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Best Beginner Drones Under $300

As beginners, we should refrain from investing in expensive drones as we must learn how to fly first and enjoy this hobby before aiming for more professional drones.

A good price range to invest in beginner drones is around $300.

But what are the best beginner drones under $300?

The Potensic Atom SE and Holy Stone HS720E are the best two drones under $300. If you’re inclined to invest slightly more, we have the DJI Mini 2 SE, an outstanding choice. As for FPV drones under $300, the BETAFPV Cetus Pro kit will help you learn to fly FPV drones.

We’ll help you make an informed decision about which drones are the most suitable that cost less than $300 and what to keep in mind when buying budget drones, so keep reading.

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1. Potensic Atom SE (Fly More Kit)

Potensic ATOM SE
$299.99 $229.99

Atom se drone weighs less than 249g, no need for FAA & Remote ID registration.

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03/06/2024 04:02 pm GMT

If you’re looking for specific beginner drones under $300, the Potenstic Atom SE is our top choice. 

We often write about it on Droneblog because it’s an excellent, affordable drone for beginners and comes in a kit with two batteries, one RC, and a carrying bag.

SPECSPotensic Atom SE
WeightUnder 250 g
FoldableYes
Max Flight Time31 mins per battery pack (two included in Fly More Kit)
Max Flight Range2.5 mi or 4 km
Camera Quality1/3-inch Sony CMOS sensor capable of filming in 4k at 30 frames per second and photographing in 12 MP resolution
StabilizationElectronic Image Stabilization only (similar to an FPV drone)
Wind ResistanceLevel 5 Wind Resistance
SensorsNo obstacle avoidance sensors, only downward vision sensor
Autonomous FunctionsFollow-me mode, waypoint flight, and circle flight. It also has a GPS auto-return to home function.
Other Specs– The camera has 118 degrees field of view and can tilt from +20 to -90 degrees.
– The drone comes with a beginner mode and three flight modes (normal, sport, and video)

✅ Pros

  • It’s an excellent value for the money
  • You can record in 4k at 30 frames per second
  • It has electronic image stabilization
  • Decent transmission range
  • Very good flight time for such a drone
  • It’s lightweight and portable
  • It weighs under 250 grams, so it may benefit from relaxed drone laws
  • It has a follow-me and several automated functions
  • This drone has a good build quality (it doesn’t look or feel plastic-y)

❌ Cons

  • It does not have any avoidance sensors
  • The camera sensor is not very large, limiting the dynamic range of the videos or photographs captured
  • It may have sensitive controls out of the box, requiring some tuning before flying it
  • No three-axis gimbal

When you fly the Potensic Atom SE and turn left or right rapidly because it doesn’t have mechanical gimbal stabilization, the image’s horizon line will tilt at a specific angle, which may not be ideal if you’re looking to fly cinematically.

Other than that, the Atom SE is one of the best drones you can find under $300 without a doubt. It can fly for a long time, has decent camera quality, is lightweight and portable, and so on.

The Atom SE is also a fantastic beginner drone. If you’re looking to buy it as an upgrade to a cheaper drone, we recommend you look for more professional drones instead.

» MORE: Potensic Atom SE Review

You can also have a look at the following video.

2. Holy Stone HS720E

Holy Stone HS720E
$399.99 $299.99

GPS Drone with 4K EIS UHD 130 FOV Camera for Adults Beginner, FPV Quadcopter with Brushless Motor, 2 Batteries 46 Min Flight Time, 5GHz Transmission, Smart Return Home, Follow Me.

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03/06/2024 07:16 pm GMT

Another option as a decent entry-level drone that will cost you under $300 is the Holy Stone HS720E.

SPECSHoly Stone HS720E
Weight495 g
FoldableYes
Max Flight Time23 mins per battery pack (Two included)
Max Flight Range0.6 mi or 1 km
Camera Quality4k Sony sensor, capable of recording in 4k at 30 frames per second and photographing at 3840×2160 resolution
StabilizationElectronic image stabilization; the camera can tilt between 0 to 90 degrees
SensorsNo obstacle avoidance sensors
Autonomous FunctionsIt has a follow-me feature, tap fly, and point of interest. It has auto return to home.
Other informationThe drone comes in a Fly More pack with a remote controller, two batteries, and a carrying case

✅ Pros

  • It’s an inexpensive entry-level drone, costing less than $300
  • Can film in 4k
  • It has a decent flight time
  • It has electronic image stabilization
  • It has a follow-me mode and several more autonomous functions
  • It’s foldable and portable
  • Good build quality

❌ Cons

  • Inferior transmission distance (cannot fly long-range)
  • It does not have obstacle avoidance sensors
  • The flight time could be better
  • It doesn’t have gimbal stabilization
  • The photo resolution is low for today’s standards
  • It weighs more than 250 grams

With more than a few drone pilots pleased by the overall performance of this drone, the Holy Stone HS720E is yet another fantastic option to consider as a beginner if looking for drones under $300.

It may not be able to film or photograph professionally like more expensive drones, but the flight performance of this drone is fantastic. 

Although it can stay in the air for only 23 minutes per battery pack, the HS720E comes with two batteries, which should be more than enough to practice flying a drone.

Please remember that this drone is an entry-level budget drone, and as long as you don’t have astronomical expectations of it, you will be pleased with what it can do, especially with the intelligent functions and flight capabilities.

But to point out, the HS720E also has a single-axis gimbal with electronic image stabilization, and as with the Potensic Atom SE, if you turn too quickly left or right, the entire image will come out tilted. 

We recommend you further watch the following video if you’re considering the Holy Stone HS720E. 

» MORE: Ruko F11 Pro vs. Holy Stone HS720: Which Drone is Better?

3. Ruko F11

Ruko F11
$272.99 $229.99

Drones with Camera for Adults 4K, 60Mins Flight Time, FPV Drone with GPS, Quadcopter with Brushless Motor, Follow Me, Auto Return Home, Long Control Range Drone for Beginners, drone with camera for adults, drone with camera.

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03/07/2024 04:06 am GMT

We also have the Ruko F11, a fantastic alternative to Potensic and Holy Stone. 

I love this drone because it’s not only a cheap entry-level little drone but also has an impressive flight time, a few intelligent flight modes, an auto return to home feature, and it’s beginner-friendly.

SPECSRuko F11
Weight520 g
FoldableYes
Max Flight Time30 mins per battery pack
Max Flight Range0.74 mi or 1.2 km
Camera Quality4k camera but capable of filming in 1080p only and photographing in 4k
StabilizationShock absorption function
Wind ResistanceLevel 6
SensorsNone
Autonomous FunctionsFollow-me mode, gesture shooting, tap fly, point of interest, auto return to home
Other SpecsIt has a “find the lost drone” function that will show you the last known position of the drone on the map in case you lose it

✅ Pros

  • A decent drone that costs less than $300
  • It can fly for a decent amount of time and comes with two batteries
  • It has several intelligent functions, including follow-me mode
  • Good wind resistance
  • Excellent drone for beginners
  • Has auto return to home function
  • Outstanding customer support

❌ Cons

  • The maximum memory card supported is 32GB
  • It can only film in 1080p, although marketed as a 4k camera drone
  • Low video and photo resolution overall
  • It does not have any avoidance sensors
  • Bad real-time video stabilization
  • Known issues with the batteries (some pilots reported short flight times or dead batteries, but customer support replaced them). These batteries also take a long time to charge and are expensive to buy individually.

The Ruko F11 is a decent drone for a beginner. It’s pleasant and easy to fly and is a good quality drone overall.

You will receive an entire Fly More Kit with two batteries, a carrying case, and a few more accessories.

Ruko customer support is also known to be excellent, and if you ever have any issues with the drone, they will quickly respond and help you solve your problems.

But hopefully, you won’t; those are rare circumstances, as with any electronic device.

There’s also a newer version of this drone, the RUKO F11 GIM2, with some fantastic features, but this exceeds the price of the DJI Mini 3.

Please remember that the Ruko F11 is slightly older and is an entry-level budget drone to have fun with and learn to fly, but it will not be suitable for decent photography or video recordings.

» MORE: Best Beginner Drones with Follow Me

4. DJI Mini 2 SE

Great Starter Drone
DJI Mini 2 SE
$299.00

Lightweight and Foldable Mini Drone with 2.7K Video, 10km Video Transmission, 31-min Flight Time, Under 249 g, Return to Home, Automatic Pro Shoots, Drone with camera for Beginners.

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03/06/2024 06:16 pm GMT

I know what you’re thinking. Why isn’t this drone on the top of our list? 

It’s because the price slightly exceeds the $300 mark, but we have to mention it because there is a massive difference in performance and quality between a sub-$300 drone and adding a few more bucks to get this instead. 

Not to mention, if you’re lucky enough to get the Mini 2 SE as part of a reasonable offer, it is yet another brilliant drone around the $300 mark. 

Now, before we continue, let’s have a look at the Mini 2 SE specs, shall we?

SPECSDJI Mini 2 SE
Weight246 g
FoldableYes
Max Flight Time31 mins
Max Flight Range– FCC 6.2 mi (10 km)
– CE, SRRC, MIC 3.7 mi (6 km)
Camera Quality1/2.3-inch CMOS capable of recording in 2.7k at 30 frames per second or FHD at 60 frames per second
Stabilization3-axis mechanical gimbal stabilization
Wind Resistance10.7 m/s (Level 5 wind resistance)
SensorsNo sensors
Autonomous FunctionsSeveral intelligent functions such as five QuickShots functions, panorama, return to home
Other SpecsOne-tap takeoff/land

✅ Pros

  • It’s one of the best drones you can buy at this price by far
  • This drone is capable of staying in the air for a decent amount of time
  • It comes with three-axis gimbal stabilization that offers smooth footage regardless of wind (up to Level 5) and flight style
  • The camera quality is decent for this drone
  • It’s lightweight and portable, weighing under 250 grams, and might benefit from relaxed drone laws
  • It has several intelligent functions
  • Long-range transmission signal
  • Extraordinary flight performance
  • It’s beginner friendly
  • It’s a very new drone
  • It’s very quiet compared to many other drones

❌ Cons

  • It goes slightly above the $300 barrier
  • It doesn’t have any obstacle avoidance sensors nor ActiveTrack (as for now)

DJI is known to create great drones, the best in its class for consumer and beginner pilots, with excellent flight performance, stability, camera capabilities, and flight time.

Th Mini 2 SE, although the cheapest drone from DJI, is an entry-level solution you’ll love for content creation and more. The possibilities are endless.

This drone is also excellent for flying in high winds, but moreover, it has the most extended flight distance performance on our list, the best flight time, and top-notch video stability.

5. BETAFPV Cetus Pro FPV (Kit)

BetaFPV Cetus Pro FPV
3.5
$247.99

Ready-to-fly kit that’s easy to control, can hold its position, is durable, and can handle crashes, not to mention something that is low cost.

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03/06/2024 11:36 pm GMT

What about flying FPV drones? The BETAFPV Cetus Pro is an excellent solution for a complete kit if you’re looking for something under $300. It’s the perfect FPV drone to start flying!

SPECSBETAFPV Cetus Pro FPV (kit)
Weight33 g without the battery
FoldableNo
Max Flight Time4-5 mins
Max Flight Range80 m (close-range FPV drone)
Camera QualityAnalog camera – C02 FPV Micro Camera; VTX power 25mW
StabilizationNone
SensorsPositioning system: optical flow, barometer & laser
Batteries1s batteries that can be charged via USB
Other Specs– 1102-18000KV brushless motors
– Comes with LiteRadio 2 SE Transmitter & VR02 Goggles
– Receiver Protocol: FrSky D8
– Can auto-hover

✅ Pros

  • It’s one of the smallest micro-drones, which is fantastic for training FPV close-range
  • This drone can fit in your palm
  • It’s the cheapest way to learn how to fly FPV
  • The drone can self-stabilize
  • It has normal mode, sport mode, and manual mode
  • It’s very resistant to crashes and can be flown indoors
  • Can flip, roll, and perform any acro modes
  • It offers you an immersive experience

❌ Cons

  • It has analog video, which many pilots don’t like because of low resolution.
  • It’s not made to record videos and put them on social media; it’s simply for practicing FPV and learning, but it is the best kit under $300 you can find
  • You can’t fly this drone too far
  • You will be required to train in FPV simulators to grasp how to fly in acro mode; otherwise, you will crash this drone a lot
  • The battery won’t keep your drone in the air for long

This micro-FPV drone, a micro-Cinewhoop, is a unique way to start flying FPV at the lowest point possible with goggles and a remote controller. 

It’s also an excellent beginner drone because it can hover and has some functions available in standard drones. 

The Cetus Pro is very resistant to crashes because of its small form size and robust build frame.

And because it has duct guards protecting the propellers and motors, this micro-drone can be flown near people and objects without significant risks. 

What to expect in a budget drone under $300

If you stay around the price range of $200 to $300, you should be able to find drones capable of a few perks that can offer you the pleasant experience of learning and flying drones.

  • Battery life: These drones’ battery life should be decent, usually ranging from 15 to 30 minutes and rarely more, but less on FPV drones with only a few minutes of capable flight.
  • Range: Drones in this price range should let you fly for up to 2-3 miles at most; rarely, a drone under $300 can take longer flight distances.
  • Avoidance sensors: It’s pretty rare for a drone so cheap to have avoidance sensors, but if they do, don’t have expectations to avoid obstacles with 100 percent accuracy.

    That doesn’t even happen with more expensive drones. In this case, the avoidance sensors are entry-level and not so capable.
  • Intelligent functions: You may find some smart functions in these drones, such as follow me (based on GPS) and other types of quick shots, but these will be limited in offering you an immersive experience at a professional level.
  • Camera capabilities: There are drones capable of filming in 4k under $300 but at 30 frames per second at most.

    No current drones are capable of filming in 4k 60 frames per second in this rice range. Moreover, the images will be decent but unsuitable for professional photography or filming.
  • Stability and wind resistance: Nowadays, even cheap drones should have excellent wind resistance, which will be affected by multiple factors on each individual drone.

    As for stability, it all depends on the GPS module, hover sensors, and internal parts to keep the drone in place.

    But you should not have issues with these drones falling out of the sky because they are unstable.
  • Camera gimbal: It’s challenging to find drones under $300 with a three-axis mechanical gimbal for outstanding stability.

    You will mostly find a single-axis camera gimbal, but these drones will benefit a lot from electronic image stabilization.
  • Remote controllers: The RCs will be decent for these drones but not high-quality with very smooth gimbals; you won’t find any drones under $300 with RCs that have an incorporated screen.

    The image transmission for these drones is rarely above 720p at 30 frames per second.
  • No geofencing restrictions: In general, DJI drones limit drone flight in restricted areas by enforcing geofencing firmware on their drones. Cheaper drones usually don’t have these limitations.

These drones under $300 are cheap for a reason: for beginner pilots to get into flying drones.

However, they are not very durable, suitable for long-term flying, and don’t have many advanced features and parts as more expensive drones.

» MORE: Holy Stone HS720 Camera Not Working (And How to Fix It)

How to choose a good budget drone

  • Review what other people say: It’s essential to research the drone before you buy it. In general, cheaper drones tend to have more downsides.
  • Be ready to receive what you pay for: I know this may be a bit harsh to say, but it’s the reality. Very cheap drones tend to have limited flight performance.

    If you opt for more expensive drones (under $500), such as the DJI Mini 3, or even the Mini 2 SE, you will have a much better experience with these drones.
  • Follow the drone guidelines and set up the drone as you should: This ensures the best flight experience.

    Some cheap drones may come with the wrong factory settings, and you may have to tweak a few things in the menu of the drone.
  • Register your drone: Always check your country or region’s drone laws to determine if you benefit from sub-250-gram relaxed drones laws and whether you have to register register it and what type of license you may need to fly it.

    These rules apply to all drones with cameras.

» MORE: Best Drones Under $500

Are budget drones (under $300) good beginner drones?

In general, most drones under $300 are beginner-friendly.

If you get an FPV drone for under $300, that’s another story.

You will have to learn how to fly FPV drones in simulators before the first flight, but the experience is extraordinary for any FPV drone, whether cheap or expensive.