Drones are extremely popular; almost everybody uses them today!
Whether it is your next-door neighbor’s kid playing in the backyard, a professional photographer doing a project in the Amazon, or a multinational preparing for their end-year lighting party, drones have a wide application that has allowed them to become part and parcel of our daily lives.
Which begs the question…why don’t you have a drone?
If it is money you are worried about, you’ll be surprised to know that there are numerous high-performing quadcopters that you can purchase on a budget. In this post, we review the best drones under 300 dollars currently available in the market.
In a Hurry…
Our top overall pick after 48hrs of intense product tests is the Holy Stone HS720 quadcopter. It is easy to fly and offers a long flight time that enables you to enjoy its slew of high-end specifications.
Intelligent flight modes such as auto return home, as well as remote piloting compatibility, make it one of the most sought-after drones under 300 dollars.
Check out the rest of our picks for the best budget drone for 2020 in the table list below:
Best Drones under 300 – Buying Guide
Thanks to the internet, buying a drone today is just a click away! But before you decide to tap on that green button, there are several considerations you need to make to ensure that you end up with a quadcopter that suits your needs. Generally, the following features will prove critical when shopping for the finest drones in 2020:
The amount of time your drone can remain hovering in the air determines how long you get to enjoy the playtime or how short your video documentary is going to take. Unfortunately, not all drones offer the same flight duration, which can be quite frustrating if your choice has a shorter than average flight time.
A good solution would be to get a spare battery which helps to double the battery life. Ideally, 10 to 15 minutes should suffice for a hobby drone, but if you’re looking to make the most of your drone experience, find a quadcopter that offers you at least 20 minutes of flight time.
Range refers to the amount of distance, horizontally or vertically, that your drone can operate from the remote controller before losing connection. This will usually affect the scope quality of aerial footage you can capture or whether you’ll be able to record video of inaccessible objects such as caves, waterfalls, volcanoes, etc.
Some cheap hobby drones will allow you a flight range of just under 100m, but you can get a quality quadcopter such as the DJI Mavic 2 Pro that will reward you with an 8-kilometer range. Be sure to choose a flight range that will fit the purpose of the drone.
If you’re buying a drone for your photography gig, the camera quality is the first thing you’re going to be looking at. And if you want the ideal service, you have to ensure that you are getting a drone with an exceptional camera. A decent quality camera will let you capture amazing aerial footage at high resolution that you can use professionally.
Unfortunately, not all cameras are created equal. You’ll find entry-level drones offering only a 720p video resolution camera that you can ideally use for a selfie or home videos. On the other hand, you will find a 20MP 4K camera that enables you to capture a crystal-clear image and record detailed footage from a distance.
Some drone models even provide you with the option to add a camera if you have a compatible device, as well as remote piloting options that allow you to share video footage in real-time. Between your budget and how you intend to use the camera, choose a camera drone that works for you!
Gimbal and Stabilization
Your high-quality camera drone will be pointless if the images are not stable. The only way to ensure this is not the case is with a quality gimbal. This is what helps to keep the camera stable and horizontal as the drone hovers around.
It allows your camera to record smooth video footage, as well as capture clear still images on the go that you can use to show-off on your various social media handles. A good gimbal will also eliminate the “blurry” effect and deliver a sharper video and image, proving the difference between an amateur and a professional photographer.
The greatest drones in the market come with a 3-axis gimbal for a smooth and quality image or video resolution. Other stabilization features you may want look at include GPS and a barometer, which allow the drone to maintain its position in the face of strong windy conditions or even an unexpected storm.
This is a great feature that will come in handy, especially for beginner drone users that are yet to get the gist of drone flying. It will also be useful for advanced drone pilots flying their drones in an “obstacle-heavy” environment such as a riot where all sorts of projectiles keep on being hurled into the air.
The obstacle avoidance feature reduces the risk of your quadcopter running into trees, electricity wires, other drones, etc. and the consequent damage or total obliteration of your device.
Some people look for a compact drone that is lightweight and portable so that it is easier to bring it along on their unending expeditions. Larger drones may prove to a bit cumbersome, especially if you are buying for children or when it comes to carrying and storing it.
The size of the drone will also have legal implications as there is a limit to the drone weight that you can fly in public spaces. Some drones will require a legal permit from the relevant authorities to fly, and this is usually pegged on the weight of the air vehicle.
Several advanced features help to enhance your drone experience and make it fulfilling for both experienced and newbie pilots when included. Some drones offer intelligent flight modes such as headless mode which keeps the drone moving forward regardless of the direction you’re facing.
You can also get “Follow Me” whereby the drone follows the subject wherever they go, as well as predetermined flight routes. All these capabilities make the flying experience more exciting and easier for you.
If you can’t wait to impress your friends with your new drone, there are models of drones that will perform interesting maneuvers in the air such as back-flips, fly in reverse, and other aerial tricks with a high degree of difficulty. Another handy feature for a beginner will be “Return to home”.
This ensures that the drone will automatically return to the flight starting point when the battery is running on empty or when you fly it out of range. This way, you won’t have to worry about losing your drone.
These are just some of the many advanced features that will improve your playtime. And given the level of competition in the drone market, there more extra features to look out for that are continually being introduced in the latest product offerings by drone makers.
Warranty and Customer Support
A warranty is always an added advantage when you make a new investment, even if it is for a cheap drone. Remember that safety features such as obstacle avoidance don’t fully protect you from mid-air collisions, and in case of any premature functional issues, you want to make sure that the retailer will be able to intervene when you return the drones.
This also brings in the issue of customer support. The brand you choose should have a responsive customer care unit that will swiftly respond to any emails and texts on various inquiries. The after-sale services that will help you learn a few things about using the model or how to return it are also extremely important.
Best Drone Under 300- Individual Reviews
Holy Stone HS720 – Top Overall Pick
This is the top overall pick on our review and for a good reason! Holy Stone decided to build on the popularity of the HS100 to create an updated, feature-rich quadcopter that will give many high-end models in the market a run for their money. The Holy Stone HS720 is an affordable high-performance device you cannot afford to miss out on!
Whether you are a newbie or experienced pilot, you will have a great time flying this exciting piece of machinery. Of all its quality features, the GPS Assisted Intelligent Flight function particularly stands out as the drones best in offering new users the ideal quadcopter experience.
The HS720 offers you a flight duration of over 20 minutes, which is in the higher category for best camera drones under $300. You can thank the Li-po battery and brushless motor it uses, which serve to increase your playtime. The drone features a 1600m controller range and an 800m WiFi range.
Its ergonomic 2.4Hz transmitter will feel natural in your palms and features an LED screen where you can follow up on the drone’s flight progress to enhance the whole experience for you.
The quadcopter measures 14.4 by 13.2 by 2.4 inches, but can conveniently be folded and stored in its special carry bag (comes with the drone) for when you want to travel. It sports a 2K HD camera that will record above-average video footage with 2048 by 1152p resolution.
Its camera has a 90-degree tilt that enhances your field of view and will remain stable despite the drone’s vibration thanks to a shock absorption holder. Furthermore, the camera is 5G enabled and supports FPV, ensuring that you can stream live video footage from your drone.
Not to worry if you’re still learning the ropes in drone flying, the HS720’s intelligent flight functions will ensure that you have an easy and fulfilling practice session. You will appreciate the custom-flight mode, follow me mode, and orbit mode that help to safely maneuver the quadcopter in mid-air.
Its return to home mode is a crucial safety feature that prevents you from losing your drone when you fly it out of range. Overall, the flight performance of the drone is nothing short of impressive. It also has a quiet sound profile, which means you don’t have to be a public nuisance when you are flying it in the neighborhood.
- 2K HD camera quality
- Straight-forward controls
- 5G WiFi for fast sharing of files
- Return home mode
- FPV video transmission
- Long flight time
- Quiet sound profile
- Travel-friendly casing
- GPS Assisted Intelligent Flight functions
- No replacement battery
- Long charging time
Altair Aerial Blackhawk – Best Budget Option
If you’re looking for a nice hobby drone that won’t blow your budget, the Altair Blackhawk is one of the finest models you can get. It is not only a great drone for beginners who need plenty of easy-to-operate features, but also has impressive specs that you wouldn’t imagine on a quadcopter this cheap.
The value of the drone can be seen right from the durable metal build quality that is an upgrade from the plastic designs we’ve become accustomed to. It measures 13.9 by 12.9 by 6.2 inches and weighs only 0.16oz, making it small and lightweight enough to carry on the go.
Despite this low weight, it is shaped in a way that enhances mid-air stability, making it a functional device for aerial photography. The Blackhawk has an impressive flying time of 15 minutes to just under 20 minutes on a full charge; more than you can get on models at a higher price range.
You will also get a range of 300 meters from this easy-to-use drone that can readily be adjusted for total control in the air. 6-axis gyros on the quadcopter enable you to fly it in any direction and create a realistic and smooth flying experience that newbie pilots will enjoy.
Another interesting and unique feature on this “pocket Hercules” of a drone is the built-in automatic lock protection that serves to prevent burnouts due to deadlock. This saves you the cost of constantly having to replace the motors on your drone.
Unfortunately, the Altair Blackhawk doesn’t come with a camera, meaning you’ll have to acquire one separately if you plan to use it for photography. On the bright side, it is fitted with an action camera mount that is compatible with a GoPro camera (HERO 3 and 4), as well as a similar-sized camera.
If you don’t mind spending extra on a camera, this should not come close to a deal-breaker. The drone is also fast and agile in the air, making it a fun device for any newcomer. The package further comes with additional propellers, as well as optional propeller guards, just to make sure you’re getting what you deserve.
The best part about this deal is that for a measly $100, you’ll be getting a functional quadcopter with the durability to last years; consider it a steal!
- Heavy-duty design for durability
- Very cheap price
- Steady position hold in the air
- Easy to operate, even for beginners
- Action camera mount
- Long flight time
- Automatic lock protection
- Doesn’t come with a camera
Walkera Rodeo 150 – Best for Racing
If you’re looking for a drone that is wicked fast for your newly discovered love for drone racing, this quadcopter promises to leave the competition in its shadow. The Walkera Rodeo 150 can hold its own against any entry-level racing drones and will be a great option for getting your drone flying skills updated.
This quadcopter measures 5.5 by 5.5 by 3 inches and only weighs 0.16oz, which makes it small and lightweight for mid-air speed and agility. It is powered by a 7.4V 850Ah Li-po battery that offers just 8 minutes of flight time. I guess this is a compromise the manufacturer made while increasing the speed capabilities of the drone.
However, you can get yourself extra batteries if you feel the flight time is just too little for you. The drone features a 600TVL camera that is good enough to keep you focused on the racing track as you battle the competition. You also get a chance to watch the live footage on an FPV monitor or even FPV goggles (which you’ll have to purchase separately).
The WK-WS-17-002 brushless motors on the drone allow it to be the speed-demon it is and a powerful DEVO-RX716 helps you to get your skills updated. The controller is also user-friendly with ergonomic controls that give you full control of the wild ride.
The drone doesn’t require any form of assembly. It is delivered ready for use and can be flown straight out of the package. Given the speed capabilities of this drone, it is safe to say that it may not be the best choice for beginners but something worth trying if you are an intermediate or experienced pilot.
Overall, the Walkera Rodeo 150 is a modest quadcopter as far as bells and whistles are concerned. You won’t see any fancy features but this is exactly what you get for a drone that was specifically built for the racing track.
In a nutshell, the Walkera 150 is true to its purpose! SPEED!
- Wickedly quick drone
- 600TVL camera
- Ergonomic controller for great handling
- Powerful brushless motors
- DEVO transmitter
- Cost friendly
- Great for racing
- Improves piloting skills
- Short flight time
- FPV monitor/goggles are separately purchased
- No special features
- Not suitable for beginners
Contixo F24 Pro – Best Value for Money
If you appreciate getting value from your investments, you might want to try out this amazing quadcopter. It is a great pick for experienced players and comes with a range of high-quality features that will add significant value to your overall drone experience.
The Contixo F24 Pro features dimensions of 11.6 by 8.9 by 4.6 inches and weighs just over a pound. Conveniently, it comes with a backpack that you can carry it in whenever you want to step out for an adventure on the road. The casing is lightweight and compact and lets you store the drone as is, meaning you won’t have to worry about removing the propellers first.
You will surely love the flight duration that this quadcopter offers. Imagine what you can do with 30 minutes of playtime with a drone that can cover almost 1.2km in range? You guessed right; quite a lot! However, I doubt you’ll need to fly that far.
Its brushless motors make for a smooth and stable flight with little risk of breakdown. And LED lights on the battery will alert you when the charge is dying. Luckily, there is a USB charging port on the side.
The drone is equipped with a 4K UHD camera that enables you to capture high-resolution aerial video footage. The FPV can transmit quality videos in real-time, although this is limited to a range of 500 meters. You will also have to download an Android or iOS app for this on your smartphone.
The feature-rich drone offers you all the functions you’ll find in a quality machine. You get advanced GPS assisted hovering that helps to keep the drone stable in the air. Other intelligent functions like Auto Return to Home, Follow Me mode, Altitude Hold, One-key Takeoff, and Landing, etc. make flying this drone a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You’ll also enjoy the Gesture control and Selfie Mode features, which provide you with a hands-free approach to taking pictures or recording videos with a simple hand gesture. This helps to make things interesting for you when you are in a lowly lit environment.
The Contixo interactive F24 application further provides you with the luxury to share and upload media content to your social media without the need for wires. Overall, you get a high-quality, feature-rich quadcopter that offers you a great bang for the buck!
- Numerous features for under $300
- Very long flight duration
- Great power from brushless motors
- Multiple intelligent flight functions
- Convenient storage casing
- FPV video sharing
- 4K HD camera
- Short remote piloting distance (lower than the HS720)
Parrot Bebop 2 – Best for Live Video Streaming
Those who like streaming and sharing videos will find a choice pick in the Parrot Bebop 2. It has amazing video capabilities, in addition to a plethora of high-performance features and this is what makes it one of the best drones under $300 in the market.
This quadcopter flies smoothly with a stable hover thanks to a 3-axis digital stabilization system. You’ll have no problem capturing high-quality footage on your camera that can be used professionally.
The Parrot Bebop 2 offers you just over 20 minutes of flight time for every full battery cycle. However, this will depend on aspects such as speed and the features (e.g. video) that are running as you fly your drone.
The maximum remote control range is about 300m, which may seem little when you consider the amount of flight time you’re getting. However, you can buy the special Parrot Skycontroller separately, which will help to improve your flight range to as far as 3.1km.
If you love to share a high-quality selfie on your social media or record mini-documentaries at home, the fish-eye lens on this drone will ensure that you get the most likes on Instagram in a long time.
The 14MP 1080p camera allows you to share live video footage to your device via WiFi. You can also access the live footage via VR FPV googles. Some of the unique features you’ll find on this amazing quad include digital stabilization for a smooth mid-air performance.
You also get a dual-core processor with quad-core GPU and GPS. Make your flight experience more manageable by using the flight plan function that predetermines the flight route your drone will follow before taking into the air. The only thing is that you’ll have to buy the Flight Plan app before you use it.
The drone can reach speeds of up to 38mph, which might be too quick for beginner pilots to control. So, this drone is suited for intermediate and advanced users when being flown at those rates of speed.
- Excellent controller range
- Long flight time
- High-quality 1080p camera
- Perfect for live streaming videos
- Full FPV kit
- Great value for money
- Flight plan feature requires the purchasing of app
If you are not willing to spend top-dollar on your first drone, the good news is that many models will allow you to enjoy the drone experience and still leave your account without a dent.
The above review of the best drones under 300$ provides you with exciting deals for brands that appreciate the modest spender. And you can expect that you’ll get the service quality you are looking for!
What is an FPV Drone?
FPV simply refers to the First-person view and is also known as RPV (Remote person view/Remote piloting. This a method used in the navigation of a radio-controlled vehicle from the pilot’s point of view. An FPV camera is mounted on the drone to return a live video stream back to the ground with the help of a video transmitter.
With an FPV, you’ll be able to view how and where your drone is flying and whatever falls in its field of view while up in the air. The FPV transmitter sends the real-time video footage to your controller screen or a compatible device such as a smartphone, tablet, monitor or FPV goggles.
FPV transmission on the camera lets you fly further and higher in the air. The latest drone technology is capable of flying as far as 5 miles using FPV. Military drones particularly fly to thousands of miles thanks to this technology.
Which Drones Can I Use for Racing?
There are some great drones in the market that you’ll find for all manner of prices. Generally, these drones require advanced piloting skills, especially when you’re flying them at top speed. This means they are not a good fit or beginner pilots who are still wrapping their heads around flying drones.
Some of the best racing drones you can find today include:
- Walkera F210 Professional Racer
- Arris X-Speed 250
- Arris FPV250
- LHI Full Carbon Fiber 250
- Rise Vusion 250
What is the Best Drone to Buy for Under $300?
The drone bug is on a roll, with more people looking to get a feel of the drone experience. To make the most of this emerging niche, drone makers are introducing entry-level drones that will barely deal a dent on your budget. Some of the best drones in the 300-dollar range you can find include:
- MJX BW2 Bugs 5W – Stable and Smooth.
- Hubsan X4 H501S – Complete FPV Package.
- Eachine Wizard X220 – Serious Racing Drone.
- Parrot AR 2.0 Elite Edition – Budget Camera Drone.
- DJI Spark– Travelling Drone
What is the Best Drone 2020 for Beginners?
The growing demand for consumer drones has prompted drone makers such as DJI to design and produce all kinds of models that will go slow on your budget. These also feature easy to operate controls that would be convenient for beginner drone enthusiasts who want in on the quadcopter experience.
Apart from some of the drones on this list, these drones are best suited for beginners:
- Ryze Tello – Best cheap drone designed by DJI
- Holy Stone HS100 GPS FPV – a Best cheap drone for aerial photography
- Potensic D85
- DJI Mavic Mini
- DJI Spark
Where to Buy Drones
There are numerous locations where you can buy a quadcopter that will be ready to fly in no time. The internet is the first option you have to get a quick drone deal. Buying a drone is as easy as clicking the on a button and the air-vehicle will be delivered at your doorstep. However, you have to ensure that you are buying from a trusted site such as Amazon, Bestbuy, Target, etc.
You can also go to specialized stores that sell drones where you’ll find assistance on how to use the drone if you’re still a beginner. These stores also have technicians that can repair any faults on your drone. Other options include buying from a friend, or any stranger that is willing to sell (you shouldn’t prioritize this though).