Remote Control Helicopters for Beginners

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Remote-controlled helicopters aren’t as common as planes, drones, and other RC models. It wasn’t until later in the 1990s that the first mass-produced RC helicopters became available. Today, we have plenty of choices.

Budget
best-budget-rc-helicopter-for-beginners
Syma S107 3CH RC Heli
4.6/5.0
Flight Time: 6–8 minutes
Flight Range: 30 feet
3-channels, safe indoors, built-in gyro, speed controller, three motors.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-rc-helicopter-for-beginners
Syma S109G RC Heli
4.5/5.0
Flight Time: 5–6 minutes
Flight Range: 30 feet
Indoor copter, durable, bright LED lights, stable flyer, super-fast charging time.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-rc-helicopter-for-beginners
NiGHT LiONS TECH Large V912
4.7/5.0
Flight Time: 8–minutes
Flight Range: 492 feet
Durable build, nice size, long travel servos, tail spur gears, bell rotor head.
Check Amazon

The Best Hobby RC Helicopters for Beginners

In general, radio-controlled choppers are harder to pilot than RC fixed wing planes and quadcopter drones. That’s why the industry promotes the use of coaxial models for novice flyers. Coaxial helis have a shared axis. The models have two sets of rotors on a concentric shaft, one above the other. The design makes the copter more stable and thus has a shallower learning curve for beginners.

Not everyone is a fan of the coaxial style. Most model enthusiasts prefer replica single-rotor helicopters as they look more authentic than double rotors. You can also have more fun flying them, especially when it comes to aerobatics. Even so, it’s a good idea to start with a multi-rotor craft if you’re a total novice.

RC Helicopter Vs. RC Planes

Pilots fly both radio-controlled helicopters and electric planes using a transmitter. The difference is in the look and performance of these models. There are lots of varieties with both types too. The reason helicopters are so popular, though, is that the experience is more challenging and rewarding. Collective pitch (CP) choppers are the most exhilarating to fly, but they’re also the hardest to master.

Things to Consider

It can be overwhelming for beginners to know what to buy from all the models available. A fixed budget helps to narrow down the choices, but there’s more to know about this hobby than costs. What you don’t want to do is buy something based purely on the way it looks.

Here are six things to consider before you shop for a beginner’s RC helicopter:

  1. Maximum amount to spend
  2. Number of channels (see below)
  3. Flight stability and other user-friendly characteristics
  4. Readily available spares (important)
  5. Flight time
  6. Battery charging time

Three & Four Channel (CH) RC Helicopters

RC copters must have four channels or more to have full control in all directions. A total beginner may want to use a 3-channel to start with, especially younger pilots. Some entry-level users prefer to learn with three channels (3CH). They provide left/right spin, up/down movements, and throttle control. A 3-channel heli is uncomplicated and an excellent way for first-timers to get comfortable with flying.

Older and advanced beginners may want to skip the simplicity of a 3CH heli and go for 4-channels. The difference is in the left/right movements. The extra motion allows the model to move left and right without the spin action. They call this the aileron slide. It all sounds simple enough, but it’s not. These sideways movements can be tricky, especially if the model doesn’t have any stabilization.

Helicopters with 5+ channels offer even more flight control, but that’s nothing for this guide. I’d also suggest you skip 2-channel models because the restrictions make them boring to fly.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the primary controls found on a 4-channel copter:

  1. Throttle: controls the speed of the motor
  2. Rudder (yaw): controls the direction or turn of the heli
  3. Elevator (pitch): forward and back tilt
  4. Aileron (roll): sideways tilt

Other Considerations

Flight stability is essential at the beginner level, especially for younger pilots. It allows the aircraft to automatically steady itself so you can concentrate on the flying. All the models on this page have built-in gyro stabilization systems. These RC helicopters are also favorite beginner models in the community. That means they’re easy to learn and spare parts and accessories are readily available.

Some batteries are built-in, and others are replaceable. That brings me onto the next point about flight times and battery charging times. The makers note flight times in minutes, and they can range from 5-12. That’s not long, but it’s about as good as it gets. You may want to order extra batteries for models that let you swap. Make sure the charging time is short for built-in (non-removable) battery copters.

Battery charging times for these beginner models takes between 20–60 minutes. That’s reasonably fast in RC terms, so you don’t have to wait too long before you’re airborne again.

About My Guide

This simple guide gets straight to the point. You won’t find any fluff or unnecessary jargon in these mini-reviews. Please make sure you read the introduction above if you’re a total newbie to RC helicopters. The seven picks here are all excellent models for complete and advanced beginners. I made this list based on the opinions of industry experts, user reviews, and personal thoughts.

The first three RC helicopters are in order of Best Budget, Best Value, and Top pick. The models below those are in price order, starting with the least expensive first.

The table below shows the seven remote-controlled helicopters as they appear on this page:

Remote Control Helicopters for Beginners Comparison Table

Make and ModelFlight TimeFlight RangePrice
Syma S107 3 Channel RC Helicopter for Kids6–8 minutes30 feetCheck Price
Syma S109G RC Helicopter for Learners5–6 minutes30 feetCheck Price
NiGHT LiONS TECH WL Large RC Kids Chopper8–minutes492 feetCheck Price
REALACC FQ777-610 3.5CH Mini RC Helicopter8–minutes39 feetCheck Price
VATOS RC Starter Electric Helicopter for Kids6–7 minutes49 feetCheck Price
Protocol Predator SB Helicopter8–10 minutes100 feetCheck Price
UDI U13A Metal Frame Copter w/ Camera7–8 minutes500 feetCheck Price

1. Syma S107 3CH RC Helicopter for Kids | Best Budget

Syma S107 3CH RC Helicopter for KidsView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The popular Syma S107 is a 3-channel mini co-axial RC helicopter with friendly features for Kids. It’s a great introduction to radio-controlled copters, and it’s safe to fly indoors.

  • Best feature 1: Miniature size, lightweight, low power
  • Best feature 2: Ideal craft for beginners to learn flying skills
  • Plus points: 3-channels, safe indoors, built-in gyro, speed controller, three motors
  • Minus points: Shortish flying time, infrared control

There are many reasons why this model helicopter is an ideal choice for kids. It’s not big, heavy, or complicated, so that gives it a safe start for any concerned parent. It’s reasonably crash-resistant too, thanks in part to the metal frame. The Syma S107 also has a bunch of stable flight characteristics that make flying fun and easy to pilot at the beginner level.

S107 Stable Flight Characteristics

This toy RC helicopter comes with a built-in gyroscope that stabilizes it in flight. It does an excellent job at steadying the craft too. There’s also the high-precision speed controller that works on autopilot. What the speed controller does is stabilize the propeller system during liftoff. This model has three motors (a third in the tail) that work in harmony to provide a smooth, stable flying experience.

You won’t be doing too many fancy stunts with this model, but that’s the point. Its stability features make it less agile yet safe and simple as a trainer toy. The flight control allows young pilots to take the craft up/down, forward/back, left/right, and make turns. Flying time is around 6–8 minutes on a full battery which is short but average. Charging time is a fast 30 minutes.

It’s an affordable RC helicopter, and that’s what you want with a beginner model. After all, the learner pilot doesn’t know yet whether he or she will take to the hobby.

The Not So Good

The S107’s play time is only 6–8 minutes. That’s typical for a toy model, but it still means short flights. The good news is the fast charging time. Many RC pilots buy an extra battery to avoid the wait caused by recharging. Always allow a few minutes for the motors to cooldown between battery swaps.

The other disadvantage is the infra-red control. Other infrared remote controls in the home might interfere with the signal. The secret is to play away from other potential interference devices.

amazon

Tech Specs
Helicopter Type: Co-axial 3CH training RC helicopter
Dimensions: 8.7 x 3.9 x 1.5″
Product Weight: 12 oz.
Recommended Age: 8–14 years
Range: 30 ft. (10m)
Battery: 3.7v lithium polymer
Charging time: 30+ minutes
Flight Duration: 6–8 minutes
The Pros
Good looking copter, appealing design for kids
Miniature size, lightweight
Perfect for beginners
3-channels
Safe to fly indoors
Built-in gyro
Effective prop speed controller
Three motors for added stability
The Cons
Shortish flying time
Infrared control may conflict with home remote controls

2. Syma S109G RC Helicopter for Learners | Best Value

Syma S109G RC Helicopter for LearnersView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Best Value pick is also a Syma, but this is an entirely different model from the first pick. The S109G is a 3.5 channel RC helicopter with Gyro stabilization.

  • Best feature 1: Flies in six directions
  • Best feature 2: Striking details help it to stand out
  • Plus points: Indoor copter, durable, bright LED lights, stable flyer, super-fast charging time
  • Minus points: Poor flight time, infrared control

The Army-style and details of this chopper give it a striking appeal. It’s also a model designed for flying indoors only. That makes it a safe toy, but it’s also a hardship for young pilots who want to play outside. The infrared control prevents outdoor use (see below).

The Syma S109G RC helicopter is an excellent palm-sized learner craft. It has a useful built-in gyro for stabilization and can fly in six directions. The flight directions are rotate clockwise/anti-clockwise, move forward/backward, and up & down.

Flying in the dark is possible thanks to the bright flashing LEDs. Night flights add extra appeal and challenge learner pilots more so than flying in daylight. Another plus point is the robust build of this little copter aircraft. After all, every RC heli pilot has a few crashes and collisions. Crash-resistance is a vital feature as you don’t have to worry as much about spares, accessories, and repairs.

The Not So Good

The maximum flight time is a disappointing 5–6 minutes. At least the charging time is a pleasing 20–30 minutes. You can also buy a spare battery if you don’t want to wait. Remember to always allow the motor to cool down for 10 minutes between battery swaps.

The other downside is the infrared (IR) control. The problem here is that it can conflict with other household IR remotes if they’re used within range. Infrared also restricts flying outdoors as the sun’s rays can interfere with the controller. That means it’s best to fly the craft in uncluttered indoor spaces.

amazon

Tech Specs
Helicopter Type: 3.5HH Co-axial US military helicopter
Dimensions: 16.7 x 7.3 x 3.5″
Product Weight: 14.1 oz.
Recommended Age: 8 years or younger under supervision
Range: 30 ft. (10m)
Battery: 3.7V 150mAH Li-poly
Charging time: 20–30 minutes
Flight Duration: 5–6 minutes
The Pros
Palm-sized army chopper
Flies in six directions
Striking attention to detail
Sable flyer w/ built-in gyro
Safe indoor copter
Durable, crash-resistant build
Bright LED lights for night flights
Super-fast charging time
The Cons
Poor flight time
Infrared control restrictions

3. NiGHT LiONS TECH WL Large Chopper | Top Pick

NiGHT LiONS TECH WL Large ChopperView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Meet the NiGHT LiONS TECH Large V912. It’s a popular 4-channel RC helicopter with outstanding gyro stability. The V912 is a good-looking bird which adds further to its overall appeal.

  • Best feature 1: Outstanding stability
  • Best feature 2: Excellent outdoor RC Chopper
  • Plus points: Durable build, nice size, long travel servos, tail spur gears, bell rotor head
  • Minus points: Shortish flying time, price

It’s a bigger craft than the first two picks, and it’s suitable for flying outdoors. The heavy blades and long fly bar (also flybar) add further to its stabilization and wind-resistance. The V912 also has long travel servos to improve agility and tail spurs that enhance rudder control. Another reason this single rotor heli is an ideal beginner craft is its bell rotor head.

The Benefit of the Bell Rotor Head

Most single-rotor model helicopters are difficult for beginners to fly as they’re too agile. That’s not the case with this model because of its bell rotor head. It lets novice users change the actual placement of the flybar from its usual 90° to 45° of the main blade. That results in a 50% less agile, slower helicopter, and is thus much easier to fly at the entry level.

The Not So Good

The main disadvantage is the familiar short battery life or flying time. You can expect just 8-minutes in perfect flying conditions. The charging time—though not bad at 60-minutes—takes double the time of first two picks. Therefore, most owners spend a few extra dollars on extra batteries. The NiGHT LiONS TECH is excellent value but may prove too pricey for some as a learner model.

amazon

Tech Specs
Helicopter Type: Large Single Blades RC copter w/ bell rotor head
Dimensions: 20.1 x 5.5 x 9.8″
Product Weight: 10.7 oz.
Recommended Age: 14 years or younger under supervision
Range: 492 ft. (150m)
Battery: 7.4V 1500mAh
Charging time: 60 minutes
Flight Duration: 8 minutes
The Pros
Cool design
Outstanding stability
Outdoor capable RC Chopper
Durable build, crash resistant
Large size
Long travel servos
Tail spur gears
Bell rotor head for reduced agility
The Cons
Shortish flying time
High price for beginner craft

4. REALACC FQ777-610 3.5CH Mini RC Helicopter

REALACC FQ777-610 3.5CH Mini RC HelicopterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The REALACC FQ777-610 is a superb palm-sized RC helicopter for beginners. It’s a simple ready-to-fly (RTF) model that’s good to go right out of its box.

  • Best feature 1: Outdoor flight
  • Best feature 2: Latest gyroscope technology
  • Plus points: Detailed display, crash-resistant, streamlined fuselage, fast charging time
  • Minus points: Low average flight time, poor manual

Affordable mini RC choppers don’t get much better than this. The model’s gyroscope technology helps to keep it steady in flight. It also stands up to impact pretty well in a crash. That’s because the build includes a high-composite material and stainless steel in its construction.

The streamlined fuselage looks great and adds to the aerodynamics. Air dynamics play a significant role in any flying model as they reduce air resistance. That means faster flights and improved power efficiency. The most notable thing about this capable model, though, is that it’s super easy to fly. And the 10-12-meter range ensures it stays within the user’s line of sight (LOS).

The Not So Good

The only gripe is the low average flying time of around 8-minutes and the poorly translated manual. USB charging only takes 30 minutes, so that reduces the short flying time frustration. But scant user manuals are common issues with smaller toys. It’s annoying because RC model makers could easily avoid poorly-translated guides by hiring professional translators.

amazon

Tech Specs
Helicopter Type: Coaxial rotor RC beginner’s helicopter
Dimensions: 9.6 x 5.7 x 3.9″
Product Weight: 9.4 oz.
Recommended Age: 14 years or younger under supervision
Range: 39 ft. (12m)
Battery: 3.7V 120mAh
Charging time: 30–50 minutes
Flight Duration: 8 minutes
The Pros
Cool aerodynamics design w/ streamlined fuselage
Indoors & outdoor flights
Excellent beginner copter
Latest gyroscope technology
Detailed display
Crash-resistant
Fast charging time
The Cons
Low average flight time
Poorly translated manual

5. VATOS RC Starter Electric Helicopter for Kids

VATOS RC Starter Electric Helicopter for KidsView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

Fifth on the list is the capable and affordable Micro VATOS 3.5CH MINI RC Flying Helicopter for beginners. It’s small, light, and stable in the air thanks to the decent built-in gyro.

  • Best feature 1: Built-in gyro, auto-stable
  • Best feature 2: Meets US and EU high standards
  • Plus points: Easy to fly, 3 motors, perfect hover, LED lights, two charging options
  • Minus points: Poor flight time, infrared control, obscure manual

Parents are always happy to see a toy product that meets high safety standards. The VATOS RC Starter Helicopter has passed several tests including FCC and CE to name two of several. The heli has 3.5 channels, so it’s possible to fly more than one model at a time without interference. This is another co-axial helicopter (two sets of rotors). Co-axial choppers are less agile and easier for beginners.

Flying the VATOS RC Mini Micro

This tiny model is for indoor flights only. That’s because it’s small, lightweight, and uses an infrared control system. It’s a great little flyer with an excellent hover feature. Stable hovering is ideal for beginner pilots as it takes the pressure off and gives them time to think. The LED lights add a fun aspect for kids who enjoy flying their chopper in the dark.

Fast charging is another advantage and takes between 40–50 minutes depending on how you charge it. There are two options, the transmitter or USB. I’d suggest the USB every time as charging via the controller is sure to drain its six AA batteries faster. USB charging is also the quickest option.

The Not So Good

VATOS has the maximum flying time down as 12 minutes, but that’s overly optimistic. I’d say half that, 6–7 minutes, is a far more realistic figure, which is on the low side of average.

The infrared control restricts flying to indoors as there’s too much interference outside. There can also be interference inside with other infrared controls like the TV remote, for example. That means you should consider a safe, interference-free area to fly. And finally, there are complaints that VATOS hasn’t translated the user manual very well, making it difficult to follow in parts.

amazon

Tech Specs
Helicopter Type: Co-axial 3.5CH training RC helicopter
Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.3 x 4.5″
Product Weight: 17.6 oz.
Recommended Age: 12 years or younger with supervision
Range: 49 ft. (15m)
Battery: 3.7V 250mAh Li-Poly
Charging time: 40–50 minutes
Flight Duration: 6–7 minutes
The Pros
Built-in gyro, auto-stable
Meets US and EU high standards
Easy to use (fly) at beginner level
Three motors for added stability
Perfect hover function
LED lights for flying in the dark
Two charging options; transmitter and USB
The Cons
Short max flight time
Infrared control
Poorly translated user manual

6. Protocol Predator SB Electric Helicopter

Protocol Predator SB Electric HelicopterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.1/5

The Predator SB is a larger RC helicopter with motion-sensitive stabilizers and a built-in electronic gyro. The size of this craft gives pilots a more realistic flight experience.

  • Best feature 1: Auto stabilizers (motion-sensitive)
  • Best feature 2: Built-in electronic gyro
  • Plus points: Two speeds, crash-resistant, 2.4Ghz transmitter, AC charger, spares included
  • Minus points: Short flight time, long charging time

Protocol has an entire fleet of RC helicopters, and the 3.5 CH Predator SB is its finest. The two speed controls let this bird fly through the air with impressive agility and pace. Full flight maneuvers include forward/reverse, up/down, and left/right. The chopper’s remote is a high-performance 2.4Ghz transmitter. The controller has an LCD screen and audible tones for easy trim adjustments.

Predator’s SB RC helicopter comes with a faster AC charger. That’s just as well considering the long battery charging time (see below). You may want to invest in extra batteries if you choose this model.

The Not So Good

The larger size, power, and affordable price of the Predator SB come at a cost. Yes, it’s heaps of fun to fly this puppy, few would doubt that. Alas, the enjoyment is short-lived at just 8–10 minutes— depending on conditions. The longish 80+ minutes of charging time add further to the frustration.

amazon

Tech Specs
Helicopter Type: Larger outdoor RC 2.4 GHz 3.5 channel copter
Dimensions: 21 x 15.6 x 6.2″
Product Weight: 2.6 lbs.
Recommended Age: 14 years or younger with supervision
Range: 100 ft. (30m)
Battery: Inbuild (removeable) 6182-2J
Charging time: 80+ minutes
Flight Duration: 8–10 minutes
The Pros
Beautiful large-sized model
Motion-sensitive auto stabilizers
Built-in electronic gyro
Two controllable speeds
Sturdy build, crash-resistant
2.4Ghz transmitter
AC battery charger
Spares included
The Cons
Short flight time
Long charging time

7. UDI U13A 2.4GHz Metal Frame Copter w/ Camera

UDI U13A 2.4GHz Metal Frame Copter w/ CameraView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

This is the sleek UDI U13A, an easy-to-fly helicopter with a built-in gyro. The model has a metal frame and is the only chopper in this guide to include a small onboard video camera.

  • Best feature 1: Video camera
  • Best feature 2: 3-axis gyro
  • Plus points: Easy to fly, outdoor capable, metal frame, crash-resistant, overcharging protection
  • Minus points: Short flight time, useless in the wind, price

Okay, so the tiny camera won’t win any awards on the quality front. Despite this, it’s a great introduction to aerial photography and videography. The camera certainly adds a fun element to flying this beauty. It doesn’t take long to master the heli within a range of about 500 ft. (152m).

Its simple 3-channels makes it an excellent choice for beginners. The control options provide up/down, forward/back, and clockwise/anti-clockwise maneuvers. The UDI U13A is a tough little bird too, thanks to its metal alloy frame, elasticated blades, and flybar.

The Not So Good

The flight time is only 7–8 minutes on a full battery (consider buying spares), and charging takes about an hour. There is charging protection for the LiPo battery that helps to prolong its lifespan.

This small copter flies just fine outside but only on a still day. It’s almost impossible to control outdoors when the wind picks up. UDI’s U13A camera copter is a popular beginner’s heli, but it’s not your cheapest option. You may want to skip this model unless you plan to use its onboard camera.

amazon

Tech Specs
Helicopter Type: Co-axial 3.5CH training RC helicopter
Dimensions: 7.5 x 7.5 x 7.5″
Product Weight: 2.2 lbs.
Recommended Age: 12 years or younger with supervision
Range: 500 ft. (152m)
Battery: 3.7V 580mah
Charging time: 50–60 minutes
Flight Duration: 7–8 minute
The Pros
Onboard video camera
3-axis gyro to stabilize flights
Easy for beginners to pilot
Outdoor capable
Metal frame and elastic blades improve crash-resistance
overcharging protection
The Cons
Shortish flight time
Useless in the wind
High price compared to non-camera model helicopters
5/52 ratings