The 10 Best Racing Drones

Updated March 17, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

10 Best Racing Drones
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Flying a drone is both thrilling and challenging, especially when you're doing so at speeds that can reach well over 50 miles per hour. We put these racers through their paces by considering factors like camera resolution, flight stability and responsiveness, and by their resilience after those inevitable crashes. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best racing drone on Amazon.

10. Eachine Wizard X220

While the Eachine Wizard X220 isn't made for cheapskates, considering that you get a speedy quadcopter and an impressively well-designed remote control, complete with a large, crisp monitor, for less than it costs to put together a custom kit, it's a pretty decent bargain.
  • spare propellers included
  • longer flight time than most units
  • no altitude hold function
Model pending
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Rise Vusion 250 Extreme

For the Rise Vusion 250 Extreme, a modular, impact-resistant and FPV-ready design is just part of its charm. It also features a 32GB microSD card slot, a 4.3" LCD, and a 3.7v 1,400mAh LiPo battery, for up to 6 minutes of uninterrupted flight time.
  • balance charger
  • solder-free repairs
  • 50 mph top speed
Brand Rise
Model RISE0200
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. ImmersionRC Vortex 285

Topping out at about 60 mph, the ImmersionRC Vortex 285 quad is capable of precision cornering without losing speed, giving it an edge over faster racers that slow down when banking curves. Flanged aluminum lock nuts prevent the rotors from working loose in flight.
  • foldable airframe
  • anti-vibration carbon fiber plate
  • control is a bit tricky for newbies
Brand ImmersionRC
Model pending
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

7. Blade Inductrix

Playful-looking but tough as nails, the Minionesque Blade Inductrix is equipped with a 25mW video transmitter and a 4.3-inch FPV monitor for tracking the tiny machine's in-flight progress, and high-performance motors compensate for the weight of the onboard camera.
  • recharges in about 40 minutes
  • bicolor led visibility lighting
  • 5-7 minutes flying time
Brand Blade
Model BLH8500G
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

6. Arris X-Speed 280 V2

The Arris X-Speed 280 V2 is a wicked-fast and responsive quadcopter that's fully loaded to burn up the tracks for as long as 15 minutes on a single charge. Paired with a set of FPV goggles, it offers an exhilarating flying experience for entry-level to advanced operators.
  • crash-resistant design
  • 1500mah lipo battery
  • charger sold separately
Model pending
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. MJX Bugs 6

Fully assembled and equipped with an HD camera, flight controller, FPV goggles and bright LEDs, the MJX Bugs 6 comes with everything you need to get started in competitive high-speed flying, giving you the chance to earn your stripes before building your own custom racer.
  • 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization
  • signal loss and low voltage alarms
  • includes crash kit and spare parts
Brand Goolsky
Model pending
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Holy Stone HS200

The budget-friendly Holy Stone HS200 offers an altitude hold function and one-key automatic return-to-home, and its rapid-recharging 3.7v, 650mAh, LiPo power cell needs only an hour to be fully charged and ready to rip for 7-9 minutes.
  • headless mode for easy navigation
  • intuitive smartphone app integration
  • gravity sensor movement tracking
Brand Holy Stone
Model pending
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Swagtron SwagDrone

Produced by a company better known for personal transportation than unmanned aircraft, the Swagtron SwagDrone is a fast and capable FPV racer with an optional night-vision camera to deliver stunning aerial views of the high-flying action in daylight or darkness.
  • up to 120-degree field of view
  • 500m transmission range
  • carbon fiber chassis
Model 210-UP
Weight 5.4 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Holy Stone HS150 Bolt Bee

The Holy Stone HS150 Bolt Bee is fast, cheap and good — a combination almost as rare as unicorn farts — which makes it an ideal starter model for those first few heats. It's easy to use, nimble enough to run circles around the competition, and just plain fun to fly.
  • smooth and responsive flying
  • spare parts and repair kit included
  • modular battery packs
Brand Holy Stone
Model pending
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Walkera Rodeo 110

Delivering performance and agility without leaving a giant hole in your wallet, the Walkera Rodeo 110 has a sturdy carbon-fiber airframe for withstanding high-velocity collisions. Quick-swap batteries, flexible rotors and a modular design make recharging and repairs easy.
  • efficient brushless motor
  • wide-angle hd camera
  • compatible with fatshark headsets
Brand Walkera
Model Rodeo 100/RTF1-DEVO 7
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Racing Drones

The first unmanned military aircraft buzzed like a bee, so much so that those who witnessed it in action started calling it a drone.

Today's slick and compact consumer racing drones hardly resemble their military predecessors. Most military drones have a single rotor and fixed wings or are jet powered, while racing and consumer drones are based on a four-rotor design nearly as old as manned flight.

The earliest quadcopters were regarded by some engineers and inventors as a possible alternative to the dominant fixed-wing design. Promoted for its vertical takeoff potential, these primitive quadcopters were unstable and challenging to pilot. For this reason, the design was largely abandoned for decades.

As components like flight controllers, cameras, and GPS units became smaller and more affordable in the late 2000s, drones were produced in increasing numbers by the military and hobbyists alike.

Manufacturers of the first consumer drones enhanced the aged quadcopter design, and it proved stable and nimble. Modern consumer drones are almost exclusively powered by batteries, which grow smaller and more powerful every year. Thanks to this improved battery capacity, drones are now used in disaster areas to establish emergency communications networks.

Consumers and researchers found many applications for the cameras aboard most drones, and they are now used on film shoots and deployed by photographers worldwide. Cameras are also used in auto-follow drones, which can lock on and move in synchronization with a target.

Competitors and observers in drone racing rely on these cameras, as well. Onboard cameras grant the operator a first-person view useful in navigation, and the video feed is shared with observers, granting them an up-close view of the action.

Drone racing started as an amateur sport in Australia in 2014, and has since spread throughout the world.

Drone Safety And Legal Issues

For more than two years American drone operators were required to register their drones with the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

However, in May 2017, a federal court struck down the FAA requirement, and today, personal-use drones need not be registered.

While operators no longer have to register their drones, the FAA still has numerous safety suggestions and rules. The administration advises limiting flights to 400 feet in altitude and maintaining line of sight with the drone at all times. Even with advanced consumer drones, it is dangerous to lose radio contact. While most drones manufactured today have auto-descent programs that trigger when signal is lost, there is no guarantee that the drone will land in a safe place.

The FAA also warns against flying near airports, manned aircraft, and emergency workers. Because of the danger posed by high-speed rotors, operators should also avoid flying over people, public venues, and sporting events, according to the administration.

In 2017, the FAA researched the risks of falling drones and found that they were not as dangerous as similarly weighted items. Despite this, the FAA still requires operators to secure approval before flying over populated areas. Before flying over people, operators should make certain their quadcopter has a blade guard installed. These guards limit exposure of quadcopter blades, and are essential to safely flying over people, the FAA reports.

The FAA is especially concerned about the dangers associated with flying drones near emergency workers. Commercial drones were detected flying near a southern California wildfire in 2015, leading officials to suspend their fire-fighting air missions twice in a single week. The large tankers and helicopters used by firefighters operate at low altitudes, comparable to those of consumer and commercial drones.

While a drone may seem insignificant next to one of these large aircraft, a mid-air collision could cause tremendous damage, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The FAA compares the danger posed by drones to that of birds, which although small can still damage a plane, particularly if they are sucked into a jet engine.

Racing Drone Technology and Organization

In the popular first-person view drone racing format, the pilot sees precisely what the drone camera sees.

In most leagues, video from the drone is fed to the pilot's head-mounted display via radio signal. Drone control and video require extreme radio bandwidth, and the technology to support today's racing leagues only recently became available.

While most consumer drones are suitable for some form of racing, competitive leagues have a number of standards, and they should be researched before enrolling in an event. For instance, the Drone Racing League manufactures and supplies pilots with its own drones. Other leagues allow competitors to bring their own drones, as long as they meet certain specifications.

Unlike standard consumer drones, racing drones are designed with a single purpose: rapid movement. Where a photography-focused drone will often feature four equally-spaced motors in an X-pattern, a racing drone is likely to have its four motors in an H-configuration. This H-arrangement grants the quadcopter more forward thrust, and less vertical thrust.

Racing drones are typically assembled with lighter weight components than other models, and feature more powerful electric motors. While this makes the quadcopters faster and more agile, it also makes them challenging to pilot. The best drone pilots have steady hands and quick reaction times.

Course layouts vary by league. The Drone Racing League builds obstacle-laden, single-lap courses with bright lights, and illuminated movie props. By contrast, the U.S. National Drone Racing Championship mostly races in open spaces, with fewer obstacles.

The world's richest drone race was the 2016 World Drone Prix, which awarded its winner $250,000. Held in Dubai, the race touted a total prize fund that exceeded $1 million.

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Last updated on March 17, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience—with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist—she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new.

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