That said, it used to be that these helicopters used to be real expensive and only professional hobbyists would buy them. Most people would think twice about gifting them to kids - because they were so expensive. Not everyone would be willing to spend a thousand dollars or more on a gifting a RC helicopter to a child because there was always the possibility that the child would crash it on the very first flight.
But thanks to today's vastly improved technologies, costs have fallen significantly, and these are very affordable - and in some ways better than the expensive models of the past.
Best Remote Control Helicopters for Kids
For Children Below 7 Years
Little Tikes My First Flyer
6 months and up
4 years and up
For Children Below 10 Years
8 years and up
8 years and up
For Children Older Than 10 years
13 years and up
14 years and up
14 years and up
On this page, there’s some great advise about how to choose the best remote controlled helicopters for beginners who are just starting out and for kids as well. So read on!
There are essentially two main categories of model helicopters …
For very young kids less than 10 years, you would want to buy a toy helicopter instead of a more expensive, hobby grade helicopter. While it’s true that hobby grade helicopters are built a lot better and last longer, they can also be more expensive.
And there’s no guarantee that the child will actually like flying a helicopter and take it up as a serious hobby. But on the other hand if the child really likes it and shows a keen interest in pursuing it further, you can always buy a hobby grade helicopter.
RC Helicopters Toys for Kids
These have a lot of things going for them –
- they are very inexpensive,
- do not require any maintenance
- are easy to fly
- do not have complicated controls that can confuse a child
- have bright flashing led lights that look very pretty in the dark
While they can’t be controlled as precisely as a hobby grade helicopter, they fly and are easy to control – which is really what matters to a child.
If this is the very first time someone is flying a helicopter, they will need to know whether they enjoy doing this to start with. If they don't, all the fancy hardware will not matter the slightest bit. They couldn't care less whether the model has a GPS or a Gimbal mounted camera - they simply will not fly it again. Which is why you will want to start out with a inexpensive toy, and then graduate to more advanced models later.
These toy helicopters will most likely not last for more than a few months. But then, these are for testing the waters so to speak, and not for serious hobbyists. They help introduce the child to the wonderful world of radio controlled helicopters very inexpensively.
Toy helicopters have only two channels - lift and yaw. The controls are very simple to operate - the main rotor provides the lift, andthe tail rotor enables you to execute right or left turns. While the controls are certainly not precise, these are meant for young children and so are rudimentary in design.
Hobby Grade RC Helicopters
While toy helicopters sure can be fun for a while, they are so simple that you get bored after a while. For children who are older than 12 years or so, it would be a better idea to consider buying a hobby grade helicopter instead.
These helicopters are built better, fly better - and if you crash them, these are easier to put back together because replacement parts are easy to find.
In fact, the availability of replacement parts is a huge advantage over toys - because once a toy helicopter breaks,there's usually no way you can get it working again. And then there are online forums where you can get virtually any question you have about hobby grade helicopters answered from die hard enthusiasts and experts.
And the perhaps biggest reason to consider buying a hobby grade helicopter instead of a toy is that these are - in most cases - just a little more expensive than toys - but offer a lot more value as they are so much better in every way. You can buy a decent hobby gradehelicopter for less than $100.
That said, here are a few tips on what to look for when buying a hobby grade RC helicopter for beginners ...
Tips From The Pros ...
Here are some facts about RC helicopters that come straight from the pros who have had years of experience with them. Knowing these can save you a lot of frustration and help you make much better buying decisions …
Small micro helicopters with more channels are actually a lot harder to fly
This may seem counter intuitive, but this is true. Small helicopters are harder to control, tend to fly faster and have a very limited range of movements. Strangely, some folks who are just starting out tend to choose smaller, 4 or 6 channel helicopters to hone their flying skills.
Since they are so much harder to control and beginners have limited or non-existent skills, crashes are bound to occur very frequently.
Those micro helicopters with 4 and 6 channels are notoriously hard to fly. They require a lot of skill to fly, and unless you have quite a bit of flying experience under your belt, you should not be starting out with these models.
Larger helicopters on the other hand are actually easier to fly. They do not move quite as fast, and are more graceful in flight. They are easier to get off the ground, fly and land.
If you really want to buy a micro helicopter, buy one that has fewer channels. If you want to buy one with more channels, make sure it’s bigger.
One good way to progressively develop skills for a beginner would be to start with a 3 channel helicopter, then upgrade to a four channel model after they are completely comfortable with the 3 channel model and so on. The worst possible way would be to start with a 6 channel micro helicopter. That would be pretty much impossible for a novice to even get off the ground, let alone fly or hover.
This stuff is something you most certainly should know if you are buying a helicopter for someone who has very limited skills at controlling these.
Buy a model that's small and light
Typically, the larger the model is, heavier it will be and more likely to get damaged if it were to crash. Conversely, the smaller a model is, the lighter it will be - and more resistant to crashes.
When someone is yet to master the controls, crashes happen frequently. While they can be repaired, each crash will mean a significant amount of downtime.Which is why you will want to start with an easy to fly, small and lightweight model.
Buy a model with fewer number of channels of control, preferably with only 3 or 4 channels
A RC helicopter can anywhere from 2 to 6 channels of control. Each channel controls a type of movement. While a two channel RC helicopter has basically two modes of movement- lift and yaw, a six channel model can do a host of movements in addition to these two - climbing, swooping, rolling, flying backwards, looping and flying upside down.
Sure, flying a 6 channel model will be loads of fun because you can do so much more, but then learning to do all of these things can take a lot of time and effort. You cannot expect anyone to master the controls in just a few minutes and make all of these complicated maneuvers.
What usually happens when a beginner tries to fly a sophisticated 6 channel helicopter is this - they crash, and repairs can be expensive. So you will want to learn to fly a 3 or 4 channel model perfectly before attempting to fly a 6 channel model.
Buy a ready-to-fly model
While building a RC helicopter from a kit can sure be fun for some people, not everyone might like that. If you are a beginner or are considering gifting a RC helicopter to a kid who has never owned a RC heli before, a kit may not be the best idea. You need to experience what flying a heli is like before wanting to build one yourself.
Consider coaxial models
Coaxial electric helicopters are a fairly recent innovation. These are very quick to respond to controls -which is very important for beginners. If the craft takes too long to respond to controls, chances are the helicopter will bump into obstacles and break.
Someone who's not yet experienced in flying these machines will need models that are very fast to respond to controls - and be able make tight turns quickly. These models cannot fly forward very fast, but are extremely well suited for flying indoors.
If you are going to upgrade to a 4 channel model, make sure you buy a coaxial model that has a 3 axis gyroscope. Controlling these is a lot easier and for someone who is still honing their skills, the added stability the gyro provides will be invaluable.
Here’s what each channel of a 4 channel helicopter allows you to do …
Buy electric models
While some die hard enthusiasts claim glow fuel models are way better than battery operated helis, there's little truth in such assertions. Lithium batteries today can be as powerful as glow fuel motors. And while glow fuel can be messy,noisy and dangerous, battery operated models are clean, quiet and safe.
5 Of The Best Remote Control RC Helicopters For Kids
Finding a remote-controlled helicopter for kids is certainly no easy task. Now, radio controlled helicopters have been on the market for several decades - but none of them were suitable for use by small kids.
Nitro or gas RC helicopters can cost several hundred or even a few thousand dollars - and a eight-year-old child most certainly will crash it on their maiden flight. So no one would ever give a child a RC helicopter for this reason.
But things have changed-a-lot-since-then ate it and it. Well built helicopters are now available for as low as $ 50 - and these have a lot of the electronics inside of them that keep them stable making these are great choice for kids.
That said, you would not want to buy just about any helicopter. Some of these are designed to be flown only by advanced pilots and will prove of no interest to small children.
If you buy the wrong model, you could end up spending hours and hours in repairers, reading manuals and reviews and wasting hundreds of dollars. Which is why you need to select the right model that is designed for kids and beginners.
Which is why we have prepared this list of the best RC helicopters on the market today that are designed specifically for beginners and kids.
#1 Air Hogs Battle Tracker
It isn't just flying a helicopter that kids love. They allow fighting robotic alien invaders and being able to shoot discs at them. Air Hogs, a company that manufactures RC helicopters and has been around for a while knows exactly how to capture the imagination of small children and has designed this model based on the sound understanding of children's psychology.
Your child gets to pilot this stealth RC helicopter, and gets to fire missiles at a automated robotic turret (ART) that tracks the helicopter's every movement and fires missiles at it.
It also has a two player mode where one child can control the robotic turret and fire missiles at the helicopter, while the second child pilots the helicopter and has to evade the missiles and shoot discs at the robotic turret.
The automated robotic turret also comes with a controller that's only used in the two player mode. The ART can swivel to the right and left or turn up and down. And it can track the helicopter and fire missilesat it.
You do not have to worry about your child getting hurt by these though - they are soft, foam bullets and can not cause injury on impact. Even then, your child would want to wear protective goggles while operating this toy.
The helicopter can shoot discs at the ART - and if one of the discs hits the radar, the ART shuts down and you will need to restart it. On the other hand, if one of the missiles from the ART hits the helicopter's rotors, the helicopter crashes. But it will not get damaged.
How much better can a toy get? This is essentially two great toys in one pack.
This way, not only will your child get to learn how to fly in RC helicopter - but they also get to do something that really interests and excites them - battling robots from outer space!
This hands down ease the best model you can gift your child.
What we like ...
What we don't like ...
#2 Syma S107/S107G RC Helicopter
The Syma S107G is one of the hottest selling RC helicopters. It's a breeze to fly and very durable - two qualities you'd want to look for when buying a helicopter for children.
Its three channel radio is simple to use and easy to learn. In fact, something like this is ideal for any beginner getting started with the world of RC helicopters.
The body is made from metal - unlike many other helicopters on the market. The body can withstand crashes and take a lot of punishment.
The Syma S107G also uses a gyroscope and this makes it extremely easy to control. It does take a little while to learn how to fly. But then that's to be expected.
Currently, this is one of the smallest and lightest RC helicopter - which also means kids who cannot handle larger aircraft can be able to easily handle this. The flying time is about 5 to 6 minutes and charging time is about 30 to 35 minutes.
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#3 Hercules Unbreakable RC Helicopter
Whenever you're selecting a RC helicopter for use by kids, one of the main features you'd want to look for is durability. While helicopters are a lot more stable than quad copters and other multi-rotors, crashes are inevitable. Even experienced pilots crash their copters - so it's only natural that crashes are frequent when a child is piloting.
This helicopter is designed to take a lot of punishment. It has a very strong polymer frame that can easily withstand the impact of crashes. The frame is so tough that it can actually take up to 200 pounds of weight - you can step on it and it will not break.
And like the Syma, this too has a gyroscope which makes it very easy to control the helicopter and makes it extremely stable. This is so stable that it inside the transmitter down mid-flight and it will not crash.
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#4 Air Hogs RC Helix X4 Stunt Quadcopter
The air hogs Helix X4 has four rotors - ducted fans actually, so this is technically a quad copter and not a helicopter.
It's extremely well designed and robustly built. The rotors are protected so it is unlikely they will ever break if you were to crash the craft.
In most other helicopters and quad copters, the propellers are completely exposed. But with the air hogs Helix X4, the propellers are completely protected. And they are highly unlikely to hit your fingers - so a small child handling this will not get hurt.
This is also a very unique design - it is refreshingly different. Which is quite important because the quad copter market is very crowded today and the majority of the models all look very similar to each other.
The flying time is around 6 to 8 min. This comes with a 2.4 GHz transmitter that uses 8 AA batteries. It has a couple of blinking LEDs in the front that keeps an indication of the charge left in the batteries.
This can perform three different stunts - flips, barrel rolls and 180° flips.
It is also extremely stable because it has gyro stabilization.
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#5 Syma S34 Chinook RC Army Green Helicopter
The package includes a 2.4 GHz transmitter with a LCD display, a charger, a screw driver and a instruction manual.
The S34 has a built in gyro stabilizer and two co-axial rotors which make this extremely stable to fly and easy to take off and land. It's easy to maneuver which makes it ideal for those just getting started with the hobby.
It uses spread spectrum technology to control the craft and the control range is pretty good.
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RC Helicopters for Kids - FAQs
What's the best remote control helicopter to buy?
The answer to this depends on your skill level, budget and level of interest.
If you are looking to buy a rc helicopter toy for a child who has never flown one of these in the past, then you might want to buy a sub $100 helicopter with 3 channels that's suitable for flying indoors.
You would not want to buy a very expensive model that comes with say 6 channels.
But if your child is already experienced flying RC helicopters, you might want to buy a micro helicopter with 6 channels that will let them do a lot more things and fly a lot faster - and comes equipped with an FPV camera.
How much is a remote control helicopter?
The price of a RC helicopter can be anywhere from $20 to $2000.
A lot depends on the features a particular model has, the design and construction, the materials used and more.
How do you start a remote control helicopter?
Most of the radio transmitters used to control smaller models meant for kids may require around six AA batteries. Make sure you have installed the batteries.
Next, you will need to charge the batteries in the helicopter. It comes with a USB cable and you'll need to plug it in to charge it.
Once the helicopter's battery is charged, unplug it. Turn the transmitter on. And then turn the helicopter on. You can now start flying.
By controlling the throttle and moving the joystick, you should be able to control how the helicopter flies.
If you happen to crash, make a visual inspection of all of the components before you fly again. You would want to make sure the main shaft is not bent. Check the blades and ensure they aren't cracked, warped or bent. The balance bar that's above the blades should not be damaged. And all of the linkages should be holding on tightly. And the blade grips should be holding the blades securely.
When you are done flying, always land the helicopter, turn it off - and only then turn off the transmitter. If you turn the transmitter off before you land the toy, it will crash.
How do you flip a remote control helicopter?
First things first. You would want learn how to flip on a micro helicopter - and not one of those more expensive models that cost $500+.
And you would want to have flown at least 10 to 20 hours on a simulator before you try this. Else, you might not have developed the skills to do this and are likely to end up breaking the helicopter.
These small micro helicopters - like a Blade Nano S2 Ultra Micro - can take a lot of punishment. The bigger models are likely to break if you crash.
Spare parts for the Blade Nano are very easy to find - so even if you happen to break it, it should be easy and inexpensive to fix.
The micro helicopters are slightly harder to flip. But they can teach you all of the nuances of how to handle the throttle - and not slam it in panic, jam the sticks and crash the helicopter. Only with practice can you learn to be gentle and smooth with the sticks.
A bigger model would not be quite as durable as a micro. They might have a lot more aluminium on them, while the micro helicopters are made entirely of very flexible plastic. And you might not want to be tempted to make any modifications like adding led lights if you want to learn to flip. Just use the toy as it is.
As we mentioned earlier, you should have spent a lot of time practicing on a simulator before you do this. If you are still struggling to hover, you would not want to try to flip the helicopter. You would want to know all the orientations - you should be able to hover nose in, nose to the left, tail in, and nose to the right.
To flip, while you are hovering at least at around 20 feet, you would want to push the left stick - the throttle - a tiny bit forward. And then go forward on the right stick. Hold the right stick and push the left stick back slowly and then give negative pitch. This takes a bit of practice to get it right.
In time, you will be able to do a full roll, or hover inverted.