The best pico and nano sized quadcopters (quads or drones) that fit inside their controllers

Just fun for flying
Quadcopters that fit inside their controller


Pico sized quadcopter next to a quarter

I use drone and quad interchangeably in this article to refer to quadcopters. Quads come in many different sizes. Not all manufacturers agree on a naming convention. Here is what I think makes the most sense.
From smallest to biggest:

Pico, nano, micro, mini, mid, big.

Any measurement I give for size of drone will be the wingspan. The wingspan of the drone is measured diagonally, including the rotors. It is the largest linear measurement you can make. The pico drone can hide behind a quarter, but still has a 2″ wingspan. =]

I’m most interested in the pico quads, because of being small enough to store inside it’s own small controller. If you’re looking for a beginning quad, I would definitely recommend these first five pico quads. Perfect for taking with you. Indoor and out. The nano quads at the end of the article are amazing as well. Especially for more advanced flyers, or if you’re looking for photo, video or VR. The FQ777 quads can charge the quad from the controller batteries. The Lishitoys quads have a removable battery, and the controller has a rechargeable one (both charge from the controller’s USB cable).

Note: Most of these controllers use 3mm stick studs. That means you can use an M3 nylon standoff as a stick extension if you prefer to drive the quad with your thumbs and fourfingers instead of just your thumbs. It gives me more tension and better control. I’m trying out black 15mm ones.I purchased a box of 6 different lengths so I can experiment. You can also purchase extensions from china for $2, or buy 3D printed american made ones on eBay for $4.
Charging your quad:
Most poeple recommend letting your battery cool down for 5-20 minutes before charging it after use. Also, people recommend slow charging this from an USB 2.0 port that only provides 500mA. USB 3.0 (blue port) provides 900mA, and will charge it faster, but may reduce your batteries lifespan. Most wall chargers provide 1000mA, and some up to 2100mA. These are not recommended. The output is labled on all power supplies and battery banks. To take the best care of your device charge it at 500mA or less. I like to charge my quads from my Android phone using an OTG adapter. I use a Nexus 5 which provides about 500mA.

Update: After testing the current draw on all my pico quads it turns out that they limit themselves to charge at 500mA anyway! So go ahead and charge them from anything with an USB port. Some of the nano quads however do draw more, up to 1A.

 

Pico Quads (2″ diagonal wingspan)
(Least expensive to most expensive)

$16 FLX Nano


$16 Fast Lane Radio Control FLX Nano Drone
(This was on sale at Toy’s r Us for $10 during Cyber season sales)
The best thing about this quad is it’s size, price, and you can buy it from US sellers.
Note: This particular model is extremely fragile. I’ve already had to return 3 or 4 of them. I would suggest not mail ordering it, but getting it from Toys r Us. That way while you’re learning, and breaking it you can keep returning it for a working one. They have a 90 day return policy. Keep your receipt. If it’s getting past the 90 days you can also purchase their warranty through square trade.
Super bright LEDs! Red is in front, blue is in back. Drone itself is very similar to the cx-stars.

I do not recommend this one as it is a bit touchy to fly. I’d go with the CX-stars. It is almost identical, but easier to fly.

$16
Pico
2-speed
2x AAA

$18 CX-Stars


$18 Cheerson CX-Stars aka DHD D1 aka $31 Mota Jetjat aka Floureon FX-10 aka Aerix AERIUS aka SKYE Pico
I have this one, and I love it! Perfect for a beginner. Fun for more advanced operators. You may want to do the antenna mod for a longer range. (It sometimes drops out) I also recommend the charge in controller mod with a couple rechargeable AAA batteries. I also removed the beeper. It is loud. I would like small drawer for my extra props built into the controller as well.
Class: Pico Size: 2″ Weight: 7.8g
2-speed
2x AAA

$19 E904

$19 E904 Suitcase
(Drone itself is very similar to the CX-Stars)
This one is silly, and cute.
I do not recommend this one as it is a bit touchy to fly. Also, the case while cute is a bit bulky.

3-speed
2x AA

$20 Volar 360



$20 Virhuck volar-360
 aka Dwi Dowellin aka Cheerwing CHEER X2
I would buy this one, as it has 3 speeds. My favorite along with the CX-stars. This flies amazingly!
Slightly larger than the other four pico quads. Hard to see orientation from below. Orientation LEDs are on top.
Pico
3-speed!
2x AAA

$35 proto-N


$35 Estes Proto-N

(Drone itself is very similar to the CX-stars)
Pico
2-speed
4xAAA

$20 JJRC H30 Mini
3 speed

H20 Hexacopter

$18 Fayee FY804
2 speed

FY805 Hexacopter


Nano Quads (3″-4″)

Just for flying:

$15 FQ777 124 aka MingJi 8801-
Drone can be recharged from controller.
Nano
2-speed
4x AA

$17 FQ777 124+
Drone can be recharged from controller.
Nano
Removeable battery, comes with 2.
2-speed
4x AA

$17 Lishitoys Lishi L6058 –
Controller is rechargeable.
Drone battery is removable.
Both can be charged at once.
Rubber feet, front LED
Nano (40-50mm)
3-speed
No flips.

$16 TX Juice Pocket Drone aka Aerix Wallet Drone aka Riviera Pocket Quadcopter aka XQ-100 aka Helix S1102
Drone can be recharged from controller while inside!
Nano
3-speed
4x AA

With a camera:

DHD D2
Nano

FQ777 124c
Drone can be recharged from controller.
Nano
2-speed
4x AA

FQ777 126c – Hexacopter
Drone can be recharged from controller.
Nano
2-speed
4x AA

FQ777 FQ11
Nano/Micro
3-speed
4x AAA

With camera and WiFi live streaming to your smartphone (FPV):

$39 Lishitoys Lishi L6058w
Controller is rechargeable.
Drone battery is removable.
Both can be charged at once.
Nano
3-speed!
No flips.

$40 FQ777 FQ11w
Nano/Micro
3-speed
4x AAA
VR mode?

Cheerson CX-10WD – TX
Nano
2-speed
2x AAA

Note: These use digital streaming over 2.4GHz wifi, so there will be a 1-2 second delay. Not good for flying in FPV mode.

With everything above + an app the supports Virtual Reality goggles:

Aerix VIDIUS HD – World’s Smallest Live Streaming HD VR Video Drone™
Nano
VR mode
Note: Does not fit inside the controller =[

 

These can sometimes be bought for less directly from China from the following sites:

banggood.com

gearbest.com

lightake.com

alibabaexpress.com

ebay.com

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