There is nothing more exciting than watching an RC helicopter zip through the air, taking a sudden nosedive to avoid a tree that seems to have popped out of nowhere. It soars again though, in the next few seconds making deft turns and dancing around a million obstacles before coming to a gentle stop.
The best RC helicopters offer unmatched performance and uninhibited fun. But with a hundred different varieties to choose from and an equal number of brands pitted against each other, finding one that best suits you is not an easy task at all. Thankfully, we help you cut through the bull and get what you are looking for.
Best RC Helicopter Reviews of 2017
|#1 - E-flite’s New Blade mCX2|
|#2 - Protocol – Predator SB – Lg.|
|#3 - Blade 230s RTF|
|#4 - Lutema Heligram Remote Control Helicopter|
|#5 - UDI U13A 3 Channel RC Helicopter|
#1 – E-flite’s New Blade mCX2 Review
E-flite’s Blade mCX2 is the step-up in E-Flite’s legendary MCX range of RC helicopters which bridged the gap between micro coaxial helicopters and higher priced hobby grade helicopters. It greets you with a new design and a few new features, but stays true to the range, with its easy-to-fly controls.
The newly designed E-flite Blade mCX2 draws inspiration from some of the more popular models like the Blade Msr (miniscule grommets attached to the body) and CX2 (full sized body). The result is a larger-than-normal form factor that will command attention as it soars to the air.
The body has also been divided into two havles which allows you to easily remove the back half for adding custom parts or for replacing damaged ones.
The optional boom attachment with the weight can replace the tail part and allows you to change the characteristics of the MCX2.
The LED lights on the MCX2 take it to a completely new level in the redesign. At the forefront is the flashing navigation lights in red and green and the new tail light in red, which combine to add a stylish and authentic look to it that was clearly lacking in earlier models.
Switch off the lights in the room and take this to the air. It looks achingly cool and you will instantly love the new styling.Check the latest price on Amazon.com!
How it Performs (and why it’s the Best Remote Control Aircraft):
But the redesign is not all cosmetic. There are some very robust changes in the components which make the MCX2, a powerful entrant in our list.
At the heart of the MCX2 is a newer and stronger motor which adds a zing to its performance. It is noticeably faster, especially with the optional POD attachment.
A new 5 in 1 control board replaces the old one in MCX and the battery is upgraded to a 120 mAh 14C single cell LiPo. Another neat little addition to the MCX2 is the flyer selectable dual position swashplate. Modify this to get better cyclic pitch and make this go even faster.
The MCX2 comes in two versions. The first one is an RTF (Ready to Fly) version while the second one is a Bind and Fly version which does not include a radio in the package. You can pair it with any Spektrum radio to fly it.
This is one stable chopper that is extremely easy to control. It is ready to fly out of the box and does not need any trimming. The controls are so easy that make this almost impossible to crash unless you are flying blindfolded. Once you do get a hang of it, you can tinker the settings to increase the forward speed and the maneuvers are easy. It is responsive, but not overly too, making it the perfect choice for newbies looking for more than a small toy to fly around.See what other customers are saying!
Our Favorite Features:
- Stunning new design with a larger appearance
- Stylish new graphics with the BLADE logo on the tail
- An array of new LED lights including navigation lights
- Stronger motor for enhanced performance
- Precision swashplate with user-selectable control settings
- Optional POD attachment with weight
- Stable and easy to fly
- 15 minutes of flight time
- No trimming required
The MCX2 is a worthy successor to the MCX. It is bigger, more stable and extremely stylish. Irrespective of whether you are upgrading from a smaller coaxial or looking for your first micro rc coaxial, the E-Flite MCX2 is the best rc helicopter choices you have.
#2 – Protocol – Predator SB – Lg. Review
Why would you want to settle for anything lesser and smaller in size when you can get one of the biggest RC helicopters for the same price? Enter the Predator SB from Protocol. This is a big outdoorsy helicopter that is incredibly stable and easy to fly.
Type: 3.5 Channel
The Protocol Predator SB will surprise you with its size. This is not a typical micro helicopter which you can fly indoors. It is 21 inches in length and boasts of a durable metal frame that can take a few bumps without even getting scratched.
The design is incredibly stylish. The Green and silver color scheme with the sporty graphics (The Protocol logo on the fuselage and the tail) and the silver skid landings make it look hobby-grade. To top it off, there are a few LED lights that add to the appeal.
The Protocol Predator is designed for the outdoors. This remote helicopter features a servo-driven single blade system that stays steady as a rock when it lifts off the ground. There is minimal strafing and very little yaw. It hovers in place without you touching any of the controls.Check the latest price on Amazon.com!
How it Performs (and why it’s the Best Blade Helicopter!):
To ensure that you get precise directional movement, the Predator SG features an electronic gyro stabilizer.
If you are new to RC helicopters, then ensure that you take some time to read the instructions about pairing it and keeping the gyroscope steady before pairing. These are seemingly simple tips that can make a difference in your ability to control it.
Also, never attempt to fly this outdoors on a windy day. Even the slightest draught of wind can send it off-track. We attempted to fly outside when the wind speed was at least 15 mph and it flew at least 50 feet into the air before finally landing on the roof.
However, the Protocol Predator SG features a high speed mode which can be activated to gain better control on a windy day.See what other customers are saying!
Our Favorite Features!
- Large and stylish!
- 21 inches in length
- Durable metallic frame
- 5 channels with 2.4 GHZ remote control
- Fast charging (1 hour) for up to 15 minutes of flight time
- Electronic gyro stabilizer
- Servo driven single blade system
Oh, it’s also the best under $100!
The Protocol Predator is the perfect choice for so many reasons. It is larger than a typical micro helicopter, it is perfect to take outdoors, it is easier to control and has a gyro for stable directional movement. At 3.5 channels, you are not overwhelmed with the directional controls either. Go for it.
#3 – Blade 230s RTF Review
A rule of thumb for beginners is to stick to coaxial helicopters that are easy to fly and control. But what if you can get a collective pitch helicopter with all the swanky moves that is equally easy to fly? That’s what the Blade 230s brings to the table.
Type: Collective Pitch
The Blade 230s RTF is a fully assembled ready-to-fly helicopter that is stable, sturdy and will introduce you to some of the best moves that you can make.
The Blade 230s RTF is what the pros like to fly. But it will not intimidate you with its controls.
Rather, it has a very easy air about it and you will take a liking to it in minutes.
This is a size 230 helicopter with a very stylish and vivid design.Check latest price on Amazon.com!
How it Performs (and why it’s the Best Collective Pitch Helicopter!):
The airframe is extremely durable but lightweight which enhances the control and stability. The ABS blades are impact resistant and a few crashes, which are inevitable if it’s the first time you are flying a collective pitch, will do nothing to damage the helicopter.
Flying this is ridiculously easy. You may have to run the trimming routine if you find it spinning out of control or are unable to control it. Features like the SAFE® technology and the stability mode allow precise directional movement even when you are banking or making deft turns.
One of the best features of the Blade 230s is the Panic mode which allows you to stabilize the helicopter if a crash is imminent. The helicopter responds fast and you can minimize the damage considerably. The brushless motors (both main and the tail) give it an additional boost in power, which can be felt the moment you take this best toy helicopter to the air.
The metal gear cyclic servos take the precision to a different level. To ensure that you maximize the flight time and you have enough power on the best toy helicopter for the advanced moves, the Blade 230s features a 800mAh 3S Li-Po flight battery. It lasts long and has plenty of juice left after a normal flight.See what other customers are saying!
Our Favorite Features:
- Ready to Fly
- Lightweight airframe with vivid design and sporty graphics
- SAFE technology and stability mode for stable take offs and maneuvers
- Progressive flight mode for beginners to get adapted to the controls
- Panic mode for quick recovery and minimizing damage during an out-of-control flight
- Brushless motors (main and tail)
- Metal gear cyclic servos unlike the plastic servos on earlier models
- E-flite® 800mAh 3S Li-Po battery for longer flight time and fast charging
If it’s your first collective pitch remote control aircraft, then go for the best one with a reasonable price tag and a bundle of features that make it immensely easy to fly. The Blade 230s will introduce you to the fun of CP flying with some really cool moves without intimidating you with uncontrollable responsiveness. A fun ride that will last long.
#4 – Lutema 2.4GHz Heligram Flight Simulator Remote Control Helicopter with LED Review
Lutema takes the excitement of RC helicopters to another level with the new 2.4GHz Heligram Flight Simulator Remote Control Helicopter that allows you to project your own custom messages in bright LED lights.
The Lutema 2.4GHz Heligram is a fantastic new addition to a hobby that was clearly lacking innovation. By bringing in a new LED technology that displays custom messages under the rotor blades, it takes the excitement to new levels and children just love watching this one take to the air.Check Latest Price on Amazon.com!
How it Performs (and why it’s the Best 3.5 Channel Coaxial RC Helicopter!):
Lutema calls it SkyText technology. And the custom message needs to be entered in a software program that syncs with the helicopter. Once you begin to fly, the message is then displayed under the rotor blades.
The perks of owning this RC helicopter go beyond the LED message though. The Lutema Heligram is beautifully designed with a durable all-plastic frame that is perfect for beginner crashes. At 8.5 inches length, it is perfect for flying indoors. But with features like the Gyro 360 for enhanced stability and a 100 feet range, you will be tempted to take this outside.
Unlike most RC helicopters, the Lutema Heligram doesn’t get blown off with the slightest gust of wind. It is pretty stable even on a mildly windy day. However, do not attempt to fly it if the wind is strong.
One of the best features is the HOTAS (Hands on Throttle and stick) Designed Remote which gives you a realistic look and feel. It has a simulated force feedback that feels extremely cool as the Lutema makes turns and maneuvers.See what other customers are saying!
Our Favorite Features:
- Beautifully designed 3.5 channel coaxial helicopter
- HOTAS (Hands on throttle and stick) remote control for realistic flying
- Throttle feedback and in flight sound simulates a real flight
- Custom LED message that can be displayed under the rotor blades
- 360 degree gyro for stability in flight
- 100 feet range
With a pocket-friendly price tag, the Lutema Heligram is one of the best for beginners. The features make it a fun ride and a great gift for the upcoming holiday season.
#5 – UDI U13A 3 Channel 2.4GHz Metal RC Helicopter w/ Video Camera Review
The UDI U13A is perfect for movie buffs who dream of stunning aerial visuals but cannot afford a high priced drone. It has a built-in camera and a 500 feet range that allow you to capture some great pictures and videos from the air.
With an all-black matte metallic body, the UDI U13A looks very similar to a Black Hawk MH-60. There are minimal graphics too which make it look like a perfect professional stealth copter out on a mission.
The Metal alloy frame is perfectly complemented with a flexible flybar and elastic blades that will endure any crashes or bumps.Check Latest Price on Amazon.com!
How it Performs (and why we think this is the Best 3 Channel Coaxial RC Helicopter):
The UDI U13A is very responsive to controls. So, it will take off in a flash as you move the throttle upwards. Along with the turns in both directions, it has four basic movements. This allows you to customize the videos and pictures you shoot. Once you get a hang of the controls, it is possible to create some really amazing videos with the UD1 U13A.
The directional movements are steady and there is minimal side drift, which is a common problem. Also, the YAW is controlled allowing you to make turns without the helicopter spinning rapidly.
It hovers steadily and does not require any trimming, making it ready to fly out of the box.
Powering the UDI U13A is a 3.7V 580mah Lipo battery which increases the flight time to 15 minutes which is amazing at this price point. To ensure that you don’t end up frying the battery, it features an overcharge protection. This also prolongs the lifespan of the battery.
The videos and images captured by the UDI U13A are recorded on a Micro SD Card and a card reader is included in the package for easy transfers.See what other customers are saying!
Our Favorite Features:
- All-black metallic frame design
- Built-in camera to capture videos and images
- Easy to control and exceptionally stable
- 3 channel helicopter with 4 directional movements in addition to the turns
- 3 axis gyro and flybar
- 7V 580mah Lipo battery for enhanced flight time
- Over charging protection
- Replacement parts easily available
Buy it for the camera or even otherwise, the UDI U13A is a great RC helicopter. For experienced flyers, it offers a pocket-friendly drone alternative to take some cool pictures and videos. Your child will love this.
Types of RC Helicopters
Beginner RC enthusiasts are likely to be greeted with arcane terms that sound like technical jargon while venturing into the world of RC helicopters. Some of these terms are used to describe the technology which defines the particular RC helicopter model that you may be interested in buying.
If you find yourself staring blankly wondering what each type of these helicopters do, then here’s some lowdown that helps you understand the main varieties of RC helicopters and their features.
Skill level: Beginner
Conventional helicopters have one main rotor and one tail rotor to balance out the torque created by each other. A coaxial helicopter on the other hand has two main rotors that are stacked one above the other and spin in opposite directions, which nullifies the torque. These do not have a tail rotor and may also be called dual rotor helicopters.
Pros: Coaxial helicopters are easier to hover and subsequently, easier to fly. They require minimal assembly and come ‘ready to fly’ out of the box. For this reason, most beginner RC helicopters are coaxial.
Cons: However, due to the nature of the design and the two separate rotors which may produce different torques, these are not the easiest to control. A lot of times, you may watch it spin out of control and end up crashing your coaxial in your first flight itself. Also, advanced moves and maneuvers like banked turns are impossible to achieve with a coaxial helicopter. Having said that, the low price tag and the ease of hovering make these a great choice for an introduction to RC hobby flying.
Fixed Pitch (FP) Electric
Skill level: Beginner
Single rotor fixed pitch RC helicopters are the next level after coaxial helicopters and are also extremely popular among RC enthusiasts. The reason behind this is that the pitch for the helicopter is controlled from the transmitter. And this takes more than one channel. The multiple channels take more time to control and hence require more practice from the hobbyist. Eventually, more practice leads to better flying skills.
Fixed pitch RC helicopters are considered to be as close to true hobby-grade RC helicopters as it can get. The only caveat is that they do not have the collective pitch control to the main rotors which prevents them from attaining the altitude that collective pitch helicopters have.
Pros: Fixed pitch helicopters are the perfect upgrade from a coaxial helicopter which is very limited in its scope of maneuvers, altitude and turns. A fixed pitch helicopter uses the change in rotor speed to gain altitude or to descend. So, more the rotor power, the higher it can fly.
Cons: The tradeoff for relying on the main rotors is an unavoidable lag in the time these helicopters take to respond to the throttle stick movement. It is almost impossible to consistently maintain a constant height. Even if you do, it takes immense practice and flying skills to achieve this.
Collective Pitch (CP) Electric
Skill level: Advanced
Fixed pitch helicopters are succeeded by Collective pitch helicopters which are more advanced, cost higher and are noticeably difficult to master. These are not for beginners and often take months of practice to fly correctly. However, once you do master the flying, you can easily perform some of the most insanely cool maneuvers and tricks that you will ever see!
They may be advertised as ready-to-fly. However, these are by no means as easy to control or fly as the first two categories of RC helicopters that we mentioned. It takes months to master how to co-ordinate the motor power, the yaw, the cyclic pitch control and most importantly, the collective pitch control.
Other Terms that you may Frequently Hear:
But those are not the only terms that may sound like gobbledygook to you, especially if you are new to RC helicopters. Here are some of the other terms that you may bump into.
- 2 Channel: The easiest way to describe a channel would be to think of it like a direction. So, a 2-channel helicopter will move upwards and downwards, the most basic directions of them all. Any other experiment that you try with it will end up on the wall in more than one piece. So, stick to it. Most beginner RC helicopters are 2-channel ones. Another control that you will need to master is the Yaw. Ever noticed an RC helicopter spin on its own axis like its drunk and imbalanced? That’s the Yaw for you.
- 3 Channel: Add the ability to move forward and backward to a 2-channel helicopter and you have a 3-channel heli. You can now control three basic movements. Up and down, forward and back and the Yaw. The Yaw will only need to be controlled when it starts spinning out of control. Once you stabilize it and hover it, the other two controls come into play.
- 4 Channel: Now you get into more serious turf where the pros play and show off their skills. A 4 channel RC helicopter adds the ability to bank. Now you can go side to side while your helicopter is going forward and this is considered by many as the rite of passage into adulthood in the RC world. You now have four types of movements to master. And while this sounds pretty easy, it is not easy by a long shot. However, most of the new 4-channel RC helicopters feature a gyroscope which takes the brunt of the controls and does a great job at it. Your banking moves will be more stable than ever. Before you attempt to fly one of these big boys, it is recommended that you get some hands on practice on a 3-channel helicopter. Once you do master the moves on these babies, you will be ready to show-off your cool moves to the world.
- Gyro Stabilizer: Keep an eye out for this word if you are new to RC helicopters and are out shopping. This is what controls the Yaw and keeps your helis from doing the Kopak in midair. Beginners should always buy an RC helicopter with a Gyro Stabilizer.
- Indoors and Outdoors: Most beginner coaxial RC helicopters are designed to be used indoors. These have small motors and extremely lightweight chassis. This means that even the slightest gust of wind will send it skittling across the room into the wall. Outdoor RC helicopters on the other hand are more suitable to be flown in your lawn. These are heavier than indoor helicopters but will most likely not sustain a strong gust of wind. On a mildly windy day, you can let it soar around the lawn though.
- IR and Radio Control: Some of the newer models that are being sold in the market are essentially IR or Infrared helicopters. They use Infrared to connect to the remote control much like a TV remote does. So, like a TV remote, the helicopter needs to be in the line-of-sight. Also, if you have a TV working in the same room, then get ready to experience some unexpected turbulence and possibly, even a crash. RC or radio controlled helicopters on the other hand use radio signals to communicate with the transmitter remote. Without getting too technical, IR = Indoor flying and RC = Indoor and Outdoor flying.
Now that you are armed with enough information to navigate through the world of RC helicopters, here’s a little dough to help you understand what features to look for when you are out shopping.Go to Top
Things to Consider Before Buying:
Walking into an RC helicopter store for the first time is not devoid of its pitfalls. You can very easily be tempted into buying the biggest and the meanest looking hobby grade copter and find out soon that you cannot even lift it off the ground without crashing it a few times.
RC helicopters have a steep learning curve attached to it. And you have to go through the drill to gain some expertise and confidence. There are no two ways about this and you must keep this in mind when you go shopping. Else, you will end up blowing a hole in your wallet and having a crashed RC copter to show for it. Not a pretty sight.
If I were you, this is what I would consider before buying any RC helicopter and I also recommend checking some of the Best RC Helicopters for Beginners Reviews.
Your flying skills: Which one of the following three words best describes your skill and experience level with RC helicopters? Novice, Expert, Professional. If you are a novice, then do not even think of anything other than a coaxial 2 channel helicopter or a fixed pitch 3 channel at the most. Experts and Professionals can go for more advanced varieties. You will eventually outgrow your beginner’s RC helicopter. But it will teach you the fundamental skills that will be crucial as you progress to bigger and more powerful hobby grade copters.
Indoors vs. Outdoors: A lot of people do not consider this while buying their first RC helicopter and end up with a copter that they rarely fly. There are some people who prefer flying indoor RC helicopters and maneuver it around obstacles. They rarely venture outdoors with their copters. On the other hand, there are some who will rarely fly indoors. They love to soar their helicopters to the maximum height and make daring nosedives and maneuvers. Your preference will greatly affect your choice.
Power Source: Most RC helicopters are powered either by electric batteries or by glow fuel (nitromethane and methanol). There are some models that are powered by gasoline and turbine fuel, but those are only a handful. Batteries are silent, can provide up to 12 minutes of flight time on a single charge and are less expensive as compared to glow fuel. The advantage of glow fuel is that there is no limit to the altitude that you can take your chopper to. Some users are reported to have flown their glow fuel powered RC helicopters a mile above the ground. Having said that, they are extremely noisy.
Replacement Parts: Irrespective of whether you are a beginner who’s crashing his way to RC glory or someone who’s looking to custom-build their own RC copter, finding replacement parts is crucial to extending the lifespan of your RC helicopter. Most RC helicopter manufacturers are well aware of this fact and you will find a plethora of aftermarket parts that are universally compatible among similar helicopters. Some of the parts that you can expect to be looking for in the first few weeks or months are, the landing skids, the canopy, the batteries, the main shaft and the wash plate.
Construction: Beginner RC helicopters are usually made of durable plastic polymers that can sustain a few crashes without getting bent or warped. These helicopters are extremely lightweight and hence are not the easiest to control. Other than plastic, some of the other materials that are used to manufacture RC helicopters include aluminum and carbon fiber. The rule of thumb is that the heavier the copter, the easier it is to control. But this also translates into more expensive.
Price: Flying RC helicopters can be an expensive hobby. The chances of you throwing your money down the drain amplifies if you don’t consider the price of the helicopter before buying it. Never go purely on bling value or on the price tag. Cheapest is not always the best. While the price of the RC helicopter should not be considered as a deal breaker, it is important to be comfortable with the price tag. After all, RC helicopters tend to get damaged pretty soon. If you are new to flying it, then it can get damaged sooner than you’d expect it to.Go to Top
Tips for Flying your Helicopter Toy
If you have reached RC helicopters after getting some hands-on expertise with other RC toys, like cars or planes, then you must have some idea about how an RC machine responds to the radio controller. But that’s about where the similarity ends. RC helicopters are the trickiest of the lot to master. They take off vertically, are responsive to the slightest of change in controls and even an overzealous air conditioner can veer it off-track and send it crashing.
Irrespective of whether it is your first RC helicopter or whether you have crashed a few already, here are a few tips to help you have a safe first flight.
Learn the basics: Assuming that you have bought a ready-to-fly kit that comes pre-charged, start by learning the basic controls. Read the instruction manual that comes with the kit. Practice by making small and controlled lifts and getting the chopper to land back safely. If you are bothered about crashing it one time too many, then practice indoors on a carpeted floor. This helps you understand the responsiveness of the RC helicopter.
The Directional Controls: Depending on whether you have a two, three or four channel helicopter, it can move in four different directions, besides hovering on place. The Two channel RC helicopter will only move up and down and make turns. The Three channel one will o move forward and backward, while the four channel will move sideways as well. The more the channels, more the moves that the helicopter can perform.
Rest after a crash: It is a common mistake to pick up the helicopter after a severe crash and try to fly it again straight away. Not recommended. Check the condition of the chopper. Are any parts broken or dented? If yes, then the rc helicopter may spin out of control if you try to fly it again. Give it some rest before you attempt to fly it again.
Cooling the battery: Making back to back flights is a much desired feature among RC helicopter fans. But it’s not the ideal one if you wish to maximize your flight time. Making repeated flights will only reduce the maximum flight time that the battery provides. If the normal flight time is 7-8 minutes, you may find that a hot battery only gives you three to four minutes at best. So, after a flight, let the battery cool down before you make another one.
The Crash: There are two ways in which you may end up crashing your RC helicopter. The first is when it spins out of control due to the Yaw and ends up crashing on a wall or furniture, if you are flying it indoors. The second is when you descend too fast and make a crash landing. Start off by practicing how to lower the throttle without letting it get out of control. If you still find that the helicopter is about to crash, then disengage the throttle immediately. If the rotor is still spinning while it hits the ground, it amplifies the chances of the helicopter breaking.Go to Top
There is no definitive answer to this question because there are a lot of variables at play here. How old is your child? What type of RC helicopter did you buy? Where does the child intend to fly the helicopter? How big is the helicopter? The answer depends on a combination of all these factors.
Toy Electric RC helicopters or micro RC helicopters are small and generally considered to be safe as long as your child does not end up flying it into someone’s face at a high speed. These helicopters have lightweight plastic bodies that do not cause serious injuries and may be the best choice for you if you are concerned about the possibility of injury.
Even with the Best RC Toy Helicopter…
The risk of injury with these toys is only as much as with any other toy if misused. It is best if you do not buy some of the bigger and more advanced RC helicopters until your child gets a hand on the basic skills needed to fly and can control the helicopter.
Many-a-time, children do not have the patience and the skill involved to take up RC flying as a hobby. They just get bored after trying a few times to fly an RC helicopter and watching it crash repeatedly. In this scenario, a micro RC helicopter toy will be a cost effective purchase that will also give you an idea if you child is indeed interested in pursuing it as a hobby.Go to Top