The Top Drones for Christmas 2017

drone-christmas

There’s something special about owning and flying your own drone. Part of the excitement is that this is still a relatively new phenomenon. Low-tech kite flying is still popular today and hobby drones are also here to stay. Drones are a great Christmas gift that will get people outdoors for hours on end.

Here are some of the popular uses for today’s unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs:

  • Fun flying both indoors and out
  • Drone racing: this is becoming an increasingly popular sport
  • Taking stunning aerial photographs and video
  • Delivering small items

There’s also a more serious side to UAVs. These flying robots are now invaluable in search & rescue. Aerial surveillance for commercial purposes is another practical use. Various industries fly drones for professional filmmaking, exploration, construction, real estate, and more besides.

NameRangeFlight TimeRatingPrice
top-pick-drone
TOPPICK

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium

1.9 km25 minutes
4.8
best-value-drone
BESTVALUE

Holy Stone HS160 Shadow

50 m8 minutes
4.8
budget-drone
BUDGET

EACHINE E010 Mini UFO Quadcopter

30 m5 minutes
4.4

What Type of Consumer Drone Is Right for You

The ideal drone for a Christmas gift depends on budget, needs, and expectations. A supervised child will be happier with a lightweight mini or micro drone for flying around indoors. Someone older could be into racing. The most popular use, though, is to film from above and take stunning photographs. It’s the purpose of this guide to present you with a variety of personal hobby drones.

Keeping things Simple

I always suggest readers of my review guides make a simple checklist of their preferences. Read a couple of reviews first if you’re unsure. You’ll then get a better picture of your personal expectations.

Here are a few examples of things you may want to consider prior to purchase:

  • Type of drone: toy, mini/micro, racing UAV, camera quadcopter
  • Budget range
  • How long the battery lasts measured in maximum flight time
  • Camera capability/quality
  • Control distance, i.e. how far can you fly the drone from the controller
  • Design, style, durability, and anything else you can think of

My best Christmas drone picks are all popular models for good reasons. I base these reviews on personal thoughts, feedback from industry experts, and—most important of all—real user feedback. At the end of each no-nonsense review is a simple table. One column includes the most important tech specs (at a glance). The other two columns highlight any pros and cons of the product.

This table shows the best 2017 drones that make perfect gifts for Christmas. It’s also the order they appear in the guide. I’ve organized these UAVs by type first then by editors rating.

Make and ModelTypeFlight TimeFlight RangePrice Check
Holy Stone HS160 ShadowBeginner8 minutes50 meters
Altair Aerial AA108Beginner10 minutes100 meters
EACHINE E010 Mini UFO QuadcopterToy5 minutes30 meters
Autel Robotics X-Star PremiumCamera25 minutes1.2 miles
DJI Phantom 3 StandardCamera25 minutes1000 meters
ARRIS C250 V2Racer10 minutesNot specified
RISE Vusion 250 ExtremeRacer8 minutesNot specified

Best Drones for Kids and Beginner Pilots

We start with three popular kid’s drones. They’re also a good choice for any beginner at any age. The first two even come with cameras. These give new users a great introduction to aerial photography and filming as well as valuable flying experience. The third choice is an inexpensive mini-drone. This one is ideal for younger operators to develop their flying skills indoors—under supervision.

Holy Stone HS160 Shadow FPV

Holy Stone HS160 Shadow FPV

The Pros

  • Amazon Best Seller
  • Clean design, foldable, portable
  • +6 more

The Cons

  • Limited control range
  • Doesn’t have headless mode
  • +1 more

4.8

Altair Aerial AA108 Camera Quadcopter

Altair Aerial AA108 Camera Quadcopter

The Pros

  • Smart design, easy-to-fly drone
  • Reasonable flight time
  • +6 more

The Cons

  • No GPS feature
  • Fixed camera angle

4.7

EACHINE E010 Mini Quadcopter

EACHINE E010 Mini Quadcopter

The Pros

  • Great value-for-money drone
  • Popular choice of nano quad
  • +6 more

The Cons

  • Short flight time
  • Flies outdoors in calm weather but easy to lose in the wind
  • +1 more

4.4

Best Drones for Aerial Photography and Videography

Next up are a couple of higher quality camera drones. The two picks here are suited to more experienced pilots who want to upgrade and take their aerial photos and filming to the next level. Any of these flying cameras will put a smile on the face of any drone enthusiast this Christmas.

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Camera Drone

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Camera Drone

The Pros

  • Nice design, steady flier
  • 4K UHD camera w/ 12MP stills
  • +5 more

The Cons

  • No collision avoidance
  • Landing gear needs improving

4.8

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Camera Quad

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Camera Quad

The Pros

  • Amazon Choice product (at the time of this guide)
  • Quality camera drone from reputable DJI brand
  • +6 more

The Cons

  • Fixed (integrated) camera
  • Proprietary battery means you can buy cheaper alternatives
  • +1 more

4.5

ARRIS C250 V2 RTF FPV Racing Quad

ARRIS C250 V2 RTF FPV Racing Quad

The Pros

  • Affordable RTF FPV racer
  • Great looking quad (for a racer)
  • +4 more

The Cons

  • Too much power for the complete beginner
  • Instructions could be clearer

4.4

RISE Vusion 250 Extreme FPV Racer

RISE Vusion 250 Extreme FPV Racer

The Pros

  • Unique design
  • Powerful brushless motors
  • +4 more

The Cons

  • Poor max flight time
  • 480 x 272 screen small for FPV

4.2

Summary
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Christmas Drones
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