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The Best RC Drones

Check out our new RC drone buying guide: Quickly discover the best affordable camera drones, quadcopters, and mini drones.

Best RC Drones Quadcopters Mini Budget Drones to Buy
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Overview

What to Look for When Buying Your Drone

Remote control drones have become affordable and easy to use. So it's the perfect time to get your new RC drone!

Now: You might be wondering what to look for when buying your drone. Basically, there are six specs to keep an eye on. To make it easy we've summarized them below in plain English. We've also listed them for each drone reviewed below on this page so that you can directly compare products. Bada bing, bada boom — you’re set.

All right, ready? Let's go! Here are the six drone basics you need to know:

Drone Flight Time

Flight Time

This is the average time your drone will stay in the air on a single charge. Longer is better. Tip: Get extra batteries to extend your flight time.

Drone Speed

Speed

This is the fun part: It's the maximum speed your drone can fly (miles per hour). Pretty self explanatory, right?

Drone Range and Distance

Range

Drones are all about exploring the sky. The range shows you how far your drone can fly without losing contact to the controller (in feet).

Drone Camera

Onboard Camera

Many drones include an on-board camera or a mount to attach your own camera (e.g. one of these GoPro cameras). A great feature to have.

Drone App Controller

Controller Type

Controllers can come in the form of a hardware controller or an RC app. Both are fun, so choose based on your personal preference.

Return Home Functionality

Return to Home

Return home tells the drone to automatically come back to you using GPS. It's a very useful and convenient feature to have.

The Best Budget Drones

Holy Stone F181

Holy Stone F181 RC Quadcopter Drone

8 min.

15 MPH

300 ft.

Yes

Remote

Yes

The new Holy Stone F181 is one of the most feature-rich budget quadcopters you can buy. Lets talk about what's included: You get a two megapixel HD camera, strong flight and stabilization technology, as well as an excellent and very responsive remote control.

The F181 also features automatic altitude stabilization (great for getting quick control of the drone), plus the ability to perform easy 360 degree flips. At the press of a button the quadcopter will return to you automatically. It can also flip direction to match the remote control if you get turned around (known as headless mode). If you're looking for a fully featured drone that comes at a low price, this is the top choice. The F181 offers a fantastic balance of value and price. We highly recommend it!

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Holy Stone HS170

Affordable Drones

6 min.

10 MPH

160 ft.

No

Remote

No

The Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini is very affordable and offers a lot of flying fun for the money. It may not have features such as a camera or automatic return home functionality, but if you're simply looking for a robust and highly entertaining quadcopter, this may be it!

One of the main reasons the HS170 is featured in our buying guide is that it's easy to fly and stable even in tricky conditions. This excellent performance and wind resistance makes the drone very fun to use. You will get the hang of it quickly and, unlike many other quadcopters, it offers a frustration-free experience. If you want a very cheap, basic drone buy the HS170. If you want a camera plus extra features for a few extra dollars, we recommend the Holy Stone F181.

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Syma X5C

Syma X5C Drone

7 min.

15 MPH

100 ft.

Yes

Remote

No

The Syma X5C is another top budget choice. It offers amazing flying performance and includes an HD camera, plus spare propellers and blade guards. It also happens to be very affordable. The price is actually unbelievably low for all the high-tech features and extras you get.

The Syma X5C's full 6-axis gyro stabilization automatically helps to stabilize flight in any condition. The drone also makes it easy to perform flips and 360° evasion maneuvers with the press of a button. We flew it indoors and outdoors and it handled very well, including in windy environments. Last but not least, the long seven minute flight time (and spare batteries) extend the fun. It's a great drone at an amazing price. We highly recommend it!

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The Best Drones for Beginners

UDI 818A HD+

Best Drones for Beginners
drones

9 min.

10 MPH

110 ft.

Yes

Remote

No

The UDI 818A HD+ is a great camera drone for beginners who want long term value and room for their flying skills to grow. It comes with everything you need get started, no assembly required. 

The HD+ is the brand new model of the bestselling UDI 818A and offers a lot of new features. You get a built-in HD camera, automatic "return home" functionality, 6-axis gyro stabilization, and more. All that comes at a surprisingly low price. There's a lot to like here!

The drone also comes with many extras such as a remote control with LCD display, an extra battery, spare blades, a Micro SD Card plus USB card reader, and more. All these extras are great to have and really improve the long term experience with the quadcopter.

The UDI 818A HD+ has a robust and light design (light enough so that you do not have to register it with the FAA). It makes it easy to fly flips, rolls, and other stunts. Plus, the included HD camera lets you share mid-air views of your adventures with friends and family.

All in all, the UDI 818A HD+ is one of the best beginner drones we've seen. It's easy to use, fun, and very budget friendly.

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Hubsan X4

Hubsan X4

10 min.

best drones

15 MPH

250 ft.

Yes

Remote

Yes

The brand new Hubsan X4 offers live HD video that you can watch on the included remote control. This lets you explore the world around you from an amazing first-person perspective, high above. The FPV video feature also makes the drone much easier to fly and land. Plus, it's ridiculously cool!

The X4 has a light and robust frame. We crashed it three times (by mistake, we promise) and the drone survived without any issues. Hubsan is known to make high-quality quadcopters, and the X4 is no exception. Everything about this drone feels well-designed. It handles extremely well and is, simply put, a top choice for beginners. Why? You get a lot of value and enjoyment at a very fair price.

The drone's arguably best features are the amazing live video which streams directly to the remote control, the excellent battery life and range, and this quadcopter's ease of use. All these features add up to a high-quality product which provides hours upon hours of fun and a lot of long-term value. The X4 is an all-around well-designed drone. It is perfect for beginners and pros alike, especially if you're looking for an affordable camera drone that offers live video.

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Syma X5SW-V3

Starter Drone

7 min.

11 MPH

160 ft.

Yes

drone reviews

Remote

best drones for the money

No

The Syma X5SW-V3 doesn't just look cool - it's also a beast to fly. Let's talk details, shall we?

The Syma features an optimal mix between a very affordable price tag and easy flying for drone beginners. You get A LOT of features for the money here, including an HD camera, the latest 6-axis flight stabilization systems, and (surprisingly for the price) first person Wi-Fi video via iOS and Android app. Flying itself is fun and easy. The drone features 360-degree flips and continuous roll functionalities and is very stable. While the battery life falls behind the Hubsan X4, the Syma X5SW offers a lot of fun, excellent flight stability, and a great range for the price. The drone is small (about 12x12 inches), light, and very agile.

Additionally, this new version three of the drone supports cell phone control directly from your iPhone or Android phone. We also liked that the drone comes with a variety of spare replacement parts (propellers, blade guards, and more) which makes this one of the best drone kits for people looking for maximum dollar value. There's a lot to like here, and at this price point, you may want to buy two drones to race with your friends and family. Have fun!

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The Best Mini Drones

Cheerson Cx-10 Mini

Best Small Drone

8 min.

8 MPH

100 ft.

No

Remote

No

Meet one of the best mini drones on the market - and one of the absolute best priced quadcopter drone available!

Being affordable luckily doesn't mean that this drone lacks in performance. It's an absolute beast to fly, reacting quickly and handling very well. The Cheerson Cx-10 Mini only measures 2.5x2.5 inches. It's hard to believe that such a small drone can pack a powerful battery, but we consistently were able to fly it for eight minutes or longer.

Everything you need to start flying immediately is included. You get extra propellers, a USB charger, and a great controller. It's a great set and there's a lot to like here.

Given its affordable price, high durability, and excellent flying performance, the Cheerson Cx-10 really is a no-brainer. It also makes for a great gift! Tip: Since this drone doesn't cost much, we recommend getting several Cx-10s, so that you can fly fun mid-air races with your friends.

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E010 Mini UFO

Nano Drone Reviews and Buying Guide

6 min.

9 MPH

100 ft.

No

Remote

No

Don't let the tiny size fool you, the bestselling E010 Mini UFO is a beast and offers lots of flying fun with an eye-popping price tag!

The E010 measures only about 3.7 x 3.7 x 2 inches and clocks in at 1.5 ounces. However, the strong motor, excellent stabilization technology, and fun remote controller make this small drone a blast to fly.

The Mini UFO also offers advanced features usually reserved for bigger quadcopters, including automatic return home functionality that brings the drone back to you safely, as well as one-button 360-degree flips. It also offers compass mode (more commonly known as headless mode) which makes the drone change its flight direction to match the direction of the remote control.

Out of all the drones we've seen, this is one of the most fun. There is something truly special about this high-end, miniaturized piece of technology - especially when it's available at such a low price.

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Kidcia RC Drone

Best Mini Drone

9 min.

8 MPH

90 ft.

Yes

App

Yes

Indoors and outdoors, the Kidcia Mini Drone is fun!  Perform stunts and flips with the easy to use app which makes flying this mini drone lots of fun.

The Kidcia is also very durable because of its light weight and protective blade guards. It survived several crashes without any issues.

What also stood out was the Kidcia's long battery life. The drone can fly for nine and more minutes before needing to be recharged, which is amazing for its miniature size. When you first get it you'll be amazed by just how small this flying machine actually is. It measures only 3x3 inches, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor flying. The set includes everything you need to get started, including a camera. All that comes at a very affordable price.

The Kidcia RC drone is hands down one of the best mini drones you can get. If you're looking for a cheap and easy to fly small quadcopter, this is it!

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The Best Drones With Cameras

DJI Phantom 4

Best Camera Drone DJI Phantom

30 min.

45 MPH

16,000 ft.

Yes

Remote

Yes

The brand new DJI Phantom 4 is an absolutely amazing quadcopter. It's hands-down the overall best drone you can buy.

The new version of the bestselling DJI Phantom includes fully automated GPS functionality which makes controlling the drone easy. For example, the drone can automatically take off and come back to you, which is great.

It now offers a high-end camera that captures ultra-HD 4K video and stunning 12MP photos. DJI also updated the camera's lens with an even wider field of view. Best of all, the DJI has an industry leading Gimbal stabilization technology (with hover function), so that you can capture smooth, shake-free videos from the air.

This new model now also has an intelligent flight system which allows it to avoid obstacles and create tracked video shots. For the latter, the drone automatically locks onto objects and follows them while they move. It works great and lets you record spectacular looking videos from above.

The Phantom 4 also uses a new dual GPS and visual positioning system which together help to stabilize its flight for a safer and more reliable experience.

Lastly, the new Phantom 4 features a fun sports mode which unlocks the drones speed for an insane 45 MPH! We have to admit, it's a lot of fun to race this drone. All this is topped off with a spectacular 16,000 feet (3 mile) range.

In short, this is the best quadcopter drone you can buy. It's a high-end, polished flying experience. Everything about this drone is well-designed, premium, and fun. Our overall winner!

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Parrot Bebop 2

Best Drones With Cameras Parot Bebop 2

25 min.

35 MPH

1,000 ft.

Yes

App

Yes

The Bebop 2 is the new version of Parrot's bestselling drone. There are a lot of improved specs, making this quadcopter even better than it already was. The Bebop 2 sports an enhanced 14 megapixel camera that records sharp 1080p HD video. It now also has a much longer battery life of 25+ minutes. Another welcome addition are the bright rear LEDs for better visibility outdoors and at night.

The Bebop 2 is controlled from your smartphone or tablet using Parrot's excellent FreeFlight 3 WiFi piloting app. The drone streams live HD video right to your device. You can even adjust the angle of the camera remotely. It's an amazing experience to watch the world live from above - and when you're done you can share it all online.

Tip 1: If you're looking for a more pro experience that also extends your drone's range even further, we recommend getting the optional Parrot Sky Controller.

Tip 2: You can make this drone fly autonomously along a set flight path using GPS. Just download an app called Flightplan.

The Parrot Bebop 2 quadcopter features improved aerodynamics, 3-axis digital stabilization, and a lighter body, which together offer better handling and improved reliability. It's one of the smoothest and enjoyable flying experiences of any drone we've reviewed. We also liked how cheap it is to buy replacement parts (e.g. spare propellers or extra batteries) for the Bebop 2. This provides a lot of peace of mind for long term use.

Overall, the Parrot Bebop 2 is an excellent HD camera drone that comes at an affordable price point - especially for all the brand new technology that's included.

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Yuneec Q500 4K

Best Camera RC Drone Quadcopter HD 4K

25 min.

35 MPH

2,600 ft.

Yes

Remote

Yes

If you're looking to shoot pro-level aerial photos and videos without breaking the bank, this is the drone you should get. It offers an excellent 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) camera with the ability to capture slow-motion 120fps (1080p) videos and 12 megapixel photos. The camera is stabilized by a very good 3-axis Gimbal for smooth shots from above.

The drone also comes with a handy Steadygrip, a pistol-grip device that lets you control the drone’s camera from the ground using your smartphone as a viewfinder. This feature works great and really improves your videos.

The Yuneec Q500 4K comes factory assembled and ready-to-fly in a nice aluminium carrying case. Details like this show that underdog Yuneec is determined to be the market leader for high-quality drones. Everything about this product feels well designed, thoughtful, and reliable.

The Q500 4K is also very stable and nicely resists wind and turbulence. While the DJI Phantom 4 offers a better range and speed, the Q500 4k is a quieter alternative.
Yuneec is also known for excellent customer service, which is nice to know should you ever have questions about the drone.

The drone offers many convenience features like "return home" functionality and a new touchscreen controller. It's not only approachable but downright enjoyable to fly, regardless of your experience as a drone pilot.

If you're looking for a high-end and very versatile flying experience, want to take great aerial videos and photos, and still plan to save some money, the Yuneec Q500 4K is a great choice!

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The Best Professional Drones

DJI Phantom 3 Pro

Best Pro Drones

25 min.

35 MPH

5,000 ft.

Yes

Remote

Yes

DJI now offers the Phantom 4, but the DJI Phantom 3 is still one of the very best professional drones you can buy. Best of all, it offers a really affordable price. Tip: You can get it in a bundle with premium accessories.

DJI is the market leader in high end remote controlled drones, and this model is one of the best you can currently buy. It captures stunning, stabilized 4K UHD video and offers an intelligent flying system that allows for cinema-quality shots.

The drone also offers a really perfect flying experience. You get an excellent range, top quality, and a great live HD video downlink directly to the controller. In summary, the Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 are both equally excellent choices if you're looking for a professional drone that includes all high-end features that are currently available and is very future proof.

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DJI T600 Inspire 1

Professional Video Drone

18 min.

50 MPH

6,500 ft.

Yes

Remote

Yes

The T600 Inspire 1 is another ultra-high-end model from DJI which offes 4K videos and 12 MP photos. The drone streams a real-time view from the camera to your remote. This gives you a perfect view to set up and film even complicated shots with ease.

It's pre-assembled and factory-tested, offering you a complete aerial film making tool in a box. This advanced drone features strong carbon fiber arms which lift out of sight once the drone flies, so that you can shoot true 360-degree videos with the built-in UHD camera.

The drone's Gimbal and camera system can be removed for transport and for future upgrades, which is a smart feature and makes the drone future proof. The DJI T600 Inspire 1 is very stable and easy to fly. It's one of the most advanced and reliable pro camera drones you can get.

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DJI S1000+

Best Drones

19 min.

35 MPH

9,000 ft.

No

Remote

Yes

One look at the DJI S1000+ and you know you're dealing with professional-level equipment. The first thing you'll notice is that this is not a quadcopter drone but an octocopter. The eight propellers give it a strong uplift and incredible stability for professional aerial photos and videos.

The strong motor and propulsion system allows the drone to safely carry DSLR cameras and other heavy equipment. The S1000+ is build for filmmakers, real estate professionals, and other users who require extremely reliable and advanced features. It consistently delivers world-class stabilized shots, even at great heights and at far distances. The drone is regularly used in professional movie productions for a reason.

If you're looking for the very best camera drone money can buy, this is it. It's truly a technical marvel without equal.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your New Drone

Tip 1:  Start slow and low. Practice with your new drone for a while to get a hang of how it handles.

Tip 2:  Extra power. No matter which drone you get, pick up a few extra batteries for longer flights.

Tip 3:  Watch out. It's easy to overlook trees, power lines, and other obstacles, so think ahead.

Tip 4:  Practice makes perfect. The first minutes with a drone can seem hard. No worries, it gets easier.

Tip 5:  Roll, pitch, yaw, throttle! Check out the manual to find out advanced functions on your controller.

Drone Safety Tips

Drones are a lot of fun but can become dangerous when not operated properly. Here are some basic safety tips:
First off, read the manual carefully. Each manufacturer provides lots of useful information on how to use the drone and keep things safe. Whenever you use the drone, keep away from the rotors because these things spin fast and can start unexpectedly.

If you're about to crash your drone, quickly turn the throttle to zero so that the damage to your drone and other objects is minimized. Speaking of power, if you're doing any work on the drone, always take out the battery as the drone may suddenly turn on.

If you're a beginner, learn to fly in easy conditions (meaning a wide open space with no wind and no obstacles). No matter where you fly, always follow all laws and regulations, including registering your drone with the FAA if needed.

Lastly, be considered of other people, especially with camera drones. All that being said, drones are awesome and lots of fun. Pick up one of these engineering wonders and explore the world from above. Have fun and fly safe!

How to Fly Your Drone Like a Pro

All right, so you're excited to get started and touch the sky? We've got some additional tips to make flying your brand new drone even more fun and rewarding. Let's jump right in:

Many drones support manual flight mode. This allows you to fly fast, advanced maneuvers without the drone’s stabilization and alignment features getting in the way. Sounds awesome, right? Well, it is, but only once you have a hang on how to handle your new drone. We recommend always to start out in automatic mode. If you have the option, turn on all stabilization, return home, and auto-flight features your drone offers. Then go ahead and fly for a while. You will get an intuitive sense for how your drone performs, especially in more windy conditions.

Speaking of wind: The windier it gets the harder it is to pilot a drone so be patient at first and take your drone for it's first test flight on a day with calm weather. This way you will get a feel for how it behaves and reacts under normal conditions and develop the skills to handle it should wind pick up one day. If you notice that wind speeds pick up and start exceeding about 10 miles per hour, it is time to land your drone. Don’t lift off during windy days, because it is easier than you think to lose your investment to a sudden, powerful gust of wind.

Want to have some fun? Start practicing interesting maneuvers like flying wide and tight curves, adjusting flight height skilfully, flying an upward corkscrew path, and smoothly going from full speed to a stable hover at will. These moves are not only tons of fun but will also teach you solid drone flying skills to show off. There are a ton of stunts you can try if your drone supports it. Try a 360 degree flip forwards, backward, or to the side. Next, carefully fly your drone through an obstacle race of objects around you. Another fun activity is to grab a friend with a drone and race them to a goal and back. We also found that precise flying is a ton of fun! As you get more advanced, you can test your skills by precisely and quickly maneuver your drone where you want to and then return back like a pro! Lots to do, for sure.

Mayday, mayday.. we're going down! No worries, this pretty much happens to everybody and you should prepare yourself for it to happen sooner or later. But even crashing can be made much easier if you have the right skills. When you know for sure that your drone is going to make a hard landing, there are a few things you can do to minimize damage. If you get lucky nothing happens. First off, if it's still possible, steer your drone away from trees and other high or complicated obstacles. Trust us, it's so much easier to retrieve a crashed drone in a field that in a 50 foot tree (yup, we had to do that a couple of times and it's not really fun). Then, before your drone hits the ground, make sure to quickly cut off all throttle so that the blades stop spinning by the time the drone makes contact. This does two things. First, it reduces damage to the blades and motor and second, it reduces harm to whatever you crash into (hopefully an inanimate object).

Master hovering! If there’s one drone skill that’s as important as it is underrated, it is hovering. No matter if you are preparing for takeoff, need to get quick control over your quadcopter to prevent a crash, or want to land like a pro – being able to bring the drone to a sudden hover is important. The best part? Hovering also allows you to take much better pictures and videos without that annoying shake. So how do you learn it? Practice lower, near the ground and then hover higher up. You will notice a big difference as turbulence from the rotors affects hovering stability. Then, practice hovering after the drone is moving slow or fast. Get a feel for how the wind, speed, and momentum affect how your drone behaves. Soon you will be able to hover in any situation.

Do you need to register your drone? We're not lawyers so this is just an opinion, but the short answer is: Yes. New rules for drone registration have just been released and they affect most hobby drones. The good news is that registering your drone with the FAA costs only a few dollars and you can do it quickly online. According to the FAA, you need to register your drone if it weighs more than 0.55 lbs. (250 g) and less than 55 lbs. (25 kg) - so yeah that's pretty much every drone. You must be at least 13 years of age to register. Definitely get this done before the first flight, it's pretty easy and will save you a lot of potential trouble. Note: These rules may change, so be sure to check the FAA's website for the most up-to-date regulations for drones and quadcopters.

How to Fly Your Drone (and Not Crash)

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