Today, we’re discussing the best model rockets. If your child is interested in making things soar, this might be the perfect way to get them launched right into the world of STEM. Whether you are using this as a way to get your child outside or as a threshold for an eventual love of astronomy and all things outer space, our list of best model rockets is sure to help you take right off!
Please remember that it is important to engage in proper safety when playing with rockets. Consider safety glasses or other protective eyewear to keep yourself safe from anything leaving your rocket on its way up. Remember also that even the highest-flying model rocket must come down – ensure that you have considered what you need to do to protect yourself and your little ones as your rocket rejoins you all on solid ground.
- Our Top Picks for Overall Model Rockets, Best Realistic Model, and the Best Budget Option
- Best Overall – Estes Tandem-X Flying Model Rocket Launch Set
- Best Realistic Model – Revell 03704 Apollo 11 Rocket Kit
- Best Budget Option – Apogee Components SR-72 Darkbird
- Best for the Challenge – Revell Germany 04909 Apollo Saturn V Rocket Model Kit
- Best for Little Kids – Discovery Kids Mindblown Rocket Launcher
- Best for Indoor Use – Smartivity Blast Off Space Rocket
- Best Water Rocket Launcher – AquaPod Water Bottle Rocket Launcher Science Kit
- What to Consider When Buying a Model Rocket Kit
- Frequently Asked Questions
Related post: Best Model Train Sets
Our Top Picks for Overall Model Rockets, Best Realistic Model, and the Best Budget Option
The Estes Tandem-X Flying Model Rocket Launch Set could easily be considered the best Estes rocket out there. This huge, thirty-inch tall rocket can soar to heights of nearly seven hundred feet and come back to you using its eighteen-inch pre-assembled parachute. Estes estimates that this model can be assembled in about a day and they recommend that anyone under the age of twelve build it in partnership with a parent.
What’s the best part of this rocket? When you are done building the initial rocket, you can begin on the secondary rocket that comes in the same kit!
The crossfire can soar to even more amazing heights of more than one thousand feet. It doesn’t hurt that it comes with an exciting decal set to allow your little one to decorate it while sparing you from the mess that model paint can bring! The launch system for both rockets is included with the package, although buyers should note that four AA batteries are required, and not included with the kit.
The Revell 03704 Apollo 11 Rocket Kit comes in at slightly over three feet and comes with a launch platform with supports, a power stage and a second rocket stage with five detailed thrusters apiece, printed parts, and a detailed lunar module. Best of all, if you are looking to add realism to your project, you can utilize the moon display plate to show off the various operational phases of the Apollo 11 mission.
This model is built at a one to ninety-six scale and is one of the best model rocket kits for adults. Unlike previous Revell models, this rocket comes prefabricated seams for easier assembly. If you are looking to build a realistic model, and have a classic, old school modeling experience, this is certainly the one for you. Please note that this particular model kit is meant to be built and enjoyed, but not launched. If you are looking for something that goes up, keep reading!
The Apogee Components SR-72 Darkbird comes with a plastic nose cone, die-cut balsa wood wings, inlet cones, and a complete assembly guide. Because it is built to withstand numerous launches, we love it as a budget selection. Although you will need to provide your own launch pad and ignition controller, you will get multiple launches out of this rocket – giving it more literal bang for your buck!
Although reviewers have not given a specific age for this rocket, it is a level four challenge. Because of this, you should anticipate that this rocket is meant to be built by older children. If you intend to purchase it for your younger child, please be sure to work alongside them in order to ensure maximum safety.
The Revell Germany 04909 Apollo Saturn V Rocket Model Kit comes with a service module with thruster and control nozzles along with eighty-two unique pieces to keep even the most experienced crafter busy!
This model is built to one hundred and forty-fourth scale of the aircraft. Because the model is mostly white, you have the option to paint and decorate your work as you see fit.
When fully assembled, this model comes in at about two and a half feet. It can also be completely disassembled to show component parts of a rocketship – perfect if you are looking for a way to discuss how rockets work.
Truly one of the best model rocket kits for beginners, the Discovery Kids Mindblown Rocket Launcher is reusable and can launch up to fifty feet in the air. This rocket can be powered by vinegar and baking soda, which we love – spare yourself the purchase of a motor or a launchpad. This kit comes with a rocket body and tail, a launch tube, a base plug, its own launchpad, and a sticker sheet for decorating fun!
This rocket is great for teaching your little one about introductory chemical reactions. Definitely be prepared for some mess, though – we recommend launching this one from a grassy error so that the vinegar and baking soda doesn’t ruin your lawn furniture!
The Smartivity Blast Off Space Rocket is a complete STEM activity kit boasting the ability to teach your child transfer of momentum, stable structures, weight and gravity, and elasticity! This kit comes with visual directions to appeal to even the tiniest learner, and most reviewers state that their children were able to build this model independently.
This model allows children to choose their launch speed. Your child will release their rocket by pulling on rubber bands, which creates a safe, independent experience that they can recreate time and time again!
Looking for all of the rocket-launching fun with none of the mess of chemical reactions? The AquaPod Water Bottle Rocket Launcher Science Kit can propel two-liter soda bottles into the air!
With that in mind, as long as your supply of bottles doesn’t stop, the fun doesn’t have to stop, either. This kit comes with a brass pressure valve, a launch cord, a ground stake, and extra valve seals to ensure that the science never needs to end.
Your children will use the power of the air, harnessed by a bicycle pump, to trigger the pressure within the water. The fifteen-foot cord will ensure that your children can stand a distance back from the reaction, ensuring their safety while they witness this marvel of science. This pressure will create a launch that won’t be soon forgotten!
What to Consider When Buying a Model Rocket Kit
Model rocketry is permitted in forty-six of the fifty states with virtually no restrictions. However, if you live in California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, or North Dakota, there are age restrictions that guide the purchasing and use of model rockets. Regardless of where you live, please review the requirements in your area to ensure that you are in compliance.
Although we want you to have an excellent time, we also want to prioritize your safety! With this in mind, NASA has put out a series of regulations that govern the use of model rockets. In short, they ask that single-launch rockets be limited to one launch, as per box specifications. They also ask that you never brew your own rocket fuel, as this can be quite dangerous.
They also recommend that you choose a large, open area in which to launch your rocket. This will minimize damage to your rocket and to the world around you as you launch. Furthermore, they recommend that you call a countdown before launch to ensure maximum safety. For additional safety information, please review the NASA article linked above.
Display vs. Launch
Some model rocket kits are targeted at those looking to create realistic, true to form models of the rockets that they loved watching take off into outer space as children. On the other hand, some model rocket kits are built specifically with the end launch in mind! Please read the product description carefully to ensure that you are choosing the model that is most aligned with your intended outcome.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I launch my rocket?
A rocket launch system consists of a launchpad and launch controller. You should put these pieces together before beginning on your rocket, to prevent letdowns later on. What a shame, to have a complete rocket and no way to launch it! Once you have everything assembled, you’ll use the controller to initiate the igniter, beginning your launch.
What makes the best model rocket kit?
That answer greatly depends on your needs! Will you be looking to create a scale model or create the biggest explosion? Do you want a rocket that requires an engine or can be powered through more organic means? How high are you looking to take your rocket? Once you have the answer to questions like these, you can narrow your search. What we can guarantee is that the options above are some of the best on the market!
How high can you fly a model rocket?
Model rockets can hit a variety of speeds depending on what is sending them up in the air. Some rockets only fly one hundred feet or so while others can go a couple thousand into the atmosphere.
- Best Books for Middle School Girls (Top 7 Picks for 2021) - August 28, 2020
- Summer STEM Activities (10 Ideas to Keep them Entertained!) - July 16, 2020
- Best STEM Toys for 11-Year-Olds (Top 11 Picks for 2021) - July 10, 2020
Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API