Nowadays, drones are all the rage making for professional videography tools as well as really fun toys. Mini flying quadcopters make for the best toy-class drones, being great for kids as flying them indoors is the preferred way of use. The best thing about most of the nano drones is that they are really affordable. Therefore, if you break them, you can simply purchase a new one. They are great for learning, even if eventually you would prefer to move up to a bigger drone with a professional camera as well.
They make great gifts and awesome toys to play with but there’s just one issue. Since making these types of drones is easy, a lot of manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and started manufacturing nano drones. As a result, some drones from cheap manufacturers start breaking really fast or become inoperable. They can disconnect during flying and come underequipped without a drone or controller. Lower priced drones often have an element of chaos.
That’s why Josh and I have prepared this list reviewing the best nano drones. However, keep in mind that the best doesn’t mean that you can shoot 4k footage using them. They are still toy drones that fall into the low-cost category and are aimed at a fun flying experience but not a cinematography session on Mount Everest.
If you want just one great nano quadcopter, that is safe and cheap, flies well, weighs under 250 grams, and doesn’t fall under the restrictions set by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), check out our top pick on the best nano drone.
Our Top Pick Eachine E010
The Eachine E010 is our top pick for a list of reasons. First of all, it’s uncommon for nano drones or cheap quadcopters to have propeller guards that come with the model such like its cousin the Eachine Trashcan. This alone makes this one of the best drones for indoor use as the chances of it getting broken are slim to none. Although toy-class drones don’t usually fly that fast, they do zip around the house. But in reality, they are just slow enough that a quadcopter with guards such as the Eachine E010 won’t easily get broken.
Secondly, they are very safe, since the blades or propellers are encased in circular prop guards. As a matter of fact, they are safe enough to let a kid handle it. The drones will not harm anyone as the propeller is safely secured by guards.
Lastly, they present a great overall aesthetic and build quality. These toys look a little better than other drones, which is a big deal for a kid. They come in a variety of cool bright colors as well. So, if you are buying it as a gift for a kid or for yourself, you can be sure that it is a safe, durable, and great choice.
- Great durability
- Can do flips
- Headless mode – the drone will return to use with the tap of a button
- Compass mode – the drone will change its direction as you move the controller.
- Built-in propeller guards
- Tiny and easy to operate
- Zero risks of getting hurt by the E010
- Comes in a cooler design compared to the rest of the drones.
- Doesn’t tell you when the battery is running low.
Offering a lot of similar features as the top pick Eachine E010, this drone has also made the list of the best models. Its main features are:
- 2.4ghz connection
- Propeller guards
- Tiny size
- Full-size controller
- Low battery warning
The Syma x12 is a great drone for beginners. Due to its small size and the presence of prop guards, it is easy to move around the house and protected from direct collisions. Syma is a name that is well known for cheap and affordable drones as the company specializes in making toy drones. The only reason this drone isn’t our top pick is that it doesn’t have as much protection. Other than that, the color of the drone is very eye-catching, which makes it so enticing for children. Although it also doesn’t have some of the nice to have quirky features of the E010, it is just a good tiny drone overall.
- Good durability
- Compass mode – the drone will change its direction as you move the controller around.
- Built-in propeller guards
- Really tiny and easy to operate
- Low risk of getting hurt by it
- Comes in cooler color compared to the rest of the drones.
- There is still a small risk of getting hurt
- Doesn’t include headless mode or any other features
- It’s a bare-bones drone, just the basics when it feels like SYMA could have done more.
The Cheerson CX-10 is the most popular drone on the list and that is because of this video.
It got introduced on the Unbox Therapy YouTube channel and became the first nano drone to be seen by the world. This drone was the one who got nano drones to take off, quite literally.
It does present a nice set of important features:
- 2.4ghz connection
- Tiny size
- Medium size controller
The list of features looks quite limited compared to previous models and there is a reason for it. It was a knock off of the Holy stone H111 and it took off solely because of the popular YouTube video. However, it’s not a bad nano drone but it definitely is overrated because it is only that recognizable due to the video and that’s why it’s on the list.
- Immediately recognizable
- Truly nano-sized
- Easy to use
- Speed adjustments
- Lacks in durability
- Lacks features
- Lacks safety
The only reason this drone is included is that it looks cool and presents the wow factor. The six fans make it look savage, and resemble a spider.
However, this spider also has guards on the fans. Although the six propellers do give an edge to stability and the flight time does take a little hit because of it but not by much.
Let’s look at the key features:
- 6 propellers allow for more throttle.
- 6 propellers allow for more stability
- Led lights and a fancy color scheme
- Really tiny even though it has 6 fans.
- Built-in propeller guards
If you just want to buy a drone that looks cool, then go for the Original JJRC H20.
- Good durability
- Great design
- Wow factor is to the max.
- Better in terms of stability.
- Protection from crashes
- 6 propellers end up draining the battery faster.
The HS190 by Holy Stone made the list because it’s another drone that looks cool. Holy Stone and SYMA are two of the best drone manufacturers in the affordable or cheap quadcopter market, so the name speaks for itself. They directly compete against one another, while simultaneously taking shots at DJI. How does this relate to the HS190? Well, competition is a good thing for the consumer.
To get ahead of SYMA, Holy stone decided to pack a couple of features into the drone:
- HS190 has the ability to fold up into a smaller form
- Micro Drone size when unfolded, when folded fits inside the controller.
- Has an altitude hold feature, surprising for a drone of such size.
- Automatic takeoff and landing feature.
- Headless mode supported, i.e. the drone can return to the user with one button and won’t bump into things on the way
- 360° flips are programmed into the drone.
- Full size controller
After looking at all the features, you can’t help but wonder what’s the point in buying the SYMA x12. Although you are not wrong, the SYMA drone is a tad less expensive, so if you intend to be reckless with your drone, go for a cheaper version. You should, however, check out the video detailing its features.
- The controller is big and doubles as a carrying case, micro drones are easy to lose since they are tiny, this is a nice touch.
- 360° flips come preprogrammed and can be executed with a click of a button.
- Nice foldable design.
- Automatic takeoff and landing
- Altitude hold featured, meaning that if you let go of the throttle, the drone will stay at the same height
- Built-in fan guards
- The most expensive option in our list
Fans call this model a ninja turtle drone because of the way it is designed. You will be surprised to know that Cheerson CX-10 is modeled after this drone although they don’t look the same. The only similarity you will find is their size – they both are absolute micro drones. They both are the smallest drones on the list and on top of that, this drone is made from a hollow shell. So, Hubsan Q4 Nano H111 is even lighter than the others which makes it faster.
There aren’t really any standout features of this drone, it’s just a standard micro quadcopter.
- Lightweight and fast.
- Has a unique hollow design
- The drone has the ability to do 360° flips.
- Available in a variety of colors
- Very affordable
- Comes with a tiny controller to match
- Doesn’t include a headless mode
- Doesn’t have an altitude hold feature
- No propeller guards
The reason Sky Viper M500 made it to the list is for being an unknown drone manufacturer that gets a lot of the basics right and even includes some really unexpected features. What makes it so unexpected is the fact that the only other drone that presents these features is the Holy Stone HS190, and Holy stone is known for competing in that market. So, it makes sense for them to have a drone that stands above the rest.
- 360° flip with one click of a button
- Remarkably cheap
- New kid on the block
- 2.0 body size, so really tiny just like the Cheerson CX-10
- Has the ability to hover, also known as altitude hold.
- Auto takeoff and landing feature
- Has a big comfortable controller
- Doesn’t have propeller guards
Buyers Guide for Nano Drones
The size of a quadcopter determines a lot of things. Small drones are compact which makes them perfect for beginners. They are specifically designed in such a manner, so you can crash them and learn to operate drones. That is why, when looking for a nano quadcopter, make sure not to buy something too big as most of the time you are going to fly the drone inside the house.
There is another reason for flying it inside the house – nano drones don’t have a lot of power in terms of stability and throttle. Purchasing a drone that is big and cheap will probably get you a drone that is cumbersome and barely has enough power to fly around.
So, the tinier the drone the easier it is to fly it indoors, whereas getting a relatively big nano drone which will get you a drone that can’t fly outside due to its weak performance and can’t fly inside because of its big size.
If you are not completely sure about the typical size of a nano drone, make sure it fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
The speed of the drone depends on the recipient. If you are buying it for a kid, you don’t want a drone that can zip around too fast. On the other hand, if you are buying it for yourself or another adult who wants to learn how to fly a drone or do complex maneuvers with it and hone their skill, a drone with high speed will be perfect.
But don’t forget that the speed is subjective in this case since even the fastest nano drones will be pretty slow outside. This is due to the wind resistance that they cannot fight as these drones don’t have a lot of power to spare.
Unless you are flying in the direction of the wind, you might as well say goodbye to your drone. Nano drones are great for indoor flying, and not so much outdoor flying.
The speed of a nano drone can also be configured using the controller as most drones have their settings placed there. So, if you buy a fast nano drone and give it to your kids, they will find the settings button on the controller, turn on high-speed mode and crash it. That is why it is a better idea to buy a slow and safe drone for a kid. If you cannot decide between speed and safety, check out the top pick Eachine E010 that can fly fast and offers safety and durability.
Durability doesn’t just refer to how sturdy the drone is built but also indicates how well it is going to age over time. Both things do go hand in hand but there are a few exceptions.
When it comes to toy-class drones, they are built to get smashed and broken, so they do not last long. Therefore, the durability of these Nano drones is really short. It also explains the really low price range of such drones. If a manufacturer decides to produce a Nano drone that costs over 50$ but provides a solid build, the chances of the drone being sold are slim to none. When people shop for a toy quadcopter, they look for a cheap price.
These things are meant not to last, hence they aren’t made from high-quality materials. Besides, since they are so cheap, the manufacturer probably wants you to buy another one soon thereafter, as soon as you break the first one.
When it comes to durability with nano drones, don’t get your expectations too high. However, their is one drone that defies this and it’s our top pick. While other important features are pretty easy to nail with nano drones, durability is usually an issue.
Controllability is another big problem with small drones. While bigger drones come prepacked with stabilizing gear and a GPS which helps them stay leveled and fly easily, tiny drones don’t even have the space for most of these features.
So, having a tiny drone that is easy to control is hard to find. Most tiny drones are really hard to operate and do tricks with as they are so minute that the slightest acceleration can send them flying in the wrong direction. The fact that there isn’t much focus on controllability in nano drones is easy to deduce from the way the controllers look and feel. Very often the controllers are made of plastic and look cheap and unprofessional.
The solution is simple: get good at flying drones. These nano drones are recommended by experts for beginners to master drone flying. Because if you can fly these types of drones, you can fly anything.
When it comes to features, nano drones aren’t packed with a ton. They don’t have a camera, stabilization setting, or altitude hold. If manufacturers include any of these features, the production will become a hassle for the company, as it will jack up the price and no one will buy them.
Besides, fitting all of these components in a tiny drone will make it heavy and the little power that it has will not be sufficient for it to move around that well. It’s recommended to keep your expectations in check when it comes to nano drones, especially considering the price of these drones. Most of them cost 20 times less than an actual mini drone like the DJI Mavic mini. This means that you can get 20 nano drones for the price of one professional drone.
It doesn’t mean you can’t have any features though. The most common is a headless mode which is present in most of the drones in this list.
Based on what was said earlier, if the drone costs over 100$, don’t buy it. Why? Isn’t there a higher quality tier? Short answer no, long answer yes.
The higher quality tier would put them in a different category – mini drones. Most people confuse nano drones with mini drones. They aren’t the same thing. Mini drones can fit in your outstretched hands while nano drones would fit in the small of your palm. Nano drones are so tiny, that it’s pointless to try to add extra features. They don’t have the horsepower to take off and aren’t built for the outdoors, hence they won’t be able to take up any more functions. When it comes to nano drones, go cheap and be ready to crash and lose it. Nano drones are meant for learning, so do not expect high-end features from them. Meanwhile, mini drones have many more features.
FAQ’s about Micro Drones
Are There Any High-End Mini Drones?
Yes, DJI does have smaller drones with excellent features and a heavy price. It is suitable for on the go filmmakers and cinematographers and provides amazing features and perspective at a very small size.
The DJI Mavic Mini is their most popular Mini Drone, as it weighs under 250 grams (right under the limit set by the FAA), so you don’t need a license to fly this drone, neither do you need to register it.
What Nano or Mini Drone Should I Buy?
We recommend the Eachine E010 for the best micro drone. Made for learning how to fly, it’s durable and cheap, which is an unlikely combination in the micro quadcopter market.
As for the best mini drone, it’s not so simple to answer as it depends on what you are looking for. If you want the best of best then get the DJI Mavic mini but it does cost a pretty penny. If you want a drone that just flies well then try the Holy Stone HS100.
What to Choose: a Nano or Mini Drone?
Nano or mini drones are great for flying indoors and mini drones can even be operated outdoors. These drones are hard to fly as tiny drones don’t come with a lot of stabilization and other great features, hence they make for great drones to practice and learn how to pilot a drone.
Nano drones are also cheap and safe and they make for great toys for kids. If you are interested in buying a nano drone, check out the drones we have recommended above, or just go for our top pick the Eachine E010.
What Is the Headless Mode on a Mini Drone?
Headless mode refers to the drone detecting your orientation and building trajectory based on it. When you press or steer forward, the drone steers forward. Since it’s hard to know which side of the drone is where when it is flying above you, so the headless mode makes sure that the drone flies in the direction you want it to fly. For example, your forward is the drone’s forward, making all the other directions align similarly in headless mode drones.
Headless mode drones also come with features like return to home or user, auto takeoff and landing as well as object avoidance. All these features require the same technology, hence can be easily implemented.
What Is a Nano Drone?
Drones that are tiny or “micro” in size are called nano drones. Being smaller than even mini drones, most of them will fit in the palm of your hand and make for great toy-class drones. Another defining factor of nano drones is their affordability.
What Is the Difference Between a Nano Drone and Regular Drone
Regular drones come in all shapes and sizes, from large to mini and everything in between. It’s hard to define them in one sentence. But if you know what a Nano drone is, you can differentiate quite easily between the two.
How Much Does a Nano Drone Cost?
Nano drones aren’t that expensive since they are meant to be played with, broken, and easily replaced. Most nano drones come way under $100 and some are even under $30.