Did you know flying RC helicopters regularly is only a fun hobby — it can actually sharpen your mental skills?
It’s true! As you improve your flying abilities, you will begin to think faster and improve concentration, focus, and memory. Not to mention all the mental benefits that come from having a relaxing, stress-relieving hobby.
If you’re thinking about getting into flying RC helicopters for fun, entertainment, or even to get involved in competitions, you may be wondering which is the best remote control helicopter for you.
The good news is technology has taken RC helicopters to new heights — literally! Even if you are a beginner RC pilot or just searching for a toy for your kid, you will find RC helicopters at all price ranges with fantastic lift heights, fine maneuverability, farther ranges, and longer battery life than ever before.
Keep reading for our complete guide to buying remote control helicopters. You’ll find reviews on the best remote control helicopter for adults, best helicopters of 2022, best indoor helicopters, and best helicopters for kids.
Different Types of Remote Controlled Helicopters
Before you invest in your first remote-controlled helicopter (or any RC toy), it’s a good idea to understand the various styles and models available on the market. Here is a quick guide to the five types of helicopters you’ll run into while you shop for the perfect RC helicopter for you.
- Toy RC Helicopters
- Remote Control Helicopters for Adults
- Micro Coaxial Hobby Grade
- Micro Single Rotor Fixed Pitch Hobby Grade
- Quad Rotor/Multi-Rotor
- Single Rotor Collective Pitch Hobby Grade
Let’s get into the various types of RC helicopters and what you need to know.
Toy RC Helicopters
Toy RC Helicopters are great for kids. These types of copters are rated lower than hobby-grade and are made with cheaper, less durable materials. They are lots of fun to play with and entertaining for all ages, but they may not have as long a lifespan as a higher-end remote-controlled helicopter.
The good news is their low cost makes them easy to replace, so your family can still enjoy hours of fun with a toy RC helicopter. They usually come in smaller sizes and may be referred to as “micro helicopters” or “mini helicopters.”
4 Types of RC Helicopters for Adults
Quickly, let’s touch on what distinguishes a toy RC helicopter from a high-quality remote control helicopter for adults.
Like other men’s toys like RC cars and trucks, RC helicopters for adults tend to be for serious hobbyists and competitors. They are generally larger, made with higher quality materials, have longer flight times and ranges, and more frequency channels.
Most of the RC helicopters we’ll be referring to from here on out will be adult models.
Micro Coaxial Hobby Grade
If your interest in hobby-grade RC helicopters stems from a fascination with real helicopters, the coaxial just might be the perfect choice for you. These helicopters look and operate like conventional helicopters because they use swashplate cyclic controls.
They’re also terrific for beginners because they are easy to fly. Many of the skills you learn flying a coaxial heli are transferrable to single rotor hobby grade remote-controlled copters, which can be more challenging. These fun, easy-to-use choppers are great for any age or experience level.
Micro Single Rotor Fixed Pitch Hobby Grade
Single Rotor Fixed Pitch RC Helicopters have main rotors that remain at a fixed or constant angle. You control the helicopter’s lift by varying the speed of the engine/motor.
If you increase the speed, the rotor blades turn faster and the chopper goes higher. If you reduce the speed, the opposite happens.
These RC copters are easy-to-use and simpler in style with fewer parts. That’s why lots of beginners start with Single Rotor Fixed Pitch helicopters when getting into hobby-grade flying.
Quadcopters, or drones, are innovative helicopters that do not have a single pitch rotor or tail rotor but instead have four fixed-pitch propellers. Two spin clockwise and the other two spin counterclockwise.
By accurately spinning these four propellers at different speeds, you can achieve precise directional movements of a standard helicopter: ascend, descend, hover, forward and backward movement, left and right movement, turning and spinning.
In the past, quad rotor remote-controlled helicopters were difficult to fly, but advances in technology have made them more stable and easier to control.
Single Rotor Collective Pitch Hobby Grade
Single Rotor Collective Pitch RC helicopters have a reputation for being hard to fly for a reason. In the past single rotor collective pitch was the only option there was. Newer models like micro coaxial and quad rotor have auto-leveling stability modes.
With single rotor collective pitch RC copters, in order to maintain a state of equilibrium, you must constantly make control corrections any time you change one variable.
These RC helicopters are fun to work up to. Mastering the skill takes time and practice, but learning to successfully fly them can be extremely gratifying. Flying UFO
These quirky and innovative flying gizmos are becoming increasingly popular. Fun for kids and adults alike, they are built like RC helicopters but have bodies resembling flying saucers, globes, robots, and other fun shapes as well as color-changing LED lights. Indoor Helicopters
Indoor RC copters come in a wide range of styles, quality levels, and uses. Some are simply mini RC helicopters you can buzz around the house at your leisure. Others have cameras and WiFi to take HD real estate photos. Read more on top-rated indoor choppers further down in this post.
What makes for a great RC helicopter to buy?
Whether you’re a lifelong RC copter enthusiast or looking for an awesome toy for your kid, it’s important to make sure you make a sound investment. In this buying guide, we will cover the best-rated helicopters on the market today.
We’ve divided our picks into three groups: the top RC helicopters of 2022, the top five RC helicopters for indoor use, and the top five RC helicopters for kids.
Without further ado, here are the reviews!
6 Best Remote Controlled Helicopters of 2023
These are the top-rated RC copters to hit the market this year. This group has a variety of price points and represents indoor and outdoor helis.
1. Blade 230S Smart Helicopter
The Blade 230S is more costly than most of the other picks on this list, but it could possibly be the only RC helicopter you’ll ever need! We had to give it the number one spot due to its versatility. With three progressive flight modes, the Blade 230 S appeals to beginners, advanced pilots, and everyone in between.
It has a stability mode for newbies as well as self-leveling technology and a bank angle limit. If you lose control, it comes with a panic button to help prevent crashes.
Agility mode gives you full control of the helicopter and is ideal for intermediate pilots who are new to collective pitch. Finally, a 3D mode is designed for advanced users to test out barrel rolls, acrobatics, and other stunt maneuvers.
This versatile remote-controlled chopper also is made of durable, quality materials throughout and is resistant to breakage.
- Average Price: Under $300
- Frequency Channels: 6
- Flight Time: 7 minutes
- Max Range: 30 meters
2. ONG Namo RC Helicopter
For a fantastic outdoor RC helicopter, look no further than the ONG Namo. It is an ultra-durable helicopter made with a strong metal body and flexible blades.
This is one of the best outdoor RC helicopters on the market today. This model comes with an in-built Gyroscope as well as takeoff/landing functionality with the click of one button. This copter also comes with an altitude hold feature to lock it at a specific height.
The ONG Namo is lightweight at .68 pounds and features beautiful LED lights. The maximum charging time is one hour and it comes with two modular batteries allowing for an extra-long flight time of 20 minutes.
- Average Price: Under $200
- Frequency Channels: 4
- Flight Time: 20 minutes
- Max Range: 50 meters
3. Syma S107 RC Helicopter
The Syma S107 has been hot this year. It’s a small, durable little helicopter that comes with its own helipad and a wide variety of features. It’s easy to fly, incredibly crash-resistant, and safe to use at high speeds.
This heli is lightweight and intended for indoor use only. The reason it is so high on our list is that it’s being frequently referred to as one of the best indoor RC helicopters of all time.
This chopper is made of metal and is extremely durable. It’s extremely agile and makes fine movements with a light-as-a-feather touch. It takes about 30 minutes for a full charge and flies for 8 to 12 minutes at a time. The controller is ergonomically designed to fit small and large hands, making this a fantastic remote-controlled helicopter for all ages to enjoy.
- Average Price: Under $50
- Frequency Channels: 3
- Flight Time: 8+ minutes
- Max Range: 30 feet
4. E–flite Blade mCX2 RTF
This chopper made the list because it’s ideal for all ages and skill levels. It’s ready to fly as soon as you unbox it because it doesn’t require any extra components or parts.
It has a 5-in-1 remote control, powered by a Spektrum 2.4 GHz DSM2 receiver. It has a gyro, fully proportional servos, mixer, and powerful main motor which combine to deliver excellent stability and fast speeds. It comes with a counter-rotator rotor and a coaxial rotor, giving the copter fine maneuverable and sharp turns.
It has a stylish look with a sleek body and LED flashing lights. It flies well indoors and outdoors, even on windy days.
- Average Cost: Under $100
- Frequency Channels: 4
- Flight Time: 8 minutes
- Max Range: 30 meters
5. Cheerwing S107 Helicopter
The Cheerwing S107 made our list because it’s considered a serious hobbyist helicopter but is simple enough for anyone to enjoy.
It comes with an infrared remote control that has three main parts, a central knob, and two control sticks. The sticks help you maneuver forward and backward and turn left and right.
It has a stylish look in electric blue and a military-style body construct (though it does come in other colors). It’s a great choice for indoor use because it’s too light to withstand wind.
- Average Cost: Under $30
- Frequency Channels: 1
- Flight Time: 5-6 minutes
- Max Range: 30 meters
6. Air Hogs RC AH-64 Army Apache Havoc Heli Indoor
If you want an excellent indoor helicopter, the Air Hogs R/C AH-64 Army Apache Havoc is a great choice. It is one of the best battery-operated indoor RC copters available on the market today. It is very easy to operate and made with a crash-resistant foam construction, making it great for beginners.
It comes with an infrared remote, ideal for indoor use. This RC helicopter is the ultimate in fun with a friend. It comes as a set of two remote-controlled helicopters, each outfitted with infrared beam weapons for laser battling.
It offers six-way directional controls, dual rotors, and excellent stability making it great for children and beginners. It uses infrared beam weapons.
How to Choose the Best Remote Control Helicopter
With thousands of remote-controlled helicopters on the market, how do you choose the right one for you? It helps to understand the many features and components involved.
Here are some important features to consider when purchasing an RC copter.
Consider Flight Time
How much time do you want to be able to spend flying your aircraft? Look into flight times to find out how long the copter will last in the air. You should aim for at least 5 to 8 minutes of fly time from a single charge for an average chopper.
More powerful and expensive helicopters can fly for as long as 15 minutes.
Go for Maximum Range
The maximum range refers to the maximum distance from the remote control that the RC helicopter can function. A good distance range to aim for is 15 feet for indoor models and 50-100 feet for outdoor models.
The flight range, or height distance from the remote, that you should aim for largely depends on where you plan to fly your chopper. The maximum altitude allowed in the United States is 400 feet.
Each channel controls one surface or component on the RC helicopter. In short – the more complex the helicopter, the more channels you need.
The number of frequency channels you need depends on the complexity of your copter. Each channel controls one surface or component, so the more complex your helicopter, the more channels you need.
Basic remote-controlled helicopters come with 2 channels, which means you can fly two RC copters at the same time. In other words, one channel controls the speed of the main rotor and the other channel controls the tail rotor or the speed of the second coaxial rotor.
Most toy-grade coaxial RC helicopters have three-channel radios. In very simple terms, one channel is used to control the speed of the main rotors, the second channel controls turning, and the third channel moves the helicopter forward and backward.
Four channels are required for micro coaxial helicopters that have cyclic controls, hobby-grade fixed-pitch single-rotor helis with tail rotors, and most quadrotor helis.
Even more complex and expensive hobby-grade helicopters can go all the way up to 8 channels!
Limit Charging Time
More time charging means less time enjoying your chopper. A good charging time to aim for is 30 minutes to an hour for an average-sized RC copter.
Powerful, higher-priced models can take longer to charge but have longer flight times, especially if they have lithium-ion batteries.
Look for Durability
The durability of your RC Heli depends largely on the design and materials used. Oftentimes, you get what you pay for when it comes to resistance to crashes and general wear and tear.
Some of the materials you’ll find when shopping for your chopper include plastic, carbon fiber, aluminum, and glass-reinforced plastic. Blades are usually made of lightweight materials like fiberglass or wood.
Some choppers come pre-assembled whereas others come in kits that let you assemble them yourself. Beginners probably crash their copter more so they should opt for a durable RC helicopter made of hard plastic polymers or metal.
Select a Powerful Motor Type
The size and type of your RC helicopter motor will depend a lot on the size of the helicopter. Smaller copters come with battery-powered motors that do not emit fumes.
On the other hand, electric RC choppers can fly longer than their battery-powered counterparts — typically up to 12 minutes. Large electric remote-controlled helicopters with bigger motors can fly for as long as 15 minutes.
Some larger, radio-controlled helicopters run on power sources like nitro (nitro methane-methanol internal combustion), electric batteries, gas turbines, petrol, and gasoline.
Find a User-friendly Controller
Remote control. Radio control. Infrared control.
What type of RC helicopter controller should you choose?
The main concern you should be aware of when shopping for an RC helicopter is whether or not it has an infrared controller. These controllers only work well indoors, not outdoors. If you plan to use your RC copter outside, steer clear of the infrared controller.
You can learn more about RC helicopter controllers here.
Buy Ready-to-fly Models
Ready-to-fly RC helicopters are great for kids and beginners because come fully assembled and ready to use. Build and fly helicopters come fully assembled and just need you to supply the transmitter.
Advanced helicopter hobbyists may enjoy building their own chopper from scratch. Most RC toy manufacturers sell parts for people looking to custom-build their own choppers.
Test Your Battery and Charger
It’s important to know what type of battery and charger your chopper has in order to maximize your flight time. Lithium-ion batteries should not be overcharged because this will decrease battery life over time.
Follow charging instructions that come with your aircraft so you don’t find that your flight times start decreasing.
Research Camera Quality
If your remote-controlled helicopter comes with a camera, be sure to research the camera quality and settings. Camera drones come with various settings for low-light and night shooting as well as indoor vs. outdoor shooting. You can watch videos on YouTube to learn about tips and tricks for successful drone photography.
How much does an average RC helicopter cost?
How much are you willing to spend on your RC Helicopter? If you’re purchasing for a child or buying your first copter as a beginner, you may wish to buy something durable yet affordable. If you’re a serious hobbyist thinking about taking your skillset to the next level, you may be wondering what kind of price range you will be upgrading into.
1. Low Priced RC Helicopters
Anything below $50 is going to be considered an inexpensive hobby RC copter or a toy-grade RC copter. Small, indoor helicopters are relatively inexpensive, starting as low as $25.
Toy RC helicopters cost as little as $20. Keep in mind that low-cost helis are relatively fragile and prone to damage. You’re also unlikely to find replacement parts for low-cost remote-controlled helicopters.
2. Moderate Grade RC Helicopters
Durable, hobby-grade helicopters run anywhere from $50 to $400. There’s a lot of room to play in this price range. Those who want a strong, long longing RC helicopter should opt for a hobby-grade RC copter.
On average, the most expensive will skew above $300.
3. Hobby Grade RC Helicopters
Like any hobby, the sky is the limit when it comes to how much you can spend. Serious hobbyists have been known to spend thousands on custom high-powered RC coppers — like the owner of the most expensive RC helicopter in the world.
The power used to run your RC helicopter also impacts the price. Fuel-powered Collective Pitch helis, for example, easily run $1,200 and up. Furthermore, if you choose to purchase only the highest quality parts and components, the numbers can add up even faster.
How do you get started as a new helicopter pilot?
Did you know the hobby RC helicopter industry is one of the fastest-growing adult hobbies today?
Sales have exploded in the US reaching 1.5 million in 2016. The data is still inconclusive, but researchers are finding the hobby grew by leaps and bounds during the last few years.
Want to get in on the action? There’s more to becoming an RC helicopter hobbyist than researching and buying a chopper. There’s a whole world you can join when you get involved with this hobby.
Learning to Fly
Going from a newbie to an expert RC helicopter pilot takes time and practice and largely depends on the type of copter you have.
This period of trial and error is how you will learn about the four movements: lift, yaw, pitch, and roll. You’ll learn how to master your controls to make more advanced movements over time.
There are multiple resources online like blogs, tutorials, and instructional videos. We suggest doing research to understand how to work the controls, then finding a wide-open space on a non-windy day to go practice.
When you’re new, you may crash your chopper often, but don’t give up. Practice makes perfect!
Finding Hobbyist Groups
There is a wide world of RC hobbyists out there. Like any hobby or sport, there are people who live and breathe RC hobbies — and they’re some of the nicest people around!
There are all kinds of RC helicopter forums and Facebook groups online where you and other hobbyists can meet and swap knowledge. Check out sites like Meetup.com to find local groups in your area.
Participating in Competitions
Did you know almost every weekend of the year there is an RC Helicopter competition, festival, or jamboree taking place somewhere in the United States?
Find like-minded hobbyists and share your passion for remote-controlled helicopters by getting involved.
The International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association hosts the IRCHA Jamboree, the world’s largest RC helicopter competition. This event draws hundreds of RC pilots from around the world each year.
Look online for events happening near you.
Do you have more questions?
Flying a remote control helicopter brings hours of fun and entertainment to kids and adults alike. This hobby is a great past-time for stress relief, sharpening mental skills, and finding a supportive community to join.
There are several factors to consider when it comes to purchasing the right remote control helicopter for adults or kids. There’s not only the style of heli and ease of use, but flight time, battery life, max range, and more.
We hope this guide has helped you determine the best remote control helicopter for you. Do you have more questions? We’d love to hear from you!