Mini Drones: Ultimate guide to micro Quadcopters for beginners
You're looking for some really portable and tiny drone either to get it at a better price, fly it inside or just to carry it around easier.
On this list I'll put a few of the main categories of “small drones” that I consider many of my readers are interested in:
- mini selfie drones
- mini FPV drones
- professional camera mini drones
- micro/nano drones (the smallest of the small)
We'll get into what the differences between these types are bellow. However, keep in mind that there are some technological limitations when a drone becomes smaller.
Usually it means it either can't have a camera or the camera has to suffer in quality. The battery life also is usually directly proportional to size, so you'll have to compromise on that.
Nano, mini, micro- what's the difference?
These drone size categories aren't well established in any book, so they're left for the people to decide where each type of drone fits depending on what it can do and the aproximate size.
I'll be trying to give you a clue about the different sizes so you get a clue about how small drones can get.
And then I'll give you real life examples for my top Small drones on the market and which is the best for their respective category.
In this category I would also put drones like the DJI Spark, that don't necessarily fit in your pocket and are usually mostly made for outside flying and can have quite a capable camera.
Micro Drones are a little bit smaller and are either made mostly for indoors flight and can carry a small camera.
The smallest of the small. These can be even almost as tiny as a coin and usually don't have cameras. They tend to be much cheaper and have shorter battery life.
MY TOP 7 MIni Drones
The table bellow is not necessarily ordered by what drone I think is best, but more in regards to the review score I gave each of them considering how much value they bring for the price.
These are the best of their own category, there's more like them around, but I didn't want to make your choice difficult and picked what I considered to be best in my opinion.
Eachine E010 - best for beginners
Eachine E010 is what I call the simple yet perfect beginner drone. A quadcopter that can be crashed over and over again and can teach you the basics without you having to cry over it.
Its whole canopy is made to protect the propellers and this means it's super safe to pilot inside too.
I would recommend this for kids and beginner pilots. It doesn't come with a camera, so if you really want one, check the other options bellow.
This is simply a reliable drone with a changeable battery and high durability.
It's what I think of when I hear “mini drone”.
Video Review of the Eachine E010
This drone did make quite a fuss online as one of the first of this type that provided exactly what beginner drone fliers required.
It's popularity is well justified as it's still quite relevant in 2019 as a great starter drone.
The transmitter for this drone might be too small for some hands, but it definitely helps with the overall portability of the package.
DJI Spark - Small Professional Camera drone
DJI has released quite a few drones over the span of time, however, the DJI Spark is still the one I recommend most for people with a low budget that still want to have a great capable camera drone at their fingertips.
One huge benefit compared to its Phantom Brothers its the very small size it comes in.
It can be easily carried in your backpack or even purse. If you add all the accessories to it, it might be a bit bigger, but as a fact, I definitely consider it to be a “mini drone” too.
The 2 axis gimbal and many many smart flight modes including things like dronie, follow me, circle around and more.
The GPS is super precise and the ability to get it back home safely even after you lost signal is trully worth the price.
Video Review of the DJI Spark
This drone fits in your palm, yet it does more than most professional camera drones did just a while back.
Even in 2019, the Spark from DJI is one of my main recommendations, as it doesn't really have any competition if we look at the quality, price and size combined.
In 2019, the Spark is cheaper than ever, even under $500 for the entire package with the controller included.
And a great thing is that you can use such a capable camera drone without even registering it in many countries Worldwide.
The damage it can do is also small and usually people don't percieve it as much of a threat because it's quite small.
Ryze Tello - mini selfie drone under $100
This is a drone made in partnership with DJI and it has exceeded my expectations at the time of release, and guess what, it's still one of my favorites in 2019.
It's suited best for people on a low budget who want a selfie/video drone that can be controlled with their phone and easily carried around.
Don't underestimate it's potential for taking great photos though!
It has one of the best cameras out there for taking photos and even the videos it takes are electronically stabilized.
I would consider it a disadvantage that it doesn't come with a microSD card as it usually does have frame skips when recording videos.
Video Review of the DJI Tello
This little drone is definitely under the “mini drone” category, as it's not small enough for the Nano or MIcro category. Even so, it might fit in some pockets and it clearly is very easy to carry around.
A very impressive feat is the insane battery life, of about 13 minutes, which is much more than the standard 7 or so minutes for a drone of this size.
The tello is one of the most popular drones for people on a tighter budget and it definitely deserves its name as king/queen of the
udner $100″ category.
The build quality is spectacular and there are many accessories and spare parts you can find online at any time.
Bugs 3 mini - Tiny FPV brushless drone
It's quite different from the others on this list, as it comes more as a beginner racing drone, with brushless motors and a lot of power behind it. All in a very small frame.
You can attach an action camera like a mobius on it or buy it with the original FPV camera and get some FPV goggles for it.
Either way, this is a very rugged and a drone that will definitely last a while lot of time.
I'm really in love with this drone as it's capable of 5.8ghz video transmission, which means you'll be able to use goggles to see exactly what the camera sees.
This is quite a game changer and even though I have more expensive drones at home, like the Mavic 2 from DJI, this one I fly more frequently just because it's more fun.
MJX Bugs 3 mini is trully a speedy flyer and I would not recommend it to beginners, even though it has a slower flight mode.
The brushless motors are more expensive but much more durable and powerful than the brushed ones.
Considering these specs, it's quite amazing it comes at this low price.
JJRC H20 - Micro Drone hexacopter
The JJRC H20 is a tiny micro hexacopter that flies surprising fast and stable thanks to its many motors. Not only that, it's still a good size to fly both indoors and outdoors.
I wouldn't recommend you fly it on strong wind though, as it may just fly away.
It doesn't come with a camera and the motors are brushed, but this tiny drone is so cheap you can buy a bunch of these for $100 and you can literally give them to all your friends to have fun at the same time.
Video Review of the H20
In my humble opinion, this definitely looks really good and it's quite a breath of fresh air to see something else than standard quadcopters.
The controller it comes with is neither small nor big. It's a standard toy RC with a lot of good looks and power.
The batter isn't the best, but you can always get spare ones to change.
Cheerson CX Stars - Smallest Nano Drone in the world
Cheerson CX stars has been the smallest commercial drone in the world for quite some time. I frankly don't know if there's a smaller one.
So if this doesn't fit into the “nano drones” category I don't know what will.
It's so tiny in fact that it can fit in its own transmitter that doubles as a carrying case.
This quadcopter is not made for fancy things like cameras or follow me.
However, it's a great flyer and can even do flips. It's super fun to have and it's not much bigger than a coin!
Video Review of the Cheerson CX Stars
An unfortunate drawback of such a small drone is that the battery is incorporated so you can't change it after it's drained…
This drone is actually so small you can hold it on top of a finger (yes, that's my finger).
I got quite surprised of how nimble it is and you should just see the faces of your friends when you do flips with this thing.
Eachine e013 - beginner Indoor FPV racer
This tinywhoop style drone is a mini drone capable of 5.8ghz live transmission to any pair of FPV goggles and it also comes with a pretty capable transmitter.
Its price is what makes it such a nice buy, especially for people who want to get into FPV flying.
I would recommend you first learn to fly properly with a cheaper quadcopter and then try this one.
It comes in different packages, some of which already include the goggles.
Video Review of the eachine e013
A quadcopter like this is a lot more fun than you expect, especially if you haven't tried FPV before.