Drones under $300 make great hobby flyers.
The camera quality is high enough to get some good shots, and they can come with GPS-assisted flight and other cool features.
This guide reviews the best drones under $300 for your needs in 2021:
Table of the Best Drones Under $300
Holy Stone HS720
Ruko F11 Pro
4K / 2.9K
Best For Beginners
Holy Stone HS700
Holy Stone HS100G
Best Budget Option
Fly Responsibly: If you live in the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration requires many drones to be registered. This includes hobby and professional drones. Visit the FAA's drone registration page for more information.
Top Drones Under $300 - Reviews
1. Best Overall - Holy Stone HS720
The Holy Stone HS720 tops this list.
It has an incredible camera for a drone in this price range. It sports a 4K UHD camera and has a whopping 26-minute flight time. This gives you adequate battery life to get some quality shots.
The HS720 also comes with GPS Return to Home and Follow Me mode. You can easily have the quad fly back to you when you are ready to land, and you can set it to automatically follow you for some cool action shots.
The drone can be controlled with your smartphone, and its foldable design makes it super easy to transport.
For less than $300, the Holy Stone HS720 packs a punch.
- 2K video capture
- Return to home
- 26-minute flight time
- Follow me mode
- 5G WiFi FPV capability
- Smartphone control
- Set custom flight paths
- Foldable design for easy transport
- Additional batteries must be bought separately
2. Best Camera - Ruko F11 Pro
One of the cool things about the drone industry is that, over time, you can get better and better features for less money. The Ruko F11 Pro is an example.
This quadcopter comes with an amazing camera that takes 4K photos and shoots video in 2.9K. With a 120-degree field of view and FPV capability, it has ample viewing capacity to get the shots you want.
The F11 Pro's flight time is quite impressive. It can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes on a single battery, and this package comes with two batteries.
The drone's range is 300 to 500 meters. If this were a more expensive drone, I'd consider this to be a little short. But 300 to 500 meters should be more than enough control distance for most pilots.
It also folds up to a length of 6.9 inches, making it easy to travel with.
All in all, the F11 Pro is solid option.
- 4K photos
- 2.9K video
- FPV capability
- 30-minute flight time
- Foldable and portable
- GPS hold
- One-key takeoff and landing
- Extra battery
- Control distance could be longer, but still great for this price range
3. Best For Beginners - Potensic D85
The Potensic D85 is a nice option for beginners, as it comes with some autopilot features that anyone can use to get good shots.
Simply use the app to chart a path, or set it to follow an object. The quad has a max speed of up to 50 km/h, which is great for action sports.
This drone also has fly-away protection. Its auto return to home feature makes it come back to you if it loses connection with its controller or its battery is low. And it has a super long 40-minute flight time.
The only drawback is it has a 7-hour charge time for its batteries.
- Good beginner drone
- App control
- Speed of up to 50 km/h
- Fly-away protection
- 40-minute flight time
- 7-hour charge time
4. Best Range - Holy Stone HS700
The Holy Stone HS700 has a built-in HD1080p video camera that streams live video to your smartphone that is placed in a holder on the controller.
The communication is over a 5G WIFI signal from up to 1,300 feet away. A GoPro camera of models 2, 3, or 4 (purchased separately) can be securely attached to this drone, which is designed to accommodate this type of camera.
This drone is very lightweight at 608 grams. Flight time is up to 20 minutes on a single battery charge. Battery recharge time is five to seven hours, so having extra recharged batteries is a good idea.
The HS700's flight path can be pre-programmed for the drone to use waypoints that the pilot selects using a smartphone app, in order to fly a specific pattern. The drone also has a “follow-me” feature to track a person or a moving object selected by the pilot.
- 5G WIFI live video transmission.
- Automatic return home to GPS coordinates.
- Compatible with GoPro cameras.
- GoPro users must purchase camera separately.
5. Best Budget Option - Holy Stone HS100G
This Holy Stone HS100G drone has all the features of the slightly more expensive HS700 model, except it is not designed to carry a GoPro camera.
It has an internal 1080p video camera with a wide-angle lens that captures a 120° field of view. The live video transmission works with a 5G WIFI signal to connect with a smartphone from up to 1,600 feet away. The intelligent battery allows this drone to fly for up to 15 minutes.
This drone uses GPS coordinates for positioning to prevent losing the drone. If the battery power is low or the drone loses the communication signal from the controller, it automatically flies back to land at a pre-programmed set of GPS coordinates that the pilot sets each time the drone flies for the drone’s home landing spot.
The HS100G's flight control functions include flying in headless mode, which makes the flight controls easier to use, and one-button take-off or landings.
- Easy to fly and suitable for children.
- Automatic return home.
- “Follow-Me” video capture mode.
- Customer service can be lacking at times.
Expected Specs and Features for Drones Under $300
All of the drones in this category come with a 1080p resolution video camera or better. Video resolution differs from the resolution for still photographs. Photo resolution can be much higher.
This is now considered the minimum standard for high-definition images. Lower resolution images do not look good when enlarged.
For photos, the high-quality standard starts at 8 megapixels and goes up. If taking good quality photos is your desire, then choose a drone with a higher megapixel capture quality for still photographs.
The drones in this low-priced category are designed for beginners or slightly more advanced pilots. Some have flight-control assistance and collision avoidance capability. They may have special features that help the drone pilot to fly them and to take video or photos more easily.
Some pilots like to fly drones in first-person view (FPV) in order to be able to see what the drone is seeing while flying. This is accomplished by getting a live video stream back to a monitor or to a smartphone and by wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset for a fully immersive experience.
How to Choose a Drone in this Price Range
The price is not much different for the drones I chose to review in this category. The differences to consider include flight time, pilot controls, and the ability to upgrade with accessories
Here are the basic considerations when making a purchase decision about one of these drones.
All of these drones cost between $200 and $300. Naturally, my favorite is the one in this category that costs $300.
This is because I am a spoiled drone pilot who has been flying drones for over a decade and I always like the best stuff!
Seriously, the price is not a strong reason to choose one of these drones over another one in this category, since they are all priced within $100 of each other.
The flight time for drones in this category ranges from 15 to 20 minutes. Obviously, having a longer flying time is better because you have to change the batteries less frequently.
For more drone-flying enjoyment, always buy extra batteries and keep plenty of them on hand that are fully charged.
Every drone pilot will, at some point, crash a drone. Try to avoid crashing the first time you use your new drone. That is a terrible feeling. Be aware that things happen, which are unpredictable. A strong wind may come up unexpectedly.
The drone may lose the connection signal with the controller. A mechanical failure can cause the drone to crash. However, the most likely cause of a drone crash is pilot error. You turn right, when you should have turned left.
Some drones have what is called “headless” flying. This allows the operator to choose the direction that the controls make the drone move.
It can be confusing to a beginner when a drone reverses direction and the controls seem to make the drone turn the wrong way. With headless flying, the operator can change the orientation of the controls to respond in ways that are more intuitive, depending on which direction the drone is flying.
Automatic take-off and landing are helpful. So is being able to fly level automatically and having collision avoidance capability. Some of these drones come with a sophisticated smartphone app that allows the pilot to select things for the drone to follow while getting a video shot or for the drone to fly to a certain point.
Drones that can track GPS coordinates have such capability as this. Some can automatically return back home to the controller area with the push of a button.
One safety feature that comes in handy is a warning that the drone battery is low. Another is if the drone notifies the operator if it is nearing the range of communications where the signal can be lost.
Also, consider what the drone does if it loses the signal with its controller. In this instance, some drones automatically land. Others return home to pre-defined GPS coordinates if the signal is lost.
The best advice I can give you about warranties is not to rely on any manufacturer’s warranty for drones in this category, especially if the drone comes from China.
The lack of good after-purchase service is the most common complaint about these drone makers from China.
It is better to pay extra for the extended product protection through the online retailer’s insurance program that will either replace the drone or refund the purchase price if it fails due to defects, than to rely on any warranty repairs and help from the manufacturers.
Who Are These Drones Best For?
These drones are perfect for beginners or pilots who are a bit more advanced.
You can have a lot of fun with these drones and learn how to fly like an expert by practicing with them.
Making a video for YouTube by using one of these drones is quite fun. Recording video with these drones can make your vacation videos more exciting.
When first starting out, go to a big, open area that is far away from anything that you can crash the drone into. A big, open field is perfect. Do not fly within five miles of any restricted airspace, such as an airport.
What Is The Best Drone Under $300?
The best drone under $300 is the Holy Stone HS720.
It's portable, sleek, and comes with a solid camera. And it allows you to use some cool autonomous flight modes for expert quality shots.