I have compiled a list of 16 of the best mini drones for beginners and guess what…they’re all under $100! These babies are the perfect start for anyone interested in using drones without breaking the bank

As the saying goes ‘we all have to start somewhere’ and that famous phrase aligns itself to drone users as much as drivers on our roads.

Let’s be honest, the temptation to cut to the chase and buy yourself a $1200 Mavic Pro or a Phantom is a hard one to ignore – but a wise beginner will start off with something a little more disposable and practice with a cheaper mini drone.

What’s A Mini Drone?

A mini drone is exactly what the name implies. There is no universal classification of drones, but if you consider size, they are usually classified as nano/micro (silver-dollar size or less), micro/mini (palm to hand-size), small/medium (larger than your hand), large/pro (the size of a DJI Phantom to Matrice) and finally drones large enough to be considered as passenger and cargo carriers.

In my list of the best mini drones under $100, I included drones about the size of your palm like the Cheerson CX-10 up to drones the size of your hand like the Syma X4.

5 Reasons To Buy A Mini Drone

Mini drones may be little, but offer some great advantages:

  • They offer lots of fun indoors and out. Even the cheaper models can manage a light wind outside
  • They can be easily taken anywhere, being small in size and having compact controllers
  • You don’t have to worry about registration. Even in countries where you have to register your drone for recreational purposes, mini drones are usually exempt from registration as long as they are under 250 grams
  • You don’t have to worry about crashes. As mini drones are light, crashes are not as destructive as they are for heavier drones. Parts can be replaced or fixed, and the price is low so you are spared the shock of watching $3,000 land abruptly!
  • Mini drones are a perfect tool to learn how to fly. With most of the models below you can learn to hover, land, control pitch, roll and yaw. You can even learn the basics of aerial photography if you choose a model with a camera.

Basic Features Of Mini Drones

Most mini drones under $100 offer the same features:

  • They can fly indoor and outdoor in light wind conditions
  • Flight times are typically between 6 and 8 minutes
  • Batteries usually take up to an hour to charge via USB
  • Controllers usually allow you the basic movements (right, left, backward, forward, raise or lower and rotate your drone)
  • Some models are more advanced offering internal gyroscopes for more stable flight and 2 mode operation (beginner or expert)
  • Most of the mini drones in my list below include a camera to take photos or video

3 Tips When Buying Mini Drones

  1. As most normal sized drones have a limited flying time with batteries usually lasting no longer than 30 minutes, it’s no surprise that mini drones have an even shorter flight time. Because of this, whenever possible you should buy more than one battery to make the most of your time out with whichever mini drone you choose.
  2. Don’t forget to get an extra set of propellers. If this is your first flying experience – there’s no need to ask why!
  3. Some models even offer a ‘crash pack’ that includes everything you might need after a major crash – I’d recommend you buy it if available.

How To Pick The Best Mini Drone

Mini drones are widely available on multiple online shopping sites. There is, however, a lot of clutter to maneuver through to find the right one.

To help make your decision easier and save some time, I have brought you 16 mini drones under $100. For each of the mini drones on the list, you’ll find my notes, key technical specs – like size and charge time, price and where to buy.

All of these mini drones will give you a chance to try the UAV game out for yourself and won’t hurt your pocket in the process!

We’ve also included video reviews that we felt best showcased the mini drone’s features and flying capabilities. Enjoy!

Top 16 Mini Drones For Beginners Under $100 (by price)

  1. JJRC H36 Quadcopter ($16)
  2. Cheerson CX-10 ($16)
  3. JJRC H18 Mini Hexacopter ($19)
  4. Air Hogs Hyper Stunt Drone ($25)
  5. Syma X4 Assault ($32)
  6. mTech Spy Drone Black ($37)
  7. Hubsan X4 ($39)
  8. Skytech TK106RHW ($39)
  9. Holy Stone HS170 Predator ($39)
  10. JXD 515V RC Drone ($53)
  11. DP Power Hawkeye 1 ($58)
  12. Parrot Airborne Cargo Mars ($62)
  13. DB Power MJX X400W ($69)
  14. Holy Stone F180C Mini RC Quadcopter ($69)
  15. Blade Inductrix RTF ($70)
  16. Parrot Airborne Cargo Night ($89)

JJRC H36 Quadcopter

This 16-gram mini quadcopter is great for 360-degree flip moves and is super fast in the air. It includes: a LED so you can fly at night, propeller protectors and even a one key return function.

As the cheapest mini drone on our list, the JJRC H36 has an extremely impressive flight performance and is very agile. In High-speed mode, the H36 can be incredibly fast but with such a tiny transmitter, the range leaves a lot to be desired and the control sticks can be a bit difficult to use unless you have small hands.

For $16 however, this quadcopter is well worth the few bucks you spend and will provide a lot of enjoyment flying both indoor and outdoor.

  • Price: $16.19 / €15.00 / £12.96
  • Flight Time: 5 minutes
  • Charge Time: 50 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 85 x 85 x 30 mm
  • Camera: No
  • Buy it: RC Moment

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Cheerson CX-10

The Cheerson CX-10 is cheap and cheerful (pun intended) and is by far the smallest drone on our list!

Tiny and dynamic is what a lot of reviews tell us and indeed it pulls its weight flight-timewise against most of its contenders.

This mini drone only weighs 4.8 ounces. Performance is good for the price and you will have tons of fun with this little guy. Why not buy 2 – just in case!

  • Price: $16.89 / €15.10 / £13.10
  • Flight Time: Up to 4 – 8 minutes
  • Charge Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of  8.7 x 1.5 x 3.9 cm
  • Camera: No
  • Buy it: Amazon

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JJRC H18 Mini Hexacopter

The JJRC H18 Mini Hexacopter was the mini drone Skytango gave away in our competition at the Drone & Tech Expo Ireland.

This hexacopter is extremely agile and has a LED to fly at night. Once you get used to the controls you will have hours of fun with buckets of tricks and flips capability. One thing that makes this different than other nano drones is the prop size, which gives it a ton of power.

Since it is slightly larger than similar hex’s, it can spin larger props which give it more punch and speed than the others. This power does come at a cost though, as it is quite noisy.

Overall the JJRC H18 leaves a little to be desired with only one rate and the single LED up front. The transmitter could also be better, but for under $20 there’s a lot more positives than negatives and it is probably the fastest and most powerful hexacopter in its class.

  • Price: $19.42 / €17.85 / £15.44
  • Flight Time: 5-6 minutes
  • Charge Time: 40 Minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 8.50 x 7.30 x 2.50 cm
  • Camera: No
  • Buy it: Gear Best

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Air Hogs Hyper Stunt Drone

Air Hogs’ Hyper Stunt Drone does exactly what it says on the tin, the ability to carry out crazy flips and stunts but with the minimum chance of damage.

This mini drone comes with two red prop/body protectors that connect to either side. For the few minutes the battery lasts, the flyer can whiz around and easily pull off backflips, barrel rolls and more with the stunt button, without fear of doing damage to the body and props.

The small transmitter requires 2 AAA batteries that are not included. The drone itself charges via USB. Everything about this mini drone is pretty simple. If you are looking for a mini drone and plan to crash a lot, this is the one for you!

  • Price: $25.50 / £19.89 / €23.30
  • Flight Time: 5-6 minutes
  • Charge Time: 40 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 22.8 x 6.6 x 25.4 cm
  • Camera: No
  • Buy it:  Amazon

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Syma X4 Assault

The Syma X4 comes with a very XBOX-like controller which gamers will like, however you will need to pick up 4 AA batteries for the joystick as they are not included.

The X4 is the slowest mini drone on our list but it is also the quietest which makes it perfect for indoor flying. It comes with circular plastic prop protectors that are connected vertically.

The package comes with a USB charger to plug directly into your computer and has LED’s for night flying. Flying is super easy and stable and if you want to have a bit of fun it can also perform 360-degree eversions!

  • Price: $32.80 / €30 / £25.60
  • Flight Time: 6-7 minutes
  • Charge Time: 60 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 15.5 x 14 x 3.5 cm
  • Camera: No
  • Buy it: Gear Best

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mTech Spy Drone Black

The mTech Spy Drone comes with a detachable 0.3MP camera on the underbelly that lets you start aerial recording straight away and you can save it and upload it onto a computer via a micro SD card included.

It also features a dual speed control allowing you to quickly change between fast and slow speeds, making it easier to navigate through tricky situations.

In terms of steering the quadcopter, it can go up, down, left, right, hover, left and right side fly. Impressively it can also perform left, right and back side flips at the press of a button.

The transmitter gives a range of 30 metres. If you are a novice you can start flying out of the box once you attach the props and away you go!

  • Price: $37.76 / €34.74 / £29.99
  • Flight Time: 5-7 minutes
  • Charge Time: 80-90 Minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 19 x 19 x 4 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Red 5

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Hubsan X4

The Hubsan X4 is a very slick and compact little machine and comes with LED’s on the bottom for night time flying with a range of 100 metres, which is way above the average of others on our list!

The X4 comes with two flying modes: Normal and Expert, depending on your flying experience, with the latter flying mode allowing you to make super fun tricks and flips.

It is recommended that you buy a pack of 5 batteries, instantly multiplying flight time by 5!

  • Price: $39.08 / £30.29 / €34.74
  • Flight time: 7 minutes
  • Charge time: 40 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 6.9 x 6.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Amazon

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Skytech TK106RHW

This Skytech mini drone comes with a 0.3mp camera that you can use in FPV mode on your mobile device via the Skytech app.

The TK106RHW comes with a controller you can use in a similar fashion by connecting it to the mobile device or alternatively it can be used on its own.

The controller also contains a one touch take off & land buttons that are really handy for first timers. The flight range leaves a lot to be desired, however, but it’s fair to say the positives far outweigh the negatives in this case.

  • Price: $39.99 / €37.47 / £32.11
  • Flight Time: 4-5 minutes
  • Charge Time: 60 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 9.5 x 9.5 x 4.7 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Amazon

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 Holy Stone HS170 Predator

As one of the best-selling drones under $100, the Holy Stone HS170 Predator comes with three different speeds, headless mode and LED’s for night flying. It boasts a flight range of just under 50 metres and is extremely wind resistant for a quad of such a small size.

This mini drone comes with prop guards to lessen the impact of crashes and it’s super fun to play around with! Although it would take slightly more time to get used to because of an ultra responsive throttle, the Holy Stone HS170 Predator gives beginners a real experience of flying a drone that feels much bigger than it actually is!

  • Price: $39.99 / €35.74  / £30.96
  • Flight Time: 6-8 minutes
  • Charge Time: 60-80 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 13.4 x 4 x 13.5 cm
  • Camera: No
  • Buy it: Amazon

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 JXD 515V RC Drone

The JXD 515V RC Mini Drone looks like a little UFO like.

It comes with a 0.3MP FPV camera mounted to the bottom of the quadcopter – but no SD card slot so it’s recording straight to your mobile device via WIFI and there is almost no lag on the FPV which is quite something!  Flying indoors is possible with a protective frame for the propellers, 360 flip features and altitude hold.

  • Price: $53.45 / €50.13 / £42.84
  • Flight Time: 5 – 6 minutes
  • Charge Time: 90 Minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 13.8 x 13.8 x 5 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Gear Best

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DP POWER Hawkeye 1

DP POWER took pretty much everything into consideration for first-time flyers with the Hawkeye 1.

The mini quadcopter comes with training wheels & prop protectors in the package which, along with its moulded hard plastic body, reduces the impact of a crash.

The joystick requires 4 AAA batteries that aren’t included in the packaging but the quad does come with an SD card and reader which makes it super easy to take the content from the drone to your computer!

The mini drone also comes with LED’s for night time flying and has a control distance of roughly 30 metres which is similar to most drones of its size and price.

A speedy and quiet operator, DP POWER has certainly hit the nail on the head with this one for first timers!

  • Price: $58.99 / €53.90 / £46
  • Flight Time: 6-9 minutes
  • Charge Time: 60 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 9 x 9 x 3.5 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Amazon

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Parrot Airborne Cargo Mars

Parrot Airborne Cargo Mars is a robust, impact-resistant mini drone that is customizable.

The Parrot’s baby drone can reach speeds of 11mph and complete aerobatic maneuvers on the fly with minimum effort.

It comes with three different control modes: Joypad, Normal, and Ace. Connectivity is through Bluetooth and although it allows for much lower power consumption and easier setup than Wi-Fi, you basically only need to open the app and it should detect the Airborne Drone and be ready to go.

The Joypad mode skips the use of the accelerometer in favour of two on-screen touchpads, the left controls turning and altitude while the right allows you to move the drone in one of four directions.

Normal and Ace modes make use of the accelerometer to allow you to fly the drone more naturally by holding your finger on the screen and tilting your device, while also providing joypads for controlling direction and altitude and, in Ace mode, make 90-degree and 180-degree turns.

While I found Normal and Ace to be a lot more fun and intuitive, the Joypad mode has the advantage of allowing you to film your drone in flight using your device’s camera.

Additional controls allow you to take pictures, set up and perform basic pre-programmed aerobatic stunts, land and take off, and in the case of Airborne Night, control the front LED’s, which can be set at various intensities, or to strobe or flash modes.

In my opinion, this is a great mini drone for starters, and you can tell more experienced flyers you own a Parrot drone!

  • Price: $62.93 / €58.99 / £50.45
  • Flight Time: 9 minutes
  • Charge Time: 25 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 18.5 x 18 x 4 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Zavvi

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DB Power MJX X400W

The DB Power MJX comes with a 720p camera like most of the drones on our list including headless mode. It also comes with blue lights (on the front) and orange (on the back)  that make it stand out when flying at night as well as offering help figuring out which is the front and which is the back!

The MJX X400W connects to your mobile device via WIFI which ultimately pushes better quality and more responsive real time reception from the drone camera.

Another cool feature with this mini drone is that you can use a VR headset for FPV instead of your mobile device. The headset is not included obviously, but it’s a neat and different element to the flight experience!

One key 3D roll enables the cool 3D circular images you see professional aerial photographers take. This is a favourite feature of the MJX X400!

  • Price: $69.90 / €62.24 / £54.30
  • Flight Time: 8-9 minutes
  • Charge Time: 120 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 30 x 30 x 7.5 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Amazon

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Holy Stone F180C Mini RC Quadcopter

The F180c from Holy Stone is built to help starters have fun in running a drone while allowing the experts and intermediates to have fun in their own way.

The mini drone boasts superb stability and assertive flying capabilities and comes with a “headless return home” mode that is perhaps its best feature.

Holy Stone has included a non-removable camera recording 720p video and offering a decent resolution for the price you pay. These videos and images are stored on the 2GB SD card.

Controlling the camera from the transmitter is handy and more convenient than a manual click on the quadcopter. It has four flying modes for 360° flipping/hovering either front, back, left, or right.

Flips are made super easy by using the transmitter’s right trigger. The different sensitivity modes allow for a slow takeoff, ramping to fast precise movements.

At 25-50%, flying indoors is a breeze, while higher sensitivity levels give more control across a long distance.

Consider this quadcopter if you are in search of cool price, great features, and easy controls. You can also expect good design and quality performance. Overall, the F180C mini drone is for everyone, beginners and experts alike!

  • Price: $69.99 / €65.61 / £56.17
  • Flight Time: 6-8 minutes
  • Charge Time: 30-50 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 13.5 x 13.5 x 3.5 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Amazon

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Blade Inductrix RTF

This lightweight, fully assembled quadcopter comes with durable rotor housings to prevent damage with LED orientation lights. It includes a red and blue body set and a quiet EDF power system. It is extremely easy to fly with self-leveling capabilities.

The fully enclosed rotors are safe from obstruction and included in the package is a Li-Po battery and charger. As proven in the video above, the Inductrix is tough and it takes a fair bit of effort to inflict damage in-flight!

  • Price: $70.08 / €64.87 / £56.15
  • Flight Time: 6-8 minutes
  • Charge Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 8.3 x 8.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Camera: No
  • Buy it: Amazon

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Parrot Airborne Cargo Night

Another one of Parrot’s Airborne mini drones which connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone with HD FPV on hand.

Parrot keeps the novice in mind with this drone as prop protectors are included and one touch take-off makes getting into the air extremely quick and easy. 360-degree flips and tricks are made possible by double tapping your smartphone!

Like most Parrot products, the Airborne Cargo Night is extremely agile with sharp turns and dashes possible and it can achieve high-speed flights of up to 11 mph with aerobatics on command.

This edition of the Airborne Cargo mini drone range comes with a strong ultra white LED which looks really cool at night.

  • Price: $89.20  €81.50 / £69.49
  • Flight Time: Up to 9 minutes
  • Charge Time: 60 minutes
  • Size: Dimensions of 18.5 x 18 x 4 cm
  • Camera: Yes
  • Buy it: Amazon

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We hope you enjoyed our list of the best mini drones for beginners under $100! Now all you have to do is pick the right one for you and you’ll be a pro in no time!

Why not check out the great interviews we have had with drone professionals that will give you some great insight into life as a pro!