The holidays are coming, and if you want to make your kid happy, you can’t go wrong with a drone as a present. Drones for kids aren’t just fun, they’re practical – your son or daughter can use the flying camera in a school project!
The drones for kids reviewed here are all epitomes of advanced technology, featuring excellent video quality and stabilization.
Or maybe you’ve already decided to get one, but the price tag is putting you off? Yes, if you’re looking for an aerial video platform that can capture mesmerizing footage, it won’t come cheap. The ones here are in a vast price range, so you don’t necessarily have to spend thousands of dollars.
Best Drones For Kids 2018
|Drone Name||Top Feature|
|DJI Phantom 4||Top RC drone|
|Air Hogs Star Wars Ultimate||Best for indoor flying|
|Hubsan X4 H107L||Best drone on a budget|
|Syma X5C 2.4G||Best toy drone with camera|
|UDI U818A Drone||Best recreational drone|
|Holy Stone F181||Easiest to use|
|DJI Mavic Pro||Most stable drone|
|Altair AA108||Best design|
|Cheerson CX-10||Best for beginners|
|Parrot Bebop 2||Best for short distances|
1. DJI Phantom 4 – Top RC Drone & Best OverallThe Phantom 4 is the latest version of DJI’s top-end consumer drone. The chassis is glossier and more streamlined with some great new features in addition to those of its earlier version, the Phantom 3 Professional, among which a safety system that stops the drone if it detects an obstacle.
The Phantom 4 has the same basic design as its predecessor, and measures about 7 by 11.5 by 11.5 inches (HWD). As it weighs 3 pounds, you will need to register with the FAA before flying it if you live in the United States. The compact carrying case has room for the drone, propellers, remote, charger, and several spare batteries.
And it’s free! The gimbal of this model has been redesigned. The flexible shock mount was moved inside the chassis and the camera is fixed at both sides. The attachment point of the camera to the drone allows for modest sideways movement, while the micro USB port and microSD memory card slot are now part of the chassis, making them easier to access.
There’s a reason why this drone is the best remote-controlled one on the market right now. They’ve retained the design of the Phantom 3 Professional. It has the same integrated clip that can hold anything from a large tablet to a small smartphone and an identical control layout. There is now a dedicated Pause button on the remote. If you press it, the drone will stop in place and hover.
Performance and Transport
It’s easier to transport this drone if you remove its propellers, which is very easy to do. The pair of props marked with black match the motors with three small black dots, while the unmarked motors match the silver props. They latch on with a push and twist. This design makes it possible to achieve higher speeds.
In most modes, the Phantom 4 needs a GPS lock to take off—and it obtains that lock very quickly when flying outdoors. You can fly without GPS if you set the controller to A mode. That’s advisable when using the Phantom indoors. However, it’s a good idea to use GPS for any outdoor flights to ensure maximum stability because it does a fantastic job keeping the drone steady in strong wind.
But that’s not all we have for the DJI Phantom 4. In the next widget, we’ll review flight modes, obstacle advoidance, and powering up.
There are two distinct ways to control the drone in flight. You can either enter automated flight modes or use the control sticks on the remote control to fly in the traditional way. Some basic aspects of flight, such as takeoff and touchdown, are fully automated and initiated via the control app.
In manual, remote-controlled flight, the left control stick moves the drone straight up and down and spins it on its axis, while the right stick sends it right, left, forward and back. As the sticks are analog, you can adjust the speed of movement and combine directional moves, like getting the drone to descend or ascend at a certain angle.
The drone features Intelligent Flight Modes, Course Lock and Home Lock, which make the drone respond to controls differently. Course Lock puts the drone on a straight line path based on the direction its nose is pointing in when the setting is engaged. The drone will keep moving along its original path as long as you keep pressing forward on the right control stick.
Home Lock is used to bring the Phantom back. If you can’t tell which direction its nose is pointing in (if the camera is pointing straight down), use Home Lock to control its movement. Pushing the right stick forward will cause it to move away from you, and pulling it toward you will bring it closer.
Other modes include Waypoint and POI (point of interest). The first mode allows you to reproduce a flight path over and over again, and the second takes control away from the operator in order to get the drone to move in perfectly circular orbits around a point in space while keeping the camera fixed on a given point. You can adjust speed, altitude, and radius in mid-orbit, and also tilt the camera up and down.
In Follow Me mode, the drone follows the remote control as it moves on the ground. The obstacle avoidance system is very helpful here, letting you use the drone safely in more areas than you could its earlier versions, which really needed an open space without obstacles.
With the Active Track feature, the drone tracks a subject that you define. You can circle around your subject as it moves just by adjusting the control stick during tracking. However, the object needs to be relatively large.
The Phantom 4’s hallmark new feature is obstacle avoidance. It always detects the obstacle ahead and stops. However, keep in mind that the obstacle sensors only face forward, so if you’re circling around an object or flying sideways, you’ll still need to check to see if the path is clear. This means you’ll be saving a whole lot on repairs and spares (or having to buy a new drone altogether) and your kid won’t be fretting over his drone getting damaged or broken.
This Phantom model is much more responsive to controls in Sport mode, spinning on its axis at top speed, turning, ascending, and descending. What’s more, it can fly faster—the top speed is 50mph. Notwithstanding the occasional intrusion of propellers and landing gear in video shot in Sport mode, the stability of the footage is still pretty impressive. Propellers never intruded into the picture in standard flight mode.
The operating range is 4,500 feet in open space clear of visual obstructions. In a more crowded environment, the operating range is a little under 1,800 feet. Both beat all other drones, including those in DJI’s pro series. This is sure to delight any kid.
Working in conjunction with the obstacle avoidance system, the Phantom’s VPS (Vision Positioning System) will prevent it from crashing into the ground when flying low in uneven terrain. If you’re flying in an area where sudden changes in altitude could make it crash into an object above its propellers, you can disable the VPS feature.
The battery life is around 23 minutes per flight, and when the battery drops to 10%, the aircraft lands automatically. I find this to be a great safety feature.
To power the aircraft, set it on a level surface and tap the power button at the back of its battery. The gimbal will calibrate to make sure it is capturing a level image. The power button on the remote control behaves in the same manner.
Make sure your phone or tablet is connected via cable to the remote control’s USB port. You can adjust flight and video capture settings and view telemetry data, among other things, after you’ve launched the DJI Go app. It is available for iOS and Android.
2. Air Hogs Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon – Best Drone For Indoor FlyingThe Falcon is shaped like the Star Wars ship. It weighs just 2.24 ounces (64g), meaning it doesn’t require FAA registration. The soft frame and ducted propellers make it an excellent choice for children or adults flying a drone for the first time because it is made of foam and just bounces off walls and furniture without doing any damage.
That’s definitely an advantage, since replacement parts aren’t available. You can pull off the props if they get tangled up in something though. Generally, this drone flies with ease, although the lack of trim switches on the controller makes it impossible to avoid uncontrollable drift when flying.
Also, because it is so light and because of the way its motor is positioned, it can flip when going full-tilt forward. It is not suitable for outside use at all; even a light breeze can throw it off.
Flights last between 5 to 8 minutes, and you need to wait an hour before flying it again. The drone’s charging cable is built into the controller, and you can use its AA batteries to recharge.
3. Hubsan X4 H107L – Best Drone On A BudgetThe budget-friendly Hubsan has a number of visual and functional improvements over its earlier version, the V1. There is an added function where you can disable the flip by clicking the throttle column. What is more, the lights can be activated and deactivated using the throttle trim.
You do this by clicking the down throttle trim for a few seconds. The lights will go on and off whilst holding the throttle trim function simultaneously. This is great if you are flying at night or twilight in terms of power-saving.
The drone needs a bit more than half throttle to hover, but beyond that setting it has lots of power to climb out. The most visible visual change to the whole Hubsan X4 V2 package is the addition of blue (front) and white (back) LED bulbs by each motor. Other changes include rubber “feet” beneath the motor pods to protect the motors, re-designed props to reduce the gap on the motor shaft, a PCB guard to prevent damage caused by battery installation.
Also, there is a protective ring for indoor flying. The flat crystal is solidly attached to the board. Another means of fortification is that the frame is made of a different, more robust and sturdier material, albeit not really looking different.
The prop hubs are a bit deeper (by less than 2 mm). The redesigned hub will prevent the motors from breaking due to inverted landing. We recommend picking up a lot of extra props for this model. You can bend some props back, but generally they don’t hold long.
The V2 also loses calibration a little more often than the earlier version. You’ll need to land it a few times per flight to recalibrate the gyros. If your kid doesn’t know how to fly the drone at night, make sure they start off slower because they seem to move faster when it’s dark. This is an optical illusion, but still, it’s there.
Maintenance of this drone can be challenging, but that’s to be expected given the price. All of the wires are precision soldered. You’ll have to de- and re-solder a number of connections to free the board if you want to replace a motor or LED. Adding connectors would be nice.
4. Syma X5C 2.4G – Drone with a Decent CameraThe 6-axis gyro HD Camera RC quadcopter with 2.0MP is equipped with a 2GB Micro SD card and performs flips at the press of a button. It is an amazing toy that can fly both indoors and outdoors.
The 6-axis stabilization system ensures flexibility and resistance to wind when using outdoors. The HD camera and 2GB Micro SD card let you take photos and video while flying. On the downside, the battery life is just 7 minutes.
The remote control X5C utilizes spread spectrum technology to ensure remote distance and anti-interference ability.
The Syma X5C Explorer includes one USB charging cable, four rotating blades, four protection frames, two landing skids, one screwdriver and one 500mAh LiPO battery. Most users are very happy with this drone.
5. UDI U818A – Best Recreational DroneThe UDI U818A is a great recreational drone for aspiring pilots. With this aircraft, the pilot is in full control. The performance depends on the skills of the person holding the remote. Controls are fun and simple. It features a minimalistic design with a light, thin plastic frame.
The electronics are fitted in a small cavity beneath the center. The 500mAh battery fits in a tight holder on the bottom of this cavity. The camera is also attached here. It is tiny and connects to the body by power wires.
The rotors of the UDI U818A are also very basic. They measure 5.25 inches in diameter and are made of light plastic too. Most budget-friendly recreational quadcopters use friction to attach the rotors to the motor shaft, but this one doesn’t. A small screw holds them in place. This makes them harder to replace, but also less likely to become detached.
There are several LED lights around the frame of the quadcopter, including a single white forward-facing LED and two white LED strips under the center, blue and red lights on the motors (indicating front and back, respectively).
More on the UDI U81A
The controller features a more intricate design with a large number of switches on its plastic exterior. The buttons on the shoulders turn the LED lights on and off and put the quadcopter into stunt mode. There are a few buttons on the front of the controller surrounding the LCD display, which take pictures, start and stop video, change the mode of flight and flip the quadcopter.
The LCD shows such data as signal strength, battery level, and how much thrust is currently being applied. The two control sticks above offer the usual control layout: right for forward/back and left/right and left for thrust and direction.
The controller and quadcopter are connected via 2.4-GHz radio signal. There is no interference from Wi-Fi networks even though they are the same frequency. The range is pretty decent – up to 40 feet. The aircraft can be operated via the controller only, not by cellphone or any Wi-Fi device. The design of the controller is great – it weighs around 10 ounces only. It is powered by four AA batteries, a single set of which last several hours.
The UDI U818A has the upsides of both smaller, lighter quadcopters and bigger aircraft, such as large, widely spaced rotors guaranteeing better flight stability. However, flying it in anything stronger than a breeze is not recommended.
6. Holy Stone F181 – Easiest Drone To FlyThe F181 is a very fun and easy quadcopter to fly. It packs a lot of features into a light, small package. As it is black, it stands apart from the mostly white drones in this price category. It has two pairs of LEDs under the prop extensions, with blue indicating the front and red – the back.
You can shut off the LEDs using the left trigger button on the remote, but you probably shouldn’t because they help with overall visibility. The batteries take less than an hour and a half to charge and flight time is about 6 to 8 minutes.
The Holy Stone is controlled via 2.4GHz remote that looks like a console controller. It is very light even when packed with four AA batteries. The LCD screen displays pertinent information such as battery life, camera mode (video or still), gain trim and the drone’s range. It also indicates the acceleration power in percentage form. The return-to-home button is a feature not usually included on aircraft in this price range. The 2MP camera shoots stills at 1280 x 720 and records video at 720p.
Further Reviewing the Holy Stone F181
It takes a few minutes to install the prop guards and landing gear. You can connect one of the two included USB charging cables directly to the aircraft to a laptop – no need to remove the battery to charge it. This lets you charge the second battery at the same time. The right trigger button on the remote allows the F181 to do flips, which is a really fun feature.
You can do it with the camera and prop guards installed, which aircraft in this category usually can’t. The F181 isn’t very fast, but it moves quite well in a windless environment, especially going up. Its range is around 300 feet up. Its altitude-hold function makes it hover in one spot when the spring-loaded throttle stick on the left side is released. It holds steady and drifts very slightly if the wind picks up.
7. DJI Mavic Pro – Most Stable DroneThis drone is the best choice for pilots looking for enhanced stability and portability, and its sharp, stabilized 4K video camera is much more efficient than you’d expect for its size. Mavic Pro is a great choice if you’re looking for a small quadcopter with lots of functions.
It is small and light, just 1.6 pounds when ready to fly with an installed memory card. The Android and iOS DJI Go smartphone app includes a flight simulator to help you get used to the controls.
You’ll have to unfold the drone’s arms before flight. You do this by pulling the front rotors out and away from the body and placing them into the forward position. Then, pull the rear struts down and back into their locked setting.
You don’t need to remove the rotors between flights. To replace them, push and twist out. The camera is protected by a clear dome, which you don’t have to fly with, but you’ll need to remove the gimbal clamp prior to flying.
The flight time is around 20 minutes with utilization of 90 percent of a fully charged battery. Recharging takes about an hour.
Finally, to make your DJI Mavic Pro look really cool, you can equip it with Mavic Pro skins. This will really add to the visual appeal of your drone.
8. Altair AA 108 – Best Drone DesignThe АА108 features a sleek matte black finish, which makes it stand apart from the other similarly-priced drones on the market. The blue hues are also a nice touch. The 120 Degree Wide-Angle 720P HD camera is on the front, and is capable of taking both photos and videos. The battery slot is on the back of the body.
This drone is very small – just 183mm X 198mm X 43mm, and weighs 85 grams. However, it is well-built and robust. You can fit propeller guards which will protect the drone from all sides, so small to medium crashes should not be an issue for this drone.
The drone is suitable for complete beginners and more advanced pilots alike. You can choose between three flight modes: Kids & Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. The difference is in the increased speed and maneuverability of the drone. I recommend starting off slowly and working your way up to advanced mode.
One neat feature is the single-button takeoff and landing, the two operations that are hardest for kids to learn. Just press the takeoff button and the drone will hover in place thanks to altitude-hold technology.
When the battery starts running low, there is a sound notification. You also have the ability to use custom route mapping – this means you can draw lines for the aircraft to follow on your smartphone, a simplified version of the “Waypoints” feature we’ve seen in pricier aircraft.
The quality of the footage is decent, considering that the drone doesn’t have a gimbal to stabilize the video.
9. Cheerson CX-10 – Best Drone For BeginnersCheerson is one of the most reputable Chinese manufacturers in the hobby drone industry today, and this drone is definitely one of their most popular devices. It’s an excellent starter drone and very affordable. The drone’s transmitter is larger than the drone itself, with a straightforward design.
The drone comes with two analog sticks, a power button and sensitivity adjustors. To get started, move the left analog stick down, then up, then down again. You need to do this each time you switch the drone on.
The transmitter is sleek, ergonomic and comfortable to use. However, it is fragile, so tell your child to be careful. It is powered by two 1.5V AAA batteries, which are sold separately, so make sure you buy them beforehand.
The Cheerson CX-10 features three different flight modes, which are set based on experience. For children, we would recommend beginner mode. As you learn the ropes, you can move up to intermediate mode, and then advanced mode. This mode lets you move quickly, but it can be very sensitive. Sensitivity is lower in beginner mode, but so is maneuverability, so it’s a good option for less experienced pilots.
This quadcopter is recharged with a USB cable, which emits a light signal when the battery is charging. It takes about half an hour to fully charge. The flight time is 4-8 minutes. This is a downside. One possible solution is buying an extra CX-10 to fly when the first one is charging. That wouldn’t be a problem given its low price.
The Cheerson CX-10 is not sold with prop guards, so you’ll need to buy them separately. They are highly recommended for kids albeit somewhat decreasing flight time. Consider buying extra propellers for your drone too.
10. Parrot Bebop 2 – Best Drone For Short DistancesThe Parrot Bebop 2 is a smartphone-controlled drone that captures good-quality photos and video, but its hallmark feature is the FPV kit, offering a better control experience and a fascinating perspective on the world from above. The 14-megapixel camera boasts 1080p video recording.
The fisheye lens enables surprisingly judder-free footage. Another advantage is the user-serviceable rotor/s. The FPV pack includes a headset and flight controller with buttons and sticks, which looks very professional. With this setup you get a first-person perspective of what the drone is actually seeing, which is a unique experience.
The Bebop 2 features a stable, robust design and a big-capacity battery. The body of the drone is almost entirely plastic with the exception of some deformable polystyrene around the camera. The rotor blades can be removed when you are not using the drone. The huge 2700mAh battery slots are on the back of the device. The battery has to be detached in order to be charged.
This drone is not a single solid unit. It is comprised of two main elements which are connected via a set of shock-absorbing rubber balls. The main body is on top of them and houses the camera and electronics, and the battery clips on top of it. The balls reduce the impact of vibration on the camera itself. This drone doesn’t feel stable in part due to this design, but on the upside, video recording is less prone to shake from the powerful rotors on each arm.
The white plastic rotors are for the front, and the black for the back. They have to be fitted to the correct arm before you fly the unit. It comes with a spare set of rotors, and you can order replacements if they get damaged. You can buy new motor units for the arms as well thanks to the unit’s holistic modular design.
More on the Parrot Bebop 2
The Bebop 2’s motors are quite sturdy, and it can hold its position even in strong wind. Take-off and landing are easy, and the unit is smart enough to avoid potential issues – for instance, if you try to take off in long grass and it gets stuck in one of the rotors, the motors will turn off and you’ll get an error message. You have to move the unit to a clear space. Some other drones in this price range don’t have this feature and can flip over as a result, causing damage.
There is some drift when the drone’s in the air, but it’s not really a problem unless you’re in a really cramped space, which is never recommended when flying a drone (see Best Indoor Drone section above). The Bebop 2 is quick and responsive when in the air, and is capable of some unexpectedly swift turns.
Things You Must Know Before Buying A Drone For Kids
Abbreviations are the first and one of the most important things to know before buying a drone. There are three main ones: BNF, ARF and RTF. The first one stands for bind-to-fly drones, which are usually completely assembled, but you’ll have to buy a controller or install software on your mobile device.
ARF stands for almost-ready-to-fly. If you buy this, know it is a drone kit. These kits generally don’t come with transmitters or receivers, and many of them don’t have motors, batteries, flight controllers, or electronic speed controls either. Make sure you read the description of an ARF drone carefully so you know which components to buy beforehand.
Finally, RTF stands for ready-to-fly. You’ll often need to install the propeller or bind the controller before you’re ready to fly the drone, as well as charge its battery, so the name is a bit off.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) classifies drones as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), which you have to register if they weigh over 0.55 pounds and less than 55 pounds. Your child must be at least 13 for you to register a drone in his name. After registering, you will receive a unique identification number, which has to be displayed on the drone at all times and is effective for three years.
Drone Specifications: Camera, Direct Recording And More
Here are some things to consider when buying a drone in terms of the camera, live video, GPS stabilization, motors and flight and charge time.
The camera is of paramount importance to the quality of your drone footage, and standards range from 4K down to VGA. The better-quality cameras are kept steady by a gimbal as the drone moves and gets blown around. If you want to watch live video, make sure it is included.
For top-quality footage, you’ll need a drone that records straight to an on-board memory card instead of feeding the video back to your phone.
GPS stabilization is a key feature if you want to shoot video as the drone hovers in one spot without you having to adjust the controls.
Pricier drones have brushless motors, which are quicker, smoother, and last longer than the motors cheaper drones are equipped with.
Most drones don’t stay in the air for more than half an hour until the battery dies, so always take the recharge time into account.
Before buying your kid a drone, consider what kind of boundaries you will set before the first flight. It’s a good idea to establish a flight schedule (no flying after or before a certain hour). Be sensitive to your neighbors – there’s no way around them unless you live on a farm or deep in the woods.
If they are older, they might not understand this new technology, so it would be nice of you to explain. If not, your child’s drone use could well become a matter for the Homeowners Association to look into, or even the target of your neighbor’s firearm.
All of the units reviewed here have some safety features, even the Bebop 2, which is intended for short-distance flights only. If your battery drops or your control signal is interrupted, your drone will start to head back to its takeoff point and land.
The United States have FAA guidelines, which you need to take into consideration unless you don’t mind paying a hefty fine or going to jail. The FAA has established certain zones where drone flying is not permitted, like in the area of an airport.
If you live near an airport and absolutely need to buy your child a drone, make sure to inform the control tower of any and all flights. Very high altitudes, for example over 400 feet, are not recommended even if you’re out in the middle of nowhere. Most drones are programmed to comply with these regulations out of the box, but controlling a drone is just like driving a car—you have to pay the ticket even if you missed the speed limit sign.
Our Final Review for Drones For Kids
We hope you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive review of drones based on best features. Drones require regular maintenance just like all aircraft.
They fly in all kinds of weather and through all imaginable kinds of wind shears. In most cases, accidents can and do happen. The drone might fly away or hit the ground and break.
As a parent, you should make sure your child understands that his or her drone is liable to require new parts, which are not free.
He or she must be prudent in flight, especially when still learning, watch out for risks and observe the surroundings, especially if the neighbor is watching you like a hawk.