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These are the best drones of 2018. Credit: Reviewed / Adam Doud

The Best Drones Under $200 of 2022

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These are the best drones of 2018. Credit: Reviewed / Adam Doud

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Editor's Choice Product image of Potensic T25
Best Overall

Potensic T25

The Potensic T25 is small, and its capabilities are somewhat limited, but you're unlikely to find a better drone in this price range. Read More

Pros

  • The camera can tilt downward
  • Fairly accurate GPS
  • Hovers in place without wandering

Cons

  • Very small frame
  • 300-foot limit
2
Product image of Holy Stone HS200D

Holy Stone HS200D

The HS200D is relatively easy to use, but it doesn't handle obstacles all that well. Its so-so camera is the biggest drawback. Read More

Pros

  • Relatively easy to fly

Cons

  • So-so camera
  • Long charging times
  • Doesn't handle obstacles very well
3
Product image of Dromida XL

Dromida XL

The Dromida XL can be tough to fly, and it feels a little cheap, but the camera is surprisingly great. Read More

Pros

  • Extra-large size
  • Great stability
  • Impressive camera quality

Cons

  • Overly sensitive flight controls
  • Plastic internal construction
  • Hard-to-change battery
4
Product image of Force1 U45W Blue Jay

Force1 U45W Blue Jay

The Blue Jay comes with three separate batteries, so you can swap them out for up to about 20 minutes of flight time. The camera's very poor, though. Read More

Pros

  • Includes three separate batteries
  • Good maneuverability

Cons

  • Terrible camera
5
Product image of Holy Stone HS100

Holy Stone HS100

This is a lower-cost photography drone with a quality camera and a number of features to support beginner pilots. Read More

Pros

  • In-flight stability
  • Auto-return feature

Cons

  • Short flight time
  • Occasional quality issues

When it comes to consumer electronics, few are as complicated as drones. Between the different drone types and the wide range of pricing, there’s a lot to process. So, what should you buy? It’s a good question with no easy answer.

To keep things simple for the everyday person, we focused on ones that cost less than $200. After flying them through a series of obstacles to see how they maneuver, the Potensic T25 (available at Amazon) stood out from the pack. It's easy to fly and it has a few different flight modes. We also love the Force 1 U45 Blue Jay (available at Amazon), which is great for the budget-conscious buyer.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

What You Should Know About Drones

CNN is reporting that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning that Chinese-made drones, like DJI—which is based in Shenzen, China—may be transmitting sensitive data to their manufacturers in China. In 2017, DJI denied similar accusations. To better secure your drone, switch off the Internet connection and remove secure digital cards.

Credit: Reviewed / Adam Doud
Best Overall
Potensic T25

The Potensic T25 is my favorite drone. For under $200, this drone has just about anything you could ask for: stability, GPS, 1080p camera, and more. This is a variable speed drone, meaning it can fly slowly for precision flying or fast if you have a lot of ground to cover.

The batteries can be easily changed, too. Not only do they slide into the drone with a satisfying snap, but you also don’t even have to remove them to charge it, as there’s a micro USB port on the drone’s outside. The thing that makes this drone stand out is the GPS, which provides it with rock-solid stability. You can release the controls and this drone will stay where you left it.

One of the downsides is that there’s no way to fly it without the app. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but if you want a few extra minutes flying without streaming, that’s not an option. The controller also feels cheap, like the way a toy drone might feel.

Nitpicks aside, the precision flying that this drone provides along with quality video with a 1 axis gimbal (meaning you can move the camera up and down) is awesome. Picture quality is good, too, though not the best we tested. You probably won’t impress anyone with your landscapes here, but the camera is great for first-person-view (FPV) flying.

Pros

  • The camera can tilt downward

  • Fairly accurate GPS

  • Hovers in place without wandering

Cons

  • Very small frame

  • 300-foot limit

Product image of Holy Stone HS200D
Holy Stone HS200D

Next on our list is the Holy Stone HS200. If you’ve researched drones on Amazon at all, you’re probably familiar with the name. The HS200 is a perfectly fine drone. I had next to no issues flying it, though it required a bit more adjustment than most to stay in one place.

One notable fact (and not a good one) is that it takes a long time to charge. The advertised time is approximately two hours, which is consistent with our testing, but that’s a lot of downtime. Plus, to charge the battery, you need to plug a micro USB cable into the drone.

Overall, I found this drone to be less maneuverable than others when it came to obstacles, as it struggled the most with precision movements. You can generally maneuver the drone where you want it to go, but obstacles are a problem.

The camera also suffers from the same problem as the Force 1. It handles contrasting colors a little better, as they're not completely blown out. Rather, the camera compensates with a sort of half dark/half light composition. It’s not HDR, but it’s not the worst camera we’ve ever seen.

Pros

  • Relatively easy to fly

Cons

  • So-so camera

  • Long charging times

  • Doesn't handle obstacles very well

Product image of Dromida XL
Dromida XL

The Dromida XL, the biggest drone on our list, really disappointed us in the end. The large size is nice because it helps with stability. The shape is also cool because it’s really sleek and looks like a jet plane. But that’s the extent of the coolness here.

The Dromida is very herky-jerky in flight. No, that’s not an industry term. Flying is a bit of a challenge because it throws itself into whatever movement you dictate with gusto. It’s almost too sensitive, which makes for a somewhat broken flying experience.

Regarding build quality, the outside covering feels more like a thin candy shell. Add that to the plastic internal gears and the drone itself is shockingly delicate. Plus, the battery is the hardest among all the drones to change due to a very stiff power connector.

However, the camera is the best on this list, handling both dark and light environments with aplomb. It did some odd auto-saturation with extreme greens at times, but that’s it. Overall, I was impressed with the camera quality. That said, the jerky nature of the flight led to jerky video as well.

Pros

  • Extra-large size

  • Great stability

  • Impressive camera quality

Cons

  • Overly sensitive flight controls

  • Plastic internal construction

  • Hard-to-change battery

Product image of Force1 U45W Blue Jay
Force1 U45W Blue Jay

The Force1 U45 Blue Jay is a high-quality drone that brings a lot to the table. It’s actually one of the most inexpensive drones we tested, which is always a plus. The standout feature here is that while the battery only lasts for five to seven minutes of flight time, the Force 1 comes with three of them in the box, giving you up to 20 minutes of flight time.

Beyond that, the Force 1’s maneuverability is quite good, as it’s able to navigate obstacles fairly well. There’s no GPS, so you’ll need to keep the drone horizontally stable when there’s wind. The app interface is also very straightforward. Another little bonus is that the remote controller includes a sunshade to help you see your phone in the mount on bright days.

The digital readout on the controller has some information about the power and trim of the drone, but it’s not really needed to fly. You’re far better off watching the drone in flight than relying on the limited information displayed on the remote.

The camera on this drone is terrible. However, that’s not surprising, given that it’s only 720p. There’s also no HDR support. So, when you have a shot with the dark greens of a field and the bright blues of the sky, the camera gets over-exposed and the transition is slow between the two.

Pros

  • Includes three separate batteries

  • Good maneuverability

Cons

  • Terrible camera

Product image of Holy Stone HS100
Holy Stone HS100

The Holy Stone RC drone is a lower-cost, quality option great for drone-photography beginners. This drone includes a number of features to make flying easier, including a large body and powerful motors for stability, altitude hold, headless mode, and one-key takeoff and landing. The 2K Wi-Fi camera offers a 120-degree field of view, a selfie-and-follow mode, and live video streaming to your phone—in addition to recording and capturing stills. Run the drone from an app on your phone, the included transmitter, or a combination of the two. With an 18-minute flight time, protected by an auto-return feature when the battery gets low, this drone will let you capture stunning aerial photography anywhere you go.

Pros

  • In-flight stability

  • Auto-return feature

Cons

  • Short flight time

  • Occasional quality issues

Product image of Deerc D50
Deerc D50

For an easy entry into drone photography, the DEERC drone is a low-cost, decent-quality option. The 2K ultra-HD camera shoots stills, video, and transmits real-time images to your phone. The controls are simple and varied—set a flight path with waypoints, control it by tipping your phone with gravity control, and give commands to the drone with voice and hand-gesture control functions. The 12-to-15-minute flight time is fine for most hobbyists, as is the short 327-foot transmission range.

Pros

  • Simple, user-friendly flight modes

Cons

  • Short flight time

  • Short-range transmitter

Meet the testers

Adam Doud

Adam Doud

Contributor

Adam has been a reviewer in mobile technology and consumer electronics for six years. He is a podcast producer who hosts the DGiT Daily podcast and the Android Authority podcast. When he's not testing products or speaking into a microphone, he's biking, geocaching, or shooting video.

See all of Adam Doud's reviews
Jean Levasseur

Jean Levasseur

Contributor

Jean Levasseur became a professional writer over a decade-long career in marketing, public relations, and technical writing. After leaving that career to stay home to care for his twin boys, Jean has continued to write in a variety of freelance roles, as well as teaching academic writing at a local university. When he's not reviewing tools or chasing toddlers around the house, he's also an avid fiction writer and a growing woodworker.

See all of Jean Levasseur's reviews

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