An indoor drone is the perfect fit for pilots who want to try something new, practice tricks or video recording techniques, or just have a little fun.
They're also great for allowing you to hop on the sticks when the weather is too cold or windy to fly outside.
Here are my picks for the best drones for flying indoors in 2020:
Table of the Best Indoor Drones
12MP / 1080p
Best For Beginners
Best For FPV
Snaptain Mini Drone
Fly Responsibly: If you live in the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration requires many drones to be registered. This includes hobby and professional drones. Visit the FAA's drone registration page for more information.
Top Indoor Drones - Reviews
1. Best Overall - DJI Spark
With its onboard camera and precision controls, the DJI Spark tops my list.
Don’t let its compact size fool you: the high-performance camera has stabilization tech for capturing blur-free images and can survive in up to 31 MPH winds.
While most indoor drones are for inside use only, you can easily take the DJI Spark outdoors without worry. Its Sport Mode helps maintain agility in strong winds up to 31 MPH, something that’s unheard of in many miniature drones.
Helpful features for indoor use include the Quick Launch mode: the Spark takes off by recognizing your face and launches from the palm of your hand. Once you’re off, you can expect flight times of up to 16 minutes, depending on speed and environmental conditions.
When recording video, you can either choose to track objects or use gestures to snap photos while the Spark is flying. However, the gesture control does require an optional remote controller. Still, the smartphone compatible app gives plenty of photo and video editing capabilities, plus you can share your work directly via its interface.
- FaceAware liftoff technology
- Hand gesture aerial photo function
- Object tracking capability
- Wind resistance up to 31 MPH
- No propeller guards in base package
2. Best For Beginners - Potensic A20
Potensic’s A20 is a drone-only (no camera) with a range of features that make it user-friendly and fun to operate.
With altitude hold mode, you can hover at a set height, making the unit easier to control side-to-side.
Speed adjustment is also helpful for varying indoor conditions, as well as for conserving battery power. Single-key takeoff and landing ensure an easy start (and end) to indoor flying, especially for novice pilots. The takeoff feature propels the drone about five feet in the air; ideal for launching in indoor environments.
Headless mode is also ideal for kids and novices; you don’t have to orient yourself with the nose and tail of the unit. Instead, navigation comes from the direction the remote points.
Built-in propeller guards are excellent for protecting against small bumps (and for keeping the drone out of people’s hair), and the package comes with spare propellers, too. When the battery runs low, or if you fly out of range of the remote, the drone will beep until the condition resolves.
Charging takes around 30 minutes, so even if you don’t purchase a spare battery, you’ll be flying again in no time once it charges.
- Low battery/out of range alarm
- Comes with spare propellers
- No camera
3. Best For FPV - Rabing Mini
Rabing’s pocket-sized Mini folds even further to fit nearly anywhere you want to stow it.
Although it’s practically microscopic, this mini-drone does have full camera functionality. Hook it up to Wi-Fi and you can transmit video and images mid-flight.
The camera is an HD model with .3MP clarity which you can control with your smartphone via the iOS and Android app. If you have a VR-capable device, you can even see real-time flight details via your smartphone setup.
Recharge time is roughly 30 minutes, which isn’t bad considering a full charge will last up to 10 minutes when flying indoors. You can also utilize the one-key return function for crash-free landings and switch up speeds to maintain control even in tight spaces.
There’s also a button for 360-degree rolls, making flying this indoor drone even more fun for hobbyists who enjoy nailing tricks in mid-air. The gyro function helps maintain balance when you’re between tricks and trying to navigate around obstacles.
The Rabing Mini's headless mode avoids heads-or-tails issues, and while the manufacturer notes this drone is best for ages 14+, there’s nothing stopping younger pilots from taking it for a spin.
- Wi-Fi video/image transmission
- Folds to fit in a pocket
- No propeller guards
4. Best Safety - Force1 Scoot
Although many miniature indoor drones are a good fit for kids, the Force1 Scoot has had them in mind from the start.
Their mini drone is fully enclosed in a “cage,” creating a bumper to protect both the propellers and pilot (and spectators).
The device charges in under an hour, and when it’s ready, you just toss it into the air to get started. Its auto-sensors help it navigate, so there’s no remote required. Of course, for more experienced pilots, this unit is more for fun than for trying out tricks or recording images.
While it’s operating, the Force1 Scoot rotates in midair, sensing obstacles and moving away from them automatically. This is great fun for kids (and adults), as you can make the Scoot change direction by getting in its way or even bumping it (gently).
The plastic “cage” is durable enough that the Scoot can take a few hits, which is helpful when the battery dies—one of two ways to stop it. The other way is to sneak up on it and snatch it from the air—making for some fun and potentially challenging flying sessions.
- Object-sensing feature
- Toss takeoff
- Propeller guards
- Have to catch to stop it
5. Best Speed - Snaptain Mini Drone
With altitude hold and plenty of features for stunts, the Snaptain Mini Drone is fun for everyone from kids to adults.
Headless mode and one-key return make flying (and returning to base) a breeze, and there are three speed controls to conserve battery power and navigate around obstacles.
A 3D flip function lets pilots steer into a 360-degree turn, but this feature is best at a height of 10 feet or more. Whatever moves you’re making, the propeller protection helps keep the unit from damage throughout the ten minutes or so of flight time. Of course, exact timing varies depending on how fast you’re going and what tricks you complete.
While there’s no camera on this model, its agility makes up for that. Whether you’re steering around obstacles at high speed or performing tricks while hovering in the air, the Snaptain Mini Drone is surprisingly agile.
Of course, the durability helps give pilots peace of mind, since each prop has its own enclosure.
- Propeller protection
- Some functions need more height
Is it Safe to Fly Drones Indoors?
Plenty of drone manufacturers specifically include warnings about flying their devices indoors. But is it really unsafe to fly a drone inside, especially when you know what you’re doing?
Personally, I think flying a drone has an equal amount of “risk” no matter where you fly it; power lines or plugged-in lamps, bystanders, and obstacles of all sorts can pose a hazard. But let’s indulge the manufacturers for a moment and consider the dangers of flying indoors.
The most “risk” with flying your drone indoors is regarding damage to the unit itself. A smaller space innately means more obstacles, even if those obstacles are your ceiling and walls. However, a more experienced pilot will have fewer crashes than a novice, so that’s a factor in safety as well.
In contrast, flying outside carries risks like losing your drone to an updraft or crashing into your neighbor’s pond. Plus, no matter how experienced you are, equipment malfunctions can and do happen—meaning you could lose the drone in a variety of circumstances regardless. At least that won’t happen indoors.
What Camera Quality Can I Expect?
Most indoor drones are compact and although they might fit in plenty of features, cameras are a heavy addition to their frames. For that reason, not every indoor (read: miniature) drone comes with a camera.
However, the ones that have cameras as standard equipment are pretty impressive. In this category, camera function ranges from .3MP stills to a stunning 12MP still. For reference, 12MP is smartphone quality—which happens to be fairly advanced these days!
Video recording will offer a bit lower quality than stills, given the nature of flight filming, but you can expect video quality of up to 1080p resolution, which is nothing to scoff at.
Benefits of Flying Drones Indoors
Especially for hobbyists (or professionals) who typically handle larger drones outdoors, the question is, what are the benefits of flying a drone indoors? And apart from the fact that it’s just fun to tinker with a mini drone when you can’t get out and fly a bigger one, there are some perks to interior flight.
First, there are no weather conditions to influence your path of travel. Many small drones will struggle to stay the course in the wind anyway, making it nearly impossible to fly outdoors during some seasons. Inside, though, the only weather conditions are the ones you create—so turn off the heat or AC before gearing up to fly.
There’s also the fact that you can’t exactly lose your drone to the wind when you’re inside. While many drone operators have reported their units simply taking off—whether due to equipment malfunction or severe weather—that can’t happen inside.
And finally, flying indoors minimizes the potential damage to your drone because of weather. If you fly in rough wind, you risk nosediving into obstacles. If it starts raining—or you dare to fly in the middle of a sprinkling—you could wind up with rust on your drone. Sure, one trip in the rain probably won’t hurt your craft, but flying outside during all four seasons could cause damage.
While flying a miniature drone indoors is generally safe, I do recommend a few safety tips to avoid potential accidents. Keeping long hair tied back is a smart idea, even if your drone has propeller guards, because hair is easy to get tangled up in.
You should also aim to fly in areas with few obstacles. Pick a room with sufficient space to fly without smacking into walls, floor lamps, appliances, or other household items. A hallway or staircase may even make an ideal flying environment if you can avoid the walls!
Apart from those general tips, I also recommend maintaining control of your device at all times. Even if you’re just flying the drone so your cat can chase it, be aware of your surroundings and don’t get too crazy with your in-air stunts. Staying in control is essential for avoiding accidents (and damage to your drone).
How to Choose an Indoor Drone
While you might think bigger is better for an outdoor drone, the opposite is true of indoor models. Something more compact is ideal since it takes up less space and therefore stands a lower chance of banging into things (or people).
But what other factors are essential when choosing an indoor drone? First, propeller guards are often a top safety and convenience feature. They put a buffer between your props and your possessions—including long hair.
Hover, or altitude hold, settings are also helpful indoors. With these settings, you can prevent your mini-drone from gaining altitude (or losing it) while trying to steer. Especially if you want to practice turning and even spinning, an altitude hold mode helps keep the unit at a steady height while you concentrate on other maneuverability measures.
Similarly, a speed adjustment setting is also helpful indoors. After all, high-speed collisions are the number one mortality factor for drones of all sizes. The slower you move (as you get acclimated with your new drone), the less likely you are to crash.
And indoors, a crash can affect more than just your drone—you could be breaking things all over the house if you’re operating a new drone at high speeds. Of course, some have sensing technology that helps them avoid objects, another feature to look for when shopping for a drone for less experienced pilots.
Who Are These Drones Best For?
While I’m tempted to say that these indoor drones are for anyone who enjoys having fun, the fact remains that more experienced pilots likely won’t be too impressed with most miniature models. But hobbyists and professionals alike can enjoy exploring the features of these miniature drones, recording indoor highlight reels, completing stunts, and teasing the cat.
Models with propeller bumpers or obstacle-sensing technology make ideal toys for kids and novice pilots who are less than confident in their flight abilities.
Indoor drones are also an excellent choice for hobby pilots who live in climates that aren’t conducive to flying outdoors. If there are snow flurries or thunderstorms daily throughout multiple seasons, you can still fly inside while waiting for an opportunity to get outdoors.
When you want the full functionality of a regular-sized drone but prefer to fly indoors, you can’t beat the DJI Spark.
Its camera functions mean you can shoot videos and capture still images from the air, in some cases just using gestures from on the ground.
Liftoff from the palm of your hand is another feature the DJI has that is helpful for indoor flight but is also just plain cool.
High-tech features like these set the Spark apart, and there’s not much more hobby and even pro pilots can ask from a miniature drone package that’s complete with video editing and object tracking abilities.