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Which quadcopter is best?

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of piloting your own aircraft, navigating the sky and seeing the world from a whole new perspective. With a quadcopter, you can experience what it’s like to fly without months of training or exhausting your life savings.

To find the right quadcopter for your piloting needs, read our buying guide, which highlights a few of our favorites at the end. We love the Holy Stone HS165 GPS FPV Drones with 2K HD Camera because it makes flying a breeze, even for a novice.

What to know before buying a quadcopter

Types of quadcopters

Beginner: To have the best experience, beginners should opt for a quadcopter that’s packed with features that make it easier to learn how to fly, such as a headless mode (which makes the craft fly in whichever direction you’re pushing the joystick, regardless of where it’s facing) or hover mode (which locks the craft at a certain altitude). Beginners should also look for a lower-priced model to ease into the activity.

Experienced: A more experienced pilot may want features such as longer flight times and less automation. Additionally, durability and spare parts are concerns for someone regularly flying their quadcopter.

Photography: If you want a quadcopter that can take stunning photographs and videos, focus on a model with a high-quality camera and lens. You also need a gimbal, an accessory that allows you to capture steady footage. 

Racing: If you want to race, look for a lightweight quadcopter that’s highly maneuverable. These models typically aren’t a good choice for the average user because they tend to be harder to control and feature a shorter flight time.

What to look for in a quality quadcopter

Flight time

Flight time is directly proportional to how much fun you can have at one time. Lower-end models feature only a handful of flight time minutes, while higher-end models can be airborne for over 30 minutes.

Charge time

As long as you plan ahead, charging time shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you decide that you’d like to have a spontaneous adventure, a shorter charging time is important.


Most quadcopter controllers have two joysticks and a few buttons, so they function as a video game controller. Some models feature a built-in LCD screen to display real-time footage and diagnostics. If you’re more comfortable using your smartphone to control the craft, look for a quadcopter with an app that makes that approach possible.

How much you can expect to spend on a quadcopter

If you’d like to dip your toe into the waters of quadcopter flying, you can do so for around $25, but you have to spend closer to $50 to get a model that also has a low-quality camera. A mid-range quadcopter that features a high-quality camera and longer flight times costs between $200-$800. If you need a professional quadcopter, they start at around $1,000 but can easily cost $5,000 or more.

Quadcopter FAQ

Do I need to register my quadcopter?

A. Possibly. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines a quadcopter as an “unmanned aircraft.” According to Federal Law H.R. 2810, individuals must register each and every drone that weighs between 0.55 to 55 pounds.

After registering my drone, am I free to fly it anywhere?

A. No. There are a number of restrictions that come with piloting an unmanned aircraft. Besides staying clear of restricted airspace, drones must respect individual privacy and cannot be flown over a crowd, at a public event, or near any emergency situations. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules before attempting your first flight.

What’s the best quadcopter to buy?

Top quadcopter

Holy Stone HS165 GPS FPV Drones with 2K HD Camera

Holy Stone HS165 GPS FPV Drones with 2K HD Camera

Our take: A larger sized quadcopter packed with features that make piloting easier for beginners.

What we like: The one-key takeoff and landing along with altitude hold and headless mode make it fun to fly this quadcopter. It features foldable propellers so the model can be transported without risk of damage. It also uses GPS to return home.

What we dislike: The battery life of 14 minutes is not so impressive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top quadcopter for the money

Hubsan’s 4-Channel 2.4GHz RC with Camera

Hubsan’s 4-Channel 2.4GHz RC with Camera

Our take: Remarkably affordable and highly maneuverable, this lightweight quadcopter is best suited for the more experienced and adventurous user.

What we like: This tiny quadcopter has a six-axis flight control system, which makes it extremely agile, allowing you to execute impressive aerial maneuvers, such as side rolls and front and back flips. It is built tough so it can endure those early-learning crashes.

What we dislike: The camera on this quadcopter is only 0.3 megapixels, which makes it lower quality than a DVD.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

SYMA X5C-1 RC Quadcopter

SYMA X5C-1 RC Quadcopter

Our take: A small entry-level quadcopter that is designed to be flown either indoors or outdoors.

What we like: With four blade guards and eight spare propellers, this sleek-looking model  is built to survive more than a few mishaps. The handy built-in LCD light for night flying.

What we dislike: The maximum flight time is only 18 minutes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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