Toy drones for children are currently all the rage, but our research revealed some unexpected findings when we put them to the test. Before purchasing a drone as a present for your child, it is important to familiarise yourself with the necessary information.

Kid flying a drone

Toy drones are becoming an increasingly popular choice for children’s playthings; however, before entrusting a child with the controller of a drone you have purchased for them, you should check to see that it is secure, child-proof, and of high quality construction.

Eight of the most popular drones that retail for less than one hundred pounds and are marketed toward children or as toys were put to the test by our team in September of 2021.

If a drone weighs less than 250 grammes, it is seen as being sufficiently miniature to be a toy and does not require a licence to be flown in the United Kingdom. However, flying any form of drone within five kilometres of an airport is illegal, regardless of how light or how little the drone may be.

Because our tester was of the opinion that none of the drones we evaluated were particularly good quality or risk-free, we are unable to suggest any of the drones that are mentioned below.

Continue reading for the complete results of our test, as well as an explanation of the potential dangers that parents should be aware of before purchasing drones for their children.

Are kids’ drones safe?
Physical safety

All of the drones that we evaluated came equipped with guards to protect the user from being injured by the propellers in the event that the drone crashed into an individual of any age while it was being used.

However, virtually all of the propeller guards on the drones that we examined either do not protect the propellers enough or are constructed of such a fragile plastic that they quickly bend when they come into touch with something.

When purchasing one of these drones for their children, parents should give careful consideration to the dimensions and construction of the propeller guards, determining whether or not they offer sufficient protection against the risk of accidental harm during use.

Keep in mind that many of these drones drift, which means that they may abruptly and inadvertently go in a different direction. This is something you should keep in mind.

Internet safety

A few of the drones that we evaluated came equipped with an internal camera that could take still images and capture videos while they were in the air. A companion app on your smartphone is required for the drones to establish a connection to in order for them to take images and movies for you.

These apps are capable of giving you a live feed from the perspective of the camera and allowing you to operate the drone using nothing more than your phone alone.

However, we found that several of these apps lacked information regarding users’ privacy and appeared to use networks that were not safe. This raised our concerns.

In order to determine whether or not these drones offer adequate protection for your child while they are online, our lab conducted stringent internet security tests, and the results revealed two major vulnerabilities that may be of concern to parents who are considering purchasing a toy drone for their child:

Open wireless network connections: In order to connect to your smartphone and deliver the point-of-view camera feed, the drones put out their own wireless network connections, which you will need to connect your smartphone to in order to use the drone. When we evaluated drones with this capability, all of them had no password protection enabled by default, and there was no visible way to activate it. This indicates that it is possible for anyone to connect to the drones so long as they are turned on and within range of one another.
Because there is no protective encryption in place, the live camera feed that is being sent to your smartphone by the drones can be intercepted and viewed by anyone. Because we were unable to detect any encryption on the drones we examined, anyone is able to connect to these drones and view the feeds from their cameras. This is compounded by the fact that the open wi-fi networks make this possible.
Kids’ drones test results

Our opinions regarding each of the drones that we tested are presented below in alphabetical order.

Drone

4DRC RCV2

Cheapest price: £39.99 at Amazon

Dimensions and weight: (Height x Width x Depth) 4.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 centimetres; 50 grammes

Stated range: 50 metres

Supposedly, the battery will last for ten minutes.

The manufacturer lists a charging time of one hour.

The controller requires a total of two AAA batteries (not included)

Age rating: 14+

Other important features include a 720p camera, autonomous takeoff and landing, control from a smartphone (via an app), two extra batteries, a charging dock for the batteries, four propeller guards, four spare propellers, an adjustable smartphone holder, and a little screwdriver.

The product’s portability and the fact that it includes extra batteries are both pluses.

Cons: Drift is severe, it is difficult to operate at a distance, the labels are unclear, and the software did not function properly for us.

Our judgement is that the 4DRC RCV2, despite its small size and portability, suffers from significant flaws in terms of flight control and app connectivity.

Because the functions of the individual buttons on the remote controller are not immediately apparent, you will need to devote some of your time to reading the manual before attempting to pilot the drone.

We had no difficulty using the controller once we had a greater understanding of the controls and had some practise getting used to them. Despite its bulkiness, the controller is not difficult to use in any way. There is a possibility that younger children will struggle to press the buttons.

The RCV2 has three different speed settings, but even when it was set to the slowest one, we noticed that the drone had a significant amount of drift. The controls for tilting did little to help remedy the issue, and we were unable to get the drone to hover without it wandering off in an unpredictable direction even when we tried.

When it was more over three to four metres away from the controller, the drone became much more out of control. As a direct result of this, some of our test flights resulted in emergency landings.

This drone offers some perks that are not linked to flight, such as how compact it is and how neatly its arms fold away when it is not in use. If you fold up the drone when it’s not in use, the controller comes equipped with a little space for you to put it in when it’s not in use.

It comes with two spare batteries, and if you charge all of them to their maximum capacity, you should have enough power to fly for approximately half an hour.

We were able to connect to the drone’s wi-fi signal, but the 4D FLY app was unable to recognise the drone or provide a live feed from the camera, so we are unable to comment on the quality of the built-in camera. However, we were able to connect to the drone’s wi-fi signal.

During our evaluation of this drone and the app that goes along with it for internet security, we discovered flaws that gave us cause for concern. This information has been sent forward to the manufacturer.

Avialogic Q9s drone

Avialogic Q9s

Cheapest price: £45.99 at Amazon

Size and weight: 5 x 17.5 x 17.5cm (H x W x D); 69g

Stated range: 60 metres Battery life is estimated to last 8 minutes.

Supposedly, a charge will take fifty-five minutes.

The controller requires a total of three AAA batteries (not included)

Age rating: 14+

Additional important features include automatic takeoff and landing, headless mode, variable speed, three different settings for the LED light display, and stunt mode.

The pros are that it has the best propeller guards we’ve tested, a high level of control even at close range, and it can perform interesting acrobatics.

Negative aspects include a tendency to float even in the presence of a mild breeze and a limited firing range.

The verdict is in, and if you’re set on purchasing a drone from this selection but don’t want one that comes equipped with a camera, this is the model we recommend.

The controller is compact and an appropriate size for the hands of children, and the buttons are clearly labelled for the player’s benefit.

It didn’t take us very long to figure out how to pilot an unmanned aerial vehicle. It is responsive to the controls and maintains a stable hovering position after an autonomous takeoff, so enabling us to finely manoeuvre it.

The Q9s is equipped with stunt controls that let you perform amusing flips at the touch of a button. It includes bright green and blue LED light rings that are wrapped around each propeller, and you can alter the patterns of the lights while it is in flight.

When it begins to drift, the tilting controls provide some assistance; nevertheless, because the drone is so light, even the slightest breeze might cause it to fly off in the wrong direction. When the weather was entirely calm, though, we did not run into very many problems.

When it was further away from us, controlling this drone was more difficult, as was the case with many of the others that we tried. Around 10 metres away, we became aware that the drone was beginning to act on its own will.

This drone, along with numerous others that we tested, has a headless mode, which means that it is always moving in relation to the controller even when it is looking in a different direction than the controller. This makes the drone easier to control, which is excellent for beginners learning how to fly it.

The Avialogic Q9s, in contrast to practically every other drone that we tested, features sturdy propeller guards that are built in. These guards provide enough protection from coming into touch with the propellers in the case of a crash. We ran it into a brick wall at full speed, and it appeared to have sustained almost any damage in the process.

However, the protection provided by these propeller shields is only effective at a horizontal angle; this means that if fingers are poked into the propellers from above or below, they are still likely to be injured.

DEERC D20 Mini

DEERC D20

Mini Cheapest price: £49.99 at Amazon

Size and weight: 4.3 x 16.2 x 19.6cm; 69g

Stated range: 40 metres

Supposedly, the battery will last for ten minutes.

The manufacturer lists an 80-minute charge time.

The controller requires a total of three AA batteries (not included)

Age rating: 14+

Additional important features include a 720p camera, autonomous takeoff and landing, the ability to fold up, control by smartphone (an app is required), a live camera view, headless mode, variable speed, and stunt mode.

Pros: High degree of control, a variety of entertaining stunts

Propeller guards offer very little in the way of protection and can move in all directions.

In spite of the fact that we were surprised by how little protection was afforded by the propeller guards, we found that the DEERC D20 Mini was one of the more enjoyable drones to fly among those that we evaluated.

The controller of this drone was our favourite part because it had the perfect size and proportions for both children’s and adults’ hands, and it was clearly labelled and simple to operate.

During flying, we discovered that it was quite reactive, nearly to the point of being uncontrollable; even a tiny movement of the joystick to the left caused the drone to lurch in that direction.

The D20, just like many other drones we tested, has a tendency to drift, however rather than drifting out to the side, it prefers to drift either up or down when it does so. The fact that the drone will at least remain in the same location makes this a preferable situation to have over one in which it drifts laterally.

The daring flips added an additional layer of adrenaline to the experience, which we found to be entertaining to fly with the D20 despite its ease of control.

The live point-of-view stream that is sent from the camera on the drone to your smartphone works very well, but the video quality isn’t anything to write home about, and you’ll have to put up with some input lag, which is a delay that occurs between you performing an action on the controller and the drone responding to that action.

When controlling the drone from a farther away, the input lag became very noticeable.

During our evaluation of this drone and the app that goes along with it for internet security, we discovered flaws that gave us cause for concern. This information has been sent forward to the manufacturer.

Drone

Hasakee H6

Cheapest price: £27.99 at Amazon (out of stock)

Size and weight: 3.6 x 10.5 x 12.5cm; 27g

Stated range: 50 metres

Supposedly, the battery will last for ten minutes.

Officially, the charging time is forty minutes.

The controller requires a total of three AAA batteries (not included)

Age rating: 14+

Other important characteristics include an automatic takeoff and landing system, a foldable design, a headless mode, changeable speed, and a stunt mode.

The advantages include its portability, its high level of control at close range, and the amusing stunts it can perform.

Negative aspects include a tendency to drift even in the presence of the smallest breeze, poor labelling, and a limited effective range.

Our conclusion is that flying the Hasakee H6 was enjoyable for us, but only in conditions in which the wind was entirely calm and the drone was quite near by.

The Hasakee H6 is a little quadcopter with folding arms and three different speed settings. Its construction is quite similar to that of the 4DRC RCV2. It is not equipped with a camera of its own.

Despite the fact that we considered the controller to be an appropriate size for the hands of children, we believe the labelling should be clearer. Before your very first flight, it is highly recommended that you become accustomed to following the directions.

During the flight, we found the H6 to be straightforward to manoeuvre, and we felt the flips it could do while it was in the air were enjoyable. However, we discovered that we needed to make frequent use of the trim controls in order to combat drift.

Due to the fact that it weighs only 27g, even the slightest breeze can cause this drone to move in an unexpected direction; therefore, you can anticipate having some control troubles even on the days when the weather is quiet.

As was the case with the majority of the other drones that we put through their paces, the level of control diminished the further the drone moved from its controller.

During the course of our examination of the H6’s longevity, we discovered that ramming it into a wall caused one of the propellers to detach. This was done while the propeller guards were installed, which reveals how little protection the guards offer to the propellers as well as any other object the drone collides with.

Drone

 

Flight Plan: Proflight D15 PFDB301

Drones Direct offers the best deal, with prices starting at £79.97.

Size and weight: 6.4 x 33.2 x 37.2cm (H x W x D); 179g

Stated range: 80 metres

Supposedly, the battery will last for 17 minutes.

The manufacturer lists a charge period of one hour and eighty minutes.

The controller requires a total of four AAA batteries.

Age rating: 14+

Other important features include a camera with a resolution of 1080p, autonomous takeoff and landing, foldability, a slot for microSD cards, control through smartphone app (requirement), live camera view, headless mode, variable speed, and stunt mode.

The battery life was the longest out of those that we tested, and it was very clearly labelled.

Drift causes significant problems, and the propeller guards don’t offer much defence against it.

The judgement is in: our examiner discovered that the Proflight D15 PFDB301 suffered severely from drift when it was being used, which significantly cut down on the amount of pleasure that could be had while flying it.

This beginning drone measured more than 30 centimetres from one end to the other, making it one of the largest models we looked at throughout our research. It is possible to fold it up, but in order to do so, the propeller guards must be removed and the propellers must be arranged in a precise pattern.

We also felt that the controller was too big for anyone with little hands to operate comfortably, despite the fact that the numerous buttons were well labelled and it was easy to understand what each one did.

We noticed that this drone had a significant problem with drift, despite the fact that the manufacturer claims it has a flight time of 17 minutes, which is a respectable quantity.

As soon as we lifted off, it would frequently decide on its own which direction to fly off in, and the trim controls and joysticks weren’t much assistance in correcting this. The fact that we couldn’t exert any control over it ultimately reduced the amount of pleasure we could have with it. Even when the wind was at its calmest, this drone continued to behave as though it were being blown away by a storm.

We were able to successfully connect this drone to a smartphone by using the YX WIFI app; but, due to the challenges we encountered while attempting to fly the drone in the first place, we were unable to perform an accurate evaluation of the quality of the live camera feed.

The Proflight D15 PFDB301 featured some of the most flimsy propeller guards out of all of the models that we examined, despite the fact that it had some of the largest propellers. Simply folding them in half with two fingers was no problem at all.

During our evaluation of this drone and the app that goes along with it for internet security, we discovered flaws that gave us cause for concern. This information has been sent forward to the manufacturer.

Drone

Ryze Tello, a drone manufactured by DJI

Priced at £99 from Amazon, Argos, Currys, and Drones Direct for the best deal.

Size and weight: 5 x 23 x 20cm (H x W x D); 80g

Stated range: 100 metres

The battery life is rated at 13 minutes.

Approximately one hour and ninety minutes is required for charging.

No additional batteries are required for the controller (no controller included)

Age rating: 14+

Other important features include a 720p camera, autonomous takeoff and landing, control through smartphone (an app is required), live camera view, five different flight modes, a stunt mode, and variable speed.

The high degree of control, the entertaining tricks, and the extensive feature set are all pluses.

Negative aspects include input lag when used at a distance and the absence of a controller in the package.

Our conclusion is that the Ryze Tello powered by DJI is the greatest drone that we tested, despite the fact that it has some flaws.

It does not include a controller of any kind, and there are no official ones that can be purchased separately. On the other hand, it is compatible with a wide variety of Bluetooth controllers sold by third-party companies.

We put the Ryze Tello through its paces by flying and controlling it via the Tello smartphone app, and we were impressed with how easy it was to do both, particularly at close range.

It was easy to take off and land, and as long as there wasn’t a significant wind, it hovered exactly where it needed to, and the controls seemed responsive and detailed when it was in the air.

The application allows users to experiment with a wide selection of exciting flight settings and modes. You can initiate movements such as flying the drone in a perfect ring and landing it on your outstretched hand by swiping in the direction that you would like the drone to flip. You can also flip the drone by flying it in the direction that you would like it to flip.

However, the greater the distance between this drone and our smartphone, the greater the input latency that it experienced.

However, the mobile software on your smartphone will alert you when the drone is moving too far away, at which point you will be instructed to bring the drone closer to you.

When the drone’s battery is getting low, it will perform a controlled landing in order to prevent it from making a crash landing.

We were able to take video while we were in the air, but the end product was frequently pixelated and prone to skipping.

Despite being the most costly and technologically advanced drone that we examined, this device does not offer a headless mode, which is a surprising finding.

Although the Ryze Tello isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea – some people might prefer a drone that doesn’t have a camera, and others might be turned off by how much it relies on using an app on a smartphone – our reviewer found that they had the most fun flying this model.

During our evaluation of this drone and the app that goes along with it for internet security, we discovered flaws that gave us cause for concern. These were communicated to both Ryze and DJI by our team.

A spokesman from DJI said:

“Tello drones are not utilised for high-security applications; their transmission range is relatively short; and because of their small size and restricted power, they are among the safest drones now available on the market.” Tello, on the other hand, allows users to set up password protection and offers encrypted communication.

Drones

This is a black Smyths Aerial Quadcopter Drone.

Smyths has the lowest pricing, which is £29.99.

Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth) of 5 x 32 cm and Weight of 92 g

Stated range: 50 metres

The battery is supposed to last for six minutes.

Supposedly, a charge will take sixty-five minutes.

The controller requires a total of six AA batteries.

Age rating: 10+

Additional important features include automatic takeoff and landing, headless mode, variable speed, and stunt mode.

Pros: Does tricks

Negatives include a low level of control, insufficient labelling, and a controller that is too large for the hands of children.

We came to the conclusion that the only thing this drone was truly capable of accomplishing was going up vertically, performing a trick, and then going back down.

Because it cannot appear to maintain a hovering position, the Aerial Quadcopter Drone requires that you continually push the joystick throttle. Because of this, you won’t spend much time tilting the controls because you’ll constantly be focused on moving in one of two directions: either upward or downward.

This is one of the larger kids’ drones that we evaluated, along with the Proflight D15 PFBD301. We believe that the controller is much too cumbersome for children to operate even though it is marketed as a toy.

In addition, despite the high-tech appearance, the controller has poor labelling, and there is no indication of what any of the buttons are for. You are going to need to refer to the instructions and commit their functionalities to memory.

This model does not include a built-in camera, which is something that some people will find appealing, and it has the ability to flip, but that is about it. This one looks to have no more strings to its bow than the majority of other drones that we tested, despite the fact that it is marketed as a stunt drone.

Toy

Smyths Stunt Streaming Drone

Smyths offers the lowest cost, with items priced at just 24.99 pounds each (out of stock)

Size and weight: 3.6 x 16 x 15.4cm (H x W x D); 40g

Stated range: 50 metres

The battery is supposed to last for six minutes.

Supposedly, a charge will take sixty-five minutes.

The controller requires a total of four AA batteries. Age rating: 8+

Additional important features include automatic takeoff and landing, control by smartphone (an app is required for this), live camera view, headless mode, changeable speed, and stunt mode.

The controller is an appropriate size for the hands of younger players.

The programme didn’t work for us, there was a low amount of control, and the labels were confusing.

As was the case with the previous Smyths drone that we put through its paces, the throttle of the Stunt Streaming Drone requires constant attention, which means that you cannot fly it for more than a few seconds at a time.

Despite the fact that Smyths is no longer offering this drone for sale, it is possible to still purchase it used. However, the problems that we discovered are still an issue for customers who purchased the drone before it was removed from sale.

Because the controller isn’t exactly clearly labelled, the first thing you should do before using it is to look at the instructions. However, it is an appropriate size for the hands of children.

Because this drone does not have an indicator light for when the battery is fully charged, you will need to use your best judgement to determine when it is done charging.

When compared to the Smyths Stunt Streaming Drone, we found that flying this drone was just as difficult and annoying.

Because the drone is unable to hover in one place, the only thing it is capable of doing is ascending and descending. Our experience with the directional controls was positive; but, due to the fact that you are either climbing vertically or down horizontally at all times, there is no real option to fly in a lateral direction.

We were not able to successfully couple the drone with the app despite the fact that it has a built-in camera and that there is an associated smartphone app that is designed to provide a live camera feed.

During our evaluation of this drone and the app that goes along with it for internet security, we discovered flaws that gave us cause for concern. This information has been sent forward to the manufacturer.

A representative from Smyths Toys was quoted as saying:

A boy is flying drone

When testing drones aimed for children, we learned the following five things:
Wind interference is a common problem for children’s drones, which are all required to weigh less than 250 grammes so that their owners can avoid the need for a licence. During testing, it was common for even the slightest breeze to send the drones flying in a direction that had not been planned.
In general, the footage captured by the built-in cameras on the drones that we tested was of a low quality. Even while they may be capable of HD recording, the actual footage they produce frequently contains significant distortion and glitches.
Although it is rare that you will find a kids’ drone with a battery that lasts longer than 10 minutes, many of them do come with additional batteries, which, once charged, can help to extend the amount of time that can be spent playing with the drone.
When you control the drone with your smartphone, the operating range is significantly reduced, and the input lag is likely to make the flight experience less enjoyable for you. This is because there is a significant amount of time that passes between when you tell the drone to do something and when it actually complies with your command. Due to the limited range, you will need to keep the drone somewhat close to you at all times or risk losing control of it.
Before being able to take off again, the majority of the drones that we tested needed to be reset and re-calibrated after making an emergency landing (even if it was softly on the grass).
How we evaluated drones designed for children

We chose eight of the best-selling drones that were either marketed toward children or sold as toys specifically for them, and we flew each one to determine which ones are the most reliable, simple to operate, and enjoyable to pilot.

We put each drone through its paces by purchasing it first, so our reviews are completely objective and should assist you in making an educated choice regarding whether or not to purchase a drone for your children.

Simple operation of the controller

We examined the dimensions and contours of each controller to determine whether or not children would have any difficulty manipulating the controls or pressing the buttons. Additionally, we looked for any design elements that might make it more difficult to operate the drone, such as loose joysticks or buttons that wouldn’t move.

We also evaluated the clarity of the controllers’ button labels, giving bonus points to those that used either words or symbols that were easy to understand and communicated what each button accomplished.

Experiments in flight

The ease with which a drone may be controlled and the degree to which it flies smoothly are two of the most important aspects that determine how good or awful a drone it is.

We evaluated how responsive the drone was to the usage of the controller, as well as how easy it was to perform basic manoeuvres such as taking off and landing, hovering, and turning. All of the drones that we examined are intended for children and novice users.

In addition, we were on the lookout for any complications that may have arisen throughout the flight, such as drift, the degree to which the drone is sensitive to interference from the wind, and whether or not it becomes more difficult to control as it travels further away from you.

Durability

The risk of at least a few of crash landings is high whenever people of any age are playing with drones, but particularly when children are involved. In order to determine how well each drone can withstand a strong collision, we flew each one into a brick wall at full speed and then inspected it to see if it sustained any damage.

Evaluations of Toys
Should you invest in intelligent playthings?

Are kids smart toys safe? The results of an examination into the privacy and security of some of the newest must-have toy tech gadgets are revealed here, and they are cause for concern.

Boy with teddy

If you are thinking about purchasing a smart or connected toy, make sure that you download our buying guide below before going to the store so that you can make an informed decision.

What exactly are these’smart toys’?

There is a wide variety of form and function when it comes to smart toys, which are often referred to as connected toys. However, all smart toys have some level of connectivity that enables you and your child to engage with the toy through the use of a smart device. On the other hand, the push to “become connected” shouldn’t come at the expense of one’s safety, security, or privacy. Particularly considering that some of the items we researched were marketed toward youngsters as young as three years old.

Where does the danger lie?

Simply conducting a search on “connected toys” on Google will bring up an alarming number of articles regarding the possibility of data being stolen or hacked.

Hackers and your house: tips for keeping your family safe at home

The fact that youngsters as young as three years old are being marketed to with smart toys causes cause for concern due to the vulnerabilities.

At this time, the European Commission and other agencies are looking into the possibility that such toys violate data protection regulations that are in place in the European Union.

On the other hand, our worries aren’t limited to insecure linked devices. Previous research have uncovered vulnerabilities in a wide variety of consumer electronics, including coffee makers, webcams, routers, and robot vacuum cleaners, amongst others. At Which?, we are going to evaluate even more goods to determine how well they protect your privacy and safety. Find out how to safeguard your smart home from intruders in the meanwhile by learning these five different strategies.

Read on for the findings of our research into intelligent toys.

Watch as our security experts demonstrate how simple it is to break into a smart robot, a smart cat toy, and other devices that posed a security risk to us.

What we’re advocating for are connected toys, if you will.

In 1967, Which? ran a campaign that was effective in promoting the use of lead-free paint in toy manufacturing. After about half a century, we are of the opinion that unsupervised, connected toys offer an equally significant risk.

the design of intelligent devices and toys needs to be approached with greater caution, and that the safety and privacy of the user should not be an afterthought. The security of internet-enabled and smart devices must be taken seriously by their manufacturers and sellers, who must make this a top priority from the very beginning of the product development process.

We are requesting that any and all connected toys with known vulnerabilities in terms of either privacy or security be removed off retail shelves immediately.

Is it possible for someone to hack your baby monitor?

In our research facility, we put a wide variety of smart goods to the test to determine how the privacy and safety of your household might be affected by using them. One such example is the use of baby monitors.

Having your baby monitor hacked is probably the last thing on your mind when deciding which one to purchase; nonetheless, our preliminary analysis indicated that there are legitimate problems regarding some models, and you need to be aware of these concerns before you purchase a baby monitor.

In each of our most recent reviews of baby monitors, we have included a privacy rating. This rating provides you with an indication of how secure the baby monitor is based on an evaluation of the following factors: privacy settings; the degree of difficulty involved in configuring the security features; whether or not any data is encrypted; and the level of protection afforded to any cameras, videos, or images.