Image: Steven Lilley
Who doesn’t love a great remote control toy? The power of sending a vehicle flying through the air with the touch of a button or the shift of a joystick is a totally thrilling experience, we think you'll agree.
But beyond the hours of entertainment they provide, they’re also beneficial for kids in so many ways, as they play a role in the development of some very important skills. These include:
Moreover, they take a bit of getting used to, and when a child is able to successfully fly a helicopter, for example, this improves his or her confidence and sense of achievement. They're also gender neutral. And perhaps most importantly, they're just plain fun!
Within the realm of remote control toys, helicopters are a great option, as there are few things as exciting as watching it hover and soar through the air. With the push of a button you can watch your child’s imagination take flight. (That being said, if your kid is more partial to remote control cars, you should definitely check out this article.)
As for helis, the good news is that today the market is flush with options, and you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a quality product. The “bad” news is that there are so many to choose from, it can seem overwhelming. That’s where we come in.
We’ve compiled a list of the 15 best remote control helicopters for kids by answering the burning questions we knew you’d have when setting out to buy one, so it should be easy peasy for you to pick something out.
One thing to remember is that age suggestions are relative, so while your youngin’ may be young, he or she may be destined to be a pilot; and, by the same token, the opposite is also true.
Read on to find the copter that’s right for the little one in your life.
As far as first remote control vehicles go, this is a perfect option for the littlest kids. Yes, we realize that it's technically not a helicopter, it's an airplane. Still, it's pretty great for introducing a wee one to the wonderful world of remote control toys. You never know, he or she may grow up to become a full-fledged hobbyist!
18 months and up, mainly for toddlers and pre-k
This is the perfect remote control toy for a child, as it will let him or her learn the ropes. It's also bright and colorful.
This badboy doesn't actually fly, but it does move forwards and backwards on the floor or on any flat surface.
It’s got flashing headlights, it plays music and it makes honking sounds. It also comes with a driver figure and a little puppy dog to play with, and the airplane moves at lightning speed.
You’ll need 5 AAA batteries in total (for the plane and the remote), which are not included.
Though not technically a helicopter, this is an excellent first remote control toy for any boy or girl!
You must be thinking, “Again with the plane”. Forgive us, but we wanted to slip one more in before we begin exploring the world of toy helicopters. This is another outstanding option for getting a child into remote control toys. Also, you can’t go wrong with Disney, don’t you think?
3 and up
It’s inspired by the Disney movie Planes, so if little Timmy or Tammy liked the movie, (s)he is sure to like the toy! It's also programmed to say around 40 phrases from the movie.
Ummm... Nowhere. This toy doesn’t actually fly, it moves around the floor or ground on a flat surface.
You can use your arms to control it, which makes it pretty darn cool in our book. The user holds the controllers in each hand and tilts his or her arms, and the airplane mimics those motions by banking left and right.
It requires 6 AAA batteries, which are not included. Also, a large flat area to play on is needed, and it can be a tad tricky to control the airplane’s movements.
If the little one likes the Disney movie, he or she's gonna love this toy.
8 and up
This remote control helicopter is easy to fly, and the gyro ensures maximum stability. A half hour of charging will get you up to 8 minutes of flying. It moves up, down, clockwise, anti-clockwise, forwards and backwards, and has 360 degree precise directional movement. Also Haktoys offers excellent customer service.
Indoors is best, although it can be flown outdoors as well. That being said, this is an infrared-controlled heli, so it’s best to stay out of direct sunlight as it will interfere with the remote, and to avoid wind.
As it’s made with flexible materials, it’s pretty crash resistant, plus it has a flight range of up to 50 feet. There’s no assembly required, the remote control is ergonomic, and it comes with spare parts.
Batteries for the remote control are not included. Also, a previous buyer says that the charging cable lights up when it’s plugged into the helicopter, turns off when charging, and turns on then it’s finished, which can be confusing.
This is a fantastic option for someone who’s new to the world of remote control helicopters.
TX Juice A.I Copter
8 and up
This 3-channel heli has a very cool auto-takeoff button which, when pushed, lets the heli take off and hover 1 to 3 feet above the ground, and then wait for your instructions! It also has an auto-land feature, which helps it land perfectly every single time. It boasts a built-in gyro and 3-channel control. 30 minutes gets you 8 minutes of flight time.
It has proximity sensors which help it avoid crashes by detecting objects below it, and it’s “accurately maneuverable”. We love that you can avoid crash landings with the auto-land button. The package also includes two spare rotor blades. It can be charged extra fast via USB.
The 3 AA batteries required do not come with the helicopter.
This is one of the easiest to control helicopters around, and we think its “artificial intelligence” is pretty neat.
8 and up
This mini-copter is tiny, light as a feather (just 0.4 oz!), stable, and easy to maintain and operate. It has a built-in gyro system and 3-way precision control, which means it can fly in 6 directions: up, down, left, right, forward and backwards.
It charges quickly and holds the charge well, a 30-minute charge will get you 5 to 8 minutes of flying time. It also offers excellent bang for your buck. It has a fast/slow switch, which is great for beginners. It can bounce off the walls and take crash landings like a champ!
It needs 4 AAA batteries, which aren’t included. Also, the fact that it’s small means it’s a bit more challenging to maneuver.
This is a cool mini-copter for someone with a bit of experience under his belt.
8 and up
We love the look of this copter; it’s so realistic! It hovers very well, and can move up and down, forward and backwards and turn clockwise and anticlockwise. It also has an incorporated auto-stability system, which makes it easy to fly.
It has 2 sets of propellers, which makes it a stable flyer, and the non-moving wheels on the bottom make it easy to take off and land. Also this helicopter is very easy to trim and, aesthetically, the details on it are outstanding.
One buyer initially had trouble inserting the batteries into the remote. Also, it’s slightly noisier and less responsive than other copters.
This is a really fun toy and it is extremely resilient, making it a one of the best remote control helicopters for kids!
10 and up
It’s lightweight and made of aluminum, and is almost indestructible. It’s easy to hover, and is equipped with a 4-in-1 infrared receiver. It’s stable and can be accurately directed and easily flown without crashing.
It’s small but very sturdy and durable, and replacement parts are quite easy to buy, if needed.
Batteries are not included, and some previous buyers say the range for the remote could be improved.
This heli is an excellent first remote control helicopter and it offers excellent bang for your buck. This also happens to be one of the most popular and well-liked remote control helicopters for kids, both young and old.
10 and up
It’s easy to use, and has a flight time of approximately 10 minutes and a remote distance of 20 meters. It can move in 6 directions, and the controls are sensitive and respond well. It’s a smooth flyer and is very stable.
You’ll be hard put to find a heli that performs this well for such a good price.
One previous buyer says that it doesn’t go very fast when moving forward and that the controls are too sensitive.
This is a great heli for first-timers as well as seasoned “pilots”, and most buyers in the know agree that Syma is an excellent brand that makes an outstanding product.
10 and up
Previous buyers say it offers an excellent flight experience, flies much “heavier” and has finer control than similar helis, flying like larger gas-powered models. It can fly for about 10 minutes on a full charge.
This Black Hawk model is, by far, the coolest-looking heli from Syma. The detail is fantastically realistic, and the flashing lights give it added appeal. Take-offs and landings are extremely smooth.
Batteries are not included.
This very durable heli has a very small learning curve, according to previous buyers, which makes this a top pick if you’re looking for a very special heli for a very special kid.
10 and up
This 3-channel copter comes with auto stable and precision speed functions, and it’s pretty dang easy for a beginner to fly. It also has 3 selectable frequencies, so you can fly up to 3 helicopters at the same time.
Given the nature of this kind of toy, we love that it’s made with a unique material that helps it withstand crashes. Once you get a hang of the steering, it can do all kinds of neat tricks. It’s also very precise: one previous buyer noted that he can pick up action figures with it, as if he were performing rescue missions.
Batteries are not included and, with almost all helis, the rotor blades can break, so it’s a good idea to invest in a spare pair. A 40-minute charge gives you up to 8 minutes of flying time.
We love this model's unique qualities, which is why it's one of our top picks among the best remote control helicopters for kids.
12 and up
Replacement parts for Lutema helicopters are readily available, which scores this copter points in our book. It’s also quite easy to fly, even for beginners, and it has unmatched stability and control.
It’s one of the most stable helicopters on the market for its size. It also has 2 side hover rotors which enable it to move side to side for excellent maneuverability. Lastly, it comes with replacement rotors.
One previous customer says that it’s extremely sensitive to small touches on the remote.
This stable copter is a great bet for a slightly older child, and Lutema has a reputation for making high-quality, fairly-priced products.
12 and up (or 7 and up with adult supervision)
This heli has a built-in gyro, slow-fast adjustable speed modes and a flight range of up to 300 feet. A 30-45 minute charge gets you 7-9 minutes of flight time. This 4-channel copter also has some very powerful motors and can fly forward, backward, up, down, clockwise, anticlockwise, and left and right cyclic. We also love that it comes with 2 batteries!
Indoors and outdoors
You can monitor the speed, battery usage and trim, among other features, on the controller, and this heli allows true blade pitch. It also comes with a battery that is easily swappable, so you don’t have to wait for recharging. It has a smooth hovering performance, 3D flying and is made with lightweight, durable materials. Also, the company is known for its outstanding customer service.
The battery needs to cool off for a few minutes between flights, but spare batteries may also be used to avoid this. It’s also sensitive to light breezes.
This is a great little helicopter for someone with beginner-to-intermediate level experience with remote control toys.
12 and up
This helicopter is able to move and turn very quickly, and is very responsive. It has a 3-channel radio remote, and we absolutely love how it looks!
Compared with the 107, this heli is super fast, more aggressive and very durable. It has a colorful flashing light, which makes night flying quite fun! Also it comes with an extra tail rotor, which is great.
About 50-60 minutes of charging gets you 6 to 8 minutes of flight time.
This is a great remote control helicopter for someone with a bit of experience.
12 and up
This model looks like a real helicopter, and offers a stable and smooth flying experience. It’s made of durable materials and is very lightweight. It also holds up nicely to crashes.
The design and detail are impressive, and the balance between performance and control is excellent. Also, it has 2 LED lights, which makes it very fun to fly it in the dark.
Some customers have complained that shipping can take a long time, and the copter is sensitive to wind and can be impacted by drafts inside the house.
This heli is relatively easy to learn how to fly, and is a great bet for a newbie or a pro. In short, it’s a great little copter for flying around the house.
15 and up
This has a metal frame, so it’s super durable. It also has incredible balance and stability. It looks great at night thanks to the cool lights, and it hovers amazingly well.
Indoors and outdoors, with a range of about 30 meters
We love the multi-colored flashing LEDs and the fact that replacement parts are very easy to get. It’s also the most stable remote control helicopter on the market for its size.
Are there any drawbacks?
It can't be flown in the wind.
This is the ultimate large fully remote control helicopter on the market and is sure to provide hours upon hours of entertainment.
If you’re also in the market for a cool accessory for your copter, we love the following landing pads, which make the experience more authentic.
Two of Disks Remote Control Helicopter Landing Pad
This pad is perfect for both indoors and outdoors, and there’s no assembly required. It’s a simple flexible rubber pad which conforms to any surface, and it’s perfect for all kinds of remote control vehicles.
This is a deluxe landing pad, complete with LED lights, so it's great for those night landings.
It's perfect for copters measuring up to 25 inches long (Syma, Lutema, and more), and you can personalize your helipad with the decal stickers that are included.
If you’re new to this type of gift, here are a few explanations of some of the terminology (which can potentially be confusing), and places to go where you can learn more.
Gyro system: This keeps the helicopter stable while flying by automatically countering the torque reaction and keeping the nose and tail going in one direction.
Coaxial helicopter: This type of copter has two main sets of rotors, one on top of the other. They spin in opposite directions, cancelling any the torque generated by the other rotor, which helps the helicopter remain stable. For more information, read this amazing article.
Trim: This is a constant offset that is applied to allow a helicopter to fly correctly. The copter is “in trim” when it is hovering stably and not rotating. If the helicopter is rotating to one side, adjust the trim to counter that movement. If you want more information about this, read more here and here.
Infrared remote control: As explained in this excellent article, an infrared (IR) remote control works by pulsing an IR LED light and the device detects the pulses using an IR phototransistor, which changes its resistance when hit with IR light. Because these devices are light dependent, they require a clear line of sight between the transmitting LED and the receiver.
And last but not least, we’d like to give you a few tips for piloting remote control vehicles, which may come in hand for the beginners in your life.
First, small, slow movements with the joysticks give the best results; most people are too heavy handed to start.
Second, let the battery cool down for 15 minutes before putting it in the USB charger; this will protect it.
And third, don’t store the helicopter with a flat battery as this can cause permanent damage. Always store it fully charged.
We hope you have found what you were looking for and are able to narrow it down and choose a model from our selection of the best remote control helicopters for kids.
If you have any suggestions, if you bought a copter that’s not on this list, or if you have a recommendation, we’d love to hear it. Reach out to us on the contact page or in the comments below.
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