The 10 Best Nano Drones

Updated January 11, 2017 by Lydia Chipman

10 Best Nano Drones
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 35 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. They may not be big enough to deliver packages for you-know-who, but these nano drones can deliver hours of remote controlled flying fun both indoors and outdoors. Try one of these diminutive machines if you are new to piloting or get one for the kids rather than a full-size model, so you won't shed a tear when it gets broken (and it will). When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best nano drone on Amazon.
10
The Skeye Quad by TRNDlabs has an integrated front-mounted 3-megapixel camera and flies more quietly than most drones. Coupled with its small size and wide 160-foot flight range, it's great for remotely capturing decent videos. It also comes with extra blades and guards.
  • can be thrown to launch
  • 30 minutes to recharge
  • not the best at withstanding impacts
Brand TRNDlabs
Model 2642
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
9
Available in a variety of colors for the aesthetically-inclined, the Cheerson CX-10 can be operated in three different flight modes and launched by hurling it into the air. It flies for 5-8 minutes per charge and features colorful LEDs for operation in darkness.
  • faa registration not required
  • connecting with remote can be tricky
  • difficult to fly in windy conditions
Brand Cheerson
Model CX-10-Blue
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
8
The JJRC H18 hexacopter is fast and durable, but the learning-to-fly curve may be a bit steeper than with similarly-sized quads. Powered by a 3.7v, 180 mAh lithium battery, it swoops, dives, and speeds along for 5-6 minutes per charge.
  • includes 4 replacement blades
  • withstands impacts well
  • takes 40 minutes to charge
Brand COOCHEER
Model pending
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
7
Flying and recharging quickly, the miniscule Hubsan Q4 is agile enough to perform 360-degree eversions and other tricky maneuvers for eight to ten minutes at a time, and can be launched from one of the operator's hands, with the controller held in the other hand.
  • features bicolor flashing leds
  • three different performance modes
  • rotors come off easily
Brand Hubsan
Model pending
Weight 5 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
6
The Syma X12 is a highly maneuverable quad that zips around for up to ten minutes per charge -- swerving, diving, and performing nimble flips. A powerful transmitter makes controlling it easy, and a rugged construction means it recovers well from the occasional collision.
  • 4 aa batteries recharge quickly
  • gyroscopic stability control
  • responsive radio control
Brand SYMA
Model X12
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
5
Packing features like 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization, headless operation, interchangeable batteries, multilevel control modes, and plenty of power into a palm-sized airframe, the UDI RC U27 offers exceptional value at an affordable price.
  • three levels of operation
  • capable of flying in inverted mode
  • navigational leds on fuselage
Brand UDI RC
Model U27
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
4
The Eachine 010 can be operated in "compass mode" to maintain flight path and direction according to the controller's orientation, and it's capable of doing flips and barrel rolls with ease. One-key automatic return brings it right home when it ventures out of sight.
  • ready to fly and easy to use
  • responsive and powerful
  • features gyroscopic stabilization
Brand EACHINE
Model pending
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
3
Popular for its reliably fast and powerful performance, the Hubsan X4 offers separate flying modes for beginners and experts, as well as interchangeable batteries, for loads of entertaining experience in unmanned flight. It's also available with an onboard camera.
  • inexpensive replacement parts
  • extra batteries readily available
  • stands up to repeated crashing
Brand Hubsan
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
The Blade Nano QX has tough brushed motors that provide smooth and powerful lift. It's ruggedly built, speedy, easy to fly, and can switch between SAFE technology gyro stabilization for better ease of use and stunt mode for flashier tricks.
  • up to 8 minutes flying time
  • sensor system maintains stability
  • blade guards are built in
Brand Blade
Model BLH7680
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
1
The Holy Stone HS170 Predator isn't the smallest of nano drones, but its greater heft keeps it steadier in windy conditions. It features LEDs for better visibility and removable batteries for potentially unlimited flying time, provided you let it cool down between flights.
  • can withstand multiple crashes
  • recovers quickly from flips
  • 6-8 minutes of flying per charge
Brand Holy Stone
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Better Than The Average Drone

Unlike your average drone for recreational use, nano drones are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. They fly in a similar manner to other recreational drones, however, they are generally easier to operate and better for beginners. They are also a perfect choice for children who want to get into drone flying and parents who don’t want to spend a lot of money. The micro quadcopters are excellent for learning the basic drone-flying skills without worrying about causing significant damage to surrounding property or the drone itself.

While there are a wide range of nano drones on the market for recreational use, nano drones have been in development for use by the military and various entities for some time. The Black Hornet Nano was invented in Norway and is used by the Norwegian and British Armies.

Other nano drones include the Dragonfly Drone and the Hummingbird Drone. The Dragonfly Drone was used in 2007 at a protest in Washington D.C. It is a military surveillance drone that uses the physics of a dragonfly in order to hover and fly in all directions. The Hummingbird Drone is designed to look almost exactly like a hummingbird and flies in a similar manner. It is used by the military for surveillance as well. None of these three drones can be purchased by the general public.

However, the nano drones available for public use have a number of incredible capabilities and uses. Nano drones and their larger counterparts are poised to be the next big thing in photography with many of them being equipped with high-powered cameras. However, the FAA currently restricts drones being used to make money, so professional photographers will have to wait on that front.

Drone hobbyists are enjoying using nano drones and the large recreational drones for first-person view(FPV). These drones are equipped with a camera and beam a video to a pair of goggles.

One big advantage to nano drones is that if they are under nine ounces in weight, they don’t have to be registered with the FAA. Their small size and shorter flight times allow you to get the experience of flying a drone without putting a damper on your fun with government regulations.

Flight With A Purpose

You’re not going to break the bank buying a nano drone no matter what you choose, but there are a few things you should think about before you make your purchase.

First, are you buying for fun or practice? If you just want a cheap drone to fly for fun, nearly any nano drone will do. However, if you are a beginner and in need of practice before you move onto the more expensive models, you will want to pick one with all of the capabilities of the bigger drone you intend to buy.

Second, do you want to take photos and videos? If you are interested in recording your flights, you will need to purchase a nano drone with a camera. Because it is a nano drone, you will have low probability of damage in the event of a crash, and you can have all the advantages of a photo and video capable drone without the high price tag.

Third, consider the flight time. Nano drones have small batteries and generally charge quickly. Unfortunately, this means that they have short flight times. If you are purchasing a nano drone, you are likely looking at no more than ten minutes of maximum flight time on the best models.

Finally, consider whether you want to fly your drone indoors or outdoors. The mini quadcopters are generally best for outdoor flight because they offer more stability. If you plan to purchase a nano drone that is not a quadcopter, understand that it will likely not fly well in anything stronger than a light breeze. Regardless of the nano drone you choose, practice indoors before venturing outside.

A Brief History of the Nano Drone

The most advanced nano drones in existence today have been designed for military use by several different countries. However, the nano drones designed for recreational use have been patterned after the designs of their larger counterparts. They operate in a similar manner, and many of them share all of the same features as an average-sized drone. The biggest advantages to these nano drones are that they are more affordable, sustain less damage, and are not subject to FAA regulations as long as they weigh under nine ounces.

History tells us that the first drones were actually hot air balloons that were used to drop explosives on enemies during the American Civil War. Archibald M. Low created “Aerial Target” in 1916 as the first attempt at an actual unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Germany and the Nazis began developing a UAV program during World War II and unleashed the formidable V-1 upon the world. This prompted the United States to begin its own UAV program to use for more than just pilot and combat training tools.

The best thing about UAVs is that they completely eliminate the need for an on-board pilot, but many of those used in the military have the same combat and surveillance capabilities as a manned aircraft.

Military nano drones such as the Black Hornet Nano and Hummingbird Nano are used to survey enemy territories and areas in which dangers might go otherwise unseen. They provide a significant tactical advantage and prevent a significant number of casualties.



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Last updated on January 11, 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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