Best Drones Under $300 in 2018

Drones have become an almost indispensable equipment for videographers, photographers and tech fans. And it’s not that hard to see why. I mean just think about it, with a drone you become the pilot and an aerial photographer getting all the incredible footage from a bird’s eye view.

Just one problem though! With all the different models and makes out there, finding the right drone for your needs isn’t exactly a perfect science. As a matter of fact, it can be a daunting task altogether especially if you have no idea where to start. If you’re in the market for a drone, we suggest that you continue reading the rest of our guide to find out more about the best drones under 300 dollars. We have also included a comprehensive guide on factors that you need to consider before making a purchase decision and some features and accessories to be on the lookout for to ensure you are getting the best for the buck.

Let’s dive right in!

Understanding Drones

Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), drones are pocket-sized electronic gadgets used by filmmakers and photographers to inspect remote locations and capture aerial images. Here are a few interesting facts about drones that you should know.

  • Remote control devices have been popular for decades, ranging from dinosaur toy robots to model airplanes and anything in between. But drones are the hottest remote control toys yet.
  • As you fly your drone you’re likely to crash it a couple of times before you finally figure out how to do it right. To be on the safe side, you should have an extra pair of accessories just in case your drone crashes.
  • Drones are run by battery power so it’s wise to keep them charged up when not in use.
  • Drones move very precisely which makes it easier to take photos and shoot videos.
  • Military level drones are a little more complicated than consumer level drones. Not to mention they are also a lot faster and large enough to carry weapons.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Drone

There are so many choices when you’re looking for the perfect drone which makes it hard to pin down what works best for your needs. Here are a few factors to put into consideration.

Drone Range

One of the most important features to consider when buying a drone is its controllable range. That’s how far it can go while still maintaining communication between its onboard transceiver and it’s remote. But naturally, you don’t want to send your drone to a location that’s too far to fly it back.

Ease of Use

When you’re planning to buy a drone for the first time, you want to ensure that it is as easy to use as it possibly can be. You certainly don’t want to get yourself a new toy and have challenges maneuvering it. Check for drones designed with beginners in mind. These models might not be as fast as some of the more advanced models but they are equally as great as any other drone out there.

Purpose

Are you an avid outdoor enthusiast who wants a new toy for surveillance purposes? Will you be flying it just for the fun of it? Are you looking to join a racing league? Or is it just the thrill of sharpening your aerial photography skills? Pinpointing exactly why you are buying a drone is a great place to start before making a purchase decision.

Price

Let’s face it; no matter how much we’d want to wish it away, the price is a crucial factor when making a purchase. We always want to know, “how much am I going to part with to take this item home with me?”

When purchasing a drone, you can expect to pay anything between $100 and $2000. With the more feature rich drones costing between $1000 and $2000.

Features and Accessories to Be On the Lookout For in best drones under 300 dollars

 Remote Controller

A remote controller comes in pretty handy if you like the thrill of aerobatics and competitive drone racing. It enhances your maneuverability making things a little more exciting.

Action Camera

Most drones come with a HD camera in their housing. However, the images you get from these might not always be as clear as you’d want. To get clearer and more stables images, you’ll need to upgrade to an action camera which is designed to counteract the effects of vibrations and the effects of wind.

Gimbal

You’ll most likely find the camera tucked away inside the body of the drone most of the times. However, while this works just fine, if you’re looking for more professional results, it’s best to invest in a gimbal. The gimbal allows you to mount the camera right in front of the drone’s body where it won’t be disturbed by the vibrating rotors and motor.

Replacement Propeller Blades

Here’s the blatant truth: just as with any other toy you buy, accidents also happen with drones. Especially before you get the hang of how to control it. As a precaution, it helps to have a set of replacement propellers in place just in case something does go wrong.

A Backpack

Transporting a drone from one place to another can be a tedious and hectic affair. Especially if you don’t have the right storage case for it. To ensure that your drone is safe during transportation, you’ll need to buy a safe and sturdy backpack customized for drone transportation.

Wireless Transmission

Some drones are designed in such a way that you can see the live view from the drone’s camera on your remote control screen. However, it is recommended that you choose one that has minimal interference.

Tips to Help You Get the best Drone under 300 dollars

Opt for a drone that is within your skill level

When you’ve dealt with toys all your life, you no doubt want to challenge yourself with the most sophisticated one in the market. However, you don’t want to have problems maneuvering your new toy before you even start enjoying it. This applies to drones as well. Certainly, a beginner level drone won’t be as sophisticated as an advanced level drone, but the simplicity of it all will help you get the hang of things a lot faster. And on the brighter side, once you’ve mastered the beginner level drone, you can move on to a more advanced kind of drone.

Settle for a drone that performs the functions you want

Having a functional drone is a must if you want to get the most out of your purchase. For instance, an indoor drone might not be suitable if you are an outdoor enthusiast and an outdoor drone is not exactly the kind of drone you want to go for if you’re intending to use the drone indoors.

Other Tips
  • Start small to minimize costly mistakes.
  • Having backup spare parts helps ensure you still stay in business even after an accident.
  • You get what you pay for. If you go for cheapskate drones on the black market, you’ll need to be prepared to contend with poor performance and half-baked results.

Airspace Restrictions

So you’ve considered the features and accessories of your preferred drone and put every other factor into consideration. As far as you know, you’re all set to buy your new toy. But there’s more. You’ll need to find out the airspace restrictions to ensure that drones are allowed in your area. To make sure you steer clear of trouble we have covered some best practices that you should observe.

  • Register your drone with the FAA (Federation aviation administration).
  • Ensure that you don’t fly within 5 miles of military bases and airports.
  • Avoid flying over people without their permission.
  • National parks and roadways are a no-go zone.
  • Avoid flying your drone over private property.
  • Avoid flying over crime scenes and fires.

Best drones under 300 dollars Reviewed

Hubstan H501S X4 FPV Quadcopter

Hubstan H501S X4 FPV Quadcopter

The Hubstan H501S X4 Quadcopter is one of the top drones under 300 dollars. Now that’s a big claim to make but it features a 1080 HD camera made of premium quality materials and an FVP transmitter with a 5.8 GHz wireless video transmission.

In addition, it has a built-in GPS and altimeter that allow for a wide range of flying features and a large 2700mAh Lipo that keeps you in the air for longer. It might not be the cheapest drone out there, but it packs a punch in as far as features and functionality go. Which is a plus regardless of whether you are a novice or a professional drone pilot.

Highlights of the Hubstan H501S X4 Quadcopter

  • It is designed with a precise inbuilt GPS module that lets you know the exact location where the drone is.
  • It is equipped with an impressive HD camera that takes breathtaking pictures.
  • It has a wide range of flying options which include: follow me, hold position and return home.
  • It’s available in two colors so you can choose a color that best appeals to your emotions.
  • It has a simple elegant design.
  • An impressive flight time of about 19 minutes.
  • It has a 6 axis flight control system that keeps it stable in flight.

Cons

  • The FVP system is considered to be partially weak.
  • It is quite difficult to set up.

If you are looking for a classy but efficient drone that costs below $300, then the Hubstan H501S X4  Quadcopter is just what you need.

Parrot AR 2.0 Drone

Parrot AR 2.0 Drone

Easy to use and full of agility, the Parrot AR Drone is definitely a cut above the rest on the quality and construction front. It is an affordable low maintenance drone that offers enthusiasts a choice of three classic camouflaged styles ranging from snow, sand, and jungle.

The packaging includes one 1000mAh lithium polymer battery that provides an impressive flight time of up to 12 minutes and a battery charger to help charge the batteries when they run out. Plus, you’ll also find one pair of black propellers and an extra set of propellers customized to compliment the drone’s color scheme.

Perks of the Parrot AR Drone

  • Director Mode

The director mode lets you program the drone’s movements so that you can get better quality videos.

  • HD 720p Camera

The drone is equipped with a HD camera that ensures you get high-quality crystal clear images.

  • You Can Record Directly on Your Device

If you want to record pictures and videos, all you need to do is simply press the recording button and start and end the recording once you’re done taking images.

  • It Flies Higher and Faster

Unlike other drones, the Parrot AR Drone has embedded sensors that provide it with unique stability during flight regardless of the altitude.

Highlights of the Parrot AR Drone

  • It has a 720p high definition live video transmitter that streams or records to your tablet while in flight.
  • It updates easily to meet the FAA requirements.
  • It’s easy to use.

Cons

  • The range is quite limited.
  • Limited battery life.
  • The Wi-Fi connections could use some improvements.

Though the Parrot AR Drone may not appeal to seasoned experienced drone flyers, it is a worthwhile investment nonetheless. It is easy to fly and has a high definition camera that captures superb images.

Potensic Gyro Quadcopter Drone

Potensic Gyro Quadcopter Drone

The Potensic Gyro Quadcopter Drone might not be the cheapest drone out there but it’s definitely a worthy purchase.  It features a built-in 1080p real-time transmission camera that captures crystal clear images regardless of its speed or the altitude and an inbuilt GPS that provides you with the accurate coordinates of your drone’s whereabouts. Plus it is equipped with an electric fence that keeps your drone from straying further off than it should.

On the speed front, the Potensic RC drone flies at a maximum speed of 40 kilometers per hour so you’ll need to be careful and adjust the speed accordingly.

Highlights of the Potensic Gyro Quadcopter Drone

  • It supports 5.0 GHz WI-Fi zero latency transmission to a distance of up to 500 meters.
  • It has an inbuilt GPS that gives you the exact coordinates of your drone so that you always know your drone’s whereabouts.
  • It’s easy to use.
  • It’s a headless model and so it doesn’t matter if the direction of the nose changes halfway the drone will still maintain a forward movement.

Cons

  • It needs at least 300 minutes of charge time.

The Potensic Drone is a stable well-constructed drone with an impressive speed and user-friendly controls. It also flies fairly smoothly regardless of the altitude and speed. If you don’t mind the minor issues, it’s definitely a worthy purchase in as far as the best drones under 300 bucks go.

Zerotech Dobby Pocket Drone

Zerotech Dobby Pocket Drone

With its remarkable design and incredible sense of style, it’s not that hard to see why the Zerotech Dobby Selfie Pocket Drone is listed among the best drones under 300 dollars. But it doesn’t just look great, it’s also quite functional too. It has a high definition 13 million pixels camera that lets you capture professional looking images and an intuitive accompanying app that turns your phone into a flight controller to help you monitor images in real time without missing a moment’s footage.  As an extra perk, the drone also has a facial recognition technology cleverly packed into the model to make it a little more exciting.

Highlights of the Zerotech Dobby Selfie Pocket Drone

  • It is innovative and easy to use.
  • It weighs about 199 grams.
  • It has a high definition 13 million pixels camera that captures high-quality images.
  • Facial recognition technology that takes single images as well as crystal clear videos.
  • You can easily control it from your phone.
  • It recognizes voice commands.
  • It doesn’t require any FAA registration.

Cons

  • Limited flight time.

If you’re looking for a fun and practical drone that you can use to take remarkable selfie photos and videos with, then the Zerotech Dobby Pocket Drone is just what you need.

Parrot Bebop 2 Drone

Parrot Bebop 2 Drone

Available in two colors, the Parrot Bebop 2 Drone is not only aesthetically appealing but also exceptionally functional too. It has a 1080p HD camera that records stunning images and a 3axis stabilization system that ensures you are getting crystal clear footage regardless of the altitude and speed the drone flies in. It also features a GPS and virtual tracking feature that helps you pinpoint exactly where your drone is. Do doubt this is a worthy deal for anyone in the market for top drones under 300 bucks.

Highlights of the Parrot Bebop 2 Drone

  • It is compact and lightweight.
  • It captures high-quality images.

Cons

  • The control sticks can sometimes go unresponsive.

If you are looking for a multipurpose drone that can work exceptionally well both indoors and outdoors and offers an immersive flying sensation, then the Parrot Bebop 2 is the best FPV drone under $300 that you’ll find out there.

Holy Stone HS230 Racing Drone

Holy Stone HS230 Racing Drone

Created with high power acceleration in mind, the Holy Stone HS230 Racing Drone is certainly one of the best drones under 300 dollars you’ll find in the market today. It features a 720p 120 degrees HD camera that captures wonderful photos even in high-speed racing.

In addition, it has a 5.8GHz FPV real-time transmission and 2.4GHz operating frequency that provides stabilization while in flight.

Highlights of the Holy Stone HS230 Racing Drone

  • Low power alert to alert you when the drone is running low on power.
  • It comes with high-performance batteries that double your flight time.
  • Bright LED lights that ensure a more seamless navigation.
  • It has three-speed modes ranging from slow to high suitable for beginners, intermediate level fliers and expert drone flyers.

Cons

  • Limited battery life.
  • You get an average 10 minutes flight time which is considerably low.

The Holy Stone HS230 Racing Drone is everything you could ever ask for. An impressive array of features at an affordable price.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy a large drone or a much smaller drone?

It depends. However, if you are looking for a smoother flight, a larger drone might be more ideal. Keep in mind, however, that larger drones cost a lot more plus they are also a lot more difficult to transport from one place to another. However, if you’re just looking for a hiking or travel drone, then a smaller drone might be more ideal

 Do I really need to register my drone with the FAA?

It depends on the size of the drone. Small sized drones flown exclusively indoors don’t really need to be registered. However, larger drones that you’ll probably be exclusively flown outdoors must be registered before you can legally fly them.

Are there restricted locations where I can’t fly my drone?

Yes. Obviously, any distance within 5 miles of a military base or airport is off limits. The White House is a complete no no and National parks are also a no-go zone.  You should also avoid flying your drone directly over crowds and public roadways.

The Bottom Line

When you’re planning to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a purchase, you want to get the best out of the purchase. You certainly don’t want to waste your hard earned money on something that won’t even last a week. To make things easier for you, we have compiled 6 of the best drones under 300 bucks on the market right now. And while we are not saying you’ll like them all, you’ll no doubt be sure to find one that suits your fancy.