RC drones have seen a meteoric rise in popularity in 2015. Most of the best drones, like the DJI Phantom 3, will cost you upwards of $1000. And while those high-end have their purposes and are a great deal, they aren’t intended to be used as toys. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best toy drones under $100 to help our readers find low-cost, high-reward drones that they (or their children) can have fun with without having to worry about breaking (since they’re not as expensive as anything DJI or Parrot releases into the wild).
When you’re buying one of these toys, there are a couple things you should keep in mind. First, all drones have mediocre battery life at best, and you won’t find one that flies for 20 minutes without having to pay a premium price. Second, there are a few different sizes of drones, ranging from micro (fits in the palm of your hand) to full size drones (intended for capturing footage). Of course, if you’re looking for something more serious, you can check out the best drone kits for sale, too.
So without further ado, here are the 8 best toy drones available (some of which we included in our list of the 70 best gifts for boys):
1. Hubsan X4 H107C
The Hubsan X4 H107C uses the newest 6-axis flight control system available. It’s intended for stunts, and you’re able to flip it four ways (left, right, forward and backward). It has both an advanced flying mode and a beginner’s flying mode. This little drone packs a big punch for its size, and has surprisingly powerful motors. There’s an SD camera included, which records at 720 x 480 resolution, but obviously this drone isn’t intended for photographers. It has a flight time of around 7 minutes, and has a control range of nearly 100 meters. There are other Hubsan X4 models available, like the Hubsan H107D X4 mini, but when you consider the bang for your buck factor, the H107C is the best of the bunch. Best of all, it comes in at under $50, which is what makes it one of the best drones for kids and beginners. (We also included the X4 H107D on our list of the best racing drones).
Price: $48.00 (8% off MSRP)
- Flies in the dark
- SD Camera included (A pro when considering price)
- Flight modes for beginners and experienced pilots
- Fun to fly
- 7 minute flight time
2. Sky Viper HD V950 Video Drone
Of course, the award-winning RC Sky Viper Drones deliver hobby-level performance and parts that don’t break easily. The most impressive in their line-up is the Sky Viper HD V950 video drone, which can record full 720p HD footage. But it’s not intended for solely for those who want to snap some footage. Instead, the camera is removable and users are then able to do one-button tricks and maneuvers. It features a 6-axis digital stabilization, new impact-resistant uni-body design, and variable modes of flight sensitivity (so, whether you’re an advanced pilot or a newbie, you’re able to fly it). The fun factor with this one is pretty high, and the video game-like controller makes it easy to pilot. Obviously, the camera quality pales in comparison to the best camera drones available like the Phantom or Inspire, but let’s not forget that it comes in at just $90.
- Easy to Set Up
- Fast and Fun To Fly
- Durable Plastic Parts
- Great Price
- 720p Camera
- 8 minute flight time
3. Traxxas 6608 LaTrax Alias Quad-Rotor RTF Heli
Traxxas is mostly known for their incredibly fast Traxxas XO-1 RC supercar, which is one of the fastest RC cars available. But Traxxas also makes toy drones, including the Traxxas 6608 LATrax Alias Quad-Rotor RTF Heli. This little guy has four rotors and an auto-leveling 6-axis flight system that make it incredibly easy to fly. Its clean-sheet design focuses on durability, speed, and responsiveness, making it one of the best drones for the money. New pilots are able to fly faster and perform aerobatic maneuvers sooner than ever possible with Alias’ unique flight control system. It has a 10 minute flight time, and has a fast USB charger. The transmitter also comes with four AAA batteries. The LaTrax Alias comes ready to fly, so buyers can take it for a spin right when it is shipped to your home. The Traxxas LaTrax also has bright and colorful LEDs for night flying.
Price: $99.95 (33 percent off MSRP)
- Flies in the dark
- Easy Flips
- Fast USB Charger
- 10 minute flight time
4. UDI U818A UPGRADED VERSION 2.4GHz Quadcopter with Camera
The UDI RC 818A Quadcopter with camera is the best entry-level drone with a camera for sale right now. Its low entry price and durability make it the perfect option for those that have no idea what they’re doing and are just starting out in the wonderful world of toy drones. The camera records at an SD resolution of 640×480. It doesn’t fly well in wind because of its low weight. The UDI 818A is the perfect drone for learning flips as it does flips at the touch of a button. It also has two flight modes, one of which is for beginners, while the other is for high speed flight. This drone has a flying time of 7-9 minutes and a limited controlling distance of up to 30 meters. The LiPo battery takes approximately two hours to charge, so it recommended if you are purchasing this drone that you buy a spare battery.
Price: $99.95 (33% off MSRP)
- Incredibly Fast
- Lower Price
- Great Starter Drone
- One-button Flips
- Controller Batteries Not Included
- SD Camera
5. Heli-Max 1SQ RTF Quadcopter with 2.4Ghz Radio
The Heli-Max 1SQ is another great option that is tons of fun to fly. It has four independently controlled rotor blades and uses Triple Axis Gyro Stabilization for easy indoor and outdoor flight. It doesn’t have a fancy remote or high quality camera onboard — although there is a VCAM version that does have a camera — but what it flies incredibly well. It’s also one of the best-looking toy drones, having a fierce orange, black and white design. It’s one of the coolest-looking micro drones on the market, we’d say. It’s easy to fly and has an expert and beginner mode. The Heli-Max 1SQ has a very low flight time, with normal flights unfortunately lasting roughly 4 minutes. But you can buy extra batteries to maximize your fun.
Price: $93.92 (28% Off MSRP)
- Price Point
- Indoors and Outdoors
- Small and Portable
- Low Flight Time
- No Camera
6. Syma X5C
The Syma 5XC is the best selling RC hobby drone on Amazon right now, and has 61% of reviewers rating it a full 5 stars. It measures just 31cm x 31cm x 8cm, so it’s not quite micro and it’s not quite a full-size drone. It has a flight time of roughly 7 minutes, and takes around 100 minutes to charge fully. It is controllable up to 50m (which is great for a toy drone). This drone comes with an HD camera that records 720p, and there’s room for a microSD card. It’s great for beginners, and comes in at less than $70. We also included the Syma X5C in our list of the 50 best toys for boys, as well as our list of the hot toys of 2015.
Price: $64.99 (35 percent off MSRP)
- Can fly high
- HD camera
- 50m distance
- Flight time
7. Holy Stone mini RC Quadcopter 720p
The Holy Stone mini RC quadcopter is also a highly well-received toy drone among Amazon reviewers, with 55% of them rating it at 5 stars. It has an easy flip button, and its controller feels like a video game pad (so it’s familiar and easy to fly). It has a 1280 x 720 pixel video/photo camera that is better quality than Syma’s. It also has 4 different sensitivity modes for any level pilot. It comes with a bonus battery and 12 extra blades. It also comes with a crash cage to protect it.
Price: $59.99 (64 percent off MSRP)
- Good HD Camera
- 4 different flight modes
- Familiar controller
- Flight time
- Controller Looks cheap
8. Sky Viper Nano Drone M200
Of course, if you’re looking for the ultimate Nano drone, the Sky Viper Nano Drone M200 is the clear winner. It’s the best nano drone on the market, in my opinion. Its battery is comparatively long-lasting, and it offers hi-tech performance at a fantastic price ($29.99). I’ve spent an extensive amount of time with this little bugger, as it makes a great desk toy because of its size. It’s just 2.75″ from blade to blade. It works very well indoors, and surprisingly, it can be used outdoors without many issues (although, obviously, a light wind could carry it away). It has an adjustable sensitivity that offers precision controls for any experience level. It’s American made, and you can find it at most of the big box retailers without any issues.
Price: $29.99 (9 percent off MSRP)
- Incredibly Small and portable
- Familiar controller
- Flips over Easily