In the US you have to have your drone registered to fly outdoors and follow strict guidelines. With more stringent laws coming in to place in the UK it is likely that the same will apply this side of the pond. Either way, indoor drones are a great way to introduce yourself to the world of drone flying.
Best Indoor Drones 2018
If you have never flown a drone before then you might be feeling apprehensive about your first purchase or indeed even taking it outside to fly. Perhaps you have heard horror stories about neighbours falling out or drones being confiscated due to them being flown in public!
Or perhaps you just think you’d feel more comfortable taking your first steps as a pilot in the comfort of your own home.
Either way, indoor drones are an excellent option and the good news is that they are pretty affordable. Most small drones will be suitable for indoor use but our handy top 9 list will help you choose the best one if you are looking specifically for a drone that can be used inside.
Let’s take a look at the best indoor drones on offer as of March 2018:
- 1. UDI U818 – Best for Control, Safety and Value
- 2. SYMA X22 Nano – Best Overall For Budget
- 3. Holy Stone F181 – Best Controller and Easiest To Fly
- 4. Metakoo Mini Drone – Foldable and Great For Beginners
- 5. JJRC H36 – Cheapest Indoor UAV
- 6. TOZO Q2020 – Best Without Camera
- 7. SYMA X20 – Best Tiny Indoor Drone
- 8. DROCON Hacker – Good Stability
- 9. Hubsan X4 H107L – Excellent Entry Level Drone
1. UDI U818 – Best for Control, Safety and Value
This is not the first time the UDI U818A has topped one of our lists and in all honesty it probably won’t be the last. The truth is that this little drone is a gem and for around £65 you get an awful lot for your money, including a 2MP 720P HD camera, FPV over Wi-Fi and headless flying modes just for starters.
UDI has become a well respected name in the entry level drone market and although this drone can be flown outdoors as well, it is perfectly suited to indoor flying. You will need some level of proficiency as there are no collision avoidance sensors to speak of, but if you do have a mishap this drone is so well protected (thanks to its propeller guards) so you can be fairly certain you won’t break it in a crash.
The lightweight nature of the drone also means that it is unlikely to cause harm to anyone if you crash in to them, although do be careful of long hair in the motors.
This drone features a headless flying mode which makes it easier to fly indoors and you can even use the smartphone app to turn your phone in to an FPV monitor which gives you a true first person view experience. If you want to use this drone for indoor racing then it is quite nippy and although it is not the easiest to customise it is pretty fun to use.
The other main reason that the UDI U818A gets the nod as our best indoor drone is that it comes with 2 batteries – and with each battery providing around 7-9 minutes of flying time that is about as good as it gets at this price point. The UDI is easy to control, has some great stunts, flips and rolls and will provide the family with hours of indoor flying fun.
2. SYMA X22 Nano – Best Overall For Budget
If you are on a bit more of a budget but still want all the bells and whistles that the UDI U818A has to offer then the Syma X22W is an excellent choice. Measuring up at 14.4cm by 14.2cm, the Syma X22 has a bit more of a solid feel to it and is perfect for use indoors (although it can also more than hold its own outdoors).
Syma is a reputable budget drone manufacturer and it shows with the build quality of this drone as well as the technology supporting it, not least the mobile app that allows you to control the drone in gravity mode (allowing you to tilt your phone to control movement) or to stream your video over Wi-Fi for a fully immersive FPV view.
The camera is not quite as high quality as the U818A but in well lit environments the 480p front facing camera performs admirably. With a number of features usually reserved for drones with a higher price tag such as headless mode, altitude hold and even route mapping, the Syma X22 is suitable for all ability levels.
If you want a bit of fun then the X22 can perform a range of stunts at the touch of a button and features one touch take off and landing controls if required. There are two speeds to choose from with the slow speed (2m/s) being better suited to indoor flying.
Battery life on the X22 is around 5 minutes and each charge will take around 90 minutes although you can charge more than one battery at the same time with spare batteries costing around £8 each.
3. Holy Stone F181 – Best Controller and Easiest To Fly
One of our favourite drones is the Holy Stone F181 and there are a number of reasons why this drone is perfect for flying indoors – although if you want to get the most from it then it is well worth giving it a trial outdoors too.
This drone is a little larger than most of the drones on this list which can make it slightly more difficult to manoeuvre indoors, but in many ways this drone is actually safer to fly inside and has highly effective propeller guards and a very lightweight body. The controller on the F181 might not have FPV capability but it is one of our favourite controllers of all the drones on this list. It has a great feel to it that is familiar as it is similar to a console controller and makes for a very responsive flight.
Battery life on the F181 is also very impressive with around 8-9 minutes of flight time from a single charge. Given that this drone (link below) comes with two batteries and two charging cables it is one of the most useable with almost 20 minutes of flying time right out of the box!
The F181 does have an onboard HD (720p) camera although if this is an important feature for you then you might be better served to look at the U818A as the camera does not offer FPV or any form of streaming so you are shooting your footage blindly. That being said, this drone is more about the fun and with all the usual rolls, stunts and even a continuous roll feature there is fun to be had in abundance here.
One push return, altitude hold and headless flying modes all make this drone accessible for beginners as well as providing enough stimulation for experienced pilots. This really is an excellent all in one package.
4. Metakoo Mini Drone – Foldable and Great For Beginners
Portability might not be on your list of priorities if you are looking to buy a drone that you are going to use primarily indoors, but if you think you might need to take it elsewhere or you fancy taking it outside and want as easy way to transport it then the Metakoo FPV mini drone could be for you.
Not only does the Metakoo sound pretty cool but it stacks up pretty well in terms of features when compared to other UAV’s on this list – but it has one distinct advantage – it folds up in to the controller and can be carried as one in the palm of your hand. If you have ever seen Transformers then this might remind you of that.
With striking black and red colours to complement the blocky design of the controller, this is one of our new favourites. The Metakoo has real time WiFi FPV capability with direct recording to your smartphone and even the ability to share to social networks. Altitude hold and a 6 axis gyroscope make for perfectly stable flight and the controller is very easy to use which makes this a perfect drone for beginners as well as for indoor use.
If you are going to take advantage of the stunts and flips that this UAV can perform then you are better off doing them outside but again these are easy to perform making even beginners look like a pro from the off. 3 speed modes and one touch take off and landing also help to get acclimated to your drone.
Battery life lasts for around 7 minutes and the only downside to this drone is that you cannot remove or replace the battery – so you are limited to the 7-8 minutes per flight.
5. JJRC H36 – Cheapest Indoor UAV
If you want something that is tiny, easy to use and heaps of fun but doesn’t cost the earth then the JJRC H36 is something you can’t really go wrong with. Typically retailing at around £16, this has to be one of the best value for money toys you could ever purchase.
Don’t be fooled by the low price. The H36 still packs plenty under that black and blue hood and although the controller might be a little too small for our liking the drone itself has everything an indoor drone pilot could ask for. It even has some funky LED lighting that looks great in lower lit areas.
360 degree flips make for a lot of fun and unlike some of the other drones you can pretty much get away with them inside. If you are a beginner then you are well catered for with one key return and headless flying mode making for a good flying experience for those new to drones.
You will get around 5-6 minutes of flying time with the H36 and the battery is removable so you can purchase spares pretty cheaply to increase your flying times. If you do decide to take the H36 outside then it is best to only to do so in non-windy conditions as the drone is incredibly lightweight and is best suited to indoors.
6. TOZO Q2020 – Best Without Camera
The Tozo Q2020 is a top entry level drone that is well equipped for indoor use. It is a little pricier than some of the other non-camera drones on this page but it is super easy to fly, pretty fast and has some excellent features. It also features one of the better flight times of the drones listed here.
One touch take off and landing makes it very easy to get this UAV up in the air and the propellers are pretty well protected with circular guards all around them. With a sliding scale for speed control this drone is actually pretty fast when on full speed – don’t worry if you do crash in to a wall at top speed though, we did this several times when testing and the UAV was completely unscathed – it was just our egos that were a little battered.
Tozo claim that the battery can last up to 10 minutes although we typically found that about 8-9 minutes was the most we could squeeze out. Extra batteries are readily available and charging takes around an hour with the supplied USB charging cable which is pretty standard for drones of this nature.
You get all the 360 degree flips and rolls, all of which are controllable via the one touch keys on the controller. The controller itself is very responsive and provides a truly intuitive flight. The controller also includes a convenient heads up display showing you important information such as battery life and thrust. Headless mode is available for those who feel that their sense of orientation may not be the best and it also features a continuous roll function to make you look like a star pilot!
If you want to perform the stunts fully then you will need either very high ceilings or to go outdoors but the Tozo Q2020 is more than capable of that.
7. SYMA X20 – Best Tiny Indoor Drone
The Syma X20 is one of two Syma drones to feature on this list and this one could have easily made it in to top spot. The lack of camera prevented that but if that isn’t a priority for you then you have a top choice here.
This is one of the smallest drones on our list, measuring up at 10.5cm x 10.5cm x 2.5cm it can easily fit in the palm of your hand as pictured here. The fact that the drone is so small makes it ideal to fly indoors but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it – in fact, this is one of the drones we had the most fun with when compiling our best indoor drones.
The one touch stunts and rolls are heaps of fun and the LED lighting on the drone makes it look very cool in lower lit situations. If you are new to piloting then the one touch take off and landing is very helpful, headless mode is available and the altitude hold will help with keeping your flight stable.
Battery life is around 5 minutes with charging time around 50-60 minutes per charge.
8. DROCON Hacker – Good Stability
The Drocon Hacker is a cheap drone that packs a lot of tech in to one very tiny package. At the time of writing this drone can be bought for around £25 which is half the RRP and if you can get it at that price then you really could be on to a winner here.
Don’t be fooled by the image, this is a truly tiny drone and comes in at less than 7.5cm x 7.5cm. In fact, the main body is just 4x2cm! Rather unbelievably, despite its diminutive stature it packs a 720p HD camera under the hood which can be used for taking pictures or video. You don’t get WiFi streaming but for the price the camera is a welcome addition.
You might think that being small would mean that the Drocon Hacker would be difficult to pilot but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The trimming is very easy to adjust to get straight flight paths and the headless mode means you can fly in any direction pretty easily.
The only problem we have with the Hacker when flying indoors is that the blades are quite exposed and there is no guard available for them. Whilst the materials are top quality if you crash too often it is probably just a matter of time before you need to replace one (although this is pretty simple to do).
If you want to enjoy the stunts and flips then you will need to get to around 2m in height and then you can perform them with the touch of a button.
Overall, we love the Drocon Hacker.
9. Hubsan X4 H107L – Excellent Entry Level Drone
Hubsan is a very well respected name in the entry to mid level drone market and this is as cheap as it gets for this brand. They have stripped everything back from the X4 H107L meaning that it has no camera. If you want a camera then you can go for one of the other models but for indoor use the X4 H107L is just about perfect.
For less than £20 you won’t get much more for your money than this and although it might not be the most exciting looking quadcopter in town, it certainly performs well in basic flight terms.
The flight time on the X4 is around 9 minutes which is on a par or better than any of the other drones on this list. It is somewhat heavier and bigger than the others listed here but if you can deal with that then this could well be a decent option. Charging time is just 30 minutes which is pretty incredible considering how much juice you get from a single charge.
You can perform flips four ways with the X4 and the 6 axis gyro and high quality frame provides a very stable flight indeed.
The one other area where the X4 excels is that it has lots of accessories available for it, meaning you can easily buy extra batteries, propellers and even crash protection rings. At the price, this is a top pick!
When it comes to flying drones indoors size is pretty important. But there are a number of other important factors that come in to play. Speed, ease of use and flying time is also going to be a key factor in what you choose. What you want from your drone is also going to impact your choice - whether you are looking for an indoor racing drone or just something fun for the kids, we are sure to have something that ticks the boxes from the 9 we have on show here.