Drone racing is quickly gaining popularity among drone enthusiasts, hobbyists, and even computer gamers. Unlike other types, drones for racing are built with one main purpose: to allow you to enjoy an exquisite flying experience through the FPV (first-person view) camera.
This is possible via the video goggles that usually connect to the racing drone. These goggles offer a live stream that allows you to enjoy the flight and give you an immersive experience. With so many drone options on the market, it can be quite confusing to choose a drone for racing. The following sections cover everything you need to know about drones for racing so you can make an informed decision.
What To Look For In Drones For Racing
Drones for racing must be able to win a competition or two if you decide to take part in such activities. As a result, similar to airplanes, the design of the drone is a pivotal characteristic; unlike other types of drones, drones for racing must have their blades in line with their body, not above it. This helps to balance out the drone.
Another important feature is the weight of the drone. Racing drones are typically smaller and weigh much less than other types, but they should have a very powerful motor.
Type Of Motors For Drones For Racing
There are typically two types of motors: brushed or brushless. The brushless motor is more reliable and is usually preferred by all racing drone pilots. This is because they are more durable, do not require too much maintenance, and are highly efficient. This, however, will come at a higher expense compared to brushed motors.
The electricity of the motor is expressed as Kv, which means the constant velocity of the motor. Generally, you should aim for 1000-2300 Kv for your drone for racing.
As previously mentioned above, the FPV camera will send a live stream to your goggles. This is the preferred method for all drone racing seekers. Seasoned or serious pilots will seek a complete kit with a drone and helmet. The FPV video transmitter, video screen, and antenna are also important. The camera should be HD (high-definition) to enjoy your flying experience.
Transmitter And Control
The transmitter, or the drone’s remote control, is a core aspect for optimum functionality. There are numerous models on the market. Ideally, drones for racing should have transmitters that you can easily control. If you are a beginner, you should definitely start with simpler models as you will most likely discover that crashes are unavoidable. Once you build up your skill, you should decide to invest in a more complex drone for racing.
Other Characteristics To Consider
Speed is obviously important when it comes to racing drones. Most models are estimated at 50 MPH, but there are some leading models that go up to 100 MPH.
The best racing drone should be made of carbon fiber with enforced protection. This is to minimize damages in case of crashes as the camera or battery can become loose or other parts might be damaged.
Drones For Racing
1. Best Overall Drone For Racing – RotorLogic Walkera F210-3D
- Top speed: estimated 50 MPH
- Flight Time: approximately 5 minutes
- Charge time: 120 minutes
- Range: 320 ft (100m)
- Remote control: WiFi 2.4 GHZ
- Live transmission range: 160 ft (50m)
- Weight 13.05 oz (370g) without battery
If you are looking for the best combo and a drone for racing ready to use out of the box, Walkera is perhaps the best choice. It is an excellent lightweight quadcopter, is made of a modular, carbon fiber casing with 3mm thick arms. This enhances the durability of the racing drone, ideal for intermediate pilots who want to go fully manual.
For beginners, the Walkera has semi-horizon and horizon modes that offer a certain degree of assistance. The horizon mode will make your drone nearly impossible to crash when landing as it keeps the height stable. With the semi-horizon mode, you will be able to flip and get some tilt, but it becomes more challenging to keep it stable.
All in all, the drone has an excellent price point, especially considering its specs, durability, and the fact that it includes everything you need to start flying straight away. The high-power controller uses a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection; unfortunately, there are no goggles in the pack, but you can pair it with any type of Wi-Fi-connected or analog ones.
2. Best Runner Up – EMAX Hawk Pro FRSKY BNF 5″
- Up to 8 minutes flight time
- Top speed: 100 MPH
- Charge time: 90 minutes
- Range: 492 ft (150m)
- Live video transmission range up to 320 ft (100m)
- Weight 9.32 oz (265g)
The EMAX Hawk Pro is one of the best combinations between freestyle and racing drones. Due to the strong motor, the drone can reach up to 100 MPH, ideal if you are a passionate racing seeker. One of the most interesting features is the LED light placed under the motor that increases its brightness as you go quicker, turning into a real pleasure for the crowd.
Beginners might find it difficult to control the drone because of the high sensitivity of the stick. If you already have some experience with flying older drones, you may want to decrease the sensitivity, too.
The FPV camera is excellent, has no latency, but has an analog transmission. When you digitalize your footage, the resolution is approximately 600p but the fluency of colors is better compared to digital transmissions.
All in all, the EMAX Hawk Pro is a beautiful drone for racing, especially if you want something to push your limits a bit. The top speed and quality controls will challenge you to improve your skills in no time.
3. Best Affordable Kit – Fat Shark FPV Drone
- Approximately 4 minutes flight time
- Top speed 20 MPH
- Range: 130 ft/40 m
- Included remote controller (WiFi 5.8 GHz and 2.4 GHz)
- Weight 1.76 oz (50g)
- Brushed motors
The little Fat Shark FPV Drone is one of the best choices if you are planning to get started with drone racing. The small frame of the drone can fit in your palm, but it has large blades that help maintain a very good balance when flying. The stable FPV camera is large, benefitting from wide lenses that ensure good awareness of your drone’s position when you fly it.
The kit comes with goggles, so your visibility is similar to a motorcycle helmet. The video has a quality of 306p and it streams to the goggles using up to 5G wireless connection. Another impressive feature is the free app for computers where you can simulate the flight before you have your first flight with the Fat Shark.
Although a professional drone for racing surely has more than 20 MPH top speed, the tiny Fat Shark FPV drone is surely impressive for its price point. It is an affordable kit that helps you get started while on a budget.
Update: this model is currently out of stock.
4. Best Drone For Racing For Beginners – EMAX Tinyhawk 2
- 16,000 RPM motors
- LED lights embedded in the frame
- Runcam Nano 2 Camera
- Adjustable camera tilt
- Approximately 3 minutes flight time
- Made of polypropylene
Although drone racing can come with plenty of challenges if you are a beginner, this tiny Emax will greatly simplify everything for you. You still need to learn how to fly it, but the model is less expensive and you can use it indoors if you have a relatively spacious home. The high-quality frame can survive crashes, while the added LED lights look ever so impressive in the dark. The tiny drone is only 31.2g.
All in all, although quite simplistic, the Tinyhawk 2 is an excellent small drone if you are a beginner. You can fly it indoors, while the quality of the camera is quite noticeably high.
5. Best Drone For Racing For A Budget – Bolt Drone FPV Kit
- Weight: 0.5 lbs
- 1020 Brushed motors
- HD Photo and video (1280 x 720)
- Up to 15 minutes of flight time
- Top speed: about 30 MPH
The best drone kit on a budget is Bold Drone FPV. It comes with three methods of flying: line of sight, FPV, and screen controller. It also includes an HD camera that will sync with the screen and stream a live HD feed. In addition to this, the package also comes with goggles, ideal for racing.
The body of the drone is made of high-quality carbon fiber which is more reliable compared to toy-grade options. This also makes it beginner-friendly as the body of the drone can hardly be damaged on impact, which is a desirable feature if you are a novice.
Finally, the drone has altitude stabilization, ideal to make it easier to fly. The speed is also adjustable and can reach up to 30 MPH. The modular design of the racing drone allows you to replace parts in case of damage. All of these features recommend it as one of the best ready-to-fly kits if you are on a budget.
All in all, a drone for racing is meant to be fun and entertaining. Choosing one of the models above will make you feel as free as a bird, especially when you have your goggles on. Regardless of price and specs, the best drone for racing is surely the one that makes you happy, so there are no strict rules when choosing your own model.