We all want to enjoy the excitement of drone flight, that goes for our children as well. You may have spent a good chunk of change on a larger machine just to have your child upset they can’t play with the toy, good news, there are some affordable options to put a safe drone into the hands of a youngster. Here is our list of the best drones for kids.
This list was a bit more difficult to create than we initially intended, after all, the first thing that pops into mind when you think of children’s toys, is just that, toys. You could just jump over to our best cheap drones list – under $100, a great place to start to get your child in the air for as little cost as possible, or you could consider a more advanced unit with more features and better flight controls, exactly what we’ll explore here today.
Starting with the smaller, less expensive and borderline toy-class drones and quadcopters, the best thing to consider is safety. Many toy drones, especially those designed to fly indoors, have large propeller guards, even cages that protect not only the drone from damage, but your home and child’s fingers as well.
As we mentioned in our cheap drones guide, these little things tend to fly all over the place. For ease of flight, you may just want to bump up to a higher-end drone in the end after all – if you’ve flown the Mavic Pro or a recent Phantom drone, you know how easy it is to actually fly.
Let’s dive in, look at a few options for good drones you can put in your child’s hands, let them take to the skies with their very own drone.
What is Drone Rush?
Thank you for joining us here at Drone Rush, we are a group of passionate technologists, eager to fly every drone we can get our hands on. Our enthusiasm for drones began as a hobby, and rapidly grew to seeking out the best camera drones on the market. Learning that there are many forms and functions of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAS,) we strive to learn them all.
We invite you on this drone journey, we ask you to trust us as a source to find the best drones on the market today. We also want to help you get the most from the experience, watch for tools, tips and tricks for your drone flights.
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Keep it legal!
The following pertains to the United States, please check your local laws and regulations.
Update: May 2017 Registration no longer required Update 2: December 2017 Registration is required again! In the United States, all drones that weigh more than 0.55 lbs must be registered with the FAA. No exceptions. To register a drone, you must be at least 13 years of age. Simply put, if you are buying a drone for a child under 13 years of age, it will have to be a total operational weight of less than 0.55 lbs, including the weight of any attachments or load. While registration is no longer required, the rules of the air are unchanged.
Further, all drones, regardless weight and registration, are subject to some rules, such as a maximum ceiling of 400 ft above the ground, never over top of people, stadiums, never at night and never over private property without permission. You often see people fly around their neighborhood, this is illegal unless the drone remains above the street only and within the other rules of the air.
We don’t have to like these rules, but we have to follow them. To learn more, visit the FAA website, where it costs just $5 for a three year registration number to fly your drones.
Syma starts our list off with a fair sized drone that is resilient, capable, inexpensive and easily repaired. The X5C is on our cheap drones list, it is a decent flyer and a great trainer for new flyers. I had thought this drone too complicated to fly for a child, but I put the controller in my 8 year old nephew’s hands and he flew far better than I did my first time out.
While my nephew crashed the Syma X5C in short order, this thing bounces off the grass without a scratch, just flip it back over and fire it back up.
DJI Mavic Pro with full prop guards
The DJI Mavic Pro is a superb drone in most every regard, a compact and folding machine that performs extremely well for pilots and aerial photographers alike. The going price is fairly steep for the average child’s toy, you may want to consider another drone from this list if you are straight up shopping for your child. Now, if you have a Mavic Pro and have considered allowing your child to fly, this may ease your mind, a full cage-style prop guard.
- DJI Mavic Pro review – still our favorite
- DJI Mavic Pro camera review
- 10 reasons to get the Mavic Pro
Made available earlier this year, the new Mavic Pro accessories open up a slew of flying opportunities for Mavic Pro owners. The Mavic – Propeller Cage completely encloses the propellers of the craft, making it safe for slight bumps into walls, but more important, you’d have to try fairly hard to sneak a finger in there to contact the propellers. Sadly, the cage requires shorter propellers to operate, reducing your flight time to about ten minutes. There is a middle ground, the Mavic Propeller Guard is a basic bumper that won’t protect fingers, but will help with those gentle wall impacts.
We have a Mavic – Propeller Guard set on order, stay tuned for our short overview, or just pick them up for $15 for your Mavic Pro today.
The DJI Mavic – Propeller Cage is $159, including four full cages and three pairs of the new shorter propellers.
We’ve been struggling to find a small machine that is great for indoors, safe and slow enough for beginner pilots, but can grow with you for the next stage of your drone flying needs. Uvify may have hit the mark, perfectly. I’ve never seen a drone this small that has as stable of flight with a locked hover, a great place to start. hen you are ready to get things moving, OOri can scoot at over 50 mph, making it a great drone for race pilots to learn on, not just a fun flyer for the basics.
Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider
Also seen in our Parrot drones guide
It’s a car, nope, it’s a quadcopter? Parrot is not offering both in one device, but the MiniDrone Rolling Spider has large wheels that can spin along, adding a new level of fun and safety to indoor flying. These are not powered wheels, but they do protect the drone from crashing, allow you to scoot along the floor when there is not enough battery life left to take off, and have fun ‘crawling’ up walls when there is power.
Equipped with a small camera, this small drone is controlled by smartphone or tablet and can be yours for $30 on Amazon.
Syma X9 Fly Car
Taking the dual RC toy to the next level, Syma has a drone that actually doubles as a driving remote controlled car. Firmly in the toy class of drones and more basic of RC functionality, the Syma X9 Fly Car does exactly what the name implies.
Get your hands on this two-in-one toy, the Syma X9 Fly Car for $30 on Amazon.
Cheerson CX-10A NANO
Also seen in our Best nano drones list
Drones can be large, cumbersome and delicate to transport, but not if they fit in your pocket. Cheerson is one of many that have created a pint-sized drone that very easily sits in the palm of your hand. Not lacking in features, all things considered, able to flip and fly in headless mode, all with the included small size controller.
Check out the nano sized and named Cheerson CX-10A NANO for $18 on Amazon.
UDI 818A HD
We know we said we’d focus on unique drone builds for kids, but this UDI 818A HD stood out for us as a solid enthusiast option. The toys are fun, and we’ll get back to those momentarily, but if your child is looking to take things a little more seriously, maybe get the hang of flying before upgrading to a larger and more capable (more expensive!) drone, UDI has you covered.
With large bumpers around the propellers, this is a trusted brand for enthusiasts and a great starter drone for new fliers. Check out the UDI 818A HD for $45 on Amazon today.
Hubsan X4 H502 Desire
Also seen in our Hubsan drones at CES video
Considering the $100+ price tag, the Hubsan H502S Desire is proving to be a very capable little drone. Easy to fly, GPS precision controls, including a return to home function, and a very decent camera for only 720p resolution, this is a worthy drone for your consideration. Particularly, this is a rare glimpse at this price point at some of the features you’ll only find on $500+ drones today. The setup and initial configuration is a little more complicated than we’d have liked, you might want to help your child get set up for their first flight, but it’s smooth flying from there.
Did I get your attention? There are many knock-off Star Wars drones out there, but if you are looking for a high quality, officially licensed Star Wars inspired quadcopter, and not even the Millennium Falcon, here they are. Coming in several styles, you can grab a TIE Advanced X1 Starfighter, a 74-Z Speeder Bike or the ever popular T-65 X-Wing Starfighter in quadcopter form now.
In addition to the iconic styling, and the audio experience that the packaging provides, these drones are laser battle capable. Up to 12 pilots can partake in an aerial laser battle at speeds up to 35mph.
Check out the Star Wars drones for $80 today. Original price was nearly $200, regularly selling for around $100 these days.
Air Hogs Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A
Forget the child in your life, there’s a good chance you want this drone for yourself. Officially licensed and highly detailed, Air Hogs has a fun Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A flying drone with authentic sounds and lights. Basic flight options are included here, this is a toy class drone at its finest, but the seeming unbalanced design rests well on the included display stand.
Check out the Air Hogs Star Trek U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701-A drone for $58 on Amazon today.
High Great Mark and Hesper
If you are looking for a stable flying, small and compact drone, High Great has two new machines you can choose from. Both drones fit in the palm of the hand, are pretty basic machines with basic connectivity, but Mark has a trick up its sleeve, a memory. You can walk or fly a route with the High Great Mark, then have the drone self pilot back through that same route with the tap of a button. A fun way for children to learn about autonomy.
For the whole family: DJI Mavic Air
The most compact, easy to transport and easy to use quadcopter in the DJI stables is the new Mavic Air (formerly the Spark.) This is a powerful drone that can fly slow and very stable indoors, with propeller guards on, of course, but can then leap into action outdoors with speeds over 40 mph. The Mavic Air is like a Spark Pro, if you will, combining the best of the small drone with the best of the larger, folding Mavic Pro into a very capable machine.
Enjoy the autonomous flight modes, along with the Quickshot camera modes, all while flying by remote, by mobile device, or even by hand gestures. The best part is that the Mavic Air has both front and rear facing obstacle avoidance sensors, greatly reducing the possibility of a collision.
- DJI Mavic Air camera review
- DJI Mavic Air unboxing
- DJI Mavic Air first flight
- DJI Mavic Air announcement
Air Hogs drones
Let’s not beat around the bush, almost every drone with an Air Hogs badge is ready to go for your child’s entertainment. They have some really interesting and unique designs, not to mention a bunch of licenses for franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek and more. Best of all, almost all of their machines are under $50.
Additional consideration: AR Glasses
The world of VR and AR technology is slowly expanding, but in the drone community it is a prevalent feature. The Moverio BT-300 AR glasses from Epson are a great example of a tool that enhances your drone flight, but it also offers a way to experience flight without actually flying. We’ve seen drone simulators before, the version in the Moverio glasses is one of the most realistic, and certainly the most absorbing into your actual environment.
Fly a Mavic Pro without actually flying a Mavic Pro with the Moverio BT-300 glasses for $699 today.
That is all we have for you on our list of great drones for children. Do keep in mind that there are many great drones out there for all skill levels, we only mentioned one Hubsan quadcopter on this list, they have many more fliers that would be great for children. See more on them in our Cheap Drones guide and in our Best drones for beginners guide.
Will you be putting a drone in the hands of a child in your life?