There are plenty of kid-friendly drone options out there!
Updated June 2017: Added the EACHINE E10 and Protocol Videodrone AP to our list.
Whether you're buying a drone for a kid, or simply for someone who's never owned a drone before, there's a few considerations you want to keep in mind — cost, size, range, and durability. If you're buying for a young one, you'll definitely want to keep the first three down, but that will invariably also affect the drone's durability as well. Crashing is part of the learning process, so we've highlighted some options that include built-in blade guards.
We've listed our favorites starting from the smallest and cheapest option to more full-fledged camera drones, ideal for older kids interested in aerial videography or picking up drone racing as a new hobby. Note that these drones are all recommended for ages 14 and up.
Looking for more drones? Check out our article on the
Aukey Mini Drone
This pocket-sized drone is basically the definition of a kid drone at just under two inches across. It comes ready to fly out of the box, with a USB cable for charging and a kid-friendly controller that features a one-press button for take-off and landing. You'll get five minutes of flight on a fully-charged battery, with just over 80 feet of range from the controller.
Perfect for flying indoors, this little drone makes a great gift not only for kids, but for anyone interested in having a little drone fun in their spare time. Learn the basics of flight on the Aukey Mini Drone, then move onto bigger and stronger drones once you're confident in your piloting abilities.
EACHINE E10 Mini Quadcopter
The EACHINE E10 Mini Quadcopter is a perfect little drone for kids, featuring a simple, kid-size controller and everything your kid needs to practice drone flying.
Despite its small size, this drone includes some impressive features, including one-button 360-degree rolls and a return home function built into the directional control stick. There's also 4 LED lights on the underside of the drone, which helps with visibility in low-light conditions.
Best of all is the price — at under $25 for the standard version and under $40 for the E10C with a 2.0-megapixel camera, these are ideal little drones for young pilots. They are super portable and quite durable, and if they stop working after an epic crash, it's not the end of the world.
It's worth noting that you'll want to give the battery some time (at least 20 minutes) to cool down before recharging after a flight because otherwise you risk drastically shortening the lifespan of the battery and the drone.
UFO 3000 LED Drone
When you're learning how to fly a drone, crashes will happen. The UFL 3000 LED Drone helps to mitigate that by keeping the blades fully protected. Your novice pilot can bump into walls and whatnot while they learn how to zip around on low and high speed modes, as well as perform flips with the simple press of a button.
Oh, and then there's how cool this drone is, with its blue and green LEDs creating four brilliant rings of light, so your little drone pilot can practise flying even in the dark. Two batteries ship with this drone, with flight times averaging around seven minutes on a full charge.
Holy Stone HS170 Predator
The Holy Stone Predator drone is a fun, palm-sized drone that's pretty much good to fly right out of the box. It's a great, affordable option for anyone looking to learn the basics of flying a drone. It features six-axis gyro stabilization and can be flown indoors or outside — though given its size, you'll want to wait for a calm day with little to no wind.
The downside here is that you'll only get about five minutes of flight time from a fully-charged battery, so we recommend picking up
UDI 818A Camera Drone
This is the first drone on our list that comes with a camera, which allows you to snap photos and videos conveniently with the included controller. Its price makes it an ideal starter drone for someone looking to eventually upgrade to bigger and better drones with better cameras.
This is another drone that provides good protection for the blades, which are typically the first thing to get damaged or lost in a crash. It's very lightweight, so you'll want to avoid using it outdoors on a windy day. It ships with a camera that shoots photos and videos in standard definition (640x480), with a 2GB microSD memory card included for storage.
Protocol Videodrone AP
If your kid has played around with mini quadcopters and is looking for something a little bigger, a little more substantial, and really cool-looking, then you'll want to look into the Protocol Videodrone AP.
For starters, as the name implies, this drone comes with a built-in camera for snapping video (640x480 resolution) and up to 1000 images on the included 4GB of memory. The drone includes onboard sensors and features that make it easy to launch and keep in the air. You'll get roughly 7 minutes of flight time per fully charged battery, and you'll want to preserve the battery by letting it cool down before recharging immediately.
In terms of build quality, the Protocol Videodrone AP certainly has a premium look to it with black and gold materials. Spanning about 10 inches across and featuring proprietary blades and stylish blade guard designs, this stands out from other options on this list. At nearly $100, this is a good intermediate option for those who have learned the basics and want to step up to something a bit bigger.
If you're buying for an older kid who is really interested in taking up drone racing as a hobby, the Microdrone 3.0 is a great option, given everything that comes with it.
Included in the full set combo, now available from Amazon, you get the drone, a 2.4 GHz handset, propeller guards, four replacement blades, four blades for inverted flying, the Wi-Fi Camera module, a smartphone holder that attaches to the handset, as well as a VR headset that holds most smartphones for first-person view flight. Basically, it's everything you need to dip your toes into the world of drone racing.
It's a capable flyer with three control modes (slow, fast, and insane), as well as a toggle switch for stunt mode, which lets you perform impressive flips and rolls. The camera literally snaps on in a second thanks to proprietary magnets that also deliver power to the camera. Connect your phone to the camera's Wi-Fi and control and record video through the Microdrone app.
Do you have a go-to drone that's great for kids? Let us know in the comments below!