Best drones under 200 [Sep 2017] : A detailed buying guide

By V Kadamatt | Buying Guides

Jun 01
Best drones under 200: Featured Image

Best drones under 200 : Updated Sep 2017

Best drones under 200 : Quick Summary

DBPower Predator

best drones under 200: DBPOWER UDI U842 Predator

Our rating: 

UDI U818A

Best drones under 200: UDI U818A Wi-Fi FPV

Our rating: 

Potensic F183DH

Best drones under 200 : Potensic F183DH

Our rating: 

U45 Blue Jay

Best drones under 200: U45 Blue Jay

Our rating: 

U28W Drone

Best drones under 200: U28W Drone

Our rating: 

UDI U28-1

Best quadcoters under 200: UDI U28

Our rating: 

Syma SXG

best quadcopter under 200: Syma X8G

Our rating: 

(Click on image to check price on Amazon)

What to expect?

Design and build

Design

As of now, we think that the drones under 200 are designed okay, but not spectacular. Unlike semi professional or professional drones, many of the quads are designed pretty much the same way one way or the other, so you’ll have a hard time finding something that stands out. That being said, some manufacturers have managed to design some pretty good quads for the price and we’ve listed them here.

Build

Don’t expect extreme high quality build with any of the drones under 200 and its components. Please try not to use them TOO rashly or in harsh weather. You’ll quickly be disillusioned if you do. That being said, again, we’ve tried to distill down to the ones that are most sturdy and capable of taking a beating.

Flight characteristics and functionalities

For drones under 200, expect to be able to fly indoors perfectly well. When it comes to outdoor flying, however, don’t expect them to fly in extreme winds/conditions. The quads will most likely be able to take mild to moderate winds but that’s about it.

As far as functionalities go, most come with headless mode, which should make flying easier for newbies. Some of them come with RTH (return to home) and FPV capabilities. While FPV may not be the best (most of them lag and are not really ‘FPV flyable’) and so can be overlooked, RTH is a handy feature and we suggest getting a quad that comes with it. Especially if you aren’t really good at flying quads, getting your craft to come back to you is REALLY useful in case of emergencies. Note that the “RTH” function in these crafts do not function with a GPS like in “real” drones. Rather, they should be called "One-key" return. With this feature, they simply fly backwards. If you are not flying in headless mode, this can cause a fly away.

Camera

Most drones under 200 come with cameras that are capable of taking some decent pictures and video. However, please note that this is NOT your go to price range, if you are a professional photographer. One of the best ones we came across has an 8 megapixel HD camera (Syma X8G) and we’ve listed it below. If your goal is purchase a cheap drone to practice some aerial photography before purchasing a professional photography drone, the Syma X8G is your best bet.

Warranty : A heads up for drones under 200

Most drones under 200 are not offered by giants like DJI or Parrot. Rather, they are shipped by companies like Syma, UDI and DBPower. The customer service may not be on par with the giants, but most of them respond well in case of a damaged product. Regardless of the quad you buy, make sure you buy from the vendors directly (in case of websites like Amazon). Do not go for cheap knock offs.

We also recommend you get an extended accidental protection plan for anything RC related. It may cost additional bucks, but better be safe than sorry! Canopy provides a decent plan but there are also others. (Make sure you select the appropriate price setting)

Selection criteria

Most drones in this article are at a price range from $129 – $159. We’ve handpicked what we think are best drones under $200.

The crafts mentioned in this best drones under 200 list are reviewed for different characteristics – the overall design and build, ease and flexibility of control, flight characteristics and camera quality. At the end of each model’s review, we have listed what is awesome and what is not so awesome for each model for you to be able to quickly glance over the pros and cons.


Our TOP pick : DBPower UDI U842 Predator

best drones under 200: DBPOWER UDI U842 Predator

Best durability in the best drones under 200 list, fast battery charging

Design and build

We think that this "drone" is the #1 for being well-built and durable in the best drones under 200 range. It weighs heavier than models like the U818A and this may make it land faster, but that doesn't matter because it is pretty well built for hard landings.

The design is pretty much the same as many other quads in its price range but the color combination is pretty unique, making it stand out. Overall, it is a very nicely done quadcopter - definitely deserves a place in the best drones under 200 list.

Flight, control and camera

Flight and control

This "drone" can be controlled with the standard controller or an app. The gravity induction mode will allow you to control the drone with the simple tilt of the camera angle via the app. The craft flies really well even under moderately windy conditions, making it a decent indoor and outdoor flyer. The flight range is pretty decent for its class and so is the battery life. It also comes with headless mode. Overall, a great flyer.

Camera

The camera is decent for the price. You can take some pleasant video and pictures with it. However, don't expect something along DJI level. The live video feed may likewise be not be that magnificent either.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Most durable and powerful, compared to other crafts of its size and price level
  • Pretty stable
  • Fast recharge and decent flight times
  • Bonus battery, easily swap-able
  • Memory card included
  • Can run with an app (which works great!)
  • Reactive and snappy to control input

Cons

  • Heavier than models like UDI U818A, making it more prone to coming down quickly and crashing
  • Hovering mechanism could be better
  • Mediocre propeller guards
  • Battery placement could be disturbed from impacts
  • Mediocre HD video, could be better
  • Lag and stutter during real time FPV

UDI U818A Wi-Fi FPV

Best drones under 200: UDI U818A Wi-Fi FPV

Lightweight and durable characteristics give it a spot under our best drones under 200.

Design and build

The U818A Wi-Fi FPV is built pretty well too. Though it might feel lighter and "cheaper" than the DBPower, it is pretty durable and strong, for the price. This craft can come out undamaged, even after rough usage and some moderately insane crashes. The propellers are safe guarded with pretty solid guards that comes into the rescue during dire situations.

The design is nothing magnificent but it is not bad either. It is essentially a circular body in the middle to which the propeller guards are attached to, directly. The motors and propellers are attached to this main circular body via a thinner plastic.

Flight, control and camera

Flight and control

The U818A is a very flyable drone. Like the DBPOWER, you can control it via the app in the phone that is placed on the transmitter or the transmitter itself, directly.

Even though the FPV may lag and not exactly be great for direct FPV flying, it may be useful for positioning the drone at certain positions to get a nice live view from that location.

Like most others in the best drones under 200 list, it comes with a headless mode, which ignores the direction of the nose and considers the ‘front’ part of the quad as whatever direction the transmitter is facing. RTH (Return to home) function is included too, which is just plain awesome for the price!

Camera

The camera, although not spectacular, is decent enough for the price. You can take some nice video and pictures with it but again, don’t expect it to be DJI level. The live video feed may also not be that marvelous either, but it does the job. Overall, we reckon this quad definitely makes the list for the best drones under 200.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Durable and stable
  • Decent flight time 
  • Bonus battery, easily swappable
  • Removable Micro-SD included
  • App works really well
  • Surprisingly fast and snappy, reactive

Cons

  • Not too stable in windy conditions
  • Mediocre design and looks
  • Can move out of signal range Unexpectedly
  • Mediocre HD video, could be better
  • Lag and stutter during real time FPV

Potensic F183DH Drone

Best drones under 200 : Potensic F183DH

Possibly one of the most stable flyers out there in wind due to it size. This one definitely deserves to be in the list of our best drones under 200

Design and build

The Potensic F183DH is one of the bigger drones (though certainly not the biggest) in the market, in this price segment. The design is pretty standard but it stands out nevertheless, especially due to the LED lights placement all over it which gives it a cool look while they are turned on.

The prop guards, camera and landing gear can all be removed even though it is not recommended, giving it additional flight time. Overall, it is a decently built drone that can take some beating but we recommend not to take it too far (goes for most drones in this price range).

The controller also comes with a built-in LCD screen that runs on 5.8Ghz (not WiFi, unlike many of the drones out there), giving it an edge when it comes to FPV experience. The controller design is also pretty standard, but can be used without any issues by people with both large and small hands.

Flight and control

Being a larger drone, the Potensic F183DH has a decent thrust power (most probably the best in this list of drones under 200). It can take on medium winds well, especially if you have it on maximum rate (100%) settings on it. And if you have max rate settings on, this quad flies extremely fast and snappy.

The size of the drone isn’t the most conducive for indoor flight. If you are looking for a drone that can perform some indoor action, look at something like the Focus FPV drone or the U2W8 drone.

Overall, the drone comes with every other setting you’ll need for flight and control especially if you are a beginner looking for some easy flight. This includes headless mode (orientation of the drone will be in relation to you), altitude hold and return home.

The barometer of this drone is excellent in comparison to other drones out there. It can hold it’s altitude pretty well even if you pitch it a bit more than you normally would.

Camera and FPV

The Potensic F183DH drone comes with a 720p camera and an FPV screen built-in on the controller (5.8 Ghz, making it less laggy than many WiFi FPV drones out there). Most drones in this price range do not come with a built-in screen on the controller. The camera position is fixed and tilted slightly downward.

Overall, the it can take some OK pictures and video but don’t expect anything jaw dropping and/or anything even near HD level quality. However, it is the case with any other drone in its price range as of now.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 5.8 Ghz FPV, meaning less lag and stutter relative to other drones
  • Agile and fast, especially at high rate setting
  • Unique LED placement, excellent dusk or night time flight
  • Cool looking controller that has FPV screen built-in

Cons

  • Mediocre camera
  • Mediocre build quality
  • Not ideal for indoor flight

U45 Blue Jay

Best drones under 200: U45 Blue Jay

Good durability, VR compatibility, Sleek design and excellent flight characteristics, definitely worth being under our list of best drones under 200 USD.

Design and build

The U45 Blue Jay is a lightweight, hollow body quadcopter with a pretty solid, durable build. The design pretty much looks like the Syma X-8G that we have listed down below. We think that the black and blue color combination is excellent and this small factor actually makes it look better than many similarly designed drones in the same price range.

The controller looks like any other controller that you get in this price range, but what we liked about the one you get with the U45 Blue Jay is that the different “modes” and settings are marked.

Another thing we liked about the U45 is that like the DBPOWER predator, the battery can be replaced quickly, without having to worry about using a screw driver. Perfect if you want to purchase a couple of extra batteries to boost flight times!

The U45 blue jay is a perfect example of small little design considerations that make a huge impact overall.

Flight, control and camera

Flight and control

The U45 blue Jay is a pretty smooth flyer and can handle up to moderate wind conditions pretty well. It can be controlled via the controller or via an app that can be downloaded onto your Android or iOS phone.

The drone comes with altitude hold, one touch take off and landing, headless mode and custom route mode (fly the craft unassisted by tracing the path on the mobile map). Overall, very good flight and control system for the price.

Camera

The camera quality is like most other drones in this price range. Expect to take some OK pictures and video, but nothing magnificent or jaw dropping.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Solid build
  • Nice and sharp color combination
  • Marked controllers
  • VR compatibility
  • Easily swappable batteries, bonus included
  • Memory card included
  • Can run with an app
  • Good flight characteristics

Cons

  • Hollow body build may feel cheap
  • Nothing unique about the design except for the color combination
  • Poor instruction manual
  • Medicore video/picture quality
  • Stuttering during real time FPV

U28W drone

Best drones under 200: U28W Drone

Small, agile flyer – great for both indoors and outdoors. Great design, VR compatibility. If the Blue Jay makes the list of best drones under 200, this one does too!

Design and build

Don’t be fooled by the picture! The U28W drone is a rather small craft that can pretty much fit on your palm. This is a great bonus because it means you can fly it indoors with minimal obstruction if you take the necessary precautions.

The camera is placed in the front of the drone, giving it a rather unique look in comparison to most others.

Flight, control and camera

Flight and control

The flight characteristics of this drone is simply amazing. It has got to be the #1 in this list in that aspect. It is quick, snappy and agile. Like the U45 blue Jay, the U28W can also handle moderate wind conditions pretty well. However, due to it being smaller in size, expect less stability in winds.

Other than that, it offers one touch take off and landing, coustom route mode, headless mode and altitude hold functions.

Camera

Again, nothing magnificent here. Decent for it’s price but nothing magnificent. You can take some OK still pictures and video with this drone. The camera angle is pretty good and better than the other drones listed here, though.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Unique design and color scheme
  • Solid build
  • Small in size making it great for indoor flight
  • VR compatibility
  • Easily swappable batteries
  • Memory card included
  • Can run with an app
  • Excellent flight characteristics

Cons

  • Instruction manual can be improved
  • Mediocre picture/video quality
  • May get tossed around during mid-high wind conditions
  • Stuttering during FPV

UDI U28-1

Best quadcoters under 200: UDI U28

Comes with a 4'' LCD screen

No RTH

Design and build

The U28-1 by UDI does seem like a copy-cat of the Parrot Bebop 2. Even the controller and screen attached to it might remind you of the SkyController that comes with the Bebop2. However, it doesn't take away from the fact that it is one of the most uniquely designed drone in the price range. It looks good, period.

The build quality is sturdy and can take a beating too. Just like any other quads here, don't use it too rashly. Especially since the camera is placed at the front, it is recommended that you watch ought for nose-in crashes because it can damage the camera pretty easily!

Flight, control and camera

Flight and control

The U28-1 is pretty decent at flying indoors as well as outdoors in moderately windy conditions. It can do some basic aerobatics but that's something almost all quads in this price range can pull off. It comes with a 4'' screen for FPV, but then again, expect it to lag. Note that it doesn't come with an RTH feature!

Camera

Pretty much the same as DBPower UDI U842. It can take some decent pictures and video but nothing absolutely magnificent or stunning.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes with a 4" LCD screen
  • Looks unique
  • Decent flight times
  • Bonus battery, easily swappable
  • Removable Micro-SD included
  • Reactive and snappy to control input

Cons

  • Not too stable in windy conditions
  • Camera placement on the front, making it vulnerable to nose-in crashes
  • Mediocre propeller guards
  • Weak props
  • Mediocre HD video, could be better
  • Lag and stutter during real time FPV

Syma X8G

best quadcopter under 200: Syma X8G

Best camera for photography and videography in the price range, making it one of the best drones under 200 with camera.

No FPV and RTH.

Design and build

The Syma X8G is built like a DJI phantom model. Essentially, it is like the Phantom’s younger, cuter (yet less capable) cousin. Although the build quality does not even come close to the DJI Phantom, the body and propellers are pretty sturdy and durable . This craft can definitely hold its own during crashes and last long even with moderately rough usage.

Overall, it is very well designed. The color usually comes in silver, with black propellers and propeller guards. The craft doesn’t look bad at all - definitely worthy of making the list for the best drones under 200.

Flight, control and camera

Flight and control

The Syma X8G does not have an FPV so the only way to fly it is to keep it in sight. This might not a big downside, considering that the drones that DO have FPV in this price range cannot be piloted in the FPV mode either, due to mediocre camera and lag.

Overall this has craft is very stable even in windy conditions and boasts headless mode, which will come handy for beginners. It does not have RTH either, so heads up on that!

Camera

The video quality is the best you can get in this price range as of now so if you are okay with trading features like FPV and RTH for the increase in video quality, you should go ahead and get this model.

Also, expect to be disappointed with the flight times and long charge times. We recommend you buy an additional battery to go along with it.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent camera compared to other drones in this price range
  • Compatible with GoPro
  • Stable and flies well even in wind conditions
  • Pretty durable and sturdy
  • Memory card included
  • Reactive and snappy to control input

Cons

  • Mediocre flight times - as low as 5 minutes 
  • No FPV or RTH
  • Takes a long time to charge the battery - 200 minutes!
  • No additional batteries come with the package and it is highly recommended that you do buy one, considering the mediocre flight times and long charging times
  • Propeller guards not strong enough. May break easily
  • Motor connectors reported to come loose from rough use and landing

Conclusion

Decide what you want – durability/features like FPV and RTH vs excellent camera. If it is the former, pick the UDI or the DB Power Predator. If you want a decent camera, pick the Syma model. Be warned though - you cannot expect these to perform as well as something like the DJI’s phantom. In this price range, you are still working with semi-toy grade quadcopters.

That's all folks! We hope you loved this buying guide for the best drones under 200. Let us know what you think down in the comments below 🙂

Best drones under 200 [Sep 2017] : A detailed buying guide was last modified: September 3rd, 2017 by V Kadamatt

About the Author

Artificial Intelligence , UAV and RC enthusiast. Software professional, part time philosopher and star gazer. Also loves physics, mathematics, economics, psychology, fantasy, Sci-Fi and futurology.

Leave a Comment:

(8) comments

R s woodbury September 22, 2016

You are interesting and helpful but your alphabet soup is mind numbing. UAV? FVP? RTH? And several more.

Reply
    V Kadamatt September 23, 2016

    Thanks for your comment, glad you found the posts interesting and helpful!

    To answer you question,

    UAV = “Unmanned aerial vehicle” which is another, more formal term for “drone”.
    FVP = “First person view” is a system that involves a camera mounted on the drones and a screen/goggle to which the video is beamed back to. Basically, you can “see” what your drone “sees”.
    RTH = Return to home. This feature enables you to bring back your drone to your location automatically, typically with a simple press of a button or a switch.

    Generally, these are pretty common acronyms you must be familiar with before making a purchasing decision.

    We’ll be putting our own page of acronyms for reference soon, but for now here is a good reference:
    https://oscarliang.com/quadcopter-acronyms-term-glossary-word-drone/

    Hope that helps! 🙂

    Reply
Jochen July 26, 2017

Hi,

thank you, for your interesting post. Are you sure, the U842-1 has rth? Does it have Altitude Holde. It’s a difficult dessision between the u842-1 and the potensic… may you help me?

Reply
    V Kadamatt July 26, 2017

    Hi, thanks for bringing this to our attention. It seems like the latest version of the U842 has this feature removed. The Potensic model is a great craft too and comes with the return key, but do note that it can be unreliable. Most quadcopters in this price range CAN become inoperable after a few weeks of use. However, we found that the U842 is the most durable.
    Also note that the “RTH” function in these crafts do not function with a GPS like in “real” drones. They simply fly backwards. If you are not flying in headless mode, this can cause a fly away.

    Reply
      Jochen July 26, 2017

      thank you for fast response!!! What about altitude hold? Where are the differences between u842 and potensic?

      Reply
        V Kadamatt July 26, 2017

        You are welcome 🙂 You shouldn’t notice much of a difference, although Potensic may fare a bit better if it is slightly windier. Go for the Potensic if you want lag less FPV. WiFi FPV experience is horrendous.

        Reply

However, keep in mind that to make this drone so affordable and still include an 8MP camera with a protection case plus a wide set of features, Syma couldn’t push all the best specs otherwise the price tag of the drone would be much higher.

Reply
تحميل اغاني September 12, 2017

Hello,I read your new stuff named “Best drones under 200 [Sep 2017] : A detailed buying guide – Droney Bee” regularly.Your story-telling style is awesome, keep it up! And you can look our website about تحميل اغاني.

Reply
Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment: