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.
Related post: Best Model Train Sets
Our Top Picks for Overall Model Rockets, Best Realistic Model, and the Best Budget Option
|Estes Tandem-X Flying Model Rocket Set
|Revell Apollo 11 Rocket Kit
|Apogee Components SR-72 Darkbird
1. Best Overall — Estes Tandem-X Flying Model Rocket Launch Set
Tandem-X Launch Set
A model rocket launch set that can fly over six hundred and fifty feet with a moderate challenge level to assemble.
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.
2. Best Realistic Model — Revell 03704 Apollo 11 Rocket Kit
Revell Apollo 11 Rocket Kit
If you’re looking for one of the most realistic models you can create, this to-scale model of the Apollo 11 is highly recommended.
The Revell Apollo 11 Rocket Kit comes in at slightly over 30 inches 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 144 scale and is one of the best model rocket kits for adults. Unlike previous Revell models, this 82-piece 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!
3. Best Budget Option — Apogee Components SR-72 Darkbird
Apogee Components SR-72 Darkbird
This rocket can be launched numerous times because of its low-weight and glider style design.
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.
4. Best for Preschoolers — Stomp Ultra Rocket Launcher
Stomp Ultra Rocket Launcher
Fun and educational outdoor toy that will teach your kid a thing or two about gravity, force, aerodynamics.
How about getting to launch a rocket up to 200 feet high? That’s 20 stories, and without batteries or any external force except – the kid’s very own feet.
With Stomp Ultra Rocket Launcher, you’ll get a set of four rockets and a tripod stand with a launcher on which to stomp. The rockets are soft-tipped, so there’s no reason to worry about hurting anyone or ruining your piece of lawn furniture.
Apart from having incredible fun, the kids will learn about gravity, force, aerodynamics, and many other things. Poke their curiosity by asking different questions: does the rocket’s range depend on the angle of shooting? If you’re short on ideas, the included Stomp Rocket Science book will offer plenty.
5. Best for Indoor Use — LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V
LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V
A very realistic, 1969-piece rocket model that can be used for display or role play.
LEGO hardly needs an introduction, but this LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V Outer Space Rocket Model Kit does. The attention to detail is marvelous: there’s a launch escape system with three rocket stages and three modules: lunar, service, and command.
Putting this rocket together will take some time even for the most patient, with 1969 pieces – how convenient! But the fun doesn’t stop once it’s assembled. The kids can either proudly display it horizontally (stands are included!), or play with it and enact different role-play scenarios on the moon using three minifigures.
Now, this probably wouldn’t be one of the best model rocket kits for elementary schoolers. But middle-schoolers and everyone above that age will likely be thrilled!
6. Best Water Rocket Launcher — AquaPod Water Bottle Rocket Launcher Science Kit
AquaPod Water Bottle Rocket Launcher
A water-based rocket that can send soda bottles more than one hundred feet in the air.
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.
Last update on 2023-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API