Are you looking for a drone but are on a tight budget? Then this cheap drones guide has you covered. Here, you will find affordable drones under $500 that you can connect to your GoPro or any action camera.
Cheap Drones Guide for Cash-Strapped Enthusiasts
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UPair Chase One Quadcopter
A few months earlier, the first UPair Chase was released. It may have been enough to reel in potential buyers, but earlier reviews were not too promising. There were problems with stability, camera recording triggering, and other FPV-related issues. The new release takes the same shape as its predecessor but is especially designed to address the previous problems.
The drone comes with a 4K camera (Firefly 6S), a charger, and a 2-axis gimbal. Features include the following:
- Flying time of 25 minutes
- Video feed distance of 800 m
- Control distance up to 1 km
- To address the stability issues, the company developed a GPS stabilized flying similar to that of a DJI Phantom
- Return-home feature
- Gimbal that allows you to rotate the action camera all the way down
It may be a few bucks over a $300 budget, but this drone is worth the investment. The UPair Chase lets users choose between two models: a 2K model that can capture full 1080p HD and a 4K model that is equipped with a camera that shoots 4K at 24fps. You can get the 4K model for $400.
The verdict: The UPair Chase mirrors the features of a DJI Phantom 3 drone, making it a perfect model for beginners. Consider that the cheapest action camera will cost you around $70, and a gimbal runs around the same price. On top of that, telemetry will run you around $100, so paying $300 plus for a UPair Chase truly is a bargain.
Cheerson CX-20 (also known as Quanum Nova)
The Cheerson CX-20 is another model that resembles the DJI Phantom. This quadcopter is a stable flier with smooth directional transitions. The only downside is that it may not fly fast enough for drone enthusiasts who enjoy moving at fast speeds.
- Flying time of 15 minutes with 2800 mAh battery
- Control distance up to 300 m
- Charging time: 2–4 hours
- Return-home function
- GPS multi-rotor autopilot system
- Software: Mission Planner (for Windows), APM Planner (for Mac), etc.
- GoPro Gimbal included
The verdict: the Cx-20 quadcopter is equipped with features that make a great value for your money. This is recommended for beginners who have experience with brushed quads. Users may also configure the hardware and software as needed, making it a very popular model among quadcopter flyers.
Wltoys V303 Seeker Quadrocopter
WLToys made sure that they developed their own DJI clone as well. WLToys V303 is an all-white, plastic drone that is sturdy and easy to operate.
- 6-axis system
- Directions: raise and down/forward and backward/left and right turning/left and right crab flying/hanged flying/360 2
- GPS auto pilot function
- Come Home–button ready
- Failsafe and self-landing
- Wifi FPV 300 meters
- GoPro camera mount (camera not included)
The verdict: the V303 is complete with recent upgrades that are both fun and useful to fly. With that being said, this model would better suit those who have had experience with quadcopters.
Walkera QR X350
The Walkera QR 350 has a longer battery life than most drones. But it does not come with a camera, so you’ll have to purchase one separately.
- Flying time: 10–15 minutes
- GPS: GPS auto pilot function, Come Home–button ready
- GoPro gimbal included
The verdict: this drone is undeniably the most expensive of the group. But it is complete with a stronger transmitter as well as an overall improvement in terms of quality.
Kai Deng K70C
At that price point, the same with other items under the cheap drones guide, do not expect the best quality. This drone is recommended for those who just want to try out drone flying without having to spend so much money.
- 2MP HD Camera
- ESC gimbal provides camera spinning from 0° to 90°
- Return Home button
- Entry level mode—beginners can easily control the quadcopter
- Technical level mode—gives senior players more freedom to show their techniques.
The verdict: this may be the most inexpensive in this cheap drones guide, but if you are serious about kick-starting a newfound hobby with drone flying, then you might want to go for the Cheerson CX-20 instead.
Blade 200 QX BNF with SAFE
By integrating both SAFE technology and powerful brushless motors, the 200 QX is a great action camera platform. Users can even attach a compact HD camera to the drone so you can capture jaw-dropping images and videos. Control functions are awesome too, users will have no problem navigating the quadcopter during flight.
- 3 flight modes: Stability Low Angle, Stability High Angle, and Agility
- High-performance brushless motors
- Come Home button
- Optional camera and mount available, sold separately
The verdict: as expected from a cheap drones guide, the Blade 200 is an ideal drone for beginners and video enthusiasts. Smart Mode allows smooth and steady flying while the innovative SAFE Circle feature prevents the quadcopter from flying dangerously close to the pilot.
It is best to avoid losing your drone with a 3G GPS drone tracker like Trackimo. These drone trackers help users easily recover flyaway drones. It comes complete with a geo-fencing feature that alerts you if the drone flies beyond a preset safe zone.