Buying Guides Quadcopters/Multirotors

Best drones under $50 for beginners: Beginner buying guide

Best drones under 50: Featured Image
Written by V Kadamatt

Best drones under $50 for beginners: Updated December, 2016

We’ve been asked by beginners over and over: What are the ‘best’ drones for beginners that you can buy to get into multirotors and practice your skills? This article is an attempt to make the purchasing decision easier. We’ve decided to list quadcopter drones under $50 because we think it is important that beginners master flying a quad and learning to fly may involve mistakes which can be costly.

What to expect?

Design and build

Design

Like the drones under $200, we think that the drones in this price range are designed okay, but not spectacular. Unlike the drones under $500 price range or above, 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. This is not to say that they’re ugly – most of them look decent enough. We have tried to include a few quadcopters that stand out in their design in this list too

Build

Don’t expect extreme high quality build with any of the quads and its components in this price range. 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 50, expect to be able to fly indoors perfectly well. As for outdoor flying, some of the quads like the Syma X5C or Akaso X-5C can handle low-wind conditions while others, like the Cheerson CX – 10 may get pushed around even with the slightest of winds.

As far as functionalities go, most come with headless mode and gyros, which should make flying easier for newbies. You can use these features to progressively make it harder for you to fly by enabling them at first and then disabling them (switching modes).

 

Camera

Most “drones”, especially the ones that are well below $30, do not come with a camera. The ones that do fall in the costlier end (typically $30 – $50). We’ve included some that do have a camera in this “best drones under 50” list. Though they can capture some decent video and pictures, don’t expect anything magnificent. Getting a quadcopter for this price is best done to improve your flying skills than anything else. Getting that awesome aerial photography can be put off to later, when you are ready to buy something fancier.

 

Warranty  :A heads up

Most drones in this price range are not offered by giants like DJI or Parrot. Rather, they are shipped by companies like Syma and Cheerson . 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.  Canopy provides a decent plan but there are also others. (Make sure you select the appropriate price setting)

Selection Criteria

The drones listed here are at a price range from as low as $13 up to $35. We’ve handpicked four of what we think are ‘best’ drones that fall under $50. These are what we think, some of the best ones out there that are ideal for beginners.

The crafts mentioned in this article are reviewed for different characteristics – the overall design and build, ease and flexibility of control, flight characteristics and camera quality (if there is any). 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.


Syma X5C

Best drones under 50 : SYMA

(Clicking on image will take you to Amazon)

Excellent build quality, flight characteristics and comes with a camera

Design and build

The Syma X5C may not stand out when it comes to it design. In fact, it looks like many other models out there in the market by the same brand and others.

When it comes down to the build quality however, the Syma X5C has to be the #1 in this list along with the Hollystone HS170. The size of this quadcopter is neither too big nor too small making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.

The controller is also pretty well build and designed. Unlike some other quads in this price range, it comes with a decent sized controller that isn’t too small. If you are not looking for a fancy looking quad, but want something that boasts the highest quality build and features, go for the Syma X5C.

Flight and control

The Syma X5C has amazing flight characteristics for its price. It is nimble and flyable both indoors and outdoors, in moderate wind conditions. Don’t expect it to be heroic in heavy winds and you’ll be happy with its capabilities.

The flight time you can get with this drone is about 7-8 minutes with about 100 minute charging time. Overall, it has solid flight characteristics. Everything you would need as a beginner and more!

Photography and videography

The Syma X5C is one of the few “drones” in this price tange that comes with a camera. However, unlike the Akaso X-5C, it doesn’t come with a micro SD card. It can take some pretty OK pictures and video but nothing magnificent. Even so, we think that it is an excellent addition.

Pros and cons

What's awesome?What may not be so awesome
Excellent build qualityVery mediocre design, look and feel
Great flight characteristicsMediocre video and picture quality
Great flight timesLong charging times and does not come with additional LiPo batteries
Suitable for both indoor and outdoorDoes not come with a micro SD card
Lights for night use

Given features and specs

Equipped with HD camera.
Perform flips at the press of a button with 360 degree eversion, Wind resistant and can be flown indoors or outdoors
6-axis Gyro stabilization system ensures maximum stability during flight
7 Minute flight time and 100 minute charge time.
Wind resistant and can be flown indoors or outdoors

Click here to check current price on Amazon


Holy Stone HS170 Predator

Best drones under 50: Holy stone predator

(Clicking on image will take you to Amazon)

 

Design and build

The Holy stone HS170 has to be one the bigger drones in this list. While the design may not be anything particularly unique in comparison to other options, the build quality is arguably the one of the best for its price range aong with the Syma X5C and hence, we thought it deserves a place in this list.

The only downside to the design is the controller. We think that it looks cheaper and even more toy like, relative to what you can get in this price range.

Flight and control

This drone comes with everything you’ll need for indoor flight and beginner friendliness. And though it cannot be compared to real “drones”, it has also got to be thebest in this list when it comes to outdoor flight.

The HS170 comes with a control range of 30-50 meters and a flying time of about 6-8 minutes with a charge time of 60 minutes. Pretty decent, we’d reckon.

Photography and videography

This drone does not come with a camera!

Pros and cons

What's awesome?What may not be so awesome
Well built and nice color combinationCannot remove propeller guards
Best in this list for being wind resistant, can fly outdoors in mild wind conditionsPoor controller design
Easily swappable batteryNo camera or FPV features. There are other drones with the same price tag that come with camera
LED lights

Given features and specs

HEADLESS SECURITY SYSTEM enables any level of players to fly the drone easily.
2.4GHz Technology Adopted for Anti Interference
More Stable and Flexible with 6 Axis Gyro Stablization Systemn
Good Performance of Wind-Resistant Control Range about 30-50 Meters
Flying Time about 6 to 8 minutes and charging time about 60 to 80 minutes

Click here to check current price on Amazon


EACHINE E010 Mini UFO Quadcopter

Best drones under 50: Eachine

(Clicking on image will take you to Amazon)

Cool looking, sturdy and resilient, great flight characteristics

Design and build

When it comes down to the design and overall looks, the Eachine E010 has to be the most unique and cool looking in this list. At the time of this update, you can get the “drone” in two color variations – green and red. This craft looks like an alien spacecraft straight from a sci-fi movie. The controller color is also matched with the craft.

As of the build, it has to also be one of the sturdiest in this price range. The prop guards not only make the quad look amazing, it is also a nice little bonus to the overall resilience of the craft.

Flight and control

This quad is pretty snappy and great at flying. It comes with every feature you’ll need as a beginner flyer like headless mode, one key return, different speed settings and 360 degree flip at the press of a button. Expect to get fight times of about 5-6 minutes with moderate speed setting.

Overall a great quad to practice if you are a beginner, or if you want a quad to present to your kid. However, like many of the quads you get in this price range, the controller size can be annoying if you have large hands. Don’t expect it to fly well outside in windy conditions either.

Photography and videography

This “drone” doesn’t come with a camera!

Pros and cons

What's awesome?What may not be so awesome
Excellent design, cool looking!Small controller
Sturdy and resilientNo additional batteries
Great, snappy flight characteristicsMediocre flight times. It can only be improved if you remove the propeller guards and other body parts through modding
Light weightCan be tossed around severely by wind
Short charging time

Given features and specs

ONE-KEY RETURN: With built-in positioning system, the drone can auto locate the remote control, just press the one key return button, the drone will fly back to the remote control's location. Enables any level of players to fly the drone easily.
2.4GHz Technology Adopted for Anti Interference
360 degree ROLL-OVER with the press of a button
COMPASS MODE: The drone will change its flight direction with the change of the direction of remote control.
Flying Time about 6 to 8 minutes and charging time about 60 to 80 minutes
Headless mode

Click here to check current price on Amazon


Akaso X-5C

best drones under $50: Akaso

(Clicking on image will take you to Amazon)

Excellent build quality, flight characteristics and comes with a camera

Design and build

The quality of build is excellent with this craft, especially in the price range. We’d reckon that this craft might even make some of the drones ‘under $200’ category for a run when it comes to the build. Now of course, if you punish it too much, it is going to fall but nevertheless, it can take a beating.

The Akaso model isn’t too big or small: The size of the craft makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor flying.

The design may look mediocre to some with it white plastic, plain look but nevertheless it looks pretty decent.

Flight and control

For its price, this craft is a steal. The Akaso has stable flight, and can handle low wind conditions pretty well, making it good for both indoor and occasional outdoor flying. This is one of the few quads that come with the instant 360-degree flip (that works incredibly well for this quad) in the price.

The flight times are excellent. The advertised flight time for this craft is about 5-7 minutes, but this craft exceeds expectations. We’ve hit 8 – 10 minutes of flight time with the craft. Note that the craft comes with headless mode: something which you should avoid as a beginner to maximize your learning. This makes flying the craft easier, however.

Photography and videography

The drone boasts a ‘HD’ camera, and comes with a micro SD card to which you can store your videos and images. Although we’d say the camera isn’t exactly ‘HD’, it can capture decent quality videos and images for its price. It is one of the only crafts capable of capturing videos at the level of quality it captures, in this price range. Note that the video can be wobbly and not stable.

Pros and cons

What's awesome?What may not be so awesome
Light weight, durable: Guarded propellers by plastic frame that are removableMediocre and wobbly video quality
Comes with bonus micro SD card and propellersPlastic and plain look may put off some
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor
Stable and easy to control, comes with features
LED for night use
Comes with a decent camera
Excellent flight times
Relatively low charge times
Decent flight range: 50 to 100 meters

 

Given features and specs

Built-in 6-axis gyro quad-rotor: strong stability, can easily implement various flight movements, stronger wind resistance, easier to control.
Instant 360-degree Flip: Press a key and you get an instant 360-degree flip
Solider protection: the propeller blades are protected by high quality plastic blade frames which decrease impacts from collision.
Built-in HD camera: allows recording video or taking images. Capture your friends and family from aerial view shots and see the world from a new angle. The AKASO X5C is controlled by a 2.4GHz transmitter, which is interference-free. It will not be interfered by other quadcopters.
Flight Time: 5-7 minutes
Charging Time: 60 minutes
Built in LED lights to for Night Time Flying

Click here to check current price on Amazon


 

Cheerson CX – 10

best quadcopter under 50: Cheerson

(Clicking on image will take you to Amazon)

Cheapest in the drones under $50 price range: You should consider buying multiple of these for more uptime during practice (use one while the other is put for charging) and backup in case of damage from crashes. Buying multiple Cheerson CX-10s is an excellent setup for beginners learning to fly for almost the price of candy packs.

Least durable in the drones under $50 price range.

Design and build

The Cheerson CX-10 has what we’d like to call the ‘cutest’ build of all in this price range. It is a small, ‘super mini pocket quadcopter’, extremely lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around. Carrying around multiple of these shouldn’t be a problem either.

We’d caution that the build quality isn’t great. It can break and stop functioning easily. This is expected, given its extremely cheap price. Nevertheless, the craft itself functions pretty decently with moderate usage.

Flight and Control

The Cheerson CX-10 is a great indoor flyer but a poor outdoor flyer. Nevertheless, it makes a great beginner quadcopter especially because of its price. The flight is pretty stable and responsive. The size of this craft makes it easier to manuever it through small enclosed areas as well. It also comes with plenty of features: headless mode, one key flips and rolls and easily launched with a throw.

The charge time is pretty low: about 30 minutes, making it extremely ideal for beginners looking to practice over and over with minimum charge time. We recorded the flight times at around the 6-8 minute range. This is excellent for its price range and especially amazing if you buy 2 or more of these, enabling you to continuously practice for hours! Again, avoid headless mode for maximum learning!

Pros and cons

What's awesome?What may not be so awesome
Very cheapCheap build: Probably the least durable in this price range
Small and maneuverable. Excellent indoor flyer and easy to carry aroundDoes not come with propeller guards (which we think beginners need). Have to purchase separately. Installing propeller guards will reduce flight times, which is to be noted
Cute designVery poor outdoor flyer : drifts away even at the slightest of winds
Comes with extra props
Low charge times and decent flight times making it excellent for continuous practice
Different flight modes: beginner, intermediate and advanced
Easy to control for beginners, but also makes a great practice quadcopter
Comes with three different Flight Modes: beginner, intermediate and advanced modes

 

Given features and specs

6-axis design makes the gyroscope adjustable, promoting flying stability
Flight time : 4-8 minutes
Flight range: 40 Meters
Charging Time: 30 Minutes
3-level adjustable speed flip function
Powered by a piece of rechargeable 3.7V 100mAh lithium battery
The Super Mini Pocket Quadcopter : lightweight and compact u2013 7 x 2.7 x 7cm dimension
Headless mode, one key 3D flip and roll, hand throw, LED lights
4G Frequency Transmitter: Allows you to fly your copter with strong signal among the other aircrafts.
Multiple charging methods: Using the transmitter to charge the drone using a cable from the transmitter and using a USB from connecting it to a PC or power bank.

Click here to check current price on Amazon


 

TEC.BEAN X902

best drones for beginners: TEC.BEAN X902

(Clicking on image will take you to Amazon)

Best durability and build in the drones under $50 price range

Sensitive controls

Design and build

This little beast HAS to be the toughest and the most durable among all the four drones we have listed here. The build quality is great, it even comes with protectors that protect the propellers and still manages to be super lightweight.

The drone also looks downright awesome. No arguments. With its unique placement of the motors, propellers and propeller guards at the bottom and the headlight made to look like red eyes, the quadcopter looks like an awesome (but not scary) !

Overall, an A++ over the design and build! Definitely makes the list for the best drones under 50 for beginners!

Flight and control

The quadcopter is extremely stable and reliable due to its 6 axis stabilization system making it extremely easy to control. It comes with two modes – low speed and high speed for beginner and intermediate flyers respectively.

The controls can however be too sensitive, even at low speed but it will only be a matter of time before you get used to it.  The craft can perform 3D flips and rolls, adding to the fun factor.

Overall, it is a very flyable and very controllable quadcopter!

Pros and cons

What's awesome?What may not be so awesome
Stable and easy to control with lights that can be switched on and off via the remoteCan get blown out during mid-high wind conditions, but this is to be expected from most drones in this price range
Very durable and tough, comes with protectors that protect the propellersRemote control batteries not included
Can fly both indoors and outdoors under mild wind conditionsControls can get too sensitive for some
LED lights enable you to keep the orientation and position of the drone in check
The remote indicates basic information like battery levels

 

Given features and specs

Special design : The flying black spider, from the motor and propellers placed downside
Two modes: low speed and high speed for beginners and intermediates
Protective frame that makes the drone durable
Equipped with the Newest 6-Axis Gyro Control System
Suitable for both indoor and outdoor flying
Easy assembly and maintenance
Uninterrupted flight: 2.4GHz Technology
Performs 3D flips, rolls and gravity control at one key buttons
30 Meters range
Charge Time: About 30 minutes
Flight Time: 6~7 minutes

Click here to check current price on Amazon


 

Syma X-11

best quadcopter under $50: Syma-X11

(Clicking on image will take you to Amazon)

Design and build

The build quality of the Syma X-11 is pretty decent. We’d say it falls somewhere between the Cheerson CX-10 and the Akaso. It can take some beating, but may break if you push it too much. The package comes with a propeller guard, which is pretty nice for beginners who are prone to crashing it. The craft may not be as manuverable or compact as the CX-10, but it can still easily be flown indoors.

The design is pretty cool. It May not be not as ‘cute’ as the Cheerson because it is bigger, but pretty awesome in its own way!

Flight and control

The Syma X11 is a stable flyer indoors and a pretty OK flyer outdoors given that the winds stay low. It may not drift off as easily as the Cheerson CX-10, but don’t expect it to hold itself against anything more than a light breeze.

The control is pretty straightforward with the transmitter. It doesn’t have a headless mode but this shouldn’t be much of an issue for you at this point as a beginner looking to learn how to master flying multirotors.  The flight times were recorded at around 7 minutes, which should be decent for practice, given that the charge time is only about half an hour.

Pros and cons

What's awesome?What may not be so awesome
Extremely enjoyable due to the 2 in 1 car and quadcopter flying factorThe car driving mode requires smooth and levelled surfaces
Smooth, stable and easy flying for kidsOnly capable of flying up to 50 meters in range
Can do flips and other basic manueversMight be hard to quickly steer or change direction
Durable and long lasting build qualityNeeds a lot of height if you perform flips - Loses a LOT of altitude on flips
Aesthetically pleasing looks
Resilient to low wind conditions, making it a good indoor and outdoor flyer

 

Given features and specs

Indoor/Outdoor 4 Channel Remote Control Quadcopter
6 Axis Stabilization System for smooth flight
Includes 1 prop guard and a spare set of 4 propellers
4 AA batteries Required for the Controller
4GHz Spread Spectrum Technology Controller.
2 cm L 15.2 cm W 3.7 cm H
Flight Time: 6-8 min
Charging Time: About 40 min
Flight range: 40 meters
Battery: 3.7V 200 mAh Rechargeable Li-Po
Frequency: 2.4GHz
Weight: 26g

Click here to check current price on Amazon


Conclusion

We already discussed in many articles before that prior to getting a pricey ‘drone’, it is recommended that you practice your multirotor skills with cheap drones under $50 with minimal features. The replacement parts should also cheap in case of crash damages. If you are a beginner, the “drones” we have listed are perfect to get you started and practice your flying skills, before moving onto costlier and fancier ones!

That’s all folks! We hope you loved this buying guide. Do you Let us know what you think down in the comments below :)

 

 

About the author

V Kadamatt

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

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