RC Helicopters vs Quadcopters: Which is best?

Flying RC vehicles offer enthusiasts a new dimension of fun, but first timers are often left wondering if a remote control helicopter or a quadcopter would be the better investment. Both vehicles perform aerial maneuvers and have lots of fun features, but there are distinct differences that could make either one a better pick for some users than others. Understanding the difference between RC helicopters and quadcopters is key to making your decision, so we compared and contrasted the two styles to help you choose the perfect RC for you and your family.

Familiar to most RC enthusiasts, remote control helicopters are simple motorized devices with the capacity to take flight. They rely on a single motor for their operation, and they’re generally relatively small and lightweight, which is what allows them to launch on the power of only one motor. They can move forward and backward, up and down, strafe left and right and rotate in the air. Because of the small body size and weight of RC helicopters, they’re good for performing more complex maneuvers. Their controls require a bit of finesse, proving to be a test of skill as operators master successful flights. Pros
  • The small size of the vehicle allows for complex maneuvers
  • Many toy-styled models are available that aren’t too pricey
  • Mastering controls helps kids develop hand-eye coordination
Cons
  • It can be difficult for beginners to launch and operate
  • Flight is not particularly stable, so photo and video capture is difficult and not standard on most models
  • Body style can make helicopters unstable in the event of a crash

RC Quadcopter Basics

RC Helicopter Basics

Familiar to most RC enthusiasts, remote control helicopters are simple motorized devices with the capacity to take flight. They rely on a single motor for their operation, and they’re generally relatively small and lightweight, which is what allows them to launch on the power of only one motor. They can move forward and backward, up and down, strafe left and right and rotate in the air. Because of the small body size and weight of RC helicopters, they’re good for performing more complex maneuvers. Their controls require a bit of finesse, proving to be a test of skill as operators master successful flights.

Pros

  • The small size of the vehicle allows for complex maneuvers
  • Many toy-styled models are available that aren’t too pricey
  • Mastering controls helps kids develop hand-eye coordination

Cons

  • It can be difficult for beginners to launch and operate
  • Flight is not particularly stable, so photo and video capture is difficult and not standard on most models
  • Body style can make helicopters unstable in the event of a crash

RC Quadcopter Basics

Like an RC helicopter, a quadcopter is a motorized vehicle that users to take flight – as the name suggests, however, there are significant differences. This includes the use of four motors to offer additional power and generally the use of additional rotors, with up to 4 blades sometimes being used. These devices are often higher end and designed as drones. Their stable flight pattern allows for the effective capture of audio and video, and their power lets them attain impressive heights and remain consistent in flight. Though toy models are available, quadcopters are often more sophisticated and therefore more expensive than RC helicopters.

Pros

  • Use of 4 motors offers impressive heights
  • Design offers stable flight that’s ideal for image and video capture
  • Stability of flying makes controls easy to master and improves takeoffs and landings

Cons

  • Many designs are higher end drone models that are made for advanced users
  • Large design makes trick maneuvers a bit more difficult
  • When there’s multiple rotors, replacing blades after a particularly bad crash could get pricey

RC Copters and RC Quadcopters: A Side By Side Comparison

RC Helicopters

  • Number of Motors: 1
  • Number of Rotors: 1
  • Typical Price Range: $ – $$
  • Flight Stability: Limited
  • Image/Video Capture
  • Potential: No
  • Ease of Operation: Intermediate

RC Quadcopters

  • Number of Motors: 4
  • Number of Rotors: Varies, up to 4
  • Typical Price Range: $$ – $$$
  • Flight Stability: Yes
  • Image/Video Capture
  • Potential: Yes
  • Ease of Operation: Beginner – Intermediate
RC helicopters and quadcopters both have their place in the remote control vehicle world, so when it comes right down to it, the model that’s right for you and your family will depend on what you hope to accomplish with your purchase. Helicopters are often less expensive, so it’s easier to find a beginner pick that can easily be fixed up in the event of crashes common to beginners. However, if you or your kids are experienced with RCs and want to make a unique investment that will allow for easy flight and cool picture and video captures, a remote control quadcopter may be a better pick for you.
A yellow RC Helicopter in flight

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Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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