We recently had messages from a number of parents who were looking to buy their kids remote control aircraft. As you know, RC toys are seriously awesome, and we don’t know any kids who don’t love playing with them. However, finding the right kind can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re not fully clued up on these things, and many parents have been asking whether they should get an RC helicopter or a quadcopter for their kids.
In this article, then, we break down the differences, pros and cons of each, and help you decide which will make the best present for your little one.
We’re pretty sure you know what a helicopter looks like – its a flying vehicle with two sets of propellers, one horizontal on the top and one vertical at the end of the tail. RC helicopters have been very popular as both kids toys and as enthusiast or hobbyist models, and as such, manufacturers of drones, helicopters and other RC’s have had many years to develop and improve their designs.
Stability Although it seems counter intuitive, as a helicopter has two engines and a quadcopter has 4, the helicopter is actually the more stable vehicle in the air. This is because he helicopter only has to worry about its main engine while the tail propellers help balance it. Helicopters can slow down and speed up quicker than the quad.
Responsiveness As your helicopter has less engines than the quad, it tends to respond to the controls a little quicker and more effectively
Flight time Helicopters tend to last much longer in flight than quadcopters, due to the the fact that again they have less engines and also because quadcopters electronics are much more complex in order to balance the quad, so they eat up the battery charge a lot quicker.
Acrobatics If you kid is looking for an RC aircraft to do some crazy stunts and tricks with, a helicopter is the way to go.
Harder to control In a helicopter, everything is at the fingertips of the controller, and it takes a bit of skill and finesse to get it to fly well. You really should get an experiences pilot to teach you kids how to fly one.
Easier to damage Crashing is always going to be the worst time for any RC fan, and unfortunately, one bad crash for an RC helicopter can require serious repairs, and it might even be cheaper to just buy a new one. Quad copters are much more durable
A Quadcopter, also called a quadrotor, is a form of helicopter with four engines instead of two, and all the engines are on the top. They are very popular as kids toys and especially so with the Youtube generation as they are great for attaching cameras and filming with.
Easy to control and fly Unlike helicopters, were you need to control every aspect of the machine, quadcopters have inbuilt sensors and circuits which help you to fly. The quad needs to use all four engines in different ways to fly, turn, speed up etc, and the electronics take care of a lot of this for you, therefore making them much easier to fly then helicopters.
Durable Quadcopters are more durable than helicopters and much more likely to survive crashes. They are not invincible though
Filming Quads are much better at carrying things, like cameras, and as such they are much better RC vehicles if your kid wants to strap a camera to it and make some films. Some quads even have cameras built in.
Less Flight Time Quadrotors have more engines and much more electronics than a helicopter, so they tend to chew through the batteries a lot quicker.
Less room for expertise Once you master the controls of a good RC helicopter, you can pull off all kinds of crazy stunts and impressive flying tricks. As quads have simpler controls, they just don;t have the capacity for this daredevil flying style.
Quadcopters vs Helicopters – which should you buy?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how good your child is with RC vehicles and what they want to use them for. Budget is also going to be a big factor. However, we hope that the following broad guidelines will come in handy for you.
If your child is a serious RC enthusiast and is looking for a challenging vehicle that they can master over time and eventually go crazy with, think about a RC helicopter. Remember, though, these are very difficult to use, and can be dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced pilot, so we recommend having someone teach them how to fly it at first. Maybe there is an RC club or hobby group near you that can help?
If you want to get your kid something that is pretty easy to get the hand of without worry over complex controls, a quadcopter is going to suit them more. Also, if your little pilot wants to use the RC flyer to make videos, we definitely recommend going with the quad.
Regardless of what you decide to buy, we just want you to remember that your children, especially younger ones, should be supervised when using either of these. These things can cause a little damage if used recklessly, and no one wants to get a propeller in the face, so make sure your child enjoys themselves safely with these cool toys.