Drones are tempting toys, but which are the best drones for kids?
The best drone for kids isn’t simply a question of whatever drone is cheapest (although price may definitely be a factor!). Depending on whether your kid is a budding photographer or content creator who wants some incredible aerial imagery, whether they want to have the adrenaline rush of racing their drone, want to use a drone as a way of learning to code, or just have a new way to play, we’ve put together a guide to help you find the best drone for you and your family.
Some of the most important aspects of choosing the best drones for kids are safety features and age-appropriateness. You may find that, while you’d like to keep the price down, the superior functionality and quality of more expensive devices prove persuasive.
In fact, you may even find that drones for kids are sometimes harder to operate, with short battery life and a lack of pilot-assist functions (such as obstacle avoidance) being par for the course in many devices.
Many childrens’ drones are actually built on the same ‘drone-on-a-chip’ platforms that bought from wholesalers then superficially branded by toy manufacturers. While this doesn’t mean that you will have a bad experience with these products, this does show that many drones for kids come from a different world than prosumer drones, and one which thinks of the product in more generic terms. Do remember that a short battery life can be advantage to supervising parent – giving you a chance to get a break between flying sessions!
There are also good education reasons for encouraging an interest in drones. Drones can be useful in STEM learning – racing and stunt pilots usually get into self-building, which encourages understanding of electronics, and computer skills. Furthermore, some drones provide a great way to learning coding.
With all of that in mind, we’ve collated the best drones for kids that are currently available, for different ages and budgets…
The best drones for kids in 2022
1. Potensic A20
Easy to fly mini drone with kid-friendly controller
Compact and robust, this drone is not especially unique (though available in some nice shell tones), but thanks to in-built pressure sensor is capable of hovering without the operator’s help and flying using the pilot-friendly ‘headless mode.’
In practice, that means the drone can be moved around a room using a single control stick, which is easier than most video games! If you do crash, there are good solid prop guards.
On the down-side, the attempt to protect the battery with a flap is tidy but fiddly, and (as is always the case with tiny drones) don’t be fooled by the claims of 16 minutes’ flight time – this is just a doubling of the (optimistic) eight-minute time for one battery since there are two in the box! That is, nevertheless, pretty good value and still a decent flight time.(Image credit: Holyton )
2. Holyton HT02 Mini Drone
A kids’ drone so tiny its controller is also a travel case
If you’re looking for a super low-cost option, this Holyton HT02 mini drone is a quadcopter that features altitude hold and three different speed modes. With protection guards, a headless mode and the ability to do an ‘Emergency Stop’, this drone is designed to be as user-friendly as possible to help pilots of any ability have fun flying it. Advertisement
The Holyton HT02 drone comes with three batteries, which should offer users up to 24 minutes of flight time. Plus, its lightweight and compact build means that not only are you free from having to register the drone with aviation authorities, it’s also super easy to transport.
This super-affordable drone comes with a controller, four spare propellors, two guards, two USB chargers and three drone batteries. This will give your kids the complete package needed to enjoy racing their drone. While the Holyton HT02 drone doesn’t feature a camera (not that we would expect it to at this price point! ), for the price you really can’t go wrong!(Image credit: Holy Stone)
3. Holy Stone HS330
A kids drone built with safety in mind
Taking a mix of inspiration from the pro brands and the other toys, this drone offers the almost expected 3D flips and headless mode, but thanks to the addition of five sensors (front/back/left/right/bottom) it can also be directed by wafting a hand near the hovering drone; it’ll immediately back off. This also has an obvious safety bonus, though it should also be noted that the propellor guards are better than on many drones in this list.
Other features that make this an appealing choice are the circle mode (the drone will make small circles), choice of three speed modes, and the design of the batteries which are much easier to insert and remove without putting stress on delicate cables or lithium battery cells than some other compact drones.(Image credit: Hubsan)
4. Hubsan X4 H107D+ FPV Camera Toy
All-in-one FPV drone
One of the recurring problems with integrating cameras for first-person (FPV) control is providing the screen. Connecting a phone to control a drone means changing the wi-fi settings every time you power on the drone.
Annoying enough with your own drone, but if you’re handing your phone (and passcode) over to the kids every time they fly it can make you want to tear your hair out! The obvious solution? Put a display in the controller.
That is exactly the thinking here – and with a range of around 50m the drone is light enough to be durable, though it’s not for younger kids as the prop guard is a little rudimentary.
The H107D+ is a refresh of the much-loved (and cheaper) H107D, adding headless mode, headlights and a 720P camera.(Image credit: HBUDS)
5. Flying Spinner Toy
A toy drone that doesn’t even need a remote
Insanely easy to operate, we chose this from the several UFO-like designs out there because it boasts a slightly longer battery life – ten minutes over the usual six – and a sensibly positioned charging port. The drone is activated by holding the center and spinning the outside, like a fidget spinner, which is pretty child-friendly, while the ABS frame is definitely going to keep fingers (and hard landings) away from the props. It’s a different kind of drone which can be a lot of fun for short range games of catch (as a boomerang or with a group) but we caution you to be realistic about the tech’s possibilities (we can certainly see the appeal of this to offset jealousy of a pro or enthusiast drone they’re not quite ready for though).(Image credit: DJI)
6. Ryze Tello
Best toy drone for educational value
The Tello shares a lot of tech with Ryze’s parent company, DJI, which is great news when it comes to quality and smarts.
The camera is built into the body offering five-megapixel stills or 720P video – this is as good quality as it gets in the toy market.
As well as the standard version, watch out for an Iron-Man branded Tello, and Edu(cational) flavor too (see below).
Naturally, there is the full range of flips and tricks to impress friends, , plus “EZ” video shots, but where it really excels is educational value. That even includes compatibility with Scratch – a block-based visual programming system so computer enthusiasts can learn programming on a phone or tablet in the most fun way possible. This coding capability makes the Ryze a popular choice with STEM educators.
While the robust airframe hasn’t seen an update since 2018, there have been several software updates keeping the app fresh. Other firms have written alternatives, available in phone app stores, which add functions like panoramic photography and FPV flight.(Image credit: DJI)
7. Ryze Tello EDU
Best drone for wannabe computer programmers
This is the best drone if you want to learn coding as well as flying, as you play with your quadcopter. This has the same specifications as the Ryze Tello and the Ryze Tello Iron Man – but this version allows you to program with commands using multiple languages. The original Ryze Tello will allow you to program Scratch and DroneBlocks – but this EDU version also lets you us Python and Swift programing languages; that’s great for would-be coders. If you know others with the same drone, you can even program Tello EDUs to move in a swarm – and put on synchronized aerobatic displays. Another benefit of the EDU is that it comes with Mission Pads – patterned cards, that the drone can be programmed to recognize with its onboard camera, and then perform a precoded maneuver.(Image credit: DJI)
8. DJI Mini SE
A more serious drone for older kids and families
OK, strictly speaking, this updated version of the DJI Mavic Mini isn’t a ‘toy’, though there are some who don’t understand the regulations who think ‘lightweight’ and ‘toy’ are interchangeable terms.
Importantly, this is a sub-250g drone – so just under the weight which is a cut off for registration in the USA & China, and a tier in the EU and UK. Frankly, it’s a brilliant job. For older kids with smartphones (or adults who haven’t quite grown up), this drone has the same basic components and flight time as more expensive pro drones. It can also record 2.7K video and 4000 x 3000 pixel JPEGs to a MicroSD card and, since the lens is stabilized, the results are streets ahead of other toys.
If you’re buying this, you’re buying a real flying camera as a serious gift; it can even capture automated flights for orbiting video selfies so you might be giving the recipient’s social media a boost too. You can also equip it with all kinds of extra features. In fact there is only one drone better on this list, and they’re closely related…(Image credit: Amazon)
9. DJI Mini 2
The ultimate drone for aspiring pilots
The Mavic Mini is a great choice for older kids who want to enjoy drones and photography, and is an even more appealing option at the moment if you can find it on discount. The DJI Mini 2 – launched in November 2020 – is the same or better in every respect; DJI have augmented the original drone with 4K video, automated panoramas, and raw mode?
Who’s it for? To be honest, this could serve for some serious users. If you’re buying for someone who loves still photography, or genuinely has a platform to show off 4K video, then the extra features on this machine seem a shame to ignore. Flying will still be as easy as possible, with automatic return-to-home and indoor visual positioning. If you’re buying for someone who simply must have the latest thing, then look no further.
This drone is also very well provided in terms of indoor and outdoor accessories, so whether you’re looking for something you can draw your own design on, hover a message to someone, or even turn into a mantlepiece decoration (no, really), this is a wonderful and generous gift that might well start a torrent.(Image credit: BetaFpv)
10. BetaFpv FPV Cetus Kit
A complete FPV kit for beginners
For what is, compared to other FPV gear, not a very big investment, you can get everything you need to get flying: goggles, a controller and the drone. It might lack a few of the features that devoted FPV hobbyists insist are essential but this isn’t for them. For older kids (or dads) who have been lusting after the excitement of putting goggles on and remotely piloting their own micro drone this is perfect. Key functionality is there too, for example the remote can also be used with a computer to play drone sims while the battery is charging. Don’t tell them, but some aspects are arguable better than enthusiast gear; the tiny drone can’t do too much harm when it crashes and, unlike most FPV drones, has a hover sensor built in too.(Image credit: Holy Stone)