The best RC helicopters provide hours of fun with tightly controlled maneuvers in tight spaces or free-flying over open air space. Our evaluation criteria focused on size, flight controls, flight duration to charge time ratio, and range.
After more than 25 hours of research and testing, our top pick goes to the Syma S107G 3 Channel RC Helicopter. It offers a sturdy metal frame for crashers, a built-in gyroscope for stability, and the strongest flight duration to charge time ratio on our list (7 to 10 minutes on a 20-25 minute charge)
- 1 Top 6 Best RC Helicopters Compared
- 1.1 #1 Syma S107G 3 Channel RC Helicopter – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 Tenergy Syma S107/S107G R/C – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 WL 4CH 2.4GHz Mini Radio Single Propeller RC Helicopter – Best Controls
- 1.4 #4 Cheerwing S107/S107G Phantom 3CH 3.5 Channel Mini RC Helicopter – Best Budget
- 1.5 #5 Remote Control Helicopter, S107H Aircraft with Altitude Hold – Best for Toddlers
- 1.6 #6 SYMA RC Helicopter, S39 Aircraft – Best Beginners
- 1.7 How We Decided
- 2 RC Helicopters Buying Guide
Top 6 Best RC Helicopters Compared
#1 Syma S107G 3 Channel RC Helicopter – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: This RC helicopter boasts an exceptional number of features, including a built-in gyroscope for stabilization, a 3-channel infrared control system for precision movement, auto stable, and a durable metal frame – all ready to fly out of the box. This makes it a perfect model for beginners with a higher initial rate of crashes and a lack of manual dexterity to perform tighter maneuvers.
The Syma S107G 3 flies for 7 to 10 minutes with each charge, with each charge taking only 20 to 25 minutes. It also powers off automatically when chocked and flashing lights help provide visibility at night.
The 6-AA battery controller is ergonomically-sound, with 2 joysticks for up/down and forward/backward/left/right controls, along with A and B frequency switch, trimmer, and an indicator light. Controlling distance is close to 10 meters, which means it can be piloted up to 32 feet above the ground.
#2 Tenergy Syma S107/S107G R/C – Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: This RC helicopter packs a punch, featuring wide infrared control, 32-level high precision speed controls, built-in gyroscope, and a solid metal body frame that can withstand dozens of crashes, even when the blades hit the ground first. This makes it a solid choice for beginners who prefer to fly indoors with wide infrared control capability.
This RC helicopter is good for a 7 to 10-minute flight time on a 20-25 minute full charge, one of the strongest flight duration to charge time ratios on our list. It also has an operational range of 33 feet, which makes it a hit in large mansions and enclosed patio decks.
No assembly is required, only requiring 4 AA batteries and a USB cable or controlled-enabled charge. Both the receiver and transmitter use the 2.4 GHz band, with 2 frequencies that allow users to fly up to 2 helicopters at the same time.
#3 WL 4CH 2.4GHz Mini Radio Single Propeller RC Helicopter – Best ControlsWHY WE LIKE IT: This RC helicopter is a jack of all trades, with basic and advanced controls (360 degree turns and hover mode), a 4CH 2.4GHz LCD Transmitter, and a range of 500 feet. This makes it a solid choice for beginner and intermediate level flyers who want to conduct breathtaking flight aerobatics indoors or outdoors.
Its advanced controls really help with stabilization, allowing users to adjust pitch if the RC helicopter tilts and favors one direction. It is an outdoor workhorse, rated at 3-4 on the Beaumont wind scale, which is equivalent to a gentle/moderate breeze enough to raise dust and loose paper.
The remote control is ergonomically sound and full of features, including an easy-to-read LCD display and dual throttle sticks. Flight duration to charge time ratio is below average, with 5 minutes of flying on a 30-minute charge.
#4 Cheerwing S107/S107G Phantom 3CH 3.5 Channel Mini RC Helicopter – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: This RC helicopter offers basic 3-channel, infrared controls (forward/backward/left/right/up/down), a built-in gyroscope for stability, infrared controller, a flashing light and a metal frame that is capable of withstanding dozens of crashes. This makes it a solid choice for beginners looking to fly indoors with no wind or drafts.
It offers below-average flight to charge time ratio, running 5-6 minutes after a 50 to 60-minute full charge, which pales in comparison to the Syma S107G ‘s 10 minutes of flying time on a 20 or 25-minute charge. For this, we recommend it for older toddlers and elementary school-aged children who can be distracted with other activities with each charge.
Many users have cited impressive durability, with solid performance when exposing to water, dragged, and run through several crashes. This makes it a solid candidate for younger children who appear to have a death wish with every repeated crash into a wall or who prefer to fly in enclosed areas such as garages.
#5 Remote Control Helicopter, S107H Aircraft with Altitude Hold – Best for ToddlersWHY WE LIKE IT: This RC helicopter is a solid indoor flyer with attitude, measuring 7.5 inches long with a built-in gyroscope and stable release throttle stick controls that allow the machine to maintain a certain height in the air. This is an excellent choice for beginners or kids looking to get their feet wet without advanced controls to distract them.
This RC helicopter’s flight to charge ratio is below average, offering 8 minutes of flying time on a 1 hour charge using the accompanying USB cable or transmitter. This ratio makes it best suited for kids who are performing multiple activities at the same time.
A remote control distance of 20 meters is respectable, perfect for flying in a large room. Controls included a dedicated button for takeoff and landing and LED flashing lights on the sides to keep little kids engaged. For an added bonus, the product includes a replacement blade to use in the event the originals snap off.
#6 SYMA RC Helicopter, S39 Aircraft – Best BeginnersWHY WE LIKE IT: This RC helicopter is the perfect indoor flying, with basic controls, a built-in gyroscope for stabilization in the air, infrared controls, and 2 control modes with high and low speeds. It is ideal for younger children or beginners looking to perfect aerial maneuvers before advancing to longer-range RC helicopters.
Lifespan is a big-ticket, with sturdy light-alloy construction and reverse connect protection to extend service life. It also includes flashing LED lights, making it a neat choice for flying in dark rooms. The flight distance is 10 meters, providing enough coverage for a medium size 107 square foot room.
Two frequencies allow 2 helicopters to run at the same time, making it a cool choice for siblings or semi-competitive younger children looking to shoot the breeze.
How We Decided
Finding the right RC helicopter could mean the difference between hours of trouble-free operation and exasperation with a flimsy plastic part, lack of stability in the air, and an outrageous flight to charge time ratio that forces you to discard it after 2 uses.
In determining which RC helicopter to buy, you should consider a solid flight to charge time ratio of around 7 to 10 minutes on a 20-25 minute charge for adults and 5-6 minutes of flying time and a < 60-minute charge for toddlers, which is suitable for each group’s attention spans. Our evaluation criteria also took into account its construction (preferred crash-resistant metal alloy over plastic ) and a built-in gyroscope to maintain stability in the air.
Our evaluation also prioritizes controlling distances, with our better picks maneuverable as much as 32 feet off of the ground. This presents more intriguing options with movement, speed, and interaction with the environment (hello, rooftop!) over indoor-friendly units with 10 to 20-meter ranges.
RC Helicopters Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
Our preferences go to RC helicopters with metal frames, which could withstand hard impact much better than hard plastic.
We prioritized RC helicopters with built-in gyroscopes for stabilization and hovering ability in the air, keeping it level with the ground. A minimum 4CH 2.4GHz LCD transmitter for beginner to intermediate users was also a plus, capable of basic speed and aerobatic performances, as opposed to a 6-channel radio control helicopter which is built for advanced aerobatics.
- Flight to Charge Time Ratios
To meet age-appropriate attention spans and patience levels, we opted for a 7 to 10 minute flight time/20-25 minute charge ratio for adults and a 5-6 minute to <60 minute charge time for toddlers.
- How does a gyroscope work?
Gyroscopes are responsible for keeping RC helicopters controlled in the air, regardless of increase or decreases in engine speed or rotor blade pitch changes. Specifically, they are electronic stabilizers that activate in response to tight turns left or right, “instructing” the RC helicopter to return to a level position.