The 10 Best Nano Drones

Updated March 26, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

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We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Tiny enough to take off from the smallest of launchpads, these nano drones may not be sufficiently large to deliver packages for you-know-who, but they can deliver hours of remote-controlled flying fun. Try one of these diminutive machines if you're new to piloting, have limited airspace to work with, or need to reduce the collateral damage of occasional (or all-too-frequent) crash landings. 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. Eachine E012HW

The Eachine E012HW may not take professional-quality photos, but with GPS and FPV capabilities, this miniscule winger is a great choice for toying around with aerial acrobatics and streaming video, and it won't leave you cringing if it crash lands in the shrubbery.
  • smartphone app integration
  • built-in propeller guards
  • more expensive than similar quads
Model pending
Weight 6.7 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Syma X12

The Syma X12 is a highly maneuverable quad that zips around — swerving, diving, and performing nimble flips — for up to ten minutes per charge. A powerful transmitter makes controlling it easy, and a rugged construction means it recovers well from the occasional collision.
  • gyroscopic stability control
  • ultra lightweight
  • tricky handling in breezy conditions
Brand SYMA
Model X12
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Hubsan Q4 H111

Flying and recharging quickly, the miniscule Hubsan Q4 H111 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.
  • bicolor flashing leds
  • three different performance modes
  • rotors come off easily
Model pending
Weight 5 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. JJRC H20

Although the learning-to-fly curve may be a bit steeper than with similarly-sized models, the JJRC H20 hexacopter is fast, responsive and durable. Geared up with a 2MP HD camera, it swoops, dives, flips and speeds along for 5-7 thrilling minutes per charge.
  • featherweight and maneuverable
  • 4 gb sd memory card included
  • difficult to control outdoors
Model pending
Weight 12.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. DWI Dowellin D1

With its propellers shielded by a circular guard rail and an optional HD FPV camera onboard, the DWI Dowellin D1 is ideal for ramping up the entertainment value of zipping around inside confined flight zones without elevating the risks of harm to housewares or bystanders.
  • altitude hold function
  • wifi-enabled smartphone control
  • fun starter model
Brand Dwi Dowellin
Model pending
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. JJRC H36

Even in the toy category, quads just don't get much more affordable – or easy to use – than the JJRC H36, 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 damage on impact.
  • interchangeable battery
  • 12-month limited warranty
  • one-key automatic return
Brand JJRC
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Holy Stone HS190

Pulling off aerial acrobatics and entertaining stunts with ease, the Holy Stone HS190 is as fun to fly as it is inexpensive. With its foldable design and compact controller, it can be tucked safely into a backpack or pocket to accompany amateur pilots wherever they roam.
  • good choice for absolute beginners
  • affordably priced yet full-featured
  • responsive tech support and service
Brand Holy Stone
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Rabing Mini Foldable FPV

Equipped with a WiFi-enabled 720p camera, the Rabing Mini Foldable FPV frolics for up to 10 minutes at a time, sending a live feed of imagery to your smartphone along the way. It's also tiny enough to be tucked away in its own pocket-sized controller between flights.
  • weighs less than 10 ounces
  • needs only half an hour to recharge
  • kid-friendly small-but-mighty design
Brand Rabing
Model pending
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Kolibri Torpedo Micro FPV

The Kolibri Torpedo Micro FPV sports a unique shape vaguely reminiscent of a futuristic extraterrestrial lander, with propellers mounted beneath the chassis, rather than overhead. Paired with an iOS or Android device, it's a fun way to stream and record aerial images.
  • vr headset compatible
  • autonomous flight modes
  • up to 7 minutes of flight time
Brand Kolibri
Model pending
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Skeye Nano 2

Building on the success of its previous iteration, TRNDlabs' Skeye Nano 2 packs a miniaturized HD camera and robust flight control technology into a Lilliputian airframe that withstands midair collisions and minor splashdowns nearly as well as it perches on your fingertip.
  • auto takeoff and landing
  • fpv video and still recording
  • stores in its controller
Brand TRNDlabs
Model pending
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

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 March 26, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience—with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist—she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new.

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