More and more RC enthusiasts are taking flight! While RC cars and boats are pretty cool, nothing beats having wings and being able to go where you please. Between RC helicopters and other flying drones, the RC air category has seen exponential growth. In this buyers guide and informational review feature, our readers can get everything they need to know regarding RC helicopters. Starting out, you can check out our list of the best RC helicopters in the section below.

Top 5 Best RC Helicopters of 2018

Here are the best all around RC helicopters for the money.

1. WLtoys V912 Sky Dancer Large Remote Control Helicopter

WL Toys Sky Dancer V912 4 Channel Fixed Pitch RC Helicopter

When it comes to the best RC Helicopters on the market, V912 MAX Sky Dancer has fought its way and place itself among the top of the pack. It is the largest RC heli on our list and is a bit more expensive than your average RC copter. The 4 channel, 2.4GHz frequency remote allows the pilot to move up, down, forward, backward, right fly, left fly, turn right, and turn left. If that sounds like a lot of directional options, it is because it is a lot of options. As one would hope for, the V912 Sky Dancer provides full 3D flying action. Have no fear, after you spend a couple hours with this model you’ll get the controls down no problem.

RC Helicopter Specs

  • Fly Time: 8 minutes
  • Charge Time: 60 minutes
  • Helicopter Battery: Rechargeable 7.4V 1500mAh
  • Transmitter Battery: 4 x AA batteries
  • Max Control Distance: 150 meters

2. Hero H911 RC Helicopter
Hero RC H911 2.4GHZ iRocket 4 Channel Fixed Pitch Ready to Fly Helicopter

This is one of our favorite looks-wise RC helicopters. Performance-wise it isn’t too shabby either and it easily made our list of the best remote helicopters. Throw in the fact that you can get this remote control helicopter for about $40 and this offer from Hero RC is hard to beat! Hero RC advertises this helicopter as an indoor and outdoor model. With its smaller size and precision controls, we think that’s a fair claim. The elastic properties of the composite plastic material used in its construction make it an ideal choice for beginners. Furthermore, if you suffer a critical breakdown (or high speed crash) you won’t cry yourself to sleep as would someone would dropped $400 on their helicopter would. An added touch, the manufacturer Hero included some extra spare parts in the bottom part of the box. Ultimately, this is a fair price for a sturdy R/C helicopter package that is easy to use and is ready to fly within minutes of charging the battery.

RC Helicopter Specs

  • Flight Time: 7 minutes
  • Charge Time: 60 minutes
  • Helicopter Battery: Rechargeable 3.7V 130mAh
  • Transmitter Battery: 6 x AA batteries
  • Max Control Distance: 80 meters

3. Traxxas DR-1 Dual-Rotor Remote Control Helicopter

Traxxas DR-1 Dual Rotor RC Helicopter

Traxxas is a big name in the RC world and has been around since 1986. They are arguably the best RC helicopter brand. They’ve made hobby class RC cars, boats, and helicopters very successfully and always use best in class components. As such, each of their creations command a fairly high price. Their DR-1 R/C helicopter is no exception. It is our pick for the best outdoor RC helicopter.This is built to be a lot faster and is heavier than the cheaper models with its high strength anodized aluminum frame. It has two rotors to maximize navigation ability and stability for the extra weight. Caution must be used, especially when you first start flying it, because high impact collisions become all the more probable. Thankfully, Traxxas has outfitted this helicopter with two modes: normal flight mode and expert flight mode (for high speed flying maneuvers). Also, we really like the LCD transmitter display on the remote. Last but not least, this RC helicopter is backed by Traxxas’ top notch customer service and support.

RC Helicopter Specs

  • Flight Time: 10 minutes
  • Charge Time: 45 minutes
  • Helicopter Battery: Rechargeable 3.7V 450mAh
  • Transmitter Battery: 4 x AAA batteries
  • Max Control Distance: 150 meters

4. Syma S107G 3-Channel R/C Helicopter

Syma S107G 3 Channel RC Helicopter with Gyr

If you’re looking for the best low cost RC helicopter, this is the one. This is our top pick for the best indoor RC helicopter for beginners. It is for indoor use only. Whether for yourself who is testing the waters and seeing if a RC helicopter is right for you, or for your kid who is bound to crash the thing anyway, Syma makes an excellent RC helicopter for the price. Can you get a quality RC helicopter for around $20? Yes, the Syma-S107G 3- Channel-RC helicopter fits the bill. A fair price without compromising on quality. The numbers back it up, it has been the best selling RC helicopter for quite some time now.

With this unit from Syma, you actually have 5 color styles to choose from: blue, red, yellow, green, and white. The metal frame helps it withstand accidental crashes and the quality gyroscope is great for indoor flying.

One word of caution, as we mentioned this is for indoor use only and as such has a very low range (you’ll need to follow it around as you fly it essentially).

RC Helicopter Specs

  • Flight Time: 10 minutes
  • Charge Time: 25 minutes
  • Helicopter Battery: Rechargeable 3.7V 180mAh
  • Transmitter Battery: 6 x AA batteries
  • Max Control Distance: 10 meters

Syma also offers the Syma S109G 3.5 Channel RC Helicopter in a US Army style as seen in the below image.

Syma S109G 3.5 Channel RC Helicopter with Gyro Military Style

5. ZeliCopters U13a RC Helicopter w/ Camera

ZeliCopters U13a RC Helicopter with Camera

This RC helicopter differs from the others on our list because it features a video and photo camera. The camera is included and the footage is stored on a micro SD card. Stability wise, this is one of the best helicopters, which is extremely important in taking clear photos and video. The 580mAh rechargeable li-polymer battery is the biggest battery we’ve seen on a RC helicopter. The battery incorporates over charging protection, so you won’t wear out the battery quickly. The all black style is sleek and great for stealth missions! Via the three channels, you can direct this helicopter forward, backward, up, down, as well as clockwise and counter clockwise.

RC Helicopter Specs

  • Flight Time: 8 minutes
  • Charge Time: 60 minutes
  • Helicopter Battery: Rechargeable 3.7V 580mAh
  • Transmitter Battery: 4 x AA batteries
  • Max Control Distance: 150 meters

General Thoughts on RC Helicopters

In the past, RC helicopters were very expensive and were only accessible to diehard RC enthusiasts or those of us with lots of disposable income. Today it is a hobby that anyone can enjoy and you can get into it (or buy one for your kid) for around $20. Whether you’re searching for the best mini RC helicopter or the best outdoor RC helicopter, there’s something for everyone. While quadcopters are all the rage in the RC and drone world, we still think there’s a place for your standard RC helicopter with a single or dual rotor. We think they are great for beginners to RC flying applications and the fact of the matter is these are a lot less expensive than most drones. It is a wonderful introduction to the hobby of RC. Another reason people opt to go for a RC helicopter is appearance preferences. Maybe they just like the look of a traditional helicopter over some of the drone designs, or perhaps they have been a helicopter pilot in real life.

When it comes down to it, quadcopters are more stable and easier to fly than helicopters. That is why we generally recommend quadcopters for shooting video and taking images. If you want to get something out of the box and get flying quickly without much of a learning curve, a quadcopter is for you. If you’re up for the extra challenge, you may enjoy flying a RC helicopter. They require a lot of skill to maneuver effectively and are more prone to damage when undertaking a collision. But nothing quite steals the show like a large, well piloted RC helicopter in public spaces. Certainly, helicopters are capable of advanced acrobatics and can be really flashy. It is a sure way to get a group of fans watching your every move. Many pro RC helicopter fans suggest flight duration is longer with RC helicopters. That may be true if you make a lot of customization changes, but nowadays with mini and nano quadcopters, the flight duration is getting equalized.

Benefits of Remote Controlled Helicopters

Here are some of the reasons why RC hobbyists tend to select a remote control helicopter over a quadcopter.

Upside down RC helicopter

  • Responsiveness. RC helis are typically quicker to respond than quadcopters because there is only one or two motors that need to be adjusted. With a quadcopter of course, it needs to reconfigure the rotation angle and speed of four. Hobby grade helis are designed and purposefully built for 3D flight, whereas not all quads are suitable for advanced aerobatics.
  • Flashy. A well piloted RC helicopter is a head turner and can outshine most of the prettiest quadcopters. More maneuvers and tricks are available to a remote control heli than a quadcopter. They are lifted by one set of blades instead of four which means you can slice around a lot more, but are not nearly as stable.
  • Challenging. Some of us enjoy the challenge of taking the more difficult path. RC helicopters have less electronic controls than quadcopters. That means more of the navigation burden is on the pilot and less is on the device itself. You aren’t going to be aided as much by electronic controls that offer corrections to produce the right outcomes. Furthermore, one crash might mean you need to make some major repairs, whereas quadcopters generally hold up a little better.

Top Things to look for Before Buying an RC Helicopter

Here are a few things to check out before hitting that buy button.

Flight Time

Battery size and unit weight are going to be the two big factors that decide how long the given flight time of a RC helicopter is. On average, most of these fly only 10 minutes before running out of juice. It doesn’t seem like much, but upgrading the battery and doing some tinkering can result in a lot great performance. We suggest looking for 150mAh size battery or more as a general rule of thumb. If you’re looking for something for casual indoor use, obviously your requirements are going to be a lot lower than someone who wants a couple hours of outdoor fun before needing a recharge. Also, keep in mind that not all chargers and rechargeable batteries are built the same. Some take hours to charge whereas some can be fully charged in under 30 minutes.

Control Distance

Another thing to keep a close eye on is how far can the helicopter fly from you before going haywire. Indoor flyers are not going to care about this as much. Some really cheap models will actually require the user to walk behind the unit as they fly it. On the other hand, we a quality 2.4GHz transmitter and quality components, you can fly the helicopter all over the park without losing a bit of control.

Spare Parts

Newcomers to the RC hobby will quickly find things have a tendency to break and wear out, especially if one is prone to crashing and doing risky maneuvers. And of course, what fun is flying without being able to gun it and do all the fancy stuff! This is a major reason why we suggest you purchase a popular model from a popular brand. This will increase the likelihood that you will be able to find replacement parts and parts to upgrade your helicopter. The best RC helicopters are going to have many outlets all over the web where you can find and order new parts after taking that nosedive into that flock of geese and plop into the water.

Size

This may indeed seem like an obvious factor but nowadays where nearly everyone is buying their vehicles and helicopters online, it is worth double checking before ordering. Images online don’t always do the best at showing relative size. Once again, indoor and outdoor flyers will have different specifications they are looking for. It would be silly to try and pilot a massive helicopter through your house and around all those trinkets and fragile breakables the lady is so fond of.

Mini RC helicopter

Example of a Mini RC Helicopter

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