Five years ago, a mere mention of the best action camera under $100 would have amounted to blasphemy.
‘$100? Seriously? What can you get for $100? Certainly not a decent camera.’
Cut to today, the market is teeming with action cameras under $100 that can give the GoPros, the Sonys and the DJIs a serious sucker punch.
Sometimes, you’ve got to love China.
So, if you have been hunting for a decent action camera that gives you jitter free footage without causing a dent in your wallet, you are at the right place.
We have been scouring the market for the past month and a half for cheap action cameras and we found some amazing options under $200. You can check them out over here.
But the ardent spendthrifts that we are, we decided to take it one notch further and look for the best action camera under $100.
Believe it or not, we found 10 of them.
Here they are.
If you read our previous article, you’d have noticed that our #1 pick was the Akaso Elite. Well, what can we say?
We just can’t get enough of this brand. They pack their action cameras with as many features as they can and top it off with a drool-worthy price tag.
This one is the Brave 4, which is an upgrade to one of their bestselling models, the AKASO EK7000.
The Brave 4 records 4K footage at 24fps and 2K at 30FPS while slow motion is at full HD. It also features high resolution images clicked at 20MP.
The image quality is brilliant for a budget-priced camera. You can adjust the view angle of the lens from 70 to 170 ° and an in-built gyroscope keeps the footage jerk-free.
The Brave 4 is waterproof for up to 100 feet. This makes it a great choice for most underwater applications, except deep water scuba.
Operating the camera under water is a treat thanks to the wireless remote control wristband, which makes it as simple as touching a few buttons to toggle between the different shooting modes, or using the 5x zoom to narrow down into your subjects.
Like the rest of their cameras, Akaso throws in a very impressive accessory bundle at no additional cost.
If you are looking for a feature rich best action camera under $100, look no further.
AKASO Brave 4
2. Neewer G1 – Best Accessory kit with a budget action cam
The Neewer G1 brings you high definition 4K video at 30fps and stunning pictures clicked at 16MP.
Slow motion footage at 60FPS is recorded at full HD, while 120 fps is recorded at 720P.
It is also one of the handful of cameras that allow you to record the footage at different video resolutions to conserve memory card space.
So, if you are short of space on the card, just reduce the resolution to say, 5M and you can store more.
There are multiple shooting modes and a brute of a sensor under the rugged PE casing.
It is compact and light enough for all-day carry, even when mounted on your wrist. Talking about mounting, Neewer gives you 50 universal accessories with the package. That includes a helmet mount, body mount, bicycle mount, wrist mount and many others. If you were to buy these accessories separately, that would make you poorer by at least a few hundred dollars.
Also, these are compatible with GoPro and most other action cams. Great value folks!
Controlling the cam is extremely easy. There’s a large touchscreen display that lets you access most functions easily. You also have the option to download the Ez iCam App on your smartphone, both Android and Iphone to access the functions.
If you are looking for a value for money package, you’ve got it right here.
3. Campark X15
Campark’s new X15, which is an upgrade to one of their previous bestsellers, ticks all the right boxes that you look for while buying action cameras.
It shoots at 4K, downgradable to 720P as you increase the frame rate, comes with a large 2” IPS touchscreen display that makes it a treat to review footage, as well as toggle through shooting modes, and features in-built Electronic Image Stabilization that keeps the videos butter smooth, irrespective of how jerky the ride is.
It is waterproof for up to 98 feet, which while not excellent, is suitable for most applications. One of the best parts though is that 170° high definition 6G lens that allows you to manually set the exposure.
There’s no fish-eye warp to the videos and the manual settings get you the most out of the camera even in poorly lit surroundings.
Among the various shooting modes that most action cameras these days boast of, we particularly liked the Ultra Time Lapse feature.
Oh, comes with a 3-year, industry-leading warranty. Great customer support too with a 24-hour guaranteed response time.
4. BOIFUN 4K 20MP – Best all round pick
With Ultra HD 4k Footage, this petite action cam from Boifun rates among the best action cameras in the market currently.
It gives you stunning quality 4K videos at 30fps and 20MP pictures that would put your $500 smartphone to shame.
And it even comes with a 2.5mm external microphone that records clear audio for professional footage. Video logs for your YouTube channel? This has you covered.
Unlike most budget action cameras, this one boasts of a Six-axis anti-shake EIS technology that all but eliminates jerks and jitters from the video. We saw some amazing footage of the Boifun camera mounted on a bicycle handle. It was absolutely smooth.
Also, the 170-degree wide angle lens takes the footage to a whole new perspective, irrespective of whether you are shooting on land or on water.
The Boifun camera is Wi-Fi compatible and comes with a whole bunch of shooting modes to make life easier for you when you shoot. There’s time lapse, slow motion and loop mode. When taking pictures, you can set a selfie timer or shoot in burst.
To top it off, it ships with two 2100mAh batteries and a truckload of accessories.
BOIFUN 4K 20MP
5. Dragon Touch 4K – Best design
No one said that action cameras had to look frumpy. This stylish action camera from Dragon touch is an absolute stunner.
It has a vintage, polaroid-inspired design that looks extremely cool. And it’s certainly no mug with the bat when it comes to features.
It can shoot 4K videos at 30FPS and comes with 4x optical zoom for those close-ups on the go. Zooming in as well as accessing the other functions are as easy as pinching with your fingers on the large touchscreen display.
You also have the option of using the wireless wrist remote. But we like the touchscreen a lot more.
Other than the standard features, it comes with an angle-adjustable lens that can be adjusted from 70° to 170° in four incremental angles.
So you can go from super narrow to extremely wide at the touch of a button.
It is waterproof to 100 feet and comes with a basic accessory kit for helmet mounts.
You can download the XDV app for quick sharing your footage on social media.
Dragon Touch 4K
6. DBPOWER 4K Action Camera – Best cheap Option
To be honest, we were absolutely stunned to see the price tag on the DBPower action camera.
How can anybody produce such an amazing camera for this low a price?
When we saw the footage, we were convinced that this is the perfect backup camera for us. It shoots videos at 4K resolution, clicks pictures at 20MP and is waterproof to 100-feet.
Moreover, it comes with an extremely rugged waterproof case and a reasonably good accessory kit.
There are tons of shooting modes and options. There’s driving mode, slow motion, drama shot and manual exposure and white balance settings.
It features a 170° wide-angle lens like a $150 action camera and also comes with two 900mAh batteries.
An inbuilt 3-axis gyroscope provides stability.
The footage quality may not be the best. But that’s subjective, isn’t it? We have seen so many action cameras in the past month or so that we may very well be biased towards some of the higher end ones.
That being said, if you are looking for a dirt cheap action camera for recreational use, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t fit the bill.
Just remember that you can buy four or even five of these for the amount of cash that you’d spend on a GoPro.
DBPOWER 4K Action Camera
At a little more money than the DBPower 4K action cam, you can get yourself the Crosstour Action camera.
This one’s a mixed-bag of sorts. The maximum shooting resolution is full HD and it can only click pictures at 12MP.
But what it lacks in resolution, it makes up in features and accessories that it ships with.
For starters, it comes with that 170°wide-angle lens that seems to make all the difference in run-of-the-mill footage and exceptional quality footage. More importantly, warping is minimal, if any.
It has a 2” LCD display to make it easier to toggle through the functions as well as tweak footage settings.
Unlike the earlier model, this one comes with 2 x 1050mAh batteries. So there’s more juice on offer allowing you a longer shooting time.
It is waterproof to 98-feet. So even if you are looking for an underwater cam for scuba, this one fits the bill.
Adding further value to your purchase are 18 multifunctional accessories that are GoPro Compatible.
By the way, if you are hung up on 4K, Crosstour has some amazing action cameras that shoot 4K video. You can check them out over here.
Crosstour CT7000 Action Camera
8. AKAMATE Kids Action Camera – Best kids action camera
This kiddie action camera from Akamate will keep your children busy this Christmas season.
It features an attractive, bright casing available in blue and pink with a high quality camera and a bunch of mounting accessories. They can mount it on their bicycles, on their wrist or on a helmet, just like their parents do.
It shoots videos at 1080P at 30FPS and pictures at 5MP and features in-built filters and photo frame effects that lets them customize the pictures.
Not only is this a great way to introduce them to photography, it also encourages creativity.
Using the camera is extremely easy as there’s a large 2” colorful, touchscreen display.
With the built-in rechargeable, 1000mAh battery, it is possible to record up to 150-minutes of FULL HD videos.
Also, Akamate throws in a bonus 32GB Micro SD card that allows them to store up to 20000 images.
So, the camera comes ready to use, right out of the box.
Overall, we couldn’t be more pleased with the Akamate Kiddie Action camera. Makes a great gifting option as well as introduces kids to the concepts of photography.
AKAMATE Kids Action Camera
9. Polaroid Cube Act II – Smallest action camera
The second iteration of the Polaroid Cube is just as tiny as the earlier one. But it packs in a few more features under the same cube-shaped attractive casing.
For the uninitiated, the cube is so small that it can fit right into your forefingers and weighs just 49 grams. If you hate clunky action cams with huge mounting mechanisms, cube maybe right up your alley.
In fact, it comes with a magnetic base that makes it easier to mount on metallic surfaces without any attachments at all.
The cube boasts of a 124-degree lens and can capture videos at FULL HD and images at 6MP.
The image stabilization is one of the best in the business. You can mount this on even the bumpiest ride and get absolutely smooth, stable footage.
Using it is as easy as deep-pressing the multifunctional button and you are all set to record. While there’s no fancy, LCD display, you won’t find yourself fumbling with buttons to use the cube, which is always welcome.
It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that give you 90-minutes of recording time.
Polaroid Cube Act II
10. HLS 4K Action Camera – Best Battery Life
Last but not the least, we have the HLS 4K Action camera that boasts of the longest running battery pack in this list of the best low-priced action camera.
We know what you just thought. Isn’t battery life subject to usage, LCD brightness, video resolution and a bunch of other factors?
Well, it is. But the HLS Action camera is the only one that ships with two 1350mAh batteries at this price point. Even if you can churn out 90-minutes of 4K video from one battery, that gives you a whopping 180-minutes of recording time at the highest resolution.
If you are frustrated at batteries that run out of juice prematurely, you’ll love this one.
It can shoot 4K videos at 30fps, clicks pictures at 12MP and comes with the 170-degree wide angle lens that’s a standard with most action cameras today.
There are multiple shooting modes, but no image stabilization, which is a minor let down, especially if you use action cams for adventure sports.
But if you use it mainly for holiday videos, then you won’t miss the EIS by much.
It is Wi-Fi compatible, has a 2” LCD display and comes bundled with a basic mounting kit.
HLS 4K Action Camera
How to Select the Best Action Camera Under 100
‘You get what you pay for’!
You might have heard that a 100 times before. And to be fair, that was pretty much how it worked while shopping for action cameras a few years ago.
As you dropped your budget by even a few dollars, the quality of the camera that you could buy at that budget dropped considerably as well.
But today, it’s all about smart shopping. You can very well buy a great action camera under 100 dollars.
Some of them, even under $50 as long as you know what to look for.
Here’s a brief buying guide for first timers shopping for action cameras.
The build quality
If you were spending more money, we’d have attributed more importance to the quality of the footage.
But at this price point, it is extremely important to pick cameras that can take a licking and keep on kicking.
Is the camera body made of tough polyethylene? Is it rubberized? Is it waterproof out of the box or does it ship with a separate waterproof casing?
What about the LCD? Does it come with a gorilla glass cover?
No camera is bulletproof against physical damage. But checking for these attributes should give you long term, uneventful usage.
Rather than using 4K video as a benchmark of quality, check the quality of the actual footage.
Not everybody needs 4K Ultra HD. Not unless you are a professional Vlogger or a YouTuber. Moreover, even if two cameras are advertised with identical specifications, their footage quality may vary depending on the sensor and the quality of the glass on the camera.
If you aren’t hung up on 4K, you can get amazing clarity even at full HD. Vivid and bright enough to send your gram followers on a tizzy.
Just to be sure, we have included a wide range of good action cameras that have both 4K videos as well as amazing clarity and color reproduction.
This is another feature that is often hyped by manufacturers to sell their wares.
What’s your intended use of the camera? If it will mainly be mounted on your car dashboard or on the handle of your bicycle, you don’t really need a camera that’s waterproof to 130 feet. That might be a great add-on feature. But it’s not mandatory.
But if you use it mainly for underwater photo and videography, then you need a camera that’s waterproof to at least 100-feet.
Ease of use
Every action camera these days looks identical. But when you have it mounted on your wrist while you are hurling down a slope at 100mph, things change quickly.
You want a camera that’s easy to operate. One that gives you access to most functions at the click of one or two buttons at best. You don’t want the main features buried deep under layer after layer of menu options.
Does it have a large LCD touchscreen display? If not, then does it have one-touch-recording?
Does it ship with a wireless remote?
How easy is it to control the camera? Does it have a compatible mobile application?
Is expecting an accessory kit with your budget action camera too much to ask for?
Not really. Most manufacturers these days throw in some accessories with their cameras. Also, these accessories don’t come cheap if you were to buy them separately.
So any camera that comes with an exhaustive accessory bundle is definitely worth considering over one that doesn’t.
Connectivity and sharing
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are standard features in action cameras these days. But if it’s compatible with a mobile application, chances are that you can directly share the captured footage on to social media after basic edits.
If you are a social media junkie (who isn't?), then that’s a feature that you’d want to watch out for.
On the other hand, if you perform your edits on a laptop, then you might want to look for HDMI connectivity.
That sums up our list of the best action cameras under $100.
We hope that you enjoyed the read and that you can find yourself a great action camera at this price point.
Until next time, adios!