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 that 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, there’s also our list of Air Hogs drones, or you could consider a more advanced unit with more features and better flight controls, exactly what we’ll explore here today.
Best drones for kids
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 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.
In the United States, all drones that weigh more than 0.55 lbs must be registered with the FAA. No exceptions. That registration number must be affixed to the outside of the craft. 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 always within line of sight to the pilot or the official visual observer standing next to the pilot.
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.
Drone legal and safety
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.
Check out the Syma X5C for about $30 as the basic drone, bump up to about $47 to get an included 2MP camera.
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 $19 for your Mavic Pro today.
The DJI Mavic – Propeller Cage is $119, including four full cages and three pairs of the new shorter propellers.
January 2018Release Date
UVify has a rich history in drone racing. They understand that the future racers need to start somewhere, developing the UVify OOri as a fantastic beginner's race drone. Slow and stable for practicing in your living room, this machine can open up to over 50MPH when you want to win a race. Agile, light-weight and fast, the UVify OOri is great for beginners on a budget.
There may be less expensive beginner drones out there, but if quality is of concern to you, the UVify OOri for $295 is hard to beat in the segment.
Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider
August 2014Release Date
Parrot develops a handful of small, toy-class drones for a variety of purposes, most are safe for indoor flight, but the MiniDrone Rolling Spider stands out for us. Details on this drone are sparse on the manufacturer website, so we have to assume that this machine is officially out of production, but it is still available for sale and the price is as good as ever. This caliber of drone is good for around five minutes of flight. Connect via your mobile device over Bluetooth and enjoy some short range flights for fun.
The real selling factor of the Rolling Spider is the propeller guards. They do not just protect the drone, they are large wheels! Run along the floor, run up the wall, scoot across the ceiling, all without a repair bill.
Check out the Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider from $20 - $35 on depending on your color choice.
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 $32 on Amazon.
June 2014Release Date
Another of the better nano drones out there, the Cheerson CX-10 fits in the palm of the hand and offers a simple flight experience for new pilots. Best used indoors, the CX-10 comes in several forms, the base model is just a simple drone, there are versions with some flight modes and cameras as well. Truth is, we can think of better drones with cameras, we recommend just sticking with the base model, having some fun practicing your piloting skills in your living room.
Check out the Cheerson CX-10 for about $16.
November 2015Release Date
The UDI U818 series has a few drones to speak of, one of the best is the U818A HD+. The HD+ model comes with a 720P camera and some basic GPS functionality. This is a toy-class drone, the type you have likely seen in the electronics department of your local supermarket. There is little to say about this machine, it flies fairly well, for a toy-class machine, it is affordable and is great to learn on. There is no FPV, the camera just records and takes photos for viewing afterward.
Check out the UDI U818A HD+ for around $80.
Hubsan H502S Desire
August 2016Release Date
At launch, the Hubsan H502S Desire was one of the very best toy-class drones that Hubsan produced. It rocks basic GPS and flight features like a follow-me mode. The little drone still has brushed motors, which is a clear distinction in the Hubsan line between their low and high-end models, the higher end models have brushless motors. Don't hold this against the H502S, it may not be as fast or battery efficient as the brushed models, but it still flies very stable, holds a hover quite well and the FPV through the 720p camera gives you that fun flight experience.
You can get into the Hubsan H502S Desire for around $100 today, that's approaching half of its initial price at launch.
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 $43 today. Original price was nearly $200, regularly selling for around $75 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 $34 on Amazon today.
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.
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.
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?