What Is the Best Mini Drone?

Best mini drone

Looking to purchase a mini drone? Keep reading to find our top picks. [Credit: iStock]

Editor's note: The following article is not intended to be a ranking, but is only to serve as a list of possible options. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

While companies have been aiming to keep drones small ever since their inception, mini drones continue to captivate the interest of drone pilots. Whether you’re looking for a fun mini drone to race indoors or you’re eager to find the best mini drone that comes with a camera, we go over some of the best mini drones below. 

Mini drones vary greatly in price as do the features and accessories they come with. When you think of the flying you’d like to do with your drone, you’ll more easily be able to nail down the best mini drone for your needs. Flying drones can be fun and mini drones are coming packed with incredible features every drone pilot can love. 

Quicklook: Mini Drone Options

Best Mini Drone Options

The best mini drone for you will depend on what you’re looking to do with your drone, but there’s no doubt, the best mini drone for you is out there. 

DJI Mavic Mini 

DJI delivered an impressive mini drone when they brought about the Mavic Mini. While the price point may be higher than other mini drones, you will certainly enjoy the smooth flights it provides. Boasting an impressive 2.7K HD camera, the DJI Mavic Mini is the best mini drone with a camera on our list. Incredibly lightweight, you can take this drone along on all your adventures. 

Best For: Users wanting a high-quality drone with a camera 

Technical Specifications: 

Weight249 grams
Battery Life30 minutes 
Range50 meters
Video Resolution2.7K HD
Camera Resolution12 MP
CaseThe combo comes with a carrying case, the drone alone does not 
Dimensions Folded140mm x  81mm x 57mm
Dimensions Unfolded245mm x 289mm x 55mm

Special Features

  • Small enough it does not require FAA registration
  • 30 minute flight time
  • Comes with three flying modes:
    • Cinematic
    • Sport 
    • Position

Benefits: 

  • Most affordable DJI drone  
  • 3-axis motorized gimbal for smooth shots 
  • Incredibly compact and lightweight
  • Can fit in the palm of your hand when folded 

Disadvantages: 

  • Does not have object avoidance 
  • App is compatible with both iOS and Android 
  • Easy for beginner drone users 

Walkera Rodeo 110 

If indoor drone racing has been an interest to you, then the Walkera Rodeo 110 is likely the best mini drone for you. It may not be the fastest mini drone there is, but it’s the perfect introductory racing drone. Small and agile, flying this drone is always a blast. Racing comes with its crashes and this drone was built to hold up. 

Best For: Those wanting to get into drone racing 

Technical Specifications: 

Weight147 grams 
Battery Life6 minutes 
Range100 meters
Video Resolution600Tvl HD
Camera Resolution600Tvl HD
CaseCase not included 
Dimensions FoldedDoes not fold
Dimensions Unfolded101mm x 117mm x 55mm

Special Features

  • Light and agile
  • Foresight lighting allows for flying in the dark indoors 
  • Made of carbon fiber to withstand collisions 

Benefits: 

  • Camera guard 
  • Camera angle is adjustable from 0° to 45° 
  • F3 controller system

Disadvantages:

  • One of the slower racing drones 
  • Camera could be better 
  • Harder to control than other mini drones

Holy Stone HS 420

Holy Stone continues to impress with their incredible drones and offers a great option for the best mini drone with the Holy Stone S420. With an impressive flight time between the three included batteries, you can fly longer and get the shots you want. This mini drone comes with a 720P HD camera allowing for clear shots when in the air. This price point is hard to beat considering this mini drone still comes packed with great features. 

Best For: Users wanting a trusted mini drone at a great price 

Technical Specifications

Weight31 grams 
Battery Life6 minutes per battery (3 included for 18 minutes total flight time) 
Range100 meters 
Video Resolution720P HD
Camera Resolution1280x720 Pixels
CaseCase not included 
Dimensions FoldedDoes not fold 
Dimensions Unfolded84mm x 90mm x 34mm

Special Features

  • Flies great inside and outside 
  • Comes with three batteries for longer flight time 
  • Can spin and orbit 

Benefits: 

  • Modular batteries make for quick battery change 
  • Simple, easy to use remote 
  • Easy to follow instruction booklet 

Disadvantages:

  • Camera quality isn’t the best
  • Can be difficult to learn for new drone users
  • Learning to use the remote is recommended 
  • Remote holder for phone could be sturdier 

EMAX Tinyhawk 3 RTF

As a ready-to-fly (RTF) kit, this mini drone comes equipped with everything you need to get in the air. Despite its impressive speed of up to 35 MPH, it remains an easier racing drone to control. The first person point of view that the camera allows may take some getting used to, but once mastered, it makes flying fun for everyone. 

Best For: Users wanting a high speed mini drone 

Technical Specifications:

Weight32 grams 
Battery Life4 minutes 
Range60 meters
Video Resolution800Tvl 
Camera Resolution800Tvl 
CaseCase included 
Dimensions FoldedDoes not fold 
Dimensions Unfolded76mm frame 

Special Features:

  • Can fly at speeds up to 35 MPH
  • Comes with three different modes:
    • Level
    • Horizon 
    • Full Acrobatic 
  • Motor beeper function 

Benefits:  

  • Easy to control, especially for a racing drone) 
  • Durable, able to withstand most crashes 
  • Centralized mount to allow for easy repairs when necessary 

Disadvantages: 

  • Battery life is short 
  • Camera doesn’t record
  • Camera used for FPV while flying only 
  • Video quality is lacking 

Holyton HT02

When you’re simply looking for a mini drone you can have fun flying around inside, the Holyton HT02 is the best mini drone for you. With protected propellers and three speed options, kids of all ages can safely fly this drone. This drone can hover and spin keeping every flight exciting. 

Best For: Those wanting a fun mini drone for flying indoors 

Technical Specifications:

Weight19 grams 
Battery Life7 to 8 minutes per battery 3 included for 24 minutes total flight time 
Range30 meters
Video ResolutionNo camera
Camera ResolutionNo camera 
CaseCase not includedDrone can be stored in compact transmitter
Dimensions FoldedDoes not fold 
Dimensions Unfolded1.85 x 1.85 x 1.41 inches

Special Features

  • Long flight time 
  • Easy to use
  • Lower speed options make this drone incredibly kid friendly 

Benefits: 

  • Does not require FAA registration 
  • Can be stored in transmitter for easy transport 
  • Comes with auto hovering 
  • Has features more expensive drones often come with 

Disadvantages: 

  • Longer battery charging time  
  • Changing batteries can be a hassle 
  • Motors may stop working after little use 

Hubsan H111C

Similar to the Holyton HT02, the Hubsan H111C is a fun mini drone to fly indoors. Different from the Holyton though, the Hubsan comes equipped with a camera. Incredibly affordable, the Hubsan H111C is a great drone for any pilot ready to tame their flight skills. 

Best For: Those wanting a fun mini drone with a camera for flying indoors

Technical Specifications:

Weight130 grams
Battery Life5-7 minutes
Range30 meters
Video Resolution480P HD
Camera Resolution480P HD
CaseNot included
Dimensions FoldedDoes not fold
Dimensions Unfolded2.68 x 2.68 x 0.98 inches

Special Features:

  • Headless mode for easy flying 
  • 6-axis flight control system
  • Can flip and roll 360°

Benefits: 

  • Comes with multi-color LED lights for fun flying in the dark   
  • Easy to handle 
  • Small and safe for kids 

Disadvantages: 

  • While easy to learn basic flying, mastering can be tough 
  • Limited range and flight time
  • Does not work great outside 

What Is a Mini Drone?

A mini drone is a compact drone that can often fit in the palm of your hand, either folded or unfolded. While many mini drones have limited features, the best mini drones come packed with user friendly features and modes. 

Mini Drone vs Regular Drone

Mini drones and regular drones will have varying differences depending on the models. It is common for larger drones to come with more features but mini drones continue to advance as well. 

Mini drones are considered more for hobbyists as the cameras and other accessories they come with are often not as professional and advanced as your traditional drone. Mini drones are often used more for racing and appeal to many looking to fly for fun and fast. 

Mini drones are much more compact and lightweight than your regular drone. They both have great advantages to offer, but the right one for you will depend on your wants and needs. 

What to Consider With a Mini Drone

Drones are fun for almost anyone. Know what factors to consider when looking to purchase the best mini drone to ensure you purchase a reliable one. 

Price

The prices of mini drones is one that can vary greatly. This is because the features and accessories that come with the drones vary. 

Not all mini drones come equipped with cameras, and those that don’t are often going to be much more affordable. A higher quality camera on a mini drone will raise the price significantly, but the investment is often worth it. 

Speed

Speed is a common reason new users have trouble controlling mini drones. They can be fast and fun, but you need to have control over them. 

There are quite a few mini drones on the market that are meant for speed and racing. Learning the controls for these mini drones is critical to having a fun flight every time. 

Camera

For many, the appeal of drones is being able to capture pictures and videos from a different perspective. But with the popularity of drones growing, their uses are changing and they’re appealing to a larger audience. 

Racing drones can be a fun hobby and these types of mini drones often don’t come equipped with cameras. Thankfully, there are great mini drone options that come in both forms, with a camera and without so you can truly get the best mini drone for you. 

Battery Life

Given their incredibly compact size, it’s no surprise that mini drones have a shorter flight time. This is because the batteries are smaller to keep weight and size down. However, mini drones can still deliver a decent flight time when they have additional batteries. 

Some of the best mini drones have modular batteries making it a quick and painless change whenever you need a new one. The majority of mini drones will have batteries able to last anywhere from four to seven minutes, but you have options, so be sure to look into all of them. 

Inside Use

Differing mini drones can be used both inside and outside. But there are quite a few mini drones that are meant to fly solely indoors. Because of their size, wind can greatly affect the flight of mini drones outside. 

While many mini drones can be easy to fly from the start, it can be tricky learning to fly a drone indoors. There are often more obstacles inside which can lead to more crashes. An open area is a great place to learn to fly your drone inside. 

Licensing and Permits

Many regular drones require FAA registration while a large number of mini drones are small enough to not. Even if you do not have to register your drone with the FAA, there will be rules and regulations you will still have to follow if you’re flying outdoors. 

Typically, drones under 250 grams do not need to be registered with the FAA. However, what you’re using the drone for can affect this requirement as well. Find out about the registration requirements here

Tiny But Mighty: The Best Mini Drones Are Here To Impress

Many people have been intrigued by drones as they continue to evolve and grow in popularity. Unfortunately, the price point of many regular drones can deter many of those people. The advancement of mini drones leaves this hobby open to everyone, even kids! 

The best mini drones have prices that vary greatly, so it’s important to consider what you’re wanting to do with a mini drone before you invest in one. Mini drones with cameras, mini drones for racing, mini drones for fun, you name it, and there’s one for you! 

FLYING Magazine is a great source for all your drone interests and needs. Subscribe today and stay up to date on the newest and best mini drones around. 

FAQ


FAQ

How Much Does a Decent Drone Cost?

The best mini drones without cameras can cost as low as $35. High-quality, mini drones that have cameras can cost upwards of $500. Compared to regularly-sized drones, a decent mini drone can be incredibly affordable. 

Do All Drones Require a Smartphone?

While many regular drones require a smartphone to fly, the majority of the best mini drones can be flown with just the controller. While you can fly many drones without a smartphone, this may mean you’ll lose some of the functions. Every drone and mini drone is different so be sure to research the flying requirements for each one before purchasing. 

Are Mini Drones Easy to Fly?

Many drone pilots believe mini drones are easier to fly, although that can always vary. Many of the best mini drones come equipped with thorough instructions and are user friendly so anyone can get accustomed to flying it easily. Several mini drones are even geared towards kids, these drones are often some of the easiest to get the hang of.


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