Take years of developed drone technology and stuff it all into a quadcopter nearly the size of a quarter and you get…. the nano quadcopter!
These mini drones may not have all the bells and whistles as some of the bigger and more expensive models, but they are certainly tiny.
Small, inexpensive and great for flying indoors, they make great beginner quadcopters. They even work well for a quick flight around the office during your lunch break. Here’s my list of some of the best mini drones that fit in the palm of your hand!
Best Nano Drones ComparedHere's a look at some of the best nano drones on the market sorted by size, flight time and key features.
|Model||Size (in inches)||Approximate Flight Time||Key Features|
|Blade Inductrix||3.3 x 3.3 x 1.1"||6 minutes||- Most Stable Flier
- Acro Mode
- Excellent propeller guards
- Removable Batteries
|Cheerson CX-10||1.6 x 1.6 x 0.9"||4.5 ,minutes||- Smallest of the bunch
|FQ777-124 Pocket Drone||2.8 x 2.8 x 1"||5 minutes||- Many included accessories
- Can charge from transmitter
- Drone fits in transmitter
|GW008 Mini Skull Drone||3.7 x 3.7 x 1"||7 minutes||- Excellent Flight times
- Included prop guard
- Removable Batteries
|Blade Pico QX||3.6 x 3.6 x 1.2"||3.5 minutes||- Stable indoor flying|
|Syma X52C||3.7 x 3.7 x 1.9"||5 minutes||- 720p HD Quadcopter Camera
- Removable Batteries
|Parrot Minidrone Rolling Spider||7.6 x 2.6 x 8.1"||8 minutes||- Control from Free Fright 3 Smartphone App
- Removable Batteries
- Easy to fly
- Biggest of the list (Borderline 'Micro' quad)
The Best Nano Drones of 2016 Are…
Although a little larger than your typical nano-sized quadcopter, where better to begin our list than one of the best little drones on the market?
This little guy features a unique four blade propeller design and ducted fans, which allows this tiny quad to fly as stable as some of the big boys.
These ducted fans offer great protection for your propellers which makes this drone a fantastic indoor flier.
It offers two rates for different speeds and also two entirely separate modes. One of these modes, Agility Mode, allow you to turn off the gyroscope stabilization and fly 100% manual This lets you take full control of your quadcopter and do manual flips and stunts like you would be able to on higher end racing drones.
The Inductrix features removable batteries so you won’t need to stop and charge like many other tiny drones on this list. This is helpful during longer flight sessions when 5 minutes just won’t cut it.
Although quite pricier than many of the other quads on this list, you’re really getting a quality hobby grade flight experience, all packed into this neat little drone.
Once you’ve mastered the Inductrix you can even mod it with an FPV rig called the “Tiny Whoop” which we’ll talk more about in a future article.
Next, we’ll take a look at a much cheaper option for those of you looking for something a little more disposable.
Formerly known as the world’s smallest quadcopter, the CX 10 is one of the cheapest quadcopters you can buy.
Despite its affordability, it’s still an excellent flier and a fantastic addition to any quadcopter collection. It excels at indoor flying, even in some very confined spaces where larger quadcopters would struggle to pull off a turn.
It’s only barely larger than a quarter and portable enough that you can carry it around in your pocket, with the included transmitter as well.
The tiny transmitter might be a bit uncomfortable for those with bigger hands, but for the convenience and price, it’s really hard to complain. You can also bind it to a more hobby grade transmitter such as a modded Devo 7E when you’re ready for an upgrade.
Its durability isn’t quite on par with the previously spoken about Blade Inductrix. Repairs aren’t the cheapest either, but that’s the case with the majority of nano quadcopters of the size.
It features an internal battery and flight times averaging 4 1/2 minutes. Not bad for a nano quadcopter!
I loved my CX 10 so much that after my first week with it I bought another as a backup (and another, and another). For this price point, it can’t be beaten. A staple for any nano quadcopter collection.
FQ777-124 Pocket Drone
The FQ777 is quite unique. It’s design and size is not very different from the CX10 styled models, but it’s transmitter and included accessories really set it apart.
At roughly the same price of a CX 10 it includes many more extras:
* Propeller guard
* Landing Legs
* Two sets of spare props
* Transmitter Lanyard Strap
All of the above-mentioned accessories, as well as the FQ777 drone itself, fit neatly inside the transmitter. This makes for a very convenient and portable option for those of you looking to keep your drone in your pocket at all times.
You can even charge the drone straight from the transmitter! How cool is that?
The transmitter’s flat thumbsticks aren’t the most comfortable for pilots who fly using a “pinching” style, but those who hold a transmitter like a video game controller will feel right at home.
With 4-5 minutes of flight time, it’s comparable to the CX-10, and a great alternative for those who are looking for a more portable “grab and go” solution for their nano quadcopter choice.
GW008 Mini Skull
The GW008 mini skull is an extremely underrated and well-performing drone.
It’s sized slightly bigger than the typical nano drone and features flight times of up to an amazing 9 MINUTES although averaging more around the 7-minute mark. It also features removable batteries so you can always have spares on hand to swap out after your first flight.
It’s flight characteristics are excellent, even in light wind. It’s nimble, a little more powerful than typical nano quadcopters and can fight a light breeze that the CX 10 wouldn’t be able to stand a chance against.
It comes stock with a propeller guard that works well for protecting the GW008 upon crashes and doesn’t disturb the flight characteristics all that much.
My only gripes with this quad, and there aren’t many, are the LEDs. It has nice and bright LEDs under the arms, which are great for visibility at night, but the colors are so similar (orange and a yellow-orange) which makes discerning between the two quite difficult. It has bright LEDs in its eyes at the front, but no lights in the back, furthering this issue.
Overall, I’d suggest the GW008 to anyone who wants a nano drone that is an above average flier, and has removable batteries instead of the typical internal batteries, and are able to maintain your quadcopter orientation without the assistance of LEDs.
Blade Pico QX
Unfortunately, I’ve heard many horror stories of people receiving their Blade Pico QX with accelerometer defects which can cause the drone to constantly want to fly toward a particular direction.
This, along with it’s super short flight time of only around 3.5 minutes, and it’s sub-par tiny transmitter (although not any better or worse than the CX 10’s transmitter) make it less personally appealing.
With all of that said, many people seem to love this as their own personal favorite nano quad, and for that reason, I have decided to put it on this list. If you happen to receive one without the above-mentioned issues, this quad flies quite nicely and I can see why so many people love it. It is a very stable and smooth flier when everything is working properly and it’s a great choice for indoors. Hopefully, the issues have since been resolved!
The Syma X52C is Syma’s first attempt at an HD camera nano drone. The main draw to this quad is clearly the 720p HD camera. It produces some nice-looking indoor recordings, but unfortunately, outdoors it often produces a video with a discolored purple and green tint.
This drone definitely flies well indoors but doesn’t fight the wind very well. This can make getting steady video shots outdoors difficult, except on days without the wind.
This drone averages flight times of 5 minutes which is slightly above average for drones of this size. It also has a removable battery so you can swap batteries on the go and continue flying. It’s battery bay, however, is a little tight which means the battery wires will fit snugly, causing the battery connectors to weaken over time.
The 720p HD camera inflates the price of this tiny camera drone too much for me to recommend this as anything more than an honorable mention. The camera is a nice premium option and does film some nice looking indoor footage if you’re willing to shell out a couple of extra dollars, but if you’re more concerned about flight characteristics instead of having a fancy camera, the Inductrix is likely a better choice.
Parrot Minidrone Rolling Spider
The Parrot Minidrone Rolling Spider is by far the most… The unique drone that we have on this list. Calling this a nano drone would be quite a stretch, as it is rather large compared to the other models contained on this list. It also doesn’t fly like any of the other drones we mentioned above.
It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and uses the Free Flight 3 app in replacement for your typical transmitter.
There are 3 different flight modes, one of which is an attempt at simulating a typical quadcopter transmitter but can be quite laggy and unresponsive at times. Using your touchscreen as a transmitter just doesn’t quite feel as satisfying as the tactile touch of the buttons and sticks of a real transmitter.
It also has another flight mode, which allows you to input your desired altitude and using the technology of the downward facing camera, it’ll hold a hover with near perfect stability. This feature works surprisingly well, and when using it, this becomes one of the most stable quadcopters of its size. Be cautious, though, as some pilots have experienced sudden flyaway when the Rolling Spider decided to take off to the sky uncontrollably, and often getting lost in the process.
Luckily, there is an emergency button on the Free Flight 3 app which allows you to cut the throttle of the quadcopter at any time, but due to the laggy nature of the app, this may not always work in those split second situations when you need it most.
Overall, this drone is often regarded as a fun toy by many people who have never flown a quadcopter before. It can also be one of the best drones for kids, teaching them the basics of exactly how a drone works by giving it simple inputs and making it very easy to control. With that said, if you’re looking for the typical drone flying experience, there are other fantastic options for you.