The 10 Best Drones For Kids – Kid Appropriate Drones – Popular Mechanics

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Put the thrill of flight in their hands.
If you think drones for kids are just toys that can’t possibly perform well, think again. As they’ve grown in popularity, the market has widened and technology has trickled down to the mainstream, pushing manufacturers to make solid quality drones at kid-friendly prices to stay competitive. Whether you’re looking for something to fly around the backyard to perfect a 360-degree continuous roll (always impressive) or want a high-end drone to take great photos and video for your next vacation, read on for our top recommendations, plus advice on what you need to know before you shop.
The place to start when shopping for kid’s drones is age and skill level. The most basic are hand-controlled and look like UFOs, followed by quadcopters with remote controls that range from small and easy to manage to full-size for kids who’ve gained some experience.
Generally speaking, drones are made to fly around for fun and do tricks, and to take photos and shoot video from a distance. Believe it or not, you can buy a drone with a good 720p camera for as little as $60. On the higher end are drones with more advanced 1080p cameras and video capabilities, which people often use for vacation (just double-check local requirements wherever you’re going, as they vary).
Of course, there are also expensive drones made for adults and professional-level photographers and videographers. Drones are typically powered by rechargeable batteries via USB, and most come included. As for flight time, it ranges from about 5 to 30 minutes, and charging can take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes or more.
Attitude mode or auto-hover is when the drone maintains a stable height on its own. This allows kids to practice switching speeds and direction without crash landings (though that too may be a goal) and creates stability for better photos and videos.
Headless mode means that regardless of which way the drone faces, it always responds to the remote control’s directions. In terms of safety for young kids, propellers are protected to prevent kids from getting fingers caught and there are also emergency stop buttons.
Another term to know is first-person view (FPV), which means the drone will record or take shots of what you see. Wi-Fi transmission usually happens in real time, and images are automatically saved to your smartphone for sharing.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires registration for drones weighing 0.55 pounds (250 grams) or more. All of the drones we cover in this story weigh less and do not need to be registered. If you do buy a drone that’s 250 grams or more, registration is $5 and is valid for 3 years. Check the FAA website for more information.
Every drone we write about below has an average customer rating of at least 4 stars, and several in our selection rank at 4.5 stars or higher. During our research we spoke with different manufacturers and consulted expert sources, including Good Housekeeping, and we feature drones from top brands, including Holy Stone and Altair Aerial. We cover a range of types as listed above for kids and for adults who want to try them out before moving on to something more expensive. We also offer options across price points, from $30 hand-operated drones to pricey models with better cameras and video capabilities that cost upwards of $150.
Key Specs 
From top brand Holy Stone, this option is a great buy for beginners who want to get the hang of operating an RC drone. It’s mini—small enough for little hands to palm—and lightweight, with three speeds so kids can practice positions at their own pace as they become more confident. 
The drone launches and lands with a one-touch button on the remote, or it can simply be tossed into flight. It has a range of 164 feet and it’ll stay airborne for about 21 minutes, performing everything from 3D flips to flying in a circle. It has auto-hover and responds to the remote’s directions no matter which way the drone is facing. 
There’s an emergency landing button as well, and the propellers have a protection guard over them to keep kids’ fingers safe and to prevent the drone from getting damaged. Also, if the drone crashes into something, the motors switch off so they won’t burn out. The drone takes roughly 60 minutes to charge and comes with three lithium-ion batteries and two USB cables. 
Key Specs 
This quadcopter is much larger than the pick above, suitable for kids who’ve played with beginner mini drones and are ready to move on to something that’s full-size but still simple to control. 
It has the same option of a single-button or toss launch, along with hovering attitude mode and remote-control responsive headless modes. The bright yellow paint makes the drone easy to see, and it has an approximate 22-minute flight time—with the ability to perform tricks like 3D flips, high-speed rotation, and more. There’s protection around the propellers as well as an emergency landing button. 
The drone comes with four extra propellers, two rechargeable batteries, and a USB cable. It’s a customer favorite, with 4.8 stars from more than 375 reviewers.  
Key Specs 
If you’re looking for an affordable drone with a good camera and solid flight time, this one is an excellent choice. It allows you to see images on your smartphone in real time and automatically saves them to the phone’s album so you can share them with friends, family and on social media. 
There’s a 90-degree wide-angle setting for expansive landscape shots on the 720p HD camera, along with FPV transmission and a low-battery LED light. The drone has a gravity sensor that follows the movement of your smartphone, plus it’s compatible with the Flyingsee app so kids can design their own flight path and watch the drone perform it. 
Other features include three speeds, auto-hover and headless mode, and an emergency stop button. The drone has a 60- to 90-minute charge time and comes with four extra propellers, two rechargeable batteries, and a USB cable.   
Key Specs 
This drone has several cool, notable features plus an excellent 1080P HD camera and FPV live video transmission at a distance of 196 feet. Most of the bells and whistles are accessed through the Holy Stone app, and voice control is one of them, a feature more commonly found in drones for adults only. 
With gesture control, kids can have fun acting out “paper” to start recording and “scissors” to take photos, plus flight trajectory to map out custom flight paths for the drone to perform. There’s also a gravity-control sensor for navigating the drone with your smartphone, along with all the basic features including an emergency stop button, auto-hover and headless modes, and propeller protection.
You can expect about 20 minutes of flight time after a 120-minute charge, and there are tons of extras, including spare propeller blades, landing feet, and motor gears, along with two rechargeable batteries and a USB cable.
Key Specs 
An adorable pocket-sized drone like this one is fun to buzz around the house and is a great stocking stuffer for pilots of all ages. It doesn’t have a long flight time, which makes sense given the drone’s size, and it takes roughly 50 minutes to charge, but the six-axis quadrocraft is capable of doing a spectacular 360-degree continuous roll and features colorful flashing lights for a nighttime performance. 
Other highlights include two speeds, auto-hover, headless mode, and one-key takeoff and landing, plus it comes with three batteries and a USB charger. The mini craft is available in ice blue in addition to the gold shown, and is recommended for kids ages 8 and up.
Key Specs 
This new foldable drone from Holy Stone was just released in July of this year, with a lineup of fantastic features for a price that isn’t unreasonable, considering what you get. For starters, it has an approximate 30-minute flight time, with a short 60-minute charge, and an impressive 328-foot maximum flight distance. 
Another major highlight is the drone’s 1080p FHD camera that adjusts 90 degrees, with gesture mode to snap photos and take videos from far away using hand signals. There’s also voice control and the option to draw your own flight path on your smartphone and watch the drone follow the trajectory. 
The drone has two-speed and standard positions include 3D flips, auto-hover and headless mode, gravity control, and one-button takeoff and landing. 
Key Specs 
Although the force will only be with you for 7 minutes in flight, Star Wars fans are sure to have a hard time resisting this drone, the T-65 X-Wing Starfighter of the Rebel Alliance. 
Via the free app, kids can connect their ships to other compatible Star Wars drones to engage in dog fights for missions—and shoot lasers during battle, with red for Rebel ships and green for Imperial ships. 
The drone can reach a top speed of 35 miles per hour in about 3 seconds, and there are multiple speeds to suit beginner and advanced players. It charges in roughly 30 minutes and also features altitude stabilization and auto takeoff and landing modes. 
The numbered collector’s edition also comes with a display box that plays the Star Wars theme, and the ship features hand-painted details. 
Key Specs
Kids will love taking this quadcopter drone for a spin—especially at night. It features a choice of seven colors and four modes, which you can change while the craft is in flight. The drone can perform  360-degree rotation and 3D flips, along with auto-hover and Headless mode, plus there are three speeds for kids to test their skills during up to 18 minutes of flight time. 
Other features include an emergency stop button, propeller protective guards, and a remote control ergonomically designed for small hands. Inside the box you’ll find two batteries, a USB charging cable, and a set of extra propellers. 
Key Specs 
This rad little hand-operated UFO with fun red and green LED lights is an ideal first drone for young kids. Start by tossing it into the air and the sensors will detect hands at a short distance to fly the craft. There’s a safety cage around the propellers and to stop it, simply catch it and turn it upside down, and the blades will stop moving. 
The drone takes about 30 minutes to charge for up to 8 minutes of flight time and comes with a battery and USB charging cable. It gets rave reviews, with an average 4.9 stars and it’s recommended for kids ages 8 and up. 
Key Specs 
If you have the bucks to spend, this large drone—appropriately called the “Yellow Hornet” given its design—can reach a maximum flight range of a whopping 492 feet and a 30-minute flight time. It comes equipped with a 120-degree wide-angle 720p HD camera, with excellent altitude hold stability for long shoots and clear photos and video.
Other features include three speeds, one-button takeoff and landing, and headless mode, plus it’s smartphone-ready. The body is durable and heavy at 248 grams, just under the weight that requires FAA drone registration. It comes with two batteries and a USB charger.