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15 Best Drones Under $200 in 2022

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Drones can be expensive. But what are the best drones under $200? I was flying my camera drone the other day, and when I looked at the video, I noticed a broken ridge tile. That’s going to cost some money. It’s ironic that a person with little humor might be referred to as a drone, because drones themselves are a lot of fun!

If you’ve not yet had the pleasure, then hopefully this article will encourage you. Perhaps you might be tempted to take your first step into the fun world of drones. Are you looking for a fun toy or looking for the best camera drone you can afford? Before I start this review of the best drones under $200, there are some things you should look for.

Two women sitting on a beach flying a drone
(Depositphotos.com)

What Are the Legal Requirements of Flying a Drone?

There’s no short answer to that. You will need to check local laws and restrictions. The Federal Aviation Administration in the US has a weight limit of 0.55 lbs (250g) for unlicensed, unrestricted drone use. Even then, there might be local restrictions because of airports or other sensitive areas. So you will need to check locally.

Privacy laws might have a bearing on drone use too. And there’s no denying that drones can be annoying to others who might object to the noise. Or they might feel they are being watched. These are all things to consider when flying.

What Features Should I Look For in a Drone?

This review of the best drones under $200 covers quite a range. At the cheaper end are pretty simple toys. At the more expensive end, you will find capable camera drones with good camera qualities.

woman flying a drone over the sea at sunset
© Li Zhongfei (Depositphotos.com)

Drone Features to Look For

Method of Control

Some drones have a separate controller that controls the flight. Others rely on your mobile phone.

First Person View (FPV)

First person view is when you can see what the drone is seeing in real time. This is a helpful and fun feature.

Headless Mode

This isn’t as scary as it sounds. If you don’t know which way the drone is facing, this allows you to move it forwards or backward in relation to where you are. Let’s say that after rotating the drone left, you want to fly it back to you. With headless mode, towards you is always backward. This is especially helpful on drones without a camera.

One-Button Launch and Recovery

This helpful feature simplifies launching and recovering your drone when you first begin. The push of a button will send your drone into the air. Then you can begin your flight. When you’re done with your flight, hit the same button and the drone will return to the space you launched it from.

Battery Life and Flight Time

Remember, what the manufacturers tell you is the maximum. Longer flight time usually costs money. Some drones come with multiple batteries. This extends the flying time. It might also be worth checking recharge time, and how easy and cheap it is to add extra batteries.

Communication

Some drones fly with on 2.4 GHz radio signal for a longer range. And some fly on Wi-Fi for simplicity. Some of the best drones offer 5 GHz communication, which provides a much longer range.

Drone flying over a house, showing the house and garden
© Andy Dean Photography (Depositphotos.com)

Different Flight Modes

You might just want to fly the drone around. But you might want it to do flips, fly around you, or follow a set route. A follow-me mode can be great for some social media shots. A GPS drone will offer a range of features, such as waypoint flying and return-to-home. Waypoint flying allows you to mark points on your phone, which the drone will follow. In some cases, these points will be on the FPV picture from the drone.

On drones equipped with GPS, this might be on a downloaded map. In theory, you can tell your drone to fly down your street and then turn right. But be sure to check privacy laws in your location.

Return-to-home is useful. If you lose sight of your drone, getting it back to you can be a problem. Return-to-home allows a one-button summons to bring your expensive toy back to you. Many drones will come back automatically if their power is running low. Likewise, if they lose contact with the pilot, they will return to the starting GPS location.

Camera Features to Look For

Camera quality

4K video is common on drones now. But you’ll want to pay attention to where the video is recorded to. Some record to a removable memory card, but some record to your phone.

Some manufacturers claim 4K, but it only applies to still shots. But for this review, I’ll only say a drone has 4K when you get genuine 4K video from the drone camera.

Stabilization

Some drones have one or multi-axis stabilization. Other drones use a gimbal to stabilize the video.

A stable flight makes the difference between great video and unusable junk. Some of the more expensive drones allow you to change the camera angle while flying. This is a great feature. But it can also lead to annoying video results, so use it wisely.

Underside of a drone camera and houses below
© Action Sports Photography, Inc. (Depositphotos.com)

What are the Best Drones Under $200 in 2022?

I will divide this review into three sections based on cost. Just to be clear, at the sub-$200 level, we are still very much in the fun and hobby world of drones. You could buy all the drones in this review for the price of the DJI Mavic 3, which is their current flagship. And you could buy some spare batteries. Even the darling of photographers, the Mavic Mini, is more than twice the price of the most expensive camera drones in this review.

This is all by way of expectation management. A drone under $200 is not going to produce soaring cinematic-quality video of your holiday. That being said, the cheapest drones here are still a lot of fun. And the most expensive will add some pretty impressive capabilities. And they can even give you better video than expensive DSLRs from a few years ago.

You’ll find prices change quite often. But roughly speaking, the drones here are in the budget category, mid-range, and top-range.

What’s the Best Budget Drone?

1. Potensic Upgraded A20

Potensic A20 drone product photo

  • Control: 2.4 GHz remote controller
  • Flight Time: 18 minutes (3 batteries at 6 minutes each)
  • Range: 330 feet (100 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): n/a
  • Features: Headless mode, altitude hold, low power alarm

The Potensic upgraded A20 mini drone is a great place to start flying. It is especially useful for kids learning to fly. There are three flight speeds as well. So the learner can take it really easy to start with. This is a small drone, so using it outdoors is only possible in completely windless conditions.

The four rotors are completely shrouded, so the furniture and plants should be safe. It also means that the rotors will suffer damage less often.

At this price, the flying time is pretty impressive. The battery life for each battery is quite stingy. But the Potensic comes with three batteries as standard. The limited range shouldn’t be an issue as it will mainly be an indoor drone. The Potensic A20 is a budget drone that will cost you less than a family trip to the movies. It’s an affordable drone and a great way to dip your feet in the waters of drone flying.

2. Holy Stone Mini Drone

Holy Stone HS210 drone product photo

  • Control: Remote controller
  • Flight Time: 21 minutes (3 batteries at 7 minutes each)
  • Range: 165 feet (50 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): n/a
  • Features: Headless mode, throw to launch, altitude hold, low battery alarm.

You’ll become familiar with the Holy Stone brand as this review of the best drones under $200 continues. There’s not much to choose between this and the Potensic A20. Both are aimed at the younger consumer. You can see this with the easy controls and the bright colors. They both also have fully-shrouded rotors. This helps to protect fingers and furnishings.

This is another drone you won’t get to fly outdoors very much. It weighs less than an ounce (0.77 oz/21.8 g), so the slightest breeze will make it impossible to control.

However, there’s plenty of fun to be had indoors with its programmed 3D flips. Three different speed modes also help the newbie pilot. And with two chargers and three batteries, there won’t be too much downtime.

3. Zuhafa JY02

Zuhafa JY02 drone product photo

  • Control: Remote controller or via phone app
  • Flight Time: 40 minutes
  • Range: 330 feet (100 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video ): 1080p
  • Features: Headless mode, 3D flips, foldable, altitude hold

This is the first of the camera drones under $200 in this review. It is remarkable that you can get a 1080p video camera in a drone for this money. There’s no removable onboard storage for the footage, but it is transmitted back to your phone. That phone can simply slot into place on the remote controller. Here it receives the live FPV video from the drone.

Or you can use the phone as a controller. What it lacks is route mapping, but at this price, that’s not surprising. But you can get up into the air for 40 minutes of flight time and take video. The folding design makes it easy to transport and it includes a carrying case. All at an absurdly reasonable price.

Three selectable speeds mean that it’s also a good first drone. There are plastic bumpers to protect the propellors. But they’re not fully shrouded, so they will be more vulnerable to damage. Especially if you fly up into something. Given its price, this is a contender for the best camera drone on a tight budget.

4. Syma X600WSyma X600W drone product photo

  • Control: 2.4 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 24 minutes (2 batteries at 12 minutes each)
  • Range: 100 feet (30 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 1080p
  • Features: FPV live to your phone, 3D flips, altitude hold, headless mode, flight path mode

This Syma X600 W is another foldable drone. It has similar features to the Zuhafa. You can operate it using only the remote control. Or you can connect your phone and get full FPV from the onboard camera.

There are two speeds and headless mode. The flight path mode is the big improvement over the camera drones we’ve seen so far. With this, you draw a route on your phone’s screen, which the drone then follows. This is great if you want to be in the video. It means you’re not gazing with intense concentration at the phone while on video.

The drone has a stable hover facility. This leads to better video footage. You don’t need to make fine adjustments to achieve a stable hover for your aerial photos.

One key takeoff and landing completes the picture for the Syma X600W. It’s a capable drone that packs a lot of features into a drone that is comfortably under $100.

5. DEERC D10

DEERC D10 drone product photo

  • Control: 5 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 24 minutes
  • Range: 330 feet (100 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 1080P
  • Features: Flight path mode, gesture and voice control, 5 GHz controller

The DEERC D10 introduces voice and gesture control to the feature list. Gesture control means, for instance, that if you make a ‘V’ shape with your arms, the drone will start recording. Voice control is self-explanatory.

The D10 also has a flight path mode and one-key takeoff and landing. The three speeds make it suitable for the nervous beginner and the more confident pilot. The drone folds away for easy transport. Although it comes with a standalone remote controller, it can also be operated by phone. This is a flexible arrangement. It’s perfect if you like the joystick controls, but want the FPV view on the phone.

The last of the sub-$100 camera drones, the D10 has plenty to be happy about. Camera quality, ease of use, and useful control features make this a good contender for best camera drone.

What’s the Best Mid-Range Drone?

6. Holy Stone HS440

Holy Stone HS440 drone product photo

  • Control: 2.4 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 40 minutes (2 batteries at 20’ each)
  • Range: 330 feet (100 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 1080p on TF card, 780p on phone
  • Features: Gravity control, headless mode, adjustable camera

The Holy Stone HS440 brings a couple of really useful extra features to the user. Gravity control allows you to control the drone by tilting your phone. Some people find this more intuitive and easy to fly. It still has a standalone remote controller and more conventional controls, so this is a useful addition.

The in-flight control of the camera angle is quite surprising for a camera drone at this price. For the remote, you can rotate the vertical direction of the camera by up to 90 degrees. This is a significant feature that adds a great deal of flexibility.

Added to this is the now-expected voice and gesture control and flightpath control. You can also store images and video on the removable TF memory card. It has a great set of features for a drone at this price. Coming from one of the leading manufacturers, this is an attractive choice for the best camera drone.

7. Contixo F22

Contixo F22 drone product photo

  • Control: 2.4 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 40 minutes (2 batteries at 20 minutes each)
  • Range: 1800 feet (550 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 1080p
  • Features: Headless mode, automatic return home, GPS, follow me.

The Contixo F22 enjoys many of the same features as the Holy Stone HS440. It has a remotely adjustable camera, 1080p recording, and the other features we have come to expect from drones at this price.

But it also adds GPS functionality. When setting out a flight path on the app, you’re not limited to drawing on the drone’s field of view. You can download a map of the local area to the app and draw the flight plan on this. Follow-me mode is another practical use of GPS, as the drone stays within a set distance of your phone’s GPS location.

Although it is easy to fly, these extra features mean that there is some setup involved. You will need to calibrate the compass and download maps. But this is a great value drone with long-range capabilities. And if you’re worried about it disappearing over the horizon, you can use the one-button automatic return home feature.

8. Holy Stone HS110G

Holy Stone HS110G drone product photo

  • Control: 2.4 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 26 minutes (2 batteries at 13’ each)
  • Range: 980 feet (300 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 1080p
  • Features: GPS, beginner mode, follow me mode, memory card storage

The Holy Stone HS110G has two different follow-me modes. You can set it to follow you as you move—say, if you’re running or riding a trail. Or you can set the drone to stay in one place, but for the camera to follow you. This would be a good setting if you were in a skatepark. Keep the drone in the middle of the park, and its camera will follow you as you grind and ollie your way around it.

You can use the GPS feature to set the route on a map that you want the drone to follow. The GPS also allows the drone to come home accurately, which it will do as its battery gets low. The HS110G offers a great set of features in an easy-to-fly drone. Beginner mode provides easier flying and then full capabilities once you are confident. This means you don’t need to upgrade to a better drone if the bug bites you.

9. Larvender KF102

Larvender KF102 drone product photo

  • Control: 5 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 50 minutes (2 batteries at 25 minutes each)
  • Range: 2624 feet (800 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 1080p
  • Features: SD card, GPS, follow-me mode, brushless motors

The Larvender KF102 packs a lot of features into a camera drone. Of particular note is the 5 GHz remote control transmitter, which gives impressive range. The drone camera records to the onboard SD card, as well as transmits to your phone. You don’t need the phone to control the drone, as the remote works independently. The phone does allow GPS map route planning and other features such as follow-me.

Brushless motors should provide long life, although some users report problems with the motors. A 3-axis gimbal stabilizes the camera. The GPS also enables the drone to return to you automatically when you ask it, but also if the power runs low.

10. Holy Stone HS175D

Holy Stone HS175D drone product photo

  • Control: 5 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 46 minutes (2 batteries at 23 minutes each)
  • Range: 1640 feet (500 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 4K
  • Features: Brushless motors, 4K video, headless and follow-me modes, VR mode

Finally, we reach a genuine 4K video drone. The Holy Stone HS175D is a drone that’s packed with features. That 4K video comes from a camera that can be remotely adjusted up or down by up to 90 degrees. An optical flow lens aids altitude stability. This helps the drone know how far away the ground is.

Return-to-home has three modes. The first allows you to summon it back to you. The second initiates a return when battery levels are low. The third is automatic if the drone loses connection with the transmitter. This means that if your drone goes beyond transmission range, it won’t just keep going forever. Instead, it will head for home. You can resume your flight as soon as the drone establishes the connection again.

This really is a feature-rich drone. Recording to the onboard memory card means you won’t lose video from any transmission interference. The camera quality does a lot to recommend the HS175D as one of the best camera drones under $200.

11. Airoka Beast SG907 MAX

Airoka Beast SG907 MAX drone product photo

  • Control: 5 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Range: 4000 feet (1200 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 4K
  • Features: Two cameras, adjustable camera, GPS, brushless motors, 3-axis gimbal

You might not have heard of Airoka, but they have packed this camera drone full of features. There is genuine 4K video from the front-mounted camera. You can adjust this camera from the remote to 110, 90, and 60 degrees. There is also a downward-facing camera for additional coverage.

It does all of this with the same feature list we have come to expect. The GPS allows you to engage in follow-me mode and return home. This is helpful as the maximum range is roughly 3/4 mile (1200 m), so it’s entirely possible you won’t be able to see the drone.

The main front camera has 3-axis gimbal stabilization. The downward-facing camera has 720p video resolution. The drone can be controlled by the remote on its own. But the FPV and route planning requires your mobile phone.

The flying time is disappointing, given that there is only one battery. But, there are a lot of other positives about the Beast SG907 MAX.

What is the Best Top-Priced Drone?

12. Aovo W Drone

Aovo drone product photo

  • Control: 5 GHz Remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 60 minutes (2 batteries at 30 minutes each)
  • Range: 3280 feet (1000 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 4K
  • Features: GPS, brushless motors, follow-me, and return home modes

Aovo is also very likely to be unfamiliar to many readers. But this is a high-specification camera drone. You can use up to 32 GB memory cards to record the footage captured by the 4K camera. The app allows you to take stills even while filming. Using the remote controller, you can adjust the gimbal-mounted camera by up to 90 degrees.

You can select a VR view for use with a VR headset, and the drone will return home on request. If the battery is running out, it will automatically return home. It does this in pre-planned stages, ensuring it achieves a safe altitude. GPS allows the drone to collect journey information. It also means you can plan a route on the map and use the follow-me mode. It’s an impressive set of features in a sub-$200 drone.

13. Potensic T25

Potensic T25 drone product photo

  • Control: 2.4 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 40 minutes (2 batteries at 20 minutes each)
  • Range: 980 feet (300 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 4K
  • Features: GPS, return to home, adjustable camera, follow-me mode, aluminum body.

The Potensic T25’s aluminum body makes this drone seem higher quality than all-plastic drones. The feature set certainly doesn’t exceed that of some slightly cheaper drones. But Potensic are a well-known brand with a reputation for good customer relations. Like most drones under $200 in this review, voice control and gesture control are all possible.

The T25 is well-specced. It has return-to-home for emergencies, by choice, or when the battery is running low. There are three speeds, so anyone from beginner to the more confident flyer can use this. The range is not as extensive as some other drones in this review. How important this is to you, only you can decide. But it does seem on the small side.

14. Holy Stone HS510 4K

Holy Stone HS510 drone product photo

  • Control: 2.4 GHz Remote controller and 5G phone app
  • Flight Time: 32 minutes (2 batteries at 16 minutes each)
  • Range: 1968 feet (600 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 4K
  • Features: Brushless motors, compact folding design, status display screen on the remote controller

With all the other features you would expect, the Holy Stone HS510 also gives you full 4K video. The gimbal-mounted camera is rotatable up to 90 degrees. GPS enables the drone to follow you and to return home in the event of low power or loss of signal.

Waypoint route planning via the app makes it easy to concentrate on important things. The drone supports up to 32 GB memory cards for storing your footage on board. As with most drones in this review, the HS5104K will respond to voice and gesture commands and has an orbit mode.

Two batteries and a neat storage case complete the picture for the T25. There’s no doubt that Holy Stone is among the leaders in producing consumer drones. And the T25 offers a well-specced entry into their brand.

15. FLL SG108 Pro

ZLL SG108 Pro drone product photo

  • Control: 5 GHz remote controller and phone app
  • Flight Time: 28 minutes
  • Range: 3280 feet (1200 m)
  • Camera Resolution (video): 1080p
  • Features: Two cameras (780p downward-facing camera), GPS, follow-me mode, return home mode

The first thing you notice about the ZLL SG108 Pro is its color. The bright orange might help you to see it better when it is at the far end of its 3280’ range. The camera drone has an adjustable front-facing camera with HD resolution (1080p) and a downward-facing camera (720p). The front camera is gimbal-mounted with 2-axis stabilization.

GPS positioning enables follow-me mode as well as return-to-home mode. The remote control works on its own or with your phone attached for the full range of features. Like most drones at this price, voice and gesture commands are available. The SG108 Pro might suit you if you want a distinctive drone with a comprehensive list of features.

Conclusion

When you look at the best drones under $200, it’s quite remarkable what your money can buy. It’s also remarkable how low the entry price is for a drone. Perhaps most surprising of all is that only the two cheapest drones in this review have no camera. That means that the price hurdle is quite low if you want to get flying and even record your surroundings.

Now, we must recognize that none of these drones will give you what you need if you want to film professionally. Many of them are unusable in even moderate winds. You might find the footage useful if you’re selling your house privately. The last car I bought was advertised with a nice overhead drone shot. But in general, these are not professional tools. But then you wouldn’t take professional photos with a $200 camera.

Out of this fairly extensive list, my choice would be the Holy Stone HS175D. It has a comprehensive range of features and is not even at the top of the $200 price range. GPS, and all the features it enables, is a big selling point. Memory card recording and a total of 46 minutes of flight time are also big positives. Anyone looking for the best drones under $200 won’t go wrong with this.

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