Unless you really know what you’re looking for, picking the best remote control helicopter has become even more difficult recently with the last few years having seen a massive increase in the number of helicopters available at all prices in the market.
With a lot of eye catching packaging featuring claims long on superlatives but in many cases short on actual detail, it begins to feel a bit overwhelming trying to choose between different models! Indeed you also have similar problems these days when it comes to picking a new rc car or one of the latest remote control trucks or newly released planes due to the great number of new vehicles we’re also seeing being released in these categories.
But never fear, as I’ve put together for you some suggestions that should dramatically shorten your list of possibilities for choosing the best remote control helicopter for you.
Also just a couple of points I wanted to note. I haven’t covered here helicopters that also feature cameras BUT instead I’ve done a whole post all about the best RC helicopters out there today with cameras! The reason for this is that with the massive number of these types of models coming onto the market at the moment I thought they warranted their very own discussion.
Secondly I’ve also included in the below list quadcopters (to find out more about what a quadcopter is precisely check this out).
To the purists amongst us these might not be ‘helicopters’ but I think that given their fundamental similarity and ever increasing popularity at the moment too, the below wouldn’t be complete without considering them as well.
So here we go, my suggestions for the best remote control helicopter are:
1.Value for money.
It’s hard to go past the Hero RC H911.
This is a great all round machine but one that doesn’t come with a killer price tag.
While there are certainly more high end machines out there what I like about the Hero is that, for the price, it gives you a solid performance (particularly from the perspective of someone who is newer to remote control helicopters) across a number of key areas.
Its battery powered which for a lot of people, especially those newer to remote controlled vehicles, is a much better idea than a nitro powered model. It also offers some limited ability to upgrade and replace parts which can be a great way to experiment with that side of things before you consider getting a much more customisable (and expensive!) model.
It’s also quite a forgiving machine to fly for the newbie but still has some good performance once you start to get more comfortable behind the controls. Compared to some models out there it is also slightly more on the more robust side of things.
2. If you want a great helicopter for young kids.
There are a ton of helicopters and quadcopters out there these days that are obviously aimed at kids. The trouble with a lot of these is that some are perhaps a bit hard to fly for younger kids, some aren’t as robust as maybe they should be to put up with the beating kids can give them and some require too much adult supervision to really make them something kids can enjoy on their own terms.
All these aside, my pick for a great helicopter for young kids (potentially even under 10 years) is the Sky Viper Quadcopter.
Because it’s a quadcopter it straight away is a much more stable flying machine making it easier for younger kids to control than a straight helicopter and of course therefore more fun for them too. At 16 inches across it’s also a really good size and a lot bigger than some of the other kid orientated quadcopters on the market.
Another important point here is that with my kids I see the most opportunity for damage occurring when a helicopter or quadcopter has crashed and they are rushing to set it back up for its next flight. This often means either they end up fighting over who gets to right the machine (which can mean the machine gets inadvertently damaged in the cross fire!) or they just set it back up in places which don’t make for great take off spots in terms of having furniture etc. nearby you can crash into – starting the process again.
I firmly believe with kids the more you can keep a helicopter or quadcopter in the air the much less the chances it’s going to be inadvertently damaged outside of flight.
The quadcopter set up of the Sky Viper with the detachable Styrofoam blade shields also means the blades are harder for kids to damage and it tends to be more robust when it does crash.
The battery life also isn’t bad and with the built in ability to do flips and barrel rolls at the press of a button it’s going to be a guaranteed hit with the kids!
3. If you want something cheap but which still an authentic experience.
If you want something to suit a tighter budget the hugely popular Syma S107/S107G R/C Helicopter is an awesome choice. Even if it was twice the price it will still be a great helicopter to have! I’ve had one of these myself for a while now and just love it. In fact Syma make a lot of very good helicopters at the lower priced end of the market.
Although it isn’t huge, it does look the part and isn’t too tricky for even an absolute beginner to fly. Even for the more experienced flyer it can still be some great fun (particularly for indoor or in office flying). And at the lower price point it is perhaps something you can push a bit harder and be a bit more adventurous with in your flying as it won’t necessarily break the bank if you have to replace it.
4. If you want an entry point helicopter you can improve over time.
If you already know you love remote control helicopters and are in it for the longer term but don’t’ have a lot of cash to blow on a highline model straight off, then the Align T-Rex 250 Pro DFC is an excellent choice.
Align make a large range of great RC helicopters and as the T-Rex 250 is a battery powered copter it’s easier for those just starting out compared to coming to terms with the maintenance, tuning and running requirements of a nitro engine. It does provide for amazing flying results though once you’ve mastered the basics.
The T-Rex 250 is however a smaller sized helicopter considering the power it holds which means it can be difficult to control for less experienced flyers especially outdoors – but it is the perfect place to start to learn these skills.
With the T-Rex 250 you can however pretty much upgrade and change in and out every important part of the copter for either different flying conditions or just better overall performance. From blades, body shells and motors to even the battery mount, this is what makes this model such a great bet if you’re thinking you will likely want to customise and upgrade over time.
There are of course a lot of helicopters out there that are infinitely customisable like the T-Rex 250. However, the reason I’ve picked the T-Rex 250 here is that to me it is more suitable on all fronts for someone who is getting into owning a more sophisticated machine but doesn’t straight up have the level of technical expertise for maintenance and also flying experience that some of the other customisable and more powerful high end models really do need.
As the T-Rex 250 is not usually bundled for purchase with a transmitter (and receiver etc) then the great thing about this model is that it gives you the ability to either splurge on a more expensive transmitter or play it safe with a more reasonably priced transmitter that you can also upgrade along with the copter over time as your budget allows.
5. If you want something that is really hard to break.
Speed and height are always going to be a great starting recipe for damage when it comes to any remote controlled toy or vehicle. If you are really looking for a helicopter or quadcopter that is hard to break then the Gyro Hercules Unbreakable Helicopter is definitely worth considering.
Just check out the AMAZING video below to see what I mean!
Although a lot of the models on the market today are in fact quite robust when used within their performance range the thing about the Hercules is that its makers have really tried to market it on the basis of how hard it is to break. Let’s face it nothing is truly indestructible but when it comes to helicopters the designers here certainly seem to have made a good effort.
Of particular note is its claimed ability to withstand up to 200 pounds of direct force (as you’ll see in the video). Although it could be seen that the focus on sturdiness impacts on its overall performance most people don’t feel they’ve sacrificed a lot in terms of satisfying flight for the increased focus on durability.
So although the Hercules is not a top of the line high performance machine it is one that might stand up to a few more rough sessions that the kids want to throw at it!
BUT despite its amazing claims to sturdiness if you spend some time around the internet reading reviews you’ll see that it is a helicopter that polarises people!
There are those that feel it absolutely lives up to its claims but also a large number of people that seem to be disappointed. It appears that if you get a good unit, you get a great one! but if you get a unit that’s not up to task then you could be in for a lot of problems. With this in mind it could worth asking yourself if the risk of getting a bad unit is really worth the possible benefit of getting such a supposedly indestructible helicopter.
6. If you want something that is really easy to fly but still great performance.
Here I’m going to recommend the Syma X1.
As it’s a quadcopter its inherently more stable and easier to fly than a lot of the helicopters you’ll find on the market, but it also comes with a built in 3 axis gyro which enhances its stability and ease of use even further (check this out to find out more about what technically a gyro does) – but the effect of which can also be turned down for even greater performance as you get more comfortable and experienced with flying it.
The cool thing about the Syma X1 and a lot of quadcopters in general is that because of their set up they still offer really great performance and responsiveness despite their overall stability. This one will even do flips!
The Syma X1 is also one of the more powerful battery powered small quadcopters you can get these days at a reasonable price. That bit more power gives you more satisfying performance overall than some of the cheaper and less powerful quadcopters out there. It also means that as long as there is little or no breeze it can potentially be flown outside.
7. If you want something a bit different.
Although there are a few slightly more strange ones out there to choose from, if you’re really interested in getting something a bit different that is still tonnes of fun I think the Air Hogs – Battle Tracker is just great!
Although the helicopter by itself probably wouldn’t rank as one of the best flying machines out there it still looks great and this certainly gives it a few extra points in my book. However what is really so cool about the Battle Tracker is the missile system/game it comes with.
Check out the video below it see it in action but basically it provides you a helicopter that fires missiles as well as a separate ground firing missile system that tracks and tries to shoot down your helicopter. Hours of fun!
The ground system also comes with an auto or manual mode meaning that you can fly against the AI of the ground system or have a friend take control of it instead making for some fierce two player combat.
8. If you want something that is just awesome fun.
OK first up all helicopters and quadcopters are of course awesome fun!! But here if I had to pick I’d go with another Air Hogs model, this time the Air Hogs RC Helix X4 Stunt.
The cool thing about the X4 is that being a quadcopter and a smaller quadcopter you can thrash it a bit more without being so worried about destroying it. You can also have it doing some pretty cool flying without a lot of expertise. It’s great for beginners too and literally with the push of a button you can have it performing back flips and barrel rolls!!
9. If you want something big that doesn’t break the bank.
Let’s face it size matters! And when it comes to remote control helicopters some of the larger are most definitely some of the more impressive.
However the trouble with these bigger models (apart from the HUGE prize tag!) is that they normally require a lot of expertise to fly properly and really need a fair amount of outside space if you want to get the most out of them as you can see in the below video.
However if you’re after something on the larger side that doesn’t break the bank, doesn’t need tonnes of outside space to comfortably use and is relatively easy to fly, then it’s hard to go past the Colossus Gyro METAL 3.5CH RC Helicopter.
Even though this is still a battery powered model it gives good fly time on each charge and with the 11.1V 1500mAh Rechargeable Battery you of course have the option (if your budget allows) of having spare batteries you can charge and rotate in to give you some decent flying sessions. It comes with a good in built gyro too which makes it a lot easier and safer to fly and overall I think it also looks great.
10. If you want something really small.
There are a massive number of ‘micro’ copters and quadcopters on the market these days. However a lot of these lack any really ability to have a decent flying experience. But one great little quadcopter (at about a tiny 2.3” wide!!) that definitely doesn’t fall into this category and packs a heap of fun for its size is The New Hubsan X4 H107L.
As with most mini quadcopters its battery life isn’t great but it is remarkably powerful and manoeuvrable. There are not many quadcopters or helicopters of this size that you would even consider taking outside, but as long as its not blowing a gale the Hubsan can actually handle itself very well outside – and of course it just excels indoors too!
Considering what you get, the price tag on it is also very reasonable. And if the Hubsan doesn’t get you hooked on RC flying then nothing will!
11. If money isn’t really an object.
If you’re lucky enough to fall into this category then my pick would be the Align T-Rex 450 Plus DFC.
The T-Rex 450 is a great all round machine that is more sympathetic to the less experienced flyer and requires less maintenance compared to similar sized nitro powered models. As its battery powered it makes for a quieter overall experience in a helicopter of this size which a lot of people prefer, but particularly those that will be flying in more urban environment.
But don’t worry, even though the Align T-rex 450 is definitely not cheap, you still get an amazing amount of machine for your money!
12. If you want something that looks like the real thing.
There are some amazing custom made replicas out there these days that are very big, very complicated and VERY expensive. However at a more reasonable price tag and also at a level that is easy to use there are still some great options available.
A lot of these great replicas are military focused and my personal favourite is the Syma Mini Chinook.
This is really just because it’s great to see an authentic looking two rotor machine you can control – particularly one as iconic as a Chinook!
I do also think there is something about the amazing job that has been done with the Syma Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter. From a distance in flight these machines definitely look like mini versions of the real thing.
So there you have it, no matter what you’re looking for there is definitely a remote control helicopter or quadcopter out there that is just right for you!