A lot of people fly drones outside, but what about inside? Whether the weather is rough outside, or just the airspace is too chaotic to operate in, flying indoors is often a preferred solution. But drones don’t always perform well inside. In fact, some drones are actually BETTER when flown indoors. So with that, here are the best indoor drones of 2023:
Many of the drones in this guide are on the cheaper end, which sadly means they don’t hold up well in the slightest breeze. But many also work great outside, providing you with the most options. In fact, our top pick among the best indoor drones out there has an incredible Level 5 Wind resistance.
Oh, and by the way, if you’re looking for advice and legal guidance around flying drones indoors, I’ve got you covered right here.
So without further adieu, here are the best indoor drones of 2023:
The best indoor drone: DJI Avata
Price: Starts at $629
Flight time: 18 minutes per battery
Camera? Yes; 1/1.7” CMOS sensor with 48 million effective pixels. Films at 4K/60fps and slow-motion footage at 2.7K/50/60/100/120fps.
DJI released its Avata drone in summer 2022 as a Cinewhoop-style FPV drone, made with indoor drone flights in mind. It’s ideal in tight spaces given its 405 gram weight and compact size at just 180×180 mm in width and length. Built-in propeller guards eliminate the risk of scratching walls or other items inside, should you crash.
The Avata drone is a bit different from all the others in this list in that it’s an FPV drone (thus is designed to be flown with FPV goggles). It was also designed to be flown with what DJI calls a Motion Controller, differentiating itself from standard controllers with sticks. Though, if you prefer flying line of sight and want to use a standard controller, you can do that too, by way of the DJI FPV Remote Controller 2, which you can buy for less than $200.
This drone wins as the best indoor drone not just for its ease of use, small size and beginner friendly modes, but comes out on top for its camera. Some DJI Avata camera specs:
- 1/1.7” CMOS sensor
- 48 million effective pixels
- Films at 4K/60fps and slow-motion footage at 2.7K/50/60/100/120fps.
- f/2.8 aperture
- Ultra-wide-angle lens with a viewing angle of up to 155°
- D-Cinelike color mode for a broader color palette that enables detailed chromatic adjustments
DJI Avata is the best indoor drone, but it also holds up incredibly well outside thanks to Level 5 max wind resistance. That means it can fly in wind speeds ranging from 19 to 24 miles per hour (which is about the equivalent of winds that generate moderate waves at the beach).
The best indoor drone if you’re on a budget: Tello
Flight time: 13 minutes per battery
Camera? Yes; 5-megapixel camera and shoots 720p video
The Tello is an all-around awesome drone. It does it all, and it does it all well.
It’s great indoors, but it still flies well in most conditions outdoors. It’s got a camera that takes decently great photos. It can perform stunts like flips to make the act of flying a bit more fun. It can even teach you how to code.
While it’s technically made by a company called Ryze, the drone often gets put under the DJI umbrella of drones because it was built using DJI flight technology— and an Intel processor.
The drone doesn’t come with an RC transmitter, but can be controlled via a mobile app (or an external one can be purchased separately). You can also control it via hand gestures. Video quality is decent for a $99 drone, but it doesn’t compare to some of DJI’s other drones like the Mavic Pro, or even the $399 Mavic Mini.
One really standout feature is how the Tello can teach you how to code. How’s that for a great social distancing project?! The drone pairs integrates with a programming language called Scratch. With it, you can program the drone to fly certain directions based on the “code” you have written.
All that for a $99 price tag is a pretty good deal. Oh, and if you’re a Marvel fan, get this: there’s an Iron Man version of the Tello drone.
The best indoor drone if you also want to fly outdoors: DJI Mini 2
Flight time: 31 minutes per battery (or about 20 with the propeller guards)
Camera? Yes; 5-megapixel camera and shoots 720p video
The DJI Mini 2 should primarily be flown outdoors, but it’s surprisingly well-suited for indoor flying. Given that it’s just 11.3 inches wide when unfolded (including the propellers) and the average interior doorway is about 30 inches, it has more than enough clearance to fly through doorways. The Mini 2 also comes with lightweight propeller guards to keep your walls and indoor objects safe.
Best indoor drones for Star Wars fanatics: Propel Star Wars High Performance Battle Drone (with collectors edition box!)
Flight time: 5 minutes per battery
Star Wars nerds! Whether you love Baby Yoda, Kylo Ren, Ewoks or all of the above (that would be me!), the Propel Star Wars Battle Drones are incredible. No other drones in this guide have the combination of aesthetically stunning AND truly fun to fly.
They’re hand-painted and highly realistic drones, arriving in all sorts of various designs like a tie fighter, speeder bike or X-Wing. And not only do the Propel drones fly, but they can also actually battle, due to their eye-safe lasers that can be fired at other Star Wars drones. You can pair drones together to turn them into a battle game, where the drone actually wobbles and the controller vibrates in your hand if hit. After three hits, the drone will crash land.
You can either play with a buddy. Or, if you’re truly in single-isolation, you can battle against others via system that records, combines and compares your performance against virtual players the world.
Best place to buy: Amazon ($40, on sale day of story publication for $35)
A hilarious (and cheap) toy drone controlled entirely by a glove: the Interactive Aura Drone
Flight time: 5-7 minutes per battery
If you need a laugh (and many of us do right now), I cannot stop laughing when I “fly” the Interactive Aura Gestured Control Drone. This is a gesture-controlled drone, without the DJI Spark price tag.
So how does it work, and at such a low cost? You put on a glove under a wrist attachment, which has a small sensor in it to control the drone.
Since there’s no RC transmitter or phone app you can only control the drone with the motion of your hand (ie. Tilt your hand up to make it fly higher. You can even flick your wrist to make the drone flip!)
It’s definitely complicated to control it perfectly, but it’s crazy fun. Plus, you may have all the time in the world (or at least a few weeks) inside to master it.
Best place to buy: Amazon ($28, on sale day of story publication for $24)
Funny toy drones not so much your thing? If you’re looking for other ways to spend time indoors, social distancing, check out my guide to the 8 best ways drone pilots can maintain their hobby indoors.
If you’re curious about drone racing: the Fat Shark 101 Training system
Camera? FPV camera
Fat Shark’s FPV (first-person view) headsets are the gold standard among drone racing pros. But even if you’re not a pro, there’s great news. Fat Shark makes a kit with everything you need to get started drone racing.
With the Fat Shark 101 Training system, you get a radio, goggles and tiny quadcopter all in one kit. The RC transmitter has two modes for beginners and more advanced pilots, giving you an opportunity to improve your skills as you’re at home self-quarantining.
I love how easy this kit is to upgrade. While the quality of each individual piece is good, should you decide to step it up, you can swap out individual pieces (ie. just the goggles, or just the drone) and incorporate them into the kit.
Best place to buy: Amazon ($249, on sale day of story publication for $137)
Not so much into drones as toys, drones for racing, or drones for joyful kicks? If you’re looking for other ways to spend time indoors, social distancing, check out my guide to the 8 best ways drone pilots can maintain their hobby indoors.
The best indoor drone if you want to record sound: HoverAir X1
Price: $439 (frequently on sale for $399)
Flight Time: 11 minutes per battery
Camera? Yes; 12-megapixel camera and shoots 2.7k video
The HoverAir X1 does not come with a controller, rather it flies with a selection of pre-programmed paths, including Hover, Follow, Zoom Out, Orbit, and Bird’s Eye. If flying indoors, I recommend flying with manual control mode ensuring total control.
The stand-out feature of the HoverAir X1 is its ability to record sound. The drone records sound from your phone (the controller). While the sound quality itself is pretty solid, the sound does not always match up to the video recording. HoverAir X1 recommends downloading a third-party app to edit the sound to fix this issue.
The HoverAir X1 can do all the same features outdoors, has a level 4 wind resistance, and reaches a maximum height of 15m. You can read an in-depth review of the HoverAir X1 here.
Best place to buy: Directly from the HoverAir website for $439
What do you think are the best indoor drones? Leave a comment below!