Add some excitement to your life by learning about the best indoor drones of 2020, and live out your daredevil piloting dreams. If you’re nervous about flying a drone indoors, that’s a sensible way of thinking. Drones can be difficult to control and capable of causing serious damage to themselves and the things they crash into. But they don’t have to be. There’s a whole thriving market of indoor drones designed to be used safely in the home.
Whether you’re looking to start an indoor drone racing circuit or stream your day on social media using an indoor drone with camera, there’s a model out there to suit your needs. We’ve picked the 12 best indoor drones of 2020, and we’re ready to help you understand what the market has to offer. Read on to discover what you’ve been missing.
- The Best Indoor Drones
- 1. Parrot Mambo Fly – Code, Pilot and Play
- 2. Holy Stone F181W WiFi FPV Drone
- 3. Potensic Upgraded A20 Mini Drone
- 4. Force1 UFO 3000 Mini Drone
- 5. Air Hogs Star Wars Millennium Falcon Quad
- 6. SNAPTAIN H823H Mini Drone
- 7. DJI Tello Quadcopter Drone
- 8. Syma X5UW WiFi FPV Drone
- 9. Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini RC Drone
- 10. SYMA X22W Mini Drone
- 11. Holy Stone HS210 Mini Drone
- 12. Syma Z1 Foldable RC Drone
- Best Indoor Drones Buyer’s Guide
The Best Indoor Drones
1. Parrot Mambo Fly – Code, Pilot and Play
If you'd rather take a more hands on approach, the Parrot Mambo Fly can be controlled directly through a tablet or smartphone, and the advanced stabilization features mean that you don't have to worry about it going off course during a poorly executed indoor drone flying session. And in the case of an imminent emergency, the automatic shutdown system will help avoid any unnecessary damage.
2. Holy Stone F181W WiFi FPV Drone
The wealth of safety features on the Holy Stone F181W make it a durable drone for kids and an ideal beginner FPV quadcopter, but it offers enough speed and performance to keep more experienced pilots just as engaged. A dedicated headless mode takes the guesswork out of finding the right angle of tilt for the drone, while an automatic altitude hold can be initiated with a simple flick of the throttle. Paired with a 6-axis stability system, it's a great model for safely learning the fundamentals of flight.
The first person camera here is pretty impressive. While it may only shoot in 720p resolution, it offers a wide range of 120 degrees, and the Wi-Fi module allows you to stream the video directly to your phone through the proprietary app. Rather than use the app as a control system, this drone has its own dedicated controller with a phone mount.
3. Potensic Upgraded A20 Mini Drone
The A20 is a mini indoor drone that's also one of the easiest drones to fly. Rather than use a complicated controller or phone app, Potensic's beginner indoor drone comes with a simple but effective gamepad. All you need to learn is how to make the most of the two joysticks. Apart from that, the only buttons present are an on and off switch and a switch for controlling the speed of the drone.
But all the safety fundamentals are present here. You get both headless and altitude hold modes, and one key launch and landing. Learning how to operate these modes is an incredibly intuitive process, but there's a decently high ceiling of skill with this small indoor drone. Its nimble and compact design makes it a reasonable choice for both stunts and racing, and it can go pretty fast once ratcheted to the highest speed setting.
4. Force1 UFO 3000 Mini Drone
The UFO 3000 is tailor made with kids in mind. Not only is it an incredibly compact quadcopter - even by indoor drone standards - but it's hard to imagine a simpler control scheme to learn. The standard remote is stripped down of everything but the essentials, and all the standard ease of use and safety features that you could expect from a drone are included here. That includes launching and landing with a single button and a headless mode. Best of all, most of the functions can be naturally completed by just manipulating one of the sticks. That includes the ability to pull off tricks.
It's not just a small drone. It's a cute one too. The UFO design is bright, cherry, and matched to the sensibilities of the controller. It also comes with flashing lights on all four of the propellers to provide you with a spontaneous laser show.
5. Air Hogs Star Wars Millennium Falcon Quad
Ever wanted to get behind the wheel of the coolest ship in a galaxy far, far away? This replica of the Millennium Falcon by Air Hogs is the next best thing short of making a trip to Disneyland. The authenticity here is great - creating a truly meticulous recreation of the famous Star Wars ship and hiding the quadcopter design without sacrificing the stability or accessibility of the drone. The simple flight controller is equipped with a strong receiver that accommodates a wider range of movement.
And crashing this Millennium Falcon doesn't have to mean sending it off to the shipyards. It's made of a highly resistant foam that protects the rotors and provides a solid level of insulation in the case of impact. Rounding out the authenticity of the package is a selection of lights and sounds that replicate the shift into warp speed at the press of a button.
6. SNAPTAIN H823H Mini Drone
The Snaptain H823H may not come with high end features like a camera or GPS, but it's an incredibly cheap remote control drone that still manages to pack in all the standard features you'd want from an indoor quadcopter. Activating altitude is as simple as releasing the throttle stick, and you can initiate a launch of landing with the press of a single button. There's also a headless mode to avoid the confusion of vertical alignment and beginner, intermediate, and expert speed levels.
It's also absurdly tiny. It may be the smallest drone on the market: less than 3 inches at its widest point and compact enough to fit comfortably in your pocket. And the study cage surrounding the propellers ensures that these are long lasting drones too. That's an especially useful asset since this nimble drone is capable of stunts like 3D flips and 360 degree rotation.
7. DJI Tello Quadcopter Drone
Tello hasn't created just a good drone. They've created one of the smartest indoor drones on the market. Like the Parrot Mambo Fly, this model can be programmed to follow your commands precisely, and the complexity available here is refreshing, but the Scratch programming language is uses is pretty simple to learn. A quality Intel processor serves as the brain of the operations, and the inclusion of EZ Shot software makes the fundamentals of photography equally as easy to pick up.
If you don't want to learn a new language to use this mini drone with live camera, you don't have to. The Tello can be launched by simply tossing it in the air, and the touchscreen app controllers are as simple as can be. simply swipe to perform aerial stunts, assign waypoints with your finger, or enable bounce mode to really get this little drone shaking what it's got.
8. Syma X5UW WiFi FPV Drone
You'll find some of the smoothest touch controls around with the Syma X5UW, although it may seem a little bulky and unwieldy at first. The main controller consists mostly of a couple of control sticks that allow for ease of flight, but the real magic comes when you download the app and mount your phone to the top of the controller. Flight path routes can be drawn on the surface of your phone's screen, and the indoor FPV drone automatically streams video to the app using its built-in Wi-Fi connection.
Assisting with the ability to take great photos is the automatic altitude hold. Simply release the throttle to position the drone for great video or still shots. The phone controls are so intuitive that you don't even need to use the controller if you don't want, and you can control the tilt of the drone manually using your phone's accelerometer.
9. Holy Stone HS170 Predator Mini RC Drone
The HS170 is Holy Stone's budget priced entry into the indoor drone market, but it offers a lot of bang for its buck. This is a drone specifically designed for training in mind, so if you're looking for a drone you can use to cut your teeth, this is it. Just keep in mind that it likely won't meet your needs as you begin to develop your skills and confidence.
The 2.4 GHz signal the HS170 sends out was picked to reduce interference, while the inclusion of a 6-axis stabilization system and a headless mode help even novice pilots navigate with utter confidence. Once you're ready to take the training wheels off you'll have three different speed modes to choose from. And if you decide you want to take it outdoors at night, you can rely on the bright LED lights to identify both the front and back.
10. SYMA X22W Mini Drone
Syma makes a lot of inside drones, so it can be hard to distinguish which model is right for you. The big selling point of the X22W is its video capabilities. This indoor quadcopter with camera shoots film at a smooth 720p resolution, and getting the perfect shot is easy. Just get your drone in place through the camera display on your phone, set it into altitude hold, and capture the shot with a simple click.
The X22W takes the approach of using your phone and an independent controller, and it works very well with the designed mount. And once you start to get a feel for how it flies, it will feel like second nature. The controls are easy to use, and the X22W supports the accelerometer in your phone for controlling the pitch and tilt of this tiny camera drone.
11. Holy Stone HS210 Mini Drone
The HS210 is one of the most low risk and kid-friendly drones you'll find for indoors. Its bright and vibrant design makes it stand apart from much of the competition, and it's fully equipped with all the safety features you could hope for. And despite being one of the cheapest models we're featuring here, it's also one of the longest lasting. Three drone batteries come right in the box, providing you with a respectable 21 minutes of flight time per charge.
If your kid gets bored with the drone in the middle of a flight session or loses track, there's no need to worry. An automatic low battery alarm will alert the pilot of a problem, and once it reaches one minute, the drone will automatically and safely land.
12. Syma Z1 Foldable RC Drone
Many of the drones on our list are super-compact, but that can be a liability as much as an advantage. A small drone can be easy to crush and easy to lose, but the Syma Z1 is built to be as portable as possible. The unique folding design keeps the rotors safely tucked away, and the folded design - resembling a particularly futuristic race car - can fit comfortably in most back pockets.
The camera built in to the Syma Z1 offers the standard 720p resolution, but it's unique in the ability to rotate the camera, allowing you to get more complex and sophisticated shots than you could with other drones. All of this is handled through the smart Syma Fly app.
Best Indoor Drones Buyer’s Guide
Confused about which of these drones is right for you? Don’t worry. We’re ready to answer your questions and provide you with the guidance you deserve.
Can Indoor Drones Be Flown Outside?
Any of the drones on our list can work outdoors as well as indoors, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all created equally. While we have flight distance listed for each of these models, that’s not going to mean much for indoor use (unless you’re planning on flying in exceedingly large and exceedingly open buildings), but it can be very limiting if you intend to use your drone both indoors and outdoors. If you’d like to take them outside, scrutinize those distances a little more closely.
Also be aware that while these are pretty sturdy drones, they aren’t invulnerable. Be careful of weather conditions and wind before taking a drone out. Many of these models are intended for use both indoors and out, but models like the UFO 3000 are a little more vulnerable.
How Does Drone Video Streaming Work?
The FPV (first person video) drones on our list generally support Wi-Fi connections. That allows them to stream video directly to your phone so that you can shoot videos practically in real time. The reliance on Wi-Fi can be an issue while outdoors, but as long as you have a decent router that connects your whole house, it shouldn’t be an issue for a good indoor drone.
That said, video streaming isn’t perfect, and there may be a brief delay on your camera feed. That’s especially true if your internet connection is slow or not especially reliable. Even with a strong feed, you may want to capture multiple shots to make sure you get just what you’re looking for.
How Difficult Are Drones to Program?
One of the most interesting types of indoor drones are the ones that you can program. On our list that includes the DJI Tello and the Parrot Mambo Fly. That may be intimidating for some new users, but it doesn’t need to be. Even if you decide you have no interest in coding, they’re great little drones that can fly using traditional control schemes.
But if you do decide to start messing around with coding, you should find the learning curve pretty shallow. Both of these drones support block-based coding languages which allow you to essentially combine together normal words into commands. The potential combinations are pretty vast, and it’s a great way to teach kids the fundamentals of coding without overwhelming them. Once you get a hang of the basics, you can accomplish some truly interesting things.
Indoor drones may fundamentally be toys, but they’re incredibly interesting ones. Not only can they be used for stunt or speed racing, but they’re also a great way to capture selfies and learn the basics of programming. Any one of these drones is worthy of your attention. But if you decide you want to cast the net a little wider, check out our more general guide to the best drones of 2020.