Before looking at the drone world in a professional or semi-professional way, many users prefer to train using a simpler, less performing and cheaper products. Whether it’s a gift for a novice child or an experiment before moving on to something more serious, starting with $50 drones could be ideal. The products offered in this guide are certainly not up to those of established brands such as DJI, but they represent a valid and inexpensive admission ticket for this world.
Before buying a drone it is good to understand thoroughly your intentions and needs. If you are not an expert or have the desire to have a drone to explore new fields it is good to start with something unprofessional and therefore less expensive. A drone is always driven in the same way, so it is not a question of skill in command, but a question of necessity. The object that responds to those of a photographer or a video maker is certainly much more accessorized and expensive than that indicated for a child or an amateur.
Differences between Mid-range, Professional and Mini Drones
We can basically identify 3 categories of drones. Mini drones, cheap or mid-range and professional drones. For the former we mean small drones, not very sturdy material, reduced power and usable at home or outdoors with absolutely favorable conditions and total absence of wind. The mid-range drones can be taken as a choice for those who want to start exploring the air world without being too demanding. These are discrete devices, with adequate power to their price range and capable of reaching a few meters of elevation. The professional drones instead they can move hundreds of meters away, they have a dual or triple battery (in special cases) and allow aerial shots of all respects. They are often equipped with cameras capable of taking pictures and recording 4k videos at 30fps.
Build quality plays a fundamental role. Plastics are too light or thin could make the drone easy prey to sudden gusts of wind. Metal or carbon fiber structures on the other hand, ensure greater strength in flight and greater resistance in the event of a fall or impact.
One of the sensors that can’t miss in drone is the most absolute way the gyroscope. It is now also present in smartphones and allows you to stabilize the device in flight. Inside the electronic module the relative position is recalculated several times per second and adjusted accordingly by the motors. Professional drones also sometimes integrate ultrasonic sensors for obstacle detection and infrared for night vision and shooting.
Often overlooked because easily correctable with extra batteries, battery life must absolutely be one of the parameters to be evaluated thoroughly before making a purchase of this kind. Drones can give from 5 to 20/25 minutes of flight with an average use. But if the engines are required to make a greater effort or the aerial shot is activated, then the battery drops considerably, compromising the whole experience. Some brands require the use of proprietary batteries that are difficult to find spare parts, so it is good to observe this factor carefully.
The control distance naturally varies according to the quality and quantity of technology used. On professional drones you can reach a maximum distance of more than 500m, an experience difficult to replicate on mid-range products and totally impossible if we talk about mini-drones. In fact, reach a maximum of ten meters of radius due to the small size of the antennas.
After having looked at the difference between various drones and their quality, it is time to move on to the products that have passed our selection by winning the title of best drones under $50.
The drone in question certainly does not claim to be the best on the market, but with a higher than average weight and an ABS body is a guarantee of reliability and durability. The higher weight naturally affects flight time, very limiting and to be taken into consideration in particular if you fly it for long periods near precipices or in adverse weather conditions. Important and not negligible at this price is the presence of a small 2MP camera. Here are the specifications:
- Dimensions: 44 x 24.3 x 11cm
- Recharge time: 75 min
- Control distance: about 80m
- Flight time: about 7 minutes
- Battery: 500mAh
Definitely not a best in battery with 7-10 minute flight time, but also charging times are reduced and allow more than most competitors to be able to use it more often even for less time. The extremely reduced weight and dimensions do not make it absolutely suitable for adverse weather conditions. Little wind could compromise the experience and frustrate the expense. The maximum control distance declared is about 50 meters. Being a very small drone it is absolutely inadvisable to move it too far to avoid losing sight of it even if you can recall it with a one key available on the controller in the package. Here are the specifications:
- Charge: about 50 min
- Flight time: 7-10 minutes
- Control distance: about 50m
- Battery: 450mAh lipo battery (integrated)
- Weight: 50g
- Dimensions: 5.7 x 4.7 x 2.6 in
The drone in question certainly does not claim to be the best on the market, but can give interesting sessions of leisure to those who are not looking for something professional and just want to practice in flight.
- Battery: 3.7V 500mAh
- Flight time: 8-10min
- Control distance: 80-100m
- Dimensions: 25.5 × 25.5 × 3.5cm
The folding body is definitely a point in its favor, but the HD camera is useless. In fact, shooting with a 0.3MP sensor will be unusable.
Another economic drone, but with a more robust structure and less sensitive to shocks than the competition thanks to the hard ABS. This is a respectable product for its price range, but stubborn to bring an absolutely useless feature: the camera. It comes with:
- Weight: 225g
- Dimensions: 31.5 x 10.5 x 31.5 cm
- Battery: 500mAh
- Flight time: 5-6min
The 0.3MP camera could have been avoided in favor of a battery extension. Videos made by a sensor of this kind are absolutely useless for montages or any kind of work.
Goolsky JJRC H31
It’s not the maximum of resistance, it does not allow great shots, but it has two of the most costly and challenging killer feature drones to use. Specifically, it presents with:
- Weight: 762 g
- Dimensions: 36 x 24.6 x 12.4 cm
- Control distance: 70-80m
- Battery: 400mAh
- Charging time: 60 min
- Flight time: 8-10 min
The quality-price ratio for a this kind of product is absolutely undeniable, so it is certainly one of the best choices for children and amateurs considering the presence of important features such as waterproof, automatic return and the 2MP camera for shooting.
Exactly on the borderline Petrel proposes an interesting solution. Attention to materials and specifications is also evident in the cheaper models of this brand. Moderate charging time, low flight time, but in line with the competition and some interesting features make it probably the best one to buy at the moment. The dedicated controller allows you to free the drone in flight and return it with a single button. The software allows you to receive warnings in case of low battery and the video transmission have a good range (about 20-30m) when compared to the maximum distance of 100m within which it is good to keep the drone. Of course, there is no shortage of basic elements to ensure fun for everyone, like the 360° stunts. Here are the specifications:
- Flight time: 6-7 min
- Charging time: 100min
- Control distance: 100m
- Battery: 500mAh
The drone proposed by
- Dimensions: 18.7 x 12 x 9 cm
- Flight time: 5-6 min
- Charging time: 100min
- Control distance: 50m
- Battery: 450mAh