Yesterday when I took a look at some new 50 dollar quads, I was quite surprised when I found out that most were FPV (First Person View) capable. Quads at 100 dollar price range are similar to the rock bottom bargain ones, but they tend to have better cameras. Also, many come with a bonus battery. Read on to learn about the drone that I think is the all-around best quadcopter under 100 dollars.
Why should you listen to me?
In 2016, I decided to put my DIY expertise and bargain hunting skills to good use and start this site.
As a former ramen noodle eating college student, I have a lot of experience finding cheap but good DIY electronics gear online.
The reviews you’ll find on Robot Fanatics are blunt and to-the-point. My main goal is to help you look for information and find the best bargains.
Enter your email address into the bar on the bottom of the screen and I’ll send you the info when I find good deals on robot stuff.
- Why should you listen to me?
- Quadcopter features you can get for $100
- The Very Best Quadcopter Under 100 Dollars
- The Second Best Quadcopter Under 100 Dollars
- The Third Best Quadcopter Under 100 Dollars
Quadcopter features you can get for $100
Right now DJI Mavic has a stranglehold on the market for professional grade quadcopters. But if you don’t have a grand to drop on a pro quad, you can opt to get a decent starter one for around $100 instead.
Here are some cool features to look out for when shopping for quads in this price range.
First Person View
FPV allows you to view a live video stream of your flight. Most quads in this price range come with a FPV smartphone app that connects to your smartphone.
Smartphone connectivity is definitely cool, so long as you have a nice phone. If your phone is old or slow, you’ll probably encounter lagging and delays.
Can’t afford pricey (but awesome) FatShark Dominator V3 goggles?
Just slip a crazy cheap Google Cardboard onto your phone and strap it to your head.
That’s all the hardware you need to enjoy a satisfying immersive virtual reality experience with a VR capable 100 dollar quadcopter.
Almost all modern quadcopters have headless mode capability.
With headless mode off, your quad will always fly in whatever direction its “head” is facing when you command it to move forward. But with headless mode on, your quad will always move left (or right, forward or back) relative to you when you tell it to move.
Quads suck batteries dry in a hurry. But if you get a quad that comes with a backup battery, you can switch it out and double your flight time.
High end quads equipped with GPS sensors are extra smart. They can do advanced stuff like hover in mid-air without moving and return home with the push of a button. It is possible to find a few GPS enabled quadcopter for less than 100 bucks. However, I wouldn’t recommend buying one. GPS features just don’t work so well at this price range.
The Very Best Quadcopter Under 100 Dollars
Experience virtual reality flight on the cheap with DBPower UDI U818A
The main reason this quad won me over is the fact that it’s compatible with Google Cardboard. Even though Google Cardboard can’t compare to pro quadcopter racing goggles that cost $300 or more, the VR experience that you get is actually surprisingly satisfying.
Another reason to choose this “100 dollar club” quadcopter over my personal favorite 50 dollar quadcopter is the fact that you can get longer flight times out of it. The DBPower UDI U818A comes with two batteries, not just 1 like ever single 50 dollar quad I’ve seen. Each battery lasts for about 10 minutes, which is actually pretty impressive.
The feature that bumped this quad up to the top of this best drone under 100 list is its propeller guards. If you smash the UDI U818A into a tree, there’s a chance that it’ll bounce off and keep flying. Quads without guards drop to the ground as soon as they encounter any type of obstacle.
Pros and Cons
- Popular on Amazon. This quad has crazy good reviews and is currently a #1 bestseller.
- Pilot with Virtual Reality goggles. Add a Google Cardboard VR goggle to your shopping cart to see the world from your quad’s point of view.
- HD camera. Test out your drone photography skills in 720p before you invest in a pricey DJI Mavic.
- Survives your rookie mistakes. Safety guard rings around the propellers protect them from nicks and dings.
- 2 batteries. Charge one battery while you use the other one to maximize your time in the air.
- Easy charging. Just pop the battery you’re not using into a USB port.
- Comes with screwdriver, spanner & spare blades. This quad has everything you need to make a quick repair if necessary.
- The .3 MegaPixel camera looks good, but other quads in this price range have way better cams.
Watch the commercial
Watch a detailed review
The Second Best Quadcopter Under 100 Dollars
The UDI U845 UFO FPV Hexacopter has a 2 MP cam and looks incredible at night
Alright, so the UDI U845 UFO isn’t really a quadcopter. It’s a hexacopter. But who cares? The point is, it’s awesome.
If I wanted to buy a 100 dollar ready-to-fly drone, the UDI U845 UFO would be my second pick after the DBPower UDI U818A.
But the best thing about this hexacopter is the fact that it looks like a classic UFO. It even has lights that you can turn on at night if you want to freak out your neighbors. I also like fact that the controller comes with a sun shield.
Like my #1 under 100 dollar quadcopter pick, the U845 UFO Hexacopter is great for beginners. Its propellers are protected against crash damage within its funky flying saucer shell. Also, it’s easier to handle compared to quads because it has two extra motors.
- UFO style shape & flashy lights. This hexacopter looks like it’s a lot of fun to fly, especially at night.
- 2 MP camera. The U845 UFO’s cam is even better than the DBPower UDI U818A’s.
- Comes with 2 batteries. Double the batteries, double the fun.
- Sunshield & screen mount. The visor on the controller comes in handy when operating the U845 during the day.
- Beginner proof. This UFO drone’s sturdy design is more solid compared to most entry level quads.
- More stable than a quad. The U845 UFO’s two extra motors make it a lot easier to control.
- I almost didn’t cover the U845 UFO because it hasn’t racked up a whole lot of reviews on Amazon yet. However, I did find a ton of positive YouTube reviews that caused me to go ahead and recommend it.
Watch the commercial
See what it looks like at night
The Third Best Quadcopter Under 100 Dollars
The CrazePony MINI is an open source wet dream for DIY geeks
My last recommendation is strictly for nerds. If you don’t know how to code, you won’t like CrazePony’s open source MINI quad. But if you do, you should know about this drone.
This quad is designed with developers, teachers and inventors in mind. If you have ideas about what the next generation of drones should be like, this is the quad for you. I’ve been tossing around a few autonomous drone concepts around myself for awhile now. Because the CrazePony MINI is the perfect vehicle for putting those ideas to the test, I am seriously considering purchasing one soon.
Obviously, the MINI’s open source hardware and software is its main attraction. But it’s also not bad for learning quadcopter piloting basics, either. You won’t be able to learn how to deal with environmental factors like wind resistance, though. MINI’s motors are powerful for their size. But this little quad is an indoor drone through-and-through.
Pros and Cons
- Unbox it and fly. This CrazePony MINI comes pre-loaded with basic software so that you can immediately get it in the air.
- Open source. Prototype a new quadcopter invention and see if it gets attention on Kickstarter.
- Android app. Alter the code of CrazePony MINI’s remote control app and redesign its skins.
- Programmable lights. The bright blue LEDs are useful for debugging, plus they also look cool.
- Surprisingly strong. The MINI’s motors are tiny, but super powerful.
- Extra small and thin. It’s wafer thin and only 142mm long.
- Bluetooth compatible. The MINI can receive signals either from its controller and/or from your smartphone via Bluetooth.
- The exposed circuit board does look cool, but it’s fragile and probably vulnerable to electrostatic discharge. If you crash it or forget to ground yourself before you touch it, you could damage a component.
- The firmware software only works with Windows and the iOS app is still a work-in-progress.