Racing Drones 101 & Our Top Drone Racing Models

The vast majority of information surrounding drones is based around their commercial and recreational uses. There has been a massive influx of material relating to aerial videography and photography for both categories. Some believe that this increased consumption of the consumer drone is the impetus driving drone development.

Jumping forward in the evolution of the industry we come to the era of VR drone racing and the machines that make it possible–racing drones. Manufacturers and engineers are now pushing the boundaries of what we thought drones could do, not only in terms of performance, but also in potential expansion into the sports world. This could mean even more advances and more fun for drone enthusiasts worldwide

The following is a breakdown of racing drones from a variety of classes, with drones for every skill-level, and those in-between.


DJI Spark

DJI Spark

The DJ1 Spark has features that set it apart from other racing drones. One of the more prominent highlights this drone offers is a Quick Launch, meaning it can be launched directly from the pilot’s hand. With FaceAware, a facial recognition software, the Spark will lift off from your palm and begin to hover within seconds of powering on.

Controls

The controls for this model are simple and user-friendly. With built-in gesture recognition, you can use hand gestures to prompt some of the major features, such as the camera, without a remote or mobile device.

Features and Highlights

  • Miniature racing drone
  • Affordable for its class
  • Great for beginner-level pilots
  • Compact design
  • Gesture recognition capability
  • Built-in facial capability


DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Mavic Pro

The DJI Mavic Pro is another popular model in the world of drone racing. It folds down as small as a water bottle which makes it small enough to bring with you nearly anywhere.

Video and Camera Capabilities:

  • Hosts OcuSync transmission system that boasts 7km (4.3 miles) of effective range.
  • Flies at speeds up to 40mph (64kmh) for a duration of 27 minutes.

 Features and Highlights:

  • ActiveTrack, TapFly and other smart features make capturing professional footage easy.
  • Camera utilizes True 4K and is fully-stabilized to achieve maximum focus and ensure smooth footage
  • Autonomous Obstacle Avoidance feature combines with sensor redundancy to reduce collisions and increase flight safety.


DJI Phantom 4 Pro

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

The Phantom series is one of the leading and most notable lines of consumer drones, heralded by famous racers and amateurs alike. The Phantom 4 heads this series, and for good reason. This is a professional device and requires an advanced level of expertise to operate, although some believe its engineering and autonomy allow for first-time-pilots to use this model effectively.

This model comes with everything you need to fly. It’s known for excellent flight performance and aerial photography as well as racing.

Features and Highlights

  • True 4K Camera
  • Capable of livestreaming FPV in High Definition
  • 360-degree obstacle avoidance sensors
  • DJI application/controller
  • Able to track moving targets with ease
  • GPD enabled
  • Autonomous return home feature
  • Position lock feature stabilizes camera
  • Follow waypoints (predetermined flight paths)


Eachin Racer 250 FPV

Eachin Racer 250 FPV

The Eachin Racer 250 FPV may be the best value of all racing drones currently on the current market. This drone does come with a video transmission system and is ready to fly straight from the box. The transmitter comes with its own LCD screen that streams flight data directly to the pilot. It also supports multi-channel transmission systems within a respectable range.

Needs:

You will need a smart phone or tablet capable of supporting the Eachin application in order to view and download FPV.

Features and Highlights:

  • Livestreams FPV with low latency
  • Lightweight carbon fiber frame
  • Extremely durable
  • High agility


Arris X-Speed 250B

Arris X-Speed 250B

The engineers developed the Arris X-Speed as a sturdy model, built for resilience in various conditions. The Arris supports a carbon/glass chassis that is agile and nimble, making this drone exceedingly crash resistant.

Features and highlights:

  • Livestreams in HD to your phone or tablet (low latency)
  • Adjustable camera mount
  • Vibration dampening plate serves as a stable gimbal
  • RTF straight from the box
  • Highly durable
  • Transmitter included


FlexRC Owl Storm Bind-n-Fly

FlexRC Owl Storm Bind-n-Fly

This is one of the most positively reviewed quadcopters on the market today. The Owl storm is heralded for its capabilities as a racing drone as well as its considerable stamina.

This drone comes with propeller guards for extra protection, supported by a 2mm carbon fiber frame. Its weight is just under 250 grams, which is very light.

Features and Highlights:

  • Brushless motor
  • Transmits FPV
  • No assembly required
  • Camera is workable in lowlight settings
  • Approximately 15 minutes of flight time


Walkera Runner 250

Walkera Runner 250

This drone separates itself from the others in this list by being an intermediate-level racing drone. Not quite for beginners, but as difficult to navigate or assemble as other models. In fact, no assembly is required with the Walkera Runner 250.

Features and Highlights:

  • Comes from manufacturer RTF
  • DEVO 7 transmitter
  • HD camera that livestreams FPV (FPV Version only)
  • Dual batteries
  • VR Headset (pairs directly with drone)


Lumenier QAV250

Lumenier QAV250

This drone’s appeal comes mostly from advanced racing enthusiasts. This is not a drone built for beginners. The chassis itself is impressive with its carbon fiber build. This is not an RTF (ready-to-fly) drone but it does come from the manufacturer with the boards needed to distribute power to all electronic systems including video and flight systems.

Needs:

  • Transmitter
  • Brushless motors
  • Camera
  • Aftermarket video system
  • Propellers

Features and Highlights:

  • 5D CDC-ed G10 main board
  • Integrated power distribution boards to support FPV system
  • LED lights
  • Landing gear (carbon fiber legs)


LHI FPV

LHI FPV

This model will require some minor assembly to get it up and running, along with some extra parts and assembly knowledge. This is a great starting point for those who would like to learn to build more complex drones.

Needs:

  • 5v 1500mAh Battery (recommended)
  • VR goggles, smart phone, tablet to livestream FPV
  • Battery charger
  • Transmitter

Features and Highlights:

  • Livestreams FPV
  • Adjustable camera (up to 15 degrees in pitch)
  • Complete uni-body set-up


GB 190 FPV

GB 190 FPV

Like many of those mentioned above, the GB 190 FBV is not a beginner racing drone. I repeat, this is not one of the best kid drone units. That being said, the assembly is less extensive and time-consuming as other drones of a similar caliber. This is a machine built for competitive-minded racers. The hardware is built so that it may be enhanced over time.

Needs:

  • 8V 1800 mAh Battery (recommended)

Features and Highlights:

  • Included 5.6GHz- 5.9 GHz transmitter
  • Flight speed up to 50mph
  • Sturdy, low-latency FPV system
  • Cost-effective


TBS Vendetta

TBS Vendetta

The manufacturer of this drone is Team BlackSheep and they have created this drone based on the highest quality and durability standards. This model comes with a custom-made carbon fiber chassis that is agile enough for competition.

There are four Cobra CM2201 motors onboard which translates to extremely speed. TBS has engineered the Vendetta to adapt to each individual pilot’s needs. This makes customization on the users end fun and easy.

Features and Highlights:

  • Includes its own FPV system
  • Camera
  • Transmitter
  • Pre-calibrated (optional re-calibration)
  • Ready-to-fly
  • Customizable


Walkera F210

Walkera F210

The difference between this model and the Walkera 250 is that the F210 gravitates more towards the professional division of the industry. This model, as suggested, should not be tampered with extensively as Walkera’s design was built specifically to be RTF. That is not to say that there is no customizability—personalization is great—it is simply recommended that the model not be definitively reengineered.

Features and Highlights:

  • Factory calibrated
  • Super Vision camera lens (120-degree view)
  • 8 GHz transmitter (built in)
  • Ready to fly main board
  • Extremely versatile
  • High-caliber racing drone
  • Integrated FPV


Xciterc 15003950 FPV F210

Xciterc 15003950 FPV F210

This specific drone is a deemed ‘professional’ and it’s going to require a lot of upkeep. You’ll need a bit of drone knowhow to put it together and sustain its health. Yet, for those of you looking to understand drones and build one of the best racers on the market, then this is your unit.

 

Needs:

  • Transmitter
  • Battery charger
  • 8V 1300mAh LiPo Battery (suggested)

Features and Highlights:

  • SONY Night Vision
  • Built in HD Camera
  • 8 GHz receiver
  • Carbon Fiber/ Aluminum chassis


Immersion RC Vortex 285

Immersion RC Vortex 285

This is a wonderful beginner racing drone. The RTF system that Immersion’s engineering group has designed integrates its FPV system and, like most others in this category, was built with a carbon fiber frame. This version will not have the same power as the 250, making it somewhat slower, but with some minor motor upgrades your Vortex 285 can achieve higher speeds.

Needs:

  • 8 GHz Battery

Features and Highlights

  • Factory calibrated
  • Complete system integration
  • Professional-grade engineering


Immersion RC Vortex 250 Pro

Immersion RC Vortex 250 Pro

This is one of the most popular and sought-after drones in the RTF racing drone market. Immersion RC manufactured yet another grade-A unit.

Features and Highlights:

  • RTF out of the box
  • F3 FC processor included
  • FVP system
  • Multiple Receivers
  • Mount for GoPro (or comparable camera)
  • “Lost-model-alarm”
  • Factory calibrated
  • Customizable


TBS Gemini

TBS Gemini

The builders at Team BlackSheep created this model as an RTF (ready-to-fly) machine. This specific model is a hexacopter drone and is regarded as a high-quality racing unit. Affordable, durable, and built to take the skies, TBS is famous for dominating the drone racing market with their hardware.

Features and Highlights:

  • Forward-tilting motors
  • Carbon fiber chassis
  • Camera (built in)
  • FVP system (built in)
  • CORE PNP25 with integrated sensors


Hubsan H501S X4 FPV

Hubsan H501S X4 FPV

This drone is not necessarily categorized as a racing drone (it may be found under best toy drones). However, it is widely reviewed as a fantastic learning drone for pilots who have aspirations to race drones in the future. Given its capabilities and included VR goggles, the user may experience a more manageable simulation of what drone racing has to offer.

Hubsan, the manufacturer, is a leading producer of entry-level drones. This model is slightly less expensive, ready-to-fly, and can be used as an introductory level racing drone.

Features and Highlights:

  • Camera Included
  • FPV Livestreaming capability
  • Transmitter (5.8 GHz)
  • Two Batteries
  • Complete system calibration
  • Reaches speeds up to 30 mph


Teal Drone (RTF)

Teal Drone (RTF)

The Teal Drone (RTF) is a fully assembled, ready-to fly racing drone. After extensive testing, this drone lives up to its promises.

This specific model can reach speeds of 90 mph directly from the box, while the mother board comes fully equipped for data processing, image recognition, and versatility. The Teal Drone RTF also includes an integrated 13 mega pixel camera that can record in 4k. In addition, this model is also capable of transmitting FPV at 720P, in HD, to a tablet, phone, and even an aftermarket headset.

Features and Highlights:

  • Hyper-intelligent Motherboard
  • 13MP Camera (Records in 4k)
  • Speeds of 90 mph
  • Data processing
  • Image recognition
  • Transmits FPV at 720P, in HD, to your tablet phone, or headset


The Parrot Bebop 2

The Parrot Bebop 2

This model drone has been rated as a candidate for best small drone 2018. The Parrot Bebop 2 is a lightweight quadcopter with an effective flight range of up to 1.2 miles. It comes with a 3-axis digital stabilization system built into the design which allows the user to capture a smooth and stable video stream.

This model stands out amongst other quadcopters for its speed—it is capable of reaching speeds of up to 35 mph. It makes for any easy introduction into the racing world and has well-stabilized, smooth controls.

Features and Highlights:

  • Uses seven sensors simultaneously to ensure maximum stability in flight
  • Shoot full HD 1080p videos and 14Mpx photos with the built-in wide-angle camera. Footage can be captured in RAW, JPEG and DNG format.
  • 3-axis digital stabilization system
  • High capacity 2700mAh battery with up to 25 minutes of battery life


Eachine QX70

Eachine QX70

The Eachine QX70 is a mini FPV quadcopter that is relatively new to the market and comes ready-to-fly right out of the box.

Features and Highlights

  • Affordable
  • Includes propeller guards
  • FPV livestreaming directly to your mobile device
  • Great for beginner pilots

Specs

  • 70mm wheelbase
  • 54g Fy Weight
  • Dimensions: 97 x 97 x 75mm
  • Flight controller: SP RACING F3_EVO_Brush
  • 8520 Coreless Motor
  • 40mm 4-Blade propellers
  • 600TVL HD CMOS .25in. Camera
  • 8g 25mw 48ch AV Wireless Transmitter
  • 7V 600mah Lipo battery
  • Approximately 6-minute flight time


Blade Inductrix FPV

Blade Inductrix FPV

The Blade Inductrix FBV is an RTF micro quadcopter. It’s notable for its size, pricing, and popularity.  A beginner unit, anyone can enjoy flying around the Blade inductrix to get a feel for what drone technology offers. It’s no professional racing drone but it just might be the gateway that leads you to one.

Features and Highlights:

  • Enhanced Flight Controller
  • Professional Grade Motors
  • Battery: 200 mAh
  • FPV Monitor (4.3 inch)
  • Headset Adaptor (optional)
  • LED Lighting
  • Low Vibration Ducted Fans (quiet)


Emax Nighthawk Pro 280

Emax Nighthawk Pro 280

Aesthetically, this drone incorporates a futuristic design. Once assembled, it performs like a professional racer—one that can compete with the other units we’ve mentioned here.

Features and Highlights:

  • Well-engineered chassis
  • Crash-resistant
  • Light-weight drone
  • Battery set with low center of gravity
  • FPV is set horizontally offering a wide field of vision

Included:

  • Rear-set, color changing LED Lights (helpful in differentiating your drone from competitors while racing)

For a complete list of bargain deals on drones, see our list of Black Friday drone sales!


Parrot AR Drone 2.0

Parrot AR Drone 2.0

Parrot is a trusted and well-known drone manufacturer. This AR drone is a midgrade, with extremely competitive pricing. Due to its battery system this drone can last up to 30 minute per charge. It’s also RTF and equipped to perform a variety of aerial maneuvers. Manufacturers recommend that beginners utilize the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 as a beginner drone—then graduate after they feel comfortable enough to dish out more money on a professional racing drone.

Features and Highlights:

  • HD 720P FPV Livestreaming
  • Dual batteries
  • Capable of linking controls to your mobile device
  • 50-meter control range
  • Propeller guards


WLtoys Q212G FPV

WLtoys Q212G FPV

Wltoys has launched several new drones over the past year or so. The Q212G is an extremely small, RTF machine. The 6-axis gyroscopic system enables pilots to experience stable flight control and easy flying. Headless mode (flying without orientation) also helps orient direction—despite where the ‘front’ of the drone is facing.

Features and Highlights

  • Excellent FPV Livestreaming
  • Gyroscopic flight system (6 axis)
  • Drone quality matches the price
  • 780P HD Camera
  • Ready to fly

Autonomous Features

  • Autonomous take off and return home
  • Full 360 flip functionality
  • Autonomous “Headless mode”


Racing Drones

As you can tell, there’s a racing drone for everyone. From RTF models, kits that require technical knowhow to assemble, to drones that can reach speeds of over 90mph, there’s no shortage of versatility in the market. No matter what type of pilot you are (beginner, intermediate, experienced), there’s going to be a drone that complements your skillset and desires. For more great deals on racing drones, be sure to check out our list of Cyber Monday drones for sale.