Remote controlled helicopters make great gifts for kids. Children love playing with RC toys, and RC helicopters are loads of fun to play with because unlike most other toys, these fly 🙂
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.
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!
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.
For Children Below 7 Years
3 years and up
7 years and up
For Children Below 10 Years
8 years and up
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
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
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 ...
- 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.
- 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.