Drones

The Best Nano Drones Available Right Now

(Last Updated On: December 8, 2017)

Consumer drones are quite popular these days.  These drones come in different sizes and shapes.  Bigger drones are probably what most people know about.

These bulky and heavy drones require you to brush up on Federal Aviation Administration regulations before being able to fly outside.  Then you have the smaller drones.  Nano drones are those small drones that can fit in the palm of your hand.

These nano drones are particularly useful for those still learning how to fly drones in general.  What makes them more attractive is their lower price and their durability.

This means that you can get your feet wet and practice flying drones without worrying about crashing it, as most beginners are wont to do.  These drones are also safer to fly indoors and are small enough so you do not have to worry about FAA regulations. 

So what are the best nano drones available on the market right now? 

Best for those who want more flight time: Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter 

The Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter is billed as the smallest quadcopter when it was first launched.  It is among the lightest, weighing only 11.5 grams.

The Proto X has dimensions of 2.5 inches on each side, with the frame measuring only 1.8 square inches, so you can play with it indoors.  The bright LED lights can help you see it in the dark.  

The transmitter is quite small as well, measuring 3.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches long and looking like a miniature version of your favorite console game controller.  It uses a 2.4 GHz radio that is interference-free.

The transmitter links only to your specific Proto X, so even if you have several nano drones flying together, you will get control only of your drone.  Another good news is that if you have flown a quadcopter before, you would not have that much trouble adjusting to the Proto X because the controller is very straightforward.

The left stick controls the altitude of the nano drone as well as its rotation.  Meanwhile, the right stick controls where it goes.   

The Proto X is kept flat in the air by an embedded triple axis gyroscope.  It has a range of approximately 30 meters. The 100-mAh 3.7V lithium polymer battery gives the Proto X flying times of 10 to 15 minutes.  It takes around half an hour to recharge the battery. 

The Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter costs $29.99 (For the latest prices check here) and comes in six colors: white, black, yellow, red, purple, and green.

What’s in the box

With the exception of two AAA batteries that you would need for the transmitter, the Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter has everything you need to fly the nano drone right out of the box.  Every package of the Proto X includes: 

  • Proto X quadcopter 
  • 2.4 GHz radio transmitter 
  • USB charging cable 
  • Four replacement rotor blades 
  • Instruction manual 

What you would like about the Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter 

The battery gives the Proto X up to 15 minutes of flying time, and you would know when it is about to run out of battery juice when the LED lights near the rotors start to flash quickly.

Once this happens, you have a minute left to guide the nano drone closer to where you are.  Even when it does run out of battery, it will slowly float to the ground rather than crash.   

The Proto X is also very durable, and it is very resistant to damage.  You can crash it into walls, and it could fall from high places and collide with anything hard, and it would still work.  In short, it is as sturdy as regular-sized quadcopters.

What could be better 

 

The Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter is quite easy to maneuver while in the air, you can have it go up, go forward, and go left, without too much difficulty.  However, if you want to keep it perfectly still while hovering mid-air, then you are up for some challenge.

That is because the Proto X is very light that a mild wind could blow it off course.  But then again, the Proto X is meant to be flown indoors, where there is no wind.  If you fly it outside, get ready to lose control of the nano drone.   

You cannot swap out the batteries.  This means that if the battery runs out, you would need to recharge it before being able to fly the nano drone again.  Furthermore, the transmitter is quite small.

Adults with large hands would probably have difficulty holding the controller, and with the controls cramped in a small space, manipulating the drone could be quite difficult, too. 

Final say about the Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter 

The Proto X is a good nano drone for those who are starting to learn how to fly quadcopters.  It does not really have outstanding features, such as a camera, and it is not designed to perform fancy maneuvers.

You also cannot reprogram it.  However, if you are a beginner and are interested in quadcopters, the Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter is really a good choice, especially when you consider its low price. 

Best for kids: Eachine E012 Mini Quadcopter Drone  

 

The Eachine E012 Mini Quadcopter Drone is a nano drone that is very easy to fly and is perfect for kids. It costs $21   on Amazon (check here for the latest price), so it really does make a good drone for first-timers. 

The Eachine E012 has propeller guards, which help keep the propellers safe in the event that the drone crashes.  It will also protect other people from being hurt by the propellers.  The Eachine E012 further has a headless mode, which aligns the nano drone with the transmitter.

If you push forward on the controller, the drone will go the same way.  It also has a one-key course reversal, meaning it is easier to call back and there’s a lesser chance of losing it.   

What’s more, the transmitter and the drone are paired together, thus eliminating interference even if there are other drones around.  The Eachine E012 has a flying range of 30 meters. 

The Eachine E012 Mini Quadcopter Drone is small, measuring only 2.6 inches on all sides and around an inch tall.  It weighs 15 grams with the battery on.

The nano drone relies on a six-axis gyroscope for stability and a 3.7V 200-mAh lithium polymer battery for power.  This battery needs 40 minutes of charging time for a flight time of about 5 minutes.   

What you would like about the Eachine E012 Mini Quadcopter Drone 

Little kids would love how easy it is to control this nano drone and the LED lights are cool too.  You can even let them practice indoors.  The propeller guards make it safe even if your kids accidentally direct it towards pets or other people.

Adults can join in on the fun too.  This drone has three flight speed settings, and can even do 360-degree rolls.  It can fly sideways on top of going forward and backward. 

If you play with it outside in the dark, the range of LED lights (white, green and red) will give you a mini light show.  Moreover, if it does crash on the ground, the LED lights can help you find your nano drone! 

What could be better 

The flight time may turn some people off.  You have to wait 40 minutes for the drone’s battery to charge and enjoy flying the drone for only five minutes. 

What’s in the box 

The Eachine E012 Mini Quadcopter Drone comes fully assembled.  All you need is to pop two AA batteries into the transmitter, charge the drone’s LiPo battery and you are ready to fly.  The package includes:  

  • Eachine E012 Mini Quadcopter  
  • 3.7V (200mAh) battery 
  • Transmitter 
  • USB charging cable 
  • User manual  

Final say about the Eachine E012 Mini Quadcopter Drone 

The Eachine E012 Mini Quadcopter Drone is a good drone to use when introducing kids to drone flying.  With its no-fuss controls, propeller guards, neat tricks and LED lights, you would probably not mind the short flight time.

It is affordable enough, so why not buy two or three of these nano drones so you do not have to wait too long to fly? 

Best budget nano drone: Cheerson CX-10 

If the Estes Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter is small and affordable, the Cheerson CX-10 is even smaller and even more affordable.  It measures about 1.6 inches on all sides and around 0.9 inches tall and weighs around 15 grams.  And it sells for less than $20 on Amazon! (check here for the latest price)

The Cheerson CX-10 is a good fit for beginners.  You do not have to worry about it crashing because it is very inexpensive.  It is also very easy to control, thanks to a transmitter that has an ergonomic and easy-grip design.

The controller has two analog sticks that would control the elevation, rotation, and direction of the drone, and it has sensitivity adjustors, as well. 

This nano drone uses a 3.7V 100 mAh lithium polymer battery that can give you anywhere from 5 minutes to 8 minutes of flight time.  It comes in a number of colors, including orange, pink, green, and blue.   

The Cheerson CX-10 comes fully assembled and ready to fly; everything you need is included in your purchase except for the two AAA batteries for the controller.   

It uses a six-axis gyroscope for stability, which means it has three accelerometers more than the ones you find on the Proto X, and this helps the Cheerson CX-10 handle altitude displacement better.

What you would love about Cheerson CX-10 

There are three flight modes for the Cheerson CX-10 to accommodate your skill level.  If this is your first drone, you can fly the Cheerson CX-10 in beginner mode.  You can also choose between advanced and intermediate modes.   

The Cheerson CX-10 is also made with ABS plastic, making it very durable and strong.   Moreover, it is able to perform 360-degree flips, which makes it more awesome than the Proto X. 

The small drone has a fast yaw rate, and if you get the hang of flying it, you will be able to maneuver it accurately.   

What could be better 

 

The Cheerson CX-10’s flight time is quite short, clocking in at 8 minutes maximum, while charging takes anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.  The rated charging and flight times are much worse: taking 30 minutes to charge for a flight time of 5 minutes.

That means you would probably spend more time charging than actually flying your nano drone.  It also has a shorter range of only 20 meters.

It is designed for indoor use because it is very sensitive, even to the slightest updrafts or wind.  Furthermore, this drone has LED lights that allow you to fly it at night.

However, these lights are not going to light up the drone’s surroundings, so you really would have a hard time figuring out where to direct it or whether it will bump into things.  And if you have pets, the nano drone’s high-pitched sounds might be annoying for them. 

Final say about Cheerson CX-10 

The Cheerson CX-10 took the place of Proto X as the smallest quadcopter when it came out.  But more than this distinction, it is also a great nano drone for beginners.

The Proto X might be easier to control in flight, but the Cheerson CX-10 can do 360-degree flips and would be easy to control once you get the hang of it.

Its biggest draw, however, is its low price.  At less than $20, this is a good practice drone if you plan to get into bigger drones in the future.  It is probably a good gift idea as well. 

Best Value for Money: Rabing Mini Foldable RC Drone  

The Rabing Mini Foldable RC Drone is an affordable drone with foldable wings that make it very portable.  You can even carry it in your pocket if you want!  While folded, the drone measures around 2.0 inches on all sides.

With the wings unfolded, the drone measures 2.6 inches on all sides.  It is a little bit more than an inch tall. 

The Rabing Mini Foldable RC Drone also offers the first-person view using the 0.3-megapixel camera, allowing you to capture photos with a very different viewpoint and see things from the drone’s point of view.

The drone connects to your iOS or Android devices over Wi-Fi so that you could use your smartphone to take photos from the drone’s camera.  You will need to mount your smartphone on the controller. 

This drone uses a 3.7V 220-mAh lithium polymer battery that you would need to charge for 30 minutes in order to get the drone flying for 7 to 10 minutes.  Additionally, the Rabing Mini Foldable RC Drone has a range of 100 meters. 

What you would like about the Rabing Mini Foldable RC Drone  

The Rabing Mini Foldable RC Drone has a full range of technologies that you would not expect from a nano drone, especially with its price pegged at only $45.99 on Amazon (check here for the latest price). 

Even at that price, you get: 

  • A very capable and fun nano drone.  A foldable drone that you can keep in your pocket and can do what every nano drone in this list can do.  It can even flip! 
  • 720p camera.  The camera onboard the Rabing Mini FPV RC Drone gives you crisp and clear photos! 
  • Live first person view.  Using your smartphone, you can see what the drone’s camera is seeing.  Live stream is transmitted in real time.  
  • Use your smartphone or tablet to control your Rabing Mini Foldable.  Although it can be quite limited, it is possible to use your smartphone in order to maneuver the drone. 
  • Get a taste of virtual reality.  If you have Google Cardboard, you can use it to view the camera’s live feed and feel like you are the one flying through the air! 

What could be better 

The Rabing Mini FPV RC Drone comes in one color.  In addition, even if it can be used both indoors and outdoors, it can be quite difficult to control the drone in smaller spaces.  Further, with a charging time of 30 minutes, you only get a decent flying time: 8 minutes. 

What’s in the box 

 

Each Rabing Mini Foldable RC Drone package has everything you need to fly the drone except for the four AAA batteries needed to power the transmitter.  Each package includes: 

  • The Mini HD camera collapsible Wi-Fi quadcopter 
  • Remote control 
  • Charging cable 
  • 4 drone propellers 
  • User manual 
  • Screwdriver 

Final say about the Rabing Mini FPV RC Drone 

The Rabing Mini FPV RC Drone is the best nano drone on this list, considering its low price and the features it offers.  However, if you are looking for a nano drone for your children, you should know that this nano drone may need some getting used to and can be a little difficult to control at first. 

Side-by-Side comparison of the best nano drones available right now 

To make it easier for you to decide which nano drone to buy, here is a side-by-side comparison of the best nano drones we featured here.

 Estes Proto X Eachine E012 Cheerson CX-10 Rabing Mini
Price $29.99 (For the latest prices check here)$20.99 (For the latest prices check here)$15.51 (For the latest prices check here)$45.99 (For the latest prices check here) 
Dimensions (sides x height, inches) 2.5 x 1.4 2.6 x 1.0 1.6 x 0.9 2.6 x 1.0 
Weight (grams) 11.5 15 15 Not specified 
Indoor use Yes Yes Yes Yes 
Outdoor use No Yes No Yes 
Range (meters) 30 30 20 100 
Six-axis gyroscope No Yes Yes Not specified 
3.7 V LiPo battery 100 mAh 200 mAh 100 mAh 220 mAh 
Flight time (mins.) 15 5 5 10 
Charging time (mins.) 30 40 20 30 
Batteries for transmitter 2 AAA 2 AA 2 AAA 4 AAA 
FPV No No No Yes 
Camera No No No Yes 
VR No No No Yes 
Wi-Fi No No No Yes 

 

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

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