Mini drones are all the rage right now, and with good reason. Mini drones, also known as micro drones, can easily be transported without causing a scene, as many of these unmanned aerial vehicles can fit in your pocket or the palm of your hand.
Great as starter drones, for flying indoors, and for kids, mini drones are adept at accessing tight spaces that might be uncomfortable or impossible for regular quadcopters, and they give users the ability to perform incredible tricks.
To top it all off, mini drone prices are relatively low, so regardless of your budget you can become a drone pilot.
Without further ado, here are what we consider to be the 4 best mini drones in 2017. We’ve listed the technical specifications for each model, as well as each drone’s pros and cons.
Top 4 Mini Drone Reviews
Holy Stone HS170 Predator
Specifications: The size of the HS170 is 3.6” x 2” x 0.1” and it weighs just 0.3 ounces. This drone charges in 60-80 minutes and has a fly time of 6-8 minutes at a distance of 30-50 meters. This drone is equipped with 2.4GHz technology and has a 6-axis gyro stabilization system.
The Good: The 2.4GHz technology built into this drone means that it fends off interference quite well. It has a headless security system, meaning that pilots of any skill level can operate this craft with ease. Its 6-axis gyro stabilization system allow this UAV to maintain stability even in the face of moderate winds.
The Bad: The flight time for this mini drone is relatively short, and some users have noted that the six AA batteries required to power this craft’s remote control need to be replaced regularly, even if they are rechargeable. Also, the yaw rate changes when the rare settings are changed, and this could be confusing for novice pilots.
The Verdict: This is a solid starter drone, and users can change the rate settings as they gain more experience. For indoor and outdoor mini drone training the Holy Stone HS170 Predator is ideal.
Cheerson CX-10 Mini Pocket Drone
Specifications: This economic mini drone has a 6-axis design, meaning the gyroscope is adjustable. The 3.7V lithium battery allows for a flying time of up to 8 minutes, and full charge is achieved after 20 minutes.
This model comes with an adjustable 3-speed flip function, and the multi-channel technology allows multiple drones to be flown in the same area at once without interference. Weighing in at just 11.9 grams, and with a length and width of just 29mm each, this is truly one of the smallest mini drones available today.
The Good: This micro drone’s compact size makes it ideal for indoor flights. It is also extremely versatile when it comes to flips and tricks. Due to its low cost and 6-axis design (which promotes flight stability) this is a great drone for inexperienced pilots and children to fly to get their feet wet.
The Bad: The battery is soldered onto the drone, meaning you can’t easily switch out a dead battery for a fresh one. Flight time and distance is limited, and some users have noted that the propellers break easily unless aftermarket blade covers are added. The remote transmitter is quite small, meaning some pilots may have a difficult time using the controls.
The Verdict: This mini drone is perfect for mini pilots. Children will love flying this micro quadcopter around the house or back yard, and the price means it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to buy one for each child. Experienced pilots might want to consider other options, but this mini drone is a solid choice for young and inexperienced pilots.
Syma X12S Mini RC Quadcopter
Specifications: This micro copter features 2.4GHz technology to prevent interference from other drones in the area. This compact drone measures 3.01” x 3.01” x 1.06” in size and weighs just 13.3 grams, or less than half an ounce.
It has varying sensitivity levels and LED lights for nighttime flying. Charging time is approximately 40 minutes and a fully-charged model will net you about 5 minutes of flight time.
The Good: The purchase price for the Syma X12S is notoriously low, and this model is one of the fastest mini drones in its class. The 3D 360 feature allows for impressive flips and mid-air tricks. Additionally, the low voltage warning indicator helps to prevent high-altitude crashes due to a dead battery.
The Bad: The X12S doesn’t handle very well in high winds, and it can be difficult to keep this drone in a static hover. Also, the short battery life only allows this mini quadcopter to be flown for a few minutes at a time.
The Verdict: This is a great beginner drone because it’s affordable, the controls are easy to master and the ability of this drone to perform tricks will grow new pilots’ interest in drone technology.
You might want to graduate to a more technologically superior drone shortly after becoming accustomed to this model, though, because flight time is severely limited.
Eachine H8 Mini Quadcopter
Specifications: The Eachine H8’s size is listed as 11cm x 11cm x 2.8cm and its weight is just 20 grams. This mini drone’s 3.7V battery charges in 45 minutes, and has a flight time of 5-7 minutes.
The H8 micro drone has a flying distance of 30 meters, and it comes equipped with 4 LEDs. This model is equipped with headless mode and 6-axis gyro technology.
The Good: The H8’s 4 Channel technology makes it easy to move in a variety of directions and do 360-degree rolls.
The 6-axis gyro feature allows for stable flying, hovering, and ease of control. Though lightweight, this mini drone is durable and for the price it’s a good purchase for beginners.
The Bad: The one-button return feature may not work well when the drone is at the limit of its distance capabilities or when the battery is low. Some users have reported that they didn’t get many flights out of their Eachine H8 before the motor burned out.
The Verdict: Don’t count on this drone for extended use, both because of possible motor issues and its relatively short flight time. This mini quadcopter is best used as a short-term trick machine and drone newbies will appreciate how easy it is to fly and maneuver this model.
Did one or more of these mini drones catch your eye? There seems to be an almost never-ending list of mini drones on the market these days, but we feel that the four UAVs mentioned above are the 4 top mini drones in 2017 for novice and intermediate pilots. Happy flying!
Latest posts by Stewart Lawson (see all)
- The Best Racing Drones [6 Fast and Powerful Drones!] - September 14, 2016
- 5 Reasons You Need a Drone for GIS Mapping - August 14, 2016
- The 6 Best Drones for iPhone & iPad [Early 2017] - July 28, 2016