- Are Kids Allowed to Fly Drones?
- Do I need to Register a Drone for my Child?
- General Tips for Children Flying Drones
- Drones for Children: Some Simple Safety Precautions
- Pre-Flight Preparations
- Where Kids can Fly Drones
- Drones for Kids: The Dos and Don’ts
- Six Best Drones For Children 2020
- Five Best Drones for Kids Over 13
- Great Drones for Kids You´ll also Love
- Kid Drones and The Job of the Future
Here´s the deal:
It really is worth getting your kids into flying drones from a young age. Not only is it an employable skill, it will get their butts off the couch and provide an activity you can share with each other.
I put together a guide on what you need to consider when giving your child a drone, and compiled a list of the Best Drones for Kids 2020 .
Short on time? Check out this list of our favorite drones for children, whether very young, a bit older or teens:
|Drone Model||Price||Our Score||Flight Time||Camera||Range||Age Recommendation|
|SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone|
|16 min||720 P||80 meters||10+ years|
|SNAPTAIN A15H Foldable FPV WiFi Drone|
Best Drone for Teens/Dad
|2x8 min||720P HD Camera||Around 100 m||14+ years|
|Hand Operated Drone for Kids or Adults - Scoot Hands Free Mini Drone|
Best Drone for Young Kids
|8 min||No camera||Indoor only||8+ years|
|HASAKEE Q8 FPV Drone with HD Camera|
Best Drone with Camera for Young Kids
|9 min||HD camera||70 meters||8+ years|
|Force1 UFO 4000 LED Mini Drone|
Fun and safe UFO Mini Drone
|7-9 min||No camera||50 meters||14+ years|
Are Kids Allowed to Fly Drones?
The broad answer is yes, of course they are. The exact rules of whether younger people can fly a drone depends a lot on where in the world you live. In the USA all drones over 0.55 pounds have to be registered.
That might not sound like much, but most of the drones you’d want to start younger people on are under that weight. So there’s no age restriction and no need to register.
If you have a drone that’s over 0.55 pounds then the person registering the drone has to be older than 13 to do so. The registered owner should be the one flying the drone and may be asked to present proof of registration at any time by an official. That being said, registration is not pilot certification. Which is a separate matter and only applies to people who want to fly their drones for commercial purposes.
So if your child is younger than 13 you’ll have to register it for them and preferably supervise their flying when it’s a drone large enough for registration. Smaller drones are really seen as nothing more than toys, so they can fly them without any issue.
As a parent or responsible adult you’ll also have to use your discretion when deciding if a particular young person is mature enough and responsible enough to fly drones for children.
Do I need to Register a Drone for my Child?
As I mentioned above, if the drone is over 0.55lbs in weight and you’re in the US, you’ll have to register it. Only US citizens and permanent residents can register a drone with the FAA . It costs $5 to register at the moment. To pay you’ll need a debit or credit card. A physical address where you paperwork an be sent is also essential. Registration can be done online here.
General Tips for Children Flying Drones
The last thing you should do is be hands-off with a beginning drone pilot. While most kids these days are already used to using gamepads to control digital characters and vehicles, that’s only a partial leg up coming into manual flight.
In fact, video games might be a good place to start. There are plenty of drone flight simulators these days. There are even a few decent ones for smartphone. So perhaps even before buying a drone, why not let the little guy or gal put in some hours on a sim and judge both how interested they are and how well they get the mental part of drone flight.
Give them goals such as hovering, nose-in flight and other basic maneuvers to achieve on the sim. Once you’re happy that they’ve got the idea then you can move on to flying something real.
Kids these days love YouTube and it’s become a major learning resource. So another tip is to share some great drone tutorials. Someone, somewhere has made a series of videos that will click with the young person in question.
What’s really important is that you have “the talk” with the prospective pilot. The litany of safety issues that come with being a drone pilot. It’s not exactly the definition of “fun”, but just like many of the best hobbies, flying a drone comes with responsibilities.
Drones for Children: Some Simple Safety Precautions
Although the chances that a small toy-grade drone is going to hurt anyone in a serious way is small, it’s good to take and teach safety precautions from the start so that it becomes a habit instilled all the way until the day your young pilot decides to fly something big and serious.
Although it might sound a little weird, you should probably buy some safety glasses for a child pilot from a hardware store or somewhere similar. In my experience new pilots can easily get overwhelmed or confused. For some reason this can manifest as flying the drone towards you own head. Even a nano drone can injure your eyes, so just get the safety glasses. Take it from a guy who crashed a rather large model helicopter into himself.
Be careful in your assessment of how strong the wind is when you fly outside. Don’t fly near bodies of water like a pool. Don’t fly higher than is legal or recommended for your drone.
You should also be sure to let your kids know about the dangers of lithium batteries. Not to puncture them, set them near heat or let them fall in water. Read up on the ways that lithium batteries can go wrong and make sure they know it! Lithium battery injuries can be severe and in some cases burn down houses or cause fatalities. Don’t take any chances here.
The most important pre-flight preparation begins before you even switch the drone on for the first time. Every pilot should be intimately familiar with the specifications of their craft. That implies reading the manual from cover to cover. They should know the range of the radio control, how high and fast the craft can go, how much it weighs and so on.
All of the controls and functions should be gone over. As the adult you should also be aware of all these factors. Which means going through everything with the child and making sure they comprehend everything. Don’t just skip over stuff they don’t get right away. Stop and break it down until they do understand it well enough.
Drones for children are usually pretty easy to get started with, so the manual is usually pretty thin.
Where Kids can Fly Drones
It’s not that hard to figure out where not to let kids fly with a drone. Always check your local laws for specifics, but in general you can’t fly within a certain distance of national infrastructure. These can include airports, army bases and power stations.
Where should you fly kid drones? If we’re talking about nano-drones, which I often recommend for raw beginners to learn flight, then you can actually start indoors. A nano drone can’t really damage much more than itself if it crashes into something.
These can also be good for flying in the backyard. That is, if you don’t have dogs around to munch on the little buzzing menace.
Leaving the confines of your own home, public parks might be a good idea unless drones are specifically banned. There are also plenty of clubs for model aircraft pilots. For a usually small membership fee you can go flying on their private airfields, which provides plenty of space for junior to spread their wings.
You might also have some luck asking the school they attend whether there are times their sports fields might be available. Perhaps start a drone club at the school or join one if there already is one. Hey, you’re paying their ridiculous fees, aren’t you?
Drones for Kids: The Dos and Don’ts
There can never be a guide that will prepare you for every eventuality, but there are some common dos and don’ts related to younger drone pilots and the adults trying to get them into the hobby. Here are some things you definitely should do:
- Do make use of a simulator before flying a real drone
- Do supervise young pilots at all times.
- Do test their understanding of the drone’s operation
- Do make sure they understand the rules and regulations of drone flight in their part of the world.
There are of course just as many don’ts to consider:
- Don’t start younger pilots off on big expensive drones, get something you are comfortable trashing
- Don’t let them fly without supervision
- Don’t let them fly in places that you aren’t very sure are safe in general
- Don’t let them fly around pets, especially dogs.
These lists could be endless of course, feel free to add your own tips in the comments.
Six Best Drones For Children 2020
Most drone makers don’t recommend drones for kids under the age of 13 or 14. After all, there’s quite a lot that can happen in terms of damage and injury. However, these are only suggestions. As a parent or guardian you should use your own discretion to decide whether a particular individual child is ready for this hobby. If a person younger than 13 has the maturity, coordination and disposition to be a good pilot, then let them!
The following six drones for kids are ones that I think will make for good flyers when it comes to younger pilots who are still learning the basics.
In general I have focused on smaller, cheaper drones that won’t make your wallet cry as they are inevitably smashed during the learning process. I also don’t really care too much for cameras or FPV in this section, because this is mostly about learning to fly and having fun.
Easy to Use: One Touch Takeoff – Voice Control
Camera: 720p Photo and Video
Flight Time: 15 minutes
Automatic Functions: Packed with automated tricks and easy to use features
What We Like
-Super simple drone to pilot
-Does fun tricks at the push of a button
-Low price makes it a great beginner drone
-HD camera drone at affordable price
The SNAPTAIN S5C is a lot of drone for the money. We like that it has a lot of automated features for pilots that are just starting out. In addition to automatically taking off with the push of a button, it also does pre-programmed tricks.
If you are looking for a very affordable way to start taking pictures with a drone, the SMAPTAIN S5C has you covered. We like that it is made to operate with most iOS or Android devices, which plug right into the supplied controller.
The SNAPTAIN S5C fits the bill on that account. For anyone that is just getting started, this drone will let you start flying as soon as the batteries are charged. It also has features like gravity control, which allow us to move the drone with the g-sensor that is built into our smartphone.
SNAPTAIN S5C Makes Sense for Beginners
Anyone that wants to start flying a drone that can take 720p photos and videos should look at the SNAPTAIN S5C. It has a lot to offer new drone pilots, and can also be used by more advanced pilots to hone their skills. It has everything you need to get started and is offered at a very affordable price.
Hand Controlled: Fly without remote, easy to control with simple hand gestures
Flight Time: Around 8 minutes
LED Lighting: Rotating LED indicator lights to allow flight in day or night time
What We Like
- Super affordable drone that kids like
- No need for advanced motor skills with hand-controlled flight
- Small and lightweight
The Original Scoot Hand Operated Drone is an ideal in-house drone for kids as it’s easy to use and safe to pilot just about anywhere.
Flight time for this drone lasts around 8 minutes per charge and it doesn’t take too much effort to operate it.
Along with the fair price, the auto sensor is a feature we like as it makes people feel like a magician when they use their hands to control a drone – with no controller. This seems like a gimmick for kids, but we actually like flying the little drone around with our hands too!
The Original Scoot Hand Operated Drone is a Lot of Fun
Force 1 makes a wide range of kid-friendly drones and this little drone is probably going to be a good fit for most kids. We tried putting our fingers around the blade guards as a test and it kept our hands safe. The cage is bouncy and flexible and protects kids from doing something silly.
Camera: HD Cam with live video capability – also shoots photos
Flight time: Around 9 minutes
Max Control Range: Around 70 meters
Easy Control Mode: Gesture control and smart voice control
What We Like
- Night Protector looks cool in the dark
- Very affordable
- Offers a range of control options
The HASAKEE Q8 FPV Drone is made with a vibrant yellow exterior that looks like a lot of fun to use. It is equipped with user-friendly functions that make it a good choice for young drone pilots, and especially kids.
It is pretty easy to see that this drone was designed and produced to meet the needs of new drone pilots, or parents that want to buy a nice drone for their kids. With only three-speed modes and simple control systems, the drone can be used by just about any pilot.
The HASAKEE Q8 FPV Drone is Great for Kids
One area where this drone stands out is in low light conditions. If you want something to fly around your home or backyard at night, this little drone is a good choice.
The yellow body color helps us see it in just about any light, and it also has a glowing light ring around it that looks amazing.
It does have an inexpensive camera that will probably blow your kids away, but it isn’t going to cut it for serious photographers.
All that said, it will stream video to an iOS or Android device via the included controller, which can be a lot of fun for kids, or at parties with your friends.
The Syma is significantly bigger than the two nano drones I talked about above, but it’s still not exactly huge. At about 14 inches to a side it’s just about small enough to do a little bit of indoor flying, but should really be used outside in the garden.
Syma describes the X5C as “wind resistant”, but I suspect more than a light breeze is going to be a challenge.
Compared to the nanos this is a decent intermediate drone. I will say that it looks rather boring and so might not appeal to every youngster. It does have a longer flight time than the nano drones by about two minutes, for a total of seven minutes in the air. Unfortunately this pushed the battery charge time to 100 minutes, but at least the battery can be swapped out for extras.
The camera isn’t going to win any awards. It also has no smartphone app or any sort of live feed. You’ll have to enjoy the video later after downloading it. Still, it’s a nice addition at this price point.
The transmitter is quite sizable and may be too big for some youngsters. It’s pretty much what you’d expect when it comes to model aircraft and larger drones in general. It has a small LCD display to let you know what the various statuses are, controls for the camera, a speed mode switch and a button for the flip maneuver.
This drone also comes with prop guards in the box, which is always a huge plus point for beginners. Given the price, this seems like the logical step up from a nano drone like the two we saw above. This is a good drone for children, that you might appreciate yourself.
The Holy Stone range of drones may have a weird name, but it’s actually a pretty respectable brand of affordable drones. This HS190 is marketed specifically as a “drone for kids”, but even as a grumpy old adult I can appreciate the kickass design of this funky nano drone.
Not only does the chunky red and black body and remote look great, it folds! This little guy folds into an absolutely tiny form, which fits inside a recess nestled between the controls of the transmitter. So this is a truly pocketable drone.
While I think that’s brilliant, convenience is not the main reason I’d recommend this drone for the younger crowd. What really makes it a good choice is how easy it is to fly.
Holy Stone have put a lot of effort into adding features to this drone for beginners. You can put one thing on auto while learning to do something else. As a case in point, this drone comes with an altitude sensor. Which means it can perform an altitude hold. So a new pilot won’t have to worry about keeping the drone at the same height. They can concentrate on learning pitch, roll and yaw and leave throttle control for later.
It also has an automated takeoff and landing function. For beginners one of the biggest hurdles is getting the drone off the ground and in the air. No problem for the HS190.
Just like the Eachines Mini, the HS190 has a headless mode and return function. It does however lack prop guards, which is what you give up for the ability to fold it up and stick it in your pocket. It’s a little more expensive than other nano drones, but I think it’s a great total package.
Look, we all know you love your children, but some children need a little more help every now and then. If little Billy or Suzy really wants to try their hand at flying a drone, but you’re still picking bits of glass from the carpet from the last time they broke something, the HAK901 might be right up your alley.
In principle this is just another basic nano drone with four channels and all the same basic controls as the other drones in this article. In case you missed it, what makes this drone different is the honking huge cage they put all around it. Connected to the drone’s body with a simple metal axle, this cage acts as a buffer between the delicate little drone and the walls, ceiling and other common causes of instant drone demise. Yes, as you can imagine this does not make for the best handling or battery life, but it does mean you won’t have to repeatedly buy new props or drones because your little munchkin is a little slow on the uptake.
This drone for kids is rated for five to seven minutes, although I guess five is the safer bet here. Unlike most nano drones this one has a swappable battery, so you can buy a few and then fly for extended durations without having to charge.
It doesn’t have fancy features like headless mode, altitude hold or automatic takeoff, but maybe that doesn’t matter when you can literally roll it along the ceiling.
Five Best Drones for Kids Over 13
If your prospective drone pilot is a little older, over thirteen or so, then you might feels comfortable getting them something a little more expensive, complex and feature complete. That’s not to say that any of the started drones I highlighted for younger pilots are wrong or something when it comes to adolescents. Something like the Eachine or Hubsan nano drones are great for all ages!
My focus here is however on drones that carry a little more weight, might have a smartphone app and also a camera. An intermediate step to something like a DJI Phantom.
Flight Time: Around 15 minutes with 2 batteries (7 minutes non-stop)
Lighting: Loads of LED lights on the drone
Controller: Included controller is simple to use
What We Like
- The lights on this drone make it a blast to fly in dim light
- Super simple one-touch start is great for new pilots
- Relatively long flight time for this price bracket
The Force1 UFO 4000 LED Mini Drone is a great drone for older kids that want to have a drone with a decent flight time and some neat lighting effects.
Unlike some of the other drones from Force1, the UFO 4000 isn’t designed for young children. Our take is that this drone is really for pilots that are over 14 years old, or won’t try to touch the propellers!
One of the biggest things that the UFO 4000 really delivers is value for drone pilots. If you are looking for a small drone that can be flown around your house, or in low-wind conditions, the UFO 4000 is a good choice.
A Great Drone for Fresh Pilots
It is no secret that getting up to speed with drone piloting isn’t going to be simple. The UFO 4000 is a nice choice for new pilots because it has loads of automated features, and also lets you take control as your skills grow.
The UFO 4000 has one-touch take-off and landing and also has a mode that allows you to set a minimum height for the drone to maintain. It includes a controller that is capable but doesn’t offer any kind of connectivity with smartphones.
This is where we start getting into drones that have features similar to the premium camera drones, but are still down there in price. This is another nice drone for children from Holy Stone. Instead of a kid-friendly look this sports a killer black tacticool designs that’s sure to appeal to teens.
Prop guards are included so that those who are a little wonky on their flight skills have a safety net, but it’s not all caged up or anything.
This drone comes with two grown-up features. First of all, it has a 720p 120-degree camera onboard. Not really a camera meant to record footage, but that wide-angle lens makes it great for first-person flying. Which is a good thing, because this also has a WiFi module that can transmit video to a smart device like a phone.
That phone can be mounted on the transmitter itself. The transmitter looks exactly like a gamepad, which should feel familiar to just about any teenager these days.
It has an altitude hold feature, which makes learning to fly much easier by letting you master pitch, yaw and roll first, and then throttle control. That also helps with getting good shots with the camera. There’s also a headless mode for those struggling with orientation.
This bundle includes two batteries in the box and Holy Stone says this drone will fly for between seven and ten minutes. So that’s at least 14 minutes with both batteries taken into consideration. A great drone for kids, and f I were a teen this would be an awesome present to get.
Holy Stone U818A
The U818A from Holy Stone takes the idea of an encapsulated drone and dials it down a little so that it seems as if the prop guards aren’t just an addition, but an integral part of the drone. The four loops that separate the props on this drone fit so well with the rest of the machine that it won’t look right without them.
The U818A has a built-in 2 megapixel camera, but it doesn’t have any live video broadcast ability. It is mounted at the bottom of the drone, which does provide the potential for nice clear shots. That’s not a main draw for this drone however. What’s nice about the U818A is the powerful flight abilities it has. It’s fast and can fly between seven and nine minutes. Unfortunately it takes between 90 and 120 minutes to charge, but you can buy several batteries and charge them up in advance.
It’s a pretty simple machine, focusing rather on performance and feel. It has a headless mode, but no other automations. The controller is very traditional and two batteries are included in the box. If you have a nice outdoor space available for the kids to fly, the U818A looks like a lot of fun.
Some people say that kids these days have short attention spans. That might suggest the five minute flight time of the average small beginner drone is perfect for their generation, but that’s not very charitable. In fact, if someone is having fun, changing batteries or heading for a recharge after just a few minutes is a pain. That’s the main value proposition of the Qcopter drone. It has a relatively massive 1100mAh battery which provides up to 30 minutes of flight on a charge. That’s in line with big expensive drones from DJI, but at a palatable price.
In addition this drone has a 1080p camera, has live FPV broadcast to your phone and a snazzy looking controller with phone holder. One other interesting inclusion is a ”crash kit” with a few common extra parts that are most likely to break in a crash. There’s even a repair video included. It’s a very nice touch.
Holy Stone HS230 RC
If you didn’t know, there’s a rapidly-growing sport known as drone racing. Here people either use screens or strap video fpv goggles to their faces and race around a track. Usually these drones are quite expensive, custom built and faster than a bat out of hell.
Well, if drone racing is something your teen is thinking about buying a pre-built entry-level racer is a good place to start. They should probably master flying regular drones first, but this Holy Stone HS230 RC is a great place to start
It’s design is minimalist but very cool. It has a quick change battery system and wide-angle camera. It will hit 45 kph, which is not too shabby. You don’t need a phone to watch the live video feed either. The transmitter has a built in LCD video display that uses a 5.8Ghz system for smooth, low-latency video. The controller uses a different 2.4Ghz frequency and has its own lithium battery. It’s a bit more niche than the rest and not for complete beginner of drone flight overall, but a great entry into a wonderful new sport.
Great Drones for Kids You´ll also Love
The final recommendations I want to make aren’t just for the kids, but are two drones that have reasonable prices,but come with features that make them great to share with your kids. Perfect for both learning the ins and outs of owning a drone and capturing family memories, they aren’t toys but are very cool nonetheless.
The DJI Tello is one of my favorite new drones on the market. Although the drone is sold by DJI, it is not in fact built by them. It’s a third-party company that makes the Tello with help from DJI. Mainly DJI have provided their excellent software. So in a way it’s a DJI brain inside the body of a value drone for kids.
The Tello does not come with a controller, just like the DJI Spark. It is meant as an entry-level selfie drone. You can buy a version with a controller if you want for a few more dollars though. Live FPV is a given and this is the drone with the most autonomy at this price point I have ever seen.
It’s an awesome little camera drone, but it’s made even better for parent-child time by the fact that this drone was made to be programmed. It has a special programming language that not only teaches the fundamentals of coding, but let’s you do things with the Tello limited only by your imagination. Well that and the laws of physics.
The Bebop drones from Parrot are much more expensive than anything else in this article, but not so expensive that you can count them among more expensive camera drones. It’s a good bridge to the big time and if you look at the specs you’ll see why. It has a wonderful 14-megapixel camera with a fisheye lens. Which gives the footage a very action camera feel. The battery will keep it airborne for 25 minutes and during that time you’ll be working with their very modern and sophisticated FreeFlight 3 app, which also doubles as the controller. It’s fast, futuristic and unfortunately heavy enough to require FAA registration. A good family drone for sharing, although I wouldn’t let junior take it out for a spin without keeping an eye on it!
Kid Drones and The Job of the Future
Like it or not, drones and drones for kids are here to stay. Many modern jobs didn’t exist just a few years ago and we don’t know which new jobs are going to exist in future. For the medium term though it’s clear that semi-autonomous and autonomous systems such as multirotor drone are going to create entirely new industries. Getting your children interested in drones and the technology that makes them popular could actually lead to a career one day. From being a professional drone operator or drone racing start to taking on the job of building and maintaining drones, there’s a lot of potential here.
It’s not just the possibility of stimulating your kids to be interested in science technology and the outdoors, it also provides an opportunity to spend time with them in an age where they’d rather be playing minecraft on an iPad or chatting with their friends online. That’s a rare thing these days and a few hundred bucks is a small price to pay to get that priceless time.
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