Best Beginner Model Rockets of 2021 – 4 Complete Reviews

Bottom of red model rocket and launching equipment.

Has model rocketry caught your attention? Is a child pulling at your arm, begging to get you a model rocket?

Model rocketry is an exciting hobby that can spark the interest of any age. Best of all, you’re never too old to send a rocket soaring into the sky.

What is the best beginner model rocket? There are two rockets that stand out above the others: the Estes 1491 Taser Rocket Launch Set and the Apogee Apprentice. Both of these rockets were designed with beginners in mind. They’re affordable, easy to assemble, and come with everything you need excluding the motor.

Choosing your next model rocket doesn’t have to be hard.

Take a look at more details about my top two recommended model rocket sets and explore two other fantastic model rocket kits before making your decision.

Top Pick: Estes 1491 Taser

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Estes 1491 Taser Rocket Launch Set,Brown/A
  • There’s no thrill quite like launching a model rocket, watching it streak skyward, reach peak...
  • SKILL LEVEL: The Taser is an easy-to-assemble, Beginner level rocket with pre-colored parts.

This set has everything you need to launch it into the sky – except for the motor.

This rocket is a DIY build which will make launching it even more rewarding. The parts are already painted so all you have to do is assemble it before you launch it.

The rocket is intended for ages 10 and up. Children 12 and under will need adult supervision.

It doesn’t come with a motor, but that’s because there’s a wide variety of motors to choose from that all perform differently.

Smaller motors mean your rocket won’t go as high. Some motors will allow the rocket to launch quickly while others will give it a slower liftoff.

Recommended motors for this rocket are:

  • A8-3
  • B4-4 
  • B6-4 
  • B6-6 
  • C6-5
  • C6-7

The projected altitude for this rocket is 1,100 feet (335 meters) with a C6-5 motor.

It might be able to reach even higher with a more powerful motor. Motors that are less powerful than the C6-5 most likely won’t be able to reach the same altitude.

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble.
  • Easy for kids to use with supervision.
  • Can use a variety of different motors.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include a motor.
  • It’s already painted, so you can’t customize it.

Runner-Up: Apogee Apprentice

Apprentice Rocket Starter Set
  • Skill Level 1: Easy to construct and fly!
  • Length: 16" (40.64 cm), Diameter: 1.38" (35 mm)

This model rocket was intended for the model rocketry “apprentice.” It requires very few tools to be put together.

You will need to purchase glue suitable for plastic, wood glue, and a hobby knife, so it’s recommended that young children be supervised while assembling this rocket.

(Learn more about rocketry safety here.)

The Apprentice is also pre-colored, but it comes with stickers, so it’s a little more customizable than the Estes Taser. Children will need adult supervision when launching the rocket.

This rocket kit also doesn’t come with a motor, so you’ll need to purchase one separately. It uses the same motors recommended for the Estes Taser: 

  • A8-3
  • B4-4 
  • B6-4 
  • B6-6 
  • C6-5
  • C6-7

This rocket has a similar projected altitude as the Estes Taser with a C6-5 motor. If you use a lower-class motor, it won’t be able to reach as high.

Pros:

  • Stickers allow slightly more customization.
  • Easy to assemble. 
  • Easy for beginners and children to launch.

Cons:

  • Hobby knife required for assembly.
  • Can only go as high as the motor will allow.

Other Great Model Rocket Kits

Estes 2056 U.S. Army Patriot

Estes 2056 U.S. Army Patriot Flying Model Rocket...
  • Scale Model of the US Army’s M-104 surface-air missile
  • Perfect for beginners

This rocket is a great choice for beginners who want to be more involved in the assembly process. The rocket is a beginner skill level, but you must assemble and paint it yourself.

It’s a scale model of a U.S. Army air missile, so it comes with decals to make it look like the real thing. It’s a medium-sized rocket, so it’s a little bigger than most beginner rockets.

This rocket kit is only the rocket, however. You will need to purchase launching gear, paint supplies, assembly tools, and motors separately.

This rocket will reach up to 600 feet (182 meters), which isn’t as high as other rockets promise to reach.

Pros:

  • More customizable than the previous recommendations.
  • Can be launched multiple times.
  • Scale model of a real air missile.

Cons:

  • Does not include launch pad.
  • Assembly and painting might be too difficult for children to do themselves.

Estes Journey

Another Estes rocket makes the list. This one is recommended for beginners because it comes with a launch pad and is easy to assemble.

The pre-colored parts mean there’s no painting to be done, so you can assemble and launch the rocket soon after opening it.

The building instructions are easy to follow, so it can be a project to keep the kids busy.

This kit doesn’t include motors, wadding for the rocket, or batteries for the launch controller, so you will need to purchase these items separately.

The rocket can fly up to 1,100 feet (335 meters), depending on which motor you use. 

Pros:

  • Clear instructions.
  • Kids can easily assemble it.
  • Pre-colored parts, so no painting.

Cons:

  • May not launch if the batteries aren’t fully charged.
  • Will need to purchase assembly tools separately.
  • Does not come with wadding.

How Do You Determine the Best Model Rocket?

Three rocketeers might give you three different answers when you ask them what the best model rocket is.

How are you supposed to judge rockets? It really depends on your wants and needs.

Someone might suggest an expensive rocket with a slow liftoff, but if you want it to have a fast liftoff and need something inexpensive, then that option clearly isn’t the best for you.

There are several factors to consider when choosing your first model rocket.

Difficulty Level

As a beginner, you should stick to rockets that are specifically made for beginners.

Advanced rockets often require more assembly and customization that can become a bit too difficult for a new rocketeer or a child.

Recommended Age

If you want something a child or teenager can use, you will need to pay close attention to what the rocket you choose recommends.

Many model rockets have specific age recommendations or require children to have adult supervision.

How High It Can Fly

Some rockets reach greater heights than other rockets.

If the altitude it can reach is an important factor to you, you will need to look for a rocket that will allow you to use motors that will let the rocket reach high altitudes.

Beginner rockets usually use motor classes A through C. A-class motors are the least powerful and C-class are the most powerful in this category.

Learn more about model rocket engines and altitudes here.

Price Point

Unfortunately, the price of the rocket is typically what makes the decision for you.

Beginner rockets are on the cheaper side of model rocketry, so it shouldn’t break the bank no matter which model you choose.

Rockets can be reused until you run out of motors or the rocket itself is lost or damaged, so you’ll be able to get your money’s worth out of a rocket.

Summary (for Snap Decision Makers)

The First Choice: The Estes 1491 Taser Rocket Launch Set is so easy to put together that a child can do it. Use a C-class motor to make reach up to 1,100 feet. The only downside? You can’t paint it yourself.

The Second Choice: The Apogee Apprentice is another kid-friendly and beginner-friendly rocket, but you’ll need a hobby knife to put it together. Small children shouldn’t be left alone to build this.

For the DIY-er: The Estes 2056 U.S. Army Patriot is a scale model of an air missile. It comes with decals but you have to assemble and paint it yourself, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your interests. This rocket doesn’t include launch equipment.

Another Simple Build: The Estes Journey Model Rocket is easy to assemble and doesn’t require painting. You will need to purchase some key components like wadding, assembly tools, and batteries separately.

All rockets do not come with motors. This is because motors are hazardous and require special shipping methods and typically require extra shipping fees.

Beginner rockets use low-power motors, which are classes A through C

All the rockets mentioned are recommended for ages 10 and up, but children 12 and under will require adult supervision. 

Last update on 2021-12-03 at 10:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Rich

Rich

I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!