10 Best Kids Drones | April 2017

10 Best Kids Drones
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. With all the recent talk (and newsworthy crash-landings) of UAVs, it's no surprise that remote-controlled aircraft top a growing number of kids' wish lists. But there's no need to spend a fortune, when inexperience and reckless flying may see your investment smashed to smithereens within minutes – or even seconds – of liftoff. These kid-friendly drones offer all the fun without breaking the bank. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best kids drone on Amazon.
10
Even in the toy category, UAVs just don't get much more affordable – or nano – than the Eachine 010 Mini, making it a great option for youthful and first-time pilots to get the hang of buzzing the landscape and working the controls with a minimal risk of collateral damage.
  • fpv module available
  • can do flips and rolls
  • no automatic hover function
Brand EACHINE
Model pending
Weight 7 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
9
While the HD camera, customized routing, and 1-touch liftoff make it easy for new pilots-in-training to launch, fly and take a few snapshots with the UDI U45, its sturdy construction and automatic return-to-home help get it safely back to base and withstand hard landings.
  • includes sd card and bonus powerbank
  • headless navigation for beginners
  • altitude hold function is unreliable
Brand Force1
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
8
Weighing in at just over 100 grams, the Syma X5SC stays aloft indoors or outside for up to 7 minutes per 100 minutes of charge time. It offers greater stability and wind resistance than other small drones for aerial acrobatics and photography at a moderate price.
  • gyroscopic stabilization on 6 axes
  • recommended for ages 14 and above
  • hard landings may damage rotors
Brand Syma
Model X5C-W
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
7
Charging in 30 minutes or less, the Parrot Mambo comes with a playful cannon to fire projectiles at targets and a grabber to grasp light payloads in flight. Designed for fun, it's ideal for kids and young-at-heart pilots eager for some remote-operated airborne playtime.
  • does flips and barrel rolls
  • flies at up to 11 miles per hour
  • 200-foot controller range
Brand Parrot
Model PF727001
Weight 11.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
6
With its included spare battery, the QCopter QC1 provides up to 30 minutes of in-air action between charges. In addition to providing more time to practice piloting skills, it has an HD camera to capture your adventures and colorful LEDs for nighttime illumination.
  • lightweight yet sturdy construction
  • 6-axis gyroscopic flight stability
  • batteries won't overload or overheat
Brand QCopter
Model QC1
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
5
Featuring 6-axis gyro stabilization, WiFi FPV, and an innovative gravity induction mode, the UDI U818A provides an immersive flying experience via live video feed and smartphone control functionality. A modular design makes for easy repairs after any hard landings.
  • includes 2 long-life batteries
  • headless mode for easy navigation
  • for beginning to advanced operators
Brand USA Toyz
Model pending
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
4
There's plenty of fun to be had flying the Holy Stone HS170 Predator solo, but for more exciting action, any number of users can pilot (and race) their quadcopters in unison, using a dedicated controller for each and allowing for brief cooldown periods between heats.
  • fly indoors or outside
  • colorful leds for visibility
  • no faa registration required
Brand Holy Stone
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
With distinct flight modes for beginners and experts, and bright LEDs for great visibility, the affordable Hubsan X4 only needs half an hour to recharge for 6-8 minutes of high-flying acrobatics. It's also available with a camera for snapping pictures of the action.
  • powerful and responsive
  • great for learning the ropes
  • spare propeller guards included
Brand Hubsan
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
2
Offering ruggedness, stability and fun in a small package, the Syma X11 is a budget-friendly starter drone for beginners aged 14 and up. Six-axis gyro stabilization, bright LEDs and a quick charging time make it all the more entertaining and easy to fly.
  • throw from one hand to launch
  • spare parts for quick repairs
  • reasonably priced
Brand SYMA
Model pending
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
1
The Holy Stone F181 comes with a 2 megapixel HD camera onboard and a free backup battery for extra flying time, which offers plenty of opportunities for trying out tricks like 360-degree eversions and controlled hovering using the altitude hold function.
  • easy headless-mode operation
  • one-key automatic return
  • exceptional customer service
Brand Holy Stone
Model F181
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

We Will Try Not To Drone On

Kids drones, otherwise known as quad-copters, are a condensed version of the typical drones used for recreation by adults. A drone is considered an “unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).” There are other uses for the word, but this is the one that many people think of when considering a drone.

The military uses drones for surveillance and other operations. They operate via an on board computer system and can be controlled from the ground. A kids drone is a recreational machine that is powered much the same way but on a smaller scale.

Some are designed to be simple to use and can fly or hover above the ground at varying speeds. Some can even perform tricks and flips through the air and have a long range for continuous outdoor use. Most kids drones are equipped with rechargeable batteries and can be set aside at night and left to charge so they are ready for use the next day.

Some kids drones are equipped with attractive LED lights so they can be flown at night. Many require FAA registration depending on how high they fly and the areas in which they are used. They are built with long-range transmitters and multiple flight modes so they can be easily controlled.

There are kids drones that have a significant learning curve and can be frustrating to operate at first even when following the instructions. They are often built to withstand bumps and crashes and can be repaired with included spare parts.

Still some can be connected to a computer or USB charger for easy recharging and file transfers from a large gigabyte memory card. These are perfect for storing pictures taken during flight. This has been a convenient feature often utilized by the media, photographers, researchers, and other professions. The memory cards included in kids drones are intended specifically for recreational use.

Don't Take Off Just Yet

Before running out and buying a drone for your child's next birthday or Christmas gift, consider all of the factors that could enhance or hinder the experience.

Give the neighbors courtesy and privacy. Set boundaries with your child regarding the drone. Some neighbors might not be excited at the prospect, and others might have legitimate privacy concerns, especially if your drone is equipped with a camera.

Check the local laws to ensure that drones are legal in your area. Check local state laws in addition to neighborhood rules and ordinances. Monitor UAV news outlets because drone photography can be a big deal in some areas. Finally, check out the FAA regulations because they are constantly changing.

Keep in mind that a drone is not a toy, even if it is intended for recreation. Talk with your child about how to properly use his drone before allowing the first flight. Children will often have to learn definitions that are generally specific to pilots. Check out a list of commonly used terms, and go over that list with your child.

Make sure your child gets ample practice. They often have a significant learning curve and are not as simple as setting up and taking off. They take time and practice, and learning to deal with accidents and crashes will be a must. Practicing with a drone specifically designed for indoor flight might be the best bet for beginners.

Finally, consider the amount of maintenance that your chosen drone might require. Teaching your child to be responsible and aware of his surroundings will help reduce accidents and subsequently reduce the cost of maintenance and repair.

A Brief History Of The Kids Drone

When a drone springs to mind, we often think of the ones designed for military use. While it is true that many countries across the world utilize them in their armed forces, drones or UAVs have many uses besides military surveillance and defense.

It can be argued that the world’s first drones were hot air balloons used in the American Civil War. The armies used them to drop explosives on the enemy. These original drones worked by releasing the bottom of the balloon basket on a timer in order to drop the explosives in a specified area. And in 1916, Archibald M. Low made one of the first attempts at a UAV with the “Aerial Target.”

By the 1930s, UAVs were being used by pilots as combat training tools. They created an opportunity for a military pilot to practice shooting down another plane without risking harming a fellow pilot. The Nazis introduced the V-1 during World War II and caused significant casualties to the Allies. It was because of this that the United States was propelled to develop their own UAV program.

Military drones still require significant training and a pilot’s license in order to operate. However, because of today’s advanced technology UAVs eliminate the need for a pilot to actually be on board the plane. This goes a long way in reducing war casualties and unnecessary injury and loss of life during test flight operations. These drones are operated using GPS or other on board computer navigation systems.

Some other uses for drones are to perform geographic surveys, home security, monitoring livestock, road patrols and other police force operations, media, photography, anti-piracy, and many others. Some companies, such as Amazon, are even experimenting with the possibility of using drones to make deliveries on customer purchases.



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Last updated on April 19, 2017 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with an alphabet-soup of credentials to her name, Lydia has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts, throwing herself into a broad constellation of interests. From antithetical cultural analysis to interdisciplinary combat training, she bears the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience. Reading, biking and exploring are favorite pastimes, but – with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order (not on speaking terms with a higher power) and becoming an artist (can’t even draw a respectable stick-figure) – she’d try almost anything once.


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