Large-sized drones offer a number of advantages to competitive racers and experienced stunt pilots. But, for casual users and hobbyists, size is the last thing that matters. In fact, most people find pocket-sized quadcopters way more practical, fun and convenient. The best small drones easily match the performance of standard models and offer all the same high-tech features.
Today, you can choose from hundreds of small RC aircraft at a wide range of prices. While they all look similar at first sight, only a handful are truly worthwhile. That’s why we examined every available model and ranked them according to build quality, performance, value, and special features. This guide details everything you need to know about the seven best small drones on the market.
Top 5 Small Drones Overview
|Drone Name||Camera Type||Video Resolution||Number of Rotors||Flight Time||Remote Control Type||Amazon Rating||Our Rating|
|GoolRC T5G Mini||2MP||720p||4||6 minutes||Mode 2 & 2.4GHz controller||5/ 5 stars||4.9/ 5 stars|
|Realacc CX-10WD-TX||0.3MP||HD||4||5 minutes||2.4GHz controller||4.1/ 5 stars||4.6/ 5 stars|
|TOZO MJX X901||N/A||N/A||6||7 minutes||2.4GHz controller||4.6/ 5 stars||4.5/ 5 stars|
|Syma X21W FPV||0.3MP||HD||4||6-8 minutes||4CH controller||4.7/ 5 stars||4.4/ 5 stars|
|Rabing Mini Foldable||0.3MP||720p||4||7-10 minutes||Mode 2 controller||4.3/ 5 stars||4.4/ 5 stars|
7. GoolRC T36 Mini RC Specs & Features
Though the T36 is an average pocket drone without any special features or even a camera, it offers an unmatched value. You get a well-balanced, durable quadcopter that can perform 3D flips with a push of a button. On top of that, it’s packed with beginner-friendly features like Headless Mode and One-Key Return.
Since 5 minutes of flight time is below average, GoolRC includes two extra batteries with each T36. Although its lack of a camera is a big drawback, this is still among the best small drones you can buy on a tight budget.
- Made using durable materials.
- User-friendly One-Key Return feature prevents loss
- Comes with two extra batteries
- No photo/video capability
- Short flight time
- Not well-suited for outdoor use
6. Holy Stone HS170 Mini Predator Specs & Features
Holy Stone’s smallest RC aircraft, the Mini Predator, is substantially larger than a pocket drone. This model features ultra-responsive controls and impressive performance capabilities. It provides the speed and stability of professional quadcopters. On the downside, there’s no built-in cameras or mounts.
Its 6-axis gyro stabilization system, adjustable speed modes and highly responsive Headless controls make this model perfect for beginners. Designed to sustain multiple crash landings and small enough to take anywhere, the HS170 is one of the best small drones for flight training.
- Effective gyro-stabilization system
- Responsive controls
- Durable, rugged design
- Up to 8 minutes of flight time
- Lacks camera mounts
- A bit too large to fit in your pocket
5. Rabing Mini Foldable Specs & Features
If you’re looking for a nano drone with live video transmission capabilities, you can either opt in for a high-end model or buy the Rabing Mini. Simply download the free app, mount your smartphone and pair the devices via WiFi. It’s even compatible with VR glasses.
Combine that with up to 10 minutes of flight time and you see why it landed on our best small drones list. If it wasn’t limited to indoor use, the Rabing would definitely make the top three.
- Real-time HD video transmission
- Stored inside the controller
- 7-10 minutes of flight time
- Unstable outdoors
- Can’t record video (photos only)
4. Syma X21W FPV Mini Drone Specs & Features
Though it is Syma’s newest mini drone, the X21W has already become one of the most popular models in its class. Aside from improved stability and control, it has been equipped with loads of special features, including One-Key Takeoff & Landing and autopilot flight mapping.
You can make a flight plan via the Syma GO app, which has also been thoroughly upgraded. In addition to viewing live in-flight video, you can now use the app to control the X21W. Unfortunately, the estimated 6-8 minutes of flight time turns into 4 minutes if you use the live video feed.
- Beginner-friendly special features
- Comprehensive mobile app support
- Ergonomic and simple controller
- Limited flight time
- Unstable in windy weather
3. TOZO MJX X901 Hexacopter Specs & Features
Measuring just 3×3.5×0.7 inches, the 6-rotor TOZO really puts the “nano” in nano drone. It boasts up to seven minutes of flight time and responds at a maximum distance of 150 meters. Unlike most pocket-sized RC aircraft, this hexacopter is equally agile indoors and outdoors.
The MJX X901 transmitter is riddled with special control keys such as One-Button Return, headless mode and 3D flip/roll buttons. The only real drawback is that there’s no camera but it still gets you the most bang for your buck.
- Tiniest of all the best small drones
- Reliable, stable controls
- Well-suited for outdoor use
- No camera
2. Realacc CX-10WD-TX Specs & Features
This mini quadcopter couples all the benefits of a nano drone with a range of advanced high-tech functions. It can be stored within the controller, which easily fits in your pocket. And, while five minutes of flight time won’t get you far, there’s enough storage space for a few extra batteries.
The Realacc app lets you utilize the HD camera for real-time video and aerial photography. In addition to that, you can use the app as a controller.
- You can throw it to initiate flight
- Take clearer photos with automatic 6-axis gyro-stabilization
- Advanced mobile app features
- Unstable in windy weather
- Limited flight time
1. GoolRC T5G Mini Quadcopter Specs & Features
GoolRC’s T5G is the only high-end mini drone that’s really worth every penny of its price tag. Its cutting-edge flight control system offers unmatched stability with powerful wind resistance for effortless outdoor use. Meanwhile, a 2.0MP HD camera records stunning aerial photos and videos.
But what really put this model over the top of the best small drones list is the transmitter. A 4.3-inch LCD display eliminates the need for smartphone mounts. Plus, its 5.8G FPV capability greatly extends the maximum distance for live in-flight photo and video recording.
- Lightweight yet durable frame
- Records both photos and videos in HD quality
- Responsive controls in any weather
- Includes two extra batteries
- Controller with integrated LCD display
- Battery tends to pop out during a crash landing
- Unsuitable for kids younger than 14
Our top pick is clearly superior to any model in its class, due to its durability, lightweight, HD camera and highly responsive controls. Of course, if you’re new to the world of RC drones, it may be a good idea to start off with a beginner quadcopter like the Mini Predator HS170 (number six on our list). Otherwise, as long as it’s within your budget, the GoolRC T5G is the optimal choice.
What’s your favorite small drone? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments.