What kid doesn’t want a drone for their birthday or Christmas? Deciding to buy a drone for your kids is easy, finding the right one at the right price point is a bit more challenging.
The drone market is filled with cheap drones that break right away or expensive drones that you are afraid to use because they cost so much. There’s nothing more disappointing to a kid to receive a gift that they can’t use. Spare yourself this frustration by choosing one from the following list of the best drones for kids.
What to Look For in a Drone?
There are a handful of features you should consider when shopping for a drone for your child. These features can make or break your drone experience, so consider them carefully. We decided to focus on five main criteria:
Altitude hold, sometimes referred to as auto-hover, keeps the drone at a set altitude even when you let go of the controls. This makes it easier for inexperienced operators to fly a drone and avoid crashes that damage the drone.
2. Headless Mode
Headless mode is a feature on most entry-level drones that allows a drone to orient itself according to your position and not according to the drone’s back and front. This aids in piloting as the operator doesn’t have to be concerned with the drone’s orientation.
They just move the joystick where they want the drone to go, and it will go there. For example, moving the joystick to the left will move the drone to the left, moving it forward will drive the drone forward, and so on.
3. Propeller guards
Propeller guards protect the drone’s propeller in case of a crash. It also prevents finger injuries during takeoff or landing, keeping you and your child’s fingers safe.
Cameras on a drone can capture jaw-dropping, in-flight images. Look for a drone that accepts an SD card, so you record as much footage as you want. Some advanced drone models may even connect to a smartphone, allowing you to view the drone’s footage in real-time.
Battery life is a significant obstacle in using a drone. Most compact drones only last five to seven minutes per battery, while larger ones can fly up to 20 minutes or more. You may want to purchase extra batteries so you can fly for an extended time.
Most drones for kids are affordable, with prices under $100 and often under $50. The sad truth is that most drones break or get stuck in a tree, so you may want to choose a lower cost drone for your child’s first one. You can even purchase two or three of these lower-cost drones to have a backup or a source for parts.
As your children get older and more experienced, you can pay more for a drone – the most expensive drone on our list costs $400. With that extra investment, you get a high-quality camera, auto-pilot that makes flying the drone incredibly easy, connection to a smartphone for complete control over the drone, and an extended flight time.
How We Chose the Best Drones
This review was created by reviewing dozens of professional reviews by the most trusted websites. We also considered the ratings and reviews from people who actually own the devices. We also relied on our own experience with some of the drones on this list.
We put the top drones into five categories:
- Best drone for younger children
- Best drone for older children
- Best indoor drone
- Best outdoor drone
- Best educational drone
If two drones were close in our ratings, we chose the one with the lowest price tag.
The Best Drones for Kids
You can’t go wrong with any of the drones on this list. They may vary in price and performance but each one will deliver hours of enjoyment. Choose the one that meets your price point and target age of your kids.
Best Drone for Younger Children
Got a younger child who wants to fly a drone but is too young for a standard flight controller? Then the Force1 Scoot Hand Operated Drone is the drone for you.
Just toss it in the air gently, and it flies automatically. It is equipped with infrared sensors that not only help the drone avoid obstacles, but the sensors also allow your little ones to control it with their hands. It can even do a 360-degree flip and glows in the dark thanks to its vibrant LEDs that give it a UFO-look.
Best Drone for Older Children
The DJI Mavic Mini is an excellent choice for the teen or tween who’s outgrown most of the toy drones on our list. The Mavic Air is more expensive ($400) than most drones on our list, but it’s as close to a professional drone you can get without paying professional prices.
The Mavic mini is very stable even in windy conditions and easy to fly thanks to its user-friendly controls. It has a return to home feature if you accidentally fly it too far away or feel like you’re losing control. It’s also equipped with a camera and gimbal for outstanding photos and videos.
We’d love to see collision avoidance as well, but that’s our only gripe about this lightweight drone. Don’t let its small size fool you. This is a highly competent drone that’ll last for years if you take care of it. The Mavic Mini is available in a bare bones package for $300, while $100 will net you the Fly More package which includes extra batteries, extra replacement rotors, and a plastic cage to protect the rotors in-flight and more.
Best Indoor Drone
Holy Stone has a reputation for quality, affordable drones and the quad-copter HS210 is no exception. The HS210 is a beginner drone that appeals to kids and parents alike. It’s inexpensive and comes in several different colors.
Parents can buy a different one for each of their kids and not break the bank. Kids will love it because they can fly indoors and learn how to make it do a 360-degree flip.
This quad-copter drone is equipped with auto-hover and headless mode to make flying it easy even for the beginner. It also ships with three batteries so you can fly for 20 minutes in total. However, you do have to swap the batteries every seven minutes or so. Changing batteries is not as easy as it could be and may require adult help.
Best Outdoor Drone
The Snaptain SP510 packs a ton of features into a drone that’s under $200. It has almost all the advanced features you’d find in the DJI Mavic Mini but at a fraction of the cost. The drone connects to your smartphone, allowing you to see the camera footage in real-time. It’s equipped with GPS, which lets you draw a route for the drone to follow. You also can recall the drone when the battery is low or if it loses connection with your phone.
The Snaptain SP510 is not as durable or polished as the DJI Mavic Mini, but it’s a great introductory drone. You can test out the advanced features you typically find in a DJI drone and see if you like flying without investing a lot of money upfront.
Best Educational Drone
The Ryze Tech Tello costs a bit more than most entry-level drones with the same feature set. That’s because the drone is powered by technology from DJI, the top drone maker in the world. Not only do they get DJI’s quality experience, but the drone can be programmed with popular kids programming language, Scratch.
Kids can use the block-coding interface of Scratch or DroneBlocks to control the movement of the drone. Kids also can participate in games and competitions to showcase their drone programming skills. More than just a toy, the Tello truly is a learning tool.
Flying a drone is fun until you break the law, annoy your neighbor or get the drone stuck in a tree. Before you fly your drone outside, familiarize yourself with the laws. The FAA requires you to register any drone over 250 grams. All the drones on this list, including the DJI Mavic Mini, fall under this weight limit and do not require registration. No matter the weight, be sure you know the regulations for drone flights in your area. National parks, some state parks, and most ski areas do not allow drones, for example.
Be respectful or your neighbors when flying outside. It’s very easy to get above the treetops with the larger drones on this list. You’ll be able to see nearby yards and not everyone is comfortable with a drone looking down in them. Don’t assume you cannot be seen. Drone’s make a characteristic noise that is very obvious and easy to hear from a surprisingly long distance. Also, watch out for obstacles like branches and power lines.