RC Heli Magazine has collected a list of the top 10 currently available RC helicopters in the market.
The Top 10 RC Helicopters for 2014 from beginners to expert RC heli pilots.
How We Came Up With the List
Our list covered the entire spectrum from beginner all the way through expert levels.
Of course it’s not easy including some of the entry level helis in the mix, but we all had to start somewhere. We were happy to see that some of the advanced aircraft made the cut when everything was said and done.
We will modify and the list dependent on the 2014 sales data throughout the year.
Do you think we missed a heli that’s extremely popular? Let us know!
* Note: The list is not in any specific order
Why This Heli?
Durable | Fun | Great Starter Quad | Agility | Price | Great Trainer Quad | 5-6 Min Flight Time | Indoors or Outdoors | Fun for Experienced Pilots
There is nothing more fun than flying a quad and you will experience more fun with this quad than you can even imagine. If you have never flown a quad before, don’t fret; the Nano QX is a breeze. This heli is as easy as they come and makes for a fantastic starter quad. It’s smooth and easy to fly and has enough power for moderately strong winds. We recommend that you fly this beauty over grass for the first several attempts. The grass is a more forgiving if you roll the quad into the ground, which unfortunately is more likely then not on your first few flights.
Tech Overview: The tiny Nano QX is RC flying fun you can take with you everywhere. The Nano QX weighs little more than half an ounce and is small enough to fly in spaces no bigger than an office cubicle. Never flown a quad-copter before? No problem. The Nano QX uses the SAFE™ technology system with sophisticated flight control software to keep itself stable in a hover while in stability mode. If you get in trouble, just let go of the sticks. The SAFE technology system will bring the Nano QX back to a hover all by itself. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can switch the SAFE system to agility mode for faster flying speeds and more maneuverability. SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope and is central to the performance of the Nano QX. Even new pilots will feel comfortable with the Nano QX in stability mode because SAFE will make sure the quad is always in control and in an upright fashion. You will feel an immediate sense of confidence and be flying around like a pro in no time!
Why This Heli?
Amazing Performance | Feels like a 450 Class Heli | Durable | Very Stable | Micro Class | Phoenix Flight Simulator has a Model to Fly | Fantastic Quality
This is a real powerhouse for the price. This is not a heli for the beginner, although, once you get past the basics you can really handle this bird like it’s a 450 class heli. The aftermarket parts are a little pricey but the overall feel is amazing. You really can’t complain with a price of $249.99 when it comes to having a feel like a 3D beast. This heli would make a great heli to launch from the beginner class to the next level but be warned, like we have mentioned, it has some power to it. Check out the video below to see more about what this RC heli can do.
Tech Overview: The Blade® 130 X is a sub-micro, 3D stunner that eagerly performs piro flips, tic tocs, hurricanes, funnels and more with the energy and precision of a machine several times its size. At the center of this incredible performance is the AS3X® (Artificial Stabilization – 3-aXis) Flybarless System. The Blade® 130 X uses a 3-axis MEMS sensor and exclusive flight control software to deliver the kind of responsiveness and neutral stability that makes you feel like you’re flying a much bigger heli. This, along with a powerful brushless motor and shaft-driven tail, lets you push the limits, indoors or out, with absolute control. ** This helicopter is intended for advanced CCPM pilots only. It is capable of extremely high head speeds and aggressive 3D maneuvers.
Why This Heli?
It’s a 3D Beast | Excellent Design | 90 Nitro | Big Block Nitro Engine | Second Generation of Raptor | Flybarless System | Extremely Light Weight | Hollow 15mm Hardened Main Shaft.
When it comes to power the Raptor G4.1 builds on the excellent design and flight characteristics of the legendary Raptor 90 G4 platform. Thicker blade grip plates and longer posts improve the geometry of the control system and the precision of the cyclic pitch control. The Quick Calibration System makes for quick and easy setup of the control arms and swashplate. It’s a heli with some real juice and when your on the flying field it will grab that attention that can sometimes escape electric flyers.
Tech Overview: The Raptor G4.1 will meet and exceed your extreme 3D flight requirements. This is the next generation of 90 nitro! The thicker grip plate and lengthened post which result in precisely cyclic pitch control, the modification of side frames to fit OS105 with the optional 115T main gear. Incorporate some parts from E820 that this new R90 G4.1 has better performance than ever. Don’t be fooled though this is a beast and is only for very experienced RC heli pilots. It’s good to see that nitro is not complete obsolete in these days where electric systems rule.
Why This Heli?
Extremely Durable | Fun to Fly for Beginners | One of the Most Popular Helicopters You Can Buy| The price I mean $20 come on! | Gyro Installed | Coaxial | 5 Min Flight Time | Indoor Only | Makes the Perfect Starter Helicopter | 3-Channel RC Heli
This is without a doubt the best price to fun ratio heli we are recommending in this list. Of course it’s basic and it’s coaxial, but it’s stable and a blast to fly. We recommend as with most Lipo helis that you don’t drain the heli completely and that you limit your flight time to under 6 min to be safe. Also let the battery to cool down before flying again. That way you keep the system in the best condition. This heli is really an indoor bird as you would not want to take it outside for the wind will ruin any performance and you will deplete the batteries so quickly that it won’t be any fun. This makes a great heli for kids over 8+.
Tech Overview: The Syma S107/S107G 3 Channel Gyro mini Metal RC helicopter is 1 of the world’s newest, smallest and lightest RC Helicopter you can get! At approx. 7.5″ long, it easily fits in the palm of your hand and is fully functional, equipped with latest Gyroscope technology, which makes the Syma S107/S107G an instant hot seller in the RC World. This mini Gyro Metal helicopter charges directly either from the USB cable or from the controller which uses “AA” batteries and has a full-function trim control for the perfect flight.
Why This Heli?
The Best Aerial Photography and Video Heli on The Market | Integrated Gimbal and Camera | Ultra Stable | Fantastic GPS | Return to Home Function | Superb Quality | Expensive | As Fun as a Quad Gets | A Version Without the Camera is Available If You Own A GoPro
Anyone in the multirotor market knows DJI, they are the leader in aerial videography. The Phantom Vision II is a true beauty, albeit a little pricey for the wallet. This quad is one of the reasons most people call UAV’s the dreaded “D-Word” as in drones and it’s understandable. Everyday we see more and more videos surface of people using these helis for commercial work and unfortunately for devious purposes. Regardless, the future of the hobby is going to hinge on the technology that is introduced through the popularity of the multirotors. This platform is extremely stable and the advanced features such as linking with your smartphone for FPV really separates this from the pack. You won’t be upset that you spent the money on this platform; it’s a contender. Also, there is an version without the built in cam to use your own GoPro camera.
Tech Overview: The Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camera is the second generation of quad-rotor RC helicopter from DJI and features their own 14 megapixel wireless HD FPV camera, giving you first-person view (FPV) experience right out of the box. With a larger battery and improved prop design, flying time lasts to up to 25 five minutes, compared to around 14 minutes on the original DJI Phantom Quadcopter. Included with the Quadcopter is a 5.8GHz wireless controller (TX) that has an operational range approaching 1000 feet (300 m) line-of-sight. The camera is controlled via 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi using an app available for iOS and Android devices. Using the supplied mount, you can attach your smartphone directly to the controller, giving you a “heads up” display directly from the camera’s point-of-view with only 1/10 of a second latency. From the app you will also be able to start and stop video recording, take a snapshot and even tilt the camera up or down.While fully manual operation is possible, most users, especially videographers hoping to get the smoothest possible shoots, will opt for GPS Flight Mode. GPS Mode is an autopilot system that keeps the Quadcopter stable and right-side-up when moving, and holds it in a fixed horizontal and vertical position whenever you release the controls.
Why This Heli?
BeastX™ Flybarless Technology | Precision | 3D Fun Right out of the Box | 425mm Carbon Fiber Main Blades | Blade Quality | Inexpensive 3D | A Great Intro to 3D Heli | 500-Class Electric Heli
This is really great heli for someone looking to jump into the 3D arena. The price is not fantastic, but for the quality of the build including the carbon fiber blades and the flybarless tech, you really can’t complain. Blade has a fantastic reputation for service and support and is one of the main reasons people love to fly Blade aircraft. The Blade 500 X RC heli is a very powerful little 500-Class monster that will prove it’s worth at your flying field. The Blade 500 X brings you all the benefits of BeastX technology through the amazing Spektrum™ AR7200BX flybarless control system. This groundbreaking innovation combines a 7-channel DSMX® receiver with the BeastX system into a single, compact unit that weighs barely over ½ an ounce. Perhaps best of all is how simple the AR7200BX is to set up. Because BeastX flybarless technology doesn’t require a special interface to make adjustments, you can easily tune your heli’s response at the field using just the AR7200BX unit and a DSM2®/DSMX computer transmitter with heli programming.
Tech Overview: The Blade 500 X BNF combines BeastX® flybarless technology with the convenience of Bind-N-Fly® technology to bring advanced pilots a big, powerful 3D heli they can have flying in the time it takes to charge a battery. It comes out of the box assembled and equipped for aggressive 3D with an E-flite® 520H 1320Kv brushless motor and high-output 6S 30C Li-Po battery. The Blade 500 X awesome power is complemented by the kind of state-of-the-art electronics and engineering you would expect to find in more expensive kits that take hours to build. You simply charge the battery, install the main blades, bind the receiver and fly.
| $399.99 | Level – Beginner / Intermediate – A great entry level quad.
Why This Heli?
Made to Host a GoPro Hero Camera | Agility | Aerial & Video Photography w/GoPro (not included) | Great Price $399.99 | Horizon Hobby Quality | Stable | Ultra Fun | Inexpensive Crash Repair | Return to Home GPS | Great First Quad
When you first lay eyes on this quad I bet the first thing you thought of is “hmm this looks kind of like a toy” and rightly so. Then your eye may glance over the 350 QX and you may think to yourself “it looks somewhat plain” and you can’t really argue with that logic. However, when you discover that the RTF version of the quad has a price point of $399.99 including a Spektrum™ DX5E transmitter and a 3S 2200mAh LiPo battery and charger, things start to seem a little more interesting. Add to that a GPS, SAFE Circle, 3 flight modes, hands free options and a return to home feature. I would say that’s a pretty impressive list for the money. The Blade 350 QX3 is a quad that you don’t want pass by. Note: Blade has just introduced a new version called the Blade 350 QX AP (for aerial photography) which includes a gimbal and the C-Go 1 Camera 1080P/30
Tech Overview: Taking the knowledge of heli design to the aerial video market with the Blade® 350 QX, this highly capable quadcopter features dynamic flight modes that enable stable video capture from an included GoPro® compatible camera mount (camera sold separately). With the 350 QX, novices and experts alike can get involved in this exciting hobby with Ready-to-Fly and Bind-N-Fly® models. Additionally it comes with SAFE technology. SAFE™ (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology is a revolutionary electronic flight envelope protection system. It also offers smoother flight capability that battles windy conditions for you and multiple modes so you can fly with the level of protection and assistance that suits any given moment of the flight.
Why This Heli?
Align Reputation as One of the Best | Performance King | Many Extra Aftermarket Parts | Extremely Popular | Stable | Solid Stable Flight | 3D Galore | Impressive Build Quality
The Align T-Rex 450 Pro is a real powerhouse for the price. This is not a heli for the beginner, although once you get past the intermediate level you should be able to enter this class without any problems.
Tech Overview: This is the TREX 450 Pro 3GX Super Combo kit from Align. Built from the amazing 450 Pro platform, and with a new flybarless head, this heli uses the 3GX system to provide some of the most amazing controlled agilty possible! The 3GX utilizes brand new gyroscope sensors of the highest specifications when compared to other flybarless systems currently on the market, allowing it to be used under harsh conditions. Dual axis plus rudder sensor dramatically improves swashplate and rudder correction precision compared to last generation 3G. This is clearly noticeable in stable hover as well as highly aerobatic routines. 3GX utilizes 16 bit processor which is 4 times faster than previous generation, along with a completely re-written firmware. The result is a dramatic stability improvement from previous generation, with stability that rivals a flybarred helicopter, yet posses explosive agility. With built in pirouette compensation function, 3GX is able to stabilize the helicopter on a fixed point during pirouetting maneuvers. Pirouetting flips type of maneuvers are easily accomplished with precision. 3GX’s rudder control is similar to the high end GP-780 gyro in that rudder sensitivity is catered specifically for the helicopter’s rudder response characteristics, allowing consistent rudder feel even under high speed conditions. This excellent control feel will allow pilot of all skill levels to experience the perfect integration between 3GX and helicopter. Additional peripherals planned for the 3GX includes 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis magnetic compass, and GPS positioning system. While the commonly available position hold gyro system utilizes only 6 sensors, 3GX’s total of 10 sensors ensure positioning of helicopter with superior accuracy, providing the ultimate solution for aerial photography or other special purposes.
Why This Heli?
Performance | Ultra Impressive Agility | Used By Many RC Helicopter Professionals | Shocking Quality | Amazing Build Quality | Great Price | Could be the Pinnacle RC Heli Company of the Future
The incredible performance of the SAB Goblin 500 is nothing short of amazing. The SAB Goblin 500 flybarless electric heli will shock you with the precision and the handling. When you see an expert pilot flying one of these beasts you will instantly want not just one, but you probably will be envious of the pilot as these require some skills. These helis are screamers! Take a look at the video and see for yourself. The patent pending horizontal servo mounting system is state of the art and the full carbon fiber boom makes this a stable bird.
Tech Overview: This is the SAB Goblin 500 Flybarless Electric Helicopter Kit. Evil has come out to play, and the SAB Goblin is ready to take flight, bringing an unworldly level of 3D power that simply cannot be matched. The Italian designers at SAB have been up to no good, conjuring the Goblin for one menacing purpose – domination, and nothing short of it. Utilizing patent pending ingenuity, the SAB Goblin 500 takes performance to frightening heights by utilizing a state of the art dual belt drive power system, allowing massive brushless power to be directed to the main rotor without fear of failure. By utilizing a dual stage belt drive system, the Goblin 500 transfers this power to a helical output gear, which in turn drives the main rotor system and driven tail rotor system. Simply put, the power this system can handle is fearsomely evil. Ingenuity flows throughout the Goblin, taking shape in the patent pending horizontal servo mounting system that directs servo torque directly to the flybarless main rotor system via short, stiff linkage rods that rotate via bearing raced support. This system is intensely strong, allowing power transfer to be as direct as mechanically possible, resulting in precision and rigidity that is simply unmatched. By laying the servos horizontally, instead of installing them as a vertical unit, the CG (center-of-gravity) is optimally lowered, allowing the Goblin to take great advantage of stellar 3D performance. Lower CG directly equates to precision maneuvers throughout the entire realm of flight, allowing the SAB Goblin 500 to perform like no other helicopter flying today. Craving performance not of this world? Take hold of the Goblin as it takes hold of you – RC helicopter performance that will bring true fear above, and sheer terror down low.
Why This Heli?
Very Stable | Great Support | Crash Resistant | A Great Starter Heli | Fun to Fly | Indoor Only | Coaxial | Very Light | Looks Great | The Best Beginner Heli You Can Buy | 4-Channel RC Heli
The bottom line is that the Blade mCX2 heli is a classic beginner heli that wont disappoint you when it comes to flying. Although it’s a little expensive compared to a $20 Syma but the performance and quality is much better. Additionally, it holds up to a little more in terms of abuse. This is a fantastic beginner heli for children over 8+.
Tech Overview: Like the original Blade® mCX heli, the Blade mCX2 heli is easy enough for anyone to fly and small enough to fly just about anywhere. The mCX2 heli has the same coaxial, counter-rotating rotor head design as the current mCX heli, but it adds an extra shot of excitement with user-selectable swash sensitivity and flashing LED lights that are built right into the body. The pilot can change the control settings to enable this heli to perform at higher speeds than the beginner settings. This helicopter also boasts heading lock-like performance for maximum control. It also boasts more powerful motors and a higher capacity 120mAh battery pack. The mCX2 heli is the ultimate beginner-friendly machine with unsurpassed stability, incredible control and extreme durability. With a factory-installed 5-in-1 control unit with Spektrum™ 2.4GHz DSM2®-compatible receiver, main motor ESCs, mixer, gyro and fully-proportional servos come pre-installed. Freedom from frequency restrictions and great control are ensured with the MLP4DSM 4-channel 2.4GHz Spektrum technology-equipped transmitter. The ultra micro size and weight of the Blade mCX2 heli make it possible to fly this heli anywhere indoors.
Lots of Really Cool Helicopters
As you can see there are many quality remote control helicopters in the market that have made the top 10 RC Helicopters for 2014. The future looks like it will provide us with a plethora of new tech to keep the hobby moving in the right direction.
Do You Think We Missed Some?
Do you think we missed a really good heli that fits our criteria for this list (sales, popularity and quality)? Let us know by leaving a comment in the form below and we may revise the top 10 RC Helicopters for 2014.
* This list is drawn from our research in sales, popularity and quality across multiple markets during the last quarter of 2013.