We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Tiny enough to take off from the smallest of launchpads, these nano drones may not be sufficiently large to deliver packages for you-know-who, but they can deliver hours of remote-controlled flying fun. Try one of these diminutive machines if you’re new to piloting, have limited airspace to work with, or need to reduce the collateral damage of occasional (or all-too-frequent) crash landings. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work.
10. Syma X12S
- Lightweight design
- Gyroscopic stability control
- Tricky handling in breezy conditions
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
9. Hubsan Q4
- Bicolor flashing leds
- Three different performance modes
- Rotors come off easily
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
8. JJRC H36
- Interchangeable battery
- 12-month limited warranty
- One-key automatic return
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
7. Syma X21W
- 6-axis gyro stabilization
- 3d flips and rolls
- No more than 8 minutes flight time
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
6. Blade Nano QX BNF
- Small enough for indoor maneuvering
- 4-in-1 dsmx receiver
- Built-in blade guards
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
5. Holy Stone HS190
- Good choice for absolute beginners
- Affordably priced yet full-featured
- Air pressure altitude hold
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
4. Kolibri Torpedo Micro FPV
- Vr headset compatible
- Autonomous flight modes
- Up to 7 minutes of flight time
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
3. Maxxrace STEM DIY
- 50-meter control distance
- Fast and stable flight
- Spare blades included
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. Eachine E10C
- 35 minutes to fully charge
- 360-degree rolling maneuvers
- Led illumination for night flights
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Holy Stone HS210
- Altitude hold function
- Headless mode for beginners
- Low-power alarm
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
Better Than The Average Drone
Unlike your average drone for recreational use, nano drones are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. They fly in a similar manner to other recreational drones, however, they are generally easier to operate and better for beginners. They are also a perfect choice for children who want to get into drone flying and parents who don’t want to spend a lot of money. The micro quadcopters are excellent for learning the basic drone-flying skills without worrying about causing significant damage to surrounding property or the drone itself.
While there are a wide range of nano drones on the market for recreational use, nano drones have been in development for use by the military and various entities for some time. The Black Hornet Nano was invented in Norway and is used by the Norwegian and British Armies.
Other nano drones include the Dragonfly Drone and the Hummingbird Drone. The Dragonfly Drone was used in 2007 at a protest in Washington D.C. It is a military surveillance drone that uses the physics of a dragonfly in order to hover and fly in all directions. The Hummingbird Drone is designed to look almost exactly like a hummingbird and flies in a similar manner. It is used by the military for surveillance as well. None of these three drones can be purchased by the general public.
However, the nano drones available for public use have a number of incredible capabilities and uses. Nano drones and their larger counterparts are poised to be the next big thing in photography with many of them being equipped with high-powered cameras. However, the FAA currently restricts drones being used to make money, so professional photographers will have to wait on that front.
Drone hobbyists are enjoying using nano drones and the large recreational drones for first-person view(FPV). These drones are equipped with a camera and beam a video to a pair of goggles.
One big advantage to nano drones is that if they are under nine ounces in weight, they don’t have to be registered with the FAA. Their small size and shorter flight times allow you to get the experience of flying a drone without putting a damper on your fun with government regulations.
Flight With A Purpose
You’re not going to break the bank buying a nano drone no matter what you choose, but there are a few things you should think about before you make your purchase.
First, are you buying for fun or practice? If you just want a cheap drone to fly for fun, nearly any nano drone will do. However, if you are a beginner and in need of practice before you move onto the more expensive models, you will want to pick one with all of the capabilities of the bigger drone you intend to buy.
Second, do you want to take photos and videos? If you are interested in recording your flights, you will need to purchase a nano drone with a camera. Because it is a nano drone, you will have low probability of damage in the event of a crash, and you can have all the advantages of a photo and video capable drone without the high price tag.
Third, consider the flight time. Nano drones have small batteries and generally charge quickly. Unfortunately, this means that they have short flight times. If you are purchasing a nano drone, you are likely looking at no more than ten minutes of maximum flight time on the best models.
Finally, consider whether you want to fly your drone indoors or outdoors. The mini quadcopters are generally best for outdoor flight because they offer more stability. If you plan to purchase a nano drone that is not a quadcopter, understand that it will likely not fly well in anything stronger than a light breeze. Regardless of the nano drone you choose, practice indoors before venturing outside.
A Brief History of the Nano Drone
The most advanced nano drones in existence today have been designed for military use by several different countries. However, the nano drones designed for recreational use have been patterned after the designs of their larger counterparts. They operate in a similar manner, and many of them share all of the same features as an average-sized drone. The biggest advantages to these nano drones are that they are more affordable, sustain less damage, and are not subject to FAA regulations as long as they weigh under nine ounces.
History tells us that the first drones were actually hot air balloons that were used to drop explosives on enemies during the American Civil War. Archibald M. Low created “Aerial Target” in 1916 as the first attempt at an actual unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Germany and the Nazis began developing a UAV program during World War II and unleashed the formidable V-1 upon the world. This prompted the United States to begin its own UAV program to use for more than just pilot and combat training tools.
The best thing about UAVs is that they completely eliminate the need for an on-board pilot, but many of those used in the military have the same combat and surveillance capabilities as a manned aircraft.
Military nano drones such as the Black Hornet Nano and Hummingbird Nano are used to survey enemy territories and areas in which dangers might go otherwise unseen. They provide a significant tactical advantage and prevent a significant number of casualties.