If you’re new to the hobby, you may feel a bit overwhelmed when you try to pick out the right outdoor RC helicopter.
Luckily, we’ve put this guide together to make the process less intimidating.
We’ll go over what you should look for in your ideal helicopter, what things to keep in mind, and what our top 5 recommendations are.
There are a number of different kits and models you might have heard of already.
The Master CP, Eflite Blade MCX2 RTF, and Blade 230SBNF Vehicle are popular choices.
So are kits like the 500E Super Combo Kit.
For our list, though, we’ve tried to go beyond the Trex500E Super Combo Kit to tell you about some affordable outdoor RC helicopter options you might not have heard of yet.
Check them all out below!
What You Should Know About Outdoor RC Helicopters
Types of Available Helicopter
The first thing you’ll want to consider is the type of helicopter you’re looking for.
If you’re an adult, you’ll probably want to stick with hobby grade helicopters.
Or if you’re a casual learner or you want to play with kids, a toy grade will be more affordable.
Hobby grade helicopters usually have between 3 and 4 channels, while your typical toy grade helicopter has only 2 or 3 channels.
Toy grade also doesn’t have a swash plate, so the directional control is very limited.
Also, toy grade helicopters are good for practice, but they won’t last for years the way a hobby grade helicopter will.
If you choose a hobby grade helicopter, there are 3 main types you get: collective pitch, fixed pitch, and coaxial.
Beginners are best suited to use a coaxial helicopter.
Coaxial for Beginners
A coaxial helicopter has two rotors on top, each rotating in opposite directions. This cancels the spinning effect on the copter’s body.
Coaxial helicopters don’t need a tail rotor, and as a result they’re the most stable flying helicopters.
If you ever intend to mount a video camera on a helicopter, a coaxial one is the ideal option.
The main downsides of a coaxial helicopter are that there’s no acrobatics capability, and they’re not good at handling high wind speeds.
Fixed Pitch for Intermediates
Fixed pitch helicopters are the next most difficult ones.
If you build up your coaxial skill set until you find the controls boring, your next step will be a fixed pitch copter.
These have one rotor on top rather than two, so they need a tail rotor for control.
These helicopters tend to be fairly inexpensive. They’re also capable of performing basic aerobatics and standing up to moderate winds.
It may seem like they are better than coaxial, but that is not exactly the case.
Unfortunately, they’re also harder to learn than the coaxial, and they lack the ability to perform complex stunts.
Collective Pitch for Advanced Fliers
If you have a good deal of flight experience under your belt, a collective pitch helicopter might be for you.
Unlike the other two options, the lift is produced by angling the rotor blades in such a way that you lose or gain altitude.
There’s no correlation between your blade’s spinning speed and your amount of lift.
This kind of design will respond quickly to your control input.
It also has a much wider range of motion. You’ll be able to perform whatever advanced maneuvers you want.
If you’ve ever seen wild RC helicopter stunts at work, I bet that was most definitely a collective pitch helicopter.
They’re very difficult helicopters to master, but doing so can be very rewarding.
They fly well even when there are strong winds.
Unfortunately, they also tend to be pretty expensive – all that goodness comes at a cost.
When you’re looking for entry-level helicopters, the price tends to be less than $100.
There are some cheap options that come in under $50, but they don’t always fly well.
If you can, you should pay a little extra for 4 channels and a superior build quality.
Some helicopter packages come with extra parts for you. Check to see if yours does.
If it doesn’t, find out how difficult it is to get replacement parts. Even the sturdiest helicopters might become damaged in a crash.
Ideally, you should be able to fix them with spares.
Some manufacturers will provide repairs and replacement parts for a certain period of time.
You’ll probably need to get replacements from the manufacturer for any unique model.
Flight performance and the number of channels are directly correlated.
That’s why some of the best outdoor RC helicopters have 4 channels.
If you’re stretching your budget thin, you may be able to get away with a 3 or 3.5 channel helicopter, but it will cost you a significant amount of performance.
Some people prefer to invest in a helicopter that’s capable of flying both indoors and outdoors.
This is the kind of investment you might consider if you live in a place with very variable wind conditions.
Sometimes learning to fly indoors is easier than trying outside. You don’t lose your copter that way.
If you’re a beginner or a very casual hobbyist, you can get away with a helicopter that doesn’t stand up to winds.
You’ll still be able to teach yourself the basics of taking off, moving in different directions, and landing.
However, being thrown off by the wind can quickly become frustrating.
If you’re at an intermediate level, you’ll want a helicopter with some level of wind resistance.
You won’t be able to practice and hone your skill sets if you’re using a fragile, unstabilized helicopter.
The frustration may also end up taking the fun out of the whole thing.
The transmission distance is a big factor that will affect the price.
Typically, the longer the transmission distance, the more you need to dig from your wallet.
Some helicopters have transmission distances of several hundred meters, while others may transmit only a hundred feet.
You should keep in mind what you’re planning on doing with the helicopter.
How far away is it going to get? How high will it fly?
Make sure you pick a transmission distance that answers the above questions for you.
Battery life is another thing to keep in mind.
Also, transmitters will generally need AA batteries as well.
A long-lasting charge will give you about 15 minutes of flight time.
8 minutes is about average, while anything shorter than that is below average.
Ideally, you want a lightweight battery that won’t slow your helicopter down.
One tactic is to get multiple batteries and keep several on hand. When one battery runs low, just switch it out.
That way you can ensure uninterrupted fun.
Some helicopters in fact come with extra batteries just for this.
Battery Charging Time
How long does it take for a battery to be fully charged?
The average tends to be about an hour.
Half an hour is a particularly fast charging time, while longer than an hour is considered overly long.
Some transmitters come with LCD displays that give you real-time information about the helicopter.
They’ll tell you how fast the helicopter is going, what move it’s performing, and even what direction it’s flying.
This can all be pretty handy to have.
Some helicopters come with blinking or flashing LED lights to make night flying easier.
So if you intend to fly the helicopter at night or in low-light conditions, look for one with LED capabilities.
Afterall it is definitely best to keep your helicopter in sight all the time!
Our Top 5 Best Outdoor RC Helicopter
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OUTDOOR RC HELICOPTER
HOW IT LOOKS
OUR OVERALL RATING
|WLtoys Large Single Blade Remote Control Helicopter|
|Red and Black Cool Wltoys Remote Control Helicopter|
|OCDAY WLtoys Mini RC Helicopter Gyro Stunt Copter|
|Protocol Predator SB Large Outdoor Helicopter|
|Syma Helicopter with Gyro|
This 4 channel RC helicopter has a control distance of about 150 meters, higher than many other options on the list.
The flight time lasts for about 8 minutes, and its charging time is just an hour.
Considering the specs, this toy helicopter is the best outdoor RC helicopter for long control distances and 3D flight.
You can get 3D fly action along with side flying, going up, down, forward, back, turning right, and turning left.
Also, this is a good RC drone replacement for people of any skill level.
This outdoor remote control helicopter has a bell rotor head that provides amazing stability.
In addition, the long travel servo lets the outdoor RC helicopter fly more quickly.
This outdoor RC helicopter is designed with an aluminium frame that won’t break, no matter how bad the crash you create.
The precise plastic parts are designed to work in harmony with no loose ends, which increases the stability.
Also part of the design is a heavy main blade that helps fight wind.
So windy weather won’t stop you anymore.
Also, this outdoor remote control helicopter uses a 7.4 volt LiPo battery.
It also features thick landing skids that are stronger than the skids on many other models.
- Heavy main blades fight strong wind conditions
- 2.4Ghz radio doesn’t interfere with other devices
- Lightweight battery provides longer flight time
- Thick landing skids make landing easy
- Aluminium frame won’t break from crashes
- Bell rotor head provides incredible stability
- 150 meter control range
- Not programmed to do tricks or wild stunts
- 8 minutes of flight time isn’t the longest available
- May be out of budget range for beginners looking for a cheap outdoor remote control helicopter
“Best Outdoor RC Helicopter for Fast Charging”
This is the most expensive outdoor RC helicopter on the list because of its built-in gyro and other useful functions.
The outdoor remote control helicopter uses 24GHz6axis technology to allow you maximum stabilization without any interference.
That means you’re easily able to fly multiple copters at once, so it’s great for racing with buddies.
Functions include the standard up, down, forward, and backward movements. But there are also some new functions that make this the best outdoor RC helicopter.
In addition to the standard movements, this outdoor RC helicopter can hover in the air. It can also do a 360 degree rotation while in the air.
Also, there’s a function to exchange control modes.
Needless to say, the built-in gyro provides strong stability.
As a result it’s easy to implement a variety of different flight movements.
The outdoor helicopter design also has a stronger wind resistance than many competitors, so it’s easier to control under harsh weather (except for a storm of course).
There are throttle modes designed for both the right and left handers too.
Also, you can switch through 4 different remote control modes as you please.
- Charges in about 60 minutes
- More controls than some other options, so you can do flying tricks
- Strong wind resistance
- Built-in gyro ensures the outdoor RC helicopter is easy to control
- 4 remote control modes that you can shift through for right or left hand
- Most expensive outdoor remote control helicopter
- May not be the easiest controls for beginners to master
- Relatively short fly time of just 8 minutes
“Most Expensive Outdoor RC Helicopter”
This 4-channel outdoor helicopter is the best outdoor RC helicopter for a kid or any other outdoor helicopter enthusiast.
It flies much better than traditional helicopters, which only have 3 or 3.5 channels.
The 4 channels increase the flying distance, speed, and total range of motions.
The outdoor helicopter has flight performance that includes all the typical functions.
In addition, you can hover in place.
Also, the design comes with a lightweight construction but has strong crashing resistance, so don’t need to worry about making mistakes with the flight.
This might be a good outdoor RC helicopter if you’re a fan of LED lights, as it has LED lights to assist with night flights.
Also, the LCD display on the controller shows you what speed you’re flying at and what the status of the copter is – pretty handy right? It’s also very easy to adjust.
The outdoor RC helicopter comes with 2 LiPo battery packs. Each battery can last for between 5 and 8 minutes.
Also, it takes half an hour to fully charge a battery, which is not that long.
- Fastest available charging time with a full charge in just 30 minutes
- Includes 2 batteries instead of just 1
- 4 channel design allows significantly better flight than other helicopters
- Strong crash resistance
- LCD display gives you real-time information about the copter
- Doesn’t have as many trick capabilities as some others
- Doesn’t include AA batteries for the receiver
- Short flight time of just 5 to 8 minutes
“Best Toy Helicopter for Kids”
4. Protocol Predator SB Large Outdoor Helicopter
When looking for large outdoor RC helicopters for sale, the Protocol Predator easily proves as a candidate for a top large outdoor remote control helicopter.
It has a number of features that make it a great large outdoor RC helicopter.
For starters, the copter comes with auto stabilizers that have motion sensing capabilities.
They automatically orient the copter in the air with technology similar to a camera drone.
You can maneuver in all the standard directions, although there aren’t trick capabilities beyond that.
And you also have the option of selecting between two speeds.
The construction consists of crash-resistant materials that protect the copter if you do crash.
The copter has a range of 100 feet.
Also, this model recharges through an AC charger.
Moreover, the remote transmitter has an LCD screen, which always comes in handy.
You can use the remote’s direction indicators to provide trim adjustment.
In addition, the package includes a battery and charger in addition to the helicopter itself.
- Automatic electronic stabilizers are motion sensitive
- Built with crash-resistant materials that stand up well to impacts
- Largest copter on the list
- Spare screwdriver and tail rotor included
- Short transmission range of just 100 feet
- Remote doesn’t include the necessary AA batteries
- 3ch RC helicopter doesn’t have the same performance as a 4 channel copter
“Great Outdoor RC Helicopter”
This 3 channel helicopter is the most affordable and also the most popular option on the list by far.
Of course, as it costs significantly less than the other options, you can also expect it to have less impressive performance.
However, it’s a fantastic helicopter if you’re just learning to fly or you want to share your hobby with kids.
The helicopter uses automatic gyro stabilizing technology to adjust the aircraft to wind speeds.
This helps keep the helicopter stable and easier to operate.
There’s also an automatic power-off system if anything untoward should happen.
The design also utilizes colorful LED lights, so this is a great option if you want to fly at night.
Moreover, it uses a LiPo battery and charges in about 60 minutes through a USB port.
Also, flight time lasts anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes.
- Gyro technology provides some stabilization
- Cheapest and most popular option on the list
- Colorful LED lights flash when you fly at night
- Relatively short charging time ranging from 50 to 60 minutes
- Sturdy aluminium frame stays safe during crash
- Includes spare tail blade
- 3 channel setup means lower overall performance
- Relatively short flight time ranging from 6 to 8 minutes
- Works better indoors because of the infrared controls
“Most Affordable Outdoor RC Helicopter”
Final Thoughts on The Best Outdoor RC Helicopter
You don’t need to buy an Align Trex500E Super Combo to get a great outdoor RC helicopter.
However, there’re a huge number of affordable options on the market which may make it a bit hard to choose.
Just keep in mind the kind of convenience, portability, and performance you’re looking for.
Then pick an outdoor RC helicopter that meets those needs. No matter what you choose, you’re sure to have a lot of fun with your new hobby!