When the drone community refers to ‘best toy drones,’ they are generally referencing less expensive, yet super fun & effective aerial flying equipment. These drones are taken less seriously than professional drones, but are nonetheless fun to operate. Toy drones offer more affordable price points, and reduce the potential stress of seeing your $1000 machine fall crashing into the ground or getting stuck in a tree. This makes toy drones a great starting point for both adult and child hobbyists, as well as individuals interested in exploring drone operation before fully committing to high-grade equipment. You can compare them in the same capacity of digital versus DSLR cameras; toy drones are a great introduction to the world of flying for intrepid explorers, but don’t necessarily offer all the bells and whistles of specialized machinery. They are a blast to fly, and their various features can offer high rewards at low costs. That said, toy drones give you what you pay for – which can be seen as a drawback in the eyes of some. It’s worth noting that the battery life on toy drones is less than stellar, maxing out at around 10 minutes of fly time tops. The size and weight of these machines also vary widely depending on the intent and purpose of the drone. With these qualities in mind, we’ve compiled a list of toy drones that we found to be the best available on the market.
Although these drones are certainly expensive for being coined the best toy drones on the market, these are probably the coolest machines we can reference. And we don’t just mean that is because they’re modeled after the aircraft from one of the most successful science fiction franchises in history, but because of what they can accomplish. Not only can they fly up to 35mph (with roughly 8 minutes of flying time), but they are all fit with their own infrared laser equipment. Why? So you can dogfight against friends. They also have an integrated sensor system that, once hit with an opponent’s laser, will send a signal to the respective drone’s pilot and his controller will vibrate. When the drone is hit three times, it will theatrically drop from the sky. You’ll find an assortment of different toy drones on the market, from drones that offer low-quality FPV to drones that are basically just a 6-axis-gyrscopic flight system in a palm-sized piece of plastic, but you won’t find anything like these. While a lot of toy drones are simply well-engineered mini sUAVs that simulate the experience of professional machines, Propel’s Star Wars drones were designed specifically for fun and games.
This is your barebones quadcopter (6-axis-gyroscopic flight system in a palm-sized plastic shell) meant for indoor piloting. It is extremely affordable, and the Axis Turbo-X proves it worth in responsiveness, agility, and durability. Similar to the Cheerson CX-10, or the Hubsan X4, this little guy flies for around 5 minutes with a full battery charge. You’ll have to wait between flights though, as the battery isn’t removable. It does have integrated LED lights which are bright and flashy. The Turbo-X is a whole lot of fun, a great learner-vehicle, and best yet, it won’t bring you to tears when you smash it into a wall. Probably won’t break either.
This is another fantastic little barebones quadcopter built for indoor flight. It sports a 6-axis gyroscopic flight system (nothing new here) and a 2.4GHz 4 channel transmission system, which means that you’re less likely to experience transmitter interference. Best yet, Syma even squeezed some features like headless mode (user can fly the quadcopter despite physical orientation) and a 2mp high-definition camera. This drone sports tech and features that some twice the price don’t have. It’s a fantastic drone as a toy around the office or home, taking a couple of low-quality aerial photography stills, and it’s guaranteed to be fun.
Parrot Hydrofoil Mini Drone
Priced in the same range as the Propel drones, this well-engineered, compact machine is quite capable for its size. Believe it or not, you can use this drone on water once you’ve attached the floating base, and it’ll sail across at around 5 knots. Since it’s a Parrot machine, the drone is controlled by a smartphone or tablet that can support Parrot’s FreeFlight application. It has autonomous features like auto takeoff and landing, and position lock (important for beginners). The non-removable battery will allot around 5-8 minutes of flying time and it takes around an hour to charge. There aren’t many amphibian inspired drones on the market, so if you own this toy you’re certainly going to be able to experience a different dynamic (and no worry about your drone failing into water).
Since we’re on this track, we’ll continue with another Parrot drone that doesn’t exactly fit the quadcopter stereotype. This little guy is capable of attaching a mini-cannon to the top hull and remotely firing off little pellets. It has a ‘grabber’ on the front (two little machine arms) that can catch, hold and release up to 4g of weight. Enjoy placing something in the grabber arms of the Mambo and having the drone act as a carrier pigeon. Again, this drone will be piloted by smartphone or tablet that can support Parrot’s FreeFlight application. It has integrated headless mode and position lock too, so you’ll reap the benefits of some slight autonomous features that’ll help the pilot learning curve. This toy drone can pass along messages and shoot little airsoft-like bb’s. This toy drone is another, similar to the Propel drones, that has been designed specifically for recreational use.
This ‘toy’ drone simulates the experience of professional, upper-grade machines. It is equipped with an HD camera that captures footage in 720p. A video transmission system is integrated into the unit in so that it offers FPV streaming directly to a phone or tablet using UDI’s pilot application. With its own WiFi hotspot, the FPV stream is low quality and not impervious to latency, but it’s sure to be an awesome introduction into the drone dynamic. With altitude hold, headless mode, VR headset compatibility, pre-flight route calibration, and one-touch automatic takeoff and landing, this intelligent toy drone is definitely going to keep you busy for a while. You can choose to capture aerial photography if you so desire. Of all the aforementioned drones, the U45 could very well be the most capable and similar to machines of a higher class. No surprise, as UDI continues to impress us in drone technology.
This is quite possibly the best bang for your buck in the toy drone market. Simply put, we can’t believe the price. It has a barebones 6-axis-gyroscopic flight system in the ribcage of a plastic skeleton, but it could possibly be the most efficient one at that. For under $30, you’re getting the drone, controller, battery, charger, and extra propellers. Despite the size, Cheerson was able to integrate multiple flight speed options to the drone so you can use a slower speed during the learning process and then increase the speed as you grow more confident. With a forty minute charge, the non-removable battery will allow 4-7 minutes of flight. Don’t want to have any downtime between flights? Then buy a bunch of these. After all, they’re only $22. Although you’re not going to find any autonomous features on the CX-10 (except the LED lights and the four different speeds), this drone is a steal for the price. If it is your first quadcopter, a toy quadcopter, or just something you want to fly around at work, the CX-10 comes highly recommended.
This drone is very similar to the UDI U45, except that it doesn’t offer FPV. But it makes up for that in flight performance. In addition to headless mode, position lock, and one key return and takeoff, the Holy Stone has integrated aerial acrobatics controls. The pilot can execute complex flips in multiple directions at the press of a button. The F181 comes with an extra battery (they are removable) and holds its flight time for around 8 minutes, even with all systems go. Buy a few more batteries and fly longer. What you’re getting in this drone is the basics of drone autonomy, a camera that can shoot in 720p, and integrated controls to make the flight-dynamic even more entertaining. Definitely worth the price.