Today we are reviewing the top 10 mid-priced drones that can be bought for less than 300 dollars! In this price range, really cool devices can be bought! So, carefully read the list 🙂
If you haven’t read our top lists of drones under $100, or drones under $200, click the links. The higher your budget, the best are the features and specifications of the quadcopters you are able to acquire. All the 10 quadcopters under $300 are amazing machines, not the average low-cost quad.
Before You Buy: 3 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Drone Under $300
GPS vs. Non-GPS Drones
This is the most important decision you’ll have to make when buying your next drone at this price point. Consider yourself lucky, though, as buyers couldn’t even find a proper GPS drone under $300 a few years ago. Nowadays, the situation is vastly different with the majority of popular drones below $300 coming equipped with sophisticated GPS modules.
On top of sophisticated GPS modules, these drones also bring forth a sea of additional features, some of which greatly affect the overall flight performance. Stuff like return to home and follow me are leading the charge here, feeding off GPS data and drastically improving drones’ feature sets.
Built-In vs. GoPro Camera
Should you go for a built-in camera or use your GoPro camera? Well, to be honest, that question is sort of irrelevant these days. It was much more important a few years ago when drones equipped with GoPro mounts were ruling over the market. These days, even the most affordable drones possess built-in cameras, so I’m afraid they’re the only way to go these days, whether you like it or not.
Foldable vs. Non-Foldable Drones
Last but not least – foldability! These days, there’s a golden rule in the drone market that claims the following, the smaller, the better! Well, this rule works for the better part of the drone market, not including commercial behemoths that go by the opposite.
Nowadays, you can find proper foldable devices below the $300 mark. They might not be the most powerful models out there, nor possess the greatest cameras, but their portability more than makes up for all that. If portability is a big concern, then buying a foldable drone makes perfect sense!
10 Best drones under $300
Most of the drones on this list have great quality cameras, powerful motors capable of carrying a GoPro, and features you probably didn’t know drones could have. Follow us as we take on the sky with these drones booming in the current market. If your budget is over $300, you may be interested in 10 drones under $500 or maybe $1000? So, let’s see what’s the best drone under $300:
10. Altair AA108
Altair AA108 is a toy-grade drone, there is no doubt about it… but despite that, it is still worthy of this list thanks to great build quality and top of the line toy-grade performance. As long as you don’t expect premium features from it (and no sane person would, considering the dirt-cheap price tag), I’m sure Altair AA108 will surprise you with its charm.
It is made by a rather new brand but seems to be doing itself justice with sales. In fact, it is one of the most popular toy-grade drones ever since its release. What’s all this hype about? Well, let’s see…
Camera and Features
When it comes to the features’ side of the deal, this little birdie has a lot to brag about. For instance, it sports Altitude Hold, Custom Flight Routes as well as 3 flying modes (beginner, intermediate and expert), all of which contribute to an overall amazing flying experience.
But, more important than its features – Altair AA108 bears a miniature imaging sensor. Yes, this little fella sports a tiny camera. And it’s not one of those petty VGA ones – you are looking at a microsensor capable of recording in 720p. With that being said, both images and videos look pretty good so it’s safe to say Altair AA108 brings good value for money in terms of camera and features.
Specifications of this birdie are pretty straightforward. There aren’t that many oscillations when compared to other similarly priced models. More precisely, airtime goes around the 10-minute mark which is a standard. However, you will be happy to know that Altair AA108 comes with an extra battery meaning you get access to up to 20 minutes of flying per session. And during that time your drone will allow you to reach 100 meters away from the provided controller. It’s not a lot, I know… but go ahead and find a cheaper model with a longer operating range… That’s right, you can’t!
9. UDI U818Plus
It’s not a secret that UDI’s toy-grade drones are subjects to plenty of rebranding and incremental modifications. This is true for their U818 model which has received a lot of positive feedback from customers all over the world. But, we will be focusing on U818Plus edition which brings forth several awesome improvements that make this little birdie stand out from other low-end drones. What exactly is so special about it? Well, there’s only one way to find out and that’s by reading the next couple of paragraphs!
Camera and Features
Let’s face it – for roughly $150 you cannot really expect that much of a drone. Still, the boundaries are being heavily pushed during the last few years and we are seeing massive price cuts in the industry. This has led to more firepower for cheaper models and that’s exactly what UDI U818Plus has to offer. Take its camera for example – we are talking about a solid 2MPX sensor that can record in HD. A couple of years back, you couldn’t even get such a camera for $150 not to mention a freaking drone on top of it.
Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of cheap low-end drones equipped with Altitude Hold and other similar smart flight features. But how is this possible when they don’t possess GPS? Well, these quasi-smart features (at least that’s how I love to call them) aren’t using GPS but other, less expensive sensors. They do their job with no issues but the precision is, needless to say, lacking. The same can be said about UDI U818Plus – it’s not a smart drone but still provides a portion of the smart-drone feature set.
Specifications – Best drones under $300
Specifications-wise, there is no doubt UDI did a great job with U818Plus. Starting off with flight duration, this thing can fly around for approximately 12 minutes which is not to be taken for granted at this price point. Furthermore, operating range perhaps isn’t as long as, f.e. MJX Bugs 2W, but it’s still admirable. It clocks in at roughly 150 meters which should satisfy the majority of its potential buyers.
8. Holy Stone HS120D
HS120D is the next bugger we’re going to talk about. Created by Holy Stone, this drone aims to make the perfect impression in the entry-level to mid-tier price range. It will set you back for around $230, but you can get it at a slightly cheaper price point with a bit of luck. Overall, we’re looking at a stable GPS drone here sporting an aggressive price tag and causing quite the commotion on the mid-range drone market.
Camera and Features
The resolution on this bad boy is not the greatest. We’re talking about a mere 1080p sensor that looks more like upscaled 720p. However, it’s still among the best camera drones on this list! How is that possible? Well, there’s one thing that HS120D does extraordinarily well – vibration dampening.
Even though it doesn’t feature a motorized gimbal system, it does feature a rubbery platform for vibration dampening, a simple system that works wonders for its footage. It’s smooth, clean, and looks miles ahead of similarly priced models. Talking about smoothness, you’ll love the smooth-flying features like object trace, gesture control, auto return to home, and custom paths. They are all GPS-based so their accuracy is impeccable.
Specs-wise, Holy Stone HS120D is quite the champ, featuring solid numbers across the board. Roughly 300 meters of operating range and close to 18 minutes of flight time ought to do the trick for most people. If you’re not satisfied, just remember that we’re still talking about a drone that goes for $200. When you put everything into perspective and compare it with similarly priced models, Holy Stone HS120D is a proper steal!
7. MJX Bugs 2W
Finally, we have reached the best drone under $300 currently available on the market. It is none other than the spiritual success of late Bugs 3 – Bugs 2W! It sports a much smaller form factor and actually comes with a built-in camera which is a massive sales pitch for people looking to get into aerial photography.
Furthermore, it needs to be said that we are talking about a smart drone (more on that later) with a whole bunch of additional functionalities you’d come to expect from higher-end models. So, why don’t we start from that and see what’s MJX Bugs 2W all about!
Camera and Features
As far as the camera is concerned, I already gave you the assumption that it’s a good one. Well, more precisely, we are talking about what seems to be a 5MPX sensor capable of recording in Full HD. It is a lot better than those standard 2MPX sensors which are overflowing the entry-level market. Image quality is good but you might experience a bit of jello in windy weather.
Features-wise, MJX Bugs 2W is actually a smart drone due to its integrated GPS module. This brings forth several handy features including Return To Home and Altitude Hold. Needless to say, the latter will prove to be of great help for recording smooth and cinematic aerial footage. Lastly, the controller seems good too. It fits nicely in hands and provides intuitive yet responsive controls.
Believe it or not, MJX Bugs 2W is an absolute beast in terms of specifications. With up to 1000 meters of operating range (that’s what’s written on the spec sheet although I only went slightly over 500m) and approximately 18 minutes of flight time, there aren’t that many similarly priced models with such awesome specifications. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe there is a single one. So, with that in mind, there is no doubt in the sheer quality of MJX Bugs 2W. It is a worthy successor to Bugs 3 and with everything it has to offer, it is just a matter of time before it reaches the top of the entry-level food chain.
6. Potensic D85
Potensic D85 is a drone with sick specifications. In other words, if you’re in it for lengthier flight sessions and long-range chasing, then there’s no need to look any further. Potensic D85 has you covered with exceptional coverage and two batteries that’ll extend your flight sessions to the point where you’ll be sick and tired of flying. Jokes aside, let’s take a closer look at this bugger and see the reasons why it’s listed as one of the best drones under $300!
Camera and Features
It’s safe to say Potensic D85 doesn’t fail to deliver in the features department. There’s a lot of stuff going on there, including the extremely necessary GPS module which makes this drone a breeze to fly. I’m serious here – even first-time drone pilots can wrap their heads around this little bugger.
Truth be told, Potensic D85 isn’t such a small drone. It’s sporting relatively massive brushless motors, but they’re the typical sort that can easily be replaced with generic ones available on Amazon. They aren’t likely to burn out, though, but it’s still nice knowing they aren’t the proprietary kind found on other drone models. Additionally, Potensic D85 also sports stuff like one key takeoff/landing, auto return, altitude hold, follow me, and orbit mode; you know, the usual bunch of GPS-powered features available on most mid-tier drones these days.
The best thing about Potensic D85 package is the fact it comes with two batteries, allowing up to 40 minutes of flying from the first go. Yep, that’s roughly 20 minutes of flight time per battery, an admirable number considering the price tag. What’s also admirable is the operating range, stretching from 1.2 to 1.5 kilometers, much more than the average range of its direct competitors. There’s FPV too, but it’s able to reach only half of that – roughly 600 to 700 meters.
5. Contixo F20
When talking about cheap models, let’s say drones under $200, Contixo F20 definitely poses as a top-notch competitor. It’s a well-rounded package, featuring everything you may need from a mid-tier drone. So, if excellence is what you’re looking for, and I really doubt you’re in it for the looks, then keep on reading because Contixo F20 ought to surprise you!
Camera and Features
Even though Contixo F20’s camera can rotate vertically, the anti-vibration mechanism is basically non-existent, which results in shaky and jello-packed footage. Still images, however, are absolutely gorgeous. Since we’re talking about stills, there’s none of that nasty jello and the FHD resolution does wonders when it comes to sharpness. Color accuracy is good too, and you’ll overall appreciate the motorized mount, allowing you to capture aerial footage from a different perspective than what you’d be able to do with other similarly priced models.
The first question most of you are wondering right about now – Does Contixo F20 feature GPS? Yes, yes it does! Not only GPS but all of the typical GPS-powered specials like follow me, waypoints, altitude hold, Tap Fly, one key takeoff/landing, and several additional ones.
Contixo F20 doesn’t fail to deliver in terms of the specifications. In fact, thanks to an optimized battery, you’ll be getting around 17-18 minutes of flight time. Range-wise, you can expect up to 800 meters which aren’t too bad considering direct competitors. Oh, I almost forgot – Contixo F20 comes with a carrying case too…
4. Holy Stone HS700D
HS700D is the second Holy Stone drone on this list. It’s another superb creation by the renowned Holy Stone brand, featuring an excellent all-around package with plenty of power underneath the hood. It’s on the cheap end too, and we all know every penny counts in this price range! So, without further ado, let’s dive right on in and see what’s HS700D all about!
Camera and Features
Let’s start off with the obvious marketing trick here. Holy Stone addresses HS700D’s camera as 2K. However, we’re talking about a mere 1080p sensor with a few extra pixels on the sides. It’s still good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nowhere near the crispiness of 2.7K (often called 2K in short).
Brushless motors are here, ensuring a stable, beginner-friendly fight at each and every occasion. Even in windy conditions, mind you, courtesy of the onboard GPS that paves the way for another set of awesome features. We’re talking selfie modes (several of them, to be more precise), auto return to home, altitude hold, and more.
With its 2800mAh rechargeable LiPo battery, HS720 can endure up to 20 minutes per charge, a decent amount to say the least. Furthermore, it’s no pushover in the range department either, maxing at around 700 meters. FPV range is great too, with cut-outs starting at around 500 meters.
3. Potensic D88
Potensic D88 brings forth impressive specs and splendid aerial photography capabilities. Not to mention the fact it comes with two batteries that will greatly extend the overall flight time. They do take a while to charge up to 100%, but that’s a price you have to pay, considering the charging. Talking about the pricing, Potensic D88 won’t make too big of a dent in your wallet but will make a huge dent in your free time thanks to its fun flight experience and a superb camera.
Camera and Features
Potensic D88’s camera is pretty good, as long as you don’t expect crystal-clear and vibration-free aerial footage. We’re talking about the industry-standard 2K sensor (once again, it’s simply a slightly wider FHD resolution) that does a fairly good job overall. If you’re looking for an entry-level aerial photography platform, Potensic D88 won’t disappoint you. If not with the camera but because of the overall simple controls and GPS that make it easy to control by even the biggest drone piloting noobs.
Unfortunately, the FPV range is the biggest downside of Potensic D88. You’ll be getting around 200 to 300 meters, which isn’t exactly the longest-reaching FPV transmission distance. On the bright side, the rest of the specs sheet is surprisingly good!
Yep, the operating range goes well beyond the 1-kilometer mark. Up to 1.5 kilometers is what you’ll be getting in clear and unobstructed areas like lakes, plains, and similar. The marketed 16 to 20 minutes of flight time are painting the ideal picture. Realistically, your Potensic D88 will be able to endure around 17-18 minutes. Not half bad considering the price tag, don’t you agree?
2. Holy Stone HS720
Here we have yet another Holy Stone model here. The third one on our list of the best quadcopters under $300. It’s the last one, I promise. Don’t think we’re partnered up with Holy Stone or anything like that – they just make darn good drones, and HS720 is no exception.
Camera and Features
We’re talking about a miniature, foldable drone here, featuring a solid 2K camera (basically a slightly wider FHD), and a whole bunch of GPS-powered features, including the most popular ones like an auto return to home, follow me, and optical flow positioning. Additionally, HS720 features two bright lights for night flights (heck, it rhymes!!!), potent brushless motors and a downward-facing sensor. Overall, it’s very stable in-flight, which is pretty surprising considering its small form factor.
As for the camera, it’s solid at best. There’s a bunch of jello effect and I can’t really recommend it for aerial footage. Aerial photography is another thing, and if you can time your shots to perfection, your results will be pretty good. Overall, a solid camera for the money, but I expected slightly better vibration dampening.
800 meters is what you’ll be getting from this foldable little bugger. That’s pretty decent coming from such a portable drone. When combined with approximately 25 minutes of flight duration (yep, you’ve read that right), you get a solid all-around performer that won’t affect your budget too much. And while it doesn’t come with an additional battery, it does feature a mini carrying case that protects everything from exterior dangers.
1. Ruko F11 – The best drone under $300?
And finally, let’s talk about the number one drone on this list, the one, and only Ruko F11. Coming in at roughly $350, Ruko F11 doesn’t really fit into our best drones under $300 category, but since it’s frequently on sale for $300, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity of including it here. It really is worth every penny, I promise!
Camera and Features
Let’s start off with the brilliant camera this drone comes with. It’s integrated but features a mighty 4K sensor that produces crisp footage quality. As is the case with most other drones in this price range, Ruko 11’s camera also doesn’t do a very good job with vibration elimination. In other words, the camera does amazingly well for still images, but the footage does possess a fair bit of shakiness. On the bright side, you can easily get rid of it in the post, and still, have plenty of real estates to work with because of the high resolution and wide-angle lens.
The most important thing in terms of the feature set is the onboard GPS, making Ruko F11 the perfect drone for beginners. It’s easy to fly, doesn’t take too much space and is foldable, meaning you can carry it with you everywhere you go. Other features include long-range FPV transmission (around 400 meters), and a bunch of camera-based autonomous specials like follow me and tap fly.
The specs are pretty good too. With around 25ish minutes of flight time, Ruko F11 does itself justice. Better yet, it comes with two batteries, meaning you’ll be getting close to an hour of flight time straight out of the box. The operating range is excellent too, stretching out to around 1 kilometer, although some users are claiming they went close to the 1.2k mark. Overall, if you’re looking for a quadcopter under $300 and you’re a beginner, Ruko F11 is a perfect choice. It’s right there at the edge of our price point, has an excellent 4K camera, great specs, and most importantly – GPS!
What can you expect from drones under $300?
The key to appreciating entry level drones is to lower your expectations. They can’t be as good as $1000 ones. It’s a fact! You need to set the bars lower and do a little research on what exactly can you expect from under $300 birdies. Don’t worry, it won’t take too long. In fact, here’s a fine list of 4 key aspects that make a good under $300 drone:
When it comes to camera quality, you cannot really expect 1080p footage and hardware image stabilization on every single model. Come to think of it, a couple of drones listed below don’t even come with a camera. Still, that doesn’t make them obsolete. MJX Bugs 3, for example, doesn’t come with a camera but sports amount that fits lots of models. On the other hand, with models that do come with cameras, you’ll most likely be looking at 720p or 1080p footage and a mediocre CMOS sensor.
Battery life, however, is a completely different story. While premium models have roughly 22 to 27 minutes of airtime, these little fellas can do up to 20… in most cases. To be more precise, they can fly around for roughly 15 to 20 minutes. There are some exceptions though, but more on that in their descriptions later on.
In terms of range, you should look for at least 300 meters. There are certain models that go as far as 500 or even more, but they’re usually bordering on the price range. Anything less than 300 is a no-go for me. Even though some of you might be fine with such a distance, I personally enjoy exploring the area with my FPV goggles on.
You’d be surprised at how many drones don’t come with GPS or other essential features such as altitude hold and return to home. Still, there are a few who are well worth checking out. Even though RTH, AH, and GPS might seem irrelevant to some of you, they give a much better flying experience. That’s why I warmly recommend you getting a drone that has them.
What are these drones good for?
Obviously, not all drones are made equal. Some can be used for casual flying while others can go on sophisticated and highly complex commercial missions. Each drone has a few possible usage scenarios, and that’s it. You can bring a $200 model on an aerial photography session the same way you can’t bring a Freefly Alta for an FPV racing meetup. I mean, you technically can do both things, but they make absolutely no sense.
As for affordable drones you can buy for less than $300, here’s what they’re good for:
As we already mentioned above, entry-level drones are great for practice. They provide a worry-free experience and are great for your first “steps” into piloting. With them, you’ll be able to learn all the basics and prepare yourself for some high-end drones.
After you’ve mastered your first steps, you’ll be flying like a real champ and having lots of fun with your new toy. It’s true! Every single one of below-listed drones is insanely fun to casually fly around. They provide responsive controls, one key flip, and possess a fair dose of flight stability.
Amateur aerial photography
A big portion of drones that are listed below is somewhat good when it comes to aerial photography. Take 3DR Solo as an example. It’s stable and provides a dedicated 3-axis gimbal that works seamlessly with GoPro Hero cameras. What more do you need to make the perfect shot? Range? Check! Battery duration? Check!
Understanding the Features & Intelligent Flight Modes
Let’s go through the key characteristics (read features) that make the best drones under $300 in 2020:
Are These Drones Ready to Fly Out of the Box?
Yes – all drones we’ve featured in this piece come as ready to fly (RTF) packages. We did this because we know the vast majority of our readers are first-time users who don’t have stuff like extra LiPo batteries, transmitters, and FPV monitors laying around.
That said, be aware that the drone market is absolutely massive and not all drones for sale come in a ready to fly package. Some of them lack batteries, other lack transmitters (read controllers) while others lack a bunch of stuff including the main 2.4ghz receiver. Always double check to see if that drone in your online shopping cart has everything it needs to start flying right out of the box. If you’re buying from Amazon, and you really should, there’s a what comes in the box section below the listing so you can be sure about the stuff you’re buying!
Additional Investments in Drone Equipment Might Be Necessary
If you’ve picked out your next drone and you’re ready to checkout, you might want to hold on for a few moments. You see, even though you’ve just purchased a brand-new drone, that doesn’t mean it comes with a bunch of accessories… some of which might seriously improve the overall flying experience.
Here are the key main accessories I’m referring to:
- Extra Batteries
- A Proper Smartphone/Tablet
- Landing Pad
- Portable Charging Station
- Screen Shade
- A Good Old Chair
All You Need to Know About FAA Drone Registration
If you own or you’re planning on buying a casual drone that weighs between 0.55 and 55lbs, you have to register it with the FAA to be able to fly it legally across the US. If you’re living outside the US, then you might want to check with your local sUAV laws as most western countries do have “drone laws” set up to control and regulate their use.
As far as the FAA registration goes, you can do it on the official FAA website. The registration costs $5 and has to be renewed every three years. Please read the fine print as it explains stuff like printing out the registration number, sticking it to the drone, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the best drones under $300 reliable?
Believe it or not, these drones are actually quite reliable. Well, for the most part. You see, first, we have the fact that most of them are equipped with brushless motors. They’re much more durable than brushed ones and will, in most cases, work much longer. Second, all of these drones are well-built and can endure quite the beating. Don’t fly them full speed straight into concrete walls though – No drone would survive that…
What is the best drone with camera under $300?
Honestly, I can’t and won’t tell you any names here. When talking about drones below the $300 mark, the camera game is pretty similar all across the board. They offer a solid resolution, usually 1080p, but they all have problems with shakiness. They don’t have proper gimbals which are always problematic. If you’re looking for a drone that can shoot proper aerial footage with its camera, footage that you won’t be ashamed to show your friends and family, you’ll have to spend more than $300 for something like a Hubsan Zino or DJI Mavic Mini.
What are the Best Outdoor Drones Under $300?
Pretty much all aforementioned models can be used outdoors. However, I’d like to argue Holy Stone HS700D is the best one! It’s a lot bigger than most other models, but it features powerful brushless motors and a solid camera. If that’s what you’re looking for in your next outdoor drone, then HS700D is the ideal purchase!
What is the Best Drone with Gimbal Under $300?
You can’t really get a drone with a proper gimbal stabilization system for less than $300. It’s just not going to happen! What you can get is a somewhat decent attempt by Contixo. Their F20 model has arguably the best simple gimbal at this price point. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s still better than all of its direct competitors. There’s still shakiness going on, but the jello effect is all gone, just like the propeller vibration.
What is the Best Foldable Drone Under $300?
If portability is your number one concern, then you’ll want a foldable bugger, preferably with its own dedicated carrying case. If not, you can always buy a generic one and cut out the interior according to your drone’s design.
When it comes to awesome foldable drones under $300, Ruko F11 seems like the perfect one. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but it’s justifiable when you take into account everything it’s capable of. Models like Holy Stone HS720 and Potensic D88 are also foldable and make for good options, but their overall performances are inferior to what Ruko’s F11 has to offer.
Is This Guide Relevant and Updated with Fresh Information?
Yessir! The core content of our articles, that includes drone lists, are updated every few months. Basically, we update our articles as soon as new models hit the shelves. If they’re relevant for any of our guides, to be more precise. We are well-aware of the fact that the drone market keeps on changing, which is why we’re doing our best to keep our pieces fresh and up-to-date with the latest models.
It’s not surprising to see drones under $300 among the most popular ones on the market. After all, drone sales in the USA, both commercial and private, will triple by the year 2024. Many of these sales belong to the lower end of the spectrum, which seems to be possessing the leading numbers within the industry.
One thing is for sure – the popularity of drones won’t start falling down anytime soon. By looking at the most recent stats, one can assume they haven’t even hit the peak just yet.
This segment of the market ought to be of increasing interest for the big guns, seeing as there’s a massive demand for drones that cost around $300. DJI Mavic Mini was an attempt at lowering the price tag for gimbal-equipped drones, but perhaps it was too expensive for the average Joe who’s just looking to get a taste of the drone action.
As the drone tech continues to develop, we ought to see improving performance in this price range. However, the newest breakthroughs just hit the shelves so the next wave will take some time. In other words, if you’re in the market for affordable drones, any of the aforementioned models will do the trick!