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
January 2015Release Date
The Syma X5C was one of our first drones. A toy-class machine that is very resilient, fairly stable and easy to operate. We knew we needed something inexpensive to learn how to fly in the beginning, and this machine was our choice. The quirks of this simple drone taught us about basic flight mistakes, how to control a machine and much more.
The X5C offers two speeds. Normal speed is very stable, full tilt goes fairly slow and keeps the craft upright enough not to crash itself. Fast speed mode allows the craft to tilt enough that you must manage the throttle to keep it from hitting the dirt. That's how drones fly, these settings are excellent for learning how not to crash. The best part for us, the X5C is very light weight and made of flexible plastics. We crashed ours many, many times. We always flew over grass, and even from 100ft up, the drone would almost float back to the earth and bounce off the grass.
Related: 8 reasons to choose the Syma X5C
Keep in mind that this is a light weight drone, get it up too high and the wind can take it away. Trust me! We no longer have our Syma X5C.
The Syma X5C runs about $30 for the drone, a little more with extra batteries and parts.
DJI Mavic Mini
Announced in the fall of 2019, the DJI Mavic Mini is a 249 gram, folding drone that offers a long list of features we rarely see in a drone this small. Made small enough to avoid FAA registration in the United States, and other registration in other countries, it packs a 2.7K camera, gets 30 minutes of flight time and offers a decent set of flight features. There are certain compromises DJI had to make to produce this machine, but they seem well worth the price tag.
DJI Mavic Mini
November 2019Release Date
With a long list of drones that start with the name Mavic, DJI has launched yet another consumer machine, perhaps their most consumer friendly yet, the new, very compact, folding DJI Mavic Mini.
As the name implies, the DJI Mavic Mini is a very small machine, and in true DJI fashion, it has few compromises to make it all work. The first thing to note is that the Mavic Mini weighs less than 0.55 lbs, which means you do not need to register it with the FAA before flight. Registration is quick and easy, but not requiring it at all is a bonus.
Reminder: You may not have to register the Mavic Mini, but it's still a drone, you still have to follow the rules!
Don't let the small size fool you, this drone packs a 12MP camera, shoot 2.7K video from a 3-axis stabilized Gimbal and has all of the flight features you'd expect from a Mavic drone today.
Starting price for the DJI Mavic Mini is $399, grab the Fly More combo for $499.
DJI Mavic Pro with full prop guards
DJI Mavic Pro
November 2016Release Date
The DJI Mavic Pro is a compact, folding drone that was a pioneer for portability. This quadcopter folds down to fit easily in a backpack, or large pocket, while opening up to take 4K video to over 40mph in the sky. The 3-axis stabilized gimbal offers very smooth footage and OcuSync enables long range and HD live video streaming. The Phantom line of drones may have established DJI as a leader in the consumer drone market, but the Mavic Pro made high-quality aerial photography fun and highly accessible.
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
DJI Mavic Air
January 2018Release Date
DJI found great success with the Mavic Pro, they followed that up with the far less expensive Spark. The Mavic Air bridges the gap between these two, offering all the fun features from the smaller Spark as well as all the pro flight features of the Mavic Pro. Better yet, the Mavic Air introduced a 100Mbps data rate for video capture on a DJI drone under $1500. That sounds like a mouthful, suffice to say that the Mavic Air instantly took the crown for the best video at the lowest price of any drone on the market.
After the launch of the Mavic 2 series of drones, we had to recommend the newer Mavic line as the best camera on a compact drone, but the Mavic Air still remains our top pick if ultimate portability is your concern. The Mavic Air manages to pack down to almost fit comfortably in your pocket.
Fun toy drones
If all you were looking for is a super easy toy drone to play with, perhaps something on this list will help.
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?
Looking for something more significant?