The 8 Best Toy Drones for 2017
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.
1. Sky Viper HD V950 Video Drone
The Sky Viper is a toy drone with a camera, recording photos and videos in 720p footage, including the ability to capture panoramic shots. The package includes a 4GB MircoSD card – allowing for roughly 20 minutes of footage – which you can easily pop into a computer to directly upload your footage. If you’re more interested in maneuvering than capturing footage, the camera is removable and allows for one-button press tricks. This model measures 12.75” from blade to blade, and boasts a 6-axis digital stabilization. For that reason, this toy drone is impact-resistant and capable in withstanding adverse flying conditions, making it great for beginners and children. Plus, it’ll only cost you about $90.
2. Hubsan X4 H107C
The Hubsan also features the new 6-axis control system, emphasizing its ability and capacity for stunt flying and the variety of ways it can flip (four ways: left, right, forwards, and backwards). The drone is small in size, but big in efficiency, offering both beginning and advanced flying modes. It has an adjustable sensitivity setting, which allows for you to develop and improve your piloting skills. The Husban surprisingly permits stable flight and durability despite its lightweight frame. Better yet, it is also a toy drone with a camera, recording at 720p. The battery life provides about seven minutes of flight, and the range only extends roughly 100 yards, but it also costs less than $50, making it a great investment for beginners or gift for hobbyists.
3. Air Hogs Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon
This Air Hogs model puts the fun in ‘toy’ drone. The Millennium Falcon is incredibly entertaining to fly around, and the RC controller can even belt out intergalactic sound effects as you operate. It’s best recommended for crash-prone indoor pilots. Made essentially of Styrofoam, it won’t damage walls or furniture, but it will be vulnerable to even the slightest outdoor breeze. Unfortunately the battery isn’t removable, so after about five minutes of fly time it will need to be fully recharged. $120 only includes the toy drone, controller, and USB charging cable, but it is Star Wars after all, and a great gadget to have fun with around the house.
4. Traxxas 6608 LaTrax Alias Quad-Rotor RTF Heli
Traxxas is a major player in the market of toy drones. Although small in size, it has four rotors and an auto-leveling system making it ridiculously easy to fly. This toy gives you one of the biggest bangs for your buck, focusing on durability and speed. Its unique control model elevates beginners to intermediates at a faster pace than other typical toy drones, with a quad-rotor thrust and auto-leveling 6-axis flight system. Additionally, it boasts a ten-minute flight time and high-speed charging. The integrated bright and colorful LED lights make it great for flying at night, as well. It has a high-capacity 650mAh LiPo battery, with a fast USB charger, for approximately ten minutes of flight. An added perk, the transmitter also comes supplied with four AAA batteries. It comes in a variety of colors, and is ready to fly right when it arrives at your doorstep. You can get it all for under $100.
5. UTO Drone U960 (MJX X600) Hexacopter
This toy drone with a camera is great for people who are interested in learning how to fly in first-person point-of-view (FPV). The mounted camera comes with built-in WiFi, which can then be accessed and viewed using the app on your smartphone. The headless mode and stable flight makes it great for beginners. The battery life lasts between five and eight minutes, but you can buy additional replacement batteries to keep you flying. It boasts HD video recording and high-resolution pixels. The UTO Drone takes about 120 minutes to charge for an eight minute flight time. Control distance maxes at about 100 meters, but other 2.4Ghz interference around you and even the weather or wind could affect the control range. Although the screen lag and video downlink are less than optimal, the $90 model is a great bargain for introduction into FPV flying.
6. UDI U818A UPGRADED VERSION 2.4GHz Quadcopter with Camera
If you’re looking for a toy drone with a camera, this UDI model is one of the best options for you on the market. Its quadcopter system durability makes it great for beginners just starting out. Although the camera shoots in 640p, it offers two flight modes: one for beginners and the other for high-speed flying. It’s great for learning flips at the touch of a button, but does not operate well in windy conditions due to its light weight. It flies for seven to nine minutes, and recommends additional replacement batteries due to the approximate two-hour LiPo battery charge time. All things considered, though, for under $100 this is a great entry-level toy drone.
7. ODYSSEY QR-12 CAM QUADCOPTER DRONE
The Odyssey QR-12 is a toy drone with a camera packed with fun for both kids and adults. The three-speed control enables users to fully test their piloting skills. It’s capable of 360 degree turns, and the 6-axis gyro provides strong stability while performing a variety of stunts. Additionally, the LED lights positioned in the undercarriage create an awesome effect when flying at night. The built-in camera stores footage on an included 2GB SD card, which can then be easily uploaded to your storage equipment. The QR’s high-quality lithium battery takes about an hour and a half to charge with a regular USB cable, but the remote control will need an additional four AA batteries. For only $65, the package also includes an extra set of propellers as well as a protective ring.
8. PARROT ROLLING SPIDER MINIDRONE
Parrot has made a reputable name for themselves in the drone company, and for good reason. This Rolling Spider model is one of our favorite toy drones available on the market. Its unique design makes it enjoyable for users of all ages, and additionally strengthens its capacity to withstand damage. True to its ‘spider’ name, the wheels enable it to roll anywhere, including up walls and ceilings. Of course, it also flies, equipped with a FPV camera. The quality of images isn’t spectacular, but it’s great for beginners. However, it is operated off a smartphone app, so do keep that in mind when considering purchase for a child. Although it only lasts about eight minutes, the $109.99 price is an unbeatable deal with all of its included features.
Although these models scratch only the surface of the toy drones on the market, they represent the overall best options for high quality and low budget. If you’re considering buying a toy drone, you should create a basic checklist prioritizing what you need most from your equipment. Ask yourself: do I want to fly indoors, outdoors, or both? How important is battery life? Must the battery be removable and replaceable, or am I willing to wait through recharging time? What resolution does my footage need to be in? What range or distance do I require? Is FPV appealing or intimidating? Am I focused on aerial shots, trick maneuvers, or high speed? Will I be flying at night? How durable or crash-resistant do I need my drone? Is the requirement of a smartphone for operation a positive or negative attribute? How large is my budget?
Once you can figure out what matters most to you, it’ll be much easier to find the perfect toy drone to match your needs. These examples are great starting points to help get you flying and into the air.