DRONES FOR KIDS
We give you the lowdown on our top 5 drones for kids as well as answering your kids drone related questions
Drones for Kids – Reviewing the Top 5
Are you thinking of buying a drone for you child? Whilst it is a great idea and we fully support kids flying drones (in a safe, supervises and responsible manner of course) there are a few questions that always arise when it comes to drones and children. We will get on to the reviews shortly, but if you cannot wait then skip the next few paragraphs.
The number one question that we hear a lot is
How old do you have to be to fly a drone?
Well the answer in the UK is that there is no minimum age to be able to fly a drone (at time of writing – May 2017) if it is for recreational use. There is a bit of a question mark over insurance and liability for damage caused by a minor though as usually children will not be able to obtain insurance for flying a drone – this means that if they cause an accident or they cause damage to the drone any adult insurance that is covering the craft might become invalidated.
There is a workaround to this though by looking in to enrolling your child as a member of the British Model Flying Association where they will find insurance covers aspects of their drone piloting.
Top 5 Drones for Kids
No. 5: Lamaston X5C-1 Review – £39.99 – Save 56% here
Lamaston have a pretty good reputation amongst budget drone owners and the Lamaston X5C-1 is no exception to this. At the time of writing we could pick one up on Amazon for a poultry £39.99 with 56% off the usual RRP of £89.99 – and that included one day delivery with Prime. Whilst the X5C-1 is not the sexiest of drones it will certainly satisfy a youngsters interest in drones as a first time user.
The quadcopter kit and onboard 2 mega pixel camera provides enough tech to spur a child’s imagination without a cost that will give the parent palpitations every time they fly it within 30 yards of a tree.
With 360 degrees of rotation and the ability to do full flips there is plenty to keep the kids entertained and the on-board camera will get plenty of use with the 4GB memory card that comes included in the price.
The battery will only provide around 8 minutes of flying time but with the package we have linked to here you also get a bonus battery included in the price which means you can get between 16 and 20 minutes of flight time if you head out prepared.
One feature that we really liked with the X5C-1 was the one press return to home feature that is really handy should your child get in a pickle – not bad little feature for the price.
An important thing to note is that this is not a wi-fi model so you will have to manually transfer your photos and videos from the drone, but most kids won’t mind this and it is not a bug price to pay when you consider the cost of the drone itself.
We tested this with a 14 year old lad and the only thing he didn’t like was when the batteries died and we had to return for recharging. Yes, this model has some serious limitations but the price is the big pull here – for any adult beginner or child looking to learn the basics of flying a drone then this is a serious contender.
- Very affordable
- Simple one touch to home function
- Lightweight and pretty sturdy
- Extra battery included
- No wi-fi to transfer images/videos
- No camera display on remote control
- Flimsier than some other models
Overall – 6/10
NO. 4: LIDI RC Wifi 6 Axis Quadcopter – Model L7HW – £35.99 – Click here to view
LiDi RC is one of the lesser known brands in the realm of UAV’s but we were pretty impressed with the L7HW that we tested and the feedback from our 14 year old was again positive with this model. The LiDi RC drone comes in a variety of colour options so you pretty much choose one to match the style of your child.
Coming in at a very reasonable £35.99 (check latest price here) the L7HW is packed full of features that you would expect to pay little more for. The 6 axis quadcopter is able to do 360 degree flips and also features a handy auto-fly mode.
Where this model really excels is with the hand LiDi RC app that you can download straight to your smartphone allowing you to use it as display for what you are filming. It also features a neat looking LED light that flashes – something that the kids will enjoy.
This model looks a little more grown up than some of the other child friendly drones and whilst we probably wouldn’t let most under 8’s loose with it, it should be a suitable drone for a child aged 10 and upwards.
Battery wise the L7HW lasted around 10 minutes whilst filming and the quality of footage and stills were pretty impressive for such budget model.
- Good price for the features
- The app is very good, kids will love it and it works well
- Range of colours and trims
- Battery could be better
- Replacement parts are harder to come by than other models
- Battery is built in so you cannot take a spare
Overall – 6.5/10
Without a doubt the most fun we had during this testing for kids drones was with the Black Widow – it also had the coolest name and one of the most impressive designs of all the drones we tested. As soon as you take the X902 out of the box there is something about it that strikes you as being somewhat different – then it clicks, the propellers and motors point downwards rather than upwards – and it looks like quite a mean little beast.
Taking the Black Widow to the skies and it doesn’t disappoint and is suitable for all levels of drone flying expertise. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use the Black Widow is quite a versatile little unit. What it has going for it in it’s design doesn’t mean that it lacks in it’s features, although the noticeable feature missing is of course the camera – but then you are getting probably the best drone for under £15 here.
The Black Widow has two motor speed settings (high and low) which is perfect for helping little ones learn to fly before increasing the speed when they get a little more confident. The controls are pretty standard but the size of the this mini drone does make it a little more difficult to control purely – the built in stable flight technology does compensate somewhat for this and the 6 axis stabilisations system does make for a smoother flight and makes you look a better pilot than you probably are.
You won’t get much bang for your buck in terms of battery life with around 6 minutes worth of flight time per charge but with a charging time of around 35 minutes from empty to full it is perfect for practising in the house.
You will get plenty of enjoyment from flying outdoors too with the expected 3D flips and rolls at the touch of a button as well as around a 30 metre range for control.
Don’t let the diminutive size put you off the Black Widow – there is a serious amount of fun to be had for £15 here and you will be hard pressed to break this drone easily.
- Best price by far and the most fun to fly
- Super quick charging time
- Various speed controls – great for teaching/learning
- Battery could be better
- Not the easiest to control – but a lot of fun
Overall – 7/10
Not the cheapest drone we have tested in our ‘best drones for kids’ list but the RC Quadcopter is a very good training and learning drone indeed. It is the only drone in our top 5 that has 4 different sensitivity settings allowing for greater control with greater experience. You get all the standard 360 flips and rolls that you would expect and it also comes with a good quality HD camera built in.
The 2MP 1280 x 720p camera is a decent (although not the best we tested) camera and provides a reasonable output for a drone in this price bracket and you will need to use an SD card to store your footage – this does however mean that you can record as much as the external storage you have allows. It comes with 4GB as standard.
The distance of operation is again around 30 metres which is pretty standard for this entry level drone and there is plenty of fun to be had with the quality remote control handset with LCD display.
Unfortunately, there is no mobile app to view your footage from so again you will be shooting blind which is somewhat disappointing at this price. What it lacks in video display, it more than makes up for in design – with 4 LED lights this all black design is as mean as they come so if your child wants to look super cool flying their drone in the summer sun then this could be the one to go for.
A very good model for a child and the learning possibilities make this a pretty solid second in our list.
- Looks very cool
- Controller is easy to use and feature packed
- Expandable SD storage
- Pretty sturdy
- No app to display footage
- Not the cheapest on test
- Footage doesn’t look like high definition
Overall – 8/10
This is without a doubt our favourite drone for kids (and we have to admit we quite enjoyed it ourselves) and the features and usability of the UDI U845 UFO drone made it a firm winner for us. First up, the UFO design of this Quadcopter is really cool – it made us feel like we were in a sci-fi so children would get a lot of pleasure before they even take to the skies with this model.
What the UDI U845 has in looks doesn’t mean it skimps in other areas as it uses some of the best entry level drone tech we have seen. The onboard camera records video in HD at 1280 x 720p and records at 30 MBPS and like the LiDi there is an app that allows you to control the drone and watch the video footage live as you record – more on that in a minute.
The battery lasted us around 8 minutes when filming but the this futuristic looking UFO comes complete with a backup battery so you should be able to enjoy well over 15 minutes of flying time between the two. There is a nifty low voltage audible alarm that will alert you if your drone is lower on power so you can safely land your craft.
The drone is suitable for indoor use as well as outdoor use and has a nifty LED light that looks really good in low level lighting conditions.
Back to the app – this is where the UDI U845 UFO really excels. The drone itself is quite difficult to fly, even for a more advanced drone pilot but the app (which is available on iOS and Android) not only allows you to view your video at a range of 30m or less, it also allows you to change the way you control the drone. The Gravity Induction Mode allows you to control the drone in a way that is relative to the angle of our mobile phone, so you can control it based upon what you can see on the screen. The picture quality is excellent and apart from a small amount of lag we experienced at first (we closed all our other apps and then had no issues), the experience was flawless.
As previously stated, the drone is not the easiest to fly but with different modes of control it can be made easier. The ‘Headless Mode’ allows you to control the drone easier by having forward, backward, left and right controls that stay constant rather than changing in relation to the direction the drone is facing. This is quite a good feature given the circular design of the drone.
Overall, this drone was our favourite and it was a favourite of our young tester. A winner!
- Less than £60 represents real value for this
- The UDIRC Drone App was the best we tested at this price point
- The best looking drone we tested
- Extra battery gave us good flight times
- Video quality was high def – a real plus
- Different flight modes and especially the headless mode make operation a little easier
- Difficult to manoeuvre, especially for beginners
Overall – 9/10