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    Top 5 Best RC Helicopters | 2017 Reviews

    June 10, 2016
    Top 5 Best RC Helicopters

    Top 5 Best RC Helicopters | 2017 Reviews

    Drones are quickly becoming an integral force in both military and commercial operations around the world. They’re used to launch air strikes in war-torn areas and for surveillance and crowd control operations by police. They’re an important marketing tool for realtors marketing homes for sale, and have become commonplace in the production of news and sports broadcasts. Even your Amazon and Domino’s orders may soon be delivered by drone.

    It would be a safe bet that almost everyone involved in the development of this technology became interested in it by playing around with radio-controlled helicopters or planes. RC helicopters have been around since the mid 20th century, but it wasn’t until recently that they became widely available for hobbyists and kids; today’s versions are more stable than ever and easier for newer pilots to control. They are also relatively inexpensive, making RC copter flying a booming hobby that can give budding drone designers a good education in the scientific concepts they’ll need to master – or simply let them have a lot of fun. A more detailed research  on RC helicopters or drones for kids can be seen here

    Some models on the market have an internal combustion engine and use the same type of “glow fuel” that’s been used for RC helicopters for decades, most commonly containing nitromethane (which is why these models are often called “nitro copters”). These are more difficult for novices to use and potentially more dangerous. For that reason, we’ll be looking solely at electric-powered options in our list of the top 5 best RC helicopters. We’re also focusing on copters in the “toy” or “hobby-grade” categories which will provide a terrific flying experience, but don’t have some of the complicated (and more expensive) features you’ll find on models aimed at intermediate or advanced users.

    That still gives us a good range of RC helicopters to cover, from simple coaxial copters to four-channel quadcopters that can buzz around like a drone on a super-secret spy mission. We’ll also touch on higher-level models. All are suitable for kids – and for adults searching for a hobby that will eat up much more of their spare time than they had ever imagined.

    You may also want to check out our ​comprehensive Best RC Helicopter Buying Guide here.

    Quick Comparison Table

    Blade Scout CX RTF 3-Channel Heli

    Syma S107 RC Helicopter with Gyro

    WLtoys V262 Big 6 Axis RC Quadcopter RTF

    Blade mSR X

    Blade 130X BNF

    Blade Scout CX RTF 3-Channel Heli
    Syma S107 RC Helicopter with Gyro
    Panasonic EW3109W Portable Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor White/Grey
    Blade mSR X
    Blade 130X BNF

    $$$

    $$$

    $$$

    $$$

    $$$

    Coaxial

    Coaxial

    Quadcopter

    Fixed-pitch

    Collective-pitch

    0.60 ounces

    1.20 ounces

    3.2 pounds

    1.09 ounces

    3.8 ounces

    Blade Scout CX RTF 3-Channel Heli

    Blade Scout CX RTF 3-Channel Heli

    This Blade model may not be the “best” RC helicopter once you’ve gained some experience – but we feel it’s the best for younger kids and those just trying the hobby for the first time.

    The Scout CX is just meant for indoor use, since it only weighs about half an ounce and can’t be controlled with any wind present. In fact, it might be a good idea to close your windows before the copter’s maiden flight. This is a coaxial model, which means that it has two blades (referred to as twin rotors) on top of the copter that rotate in opposite directions, so you can’t change the angle of the helicopter’s blades; you simply increase speed to go higher and slow down to go lower. That creates a small lag between the remote control and the copter’s motion, but makes the machine much more stable.

    In keeping with the “easy to fly” approach, the CX is a three-channel instead of four-channel helicopter giving the pilot fewer adjustments to worry about. The transmitter has two sticks, with one controlling the throttle (and therefore also controlling altitude) and the other the elevator (pitch, or tilt) and rudder (yaw, or left and right) axes. With only three channels there is no ailerons control for roll on this somewhat-simple heli, an advantage for those just trying to figuring out how to make the thing fly.

    Even better, the Blade Scout is default-set to “beginner mode” which reins in power to about 50%; you have to manually change it to full-power mode every time you fly – and even then, it won’t go very fast. We believe that’s a good thing when you’re just learning, unless your primary goal is to crash your RC copter a lot. Speaking of crashing, the Scout CX has flexible blades so it is surprisingly resilient despite its small size and light weight, and the internal computerized Piezo gyro will often compensate for pilot error and straighten the copter out if you do the wrong thing.

    You’ll get 5-6 minutes of flight time per battery charge, and the copter’s LiPo 70mah battery plugs right into the controller for a 20-minute recharge. The controller itself runs on AA batteries. The copter is RF controlled, without the infrared controller seen on many toy copters; that’s to be expected, however, since the Scout is really a hobby-grade RC helicopter that you can pick up at a toy copter price of about $50. It’s ready to fly right out of the box, and provides a perfect introduction to the sport from a company (Horizon Hobby) well-known for quality RC products. If you want to take a step up, the four-channel Blade mCX2 offers more power and speed, more control, and more fun for an extra $50 – and the higher-priced mSR X, which as you’ll see later is our choice as the best single rotor fixed-pitch model on the market.

    Details of the Blade Scout CX RTF 3-Channel Heli

    Style

    Coaxial

    Weight

    0.60 ounces

    Transmitter

    Three-channel, 2.4 GHz RF

    Control

    Throttle, elevator, rudder

    Flight time per charge

    5-6 minutes

    Power

    LiPo 70mah rechargeable battery for copter, 4 AA batteries for controller

    Size

    9 x 9 x 8 inches

    Warranty

    Only against manufacturing defects

    Syma S107 RC Helicopter with Gyro

    Syma S107 RC Helicopter with Gyro

    We’ll be looking at more impressive and expensive models after a stop in the bargain basement. As we said with the Scout CX, this may not be the “best” RC heli you can buy, but it’s the best you can buy for about $15 – just right if you want a model with decent performance but aren’t sure whether your child (or you) will enjoy flying a helicopter at all, or are afraid he’ll crash it (or you’ll crash it) within 20 seconds.

    The Syma S107 is another RTF (ready to fly) indoor-only, 3-channel coaxial copter with an aluminum frame and plastic blades, able to hit the wall a number of times without splitting apart. One reason the price is so much lower is that it uses infrared signals instead of radio-frequency ones so you’ll need line-of-sight to the copter, but that’s not a major issue if you’re just flying the helicopter around a room in your house, which is what it’s designed for. The controller is similar to the Scout’s in that there are two joysticks that control the same functions, with no ability to change the roll of the heli. Once again, though, the three-channel control lets you power up and fly without being overly confused by an ailerons control.

    The flying time on the S107 is a little better than on the Scout, around seven minutes, but it will take twice as long to recharge this machine. You don’t have to remove the LiPO battery to recharge it; you can plug the plane into a nearby USB port, or use the provided cable to plug the plane into the controller – the USB option is much better, because charging through the controller drains the controller’s batteries quickly. There’s a small tail rotor and an internal gyro so there’s control as well as stability, and the speed is around the same as the Scout’s when the latter is operating at full-power mode. You’ll find this Syma model is quite impressive for its low price. It looks cool, too.

    If it was RF-controlled we’d like it better than the Scout, but in that case the two would probably sell for the same price. Don’t hesitate to shell out the 15 bucks if you’ve been thinking about an RC helicopter for your child.

    Details of the Syma S107 RC Helicopter with Gyro

    Style

    Coaxial

    Weight

    1.20 ounces

    Transmitter

    Three-channel, infrared

    Control

    Throttle, elevator, rudder

    Flight time per charge

    7 minutes

    Power

    LiPo 150mah rechargeable battery for copter, 6 AA batteries for controller

    Size

    17 x 7 x 4 inches

    Warranty

    90 days

    WLtoys V262 Big 6 Axis RC Quadcopter RTF

    WLtoys V262 Big 6 Axis RC Quadcopter RTF

    WLtoys makes a number of very good and very popular RC helicopters and their V912 coaxial model is a best-seller, although it costs more than the two helis we’re already looked at. Here we’ve decided to step up to their quadcopter because it can be used both indoors and outdoors, it’s relatively easy to master for a novice but still a whale of a good time for intermediate pilots, and a steal at just $90.

    The V262 is much larger than the coax copters we’ve reviewed, but is still light because it’s primarily made from a sturdy foam known as expanded polypropylene (EPP) which won’t break up like Styrofoam if (or when) the heli crashes. It can be patched with epoxy if necessary. This machine is much more durable than you’d think when you take it out of the box, strong enough to be able to carry a cell phone camera or other optional equipment like bubble shooters as payload. It’s also fast (with multiple selectable power levels) and able to go as high as you’d like.

    The four rotors and six-axis internal gyro do a great job of keeping the copter level while flying, and since there are four channels with the ability to control the roll (done with one of the two control sticks), the V262 is also able to do some great tricks like 360° flips, once you’ve gotten used to flying it – and it lands like a charm. It even has mounted LEDs for night flying, and the foam shell can be removed and a number of mods (including batteries with more capacity) can be added once you’ve become an ace.

    This heli does take well over an hour to recharge, but that’s really the only downside we’ve found. Whether it’s as a really fun toy or for early “drone training,” the V262 is well worth its surprisingly low price.

    Details of the WLtoys V262 Big 6 Axis RC Quadcopter RTF

    Style

    Quadcopter

    Weight

    3.2 pounds

    Transmitter

    Four-channel, 2.4 GHz RF

    Control

    Throttle, elevator, rudder, ailerons

    Flight time per charge

    8-10 minutes

    Power

    LiPo 800mah rechargeable battery for copter, 6 AA batteries for controller

    Size

    23 x 22 x 5 inches

    Warranty

    None specified

    Blade mSR X

    Blade mSR X

    We wouldn’t consider a top 5 list of RC copters complete without a fixed-pitch model, so once again we turn to Blade. The mSR X is a ready-to-fly heli that mixes the stability of the coaxial helicopters we’ve looked at so far, but with the control, agility and speed that come with a fixed-pitch single-rotor copter. The reasons this machine performs so well are its flybarless system that give it the feel of a more advanced collective-pitch heli, and a terrific AS3X stabilization system which doesn’t make you feel like you’re fighting the controls.

    You’ll get terrific speed and agility when flying, as long as you’re not fighting a wind. This is a light machine that’s best used outdoors in calm conditions, or indoors once you’ve gained enough control over it to fly at fast speeds in tight spaces. As a fixed-pitch copter, the mSR X isn’t the model you want to do fancy tricks, but it’s exceptional for everything else.

    Those who are advanced fliers would understand much of the technical mumbo-jumbo we could use to describe the advantages of the mSR X, but for those likely to be reading this review we’ll deal with the question you’d be more likely to ask: can I fly this copter without previous experience? The answer is yes – but there will be a pretty steep learning curve; you’d probably be happier trying the Scout CX or the Syma for a little while before stepping up. One helpful feature is that as on the Scout, there’s a “beginner mode” (which you have to specifically engage on the mSR X) that will let you play around at slow speeds for a while without lifting off and immediately crashing into a wall or tree. Don’t let that scare you; this is a very durable RC helicopter so it can take some abuse – but it wouldn’t hurt to buy some extra parts when you purchase it. You can also upgrade to a programmable Spektrum transmitter which will let you “slow things down” as you learn, and then goose them up even more once you’re a pro. Expect to pay around $100 for the ready-to-fly unit.

    Details of the Blade mSR X

    Style

    Fixed-pitch

    Weight

    1.09 ounces

    Transmitter

    Four-channel, 2.4 GHz RF

    Control

    Throttle, elevator, rudder, ailerons, more

    Flight time per charge

    5 minutes

    Power

    LiPo 150mah rechargeable battery

    Size

    16 x 8 x 6 inches

    Warranty

    Only against manufacturing defects

    Blade 130X BNF

    Blade 130X BNF

    We figured that we’d end our list with a brief mention of our choice for the best single-rotor collective-pitch heli, for those who have gotten tired of flying coaxial and fixed-pitched machines and want something more challenging. Once again, we have to choose a Blade.

    The 6-channel 130X flies just like the real thing since it’s a collective-pitch helicopter, and you’re able to change the pitch of all of the blades in unison to change the flying height. That makes the experience more thrilling, but not something you can tackle without some RC copter experience. This model is BNF (bind and fly) so it comes without a transmitter and is not ready-to-fly; you’ll need your own Spektrum transmitter in order to get going. Once you do, though, you’ll find this machine flies straight, flies fast, and can really shine when performing power climbs and aggressive maneuvers, thanks to its outstanding AS3X stabilization system. We won’t go into all of the detailed construction details since this is probably beyond the range of most readers, but you owe it to yourself to check them for yourself if this helicopter intrigues you.

    You’ll pay close to $400 for the 130X, and that’s without the transmitter and accessories. But if you’re looking at sub-micro collective-pitch helis, that shouldn’t scare you – in fact, it should impress you as a great price for a terrific machine.

    Details of the Blade 130X BNF

    Style

    Collective-pitch

    Weight

    3.8 ounces

    Transmitter

    Not included, requires 6-channel Spektrum

    Control

    Throttle, elevator, rudder, ailerons, more

    Flight time per charge

    5 minutes

    Power

    LiPo 300mah rechargeable battery

    Size

    13 x 12 x 5 inches

    Warranty

    Only against manufacturing defects



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