13 Remote Control Drones to Buy [Updated for Summer 2017]

Best Remote Control Drones

Note: This list is updated for winter 2017. Fly safely and responsibly, folks. Never flown before? Learn to fly for free over here. Need to get your FAA commercial drone certificate? Start studying over here.

In this article we’ll show you 13 of the best remote control (RC) drones you can buy right now on either Amazon.com or Banggood (two of the most trusted online UAV retailers).

These quadcopters are some of the highest rated rigs on the market from some of the top drone manufacturers, like Syma, DJI, Hubsan, and Yuneec.

Whether you’re looking for a remote control drone for sale with a camera, a beginner quadcopter to learn with, a more professional drone for aerial photography, or even an FPV (first person view) racer, you’ll find the full spectrum of RC drones for sale in this article.

Not so interested in the specs, and just want to see the list of drones? We’ve got you covered:


Our hope is that this guide will help you get a strong feel for the options available without being overwhelmed with choices, so you can decide which RC drone is right for you and your needs.

To make things easier, we’ve organized this list based on price range. Feel free to use these links to navigate to each section:

Enjoy!

Note: All specs/features come from either the manufacturer or retailer.

Note #2: When checking out prices, we’ve included models available for sale on Amazon, one of the largest and most respectable online drone retailers. We do our best to keep these listings up-to-date on a regular basis, but if you see something we missed, let us know at support@uavcoach.com.

Note #3: Big thanks to USA Toyz and Force1 RC, who sent us a lot of models on this list to test and review. Both USA Toyz and Force1 RC are U.S. based companies that sell through Amazon. Unlike many of their non-U.S. counterparts, they offer quality customer service, user manuals you can actually understand, and good business ethics. Many of the models on this list link directly to these companies.

Drones For Less Than $100 (Beginner Quads)

The first four sUAS in this list are great for newer pilots who are just learning how to fly a drone.

They can also be fun indoor flyers for more advanced pilots.

1. Blade Pico QX

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Blade Pico QX

BLADE is one of the most popular drone manufacturers. They specialize in smaller quadcopters that are great for practicing, but they also offer more advanced features that many competing drones of their size don’t have.

The Pico QX is the smallest drone BLADE has ever released. This makes it perfect for flying indoors and in tight spaces.

The Pico QX is also equipped with SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology. This technology was pioneered by Horizon Hobby. It helps remote controlled drones (or planes and helicopters) understand their position relative to the horizon — an imaginary stable flight position.

This improves flight control by helping prevent excessive or unusual turns. SAFE technology also allows you to bring your quad back to a stable hover when the control sticks are released.

This feature alone makes it a great nano drone, and for under $100 it’s a good investment for improving your pilot skills or taking bigger risks with your flying (without risking too much money).

EXTRAS

These extra parts are available for the BLADE Pico QX:

→ Replacement Propellers (props)

→ Blade Pico QX Motors (4)

Features
  • Execute single or double flips with the push of a button
  • Features SAFE™ (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology with stability and agility modes (if you get in trouble, just let go of the sticks)
  • USB charge cables work with any available USB port
  • Comes with propeller guards to minimize the effect of collisions
Specs
  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • Size: 15.2 x 4.6 x 3.1 inches
  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Flight time: about 5-7 minutes


 

2. Syma X9S Quadcopter Car

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Syma X9S

This is the first of two Syma models in this list.

Syma manufactures a broad range of RC drones, from the smaller nano quadcopters to the high-end professional UAVs for aerial videography and 3D mapping and modeling.

(Note: Check out our online course, Mapping and 3D Modeling 101, if you’re curious about learning this skill.)

The Syma X9S is a hybrid remote controlled drone and car. This drone offers two modes: Land Mode and Fly Mode. Each mode gives you the choice of two speeds to cater to different skill levels.

Often with off-the-wall products like this, overall quality tends to take a hit. However, the X9 quad-car has over 4 stars on Amazon with a ton of raving 5 star reviews.

If you’re an RC car driver looking to merge your passion for drones, the Syma X9 will be a match made in heaven.

EXTRAS

These extra parts are available for the Syma X9S Quadcopter Car:

Carrying Case for the Syma X9S

Extra Battery (1) (product comes with one extra battery)

Features
  • Land mode – Functions as a remote control car with 2 speed mode
  • Fly Mode – Functions as a quadcopter with 2 speed mode
  • One button 360 degree flip in the air
  • LED lights for night flight
Specs
  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • Size: 31 x 31 x 6cm
  • Weight: 500g
  • Charging time: 100 minutes
  • Flight time: 5-6 minutes
  • Control distance: about 50m


3. Hubsan X4 (H107L)

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Hubsan X4 H107L

The Hubsan X4 (H107L) is also featured in our popular article 17 cheap drones for beginner pilots.

Hubsan has emerged as one of the top drone companies. They produce high quality quadcopters at affordable prices. The Hubsan X4 (H107L) is the same.

It’s one of the best learner quads out there, with excellent handling and over 9 minutes of flight time. It’s also great size for indoor flying.

The H107L is a durable quadcopter that can take a beating, but you can also buy a propeller guard to make it even more crash resistant, which can be helpful for new pilots.

It offers one-click flips (both forward and backward) for doing aerial tricks, and the drone only takes 30 minutes to charge, so you can take a coffee break and be flying again in no time.

We can’t recommend the X4 (H107L) enough for new pilots who are just getting into the industry and more advanced pilots who are looking for a durable little quad to have some fun with.

EXTRAS

These extra parts are available for the Hubsan X4 (H107L):

Hubsan X4 (H107L) Crash Pack

→ Propeller Guard

Extra Propellers

Extra Propellers + Propeller Guard

Extra Batteries

Features
  • Durable one piece main frame
  • Permits super stable flight
  • Ready to fly (RTF)
  • Auto-corrects to level after you let go of the sticks
Specs
  • Frequency: 2.4G
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • Size: 14.73 x 5.84 x 2.54cm
  • Weight: 12.3 ounces
  • Charging time: 30 minutes
  • Flight time: 9 minutes
  • Control distance: 100 meters


4. Syma X5SW 

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Syma X5C-1

The Syma X5SW is our first drone with a camera on this list. It’s an upgraded version of the extremely popular X5C.

If you’re looking for your first camera drone, the X5SW sports a 2MP camera that can hold about 800 pictures and 30 minutes of video recording time.

It’s flight time is around 7 minutes and it takes about 90 minutes to charge, so the flight time to charge ratio isn’t excellent. But all camera drones have an increased payload that widen this ratio, so if you’re looking to take aerial photos and videos, extra batteries are highly recommended.

(You can charge your extra batteries while flying to maximize the flight session.)

This model comes with prop guards standard, and offers 360 flips in either direction — including while you’re recording.

If you’re getting started in aerial videography or you just want to take some cool pictures, try out the Syma X5SW for a great cheap starter quad.

EXTRAS

These extra parts are available for the Syma X5SW:

→ Syma X5 Crash Pack

→ Extra Propellers

→ Extra Propellers + Propeller Guard

→ Extra Syma X5 Batteries

Features
  • 2MP HD camera (800 pictures, 30 mins of video)
  • Propeller guards standard
  • 360 degree flips in either direction
  • LED lights for nighttime flying
Specs
  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • Size: 31cm x 31cm x 8cm
  • Weight: 916g
  • Charging time: 90 minutes
  • Flight time: 7 minutes
  • Control distance: 50 meters


Drones For Less Than $300 (Beginner to Intermediate)

These quadcopters are in the $100-$300 price range. They offer higher powered cameras, better handling, and are better equipped for pilots who have some experience under their belts (or pilots who are fast learners).


5. U818A Wifi FPV Drone with Altitude Hold and HD Camera

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UDI is a highly reputable (and affordable) drone manufacturer that’s been constantly upgrading their training / beginner sUAS models over the last couple of years.

This model, the U818A, boasts altitude-hold and a first-person-view (FPV) screen, so you can see exactly what the HD camera of your drone sees…in real time. Great practice for those of you looking to get into FPV racing.

u818a wifi fpv drone with altitude hold and hd camera

But that’s not all! You also get bonus VR goggles, an extra battery, extra propellers, AND and a bonus power bank for your additional charging needs.

Box Contents:

  • 1 U818W
  • 1 Controller
  • 2 Batteries
  • 1 USB Battery Charger
  • 1 SC Card reader
  • 1 4GB SD card
  • 4 Spare Blades
  • 1 Spanner
  • 1 Manual

The camera can capture 720P video at 30 frames per second (with an SD card). This is one of the most popular training quadcopters on the market, and I like this particular package because it comes with an extra battery.

The LCD screen on the transmitter displays a full range of flight stats to keep you in the know. Its light but durable frame makes it a great quad for new pilots to practice with.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the the U818A:

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

Features
  • Forward-facing camera takes HD video and HD photos with color and white balance
  • Movie resolution upgraded to 1280 * 720 at 30 frames per second
  • FPV and VR headset compatibility
  • Removable Micro-SD (TF) card stores enough for several flights
  • Data port and USB Data Cable – upload your new AVI and JPEG files to Facebook, Email, Photoshop LCD radio controller
  • LCD screen displays full flight status
  • Extra battery to double your flight time
  • Photo Button snaps pictures, Video Button starts & stops video recording
Specs
  • Frequency: 2.4Ghz
  • Size: 13.4 x 13.0 x 2.2 in
  • Weight: 1 pounds
  • Charging time: about 90-120 minutes
  • Flying time: about 8-10 minutes

6. U45 Blue Jay WiFi FPV Drone with HD Camera

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An exclusive training quadcopter from USA Toyz / Force1 RC, the U45 Blue Jay is one of the more durable beginner quadcopters out there. As you can see by those propeller guards, they can take quite a beating and keep on going.

U45 Blue Jay WiFi FPV Drone with HD Camera

This makes it great for beginners, but more experienced pilots will enjoy this quad as well. The Blue Jay has a skillful Custom Route Mode as well, allowing you to drag your fingers across your mobile or tablet app screen to create an automated flight path.

Box Contents

  • U45W Drone
  • 2.4Ghz Controller
  • 3.7V 500mAh Battery x 2
  • USB Battery Charger
  • 4GB SanDisk Micro SD Card
  • SD Card Reader
  • Spare Propellers x 4
  • Screwdriver
  • User Manual

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

Features
  • FIRST PERSON VIEW with VR HEADSET COMPATIBILITY: Watch live video feed of your flight from your iPhone or Android Smart mobile device with the FPV WiFi feature.
  • ALTITUDE HOLD FUNCTION: SUPER EASY DRONE FOR BEGINNERS TO FLY: Makes controlling the drone a breeze for beginners and stabilizes aerial photography. This is the ideal beginner drone with a lot of the latest features typically found on higher end models.
  • ONE TOUCH TAKE OFF AND LANDING: Drone automatically hovers at a set altitude after take off and before landing making it easy to control and maneuver, especially for beginners who are not yet skilled.
  • CUSTOM ROUTE MODE -Trace the desired flight path on the mobile app screen and the drone will fly along the path unassisted
  • HD CAMERA: Capture 720p high definition aerial photos and videos with 2MP camera; Sync it to your controller to really bring life to your flights!

7. Focus FPV Drone with HD Camera

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The Focus FPV Drone comes with an extra battery, spare propellers, and a 4GB Micro SD Card.

 Roll over image to zoom in Focus FPV Drone with HD Camera 720p

Another tried and true model with FPV capabilities if you’d like to practice FPV racing or master multirotor orientation with a more affordable beginner model.

Box Contents

  • FOCUS FPV Drone
  • 2.4Ghz Controller w/Display
  • 2 x 3.7V 500mAh LiPo Battery
  • 2 x 3.7V 450mAh LiPo Battery
  • USB Battery Charger
  • 4 x Spare Propellers
  • 4G Micro SD Card
  • Mini Screwdriver
  • Instruction Manual

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

Features
  • FIRST PERSON VIEW – Watch live video feed straight from the pilot’s seat with FPV and a built-in screen on your controller
  • CATCH IT ALL ON VIDEO – This drone with HD camera lets you to capture aerial photos and video of your flight in 720p With this Drone’s 720p HD camera, you’ll be able to capture amazing aerial photos and video of your flight
  • FISH EYE LENS – Its camera is equipped with a fish eye lens so you can enjoy a wider view of your flight
  • EASY TO FLY – Full, digital stabilization keeps you in control making this a great drone for beginners
  • HEADLESS MODE & RETURN HOME – The drone can automatically detect its location which means no positioning is needed before flying; Plus, Return Home brings it right back to you!


8. U28W Wifi FPV Drone with Altitude Hold and HD Camera

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The U28W Wifi FPV Drone is a tiny but mighty drone that can reach fast top speeds. And because of the low-latency FPV video transmission straight to a built-in controller screen, it’s ideal for anyone who wants a fun drone to learn on, but eventually be able to race around obstacles with ease.

U28W Wifi FPV Drone with Altitude Hold and HD Camera

Given the size of the frame, the motors are pretty powerful, making this drone super fast and agile. As with many of the other models on this list, it has an easy “flip” button which is fun to see through the built-in FPV controller screen.

Extras

These extra parts are available for the U28W Wifi FPV Drone:

Extra Batteries 4-in-1 Battery Charger

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

Features
  • FIRST PERSON VIEW with VR HEADSET COMPATIBILITY: Watch a live video feed of your flight on an android or iPhone device with the FPV WiFi feature; Syncs instantly and brings life to your flights!
  • CUSTOM ROUTE MODE – Trace the desired flight path on the mobile app screen and the drone will fly along the path unassisted
  • WIDE ANGLE HD CAMERA & EXTRA BATTERY FOR LONG FLIGHT TIME: Capture pristine aerial videos and photos in 720P high definition on 4GB Micro SD, 120º wide angle format; Double your flight time with extra battery
  • 3D STUNTS: Perform 360º flips and rolls with the push of a button; View all of your flips and twists in real time straight from the controller screen
  • EASY TO FLY FOR BEGINNERS: Custom route mode allows pilots to draw out their desired flight path in the Flyingsee app. High/Low Speed Mode makes drone easy for beginners to master; FAA Registration NOT Required


9. Blade Nano QX RTF Quadcopter

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Gizmodo calls the Blade Nano “The Best Drone for Advanced Beginners.”

Blade Nano QX RTF Quadcopter - ImageFirst, it’s got SAFE technology. SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope. This technology helps you prevent crashing your drone and assists you in takeoff (two necessary skills for any newbie pilot).

If at any time you lose control or need to take a breather, simply let go of the sticks and the quadcopter will hover in place.

When you get more advanced you can switch the quad to agility mode to perform skillful maneuvers and hit top speeds.

The Blade Nano is a beginner drone (for under $100) that will carry you into the veteran landscape. (Blade was also featured in our list of drone companies to watch, among a few of the other manufacturers in this article.)

Extras

These extra parts are available for the Blade Nano QX:

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

Features
  • Features exclusive SAFE™ (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology with stability and agility modes (if you get in trouble, just let go of the sticks)
  • Small enough to fly in any room or office
  • Tough, lightweight airframe with blade guards
  • Potent brushed motors that provide smooth and powerful lift
  • Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can switch the SAFE system to agility mode for faster flying speeds and more maneuverability

Specs
  • Frequency: 2.4G
  • Gyro: 6 axis
  • Size: 35.8 x 21.3 x 11.4cm
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Flying time: 10 minutes


Drones For Greater Than $300 (Advanced and Professional Rigs)

The following drones are some of the best quadcopters on the market.

Each offers expert handling and, besides the FPV racer (#13), all of them are great for aerial videography and photography.

Take a look:


 10. Yuneec Typhoon H

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If you haven’t heard of Yuneec, you’re missing out on some high-quality aerial camera platforms that may very well be the perfect fit for your recreational (or business) sUAS camera needs.

yuneec typhoon h hexacopter review

The Typhoon H is fully equipped with six rotors, a 360-degree gimbal camera and retractable landing gear with Yuneec’s standard of being ready out of the box, easy and safe to fly, with stunning Ultra HD 4K video and photography stills.

Key Specs

  • Camera Resolution: 12.4MP
  • Video Resolution: 4K at 30 FPS
  • Max Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Max Speed: 43.5mph (70km/h) in Follow Me mode
  • Notable Attributes: Hexacopter = better redundancy, Obstacle Avoidance, 360-degree camera

yuneec typhoon h camera drone

The Typhoon H is controlled by the Android-based ST16 controller, which has a large 7-inch integrated display and HD 720p first-person-view (FPV) downlink for stunning real-time video reception.

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

Yuneec Typhoon H Accessories

We’ve had a lot of fun testing the Yuneec Typhoon H. Here’s a fun shot of a sunset orbit selfie I recorded with my father-in-law.


11. DJI Phantom 4

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The DJI Phantom 4 launched in March 2016. What are the big improvements from the Phantom 3 series? Better battery life, obstacle avoidance, and a great newly designed camera lens.

dji phantom 4 drone with 4k camera

A lighter magnesium skeleton lets the Phantom 4 stay in the air for up to 28 minutes, an increase in effective flight time of 25% over the Phantom 3 Professional.

And a newly designed lens offers crisper, cleaner video.

Key Specs

  • Camera Resolution: 12MP Adobe DNG RAW
  • Video Resolution: 4K at 30 FPS / 1080p at 120FPS
  • Max Flight Time: 28 minutes
  • Max Speed: 45 mph (20 m/s) in Sport mode
  • Notable Attributes: Battery Life, Obstacle Avoidance, Flight Modes

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

DJI Phantom 4 Accessories

Improvements to the Vision Positioning System (VPS) and front-mounted obstacle sensors help provide greater security and confidence when flying indoors or with lots of obstacles around.


12. DJI Inspire 1 V2.0

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The DJI Inspire 1 V2.0 is bigger and offers full 360° camera rotation, giving you an unrestricted view of the world below. It’s 3-axis gimbal and camera system can be easily removed from the aircraft for safe transport and for future upgrades.

dji inspire 1 white camera drone

And because DJI offers different camera systems (like the Zenmuse X3, Zenmuse X5, Zenmuse X5R, Zenmuse XT, etc.), the DJI Inspire 1 V2.0 is flexible and the kind of model that will allow you to grow over time.

dji zenmuse gimbal comparison

Key Specs

  • Camera Resolution: 12MP
  • Video Resolution: 4K at 30 FPS
  • Max Flight Time: 18 minutes
  • Max Speed: 49 mph (22 m/s) in ATTI mode, no wind
  • Notable Attributes: Dual-Operator Mode, Multiple Zenmuse Camera Systems

Buy With One Or Two Controllers

Ever heard of dual-operator mode? The DJI Inspire 1 V2.0 lets one person fly, and another person control the camera. I’ll tell you this. Once you fly with dual-operator mode, it will be hard to go back to flying solo. Operating sUAS with a talented crew member is really fun.

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

DJI Inspire 1 Accessories

If you’re looking for a bigger bird with payload flexibility, 360° camera rotation, and dual-operator mode, the DJI Inspire 1 is a great fit.


13. DJI Phantom 3 (Professional)

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DJI is a drone manufacturing juggernaut.

Their DJI Phantom 3 series arguably represents the best selling drone models of 2015 and 2016. Within the series there are four different models: the Standard, the 4K, the Advanced, and the Professional.

 

DJI Phantom 3 ProfessionalThe DJI Phantom 3 Professional is the most sophisticated option in the series, and as the name suggests, it was designed for professional pilots.

The 3Pro offers 4K video, 23 minutes of flight time, and a whopping 5km control distance.

The quadcopter also comes with five advanced flight modes:

  1. Follow Me
  2. Course Lock
  3. Waypoints
  4. Home Lock
  5. Point of Interest

These autonomous modes let you focus on camera control and getting the right shot. This makes the DJI Phantom 3 Professional a smart choice for pro pilots.

Key Specs

  • Camera Resolution: 12MP
  • Video Resolution: 4K at 30 FPS
  • Max Flight Time: 23 minutes
  • Max Speed: 36 mph (18 m/s) in ATTI mode, no wind
  • Notable Attributes: Older Model = Lower Cost (But Still Quality Aircraft)

 

SEE LATEST PRICE & OPTIONS AT AMAZON.COM

 

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Accessories

If you’re on a budget and/or need to sacrifice some of the bells and whistles of the newer systems, the Phantom 3 series offers more affordable pricing but units that still pack a lot of punch.


Thank you for checking out our list of remote control drones!

We tried to include a broad range of RC drones in this list, so hopefully you were able to find one or two that meet your needs.

But if not, feel free to email support@uavcoach.com and we’ll do our best to help you out.

If you’re just getting into drones, you may want to check out our article, “How to Fly a Quadcopter” pilot guide. It breaks down different techniques to get your skills up to speed and shows you how to become a safe pilot.

Alan Perlman

Founder at UAV Coach
Alan is an FAA-certified drone pilot and founded UAV Coach in 2014 to help connect drone enthusiasts, to provide world-class sUAS industry training courses, and to help push the drone community forward with a focus on safety and commercial opportunities.

  11 comments for “13 Remote Control Drones to Buy [Updated for Summer 2017]

  1. Roy Beasley
    February 18, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    As always, an excellent article. Thanks, Alan!

  2. Al
    March 14, 2016 at 4:36 am

    I think the Hubsan H501s should have been included in this article!

    • March 16, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      A fine addition! Have had fun flying mine around these last few weeks 🙂

    • March 16, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      A fine suggestion, Al! Have had fun flying mine around these last few months. I like the altitude stabilization.

  3. josh
    June 1, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Hey I am wanting to but a drone that is relatively easy to collapse and fit into a backpack to travel!
    I am looking for something under 1000$ that has great arial footage ( i have a gopro hero 3 also!)
    any suggestions?

    • June 1, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      If you don’t think any of the models on this list are a good fit for you, then I’d recommend posting a thread on our free community forum at http://community.uavcoach.com. Might incite some good discussion.

Comments are closed.