The 8 Best Drones to Buy for Kids in 2018

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Picking out a drone for a child involves a lot of consideration. Age is an important factor, especially since drones can be expensive, difficult to fly and break easily. The last thing you’d want to do is get a drone for your kid only to have it break or hurt someone an hour later. But picking the right drone can give a child a worthwhile learning experience.

Be sure to consider how much experience they have with this sort of thing; if they’ve played a lot of video games, it may actually be easier to get used to piloting a drone. Smaller drones, ideally with guards for the drone’s propellers, are best for younger children. Older children and teens may be better suited to some of the higher end drones with more advanced features and larger sizes.

We’ve picked out a range of drones, all of them on the cheaper side of the drone market, that can give kids a chance to try one safely and without breaking the bank. Some are better suited to children who’ve had a chance to learn how to fly on a simpler drone first, but we’ll make sure you have the details you need to make a smart buying decision. In all cases, adult supervision is recommended, especially for younger children. So read on to find the best drone for kids of all ages.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Parrot Mambo

Parrot Mambo

Courtesy of Amazon

Overall, the Parrot Mambo is the best drone to get for a child. It has enough features and functionality to be a good pick for younger and older drone pilots, as well as a few customization options to spice it up even more. For safety, this small drone includes guards that can go around each propeller, helping keep the propellers from breaking or hitting people.

The Parrot Mambo can be piloted directly with a smartphone, which offers simple controls and easy access to tricks. Kids learning to code can also program flight paths for the drone. The Mambo FPV bundle includes a controller, Parrot Cockpitglasses and a camera that attaches to the Mambo to provide a first-person flying perspective. The Mambo Mission package offers a small ball launcher and grabber arm that can attach to the drone.

The Parrot Mambo's sensors help it maintain stable, level flight. This makes it ideal for beginners who may take time adjusting to the controls of a drone. It may not be the cheapest drone, but this one was designed with kids in mind by one of the top drone manufacturers.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Ryze Tello

While most DJI drones are too expensive to recommend for children, the Ryze Tello includes some of the smarts found in DJI drones, and it comes in at a fraction of the price and a fraction of the size. These factors, combined with its easy-to-learn controls, make it a great choice for children.

This isn’t a great pick for younger children, but it can be a great choice if a kid already has some experience with drones. It includes sensors to enable steady hovering, it can perform tricks on command, and it offers plenty of options for takeoff and landing. You can toss it into the air and it will begin to fly, or it can take off directly from your hand and land right back on it.

The Tello drone also has a built-in HD camera on the front for capturing photos, recording video, and enabling first-person flying. The Tello can also fly in a few automatic modes to capture video with ease. With a 13-minute battery life, it’s a great pick.

Best Budget: Drocon U31W Navigator

While the Drocon U31W comes in at a low price, it still includes a bunch of great features that can satisfy almost any new drone pilot, especially children and beginners.

The U31W Navigator has a propeller guard on each side, which can help avoid accidents that damage the drone or cause injuries. However, without 360-degree coverage of the propellers, and due to the size of this drone, we wouldn’t recommend it for younger kids. With altitude hold and headless modes, this should be an easy drone to learn how to fly.

The U31W Navigator also includes a controller and a front-mounted HD camera with a 120-degree wide-angle view. This will allow kids to shoot videos or fly the drone with a first-person perspective. The included battery offers up to seven minutes of flight time, but it’s swappable, so you can buy more batteries to extend the flying sessions.

Best for Video: Drocon U818Plus

If you have an older child who’s really into shooting home videos the Drocon U818Plus is a great pick for them. This is a larger drone that comes with a controller, and a stabilized 720p camera that enables both first-person flying through a connected smartphone and HD video recording.

The Drocon U818Plus has plenty of features that make it a good drone without the camera, including a long, 15-minute battery life. The altitude hold mode makes it easy to keep the drone hovering in one place, and it also has a headless mode, which makes flying easy, since the direction the drone is facing won’t matter. One-key takeoff and landing along with an emergency motor cut-off make it simple and safe to fly, too.

Though the camera is only 720p, the rubber damping material and anti-shake feature make it a good choice for amateur videography. While some affordable drones may offer higher resolution video, without some form of stabilization, the video can come out too shaky to use in projects.

Runner-Up, Best for Video: QCopter QC1

The QCopter QC1 is another solid option for older kids who like to play around with video. The QC1 has a Full HD video camera mounted below the main drone frame. The altitude hold mode and larger design can help your kid pilot the drone more steadily, allowing them to capture fun footage to use in home video projects. The camera also offers the ability to fly the drone with a first-person perspective.

Beyond the video, the QC1 is also simply a good beginner drone. That’s in part because it has headless mode for very easy flying while your kid gets used to the speed and responsiveness of the QC1. With a long 15-minute battery life and an included second battery, expect a solid 30 minutes per flying session—great for learning.

One aspect of the QCopter QC1 package that makes it a really great choice for young pilots is all the extra parts that it includes. The kit includes replacement gear mounts/shafts, motors, propellers, and there are propeller guards to help your kid avoid needing to replace broken parts in the first place.

Runner-Up, Best Budget: Syma X21W

The Syma X21W comes with a controller and smartphone holder that can attach to the controller. With an HD camera built into the front of the drone, kids can pilot the drone from a first-person perspective with a paired smartphone. The drone also has gyroscope sensors, which allows pilots to control the drone by tilting their phone.

Flying the X21W is simple thanks to the altitude hold mode, which can keep the drone steady, and the six-axis gyro helps keep it stable. Headless mode makes it easy to fly without worrying about the direction it’s facing, and simple controls let pilots easily perform tricks like flips and rolls.

Best for Novelty: Syma X9

The Syma X9 is a funny little drone in that it’s both a quadcopter and RC car in one. Keep in mind, this isn’t an extra small drone, and because it lacks propeller guards, we’d still advise choosing this for older children who can take proper precautions when flying, especially since it has both beginner and expert modes.

The Syma X9 drives like a typical RC car when in car mode. When they want to fly, switching to drone mode is easy. While it’s airborne, they can even perform flips with ease.

A controller for the Syma X9 is included in the package, as are extra propeller blades. Perhaps the best extra included in the package is a second battery, giving kids double the flying time. Extra piloting sessions are great for new pilots, as it gives them more time to get familiar with the controls.

Best Mini: Potensic A20W

If you’re buying a drone for a younger kid and are on a budget, then we like the Potensic A20W or A20 mini-drone. This is a palm-sized drone, and all four of the propellers are completely surrounded by propeller guards. The small size and blocked in propellers make this a much safer drone for beginners to fly (however, this is still a zippy little drone with multiple speed settings, so make sure your kid is cautious).

Both versions of the drone are affordable, with the standard Potensic A20 being cheaper and the A20W coming in slightly more expensive but with the inclusion of a camera for first-person flying through a paired smartphone. The A20W can be controlled with a smartphone’s gyroscope sensors and offers one-key takeoff and landing.

The A20W features an altitude hold mode and headless mode, making it easy to fly the drone around without needing to manage the altitude or pay attention to the direction it’s facing. The A20W also includes a controller with a smartphone mount. For a fun little beginner drone, this is a good pick, though the battery life is not as long as many of the larger drones on this list.

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular drones for kids on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 80 different drones overall, screened options from 25 different brands and manufacturers and read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.