From tech magazines to online RC publications, indoor drones are one of the hottest topics right now. These small unmanned flying vehicles are very fun to fly as you can maneuver them just about anywhere, and the best ones have pinpoint piloting precision. Whether you’re looking to improve your piloting skills or you have more roguish intentions such as sneaking up on an office coworker, indoor drones can be a lot of fun. Check out our list of the best indoor drones and quadcopters in our section below.
5 Best Drones of 2017 for Indoor Fun
To get you started, we have rounded up the best 5 indoor drones currently available.
If you’re looking for the best indoor drone regardless of cost, the Parrot Mambo may be the one for you. You can control this drone up to 20M away using your smartphone or up to 65M away using the Parrot Flypad Controller. The catch is you have to buy the Parrot Flypad Controller separately and it’ll run you about $40 or so. It is annoying since the Mambo is already expensive by itself, but the quality of the remote and drone are unmatched in our opinion.
There are two super awesome capabilities Parrot built into the Mambo. The first accessory is the cannon, which allows you to shoot mini balls at up to 6 feet away. This is wonderful for pranking people and annoying the heck out of them. The second accessory is the grabber module which enables the user to grab, hold, and release items that weight up to 4 grams. We suggest stealing your coworkers pens, dropping off insults scribbled on notes of paper, and/or picking up light items and bringing them to yourself without having to get up from the recliner. Whatever the case, we’re sure you can think up many useful purposes. On top of these fun features, you get a drone that has excellent controls and can execute barrel rolls and flips. It is easily our choice for the best indoor drone of 2017.
If you’re hunting for the best indoor drone with camera, this fits the bill. This is one of the best indoor drones at the middle tier price area. It is agile, nimble, and is plenty durable to withstand minor collisions. This is a great kit that gets you everything you need to start flying as well as a HD camera. You get a 200mAh battery, remote control, and the drone itself. You’ll need to download the app on your smartphone which is called CameraFi. The app is available on both iOS and Android. You can choose to either install the app, or purchase your own 5.8GHz video receiver and screen. With that, it becomes one of the best indoor FPV quadcopters.
Another neat feature of this indoor drone is the one button return. Simply press the button and your drone will auto locate the remote and fly back to it. We also like the styling of this UFO shaped quadcopter. All red and black with the red props is really cool. The blue and red LED lights for flying in the dark is also a nice touch.
For those looking for a cheap toy drone, this is the perfect option. It wins our award for the best cheap indoor drone. The CX-10 actually comes in at below $20 and is ideal for goofing around or letting your kids go wild with it. We think that’s why this unit has elbowed its way into the best sellers list of mini drones. It has a flight time of 4-8 minutes, so keep that in mind, you won’t be cruising for long before it needs a charge. But for intermittent use, this flight time works out just fine. It has a little alarm that signals to you when the battery is about to run out of juice, so you won’t take a nose dive into the hardwood floor or something of that nature.
Considering the cost, you wouldn’t expect many features, but Cheerson did a good job at throwing a couple in there. You’ve got 3 speed modes to choose from, so you can put it on the lowest when starting out. The 6 axis gyroscope helps it stay somewhat stable and the 2.4GHz controller is sufficiently responsive. Last but not least, there’s a LED light for night time and low light flight conditions.
If you want to fly in style, you need Air Hogs Millennium Falcon drone. Unfortunately, it does not travel at light speed, but they are working on that. Fortunately, Air Hogs did include a hyperdrive stunt with the touch of a button so you can rest easily. You can control this bad boy from up to 200 feet away using the included remote control, yes thank god you do not have to buy it separately. It is a hungry one, it requires 6 AA batteries to operate.
It could have made our list of the best indoor quadcopters solely on its looks and design, luckily there’s even more to it than meets the eye. Look closely, and you will see four rotors concealed in the ducts of the body of this drone. This design, with the impact resistance foam along the sides, actually makes this much more durable and impact resistant than your average mini quadcopter. Air Hog makes a number of Star Wars themed drones, so if a Tie Fighter or X-Wing is more your style, they’ve got that. As Air Hogs aptly states, “Now you can make the Kessel Run is less than 12 parsecs”.
One of the leading reasons to purchase the BLADE Nano QX is the SAFE tech that enables you to flip between stability and agility modes. Stability for precise flying in tight quarters (and learning how to fly) agility mode for doing fancy maneuvers. SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope and is notable because these multi axis sensors and software can understand and adjust to the altitude and speed on the fly, literally. If you ever get yourself into trouble or fly around of range, let go of the sticks and the SAFE technology will automatically stabilize the craft and go into a standstill hover mode.
BLADE makes some of the best compact drones on the market and is a trusted brand as far as we are concerned. You can switch between yellow and green color styles, we are partial to the green ourselves. The 150mAh Li-Po battery isn’t too shabby, but if you really enjoy flying this one around you may want to seek out and upgrade to a heftier battery for longer flight times. Thanks to its solid construction and SAFE tech, this makes our list of the best indoor mini drones.
General Thoughts on Drones for Indoors
If getting into the RC hobby is something you have been thinking about, purchasing an indoor drone isn’t a bad way to start. Flying your drone indoors is a great way to get your feet wet and not flush a couple hundred bucks down the toilet in a scarring outdoor crash! The best drone for indoor use is going to be smaller, lighter, and less expensive.
If you get an indoor drone like the Parrot Mambo, you’ll open up a bunch of doors. Not only will you get to practice your aerial flight piloting skills, you can troll others by shooting them with in the gullet with little balls up to 6 feet away. If that isn’t a treat that brings a smile to your face, your a hard one to please. What we really need by this point are coffee drones that are capable of making and bringing us coffee with the click of a button. We guess we’ll have to wait another couple years for that.
Indoor drones are great for kids too, just don’t let them fly a Parrot quality indoor drone. Get a cheap drone for around $20 bucks and let them go crazy. You aren’t going to cry yourself to sleep over a busted $20 drone if the little one accidentally rams it into a wall. On the other hand, be careful with the sub $20 price category, there’s some real duds down there that you want to avoid at all costs. You want something that is at least going to last a few months barring a nasty crash.
Top Benefits of the Best Indoor Drones
There are numerous reasons why quadcopters and drones are fast becoming one of the most popular recreational gadgets anyone can invest in today. If you are still on the fence about this new kind of toy, here are some of the reasons they are worth checking out.
- Appealing to Everyone. The best indoor drones appeal to people of all ages. From as young as 7 years old right up to adults, everyone will enjoy the thrill of commanding a drone as he or she performs those very intricate stunts and maneuvers. The joy of remote control vehicles and drones is practically universal.
- Affordable. Indoor drones tend to be more affordable than the fancy outdoor drones that can fly in nearly any conditions. Indoor drones are built to be small and lightweight, so they don’t require nearly as much construction material for their construction (or labor to put them together) as a full size drone. Most of them are designed to be controlled via a smartphone app, so you don’t have to spend extra dough on a controller either.
- Pranks. Maybe your sneaking and scaring game isn’t too hot. That’s okay. Not many can detect a stealthy, quite, pocket sized nano drone sneaking up on them. A quick nudge in the back of the neck (or even get a model that shoots little balls) and you’re sure to scare even the most stoic of siblings and family members. The Parrot Mambo even has the ability to pick things up and drop them so you can dare imagine all the roguish activity that can be accomplished with that capability.
- Practice. If you really start getting into the hobby of drone flying and perhaps even get into competitive racing, you want to hone your skills every chance you get. Piloting these smaller drones through narrow spaces is a great way to test your skills. The fact that they are so darn light and small means that if you drop a powerful little motor into one, you’ll be flying around ridiculously fast and need Godlike reflexes to control it.
Most Important to Consider Before Buying an Indoor Drone or Quadcopter
Before making the plunge there are a few things we recommend you take into consideration. The best small indoor drone for you is going to depend on your budget of course, but at the very least you want to make sure it checks the essential boxes.
There are a ton of indoor drone options on the market right now and that number continues to grow. Not all of them are worth your hard earned dollars. It makes sense to compare the specs apples to apples before clicking that buy button.
Battery / Flight Time
The quality of the battery is the difference between minutes and hours of enjoyment. Most indoor drones are going to clock in at around 10 minutes of flight time with the stock battery. You can always upgrade to a new, bigger battery but if you are just trying things out or getting one for your kid it may not be worth the hassle. In that case, you may want to start out with buying a model that comes with a good stock battery or comes in a bundle with an extra battery or two. Manufacturers will typically list their flight times and battery charge times in their product listing. The higher the mAh, the bigger the capacity of the battery, but just because a drone has a decently high mAh battery, doesn’t mean it’s going to fly longer than one with a lower mAh battery. Weight is a big factor here as well but essentially low weight and high mAh = long flight times.
Motor / Top Speed
The little motors in these guys are worth keeping an eye on too. You want something that is going to be durable and not overheat. Of course, the more expensive they are, generally the faster they will get, but not always. Manufacturers will usually list their motor types but not always the top speed, you may have to dig a little more for those numbers.
Control distance is the last factor we’d like to suggest checking out. Some indoor drones especially have low control distances, meaning you literally have to walk behind it or the thing starts to go wonky because its out of range of the remote. Typically manufacturers will list their control distance in meters or feet so if you have a big house or office and want to control the thing from the comfort of your seat, find something that has a decent control distance.