Drone flying has become a widespread hobby with tens of thousands of people buying and using RC drones for a variety of purposes.
These remote-controlled flying cameras can be used to deliver packages, conduct aerial surveillance, and other applications for this technology become apparent all the time.
It’s only natural that at some point drone enthusiasts would make a sport that uses drones: drone racing.
The implication is obvious: organizers set up courses with or without obstacles, and competitors fly their drones through the course to get the best time or distance possible.
Getting involved in drone racing requires that you have a good drone setup for doing so.
Although plenty of models exist on the market, only certain ones are good at racing because of their lightness, maneuverability, and responsiveness. We’ve picked out a list of six of the best racing drones on the market.
Buying drones can be an expensive hobby, so we want to make sure you get the most value for your money. We look at online reviews and technical information about each drone.
We also consider the overall reputation on the brand and the price of each product to determine whether it’s the best product for your value. We look at the specifications of each drone to find out whether it’s a good option for racing.
Not all drones are suited for this purpose; they need to be light, agile, and able to respond well. If you use it for prolonged periods, such as in a racing tournament, you’ll need to have good battery life.
Finally, if you use a racing drone in an obstacle course, you’ll need to be sure it can take some punishment. Odds hold that the drone will take a few knocks if you aren’t an exceptional pilot.
However, you don’t want this to make your drone completely inoperable. Therefore, durability is vital.
We’ve come up with a list of the five best racing drones. We’ve tried to include a variety of brands, price points, and different models. Also, we provide a few tips for choosing best racing drones, even if it isn’t one we’ve listed.
By purchasing a drone we’ve discussed, you can be well on your way to taking the gold in your circle of racing. With that said, here is our list of the best racing drones.
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This is one of the higher-caliber best racing drones we’ve reviewed. It has a full combination of features: speed - it can reach up to 30 miles per hour - and durability chief among them.
Some customers reported the drone was able to hit the ground at full speed at an angle and continue flying. We don’t advocate doing this and don’t suggest that as the norm.
However, knowing that durability is a major selling point is a good thing. Drones can be expensive, and repairing them drives up the cost of owning and operating one.
In addition to the speed and durability, the Redcat Racing Carbon 210 is made of a lightweight carbon fiber frame. It also includes an HD camera that allows the drone to transmit images.
FPV goggles and viewscreen are sold separately, but this model is compatible with most, if not all, screens on the market. The lithium-ion battery, able to hold a 1,500-mAh charge, allows the drone to fly at full speed for about ten minutes. This is good enough to get you through most races. The unit recharges with a USB adapter cable.
It’s the best model we’ve looked at because it combines all the features needed in a best racing drones and often comes at an affordable price.
If you want the full package, you’ll have to pay more, but this is still an affordable way to get started with your best racing drones.
The Blade Inductrix is by far the smallest best racing drones we’ve seen. It can fit in the palm of your hand. With four propellers and a sleek aerodynamic body, this drone is a dream to fly for beginners because of its maneuverability and speed.
The propellers have a durable plastic housing that, even if you run into a wall, you’ll be able to keep flying.
Patented SAFE technology is another feature in the Inductrix model: it consists of stabilizing sensors that help keep the drone oriented vertically so even if you lose control it’s harder than usual for the drone to crash.
However, there are a few downsides. For example, the battery only provides enough power for about three minutes of top-speed flight before it needs to be recharged.
You might notice that this model doesn’t have a camera. This lack might seem like a detriment, but you can easily mount a small camera. It’ll take some work to relearn how to fly.
The Inductrix is a good training drone that you can use to grasp the basics of drone flight. You would only be able to use this in low-level races because it isn’t as durable in terms of the body.
It’s a great starting piece, but not necessarily the best for serious racers. You’ll need to do some modding before you can take it to the track.
The camera has a 120-degree field of view, which is about the same as the human field of vision. When you pair it with a set of FPV goggles, you can have the experience of virtually flying the drone.
The Diatone Crusader GTR is a mid-range racing drone. It’s a little more advanced than beginner drones, and it’s quite light even with the included camera.
The weight rating we found on the website is about 139 grams or 3 ounces. It’s light enough to be maneuverable, and its carbon-plastic construction keeps it durable for its size.
The motor is also decently powerful, coming at 4,000KV. Some users have reported this racing drone to reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. It’s a mid-range racing drone that works well for multiple skill levels.
The propellers’ three-inch width produces more lift and power, which in turn contributes to the speed of the drone.
It has enough speed to hold its own in races, and it is moddable enough to stack up against more heavyweight competitors. We wish it were more durable, but for the prices we saw, it comes off as a good deal.
The Hubsan H122D X4 Storm is a model that’s a little different from others on our list. It’s built with stunt flying in mind, but it can serve decently as a racer. We’ve seen a top speed reported of about 40 miles per hour.
Although outstripped in raw speed, this drone provides excellent control and allows you to see the flight image in perfect clarity.
The onboard 720p HD camera lets you see images as clearly as if you were looking directly at them. The entire assembly runs on a 710-mAh battery, which isn’t as durable as we’d like.
We prefer engine batteries to have at least 1,000 mAh of charge time. This number, which stands for milliamp-hours, refers to how long a battery can operate under a full load before recharge.
It has a decent top speed, although not the best. What we like about this drone is the clarity of view.
You can connect the camera with just about any type of FPV goggles, making it so you can see the course through the drone’s eyes. We did notice that some customers had complaints about the relatively short range of operation.
At about 90 feet, it’s possible for the FPV goggles to stutter in their input.
Another issue we have is that the drone has a high profile, making it less aerodynamic than some other models.
The Eachine Wizard X220 is an affordable racing drone that’s ideal for both beginners and people who are experienced in piloting drones. The quadcopter design is sleek and aerodynamic, making it well-suited for traveling through the air efficiently.
One feature that stands out with this model is that the propellers have three blades instead of the standard pair.
The extra blade on each of the four propellers lends stability to the craft. It also provides a strong lift and balance, so even if you’re flying in windy conditions you'll be able to keep your path straight.
The Eachine model is made of carbon fiber, a light, moderately durable material. It isn’t as hardy as some materials such as steel, but this is likely your first drone.
You’re going to end up with some scratches and may need to replace some parts here and there. Another factor in this model’s favor is the power of the motor: 2300 kilovolts.
This measurement refers to the number of revolutions the motor will make under one volt of electrical pressure. The higher the number, the faster the motor spins.
This motor isn’t as fast as some others, and it isn’t the most powerful, but you can upgrade motors if necessary.
It isn’t as durable as we would like, and some customers reported that it didn’t go as fast as they would have liked. We weren’t able to get any top speed figures, but speed is vital in a racer.
For a starter model, the Eachine Wizard 220 is a good deal, but it may not hold up in serious competition without serious modding.
Now that we’ve given you a list of the best racing drones, here’s an idea about how to pick one if you decide to go for something that's not on our list. Several factors exist when choosing a drone. You can also pick from RTF or ARF drones.
Respectively, these acronyms stand for ‘ready to fly’ and ‘almost ready to fly.’ ARF drones are almost fully assembled, but you do have to do a little work.
RTF drones are just that: ready to fly right out of the box, as soon as you set up the remote, calibrate the camera, and do all the other pre-flight tasks.
ARF drones are often better for people who want to do a little modding on their rigs. Drones often come prepackaged with the parts you need to get it flying.
However, many drones are modular in their construction, meaning that you can switch out parts as needed. Some of the most common modded parts are:
The most basic type of drone frame is the X-frame, which has four motors located at the cors, with the control apparatus and the camera located at the center. If you want to have more propellers, you can have a larger frame with more arms, but there’s a reason drones are commonly called quadcopters.
Four propellers and four motors are enough to keep the drone stable and airborne — any more risks overburdening the drone and sacrificing its speed and maneuverability.
Consider whether the frame has propeller housing because this influences what kind of propeller you should use. Carbon fiber props hold their shape and displace air easily, but they don’t have a lot of flexibility.
If you happen to be in the way when such a prop hits you, you’re going to get hurt.
The biggest thing you’ll want to think of when it comes to motors is the power-to-weight ratio or mechanical advantage.
The power to weight ratio is just what it sounds like: the amount of rotational power, or torque, delivered by the motor to the propeller when compared to the weight of the motor. You want at least a 5:1 ratio for a racing drone.
Also, take a look at the motor’s 4-digit measurement. The first two numbers indicate the diameter and height of the rotor in millimeters. For example, 2210 means that the motor is 22 millimeters wide and 10 millimeters tall.
The taller the motor, the higher its RPM rate and the higher the top speed. The wider the motor, the lower the top speed but the better the handling.
Being able to blaze across the sky at 50 mph with a drone isn’t enough. You need to be able to maneuver it.
Therefore, it’s best to test out different motor speeds and sizes to figure out what works for you. Experienced drone pilots constantly make modifications to their setups.
Two types of visuals exist for drone piloting: mounted FPV or goggles. The drone has a forward-mounted camera that feeds real-time footage back to the pilot to provide a clear image of where the drone is going.
For full immersion, many pilots choose to have the image sent to a pair of flight goggles that look like VR specs.
However, larger remotes may have a built-in screen for data feeds. Some pilots don’t like the feeling of goggles, or of not being able to see. This is where remote-controlled cameras can be helpful.
For the controller, the flight sticks should fit comfortably against your thumbs, and the controller as a whole should fit comfortably in both hands. Look for ergonomic features like gel grips.
You also want to have durable control sticks. Over time, inferior sticks can start to feel loose. If you’ve handled a Nintendo 64 controller, you know the feeling of loose sticks.
Get a camera with a high frame rate and a wide field of view. You’re going to be flying at high speeds, and a high frame rate gives you the smoothest images.
Meanwhile, a large field of view ensures that you have plenty of visibility around you so you don’t accidentally fly the drone into something.
These are just a few considerations when building or modifying your racing drone.
We’ve also attempted to provide a list of the best racing drones you can start with and persist in using well into your racing career.
Keep an eye out for different drone parts and be sure to upgrade your rig whenever you can.