The Huban H501S is simply one of the best GPS-enabled drones from Hubsan. It is an earlier model, things have improved since the H501S launched, but this machine marked an important step forward for Hubsan, introducing many new GPS-enabled features, and powerful brushless motors. To this day, you can generally identify cheap toys by their less-efficient brushed motors, the H501S is no cheap toy.
Should I buy the Hubsan H501S?
Keep your expectations in check, we really like the Hubsan H501S for how easy and fun it is to fly, but it’s still not a camera drone, and it only performs on-par with similarly priced newer drones in the sky today.
- Fun to fly
- Reasonable flight time
- Simple camera
- Older drone
Syma X8 Pro: High-end toy drone
The Syma X8 Pro is another older drone that offers up a camera for the sky. It also proved decent flight time and toy-class connectivity range, and that camera is nothing you’d want to use for a great YouTube video. As far as toy-class drones are concerned, the X8 Pro is still one of the best machines that Syma has produced.
Should I buy the Syma X8 Pro?
We appreciate what Syma accomplished with the X8 Pro, but it is marketed as a camera drone, and we don’t think it does that very well. It is a flying camera but you can get better images from the sky for this price with newer drones or a slightly larger budget.
- Well built toy drone
- Decent low-quality camera
- Heavy for it’s use
- Older drone
Ryze Tello: Educational and safe for indoors
The Ryze Tello is the kind of toy-class drone that stands out from the crowd. It offers a good set of flight features, decent flight time, and a handful of ways to control it. Perhaps the most valuable feature of the Tello is the ability to code navigational tasks. Tello is great in a classroom setting, where students can play with computer code, learning how commands on a screen turn into flight for the little drone.
Should I buy the Ryze Tello?
The only reason we would tell you not to buy the Ryze Tello is if you have a larger budget and want to do more on the educational front. The newer DJI Robomaster TT (Tello Talent) is a part of the official robotics programs on several educational levels. Otherwise, Tello is safe for indoor flight, good for beginners, and plain fun for the rest of us.
- Good flight features
- Decent flight time
- Safe for indoor flight
- Small drone
- Remote is optional add-on
Surely there are more drones under $200?
There sure are. The list of drones under $200 is ever evolving. Many players have been adding value through updates and increased functionality, but other drones have been hitting the market as well. Of course, if you are unsure of your budget, maybe go a little smaller, we’ve got some lists that might help.
Best drones under $100
Our list of cheap drones, the machines under $100 is a solid collection of toy-class drones ready for your training needs, or to keep a child happy.
Best drones for children
We also explored inexpensive flying machines in our list of drones for children. Kids will love to fly one of these great machines, you just have to pick your budget.
What can you expect from a $200 drone?
A $200 drone in today’s market is going to be the higher-end of the toy class quadcopters. These will be simple machines with lower-end cameras, but may offer GPS or other tools to allow stable flight and even an autonomous hover mode.
Let’s be clear, a drone at this price point should be thought of as a fun way to experience flight, and you certainly will. Drones in this range, however, are not ideal camera drones.
We would be happy to hear what you think are some of the best drones under $200, especially if you have any disagreements with our list. We certainly try to be fair, but the truth is, there are just so many drones in this segment, we haven’t tested enough of them to be sure. Visit out expertise in the drones under $1000 list, they fit our passion for aerial photography a little better.
Is there a $200 drone landing near you any time soon?
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cheap drones any good?
There are quality drones at nearly any price bracket, however, what makes a drone good for us may not be what you need. We like to fly stable machines to capture the best possible aerial photos and video, there are no “cheap” drones that can manage that. Ignoring a camera, if you fly to experience flight, there are solid machines for decent prices. Most racing drones are very affordable compared to a camera rig, as an example.
How high can I fly a $200 drone?
400 feet, or about 120 meters. No matter what your drone is physically capable of, almost every country around the globe has a legal height restriction for drone flight. Most of the drones in this price range offer connectivity up to about 800 feet, so if laws permit, you’ll be able to fly close to your max connectivity range above the ground.
What’s the difference between a toy drone and a real drone?
As with many things, how you use it determines what it is – if you fly for fun, it’s a “toy.” Breaking it down, however, you should expect drones under about $50 to offer almost no flight assist features, and minimal connectivity range. Drones up to about $200 start to get brushless motors, greater connectivity range, maybe GPS and a simple camera. When you get passed about $500, you’ll start to get automated flight modes, cameras with stabilized gimbals, and much improved flight range. Things only get better from there.
Does my inexpensive drone also need Remote ID installed?
There are exceptions for drones that weigh less than 0.55lbs, or that only fly in registered FAA flight areas, (that don’t exist yet,) but most drones, regardless their price, will require Remote ID, yes. We understand that this may be too prohibitive for you. We will be forced to retire several drones as well. Remember that the rule does not take effect until a few months into 2021, and you have until 2023 before total compliance is required – don’t push your luck, but do get out and enjoy your drone while you can.