What is an FPV racing drone?

An FPV racing drone is generally a small quadcopter drone or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is specifically designed to be durable, light, and fast. The drone offers FPV (first-person view) for the drone pilot to operate it usually through goggles or a headset.

What is the best FPV racing drone in 2021?

Like all fast-moving emerging technologies, drone racing is progressing by leaps and bounds every year, as a professional sport and as a hobby. Improvements have been made across the board on all the technological components that comprise the first-person view (FPV) drone racer.

Therefore, new FPV drone models from established brands, lesser-known manufacturers, and bespoke drone racing suppliers are seeing progressive improvements in performance, speed, and durability. As a consequence, racing drones are becoming more affordable.

The rise in popularity of the sport of drone racing also means that the market has been flooded with options for experienced drone pilots who tend to custom-build their ideal performance-winning drone.

Furthermore, drone enthusiasts and beginners to drone racing have a bigger selection of models than ever to choose from.

Some previously lesser-regarded Chinese manufacturers have also upped their game and the quality of their products. Finally, a number of FPV drones now see year-on-year upgrades or updates as manufacturers are listening to and reacting to the feedback from the drone community to enhance the drones.

We have therefore scoured the internet and highly respected online sources to compile an overview of a selection of the best available FPV racing drones, including – where possible – new versions of highly-rated models.

The best FPV racing drones in 2021

ProductBrandCountryPrice
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
MICRO DR1 (SPEKTRUM) 2″ARCHANGEL United States$ 545Contact the manufacturer
X-Speed 280 V2ARRIS China$ 319Buy on Amazon US
Inductrix BL BNF BasicBlade China$ 169Buy on Amazon US
2018 GT R530Diatone China$ 225Buy on Banggood
Wizard X220SEACHINE China$ 229Buy on Amazon US
HAWK 5EMAX United States$ 249Contact the manufacturer
X215 PROFuriBee China$ 228Buy on GearBest
HS200Holy Stone China$ 99Buy on Amazon France
HS230Holy Stone China$ 149Buy on Amazon US
H122D X4 StormHubsan China$ 89Buy on Amazon US
RS6Remoking China$ 69Contact the manufacturer
Vusion 250 RISE United States$ 219Buy on Amazon US
SWAGDRONE 210-UPSWAGTRON United States$ 379Contact the manufacturer
F210 3DWalkera China$ 449Buy on Amazon US

Overview of the best FPV racing drones in 2021

Below is more information about the best FOV racing drones we’ve selected in our list, including, specs and important features.

http://ARCHANGEL%20MACRO%20DR1%20(SPEKTRUM)%202
Selection
CountryUnited States
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 545

This FPV racing quadcopter is the first commercially available racing drone from the limited series paying homage to the DR1 (drone racing league). With a light and durable build, a high resolution 600 TVL camera and shipping with the Fatshark 101 controller, the MICRO DR1 is highly anticipated. Larger 3” and 5” versions are also available.

http://ARRIS%20X-Speed%20280%20V2
Selection
By ARRIS
CountryChina
Release date2017
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 319

With its carbon fiber design, ARRIS S2205 2300 KV brushless motors as well as the HD FPV 700 TVL camera, the X-Speed delivers a powerful racing drone package. In addition, drone pilots can easily switch between self-level and manual (Acro) modes with the Radiolink AT9S transmitter flight controller.

http://Blade%20Inductrix%20BL%20BNF
Selection
By Blade
CountryChina
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 169

This affordable FPV racing drone is perfectly suited for beginner drone pilots by offering SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology.

The Inductrix BL is a Build-N-Fly racing drone thus users will need to buy controller, battery and FPV goggles. A neat feature is the Meow™ mode which will return the drone to an upright position after a crash.

http://Diatone%202018%20GT%20R530
Selection
CountryChina
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 225

Diatone adds to its range of highly-regarded racing drones with the 2018 GT 530. Featuring Edge racing 2306 2450 KV brushless motors and a light and durable build consisting of composed carbon fiber allows it to be a quick, reliable FPV racing drone.

The racing drone comes as an RTF and a Plug-And-Fly version.

http://Eachine%20Wizard%20X220S
Selection
By EACHINE
CountryChina
Release date2017
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 229

This affordable FPV racing quadcopter drone is fast and maneuverable, which also features an integrated FPV system which allows users to better control and operate the racing drone at fast speeds of 95 kmh.

In addition, the drone has a great flying time of around 12 minutes.

http://EMAX%20HAWK%205
Selection
By EMAX
CountryUnited States
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 249

This excellent FPV racing quadcopter drone is BNF, however it features high-grade EMAX LS2206 2300kv brushless motors and 5-inch AVAN Flow propellers.

The Hawk 5 is reported to reach speeds of over 100 mph and also includes a HD Foxeer Arrow Micro V2 600 TVL camera.

http://FuriBee%20X215%20PRO
Selection
CountryChina
Release date2017
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 228

The X215 PRO has the trademark FuriBee X-frame in addition to a 3K carbon fiber build.

In addition to its light & strong build, it is powered by high-performance 2206 2600KV brushless motors which allows this FPV drone to reach speeds of 130 kmh. An HD 1200TVL CCD camera is also included.

http://Holy%20Stone%20HS200
Selection
CountryChina
Release date2017
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 99

Although the Holy Stone HS200 targets beginner drone pilots with flight features such as headless mode, one-key takeoff and landing, and return home, it is also a stable fast racing FPV drone.

Users can also operate the drone via Wi-Fi and through the use of an app.

http://Holy%20Stone%20HS230
Selection
CountryChina
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 149

This inexpensive and popular drone is also perfect for newbie drone racers with its range of pilot-friendly flying features.

Although it is not the fastest drone (45 kmh) the Holy Stone HS230 is a perfect stepping stone drone for new pilots who can also enjoy the easily performed tricks.

http://Hubsan%20H122D%20X4%20Storm
Selection
CountryChina
Release date2017
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 89

A cheap but highly recommended FPV racing drone, the H122D X4 Storm from Hubsan is very robust and durable to withstand crashes.

It is another great drone for less experienced drone pilots which can also be operated via a smartphone app.

http://Remoking%20RS6
Selection

RS6

CountryChina
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 69

One of the most affordable racing drones on our list, the Remoking RS6 drone impressively features a 6-axis gyro stabilizer to offer in-flight stability and ease of use for drone pilots.

Furthermore, an HD camera, Wi-Fi connectivity, and access via a mobile app are impressive for the low price-point.

http://RISE%20Vusion%20250
Selection
By RISE
CountryUnited States
Release date2016
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 219

The Vusion 250 V2 is injection molded to offer added strength while the 2280kV brushless motors provide power and reliability. The 600 TVL FPV video camera also offers fantastic real-time footage.

The modular design allows users to easily replace parts on the drone.

http://SWAGTRON%20SWAGDRONE%20210-UP
Selection
CountryUnited States
Release date2017
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 379

The SWAGDRONE 210-UP is built from carbon fiber and is an RTF (ready-to-fly) FPV racing drone.

Some great features include the optimized night vision camera (700 TVL camera with a 120° field of view) as well as the location mode, allowing drone pilots to easily find it after a crash.

http://Walkera%20F210%203D
Selection
CountryChina
Release date2016
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 449

The F210 D is has a carbon build frame and features WK-WS-28-014A KV2500 brushless motors.

It is also capable of flying 5 to 8 minutes while the 700TVL camera allows for HD night vision FPV experiences. The DEVO 7 remote control and drone allow for a very intuitive flying experience.

FPV racing drone special mentions

Some well-known drone manufacturers have recently released new FPV racing drones which, on early review, look like they could be FPV racing drones to keep an eye on.

http://UVify%20Draco%204x4
By UVify
CountryUnited States
Release date2019
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
upon request

The Draco 4×4 from UVify was announced and unveiled at CES in January 2019 and features an incredible 16 motors, with 4 on each arm of the quadcopter.

The FPV racing drone will feature in the 2019 DR1 Racing League and expected to be fast and powerful as well as very maneuverable.

http://EACHINE%20Wizard%20TS215
By EACHINE
CountryChina
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 179

EACHINE produces a large number of drones and FPV racing drones. The Wizard TS215 boasts superior battery capacity and speed compared to the X220S (which features on our list).

Due to its reasonably late release in 2018, it has not yet secured a metascore.

http://HOLYBRO%20KOPIS%202%20SE
CountryChina
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 299

The drone community and popular YouTubers feedback on the KOPIS 2 SE is positive, with the brushless FPV racing quadcopter drone also including Blackbox logging and SmartAudio.

The great price-to-performance ratio also makes it seem like this FPV racing drone could be a great addition for drone racing pilots.

http://Team%20Black%20Sheep%20OBLIVION
CountryChina
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 599

Team BlackSheep (TBS) is another well-regarded racing drone manufacturer and their TBS Vendetta 2 features on our list already.

The OBLIVION is unique in that TBS claim the quadcopter is the first ever injected composite polymer unibody racing drone. In addition, it comes in a boxed frame for increased rigidity, can reach high speeds (120 km/h) and offers a decent flying time of 11 minutes.

http://Diatone%202019%20GT-Rabbit%20R249%20i
CountryChina
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 140

The 2019 GT-Rabbit R249 is a late 2018 release from popular Hong Kong manufacturer Diatone, which is also well represented in the US, features Mamba racing 1105 5500KV motors and an interesting plastic canopy.

Furthermore, the 2019 GT-Rabbit R249 is a powerful FPV racing drone that has improved cameras and controller options compared to the Tyrant S 215.

Drone racing leagues

A number of racing drone leagues have taken prominence since around 2015. The DRL: Drone Racing League is the most prominent but other key drone racing leagues include the DCL: Drone Champions League, MultiGP drone racing, Rotor Match League, FREESPACE Drone Racing.

DRL: Drone Racing League

The Drone Racing League is the premier professional elite drone, global racing league. The first season on the DRL took place in 2016 and it is broadcast on several major TV networks such as ESPN, Sky Sports, FOX Sports Asia, and Disney XD.

The number of drone pilot racers is limited to 10 (18 pilots compete but only the top 10 qualify for the DRL Championship). Furthermore, drone pilots can earn up to around $100,000 per season, making the Drone Racing League particularly attractive for professional drone racers.

An interesting point: the 2019 series sees the introduction of AI-powered drone racing, also known as Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing (AIRR). In this format, autonomous drones race against each other, with the season consisting of four self-flying drone races. In the season finale, human-piloted drones compete against AI-powered drones.

What is the fastest FPV racing drone?

DRL RacerX

The DRL RacerX from the Drone Racing League set the Guinness World Record for the fastest ground speed in 2017.

The official speed was recorded as 163.5 miles per hour, which is the fastest verified speed for a battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter (although it is reported that the top speed can reach 179.6 mph). However, the VXR-190 drone is also alleged to have reached speeds of 172 mph (unverified).

A small selection of drones is able to reach speeds of over 100 mph with many FPV racing drones able to reach speeds of between 70-100 mph.

Important information: drone pilots in the Drone Racing League exclusively fly the RacerX and Racer3 racing drones, both manufactured by the League.

FPV racing drone buying guide

There are numerous drone components that contribute to the overall performance, durability, and price-point of the FPV racing drone. In this article we list some of the key aspects to consider when buying an FPV racing drone.

Brushless vs. brushed motors

Brushless motors are highly favored by the top racing drone pilots and experienced drone users. This is because brushless motors experience less wear, last longer (more durable), require less maintenance, and are generally more reliable and efficient than non-brushless motors. However, brushless motors are also more expensive than brushed motors.

FPV drone goggles

FPV drone goggles are the preference of all top drone racing pilots and experienced drone users. The general consensus is that the drone is easier to operate via FPV goggles due to the line of sight it offers from the front of the drone (or the position of the camera on the drone).

Drone pilots will seek the best FPV racing drone with a full kit and goggles. Other gears to consider are the FPV video transmitter, antenna, video monitor (which could be the RC controller’s LCD display or a smartphone), and the camera (ideally High Definition). Some brands such as Fatshark are highly regarded for their FPV racing goggles.

Fat Shark FPV drone racing goggles
Fat Shark FPV drone racing goggles Source: Fat Shark

Remote controller (transmitter) and flight controller

The range of options in selecting the transmitter is forever increasing within drone racing. Aside from compatibility issues, the combination of antenna, control receiver, flight controller, etc. all play a pivotal part in the puzzle to achieve maximum performance.

Furthermore, drone pilots now have a broader range of memory selections, OSD (On Screen Display), and software updates to factor in their decision-making process.

Ease of use as well as comfort, adaptability, range, and the link between the FPV headset are elements that will impact the drone pilot in choosing the right flight controller for them.

Motors

The motor’s power (brushless vs. non-brushless as discussed above) is typically expressed in Kv, the meaning constant velocity of a motor and measured in thousands of RPM (rotations per minute) per volt. Careful: Kv does not stand for Kilovolt in this case!

The amount of power required for peak performance is mainly linked to the size and weight of the drone. Guidelines suggest 1000-2300Kv will be plenty for a 250mm (diagonal size) racing quad. The categorization of the motors can be identified by their four-digit number, e.g. 2205: “22” indicates the width and “05” the height.

FPV drone racing remote controller frsky taranis x9d
FPV drone racing remote controller: Frsky Taranis x9d Source: Frsky-rc

Performance mods

Drones come in many forms and packages, here are the main ones:

  • Ready-To-Fly (RTF): all necessary elements are included in the package.
  • Bind-N-Fly (BNF): contains everything but the transmitter.
  • Plug-N-Fly (PNF) our Plug-N-Play (PNP): does not include the transmitter, the receiver, the battery and charger.

Professional racing teams and pilots tend to custom-build their FPV racing drones, piecing together the best components where possible, very much in the mold of tinkerers and makers.

Many elements of a racing drone can also be modified physically (parts and components) or electronically adjusted (e.g. settings). Those can be more advanced and complex but top racers are constantly looking for any advantage and new equipment to give them an edge. However, novice users are encouraged to start with an RTF drone and build up their experience, and patience, as crashes are inevitable.

Other specs to consider when buying a FPV racing drone

  • Speed and power: Top racing drones can reach over 100 mph but most will fly at around 75 mph.
  • Frame material: The best racing drones are generally built from carbon fiber or a composite with enforced protection for the camera, battery strapping, etc. which may come loose during a crash.
  • Camera quality: Ideally the camera quality is high in a FPV drone, as the image quality will dictate how easy it is for the drone pilot to see the streamed video on-screen or via the FPV goggles. Popular cameras are those such as the RunCam Swift, but a number of high-quality cameras are available for between $20 to $50.
  • Flight time: Most FPV racing drones are only able to endure a flight time of a few minutes (5-6 min.) with a few exceptions. A lot of elements have to be factored in and could affect this duration, e.g. battery, motors, weather, etc.
FPV racing drones RunCam Swift cameras
FPV drone racing cameras: RunCam Swift Source: RunCam

Benefits and limits of FPV racing drones

Benefits of FPV racing drones

Affordability

As it was mentioned earlier in the article, drone racing and recreational/hobby drone users are on the rise. One of the benefits of drones is that there is a very large price range involved that allows beginner drone pilots to quite easily purchase their first drone at a minimal cost.

However, once a drone hobbyist is hooked on the sport, the likelihood is that they will purchase several drones, upgrades, and accessories, and with the rapid progress of the performance of drones, this could then require a yearly investment.

Maneuverability and agility

This is a key performance factor for racing drones which are designed to be highly reactive and maneuverable at high speeds. However, multiple characteristics of the drone can impact the maneuverability of the FPV racing drone.

These can include the RC controller response time (and line of sight), weather conditions, the balance of the drone, lift power, etc.

Durability

Smaller, more compact racing drones tend to be more durable than larger, heavier drones. The build and material of the drone (carbon fiber for example), speed of the crashes, blade protectors, skills of the pilot, etc. will all impact the racing drones’ durability.

This is also mainly in reference to the mainframe of the drone, which tends to be the strongest part, whereas other elements such as the camera or propellers may experience more damage during high-speed crashes.

Limitations of FPV racing drones

Environmental conditions

Most racing drones don’t perform well in poor (windy or rainy) weather, so indoor FPV racing is often preferred. Furthermore, some drones can struggle when flying over bodies of water.

Racing drones also don’t have features which aerial photography drones may have, such as GPS, “return to home” modes, or obstacle avoidance. Thus, it is quite easy to lose your drone!

Flying time

For FPV racing drones, there are the added limitations of a minimal flying time, which is relatively short at around 4-8 minutes.

That being said, racing drones can be incredibly fun and there is a very large drone and UAV community that can be accepted by users of all levels and promotes the sport in meetups (online and in the real world).

Finally, always research your local and national laws on drones as these vary in every country.

FPV racing drone FAQs

How much do FPV racing drones cost?

The price range for FPV racing drones is quite large as many racing drones come in kits. This allows drone pilots to build a drone with their preferred components. However, RTF (Ready-To-Fly) racing drones can cost as little as $200 USD for beginners and up to $1,000 for more advanced FPV racing drones (which includes some spare parts).

How far can FPV racing drones fly?

The range (distance) of FPV racing drones is nowhere near as far as the range for advanced photography drones which can be 2-3 miles. This is largely due to the limitation of the FPV headset range and battery life, which in particular is shorter than those of camera drones. As a result of relying on radios operating on the default 2.4gHz range (which is standard to most racing drones), 1 kilometer would be considered a great range for FPV racing drones.

How much do FPV racing drones weigh?

A weight of under 200 grams (including the battery and camera) would be considered very light for an FPV racing drone. Most drone racing pilots would aim to have their drone weigh under 400 grams. The weight also depends on the class of racing drones.

What size are FPV racing drones?

There are various classifications of drones such as micro, mini, and others. Micro quadcopters can be assumed to be 150mm (diagonally) and smaller while the mini quadcopter drones are between 150mm and 300mm.

Are FPV drones hard to fly?

Drone racing is a technical sport and thus it takes time and practice to acquire those skills to become a good racing drone pilot. There are many factors to consider whether FPV racing drones are easy to fly. These include the specs of the drone itself, the controller (and its ease of use), potential interference and latency in controls, and external factors such as the weather.
As with anything, practice makes perfect, and more experience will make it easier for drone pilots to fly a drone. The FPV is very community-based so we advise beginners to do their online research and ask online groups for help.

Can you make money racing drones?

The top professional racing drone pilots compete in the Drone Racing League and they can earn up to $100,00 per season. A new Artificial Intelligence Robotic Racing (AIRR) Circuit launches in 2019 which sees four AI vs AI drone races with the winning team earning $1 million. Paul “Nurk” Nurkkala is the 2018 DRL Allianz World Champion while Jordan “Jet” Temkin has won the DRL Allianz World Champion twice.