Looking to enjoy some time in the outdoors with a fun new small drone? Small drones typically feature a low entry point for enthusiasts just starting out. We’ve got you covered with the buyer’s guide below.
Quadcopters come in a huge variety of different sizes. Would you rather fly a drone that can be thrown in your backpack or are you good with a model that comes packed with a large case? This list is all about the small drones that, for the most part, are less expensive, easier to fly than most drones, and great for beginners to start flying with.
Purchasing drones means looking at options and there hundreds of options available on the market. This post focuses on size for those of you who need a drone that’s really portable. Our list below contains the best small drones for sale on Amazon including one that is no larger than the palm of your hand.
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1. DJI Mini 2 Fly More ComboPros:
- Ultra-portable size and function
- Comes with three batteries, each with a 31-minute flight capability
- Great price point for the capabilities and performance
- The case is nice but it could have used a tougher exterior
- Some reports of flight drift
- Flight distance may not be as advertised
The Mini 2 drone from DJI isn’t the cheapest on our list but it is one of the best. DJI drones are really well liked by flight enthusiasts and there’s a reason for that: packages like the Mini 2 Fly More Combo come with loads of features and great quality.
DJI makes some seriously great drones. They sell a large number of them and each of their small drones is highly rated. The build quality is excellent. And they just plain work. The Mini 2 is a nice portable size with an ultra-clear 4K camera. There are also several intelligent modes making this lightweight and foldable small drone easy to fly.
With a 31-minute flight time, the Mini 2 is perfect for beginners looking to get more practice and sophisticated enough for veterans to use. Packages like this Mini 2 Fly More Combo make lots of sense. If a drone flyer goes to the trouble (and expense) to get into the hobby, that person is going to need extra propellers and an extended flight time. The Mini 2 comes with both.
This combo pack also comes with a battery charger hub and a sweet case to keep your new toy safe. It’s definitely worth the money to keep things exciting and fun. For the price of the combo, flights will be satisfying and enjoyable making the purchase worth it.
2. Holy Stone HS270 DronePros:
- Multiple smart functions including Follow Me and Auto Return
- 5G image transmission
- 2.7K full HD camera
- No carrying case included
- Slower than other Holy Stone drones
- Video quality sllightly washed out
Holy Stone makes a large number of user-intuitive drones of high quality. The HS270 is one of their entry-level models that lends itself well to beginners because of its simple operation. Veterans will also appreciate the HS270 not just because of the price, but because of the feature-rich package.
An onboard 2.7K HD camera catches incredible clarity while the 5G transmission speed provides beautiful scenes quickly. The 90°adjustable angle with broad views is great to capture landscape shots perfect for sharing on social media.
The HS270 features some impressive flight controls. Want to shoot videos of yourself carving up the waves or the sidewalk? With GPS positioning, the drone can automatically follow you as you go adventuring. The FPV transmission range maxes out at 1,300 feet and the control range goes up to 1,968 feet.
When the drone begins losing signal or power, it will and fly back to its take-off point automatically. You can also design a custom flight path by tapping several points on your smartphone as well as make the drone fly in a circle with the camera looking at the same point.
This post is about small drones and the HS270 falls into that category. When traveling, both the drone arms and the propellers are foldable so the unit takes up less space while you’re coming and going to your flight sessions.
3. Snaptain SP500 Foldable DronePros:
- Gesture control
- Multiple flight control options
- 1080p 5G camera
- No camera gimble
- No landing gear
- Phone clip may not accommodate some phone cases
The Snaptain SP500 Foldable Drone features a number of nice options including a 110-degree wide-angle 1080P HD camera with adjustable angle, high-quality video, and clear aerial photos. The 5G Wi-Fi transmission speed and 800-foot range both ensure good image quality.
The drone’s GPS positioning helps it to hover smoothly to catch clearer images and return home precisely whenever the battery is low, the signal is lost, or you would like it to return. The SP500 can fly at will by using Follow Me mode or Drawing a Route on the Snaptain app. You can even use the app to set the drone circling around an object or plan a custom route. Gesture control allows the pilot to pose for the camera and trigger the shutter by simply throwing up a peace sign or waving.
Rookie pilots will enjoy functions such as GPS positioning hover, Altitude Hold, and Headless Mode to get going quickly and easily without so much focus on flying controls. Throw in the one key take-off and landing and emergency stop and it makes things even easier.
The Snaptain SP500 Foldable Drone comes with two modular batteries with a 30-minute total flight time, a controller, and propeller guides to help protect your new flying toy.
4. Tello Quadcopter DronePros:
- Great value
- Simple interface and controls
- Takes high-quality video and photos
- Tough to fly in any sort of wind
- Wi-fi connection can be spotty
- Updates difficult to install
Here’s another entry on our list of small drones from DJI: the low-cost Tello Quadcopter Drone. The Tello is perfect for beginning flyers. There’s no need for additional equipment; just pull out your phone to fly anytime or anywhere. This drone has two antennae that make recording video good and stable while the high-capacity battery offers some decent flight times, especially compared with other drones on our list.
Complex tricks may be performed with simple taps on your phone screen. Equipped with a high-quality image processor, Tello allows for impressive photos and videos even if you’re just learning to fly. Tello is also programmable using Scratch, an open-source coding system for kids and teens to learn the basics of programming. This is a great low-barrier drone for wannabe serious fliers.
5. Potensic Elfin FPV Beginner’s DronePros:
- Two included battery packs
- Good value for the price
- Very easy to set up and use
- Controller feels cheap
- Flight options unavailable as power runs out
- Don't fly unless it's a completely calm day
For the price, the Potensic Elfin is an affordable small drone with quality features. Set up and flight is simple and quick. The included documentation provides basic flight information, but you’ll want time to play around with it in order to take advantage of what the Elfin has to offer.
The package includes the quadcopter, propeller guards, a flight controller, a small screwdriver, an owner’s manual, and extra propellers. A 2K HD camera comes with the drone but you’ll need to download the Potensic Toy app then connect via Wi-Fi. The controller features a spring-loaded clip to attach your smartphone to it. Once installed, the camera will shoot as well as record stills and video.
The Elfin provides a number of nice flight options. The first is fixed positioning, which uses the camera to scan the surface below to hover steadily. A second is headless control which allows a pilot to steer with respect to their position. Two USB-rechargeable battery packs come included, each with a flight capacity of ten minutes. Charge time for the batteries is roughly two hours.
You’ll want to fly the Elfin on a very calm day. Anything but the slightest breeze will throw the little drone around like a leaf. Once the flight time gets to eight or nine minutes, an alarm will sound from the controller. Once that happens, you’ll find the one-button land feature won’t work. Photo and video quality is okay but don’t expect professional-grade shots. The Potensic Elfin is really meant for beginner flyers and kids.
6. Force1 U49WF FPV DronePros:
- Two battery packs included
- 720p HD camera
- Great for kids and adults
- Not foldable
- Controller needs better grip material
- Is the video quality really 720p?
The Force1 U49WF FPV Drone is a VR-ready FPV drone with a 720p HD camera that you’ll have a lot of fun flying. Experience a true first-person view by syncing a VR headset (not included) to the remote control. This small drone packs a lot of punch in a tiny package that’s affordable for both kids and adults.
The drone features beginner-friendly features such as a one-key launch and land ability, Altitude Hold to hover at a set height, six-axis gyro for stable flights, Headless Mode for simple drone orientation, and a one-button 360° switch to make sweet flips and stunts.
The pilot will need to download the FlyingSee app to fly the drone via smartphone. Fly in Gravity Mode, capture moments from the sky with the 120° wide-angle 720p HD drone camera, and watch real-time video footage straight to your mobile phone screen.
The U49WF features a 150-meter range for up to 25 minutes with two included rechargeable drone batteries (each provides around ten minutes of flight time). The pack also includes a USB charging cable, four extra drone propellers, a smartphone mount, and a drone remote control.
The Force1 U49WF isn’t a top-of-the-line professional-quality camera drone but it doesn’t pretend to be. This is a great option to get kids interested in flying quadcopters without spending a fortune. The video quality is good but don’t expect television-grade footage. This is a good model for fliers to get some needed flight hours in.
7. Cheerson CX-10 MiniPros:
- Incredibly cheap in a good way
- Fits in the palm of your hand
- Adorable running lights
- Doesn't feature a camera
- No custom flight features
- Limited running time
First, the Cheerson CX-10 is less than $20 so keep that in mind when considering the number of options on this small drone. The CX-10 is truly a toy and not much more than that. Still, it provides a huge amount of enjoyment with what it does.
For anyone, especially kids, the Cheerson CX-10 is a great option for beginning pilots. If you enjoy what the CX-10 has to offer, upgrade to a larger drone. If you don’t, then you’re not out much of your precious discretional income.
The flight controller is surprisingly good, with three settings for beginner, intermediate, and expert, which can be changed on the fly. The range between the controller and the drone is approximately 75 feet. Once it flies out of that range, communication will break and will not reconnect if it comes back into that 75 feet. If flying horizontally and the drone goes out of range it simply drops to the ground.
Battery life is a paltry five minutes but, as stated above, this drone is drop-dead cheap. When the battery begins to run out of power, the running lights start flashing to alert you that you have about 15 seconds to land. Once the battery runs out, the copter won’t respond until it’s been charged.
A real plus: this quadcopter will take some serious abuse and still keep going. There are reports that the CX-10 can fall out of the sky from over 75 feet high onto a concrete surface and still take off again instantly. Like I wrote above, it’s perfect for kids.
Which is the Best Small Drone?
The popularity of drones has grown significantly over the last few years. You can't go to a park or a playground without seeing faces looking up at their small drones overhead. At one point, the FAA was registering around 10,000 drones per day, and there is an increasing number of news articles online reporting on the safety of drones in certain areas such as airports.
Combine the regulations with the fact that there are so many different types of drones available, purchasing one for yourself might seem like a daunting task. Do you want one of the more expensive and feature-rich camera drones, racing drones that hit impressively high speeds, or something for beginners to get started with drone flying?
Something that most pilots can agree on is that drone size is one of the most obvious options to consider. Large drones with professional-grade HD cameras are incredible tools for film crews but if you're just looking for a small quadcopter to get started, we're glad you're here.
Small drones are great for pilots and hobbyists that are just getting into flying. Most small drones are relatively inexpensive while still offering some high-quality features. At the prices for most of the small drones on our list, you shouldn't worry so much about crashing...which will happen.
The descriptive term "small" can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. We'll take a look below at some of the variations that small drones can fall into including small drones with cameras, mini drones with cameras, and even micro and nano drones.
What are the Different Types of Small Drones?
Drones may also be known as UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. They can range from large military-grade aircraft that can carry ordinance to tiny nano drones no larger than a quarter. The common feature of them all is that they can be picked up and moved by a human being.
For the purposes of this post, we're talking about small drones. These quadcopters are typically affordable by the average hobbyist and cost less than $500. Small drones are usually no larger than three feet in diameter and can also be smaller than a lunchbox while still maintaining decent flight quality.
Small drones have a number of great positive points including portability, better than average video quality, and cost. They're good for hobbyists and kids who are just getting into the flying world.
The drawback is that they're light enough so stability can be a problem, especially on breezy days. This also means that photo and video quality won't be as clear as heavier models. Battery life can also be an issue; don't expect any longer than a 30-minute flight time with a small drone.
Small drones fall almost exclusively into the recreational consumer market, however racing drones are an exception. These models fit into the small drones category but can feature a number of commercial-grade equipment specifically made for competitive racing.
Like with any hobby, a participant can spend as much or as little as they want. Toy drones really meant for kids, are small drones that cost as little as $20 but can get up to $100. They're usually made of stronger material to stand up to frequent collisions but don't fly particularly well.
Small drones with camera attachments are larger than toy drones but still are quite small and are no larger than a laptop computer. They fly much better than toy drones and are meant primarily for entry-level pilots.
Small camera drones are more expensive and have a longer battery life, which is to be expected. Photo and video quality is okay and depending on the flier can handle basic entry-level photography. Mini drones with camera capabilities are also available but if you're looking for better photos and videos, expect to spend more for a larger, more stable aircraft.