The 10 Best RC Helicopters

Updated April 21, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

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If you're thinking of purchasing a professional-quality drone, but don't yet possess all the necessary skills and experience to fly it safely, then consider learning on one of these RC helicopters first instead. Our selection includes easy-to-control models that are appropriate for both adults and kids alike, made from durable materials with powerful motors and multi-channel transmitters. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rc helicopter on Amazon.

10. XHeli SkyCo

Bring your little one's fighter pilot fantasies to life with the XHeli SkyCo. Its built-in holster has the capacity for six brightly-colored missiles that can be fired one at a time or simultaneously at any number of targets. But the instruction manual is a bit confusing.
  • relatively easy to control
  • sleek and stylish
  • it's quite small
Brand xheli
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Vatos S810

Precision and balance both define the Vatos S810, thanks to an extra rear motor dedicated to powering its tail rotor. This helps it maintain the stability it needs to hover perfectly in mid-air. It will automatically power itself off upon a potential impact.
  • lightweight design
  • operation range of up to 15 meters
  • doesn't include batteries
Model VL-S810-US
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Haktoys Mini

Engineered with a protective metal frame, elastic blades, and a flexible flybar, the Haktoys Mini is a resilient option for kids who might maneuver it into walls on their path to RC greatness. Unfortunately, the signal quality isn't very reliable in sunlight.
  • good for ages 8 and up
  • available in blue and green
  • charging cable is quite short
Brand Haktoys
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. UDI U13A

Setting the UDI U13A apart from much of the competition is its built-in camera, allowing you to take pictures and record videos from almost any angle during flight. The integrated over-current protection helps to extend the operating life of its rechargeable battery.
  • strong metal alloy frame
  • blades are flexible
  • steep learning curve
Brand UDI
Model U13A
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Syma Chinook

The Syma Chinook is constructed from ABS plastic with adjustable trim settings and a military-themed fuselage. Its multi-channel infrared receiver supports the simultaneous operation of up to three aircraft, so the whole family can join in the fun.
  • auto stability system for beginners
  • price is affordable
  • short battery life
Brand Syma
Model S026G
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. GP Toys X-Copter

The GP Toys X-Copter features a built-in gyroscope and auto-stabilizing coaxial rotors designed to make it easy for your little one to maneuver the aircraft in almost any direction. A 4-channel receiver provides an extended operation range of up to 50 feet.
  • choice of 3 different frequencies
  • money-back guarantee
  • not ideal for outdoor use
Model pending
Weight 12.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. WL Sky Leader

With a sleek profile, bright colors, and easy-to-see graphics, the WL Sky Leader delivers a commanding presence in the air that almost everyone will notice. Unfortunately, the response time for quick obstacle avoidance is somewhat compromised by its additional length.
  • charges fully in 1 hour
  • high-efficiency motor
  • replacement parts are hard to find
Brand WLtoys
Model V912
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Blade MCX2

Powering the Blade MCX2 are 2 coreless motors and a long-lasting lithium polymer battery, allowing for both fast speeds and extended flight times. The smooth and responsive controls are perfect for those transitioning from an amateur model to a hobby-grade chopper.
  • swashplate sensitivity is adjustable
  • built-in flashing leds
  • maintains stability in high winds
Brand Blade
Model EFLH2400
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Hero RC iRocket

Ideal for both indoor and outdoor use, the Hero RC iRocket is equipped with an extremely lightweight composite plastic body, making it a durable and forgiving option for beginners who tend to crash into things while learning to fly.
  • lcd provides trim information
  • can charge via usb or ac power
  • comes with spare rotor blades
Brand Hero RC
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Blade BLH4100

The Blade BLH4100 offers 3 progressive skill modes designed to build confidence, with automatic self-leveling assistance and small pitch-and-roll angles. Eventual removal of these restrictions, upon mastery of the basics, gives you a full range of maneuverability.
  • arrives fully assembled
  • durable construction
  • panic recovery mode prevents crashes
Brand Blade
Model BLH4100
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Take Flight With An RC Helicopter

The RC helicopter has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. For the first few decades of their existence, most radio-controlled helicopters were powered by either a special fuel known as glow fuel (which is made of a blend of methanol, nitromethane, and oil) or by actual gasoline.

In fact, it wasn't until the 1990s that electrically-powered RC helicopters began to see widespread use. The development of efficient, compact lithium batteries saw the ever more precipitous shift from fuel-powered engines to electrically-operated motors. Today, almost every RC helicopter you find uses an electric battery.

RC helicopters are popular with children and adults alike. The smaller, more affordable models are akin to toys, with limited flight control options and shorter flight times, while larger, more complex, and more expensive units operate like full-sized, helicopters, albeit obviously scaled down.

On the low end of the price scale, you can find RC helicopters for as little as fifteen dollars. These inexpensive, diminutive little choppers will usually only fly for around five minutes when fully charged, and often only have an effective control range of a few dozen feet. However, a compact and affordable helicopter like this is a great choice for the youngster just learning the hobby, especially if the helicopter will be flown indoors. This is true both because lightweight, little RC helicopters tend to absorb the damage of frequent crashes and because they don't cause much damage when they have an accidental collision or two. Most such units offer enough control to fly up and down and to move about with relative ease. Given their low cost, these toy helicopters make the perfect first RC vehicle for the budding enthusiast.

One can also slide right up the pricing scale to find RC helicopters that cost as much as a hundred dollars and more. At this higher price point, you will indeed get a vehicle that is just a scaled-down helicopter. Advanced RC choppers can be controlled in terms of pitch, altitude, direction, and speed. They have much the same flight control surfaces as any helicopter you would see in the sky above you, albeit with those flight controls managed from the transmitter in your hand instead of by your body in the cockpit.

In the higher price ranges, you can look for RC helicopters outfitted with cameras, lights, and the ability to fly continuously for up to fifteen minutes.

Differences Between Drones And RC Helicopters

To the uninitiated, one remotely controlled flying vehicle might seem similar to any other compact flying machine. But when someone uses the now common word drone, they more often than not are referring to a quadcopter specifically. These ever more popular remotely controlled flying machines use a battery of four sets of rotors -- two of which rotate clockwise, the others that rotate counter clockwise -- to lift the vehicle upward, often requiring minimal input from the "pilot" to maintain stability.

Drones have only become popular to the point of ubiquity following the development of and miniaturization of the same batteries that led to electrically-powered RC helicopters supplanting fuel powered fliers. Because drones with four rotors are inherently more stable than a helicopter, they can readily be used as platforms for other features such as cameras, GPS receivers, lights, and even adaptations designed to pick up objects or perform other functions.

An RC helicopter, on the other hand, is often a more challenging vehicle to fly because of its one or two main rotors and its rear tail rotor requiring frequent input to maintain stable flight. The challenges of flying an RC helicopter also make its successful control more rewarding.

So ultimately, the person who chooses to use a drone is probably more interested in the images and videos they can capture using its camera, in seeing its lights shining high above the field in which they stand, checking its coordinates via GPS, or in running their drone through an obstacle course. The RC helicopter pilot is usually more interested in the flight characteristics of the RC helicopter itself, enjoying good flying as its own reward.

A Few Words On RC Helicopter Safety

When used properly, an RC helicopter is a reasonably safe device that is unlikely to cause damage or injury. When used irresponsibly, these flying vehicles can cause both damage and injury in the extreme -- RC aerial vehicle accidents have even been linked to several deaths over the years.

To avoid injuries or property damage, first make sure you know exactly how to fly your RC helicopter. That means reading through its manual, studying its flight surfaces and the controls on the transmitter, and reading up on or watching instructional videos about the flight characteristics of RC fliers and helicopters in general.

When you are first learning how to fly your RC helicopter, you should do so outside on days without significant wind blowing. That helps to reduce the collisions often caused by over-correction, a common error new pilots make. Also try to choose an area free of power lines, low tree branches, and other obstacles. Once you know how to keep your aircraft flying stably, you can then begin to practice maneuvering it from side to side and back and forth. With that mastered, you can move on to varying flight speeds and, soon enough, making ever sharper turns, trying out some quick changes in elevation, and so forth.

Only once you have gotten a sure hand on controlling your RC helicopter outdoors where there are minimal obstacles, feel free to move a smaller chopper indoors. Know that some larger RC vehicles, especially those with larger blade diameters, should never be used inside. If an RC helicopter is large enough to cause significant damage in a crash, then consider the fact that even an experienced operator can always lose control with the vehicle and don't put it in flight in a situation where it could become a sudden liability.

Whenever possible, only fly an RC helicopter that has been given ample time to charge its batteries. When these units are at full power, they are more responsive to control and they are less likely to suddenly drop from the air.

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Last updated on April 21, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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