BUYER'S GUIDE

Small Drones: Exploring Mini UAVS’ Potential

Small Drones
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

Small drones are the most affordable and popular models on the market. However, the world of drones is not limited to these and there are other models that will definitely charm you (if you have the necessary budget).

You may not know it yet, but one of the main ways to classify drones is their size:

  • Firstly, there are micro drones, which have sizes ranging from those of insects to about a few centimeters long. These are extremely lightweight objects and can be maneuvered very easily.
  • Next, we have smaller drones, which are slightly larger than the previous category, but are still very lightweight and small.
  • Medium-sized drones, which are much heavier and larger than the others. These are capable of carrying a lot of extra weight. Thus, they are most suitable for carrying bulky cameras.
  • There are also large drones available, but those are mainly used for professional purposes and military commitments.

Small Drone

In this article, let us focus more on small drones. In spite of their small size, they seem to be solid and sturdy, thus giving them the required agility. Read on to discover more about them.

TOP SMALL DRONES TO TRY

Smaller drones come in all different shapes, range of features, and neat characteristics. When compared to larger drones, smaller ones are great for beginner and casual drone enthusiasts, with the majority of them having some decent tricks up their sleeves.

Kiitoys Predator

Weight: 1.6 poundsKiitoys Predator

Size: 12 x 12 x4.5 inch

Camera:  FPV HD

Battery: 600mAh

Flight time: 10 minutes

Controller type: 2.4GHz transmitter

Special features: FPV virtual reality, 3D VR headset, air pressure sensor lock for altitude, 360-degree turning and rolling, One Key Return to Home

Best use: Great for both indoor and outdoor use, and is a great starter drone for all age ranges

The Kiitoys Predator is an FPV quadcopter that includes an HD camera, which allows you to transmit the video in real time to your smartphone or otherwise capable smart device. You can remove the camera should you choose to do so, and it also comes with a 4GB MiniSD memory card to store your photos and videos on.

It’s the perfect quadcopter for both beginner fliers and aerial photographers who want a drone that is very simple and easy to fly. The only notable feature it comes with is One Key Return to Home, which calls your drone back to the area where it took off from.

The shape of the drone ensures that you can adjust the tilt up and down easily, as well. You can fly it indoors and out, get accurate and long range control with the 2.4GHz transmitter, and has an air pressure sensor system and lock for the altitude to ensure that you have a stable flight. This is great for when you are recording in the air and need stability to get overall clear shots.

The transmitter has a spot on the top for your smartphone or smart device. The drone is very resistant to winds, can perform basic tricks in the air, and you can launch it with your hands by throwing it up in the air.

Check the price on Amazon

Hubsan X4 H107L

Weight: 1.1 poundsHusban X4 H107L

Size: 3 x 3 x 1 inch

Camera:  None

Battery: 380mAh

Flight time: 10 to 15 minutes

Controller type: Mode 2 2.4GHz controller with LCD screen

Special features: Normal and expert flight modes, LED lights, directional control, blade protection guards

Best use: Great for both beginner and expert fliers, and is best for those who want a basic drone to fly around with that does not include a camera

The Husban X4 H107L is one of the best basic drones of a smaller size that don’t include a camera. It features two different flight modes, being Normal and Expert modes, to ensure that fliers of all skill levels can have fun with it. The 2.4GHz transmitter includes an LCD screen that displays important information that you’ll need to pay attention to when in flight, such as the battery percentage, for example.

You can change the gyro’s sensitivity, have a 6-axis flight control system onboard, LED lights, and included blade protection guards for when you aren’t in flight. The guards protect the propellers from becoming damaged for whatever reason.

You also have a lot of different directional control capabilities. You can fly right, left, backward, forward, sideways right, and sideways left. Even though the lightweight frame looks pretty flimsy and frail this drone has some nice durability to it.

Check the price on Amazon

Parrot Hydrofoil Mini Drone

Weight: 9.4 ouncesParrot Newz Hydrofoil Drone

Size: 5.2 x 15 x 5.7 inch

Camera: VGA mini camera

Battery: 550mAh

Flight time: 9 minutes

Controller type: Controlled through application

Special features: Made with Hydrofoil and streamlined foils, shock resistant

Best use: Great for those who want a drone that can be around water without frying and the system. It’s also a good choice for those who want a basic camera that can take some pretty decent shots, but don’t want anything too professional

The Parrot Hydrofoil Mini Drone is ready for both air and water, thanks to the Hydrofoil material used. It comes with a VGA mini camera with a resolution of 480x640p, which is still decent quality for the price.

The hydrodynamic hull and steamlined foils allow for quick movement through the water. The drone is 100% resistant to shock, has a durable design, and allows for stunts and acrobatic flips in the air. You can use the Free Flight Mini application on your smartphone or smart device, as well.

However, you must have a smartphone or some sort of smart device to use this drone. It does not come with a controller or transmitter, and is controlled directly through the Free Flight Mini application that can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play.

Check the price on Amazon

Air Hogs Star Wars Falcon

Weight: 1.9 poundsAir Hogs Star Wars

Size: 9.5 x 7 x 1.9 inch

Camera: None

Battery: 6 AA’s

Flight time: 15 to 20 minutes

Controller type: 2.4GHz controller

Special features: Authentic sounds, LED lights, hyper-drive stunt

Best use: A great drone for fans of the Star Wars franchise, it can be flown both indoors and out

The Air Hogs Star Wars Falcon is a great addition to any Star Wars fanatic’s collection. With sounds that are authentic to the real Millennium Falcon, LED lights, and a control range of up to 200 feet, this drone is one of the best-themed drones yet. At the push of a button you can even do a hyper-drive stunt, as well!

The quad rotors are within the ducts of the drone, which ensures that your flight will be as agile and as possible. The gyro stabilization system provides a smooth, stable flight, so even beginners can fly this drone with ease. It’s made out of foam that resists crashes in the best way possible, so you won’t have to worry about crashing into a tree or a wall. However, ensure that it’s only a minor crash.

The thruster LED lights come to life as you fly it and, if you’re a big Star Wars buff, you’ll notice that the engine sounds are the exact same as the Falcon’s in the movies.

Check the price on Amazon

Odyssey Toys X-7 Microlite

Weight: 0.2 ouncesOdyssey Toys X-7 Microlite

Size: 14.3 x 8.1 x 3.6 inch

Camera: None

Battery: 500mAh

Flight time: 10 minutes

Controller type: 2.4GHz transmitter

Special features: Fiber optic LED lights, two-speed modes

Best use: It’s a great drone for beginner fliers who want something bright, flashy, and relatively easy to control and fly

The Odyssey Toys X-7 Microlite definitely makes a very bright entrance. This drone almost looks like a UFO with bright fiber optic LED lights covering it entirely. You have two color schemes to choose from; red and green and blue and green.

There are two different speed options available: being fast and faster, but there really isn’t much of a difference between the two. The transmitter, which has a red LED light that is just as bright as the drone, runs on a 2.4GHz frequency and gives you a range of up to 300 feet.

You can use this drone both indoors and out, and will have a steady, stable flight thanks to the 6-axis gyro stabilization system. While there are no real features for this drone, it’s definitely got an appearance that’s practically out of this world.

Check the price on Amazon

UTO Drone U960 Hexacopter

Weight: 2.4 poundsUto Drone Hexadrone

Size: 17 x 16.5 x 1.5 inch

Camera: HD 0.3 MP

Battery: 700mAh

Flight time: 8 minutes

Controller type: 2.4GHz transmitter

Special features: 4 channel function, WiFi real time video transmission, FPV, 3-speed modes, Headless mode, automatic direction identification, One Key Return to Home Function, 360-degree rolls, 3D Full Flight mode

Best use: Great for those who want a smaller drone that is packed with features and has a camera that can take some decent photos and videos

The Uto Drone U960 Hexacopter is a small drone that packs quite a punch. It’s got an abundance of features that make it one of the best smaller drones on the market. To start, it has 3 different speed modes, being low, medium and high, and also comes with Headless mode, 3D Full Flight mode and FPV capabilities.

You get WiFi real time video transmission, automatic direction identification, and a camera that is apparently considered one that is of HD quality. However, it only sports 0.3MP, so that’s somewhat debatable. You also get the One Key Return to Home Function, which is very useful to have considering the battery life is only 8 minutes long and may save you if you don’t pay attention to the percentage.

The transmitter has a 2.4GHz, has 4 fully functional channels, and a range of up to 100 meters for operating distance. The features are pretty neat in truth, especially the 3D Full Flight modes. It allows you to fly not only up and down, left and right, and forward and backward, but also leftward and rightward, which is pretty cool.

Check the price on Amazon

Ctronics F2C Aviax Quadcopter

Weight: 1.8 poundsCitronics F2C Quadrone

Size: 16 x 12.2 x 3.9 inch

Camera: 2.0M/720p HD, removable  

Battery: 650mAh

Flight time: 8 to 10 minutes

Controller type: 2.4GHz transmitter

Special features: Gyro/flashlights, 360-degree 3D and special function continuous rolling in the air, Headless mode, Cruise Control, high-speed reader, bumper cover, 4 channel function, 360-degree camera rotation function

Best use: Great for those who want a smaller, more affordable drone, but one that has a high-quality camera that can take some serious photos and videos

The Citronics F2C Aviax Quadcopter is a very affordable yet surprisingly professional drone. Where features are concerned you get gyro/flashlights, aerial tricks, Cruise Control, a high-speed reader, and Headless mode. The camera, however, is a completely different story.

The camera, which can be removed from the drone should you wish to do so, has some serious specs to it. You get a 4GB SD card that can hold up to 1500 pictures, which are in 1080p resolution. The camera is a 2.0MP HD dream at 720p resolution.

The transmitter is also pretty decent as well, including 4 channels, a 2.4GHz frequency, and an operating control range of up to 100 meters away. Interestingly enough, the manufacturer has tweaked the frequency to ensure that there cannot be interference, even if there are more than one drone within the operating range.

Check the price on Amazon

Syma X5C Explorers

Weight: 2.1 poundsSyma X5C Explorers

Size: 16.5 x 12.2 x 3.8 inch

Camera: 2MP HD

Battery: 500mAh

Flight time: 7 to 10 minutes

Controller type: 2.4GHz transmitter

Special features: Wind resistant, 360-degree flips and evasion, colorful flashing light for night flying, 2 hand throttle modes

Best use: A great choice for someone who wants a basic drone with very few features and a camera that can take some okay quality photos

The Syma X5C Explorers is quite an interesting yet simple drone. It’s resistant to the wind, can be flown both indoors and out, includes a colorful flashing light that is great for flying during the night, and has a 6-axis gyro stabilization system for steady flights.

It can even perform aerial tricks and has 360-degree evasion capabilities to ensure that crashes can be avoided if possible. The camera is very basic as well, with only 2MP, but it’s still a decent camera if you want to take some shots in the air for fun.

The transmitter has a 2.4GHz frequency and allows you to change between left and right where the hand throttle is concerned. Overall, it’s a great drone for beginners who are looking to take some basic photos and learn how to control and properly fly a drone.

Check the price on Amazon

Not Sure What Model to Buy?

Drones (small or not) come with a number of exciting features. While some have the return to home button that allows the device to come back to its takeoff point, others have a system by which they can hover in their own midair. Smaller drones are easier to use, lightweight in structure and form a great way to gain some experience in flying.

These might not come with heavy equipment like a camera for capturing pictures from an aerial view, but they definitely give a solid performance with decent flight times. Today, we’ve learned about a series of amazing drones, each coming with their own exciting features and problems. Let us now have a look at some of the pros and cons of such devices.

PROS:

  • Low cost devices – These drones come at prices much lower than those of the standard drones, making them more suitable for use, especially for beginners.
  • Lower risk – Since the mini drones are smaller in size, there is a significantly lower risk of running it outdoors. These will not collide with larger structures or invade on privacy.
  • Lightweight – Owing to the fact that these drones are smaller and lightweight in structure, they are more stable to fly. Thus, flying them outdoors will not be a cause for concern.
  • Easier maneuverability – They are easier to control in the air because of their petite Also, some features like the headless mode add to the advantages offered.
  • Decent battery life – Most of these drones offer a battery life of about 5 to 8 minutes which is great for taking a quick spin out in the open.
 CONS:

  • Since the mini drones have smaller structures, there is a chance that these might get lost in the air and you might lose control of them.
  • They come with shorter ranges that limit your flying experiences.
  • Another problem is that they are fragile in structure and are prone to sustain damage with a few crashes or collisions off the ground.

Whatever it is, small drones at least deserve a try. No? So which one are you going to pick? Do let us know in comments!

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • Andrew Miller

    Using small drones for population count of animals and birds can be a great example of connection between wildlife and modern technologies. The most important thing is to forbid using them for hunting, we still can’t solve problems with poachers in Africa!

  • Correct. With great technology comes an equally big responsibility.

  • timothy smith

    Never tried to control such a small drones. I think, they can be easily used indoors. Are they very noisy? Do I need to register them?

  • If it weighs more than 0.55 pounds, you would have to get it registered. Bu the process is failry simple. Yes, you can use them indoors. Yes, a buzzing noise is always there.

  • Mike Darrell

    The Cheerson CX-10 Mini is the coolest toy helicopter I’ve ever seen. It is only about the size of an Oreo cookie but it can really go. Great cheep quad for beginners, indoor flying, and people who want the smallest flier in the world. I would recommend if you buy this product to also buy a guard cage for the blades.

    • Jack Brown

      This model has brought so many new fans to the drone hobby! 🙂 It really is a perfect little quad for beginners. Easy to control, great price, a perfect model for mastering the piloting skills before moving on to the big boys league 😉

  • Harper Williams

    The MJX X901 is amazing. This drone is one of the best in the nano league. I’ve crashed it countless times and it still works perfectly fine. For the price, it’s awesome.

  • Jack Brown

    And the fact that it is a micro hexacopter, makes it more stable than its competition. A great little drone all in all 🙂

  • Princess Anderson

    I told my partner that I want to spend over $1000 to get the advanced DJI S900 drone and she advised me to consider buying the Walkera QR Y100 Wi-Fi FPV Mini HexaCopter first I had never flown a drone before. I did as he said. I found it amazing because I learned a lot from this hexacopter. I like its stability and the on-board camera with which one can capture precious moments from the sky. I spent only $150 to get my amazing toy. Then later I got confident to buy my beloved advanced drone.

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