From commercial applications to now flying around our living rooms quadcopters are happening everywhere. These slick little drones are a joy to pilot and a great way to get your feet wet with the copter craze. Check out our list of the best nano and mini quadcopters of this year in our section below. Whether you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive model or a nano that travels at the speed of light, there’s a little something for everyone.
5 Best Nano and Mini Drones for 2018
Welcome to our section with UTB’s picks for the top 5 mini quadcopters currently available. In our opinion these are among the best drones for beginners.
Did your neighbors just see a UFO for real?! Yes, they certainly did! It was your mini quadcopter you flew threw part of their backyard that caught their eye. You don’t have to tell them though, it is more fun if you don’t. This mini quadcopter is one of the most popular minis of all time. It’s held down a best seller position for months running now. For about $20, you get a quality little drone that is great for beginners and kids alike.
One of the cool features of this drone is the tap to return feature. Simply hit the return button on the remote and your UFO will auto locate the remote control and fly back to its location. Another one of our favorite features is the 360 degree roll-over move. The 3D rollover effect is sure to astound all onlookers and make you look like a boss. This is the best affordable drone in our opinion.
It is actually amazing how many features EACHINE stuffed into this mini quadcopter for 20 bucks. You get a 6 axis gyro, 2.4GHz transmitter, LED lights, high/low speed switch, headless mode, a 5 minute flight time (not the best but hey this thing is still a steal), 30 minute charge time, and a 150mAh 3.7V battery. Not shabby. The remote control is responsive and easy to use and makes navigating your drone a short learning curve.
A step up from the EACHINE E010, Holy Stone’s Predator is a force to be reckoned with. It is about twice the cost and sits around the $40 price point most the time. Features-wise it has a lot of similarities to the EACHINE model but everything is just a bit better. A little longer battery life (350mAh instead of the 150), a longer control range, a little heavier/more durable, and some more maneuverability makes for a great mini quadcopter package.
Another neat feature of the Predator is its cool colorful LED lights, which can light up the night sky in style. The bright blues and reds make this ideal for a quick night time fly now and again. One thing we’d like to point out about this model is that it is not the best hovering craft. It flies well in wide open spaces, but other than that it doesn’t perform the best. We caution against flying this indoors or in other narrow areas.
The Rabing Mini actually comes with a HD 0.3MP camera that works with both iOS and Android. Snap clear pictures straight from your smartphone using Rabing’s smartphone app. This drone is perfect for kids and adults alike to be able to fly through the house or the yard. A bit larger than your average mini quadcopter, the fact that it folds up and is easy to transport makes this one a winner in our opinion. Plus you can get a VR box to put your phone into and then get the full FPV experience with VR, now that’s neat! This is our top pick for the best mini drone with camera.
A flight time of about 10 minutes, a 30 minute charge time, a control distance of about 100m, a 220mAh battery, a remote control, recharger capable, manual, and screwdriver rounds this product package out nicely. In the $40-50 range, you can not beat Rabing’s unit, it is our pick for the all around best mini quadcopter. Don’t be afraid by the setup either, it is ready to fly out of the box and syncs up to the smartphone app with ease. The only thing you’re going to need to buy in addition is 4x AAA batteries.
If you’re looking for a top performing mini quadcopter, the BLADE Nano QX might be the one for you. It features BLADE’s exclusive SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) tech that allows you to flip between agility and stability modes. Whether you want to do tricks in a wide open space or stay stable in a narrow corridor, the Blade Nano Quadcopter is up to the task. This unit is small enough to fly in any room or even an office to play tricks on your co-workers. This is our pick for the best indoor drone.
Be forewarned that this particular model requires you to buy your own 4+ channel DSM2 (or DSMX) transmitter to control your drone. So it is a bit more of an expensive proposition relative to many other mini and nano quadcopters. This is the reason why we don’t really recommend this for kids, it doesn’t really fall into the ‘toy’ category. It is a decent RC helicopter suitable for flying in close quarters. As such, it is extremely light and small and can be damaged easily, so you really want to get your piloting skills down before you zoom around at full speed and end up with a totaled nano on your conscious.
This nano quadcopter weighs an amazing half an ounce. This little bug can fly just about anywhere. Furthermore, it is complemented by BLADE’s excellent flight control software, so it is able to maintain stability and hover in place. That is great for beginners and experts alike.
The X20 Mini Drone is Syma’s latest and greatest mini quadcopter packed with extras. This is easily one of the best nano drones available. The one key take off and landing function is really neat, allowing beginners to get in the air without any previous skill building. In addition, the one touch down function protects the drone from damage. For example, if your Syma X20 runs out of juice or you fly it out of range and lose comms, it will fly itself slowly down to the ground and land then automatically stop the motors.
Another cool feature for beginners is the hover hold mode which will keep the drone in place while you decide on your next exploit destination. We can’t leave out the fact that this drone has the 360 roll ability that can be toggled with a key on the remote. This is much akin to EACHINE’s UFO rollover button. Coupled with the LED lights, that rollover effect pleases kids and puts a woah dude look on their faces. The X20 comes in white and black color choices. The only downside of this model is the 5 minute flight time, which is a little too short in our opinion.
General Thoughts on Mini and Nano Drone Design
Nano and mini quadcopters offer the ultimate in versatility. They are extremely fun and exciting new RC category. The best part, other than these small drones come ready to fly for $20 or even less is you can now fly many of these mini Quadcopters with precision accuracy using a remote controller (or even a smartphone). However, the top models are still sophisticated flying machines and you will need a good amount of practice before you master the skill of piloting it.
One of the main reasons why mini quadcopters are becoming so popular is because they are a great way to get into the hobby of flying drones. You don’t have to pay a couple hundred bucks to get some practice in and/or decide whether you will enjoy it. Plus, for kids, you really can’t beat them. Kids are prone to taking risks and crashing them, so if you’re out $20 it isn’t really a big deal. Now if they crashed a full size DJI Phantom you might be a little pissed to say the least.
There are some mini quadcopters that come with cameras and FPV capabilities, so keep your eyes peeled for those. Generally they are more expensive and obviously have more parts to break in the vent of a crash.
Another main reason people purchase a nano quadcopter is because they intend to fly them indoors. Indeed, some of these small quadcopters are exclusively built for indoor applications, manufacturers did not design them to be used outdoors in any sort of wind. If you’re looking for an indoor drone, smaller and lighter is always better. Truth be told, it is very fun to sneak up on family members and play tricks on people, or do maneuvers around tight spaces.
Top Benefits of Mini and Nano Quadcopters
With all the talk that is going on about mini quadcopters, it is evident there are obvious benefits these flying gadgets extol.
If you are still skeptical about investing in one, here are top benefits owners reap from the best nano quadcopters that may tip the scales.
- Relatively Cheap. Despite all the things nano quadcopters can do and excellent features they come with, they are relatively cheap. For as little as $20 dollars, you could be a proud owner of a nano drone. Most of them are lightweight and fewer materials have been used in their construction, ultimately making them less expensive.
- Portable. Mini quadcopters are very small and compactly designed; some can even fit in your pocket. A few models are even foldable so you can fold them up and get out to your location or house that you want to fly at and them let them loose. Unlike large and expensive full size quadcopters that can take up a great deal of space in your garage, nano drones are small and are more easily stored in a bedroom or closet. In short, you can go anywhere with these types of drones.
- Versatile. Some hobbyists that own say half a dozen drones or so actually prefer their nano to their larger drones. This is because you can really test your piloting abilities and reflexes because they are small enough to fly just about anywhere. Unlike larger drones that need wide open air above a park, minis can be flown through the house.
Things to Consider When Picking Out the Best Mini Drone for You
When you start shopping for a mini drone, you will quickly realize you’ve got a lot of options. Whether you’re hunting for the best micro drone, best mini drone, or best toy drone, there’s something for everyone out there. These drones come in almost every design, size, and prices range you can imagine. Here a few steps you can take to help you choose which mini drone is right for you.
As with any other purchase, price is always a foremost consideration and this holds true when shopping for the best nano or mini quadcopter. If you’re shopping for a younger kid, we highly recommend going for one of the cheaper models. Conversely, if you have some experience flying and are looking for something that’s going to last, we suggest opting for a $50+ model for maximum enjoyment.
Another key consideration is how long a drone can stay in the air on a single battery charge. This is effected by the weight, battery size, as well as, flying habits. Make sure to check out the manufacturer specs, you don’t want something that is going to last 5 minutes of flight time when you were looking for something to spend an hour or more with friends flying around. Charge time is a secondary consideration, and isn’t as important to most folks, but can vary widely due to the quality of battery charger units that come included in each kit. The best nano drones are going to have flight times of over 10 minutes.
Some mini quadcopters come with a camera or mounting capability. Obviously check the quality of the camera and see if it suits your intended purposes. For example, if high quality video is all you wbest ant, find a mini drone on the larger side that can carry a GoPro or even Mobius camera.
You should also take into account what type of controller the drone comes fitted with. They range from wonderfully responsive to “dogonit” annoyingly ineffective. Most controllers work in the 2.4 GHz band which allows about 20 pilots to be flying their drones simultaneously.
Last but not least, skill level is one of the most important things to consider and most commonly ignored. While some of features like quad accelerometers and gyro do an excellent job of keeping a drone balanced in midair, controlling the copter well is still a skill that needs to be mastered through practice. Don’t punch above your pay grade and get something that is extremely fast your first time around (unless you have Jedi like reflexes of course).