The 10 Best Kids Drones
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in October of 2015. It's no surprise that remote-controlled aircraft top a growing number of kids' holiday and birthday wish lists. But there's no need to spend a fortune on a machine, only to see it smashed up quickly by an inexperienced pilot. These kid-friendly drones come for a budget-friendly price, and, more importantly, have integrated safety features to reduce the possibility of injuries. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
December 26, 2020:
While we feel that safety is most important when considering which drone to buy for a child, we did our best to also balance performance when making our selections. It is also vital to understand that not every model here is suited to every age group, so make sure to read the manufacturer's guidelines regarding recommended pilot age. A good rule of thumb is that the more guards around the rotors, the younger the pilot can be. For example, the Syma X100, Air Hogs U.S.S Enterprise, and Snaptain H823H, and Force1 Scoot 2 are smart choices for very young pilots, as their propellers are completely enclosed in cages. Conversely, the Potensic A20W, UDI U818A-HD, Snaptain SP300, and similar models, should be reserved for more responsible operators.
December 12, 2019:
When it comes to drones for kids, we feel safety should take top priority over performance. While no model is completely without risk of injury, we did our best to mitigate that by only including quadcopters that had full rotor guards, some of which even feature a cage that completely encompasses the top and bottom of the propellers. For the most part, we also kept our choices to mini and nano models, since these will cause the least damage if they crash into something. Additionally, we took cost and ease of control into account, since nobody wants to spend a lot of money on a toy that their child breaks after just a couple of uses.
When it comes to coolness factor, few can match the Air Hogs Millennium Falcon, which looks and flies just like the iconic spaceship from the Star Wars movies. It is made of a lightweight foam that is more resistant to damage than the hard plastic most others are constructed of, and it offers an impressive control range. For the odd kid who doesn't love Star Wars, the Eachine E016F is probably the next best thing. Since it can travel over land and water, in addition to flying, it's like getting three toys in one. Another model that stands apart from the rest is the Snaptain SP300, thanks to its G-sensor equipped watch that allows you to control its flight by moving your arm around.
For slightly older children who want something that looks and acts a bit more like an adult drone, the UDI U818A is a good choice. It can live stream high-definition video to a smartphone and is larger than many other kid's models, yet is still lightweight enough that it does't require FAA registration.
If you don't want to take any chances when it comes to safey, you'll want to look at the Eachine E016F, Syma X100, and Force1 Scoot, all of which have full cages around the rotors. The Force1 Scoot is especially good for young kids as it doesn't even require them to learn to pilot it via a remote control. Instead, everything is done with simple hand gestures. This does mean that it doesn't allow for precise maneuvering, however.
We Will Try Not To Drone On
There are kids drones that have a significant learning curve and can be frustrating to operate at first even when following the instructions.
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.
Teaching your child to be responsible and aware of his surroundings will help reduce accidents and subsequently reduce the cost of maintenance and repair.
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.
The Nazis introduced the V-1 during World War II and caused significant casualties to the Allies.
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.