This buyer guide is here to help you to make a wise decision about the best drones under $300 if you are searching to buy a new drone. Different types of drones have been introduced into the marketplace in recent years.
Before the new millennium, it was only the military that could afford drone technology. Now we have reached a point where anyone can afford a drone to make a video with. The devices have not only come down in price, the speed and performance, have also improved.
The advancements in electronic stabilization and geostationary flight, make drones perfect vlogging vehicles. The motors are stronger, allowing the drone to stay in the air regardless of high winds. The blades are better designed to increase efficiency and reduce noise.
A drone costing thousands of dollars will always have more power and a better camera than a drone that costs a few hundred dollars. Yet, with the increase in demand and the economies of mass production, prices are still coming down. The competition for drone making is like the story of mobile phone manufacturers.
Even a cheap phone will do what was considered impossible 10 years ago. So, we have looked at the 5 best drones under $300 to see if you still need to spend a fortune to get respectable footage.
Best Drones Under $300 Reviewed
Ruko F11 Drone
This little drone from Ruko has all the amazing functionality of a drone ten-times the price a few short years ago. The entire device folds down, the blades and the arms fold into the body of the unit. The folded size is an amazing 6.9×4.1×3.15 inches of wonder.
The F11 is also lightweight; it is not something you will notice in a backpack. To protect the drone, Ruko has added a carry case to the kit to protect the delicate blades in transit. The F11 has a 2.5 Ah lithium-ion battery, that Ruko claims will give you 30 minutes of flight time, to ensure that the fun is not cut off too soon. The Ruko kit comes with a spare battery, extending the time that you can play with it.
The F11 is limited to a ceiling of 400-feet and a total range of 4000-feet, though these are flight ranges. The Live First Person View range is limited to 1640-feet. The HD camera is enough for most non-professional users.
Ruko has packed some great tricks into this little machine:
- POI: The drone will circle a pinpointed object.
- Gesture Control: Use your hand movements to activate the camera.
- Tap to Fly: Set the drone to follow a path drawn on a GPS map.
- Smart Tracking: Set the camera to follow your every move.
The controller runs with the help of your android phone. The controller is dual-band, meaning that it can send live feed on either 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz frequencies.
In the Box:
- 2 X Batteries
- USB Charger
- 4 X Spare Blades
- Ruko F11 Drone
- Smart Tracking
- 30 Minutes of Flight per Battery
- Flight Range 4000-Feet
- Stable GPS
- Fast 26.8 MPH
- 5G FPV First-Person View Flying
- Low Altitude 400-Feet
- Short Live Transmission Range 1640-Feet
JJRC JJPRO X6
The X6 is an amazing drone for the price. DJI makes Phantom drones with gimbals, but they are expensive and more common for the professional community.
The JJPRO X6 shows that it is possible to make a drone with an active gimbal for a price that anyone can afford. This is a 2-axis gimbal, controlling an HD 1080p camera mounted to the underside of the unit. The controller steers the gimbal so that you can keep objects in the shot.
The controller has a multitude of buttons to help you make a trouble-free flight over and around the places you want to film:
- Follow Me: For tracking your movement while on the move.
- Pointing Flight: Set up to 30-waypoints in the GPS application and have the drone autonomously follow it.
- Fixed Point: Have the camera focus in on a subject and circle around it.
The extra battery is a good idea, because a gimbal adds weight, and uses more power. Even with a 3 Ah battery, the flight time is limited to 23 minutes, so you will need that spare battery.
In the box:
- 2 X Batteries
- USB Charger Cable
- 2 X Spare Propellers
- JJPRO X6
- Spare Battery
- HD Camera
- Return Home Function
- Fly Around Function
- Gimbal will Break in a Crash
- Short Flight Time (23 Minutes)
Making another incredible leap upwards, and for the same price, the D85 comes with a 2K camera. This is a fix-mounted camera, so you will need to fly in the direction of whatever it is you want to video. The camera is also 5G for smooth video recording and transmission to your android phone.
The 7.4 V 2.8 Ah battery gives the D85 less than 20 minutes of flight time. You will not be flying it too far before you will need to start heading home for a fresh battery. Potensic gives you two batteries in the kit.
The controller comes with standard functions such as auto-return and GPS flight planning. The Potensic is a good drone but limited compared to some of the other offerings.
In the Box:
- Carry Case
- 2 X Batteries
- 2K Camera
- Top-speed 31 MPH
- GPS Flight Planning
- 5G Live FPV Transmission
- Weak Signal 400 ft
- Short Flight Time
Contixo has tried to replicate the DJI Mavic. The blades and arms of the F24 fold into the drone’s body, reducing its’ size down to a compact 4x4x7 inches. Though the size of the carry case defeats the efforts put into making the drone small in the first place.
The F24 comes with a 3K UHD camera, built into the housing. There is a single axis gimbal; physical image stabilizing is done in the vertical axis only. Contixo claims the battery lasts up to 30 minutes of flight time; this will be thanks to the simple design and reduction in size.
The controller will hold most android phones, and you can watch live FPV over the 5Ghz transmission. Other functions include Waypoint, Return Home, and Gesture Control. You can even have the drone follow you while you climb a mountain. Simple and lightweight; it is what you need on an adventure.
In the Box:
- 1 Battery
- Controller Strap
- USB Charger Cable
- Spare Propellers
- 30-Minute Flight Time
- Long-Range 3600-Feet
- Waypoint Flight
- 3K UHD Camera
- Follow Me
- An Issue in High Winds
- Short Live FPV Range
Tello Elite Plus
In many ways, the Elite Plus is the most logical design of the 5 drones. All the drones are small and compact enough to fit in most backpacks, without folding them. The Tello uses fixed arms to support the blades. The logic comes with the fact that DJI designed this little drone for children to use. With it, you can expect the same quality as with other DJI drones.
The Tello is one of the lightest drones on the list at 2.05 pounds. Lightweight helps with the fact that you need all 3 batteries the kit comes with to fly the Tello. And despite these 3 batteries powering the Tello, the flight time is a low 13 minutes. This is because each battery is 2.8 V 1.1 Ah, much smaller than used in the similar drones above.
DJI Drones are known for their good optics. Even though the Tello is classed as a child’s toy, the camera is HD. Everything else on the Tello drone is limited. The highest it can fly is 100-feet and has a range of under 400-feet. The speed is not great either at less than 18 mph.
In the Box:
- Propeller tool
- Set of Propeller Guards
- 4 X Spare Propellers
- 3 X Batteries
- Changeable Covers
- AC Charger for 4 Batteries
- Care Kit
- Steady Shots
- Great for Stationary Shots
- Tracking Application
- Fantastic Drone Accessories Kit
- Needs all Three Batteries to Fly
- Does Not Fold
- Basic HD Camera
Check our review video:
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Review Video of Potensic D60 Drone
Holy Stone HS 700 FPV Drone – Best GPS System
Potensic T35 GPS Drone– Best All Around
Contixo F20 RC Quadcopter Drone with GPS – Great for Travelers
The Tello is priced well for a DJI design, but there are too many other choices to leave it at that. The Tello has a camera from a few prior generations, and the flight time is too short for long tracking shots.
The Contixo F24 has good flight time, but it has a short transmission range. Even with a 3K camera which is fixed, the steadiness will not match a gimballed drone. This is a good drone for tracking your movements, and the F24 can make steady shots of you climbing the sheer face of a cliff.
The Pontensic D85 is like the Tello. The D85 is a great drone, but the short battery life will limit the appeal to those that prefer control over longevity. The JJCPRO will have the best image stabilization, with its dual-axis gimbal. This is an or, rather than an if, situation. The Roku has a great range of flexibility, the flight time is fantastic, and the HD camera is going to work for most people. The F11 is a great drone for creating those long shots of distant subjects or for active scenes.
It is a shame that the battery of the F11 does not last 10 minutes longer. The 2-axis gimbal will make a world of difference when trying to control the craft while keeping everything in the shot. The JJCPRO is the best drone for making great steady shots of objects and tracking moving people.