With drones getting affordable by the day, more and more people are now looking at drone flying as a hobby. It would be fair to say that drones are now more affordable than ever before, but most still cost a fair quid more than one would spend on his/her first drone.
Top 5 drones under $50
After realizing the value of something like this, we have curated a list of top 5 drones that are not only good quality (and popular) but also don’t cost a bomb — less than $50, to be specific!
1. Hubsan X4 H107L: Multi-speciality drone that you can fly indoors as well as outdoors!
Go to any RC forum that deals in mutlirotors/drones, and the Hubsan X4 will most likely by the most popular drone on the site! That’s how popular the Hubsan X4 is. The quad-copter was launched back in 2013, and surprisingly, it still manages to do well in the market.
The speciality of the Hubsan X4 is that it is robust, affordable, and can be flown indoors as well as outdoors. Of course, the fact that it is insane popular means that there is more community support (think mods, repairs, etc.) than you will ever need.
The Hubsan X4 is available in many different configurations, but I recommend you to go with the non-camera ‘upgraded’ version — H107L, which is just $37 shipped. If you are, however, interested in getting the drone with a camera, you can also go for the H107C which brings in a 2 mega-pixel at $30 on top. The Hubsan X4 also comes in an FPV variant which goes for $138.
2. Bayang Toys X6: Indoor specialist which also happens to be the world’s smallest drone!
The Cheerson CX-10 is regarded as the world’s smallest commercially available drone. However, it comes with a sub-standard controller which makes it hard to control the drone. Also, it doesn’t have propeller guards which means it usually isn’t long before you need a set of spares. This is the reason why I think the Bayang Toys X6 is a much better option. And, this is also how you can fly your Cheerson CX-10 with a Hubsan X4 controller!
The Bayang Toys X6 is basically a Cheerson CX-10, but with a (much) better controller and added prop guards that make it easy to not damage the drone. It sells for just $24 shipped, so there’s just about a difference of $5 over the Cheerson CX-10.
3. JJRC H8C: Camera-enabled drone at a surprisingly low price!
JJRC is regarded as the sister company to WLtoys, which is growing in popularity each passing day. That said, JJRC itself has a few notable drones in the market, many of which are fairly affordable too. The JJRC H8C happens to be one of them; the drone isn’t just affordable but it also has an on-board camera!
The drone sells for just $60, and is a bargain at that price. Also, it is pretty popular on the scene, so you don’t have to worry about community support on this one too. JJRC also launched a successor to this one — the JJRC H9D — but the H8C remains to be popular. What’s more, the JJRC H8C can also hold a GoPro/SJ4000 action camera!
4. Syma X11/X11C: Indoors/Outdoors king with the longest flight time!
Unlike most other drones, the Syma X11/X11C (‘C’ for camera) comes with geared motors, which means that a smaller motor is able to drive the props… this also means that the Syma X11 has the longest flight time among any of its competitors!
The drone can be had in its non-camera version for $29, and with a 2 mega-pixel on-board camera for $49; both of which are great prices for the products. To think of a direct competitor, only the Hubsan X4 comes in mind (which we’ve also discussed in this list).
5. Syma X5/X5C: Entry-level for outdoor fliers!
If the Syma X11 was too small for you, or you just want to purchase a drone that you can fly outdoors (and in somewhat windy conditions), then the Syma X5C is for you. The drone costs only $56 and comes with a rather large frame, which makes it look like a much more expensive drone.
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As the ‘C’ in the name indicates, the Syma X5C comes with an on-board camera… if you don’t want to spend on that however, and want the same drone without the camera, you can always go for the non camera version. For that, you need to purchase a BNF kit (what are BNF kits?) of the the Syma X5 ($33), and then a controller ($11).
These are the top 5 drones that I think beginners should look to purchase to kickstart their drone hobby. I myself started with the Bayang Toys X6, which hasn’t failed me in more than a couple months of usage. I however had to get replacement props (very cheap) which do the job.
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There can, and certainly will, be other options. If you think there’s a drone better suited for beginners and not included in the list, feel free to comment below and share your knowledge!