Just a few decades ago, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, were exclusive to the military and high-tech companies. Not to mention their prohibitive price tags. The rest of the population could only stare in awe and marvel when drones were put into action in Hollywood blockbusters.
However, this has changed significantly with companies introducing affordable, consumer-level drones for average customers. If you’re in a hurry and want a quick recommendation, you won’t go wrong with the Tello Quadcopter with DJI tech, which is certainly one of our favorites.
This is particularly beneficial for beginners and young adults as they take their first steps into the fascinating world of drones. Most of us would agree that the best strategy to begin flying drones is to start with a wallet-friendly model. You can hone your drone flying skills, and in case you crash it, your financial situation won’t crash with it!
In this post, we have picked five of the best drones available for under $150. So for all the beginner drone pilots out there, “These are the drones you’re looking for!” (Storm Trooper voice)
Please note: The drones reviewed in this article were found to be available for less than $150 at the time of writing. However, prices change regularly. For the most up-to-date price on each model, click the “Check Price” button to view the price on Amazon.
- 8 Best Quadcopter Drones Under $150 Reviewed
- Best Overall – Ryze Tech DJI Tello Quadcopter
- Best for Hobbyists – Altair Hornet Drone
- Best Budget Option – UDI RC HD Drone Quadcopter
- Best for Kids – Altair #AA108 Camera Drone
- Best Battery Life – Force1 FPV Drone
- Best for Aerial Photos and Videos – Holy Stone F181W FPV Drone
- Best for Stunts – Syma X5C RC Explorers Quad Copter
- Best Foldable Drone – EACHINE E520 Drone with 4K Camera Live Video
- What to Consider When Buying a Drone Under $150
- Frequently Asked Questions
8 Best Quadcopter Drones Under $150 Reviewed
Best Overall – Ryze Tech DJI Tello Quadcopter
The Tello Quadcopter comes from one of the most renowned companies in the drone industry, DJI. They are globally known for their excellence in drone technology, and this Tello Quadcopter is no exception.
This sleek quad has one of the longest flight times in drones under $150. You can use it for up to 13 minutes of flight time on a full charge, but this figure is variable. It will depend on weather conditions. The windier it is, the more air resistance your drone will have to deal with. Your piloting style will also impact battery life.
Another exceptional feature is compatibility with MIT developed Scratch as well as Python and Swift. It is also programmable with SDK. This feature makes it a great learning tool for advanced drone flyers as they can develop software.
There are even more perks for the user. This deceivingly small drone has 8 flight modes, which is not found even in some premium-priced drones. This includes 8D flips, throw and go, bounce mode, 360°, circle, up and out. This feature makes the drone very easy to fly and easily one of the best drones for beginners. You can also hook it up with your VR headset!
As for remote control, you can just use your smartphone. It can reach a vertical distance of 33 feet, and its maximum range is 3300 feet. It connects to your smartphone via Wi-Fi. Or, if you prefer a dedicated remote controller, there are very affordable options.
Also, if you’re into aerial photos and videography, Tello will astound you with the quality of its photos and videos. Typically, drones in this price range do not have a good camera, and some do not have one at all. This Quadcopter is equipped with a 5 megapixel HD camera that captures stunning still photography in JPEG and MP4 videos with its 720p HD camera. And share them directly on social media through your phone!
- Effortless to fly
- Incredible 13 minute flight time
- Multiple flight modes
- Very responsive
- Great for aerial photography and drone racing
- Cannot fly well in windy conditions
Best for Hobbyists – Altair Hornet Drone
The Altair Hornet’s 15 minutes flight time probably doesn’t sound like much. However, most drone options at this price point have significantly lower battery life. This one even has two batteries, which means you’ll be able to enjoy it for half an hour before having to recharge!
While it’s certainly one of the basic considerations for beginners, a good flight time isn’t the only reason we recommend this drone. It’s our #2 option because it’s an excellent starter kit. It contains everything a beginner will need: the altitude hold mode, one-button take off and landing, automatic return home. Also, there’s a headless mode that addresses the issue of direction. Plus, a remote control contributes to its ease of use. These are all the essentials that make a drone effortless for beginners and even for adults. They make the drone easy to operate with minimal skills, and also, if you possess none!
What I especially appreciate is three skill levels. Even though the learning curve isn’t steep with this quad, it’s still great to scale it through different stages. As your skills grow, the drone’s speed and maneuverability will grow too! You can fly the drone safely up to 200 feet.
The onboard wide-angle 720p camera takes good quality pictures and shoots videos at 30 FPS. Perfect for aerial photos at mode altitude hold!
Another great feature of the Altair’s Hornet Drone is that it can be flown indoors. The emergency landing feature also makes this drone a perfect choice for beginners and kids learning to fly the drone.
Last but not least, Altair has very prompt and helpful customer service.
- Exceptional flight time
- Altitude hold mode and other beginner-friendly features
- Variable speed settings
- Support FPV
- Comes with two batteries
- Emergency landing
- Great customer service
- It is a bit bulky
Best Budget Option – UDI RC HD Drone Quadcopter
Undeniably one of the better entry-level drones, UDI RC’s HD Drone Quadcopter has many beginner-friendly features that make it a delight to fly. This lightweight camera drone can be flown right out of the box as it does not require FAA registration.
Beginners often experience issues with determining the drone’s direction when it’s higher up. The headless mode will help with that! It’s a great function as it can get tricky to keep your eye on the drone as it goes further away from you.
Another kid and the beginner-friendly feature is one key return home function. It allows you to bring the aircraft back home without any problem.
At this price point and weight, one would have expected a very unstable drone. However, the 6 axis gyro stabilization helps with that. It also allows the user to perform stunts at ease like a pro.
This Drone Quadcopter has a flight range of around 164 feet, which is considerably shorter than others in the price category. However, given that it functions via Wi-Fi connectivity, it is not so bad, after all. The drone comes with a 2-megapixel camera. Not excellent, not terrible – especially for the price! You’ll be able to take decent quality photos at 1280p x 720p and record videos. The captured data gets stored in the micro SD card, which comes with the drone.
Another feature that impressed us was the built-in propeller guards. This makes UDI RC’s HD Drone Quadcopter one of the toughest drones for beginners and kids who will inevitably crash the drone. The specs say that the flight time is 8 minutes. Realistically, it’s more like 6 minutes. But you can always buy more batteries to prolong your outing!
Let’s make one thing clear. You can’t expect the features of this model to be of exceptionally high quality. Professional drones rarely cost under at least $500, and often $1,000. And this is not just a drone under $150. It’s much cheaper than that! We heartily recommend it as an easy to use an entry-level model for those who want to dip their toes into piloting. If you like it, you’ll certainly invest in a more expensive quad. But you won’t regret buying it even if you don’t get into flying!
- Headless mode
- Excellent stability
- Easy controls
- Return home function
- Good flight time
- Very durable
- Does not have altitude hold mode
Best for Kids – Altair #AA108 Camera Drone
The Altair Camera Drone is definitely one of the best drones for kids and for flying indoors. It has a decent 10 minute flight time, which is better than some, but still a bit worse than the above Tello. However, the great thing is that they include an extra battery in the package so that you can double the time straight out of the box.
One of the most outstanding features that make this very drone kid-friendly is the variable speed modes. It has three-speed modes for kids/beginners, intermediate and experienced, respectively.
Even if it’s your kid’s first drone experience, they will learn to fly it within minutes. Just make sure not to switch to the intermediate mode before getting comfortable with the newbie mode! It’s also advisable to get acquainted with it indoors. Once you are more secure, you can fly it up to 330 feet. More than enough for having some serious fun!
It gets even more fun if you use your smartphone as a remote controller. Just draw a line – any line – on your screen, and the drone will follow it! However, if you want a screen-free piloting experience, that’s fine too. The drone comes with a remote control joystick to get you covered.
You will especially love the Altitude Hold mode. When it’s on, the drone will maintain the altitude until you tell it otherwise. Excellent for still photography and videos that the 720p HD camera can take! There’s also automatic take off and landing, which adds to the ease of use. No need to mess about the controller when all it takes is a push of a button to land your vehicle.
- Automatic takeoff and landing
- Variable speed modes
- Altitude hold mode
- Very durable
- Can be flown indoors
- Double batteries
- Not the fastest drone
Best Battery Life – Force1 FPV Drone
The Force 1 FPV Drone is a beginner-friendly one and one of the best drones under $150 for kids or adults. It’s an FPV drone, which stands for the first-person view. In other words, you can video pilot it by watching what it sees via real time transmission.
Like most options from our list, this one also has a bunch of features that make it easy to fly. The altitude hold and headless mode are impressive and will allow you more seamless control.
The FlyingSee app will allow you live video streaming, which you can easily share on social media. It can perform 360º stunt flips with ease, and you can also create custom flights with an iOS or Android smartphone. So many materials for sharing!
This drone takes exceptional pictures with a 720p camera. It also records videos at 1280p, which is perfect for live streaming or shooting videos. It has a 6 axis gyro stabilization, making sure your shots are pro-quality!
But the most exceptional feature is a whopping 18 minutes flight time – per battery. And the drone comes with three batteries! That’s nearly an hour of flying if the conditions are perfect. Such a long flight time is wishful thinking even for much more expensive drones.
- Stable camera for great aerial photography
- Easy buttons for flying
- Exceptional flight time
- Compatible with smartphones
- Can be flown right out of the box
- Limited durability
- Not suited to windy conditions
Best for Aerial Photos and Videos – Holy Stone F181W FPV Drone
Those of you looking for the best drone for relatively high quality photos, look no further than Holy Stone F181W! It features a wide angle 1080p HD camera with real time transmission. Keep in mind that your average camera drone at this price range will only feature a 720p camera!
Some users are quick to complain that the camera isn’t that good after all. But it’s hard to expect impressive video quality for this price! From what we’ve seen, it really does outperform most other drones under $150 when it comes to aerial photography. Nice work for the money!
The easy to use mobile app allows you also to control your drone with your voice and trajectory flight. Beginners will want to know that it features headless mode, one key takeoff and landing, and altitude hold. Also, a 6 axis gyro system makes the drone more wind resistant.
You can double the 10 minutes of flight time thanks to two batteries that come included in the box. Multiple speeds mean that it’s easy to use even if you’ve never done it before.
Another benefit is that you don’t need to register this Holy Stone aircraft with the FAA. If you’re planning it as a gift for your kid, they will be delighted to fly it straight away!
- A 1080p wide angle HD camera with real time transmission
- One key return, takeoff, and landing
- Decent battery life with 2×10 minutes flight time
- It can perform 3D flips, which will delight your kids
- Gesture and voice control, apart from smartphone app and remote controller
- The 6 axis gyro doesn’t make it very stable
- Some users have had issues with the one key return button
Best for Stunts – Syma X5C RC Explorers Quad Copter
People often complain that drones under $150 tend to be a bit sluggish while reacting to your controls. Not Syma X5C, mind you! The manufacturer claims its reaction time is 100 faster than others. Even if that’s a bit of an exaggeration, this mini drone is still very quick to react!
Syma is not the best camera drone, but what it excels at are stunts. You can maneuver it to perform continuous one key 360-degree rolls. That is, of course, if you’re skillful enough! If not, it’s best not to try it yet, or you’ll be in for some nasty crashes. Just take a look at the below video, recorded by a seasoned drone pilot.
As another plus, you’ll get spare sets of propellers and prop guards. Before long, you’ll need them too! The drone itself is relatively durable, but those parts tend to get damaged pretty fast.
Unlike all the drones we reviewed above, this one leaves something to be desired when it comes to flying time. It’s just 7 minutes, but realistically, more like 5. The drone is fast and responds well, but that tends to drain off the battery faster.
There are red and green LED lights, which makes it easier to detect direction. They somewhat compensate for the lack of headless mode. However, they are another battery drainer.
- Excellent for stunts
- Can perform 360-degree rolls and 3D flip
- It’s very agile in reacting to the controls
- Has an HD camera
- Easy to fly
- 6 axis gyro for stable hovering
- A pretty fast little drone
- Spare propellers and blade guards included
- The 7 minutes flight time is a bit short
- No headless mode
Best Foldable Drone – EACHINE E520 Drone with 4K Camera Live Video
EACHINE E520 is a relatively small yet robust drone. You can fold its arms, put it in your backpack and carry it everywhere you go!
It supports a Micro SD card with up to 32 GB of storage. More than enough to capture and store all those beautiful aerial shots!
I especially like the Follow Me mode, which is rare at this price range. It allows the drone to automatically follow you, without you needing to control it. If you’re fond of selfies, it’s going to be a blast! Not to mention that you won’t need those annoying selfie sticks.
You’ll also get two spare blades, as well as blade guards. Whether you’re a novice or an intermediate pilot, chances are you’re going to crash it more than once. So these will come in handy!
It’s also worth noting that the drone is VR compatible.
The only downside is that it doesn’t feature a stabilization system. While it’s not a must, you’ll find this drone more difficult to control in windy conditions.
Also, the 4K camera is a bit misleading. The drone will take pics but not videos in 4K. And it only makes sense. For a proper 4K video, you would need to dish out much more cash!
- Great battery life with 17 minutes of flying time
- It’s foldable and easily fits in a backpack
- 4K HD wide-angle camera with real time transmission
- Follow Me mode for hands-free flying
- LED lights for easier detection
- Novice-friendly features include auto hovering, emergence brake, low battery alarm, one key landing and takeoff, headless mode
- VR compatible
- No stabilization system
- No 4K video
What to Consider When Buying a Drone Under $150
Whether you’re buying a drone for yourself or as a gift for your kid, safety is the foremost concern. Most of these aircraft are small, but the propellers can seriously hurt you!
So, you’ll need to make sure the drone has propeller guards. They won’t get rid of the danger altogether, but they will mitigate the risk. The blades are very sharp when in function!
In fact, I’ve heard stories of people trying to grab their drone when they lose control of it. That is not an advisable action!
If you are buying one of the best drones for a teen, make sure always to be there. Flying drones is generally legal in the US, but you still need to follow local rules and regulations.
Learning to fly a drone sounds easy in theory, but it can turn into a nightmare in practice. A lightweight drone can easily drift away out of your sight. That’s where features such as headless mode, altitude hold, and LED lights come into play.
So the keyword here is “one key.” If you have a one key return home button on your remote controller, you just need to press it to bring the drone back home. No need to stand there all confused and watch it helplessly as it flies over a river!
These features are essential for beginners, but they are also handy for intermediate or expert pilots. It never hurts to have them on board!
Before going out to buy even a cheaper drone, you need to figure out the main purpose. If you want aerial photography, you’ll obviously need a drone with camera. But not just any camera! An FPV camera won’t necessarily make good photos and videos. In some cases, it only allows you a real time video transmission. For decent photos, you’ll need an HD camera. And a relatively bulky drone with some more weight and stability.
But if you’re into racing and stunts, you’ll need a fast and very responsive aircraft. The smaller, the better! It can even be a mini drone.
For this price, you’ll typically get a flight time of around 10 minutes, give or take. But you can always work your way around this limitation. All you have to do is buy a few spare batteries!
In fact, some of the above options already include one, two, or even three spare batteries.
Therefore, battery life is important, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
Buy one or make one?
If you’re a crafty person, you may even want to consider buying a DIY drone kit. These are typically very cheap, and you get to customize your drone to suit your exact needs. However, keep in mind that hunting for compatible components may turn out to be quite a hassle. But it doesn’t come without reward!
In fact, some of the most powerful drones I’ve seen are DIY drones. By learning how to build a drone, you will acquire so many skills. Engineering and coding are some of the most important transferable skills today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cheap drones any good?
If you really want an exceptional powerhouse, you’ll need to spend much more than $150 or $200. That’s just the way of the world!
However, that doesn’t mean that inexpensive drones are trash as a rule. Technology has been progressing at an incredible pace. And gizmos that used to cost thousands of dollars are now available at a fraction of that price. It takes just a few years or even months for the prices to plummet!
The same goes for drones. Even the cheapest drones can have some amazing features. As we saw above, it’s even possible to get a programmable drone for under or about $150!
Still, we have to remain realistic. You can’t expect a cheap drone to perform miracles. But many of them will still be more than enough for a beginner.
Can I get a professional drone for $150?
You can get a decent drone for this price. But decent doesn’t equal professional.
If you need an exceptional drone with camera or a racing drone, you’ll need to pay more than that. That’s because you would have to pay a few hundred for a professional camera on its own! Let alone a drone that will be stable enough to resist the weather conditions. Or a drone that has obstacle avoidance and other high-end specs.
Do I need special training to fly a drone?
You don’t need special training in terms of courses or certifications to fly an average consumer drone. However, you do need lots of practice, trial, and error. Luckily, there are countless online resources and tutorials, as well as community forums and groups.
Many people find it useful to learn their drone indoors. However, that’s only possible with smaller or mini drones. And even then, you have to be very careful. You don’t want your drone to crush against your expensive TV set!
Your backyard may be another convenient place to start. Make sure, though, not to lose control over the drone so that it flies across to your neighbor’s! Before making any acrobatics, get acquainted with your local community rules, as well as state laws.
Once you are comfortable with the drone, you can get out to open spaces. Where there are no people, you can allow yourself to get a little wild with maneuvering.
Is there a better drone than DJI?
DJI is indeed one of the best, if not THE best drone manufacturer as of this writing. They excel in making all types and sizes of drones. That’s why their aircraft are typically costly. But you’ll really get the bang for your buck!
However, that is not to say that they are the only premium drone company. Other great manufacturers include Hubsan, Parrot, Yuneec, Autel Robotics, Kespry. Many more to come, we hope!
Why should kids learn to fly a drone?
Learning to fly a drone is a fun activity in many ways. However, it is also a fantastic way to enhance learning in kids and young adults. Curious minds can learn about the physics behind the drone, as well as the designs. Alternatively, it can also inspire innovative ways to learn about photography skills, film-making and prepare children for creative industry careers. Drones can also be a great gateway to other aviation-related toys and hobbies, such as remote control planes.
Drone technology will undoubtedly become more refined in the coming years, which will drastically reduce the prices of drones. At the current time, these are the best drones for under $150 on the market. You can take your pick for yourself as a beginner or for your kid. Drones are also excellent gifts for the holidays!
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Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API