Hello, my name is Andy Reynolds, and drones in all their variations have been a part of my life for several years. I’ve scoured the internet to bring to you the best drones for your little ones this Holiday Season to carry them into 2021. As we quickly approach Black Friday bear in mind that prices are bound to fluctuate, be sure to check back often to reference the links below.
Before we get into the list a quick aside – Aviation has come a very long way over the past decade. It used to be that controlling something able to fly with a controller was relegated to only those with extremely deep pockets and an even deeper knowledge of aviation. Not so in this modern age, what we’re looking at today have safety features built into them with children in mind to help them learn, grow, and appreciate this truly unique hobby. With most of us being forced to stay inside, you can set yourself apart by giving a gift that will entertain for hours. I’m confident you’ll find that there is something for everyone on this list, read on to find the best option that meets your family’s needs, and stick to the end for a quick break down on how to keep it legal and safe.
The Potensic A20 starts off our list, coming in on sale at $33.99 your kids will find piloting this extremely simple as it includes an altitude hold which allows them to focus just on steering it. It is battery operated and two are included with the purchase allowing for roughly 13 to 16 minutes of flight time. Also included are propeller guards, this is an added benefit as your kids can learn how to pilot it without being afraid of ramming it into obstacles!
Pros: Small, Easy to Fly, doesn’t require a phone, affordability
Cons: Very simple, not feature-rich, short flight time
The Snaptain H823H Mini Drone brings a solid amount of value for its affordable cost. Standard features like headless mode, propeller guards and altitude hold are present, but also included is a return to home function and the ability for your kids to perform flips! With over 1k positive reviews on Amazon this Mini drone should be on your radar if you’re seeking something still simple but with a bit more flair.
Pros: Small, Simple to fly, tons of value for cost, flips!
Cons: Won’t hold the older kids’ attention for long, won’t survive outside wind
The first quadcopter to grace this list with FPV (First Person View) also happens to be the world’s smallest. Many drones with video feed require a mobile device to pair to them, parents will rejoice in that this purchase will include a pretty hefty controller with instant video feed built-in. Apart from being able to see where they’re flying, kids will also have the option to take pictures with a surprisingly decent camera!
Pros: Durable controller makes this feel like a bit more serious of a drone, camera gives kids the ability to get into photography
Cons: Will struggle with strong winds outside, propeller guards aren’t included
The Ryze Tello stands unique among other drones on this list as it is targeted at being educational as well as fun. Tello will come included with Scratch compatibility – a block-based visual programming computer language geared towards kids. Many school programs are teaching children how to code at younger and younger ages, consider purchasing this as a way to entertain and give them a leg up. Also included with the drone is a five-megapixel camera capable of shooting 720p video – This is just about as good as you can expect for a drone in this price range. Worth mentioning: Ryze’s parent company is DJI, and you can find much of the same tech present in this copter.
Pros: Educational value, solid camera for cost, unique, affordability
Cons: Still not great against the wind
The DJI Mavic Mini replaced the Spark, DJi’s first foray into drones geared towards the younger populace. Many improvements have been made since then, and make no mistake; this is a serious drone. Coming in at under 250g this drone will still avoid the need for registration in the States (more on that later). For older kids who also have access to a smartphone they’ll find similar features as the more expensive options in the pro-consumer section such as the ability to record 2.7k video, shoot 4,000 X 3,000 megapixel JPEG pictures, a gimbal for steady and smooth video, and advanced flight options. Should you choose to purchase this you’ll be buying less of a toy and more of a flying camera. consider picking up the fly more combo for added batteries among other included accessories.
I myself am a big fan of DJI, and for good reason. You’ll be blown away by what this little drone is capable of.
Pros: Fantastic pictures, smooth & clear videos, can handle wind speeds up to 28km/h, still under FAA registration requirements
Cons: Expensive, bested by only one other drone on this list
Rounding out our list the Mavic Mini 2 also happens to be the most advanced, and expensive, drone to consider purchasing for your child. With this they will have the ability to truly enjoy all of what aerial photography has to offer. Launched in November of 2020 this is DJI’s newest drone and it sports some pretty impressive tech: 4k video, automated panorama shots, raw image options for post editing (that one might be a bit much for younger kids), auto return to home and all still coming in under FAA registration requirements.
Pros: Feature-rich, capable of indoor & outdoor use, amazing picture & video quality
Regardless of the drone you choose to pick up this year, be sure to fly safely and obey all FAA requirements. Any drone weighing 250g or more will need to be registered before it is flown. For simplicity’s sake, all drones included on this list weigh under that requirement. I hope you enjoyed reading this, happy holidays!