While drones become more affordable each year and the consumer market continues to grow, there are still those of us out there who are hesitant to spend several hundred dollars on a flying robot. A proper beginner drone should allow new pilots a chance to dip their toes into the drone world without feeling like they're giving up the shirt off their back to own one. To help you find the best product, we've compiled a list of the 5 most impressive affordable drones currently on the market, arranged by lowest to highest price.
At $49.99, EACHINE's E52 is the most affordable drone on our list. This wifi-capable pocket-drone not only allows for smartphone control, high-altitude stability (partly due to its six-axis gyro), can perform flips and rolls, take selfies and videos, but it folds into itself for maximum transportability. Take a look at the E52 in action below.
TINDERlabs claims to be making "a drone for everyone" with this next drone on our list, and at a price-point of $129 for a drone that's ready to fly out of the box, the company isn't exaggerating. Once again, there's a six-axis gyro implemented into this lightweight quadcopter, which can be maneuvered through your smartphone. This thing weighs a mere 55 grams and can fly for a full seven minutes before needing a recharge. The FADER also looks ultra-sleek, with a very cool all-black finish. Check it out in-flight below, courtesy of TINDRlabs.
We're sticking with TINDRlabs here, as it seems to have this affordable hobby drone niche very much under control. With a slight price increase, the SPECTRE contains some slight yet significant upgrades from its FADER counterpart. According to TINDRlabs, at $149, the SPECTRE sports four high-speed propellers allowing for a 50-meter range where you can "fly, turn, rotate, spin, and even complete 360-degree flips with precision and power." Take a look at this impressively priced and capable hobby drone from TINDRlabs below.
The Dobby marks our first significant jump in price point, clocking in at a fairly reasonable $349. What do you get for that? Firstly, Dobby is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, which allows for efficient graphics processing of the camera's live feed, as well as general computing stability and power. It fits in your pocket, weighs a mere 199 grams, and will take off from the palm of your hand without issue. With 13-megapixel photos, 1080p HD videos, and a 75-degree field of view, Dobby is a very appealing entry-level drone to consider. Take a look at the Dobby in action over at ZEROTECH's website.
What can we say about DJI's SPARK that we haven't covered? It's beautifully designed, highly-capable, uses innovative hand-gesture controls in addition to its smartphone and remote options, offers multiple interesting flight modes, and takes off from the palm of your hand. This is definitely the most pricey drone on our list, but with all of the care and affection put into DJI's latest, and the capabilities it offers to consumers, it seems like a fair trade. Take a look at our review of the DJI Spark before checking it out in action below.
Hopefully, this inspires some of you to dip your toes into the world of unmanned aerial vehicles. They're exceptionally fun and provide for a really cathartic experience. You can finally fly, in a sense, and record yourself doing so. You can race your friends, capture personal moments from hitherto unavailable vantage points, or just enjoy zipping across your backyard. For most, shelling out the money to do any of those things has been the main hindrance. This list should be a good place to start to break those shackles and provide you with enough information and context to make your first foray into the world of drones.