5 Best Action Cameras Under $100 (That are Actually Decent) [2020 Update]
To capture those thrilling, adrenaline-infused moments, you need a solid action camera that can withstand rough handling.
The rugged action cameras are no longer confined to professional photographers.
When you think of action cameras, you probably think GoPro.
The brand has singlehandedly made action cameras popular among not just sports enthusiasts, but pet lovers and homemakers too.
Nowadays, everyone from professional snowboarders to cute pets who can’t stand still wears action cameras to capture breathtaking moments.
Thanks to this widespread popularity, there are plenty of action cameras that are highly affordable for budget users.
You really don’t need to spend more than $100 for a good action camera with great features for home use.
Here is our pick at a glance:
Best Action Camera Under $100 List – 2023
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If you want high-quality images and video and don’t want to pay a high price tag, then this action camera will do the trick for you.
This camera is surprisingly high tech for its price tag. As a result, it offers up features such as 4K resolution.
However, it should be noted that there is virtually no difference between the 1080p and 4K. Nevertheless, this a camera that boasts crisp video quality.
Thanks to the professional image stabilization, you don’t have to worry about any shakiness or blurriness on your footage.
You can also capture 16MP images, ensuring that your stills are just as magnificent as the video.
A waterproof casing ensures that this action camera can be used up to depths of 40m. This allows you to take your camera wherever your adventures are.
The action camera also comes with various modes such as Time Lapse, Slow Motion, Burst Mode, and more. This lets you get creative with each and every one of your shots.
The external microphone adds to the whole experience, allowing you to capture sounds perfectly, wherever you go.
- Great video quality
- Stable images and video
- High-quality images
- Numerous modes
- Waterproof housing
- External microphone
- 4K quality doesn’t live up to the hype.
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If you are looking for an action camera that will offer up high-quality video and images with amazing detail, then this is the device for you.
With the video, you get to enjoy HD 4K with 24fps and 2K with 30fps recording. The camera can also capture 20MP photos.
This isn’t the only reason that you can get such amazing footage with this camera, though. There are lots of other features that make it easier to capture the perfect shot.
For instance, you can choose from a variety of optional view angles depending on the picture that you are trying to take.
Then, the built-in gyroscope means that you to get to enjoy the ultimate image stabilization and won’t have to worry about any shaking either.
While the visual quality of this action camera is virtually flawless, you will find that the sound quality isn’t as great, particularly when the camera is in its waterproof casing.
Speaking of which, when the camera is in its protective case, it is waterproof up to 30m.
Yet another exciting fact is that the camera is equipped with rechargeable batteries, each that can last up to 90 minutes at a time.
Last but certainly not least, you can transfer media from your camera either with Wi-Fi or an HDMI cable, allowing you to share your pictures and video much more quickly.
- High-quality video and images
- Additional features
- Waterproof up to 30m
- Great battery life
- Easy to share media
- The sound quality isn’t great
3. EKEN H9R
When you’re on holiday or simply doing a bit of exploring, it is difficult to predict the type of scenes that you will stumble onto.
This action camera, however, ensures that you are ready for anything with all of the accessories you have on hand.
It is equipped with mounts, tripods, and more, allowing you to get the perfect shot every time.
To top this off, the camera also has a remote that allows you to control the various functions on the device without actually having it in your hands.
Of course, the main function of the camera is to be able to produce high quality images and this is exactly what this device lets you do.
You can record vide at either 4K at 25fps, 1080p at 30fps, or 720p at 12fps. As for photo resolution, you can enjoy images up to 12MP.
This is also definitely an action camera that you can take anywhere with you. For one thing, it is equipped with a waterproof case that it keeps it protected up to 30m.
Furthermore, the case is incredibly hardy and great for all conditions.
You will find it quite easy to transfer video and images as this camera can manage this either with Wi-Fi or an HDMI cable.
The only real downside is that the rechargeable battery may not last as long as you would like but there is fortunately an additional one provided.
- High quality capturing and imaging features
- Waterproof up to 30m
- Lots of additional accessories
- Quick transfer of media
- Battery doesn’t last very long
4. AKASO EK7000
If you are someone who tends to be quite active and always engaged in adventurous sports, then you will need a camera with a more hands-off approach.
Well, if this is what you are looking for then, this action camera will fit the bill well. See, the camera comes equipped with a wrist remote control.
Therefore, you can easily change from one format to another and even switch modes with the remote. This allows you to control the recording more easily.
This is also camera that offers up really great image and recording quality.
You can record in 4K at 25fps or 1080p at 30fps. The camera lets you capture 20MP images as well.
The downside of this high quality is that the battery doesn’t last too long while recording. So, although you are provided with an additional rechargeable battery, this can be rather frustrating.
The good news, though, is that the camera comes with a hardy, waterproof case. As a result, you can take it up to 30m with you underwater.
Last but certainly not least is the fact that the camera has built-in Wi-Fi which makes transferring media an absolute breeze.
You also have the choice of relying on an HDMI cable for this process if you want to.
- Great quality images and video
- Waterproof up to 30m
- Easy to transfer media
- Remote control
- Short battery life
5. Dragon Touch
This is definitely a versatile camera. Not only is it durable, it also boasts a lot of different features, ensuring that you can capture images the way that you want to.
As for the quality, this isn’t bad either. Now, you can select from 4K at 30fps, 2.7K, at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps when recording.
However, it is best to stick with 1080p as the higher quality recording bitrate isn’t great. Thus, the resulting video isn’t as smooth as you would like it to be.
Regardless the 16MP images are great and you can see beautiful details in the images.
Another one of the perks with this camera is that it is simple to use, even during adventurous activities. This is largely thanks to the wireless remote that lets you control the camera from a distance.
To add to this, this camera has an excellent waterproof case. This means that even when you are 30m beneath the surface of the water, the camera will function perfectly.
With the Wi-Fi feature, you can transmit the images and recordings that you have captured quickly and with limited hassle.
Finally, this camera comes with two rechargeable batteries so that you can enjoy prolonged usage while on your adventures.
- Good video and images
- Waterproof up to 30m
- Good battery life
- Easy to transfer files
- Remote accessories
- 4K quality isn’t great
How to Buy an Action Camera with a $100 Budget
When people think of the best action cameras, they think GoPro. This is not the only brand available out there.
So, be open minded and be willing to learn to get a good action camera under $100 that suits your needs.
Do not discriminate based on the brand name. Discriminate based on the features offered against the price.
Video resolution is very important when buying an action camera. Otherwise, you can do with just about any smartphone camera.
Currently, 4K is the highest action camera resolution available. Next come 1080p and 720p resolutions.
To stream top-quality 4K video, you need compatible TVs or a computer.
If you don’t, go for the 1080p and 720p resolutions, which is compatible with almost all TVs and computers.
Size and shape of the camera also matter. For example, box-shaped action cameras are the best for chest mounting. Bullet shaped ones are the best for helmet mounting.
If you need a highly portable action camera, choose the most lightweight one.
Most action cameras have rugged exteriors to last long. However, do pay attention to features on offer like waterproof and weatherproof.
If you plan on taking your action camera near a body of water, make sure it doesn’t require a waterproof casing.
Field of View and Other Factors
The field of view (FOV) offered in action cameras matter when it comes to how a moment is captured.
Action cameras offer wide angle, medium and narrow FOVs.
Wide angle is the most common, but it also commonly causes distortions in the angle.
You need to consider the megapixel level offered by the action camera to take still photos.
The higher the MP is, the better the photo resolution will be, just like in smartphones.
Expect that battery life will depend on usage level. If you shoot high-res videos, have Wi-Fi on, the battery will drain faster.
So, don’t take the battery life on the label too seriously as it can vary depending on usage.
You may need to buy extra accessories to use your action camera for certain activities.
For example, if you need surfing footage, you will have to buy a special mount to fix the camera onto a surfing board. Not all cameras can be accessorized in that manner.
So, before you buy, carefully consider your needs. When buying, make sure the camera can be accessorized the way you want to for special needs.