DronesMisc

The Best Indoor Drones in 2021

the best indoor drones


Here we go again with another drone article, but this time we’ll see about the best indoor drone money can buy. Generally speaking, an indoor drone is viewed as a drone for beginners first and foremost, and that’s due the indoor drone’s inherent features: they are small, light, tough and resilient when abused, cheap, not so feature-rich as others yet perfectly usable as a “driver’s drone”, and obviously awesome for indoor racing.

Needless to say, indoor drones also make for the perfect gift for your kids, regardless of age, as they are great choices for teaching them about technology and hone their pilot skills. Moreover, being relatively cheap, indoor drones are the stepping stone to more expensive models. Basically, start with an affordable indoor drone if you don’t want to end up crushing your new expensive drone.

Top Picks

How to Choose the Best Indoor Drone

Buying an indoor mini-drone is pretty straightforward in our view, and here are the main buying considerations:

Budget

First, establish your budget, as in look for the perfect combo of affordability and quality. Even if you’re looking to spend under $100 on an indoor drone, you still have a lot of options, so you’ll still have to balance affordability and quality. Usually speaking, expensive drones are more feature-rich, but that doesn’t necessarily mean extra-performance.

Features

Which brings us to the next issue: select only the features you need. If you buy an indoor drone for a 5-year-old, you don’t require fancy features like integrated GPS, but you’ll have to focus on build quality and safety features, such as propeller guards. If you’re shopping for a higher-end indoor drone, you must take into account premium features, such as obstacle avoidance, and yes, in this regard, expensive drones do it better than others. Integrated gimbals (they keep the camera steady while on the move) are common as indoor drones go up in price, as well as better range, plus relatively advanced features like headless mode, follow me mode, and even integrated GPS or an HD/Full HD camera.

If you’re looking to race your drone indoors, stability, weight (the lighter, the better), and flight time come into play. After all’s said and done, the lesson to be taken home is this: the best indoor drone must be small, light, yet tough as nails, highly maneuverable and ideally speaking, affordable. With all these in mind, let’s take a look at our top picks for today, in no particular order.

Best Indoor Drones

Ryze Tech Tello

The Best Indoor FPV Drone

ryze tech tello
We’ll start our line-up with one of the most popular mini-drones out there, the Ryze Tech Tello respectively. To begin with, we must tell you that the Ryze Tello is a relatively cheap toy-quadcopter, retailing for a bit less than $100, so if you’re a videographer/photographer searching for the best deal of your life, this is not it. The point being, the Ryze Tello is excellent for beginners/hobbyists looking to perfect their remote flying skills, and in this department, this tiny drone really shines.

Even if the drone comes with a built-in camera, the video quality is nothing to write home about, i.e. the main reason for which the Ryze Tello made it to our top 7 is that it offers a lot of fun for the buck asked. First, this is a tiny and uber-light drone, measuring 6 x 6 x 1.3 inches and weighing less than three ounces, which makes it perfect for indoor use. Another cool thing about the Ryze Tello is that it can be controlled with your smartphone via a dedicated app, or you can program it using an open-source program called Scratch, developed by MIT.

However, it must be said that the flight controller included in the retail package is provided by DJI, which means you’ll get a ton of maneuverability, not to mention the drone can fly for up to 13 minutes on a single charge. Despite its small size, the Ryze Tello is very fast and maneuverable, and even if it lacks advanced features like GPS, the drone can still perform cool midair flips or take-off/landing from your hand. The EZ shots function is great if you need to capture a 360 view of your surroundings, yet the low resolution for today’s standards delivers blocky videos most of the time.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a solidly built and massive fun toy-drone to use indoors, the Ryze Tello would definitely fit the bill.

Pros:
  • Affordable, well built, easy to fly
  • Programmable via Scratch, fast, small and light
  • No FAA registration required, very stable even outdoors in low-wind
  • Takes decent pictures/videos for 2018 standards, comes with EIS (electronic image stabilization)
  • Perfect choice for kids and/or anyone new to drones
Cons:
  • Lacks GPS, return-to-home function
  • Limited range 100 meters (330 feet)

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Potensic P7

Excellent Mini Drone for Kids

Potensic P7
The Potensic P7 is designed as a mini drone for kids, but it can be used by adult beginners as well, especially due to its battle mode. To begin with, the P7 is an entry level drone with a retail price of less than $100. The mini drone comes packed with a ton of fun features, including 3D stunts and the aforementioned battle mode, plus it’s small, cheap and tough.

The drone’s sturdy body with propeller guards makes it ideal for kids, regardless of age, and if you add into the mix cool stuff like front/sideways/back flips at a touch of a button, you end up with a winner. Design-wise, the P7 is a good-looking drone, with a red/white body and black propellers, measures 5.5 x 5.24 inches and weighs 1.3 pounds, which means you’ll have to register it with the FAA to play it safe.

There are 3-speed modes, a headless mode, and if you have 2 drones, you can engage in battle via the battle mode. The thing about P7 is that it comes with an infrared “gun”, which shoots infrared beams from the drone nose. If you hit your opponent 4 times, you win, and this is as cool as it gets.

You also get a 720p camera, plus 2.4G FPV WiFi transmission for APP. The drone is very stable in flight due to its altitude hold function, and you can control it with your smartphone via the hand gesture function. The P7 comes with 2 modular batteries and each will provide you with 10 minutes of flight time for a grand total of 20.
The remote control is simple and intuitively designed, and bottom line, if you’re looking for a cool toy for kids aged 14 to 114, this is it.

Pros:
  • Tough as nails
  • Very affordable
  • Battle mode
  • Emergency stop works
  • Nice app
  • Hovers in place
Cons:
  • Some latency in video feed

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Holy Stone HS210

The Best Indoor Drone Under $50

holy stone hs210
If you’re looking for a tiny drone, the Holy Stone HS210 has your name on it; also known as a nano-quadcopter, this is one of the best indoor drones for beginners and kids, as it’s dirt cheap, retailing for less than $30, tough as nails and comes with extra batteries and a couple of nice features like headless mode, 3D flip and auto hovering. Basically, as long as you’re on a tight budget and trying to make the most of it, it’s hard to beat the Holy Stone HS210.

Obviously, since we’re talking beer money here, this drone lacks advanced features, including the return-to-home thing, or GPS; however, since today’s topic is the best indoor drone money can buy, the respective feature is hardly a deal-breaker and quasi-useless, as well as an onboard camera, which is also missing in action but we don’t really care.

The Holy Stone HS210 is a no-nonsense indoor drone, and it makes up for its lack of advanced features with reliability, build quality and, most importantly for beginners, ease of use. The drone is as tough as they came and it will definitely survive any number of crashes into floors and walls; if you insist to push it to its breaking point though, don’t worry, as you’ll be able to find cheap replacement parts with ease. By the way, the HS210 comes with a spare set of propellers included in the retail package, which is very nice.

Speaking of which, you’ll also get 3 batteries and a screwdriver; each battery gives you 7 minutes of flight time and if you want more, spare batteries are also dirt cheap. Flight performance is impressive to say the least, as the drone is responsive, stable, and fun to fly.

Besides the usual altitude hold, headless mode, hover and one key take-off/landing feature, you’ll get impressive 3D flips in 4 directions plus a low battery power alarm. The bottom line, the Holy Stone HS210 is an impressive indoor drone for the price asked and comes highly recommended.

Pros:
  • Amazing value for money, durable, affordable
  • Impressive build quality for such an inexpensive drone
  • Long flight time, super easy to fly, tough as nails
  • Spare parts are readily available and cheap
  • Professional looking and well-designed remote controller
Cons:
  • Short transmitter range (50 meters tops)

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Potensic A20 Mini Drone

Great Drone for Kids and Noobs

Potensic A20 Mini Drone
The A20 a has seen an upgrade in 2021 from Potensic, yet it still is a highly affordable drone for kids and noobs, which can be flown both outdoors and indoors. The drone is dirt cheap, with a price tag under $40, and comes with auto hovering, headless mode and a cool remote control.

The A20’s easy flying nature and robust body makes it an ideal kid-friendly option, and if it breaks, you can always go out and buy another one, because it’s dirt cheap. Don’t worry, as this tiny drone is built to last, launching it is a child’s play, literally, and the drone responds to commands in a quick and accurate fashion, being able to zip around at ludicrous speeds.

The drone is powered by 3 AAA batteries which provide up to 13 minutes flight time, and it’s great fun to fly and handle. The A20 does not feature a front mounted camera, but that’s hardly a shocker considering the price asked.

However, your kids will appreciate the drone’s features, which include One Key Taking-off / Landing, Altitude Hold, Headless Mode and Emergency Stop, not to mention the fact that the A20 is durable and comes with propeller guards.

Speaking of durability, the rubbery plastic used in the A20 is virtually indestructible; the controller is compact yet easy to use, and keep in mind that such a tiny drone cannot be used outdoors if there’s the slightest breeze.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a super-small drone for your kids, just go for it and never look back.

Pros:
  • Massive fun
  • Easy to use
  • Indestructible
  • Flies smooth
  • Cool features
Cons:
  • Nothing at this price

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Air Hogs U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701-A

The Best Indoor Drone for Trekkies

air hogs star trek u.s.s enterprise ncc-1701-a
The Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise Remote Control Quadcopter by Air Hogs is one of the coolest indoor drones out there, and if coolness is a decisive factor in choosing your next gadget, boy, you’ll have a run for your money and then some! Retailing currently for way less than $100, this drone is a miniature of the legendary Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A starship, and it comes with ten authentic sounds and lights plus a 2.4 GHz remote communication for long-distance control.

To make a long story short, if you’re a Trekkie, this drone is a must-have, especially if you’re looking for a collectible high-tech toy, as this baby celebrates 50 years of Star Trek, or at least it did when it was first launched. On top of that, the Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise RC is a limited edition of sorts, so go get yours while it lasts. One of the main selling points of the NCC-1701-A RC from Air Hogs is the authentic replica design, plus that cool phaser sound effect all Trekkies know and love.

Tech-wise, this is not an advanced drone, so don’t get your hopes too high, but as far as flying movie memorabilia goes, this is as good as it gets, i.e. you’ll end up with an awesome Star Trek ship floating around in your home, which looks very realistic while flying.

Pros:
  • You can actually fly a miniature of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A!
  • Approximately 7 minutes of fly-time on a single charge
  • The clear plastic display stand also works as a launchpad
  • Comes with propeller guards, full-function remote, blue lights and phaser sound effects
  • Will make any Star Trek fan happy
Cons:
  • The ship will drop like a rock when the battery is depleted (may get damaged in the process)

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Hubsan X4 (H107L)

The Best Drone for Indoor Use

hubsan x4 (h107l)
The Hubsan X4 is an astounding beginner drone and especially suited for indoor use. The X4 is very affordable, and it can be flown quickly and aggressively if one so inclined, but since we’re talking indoor use, the drone can be also flown conservatively, being very stable in the air due to its 6-axis gyroscope.

Maximum flight time is respectable for a tiny and lightweight drone (100 grams/3.5 ounces/4.6 x 2.3 x 1.3 inches) at nine minutes, and the remote control works well for up to 30 meters or 100 yards, which is more than enough for beginners. The Hubsan X4 is not much bigger than a regular smartphone and has rubber feet for absorbing harsh landings, plus a well-balanced chassis.

It’s worth mentioning that the Hubsan X4 is an RTF model, i.e. it’s ready to fly out of the box with zero assembly required, and has a 4 channel controller, which is extremely accurate, ergonomic and fits well in your hand (think PS3 comfort). What’s most impressive about this affordable drone is its superb and smooth handling, as well as the rich retail package that contains spare propellers.

Pros:
  • Excellent entry-level drone, sleek design
  • 9 minutes of flight time, 30 meters remote distance
  • Amazing value for money
  • Well balanced chassis, smooth performance
  • Above-average charging/flying time ratio (40 minutes for a full charge)
Cons:
  • Doesn’t have propeller guards (goes to durability)

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UDI U46

Great Mini Drone for Kids

UDI U46
Named like a German U-boat from WW2, the UDI U46 is a nano-drone which is designed for kids and nano kids. Seriously now, the U46 is a dirt cheap entry level drone, built like a Soviet tank (tough as nails), easy to use, and specifically designed for indoor use.

What’s striking about the U46 is that it’s very slow, just like an U-boat. However, this is a feature, not a bug, which makes it one of the best drone for kids and noobs that we’ve reviewed so far. Since the drone is painfully slow, at least for experienced “pilots”, it makes for the perfect training drone for your kids, as they’ll be capable of flying it smoothly and safely around indoors without breaking stuff (or the drone).

The U46 comes with admirable features for the price asked, including auto take off/landing, and a headless mode. Altitude hold is also there, and works remarkably well, considering the fact that the U46 has no external sensors.

The drone comes with non-removable propeller guards and battery, and speaking of the latter, you’ll get maybe 7 minutes of flight time, which is not bad at all. Charging time is 30 minutes from zero to full, the remote control is pretty standard, yet it feels more substantial than others, and much more solid.

Finally, if you’ve never owned a drone before, and/or you’re looking to buy a cool toy for your kids, the UDI U46 comes highly recommended.

Pros:
  • Easy auto hovering
  • Speed control
  • Simple joystick design
  • Great for beginners
  • Two led lights
  • Auto crash shutoff
Cons:
  • Trim control adjustment not precise
  • Charging cable output, not standard USB

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About author

Chris is an old school millennial interested in fast living and everything tech.
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