While drones used to be mostly available to the military and professional journalists a decade ago, these days you can buy a drone from pretty much any store, not to mention the wide variety of products over the Internet. There are countless applications wherefore you can use a drone.
Furthermore, drones come in all kinds of sizes. You can find small models for kids that barely go 50 feet in the air, as well as more professional units that go up to 300 feet in height. Given the diversity of the market, choosing the best drone under $200 with camera can be a little challenging.
There are plenty of models out there, while features and functions vary from one product to another. Before digging into more in-depth details and researching the best-rated products, make sure you know what you want a drone for and what to look for in the perfect model.
Most Common Applications of Drones
Searching for the best drone under your budget is pointless if you have no idea what you need it for.
Aerial photography is exquisite – beautiful landscapes and cities shot from above. Even something basic like your neighborhood will look good in a picture taken from a drone. When you go on holiday, it is pointless to explain what kind of memories aerial photography can bring back. Videos are just as handy, whether you are moving or just trying to capture the surroundings. For example, some drones can follow a particular subject – such as you riding a horse or your brand new car. Is there anything looking better than that?
How can you advertise with a drone? You would be surprised. No matter how small or large your business is, drones are still not as common as you might expect them to be. Therefore, whenever a drone goes around a crowd, everyone will point at it. How about spreading some fliers over a crowd? How about moving your drone around with a big banner hanging down? What kind of exposure is better than this one? Obviously, make sure you follow the local laws and regulations, as there is always the risk to get someone injured.
You do not need to be a professional agriculturist to rely on drones. Having your own field or garden for personal uses will also benefit from a drone. Aerial monitoring will provide you a more in-depth analysis of how your land is doing. You can check out how healthy your crops are. Even if you just want to spray your trees, doing it with a drone is much easier than climbing on top or using hoses.
Now that you know the most common uses for the average drone owner (apart from the actual fun), what do you need to look for in the best drones under 200 dollars?
Top 5 Best Drones Under $200 with Camera
Now, let’s discuss the top-rated products in this segment.
The HS110D model from Holy Stone could be considered as one of the best drones under 200 dollars with camera if you want as many features as possible within this range. It has a few solid features to help beginners get used to such things. For instance, the altitude hold setting is a must. This way, the drone will keep working even if you do not hold the controller. You also have one button to start and land the unit. You can unlock it using the same button. This capability makes the unit more approachable by beginners who do not need to get overwhelmed with all those functions. What happens if you feel like the drone is out of control? What about getting out of the recommended reach? This is when you use the emergency stop feature.
If your safety is covered, how about the camera then? You have a professional camera and a gimbal setting that will impress you. You benefit from FPV transmission in real-time. Not only do you see what you capture right away, but you can also prevent mistakes and retaking shots. To make things even more exciting, this camera allows wearing VR glasses for a more intense experience. It is a 720P HD camera with a decent 120-degree FOV. Its angle cannot be adjusted. The app works with both Android and iOS – newer versions though.
This drone simply could not miss the opportunity to introduce you to a new world of entertainment. Get inside the app, select the 3D mode, and slide the smartphone into the headset. You will basically fly the drone in the first-person mode, so it feels like you are actually there in the air. The camera is good enough to support high video quality and will provide exquisite visuals. The app has multiple features worth a try. The gravity sensor mode is just as attractive. Once on, you basically move the smartphone, and the drone will perform the same movements by itself. Is there an easier way to control it?
Known for its impressive value for money, Eachine’s is the most affordable drone with a camera that will impress you with its fully-featured profile. Connectivity with your smartphone is flawless. The camera connects to the smartphone, so you can basically watch whatever the camera sees from the ground. The FPV system ensures real-time transmission. Not only will you admire the surroundings, but you will also take pictures at the right time and have more control over your videos. Despite the low price, the camera will surprise you. It comes with a good 120-degree wide-angle, as well as 720P HD capabilities. It is a two-megapixel camera that can take quality pictures and videos.
Whether you are new or you simply find it hard to hold the altitude at the same level, the drone comes with an altitude hold mode. First, take the drone to the desired height in the air, then lock its height. You can also lock the location, so it does not go around. It will only rotate according to your instructions. The hover is also stable while shooting from various angles has never been easier. The good news is that rotating the drone for a wider angle video will not affect the quality. It will not shake or tremble, but move smoothly for perfect video experience.
Starting, moving, and landing the drone is a piece of cake. The package includes a remote controller. Taking off implies using one button only. Even if you have no experience, you will get used to it from the first attempt. The same rule applies for landing – no need to hold it or catch it. The same remote controller adds to the movement experience, as it executes your commands with no errors at all. The unit also comes with a proper key return feature. Simply put, you can order it to return to the same spot without actually controlling the movement back down. The function is even better when you lose sight of it and you panic about losing it. As for bells and whistles, the 3D Flip special effects will have the drone perform all kinds of crazy movements while in the air.
Holy Stone is a front runner when it comes to value for money, and the F181W model might be the best drone if you up for some bells and whistles at a great price. The camera runs on 720P and comes with a classic 120-degree wide-angle capability. It can shoot in HD, and it features wireless connectivity. In other words, you can take high-resolution videos and pictures while flying your drone. There is no guesswork involved in the process, as the FPV transmission in real-time allows you to see what the drone sees. Everything is transmitted wirelessly to your smartphone. Obviously, you will need to install the associated application first. All in all, you will know exactly when to press the button to snap a photo or record.
The headless mode gives you even more control, as you do not have to figure which part of the drone is the front and which one is the back. After all, it is not a plane, so you might need to guess at doing it right. But with the headless mode on, you turn left, and the drone goes left. This way, you avoid the risk of losing it. If it gets close to losing signal, you simply call it back, rather than send it even further by mistake. 3D flips are just as attractive. They are possible due to a new technology of six-axis control systems. The unit can perform a 3D roll with only one key, without losing its balance or altitude.
Worried about losing it? Is it out of sight? Keep calm and press the return home button. You only need one key to send the drone back to the transmitter. It has to be in a headless mode for this function to work. Simply press the button, and it will detect the transmitter and fly down to it. When in the air, you can successfully keep it at a steady height with the automatic altitude hold function. The air pressure is more powerful than in other similar units. You can just release the throttle stick, and the drone will hang out at the same height. You could take pictures anyway, but this feature helps shooting smooth videos as well.
Coming with a full package and a few high-end features, this model from Force1 might be the best drone with a camera and GPS. After all, GPS is more common in more sophisticated products. The product can be used out of the box. You get everything you need, including a balance charger, extra propellers, a screwdriver, and a propeller replacement tool, among others. The drone comes with an altitude holding feature, which allows smooth videos and the possibility to operate it without worrying that it might drop if you release the throttle button. Taking off and landing will never raise any problems – you can do it with one key. The headless mode for stability and safety could not miss either. It is referred to as an intelligent orientation control system.
The motor is superior to what you can find in this range. It features advanced brushless technology. Apart from being more durable, it also boasts more power over a shorter period, so it is more efficient than its competition. Despite sounding too advanced for beginners, it is still an excellent choice for those with no experience at all. In terms of safely returning the drone, you have three different functions. One of them is suitable for low power emergencies, while another one kicks in for low signal issues. You can also call it back for no reason at all – use the primary return key, and it will come back to you.
The camera is superior to other similar units from all points of view. While many products come with a 720P HD camera, this drone features a full HD 1080P camera. Its clarity is flawless, but this is not everything. The smooth controls will allow a perfect video experience. Pictures will be extremely detailed too. To make sure you see it under poor lighting conditions, Force1 has fitted a set of lights on the drone, so you are less likely to lose it.
Force1 does not fool around when it comes to quality, and this unit could be the best drone under 200 bucks if you need a few high-end features to enhance your experience. The best part about it is that the price is still extremely competitive. All in all, you can see what a bird sees in great clarity due to the 720P camera this drone is fitted with. You can take pictures from the ground and shoot smooth videos, as you can see everything in real-time. The unit is suitable for children, newbie adults, and experienced users.
High-end features make a difference. You have not one or two, but three different speeds. The one essential control makes life so much easier. You only need one key to take off, as well as one key to land – no need to hold the drone or attempt catching it. There are also a set of alarms for low signal, range or power. Warning signs will let you know about the perfect time to call the drone back and avoid losing it. The remote control allows holding the altitude, so you can release the throttle button. You also have the headless mode, which simply could not miss from such an advanced drone – no need for guesswork regarding directions.
Given the extra powerful batteries, this drone can fly for longer than other similar units – up to 25 minutes, yet it depends on the tricks you perform and how much you work it out. Every Force1 drone comes with an extra battery, and this one makes no exception either. When the main battery is almost drained, put the other one in and go on with your activities. Make sure it is charged. As if all these were not enough, the FPV streaming capability is possible due to the wireless connectivity and lets you choose the perfect time for pictures and videos.
Now that we’re done talking about the top 5 drones that fall under the category of $200. It’s time to discuss certain things that you need to look for when about to invest in a drone.
There are four major types of drones. Beginner drones are basic and affordable. They are also durable and can take some beating. Hobby drones come with extra features, such as a targeted focus on the subject and even a specialized camera. Professional drones are equipped with higher quality cameras, but they may also have GPS features for an easy return home and other similar functions. Finally, racing drones are designed with speed in mind. They are targeted at a specific category of buyers – speed enthusiasts. Apart from being used in races, they can also chase and take videos of fast-moving objects, such as cars.
The flight time is one of the top features to look for in a drone. Recharging the drone in the middle of the action can ruin the whole experience. Some drones can fly for five minutes, while others can go out for an hour. A beginner done will most likely do it for 10 minutes. Having some extra batteries might be the key, as you can just change them and get back to your project. At this point, the flight time depends on how many full batteries you can have on you.
The range depends on what you need to use the drone for. Some beginner drones can go away for 50 yards, while others go up to 120 yards. The most expensive one may go out for a few miles. If you are a journalist going to war zones for footage, you might need a long-range. Other than that, for daily uses, a primary camera is more than enough. You can just walk around and fly it out when needed.
Finding the best drone with a camera obviously implies analyzing the actual camera too. If you want to fly your drone for fun, you can leave the camera on the ground for more battery life. But if you want pictures and videos, double-check the specifications. If this is the primary purpose why you want a drone, camera specifications might be the only factors to consider in the process.
The headless mode implies the drone turning whatever direction you ask it too. You ask for left; it goes left. Without this mode, it is essential for the drone to be facing the other direction. If it faces you, your left will be the drone’s right. It can be confusing when in the air because the back looks like the front, so you have no idea which way it is facing. The headless mode makes it easier to control it, as there is no thinking involved in the process.
Bottom line, finding the best drone under $200 with camera is a different concept for everyone. What works for some people will not always work for you. Think about what you need the drone for and make this decision with the right features in mind.