As you probably know, drones are not only intended for filmmakers and paparazzi anymore. Today, these smart, unmanned aerial vehicles are available and designed for all people, so you can easily buy them on the web, but you also need to know to buy them from safe websites as there are many fraudulent sites out there. If you want to find out which are the best, safe sites for buying a drone, check out our article about where to safely buy a drone.
Since the offer is quite rich in products, today we will focus on finding the best cheap drones with camera. This way, even if you don’t have a large budget, you will be able to enjoy this great device.
For instance, beginner drones cost only about $100 or less, but you should know that you won’t find extra quality or features in these toys. They are great to get you started, but soon you’ll want something better.
Cheaper models are indeed very easy to control, and therefore ideal for newbies to learn how to fly a drone. What’s more, you can actually take a few quality pictures and videos with these drones which is a nice addition besides the fun time.
When you go shopping, there are many things to take into consideration, including what are the top models on the market, the main benefits, purpose, important features to consider, as well as the pros and cons of these products. Below, you’ll find a list with the best cheap drones that support a camera and a few tips and tricks on how to choose the best without breaking the budget.
Top 5 best-selling products on a budget
The best place to find cheap drones with a built-in camera is online. There are a few great stores you can test and make a price comparison. We took a quick look an Amazon and selected the best cheap products for you.
SYMA X5C RC Quadcopter
This is surely one of the most popular quads on the market. Why? Well, for only $43.50, you can get a stable drone with a built-in 2MP camera and a 2GB memory card, which is able to perform a variety of maneuvers in the air. The Syma X5C is ideal for beginner pilots, since it is easy to fly and has stable flight characteristics.
By the way, it is recommended for people above 14 years of age since it is small and its parts could be easily swallowed by a smaller child.
As for the features and specs, the things that make this aircraft so appealing to the customers are the HD camera, 360-degree eversion, quick flips at the press of a button, 6-axis gyro stabilization system, and high resistance to the wind. Add to all of this a fashionable body design as well as a low price, and you’ll know why this model is so popular.
Before you start flying, you will have to put a LiPo battery in the drone and four AA batteries in its transmitter. It takes about 100 minutes to charge the battery, but with a fully charged battery, this cute quad can fly about 7 minutes. The control distance is nearly 50 meters and the quad measures 16.5 x 12.2 x 3.8 inches and only weighs 1.4 pounds. To get more familiar with all the features and characteristics of this model, check out our article about the famous Syma’s X5 series.
Like this product? Then you can buy it on Amazon.
Heli-Max 1SQ V-CAM RTF Quadcopter
The next cheap, but a pretty good drone with a camera you can find online, is the Heli-Max 1SQ V-CAM RTF quadcopter. This quad is perfect for pilots who want to experiment with aerial photography and/or videography as well.
That’s because it has great maneuverability and it is capable of recording 1280×720 at 30fps aerial videos and can take 1MP photos. There is also a possibility to start and stop your recording at any time, using the transmitter.
The Heli-Max V-Cam is very stable while flying, so it is convenient for the beginner pilots. However, it has a lot of interesting features, which makes it suitable for the more experienced pilots, too.
This quad is quite easy to control. For example, if you want to perform a flip in the air, you just need to press the particular button on the transmitter and push the control stick in the desired direction.
Moreover, it can make other acrobatic motions, such as somersault back-to-front, front-to-back, and side-to-side. Besides a built-in digital camera, this drone also features Auto-FLIP system, 2GB micro memory card, integrated LED lights, TAGS-FX fusion stabilization system, 3-axis gyro with a 3-axis accelerometer, and 2.4 GHz SLT radio controls.
In addition to this quadcopter, the package also includes a 2.4 GHz Radio, 4 extra blades, 2GB memory card with micro SD card reader, USB charger, one LiPo battery, four AA batteries (for transmitter), screwdriver, and instructions. All of this is priced at 129.99 dollars. You must agree this is more than affordable!
It requires one Lithium Polymer battery for the drone itself as well as four AA batteries for its transmitter. The blades and frame are made of a lightweight plastic, so the overall weight of this drone is only 1.8 pounds. Dimensions are 10.2 x 9 x 4.5 inches. To find out more about this great little model, read our Heli-Max 1SQ in-depth review.
If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can buy it on Amazon.
Latest UDI 818A HD+ RC Quadcopter Drone with HD Camera
This is an upgraded UDI U818A version, which is enhanced with an HD camera and a lot of great functions. It features a headless mode, return home function, and 4 CH 6 2.4GHz gyro. No need to adjust manually the position of this drone before flying, since its headless mode regulates it.
Also, it improves a learning curve, which is very helpful for the beginners. Thanks to the return home function, this drone can return at the starting point itself. Powerful motors enable the quadcopter to fly more efficiently and longer.
Other functions worth metioning are 2.4GHz, 4-Channel transmitter with a well-designed LCD screen, left and right triggers, 360° rollover flight, and the LED running lights. When buying this model, you also get two LiPo batteries (for a double flight), a 2-Ch battery charger, 2.4G transmitter, 4GB micro SD card with its USB reader, 4 extra blades, as well as a 2200mAh power bank to charge your drone in motion and a user manual.
All of this is avalible on Amazon.com at a ridiculously affordable price. It costs only $89.99. Of course, you should take into account the shipping fees, too.
It comes with an embedded 2MP HD camera, 6-axis gyro, and an upgraded 4GB Micro SD card.Gyro system enables the greater stability of the camera, easy manoeuvrability, and increase the resistance to the strong winds. Therefore, you can take quality photos and videos during flight.
The design is quite interesting when it comes to the UDI U818A, with the characteristic protective frame around the propellers. Flight time is from 7 to 9 minutes and the control distance is up to 30 meters. This model requires a 3.7V 500mAh Li-Po battery to run, and it takes 90-120 minutes to charge it. The size is 13.4 x 13.0 x 2.2 inches, i.e., 340 x 330 x 55mm.
Like this amazing product? Then you can check the current deal for it on Amazon.
Hubsan X4 H107C UAV 2.4G 4CH Quadcopter with Camera
More experienced drone users will notice that this model is actually an upgraded version of the Hubsan H107L. The X4 H107C has a built-in 2 MP HD 720p camera and 4 LED lights for both nighttime and daytime flight. The best part is that you don’t need to register with the FAA to fly this small aircraft.
It features the latest 6-axis gyro system that has an adjustable sensitivity. Also, there are two flight modes – for beginner and expert flight. This quadcopter is one of the few micro drones that are able to fly in slightly heavy winds, despite of its low weight. Even more, you can pick up this drone for only 79.99 dollars.
The control system is very simple and easy to understand. There is an included 2.4 GHz transmitter, so you can see all the necessary info on its LCD screen. Compared to the previous Hubsan H107L quadcopter, this new model has stronger motors, which help it accommodate extra power from the camera.
As for the design, it has a small chunky body, 4 blades with protection guards, and a hardly noticeable front camera. Its compact body makes it ideal for the indoor flights.
Due to the lightweight plastic airframe, the overall item weight is only 1.2 pounds. Product dimensions are 14 x 7.2 x 3.7 inches. This Hubsan quad includes a powerful lithium-polymer (LiPo) battery, but there is also a bonus battery for the double flying time. This way, you can reduce the charging time to 45-60 minutes. Control distance is about 100m whilst the flying time is 8 minutes.
If you like this product you can find and purchase it on Amazon.
Eachine H8C Quadcopter With 2.0MP HD Camera
The Eachine H8C quadcopter is another quite good model in its class you can buy on the web for only $33.89. It is equipped with 2.0MP HD camera, 2.4G six-axis, headless mode, 4 LED lights, and RTF Mode. Amongst other things, there is one key to return system, 3D tumbling in four directions, and a 360-degree rolling mode, so the more experienced pilots can also have a lot of fun.
The remote controller contains an indicator light as well as a low-voltage alarm function for the safe flight. It has a strong stability and great wind resistance, so you can easily perform various flight movements both indoors and outdoors.
Its design is really amazing. All elements are well composed in a nice-looking black frame, with four strong blades that are secured with protection guards. If you take a look at this pre-built helicopters from above/below, you’ll notice a characteristic X-shape outline. The size is 18 x 18 x 5.5 cm, and item weighs 8 ounces.
Control distance is about 100 m, which is very good for a beginner quad. Flight range is from 6 to 8 minutes, depending on how you fly it and in which environmental conditions. This drone requires a 3.7V 250mah (included in the package), but you will also have to purchase four AA batteries for transmitter because they are not included. It takes about 40 min to charge the battery.
Like this amazing product? Then you can check its price here.
Main features and benefits for cheap drones
Drone technology has been moving forward in the recent years, which means more capabilities are included into smaller and less expensive airframes. Of course, these cheap models do not have all the features and capabilities of a high-end professional drone, but it is still quite enough for a food fun.
The main benefit of these drones, as you probably assume, is an affordable price. Such drones cost less or a little bit over $100. Since they are small in size, lightweight, and easy to control, the risk of being damaged is reduced.
Also, the control system is simple as there are two joysticks on the controller – one stick controls the attitude of the drone in the sky, tilting to the left and right, and pitch (i.e., tilting up and down); whilst the other stick is intended to rotate and throttle your aircraft. Most controllers have LCD screens, which make the flight easier.
However, the most exciting feature for most people is the aerial recording. You will not have to spend your time mounting a camera, as these drones have built-in cameras in their construction. All videos and photos may be saved on the memory card.
The cheap models mostly have 2MP cameras, so the quality of photos/videos is pretty good for the beginners. Since these are not GoPro action cameras, you will not be able to enjoy the first-person view (FPV), and cannot connect such a drone to an iPhone or tablet in most cases.
Which is the target audience?
The inexpensive quadcopters are mainly intended for beginner pilots. So, if you have no previous experience in drone flight, it would be good to start off with a less expensive UAV. They are convenient to gain and improve flight skills before moving on to the more advanced professional models. These unmanned aerial vehicles are suitable for anyone who is looking to get into the drone hobby.
Although many manufacturers recommend their drones to people above 14 years of age, some models are so easy to fly that they can make a fantastic gift for a smaller kid. Of course, there is no upper age limit.
Since we are talking about models with built-in cameras, the main purpose is to take the photos and shoot videos from the air while flying a certain drone. It allows you to record your surroundings from the sky and see some things from a different perspective. Maybe this is not good enough for professional purposes, but it is great for fun.
Buying guide: Important things to take into account
Although you will not spend a lot of money for such a product, you surely don’t want to buy any model. When you go shopping for a cheap drone, there are several things to take into consideration:
- Price: First of all, you need to consider what a cheap drone means to you. For most people it is a drone that costs about $100 and below. However, drones with camera are not the cheapest models on the market. The mini quadcopters start at just $10, but if you want a done with a camera, you will have to pay at least $30. The higher price implies either a better camera or more features. If you increase your budget, you’ll get FPV (first-person view) for the live video on a smartphone or iPad, and other benefits.
- Features: Pay attention to every detail. Amongst others, check out the remote controls, gyro system, motors, props, and additional modes such as return to home, 360-degree rolling, and the similar functions.
- Camera: Things you have to take into consideration when it comes to the camera are the resolution, frames per second, and gimbal. Also, pay attention to how the camera is fixed to the gimbal or frame.
- Flight and charging time: Typically, drones of that ilk provide between 5 and 10 minutes of flight time with a fully charged battery. It takes from 60 to 90 minutes. Yes, it’s not enough to enjoy, but some models have two batteries for a double flight. You will also have to purchase the rechargeable AA batteries (at least four of them) for the controller.
- Control distance: Many manufacturers claim a greater range than it actually is, so you can’t believe them. Therefore, you should always decrease the amount for 10 meters.
- Spare parts: Take into account what you will get in the package. Besides the drones themselves, many manufacturers also include other stuff in the box, such as batteries, USB chargers, memory cards, screwdriver, and instructions. In addition, you can also get the certain spares because the drones are easy to crash and break. Spares parts often include propellers and a set of spare rotors. Choose the model for which the spares are easy to obtain.
- Design: Although the outward appearance is one of the main things that attract the attention of customers, it is better to pay attention to the material from which a certain drone is made. The cheap models mostly have the plastic frame as well as a lot of other plastic components which are not so strong but contribute to the low overall weight. Also, the shape has an impact on the flight capabilities.
Not sure what model to buy?
You are still not sure what model is best for you? First of all, you need to clarify what you are looking for. Take into account all the features, specs, camera type, flight time, and control distance. It will also be of help to consider the customers’ feedbacks if you are going to purchase a drone with camera online. Of course, you should also consider your budget, and compare the prices on different websites or stores.
If you have never used a drone so far, it would be good to start off with a cheaper quadcopter that doesn’t have a lot of advanced features but is stable in the air and easy to control. Later, when you overcome the basic things related to drone flight and recording, you can move on the more advanced drones.
Above, you could see five cheap models with cameras that are among the best-selling drones these days. So, to summarize:
- SYMA X5C is one of the most popular quads, since it has easy-to-use controls and is very easy to fly.
- Heli-Max 1SQ V-CAM is ideal for the aerobatic flights due to the great maneuverability but has a 1MP camera, and hence the quality of photos is slightly lower.
- UDI 818A HD+ comes with a lot of great functions, can fly efficiently, but its control distance is not impressive.
- Hubsan X4 H107C features 2MP HD 720p camera and great flight capabilities, but is a bit more expensive compared with the previous models.
- Eachine H8C quadcopter is very cheap, wind resistant, and has 2MP camera.
Now, after listing all of them, one thing is certain: you will not go wrong with any of them.
- They are very easy to fly due to the simplified control
- Come with the built-in cameras, so you won’t have to mount it yourself and waste a time
- Ideal for beginners to gain the basic flight skills
- Affordable price
- The quality of photos and videos is not top notch
- Short flight time – up to 10 minutes
- Short control distance – about 50 meters
- Very few flight features for the more experienced pilots
So, what would be the conclusion when it comes to the cheap quadcopters with a built-in camera? The best thing related to these drones is that they are quite easy to fly and there is no need to struggle with any assembly. On the other side, these drones are not suitable for the professional purposes but are good for fun.
They are perfect for newbies and drone hobbyists to ‘soar into the sun’ and have a lot of fun!