If you are looking to get into flying RC helicopters, or maybe your kid is interested in these cool beasts, you want to make sure you get a good beginner level aircraft to start with. If you don’t, there could be trouble.
It would be a mistake to start out with one of the high end choppers with no experience, there will be expensive crashes and angry words. So, what should you look for when choosing an RC heli for a beginner?
One important thing to keep in mind is the difference between an RC toy helicopter and an RC hobby helicopter. The toy helicopters are great for kids and for others who don’t have an interest in pursuing an RC hobby. A hobby helicopter will provide a better flying experience, will be higher quality, will have replaceable parts, and will generally be a better fit for someone interested developing a true hobby.
One myth to lay to rest at this point is that hobby helicopters are going to be much more expensive and you should only get them if you are serious about pursuing a hobby.
These days you can get a decent hobby heli for under $100, sometimes as low as $50, and it will give you a better feel for whether this is a hobby you want to stick with. There is nothing wrong with the toys, I am just pointing out that both options are very affordable.
Here is a good video describing the difference between hobby and toy grade helis.
Obviously, there are other things to consider as well. How much are you looking to spend? What type of heli are looking for (traditional vs quadcopter)? Are you buying for a kid or for an adult (kid at heart)?
I have spent some time putting together a list of suggestions that I think will help you find the best chopper for your beginner. Whether that is you or someone you know, the main thing is to make sure you make a choice you can have fun with.
Low Price Good Value Option: The Syma S107
When looking for the right RC helicopter for beginners, the emphasis should be on finding one that is easy to control, stable during flight and simple to maintain. The Syma S107 is certainly one that meets all of these requirements and provides many hours of fun and entertainment. Not to mention, it costs less than $20. While this is obviously a toy grade heli, it will be hard to get better value for money than this.
The Syma S107 offers a number of features that start when you pull the copter out of the box. There is no assembly required and once the batteries are fully charged you are ready to go.
Three Channels: You can control the Syma S107 in Up, Down, Left, Right, Forward and Backward mode for maximum stability. The simple three channel control system allows beginners to easily handle the S107 while in flight thanks to the intuitive controls.
Indoor Flying: While it can fly outside if it is not a windy, the S107 is really designed to be flown indoors and so you can enjoy plenty of fun while maneuvering the craft in tighter spaces.
Two Frequencies: This feature allows two helicopters to be flown at, once if you so desire, without interfering with each other. While beginners may want to get a little experience flying by themselves first, it’s good to know that you can fly two at the same time if the need arises (anybody else feel a race coming on?).
While the features make this one of the best beginner RC helicopter products on the market today, it’s not quite perfect as there have been a few issues customers have reported about the main rotor assembly. If you notice that the rotor is moving slower and slower over time, your first thought may be the battery. However, it turns out that the screws which hold the rotor in place may not be tightened properly. So, check that first before going to the battery as this is really a minor issue in an otherwise superb RC copter.
The Syma S107 has proven to one of the best beginning RC helicopter units that you can purchase. It is relatively small, but durable and perfect for flying indoors or outdoors. The S107 is an easy to control RC copter with exceptional flying ability. For those who are just starting out, this is the perfect model to begin your adventures with radio controlled flying models. The Syma S107 is not just one of the best for beginners, it’s also one of the best of its type on the market today
Here is video breaking down how to use the S107:
Best Budget Hobby Grade Heli: The Blade mCX2
When looking for an RC helicopter for beginners, the key attributes will be a product that is easy to assemble, simple to fly and using intuitive controls. The Blade mCX2 is certainly one of the best beginning RC helicopter products as it features all of these attributes and more in small, compact and durable flying unit.
Arguably the most important feature of the Blade mCX2 is that it is ready to fly virtually out of the box. There is little in the way of assembly or preparation beyond the batteries perhaps needing to be charged and you are ready to fly.
5 in 1 Control Unit: The all-encompassing control unit makes flying the mCX2 easy and intuitive so even a beginner can catch on to the basics almost immediately. The SpektrumTM 2.4GHz DSM2 compatible receiver combined with the mixer, main motor gyro and the copter itself combines to make this one of the best on the market you can find.
Swash Sensitivity: This allows the controller to add a bit of flair to the maneuvers that the copter can do while in flight. Add to this the flashing LED lights and you have a product that is colorful in flight while being simple to maneuver.
Fly Almost Anywhere: The mCX2 is small and lightweight which means that it can be flown comfortably both indoors and outdoors. This means that you can get a little practice in the garage or large room before taking it outside.
The issues with this particular product are few and far between. About the only really annoying thing that a few customers have mentioned is that the flybar may pop off when the helicopter lands or has some type of substantial impact. However, this is very minor and can be corrected or frankly ignored as long as you can keep track of the flybar.
Overall, the durability and stability of the Blade mCX2 makes this one of the best beginner RC helicopter units that you can purchase. In fact, this helicopter seems tailor made for those who want to get the most control under different types of conditions.
If you are looking for one of the best beginner RC helicopter models, you cannot go wrong with the Blade mCX2.
Here is a great video review of the mCX2:
Great Beginner Quadcopter: The Blade Nano QX
Finding the best option starting out may seem fairly straightforward until you delve into the world of quadcopters. While seemingly more complicated because they have four lifting rotors as opposed to one, you can find the best RC quadcopter for beginners if you look for the right attributes among the many models up for sale.
Of the many RC quadcopter reviews, the Blade Nano QX has seemingly stood out as one of the more popular models that are well suited for beginners as well as being a fine quadcopter in its own right.
Small & Agile: One of the real advantages of this model is that it is relatively small, yet very agile which means that you can use it indoors as well as outdoors. The lightweight design means that it can comfortably land on most stable surfaces while maneuvering around objects with ease.
Durable: The airframe for the Nano QX is quite tough and rugged, meaning that it will take most of the impacts without any appreciable damage. This is good news for beginners as they are not dealing with a flimsy model that otherwise might fall apart as they are learning how to fly it.
Stability: One of the biggest issues for those who are just starting out is keeping the quadcopter stable in flight. Thanks to the SAFE technology system, stability is no issue as the quadcopter can hover and fly in a very controlled manner if needed. In fact, if you should lose contact with the quadcopter, the SAFE system will take over and keep it stable in the air until you reestablish contact. In fact, the best way to get control back is to simply let go of the controls.
Overall, there are no noticeable deficiencies with the Blade Nano QX. While there are the few customer complaints about the device that may have been damaged during shipping, there are simply no major issues that have been reported about this particular unit.
The Blade Nano QX is not only the best RC quadcopter for beginners, it is one of the best on the market today thanks to its combination of simply flying controls, durability and SAFE technology that allows those who have never flow a quadcopter before to get the hang of this device quickly and easily. If you are willing to spend a bit more, you can even get the Nano QX with a first person view camera!
Here is a great video of some guys taking the Nano QX to the limit and testing its performance and durability to the max:
Best RC Drone For Beginners: The Blade 350 QX3
There are many reasons why people might look for a novice friendly quadcopter, and one might be they want something to mount their GoPro camera on for aerial footage. While many beginner RC helicopter products do not have such a feature, the Blade 350 QX3 does and so much more if the RC quadcopter reviews are to be believed.
Currently on the market there are several RC quadcopters that feature GoPro attachments, but relatively few of them are designed for beginners. The 350 QX3 is designed to appeal to both beginners and GoPro enthusiasts.
SAFE Technology: The Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE) system will put the quadcopter in a safe mode if you should lose control. This means that instead of crashing to the earth, the quadcopter will hover until you regain proper control. You can even use it to have the craft return home in case you are not in full control.
Stick Relativity: In the Smart Mode setting, the 350 QX3 will always fly to where you push the stick so even if it is spinning, if you push the control one way and that is the direction it will go.
Alternate Flight Modes: Once you become proficient in flying the 350 QX3, you can switch to the alternate flight mode feature and create different stability and agility settings. This means that you can customize the control settings to your tastes which mean that you do not have to purchase a more advanced unit.
If there are any issues with the Blade 350 QX3, it has been reported by a few customers that the flight controls can be a bit tricky at first. However, this is a complaint that is fairly rare and falls within getting a defective device that can be returned. Otherwise, this is one of the better quadcopters available on the market.
If you are able to spend a bit more cash, and the photography/videography capabilities of your new drone are important to you, you might want to consider the 350 QX3 Ap Combo. This model comes with a built in 16 megapixel, 1080p/60 camera on a three axis brushless gimbal to ensure you get high quality, rock-steady images and video.
Overall, the Blade 350 QX3 is a very good rc drone for beginners whether you need to attach a GoPro or not. For those who are just starting out, this is the perfect remote unit for you to purchase. It offers a very stable flight platform which not only makes it perfect for use with a GoPro, but also for those who are just getting the hang of flying RC copters.
Here is a cool video showing what all the 350 QX3 is capable of: