Drones. They’ve become incredibly popular. But most people can’t afford to splurge R30 000 plus on a hobby. So, in the spirit of budget buys we’ve compiled a list of 10 drones under R2 000.

At this point we must add that we know that “drone” is a lazy term for unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV, but people are more familiar with drone than UAV. So we’ll stick with it.

 

Here are 10 drones available at under R2 000

 

1. Foda D13 Mini Quadcopter Drone

The Foda D13 is the cheapest on our list. This drone does not have an on-board camera, but it still makes for a fun practice drone. The D13 is fitted with a Lithium polymer battery and has a fly time of approximately 7 minutes. It is important to note that although the drone can be charged, the controller uses four AA batteries.

Foda D13 Mini Quadcopter Drone: 10 sub R2 000 drones

1. Foda D13 Mini Quadcopter Drone

Control: 4-channel 2.4 Ghz controller
Camera: No
Flying time: about 7 minutes
Charging time: approx. 40 minutes
Control range: about 50 metres
Spare parts: Spare blades
Price: R569*
Available at: The Gadget Shop

2. Revell Nano Quad

The first candidate in out 10 drones list is an ultra-tiny drone. At 45 by 45 millimetres in size a Revell’s Nano Quad is definitely a “good weather” drone. Sadly this bug-sized drone is not fitted with a camera.

Revell Nano Quad: 10 sub R2 000 drones

2. Revell Nano Quad

Control: 4-channel 2.4 Ghz controller
Camera: No
Flying time: about 5 minutes
Charging time: approx. 45 minutes
Control range: about 50 metres
Spare parts: 1 spare rotor set
Price: R749*
Available at: The Gadget Shop, Takealot

3. Cheerson CX-10WD Quadcopter

It’s the world’s smallest drone with a first-person view camera. And it is the smallest drone on this list. The CX-10WD comes without a controller; instead the company opted for an app-based controller. The app is compatible with both Android and iOS.

Cheerson CX-10WD Quadcopter: 10 sub R2 000 drones

3. Cheerson CX-10WD Quadcopter

Control: Free app download
Camera: 480p video
Flying time: about 4 minutes
Charging time: approx. 30 minutes
Control range: about 15 to 30 metres
Spare parts: 1 spare blade set
Price: R999*
Available at: The Gadget Shop, Takealot

4. Hubsan H107P X4 Plus

This Hubsan is an upgrade from the brands’ previous range of micro drones. Although not fitted with a camera, the H107P X4 is a great drone to practice your flying skills. The Hubsan also comes with a prop guard that protects its rotors – a very useful accessory for first-time flyers. A collection of spare parts are also available for the H107P X4.

Hubsan H107P X4 Plus: 10 sub R2 000 drones

4. Hubsan H107P X4 Plus

Control: 2.4 Ghz controller with LCD Screen
Camera: No
Flying time: about 10 minutes
Charging time: approx. 30 minutes
Control range: about 50 metres
Spare parts: 4 rotating blades
Price: R999*
Available at: The Gadget Shop

5. JJRC H8-1 Mini Quadcopter Drone

This mini quadcopter is very reminiscent of the Revell Nano Quad, especially if you look at the controller. But the H8-1 Mini has one big difference: it comes with a prop guard. This drone is quite small, measuring less than 15 centimeters in length.

JJRC H8-1 Mini Quadcopter Drone: 10 sub R2 000 drones

5. JJRC H8-1 Mini Quadcopter Drone

Control: 2.4 Ghz controller
Camera: No
Flying time: about 5 minutes
Charging time: approx. 45 minutes
Control range: about 35 metres
Spare parts: 2 rotating blades
Price: R1 099*
Available at: Takealot

6. JJRC H20 HexaDrone

Here’s an interesting little drone from Asian manufacturer JJRC: a six-rotor mini drone. This drone is ideal for aerial stunts that include tumbling. Its controller is also fitted with return function that makes it to navigate back to you.

JJRC H20 HexaDrone: 10 sub R2 000 drones

6. JJRC H20 HexaDrone

Control: 2.4 Ghz controller
Camera: No
Flying time: about 5 minutes
Charging time: approx. 45 minutes
Control range: about 30 metres
Spare parts: 1 full set of rotors
Price: R1 299*
Available at: Takealot

7. Revell Radio Controlled SPOT

The makers of iconic model kits also manufacture a series of radio-controlled products, including drones. The SPOT drone is said to be a favourite of amateur videographers and those that want to move up from flight-only drones. It does come with a camera which records in 480p – not bad for a budget drone. Note that the controller requires two AA batteries.

Revell Radio Controlled SPOT: 10 sub R2 000 drones

7. Revell Radio Controlled SPOT drone

Control: 4-channel 2.4 Ghz controller
Camera: 1280×960 pixel photos, 480p video
Flying time: about 7 minutes
Charging time: approx. 70 minutes
Control range: about 50 metres
Spare parts: 1 full set of rotors and prop guards
Price: R1 399*
Available at: The Gadget Shop

8. Revell Formula Q Drone

The Revell Formula Q is probably the most powerful drone on our list. It’s great for drone racing and stunt flying. It comes with three speed settings and headless mode. Although the Formula Q drone does not come with a camera, some smaller cameras can be attached to its body with a stabilization gimble. Note that the controller requires six AA batteries.

Revell Formula Q Drone: 10 sub R2 000 drones

8. Revell Formula Q Drone

Control: 4-channel 2.4 Ghz controller
Camera: No
Flying time: about 10 minutes
Charging time: n/a
Control range: about 50 metres
Spare parts: 1 full set of rotors
Price: R1 999
Available at: The Gadget Shop

9. Hubsan H502E X4 Desire Drone

This model from Hubsan is fitted with a 720p camera. The drone also has auto-return functionality, a built-in GPS system, altitude adjustment and “headless flight mode”, which essentially makes it easier to fly. The built-in GPS allows the drone to head back at the push of a button – a handy feature when the connection is lost. Note that the controller requires four AAA batteries.

Hubsan H502E X4 Desire Drone: 10 sub R2 000 drones

9. Hubsan H502E X4 Desire Drone

Control: 2.4 Ghz controller
Camera: 720p video
Flying time: about 10 minutes
Charging time: approx. 40 minutes
Control range: about 50 metres
Spare parts: None
Price: R1 999
Available at: The Gadget Shop

10. FPV Trooper drone

The Trooper is a true stunt drone. It can do 360-degree flips and has auto-return functionality. The Trooper Drone retails for just over R2 000, but can often be found under R2 000 at selected retailers or when it’s on sale. Note that the controller requires four AA batteries.

FPV Trooper drone: 10 sub R2 000 drones

10. FPV Trooper drone

Control: 4-channel 2.4 Ghz controller with smartphone holder
Camera: No
Flying time: about 10 minutes
Charging time: approx. 60 minutes
Control range: about 100 metres
Spare parts: 1 full set of rotors
Price: between R1 800 and R2 200
Available at: The Gadget Shop, Hobby Mania

If you’re in the market for a drone from our 10 drones list, be sure to check out the January issue of Popular Mechanics. It comes with a FREE discount voucher from The Gadget Shop. The magazine goes on sale on 19 December. Terms and conditions apply.

*Note that all prices are approximations and were accurate at the time of publishing. All drones on this 10 drones list are subject to availability at the mentioned retailer’s discretion.