Things You Need To Know Before Buying Racing Drones

Perhaps you’re reading here because you’ve got the bug and the desire to find the fastest racing drone for your budget and ambition? Welcome to the club. This is a new and exciting sport like none other.

It wasn’t so long ago that consumer drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were rich kid’s toys. It’s not like that now. Today anyone can take to the skies and enjoy the wonderful world from above.

Drone racing is not only fast and exciting but it’s also becoming big business. To put that another way, the best racing drone pilots are able to take their ambition up to a more professional level.

It’s not the purpose of this guide to give flying tips or schedules for drone racing events. We’ll leave that for another guide. This page highlights some of the fastest budget drones available.

It’s important to answer a few basic questions before I get into the reviews. Armed with a little knowledge you’ll be able to make the best buying decision based on finances and expectations.

By the end of this guide you should have answers to important questions like the following:

  • What is First Person View (FPV) exactly?
  • Do I need special FPV goggles for the drones I like?
  • What kind of things should I look before buying a racing drone?
  • Should I buy a RTF (Ready-To-Fly) racer or an ARF (Almost-Ready-To-Fly) craft?
  • How important are frame materials—does everything have to be carbon fiber?
  • Are brushless motors worth considering?
  • Other frequently asked questions

There’s more to consider when buying a racing drone than speed and acceleration. It’s no good having the fastest drone in the sky if its battery dies before the others.The build quality and overall reliability of a craft are two more crucial factors. How well will the racing drone stand up to crashes and collisions? How easy is it to fix? How accessible are replacement parts?The operating software and pilot’s flying skills also play a major part. As you can see, the fastest racing drone may not always be the one to win races based on mph alone. It’s down to lots of other factors.

Operating range is another thing to consider. Overwhelmed already? Don’t be. Everything will come together once you start to read this no-nonsense guide, of that I can promise.I don’t use overly technical jargon in my guides. When there’re simpler alternative ways to explain a thing I use them. If a technical term is unavoidable I’ll explain what it means in layman’s terms.

Strong and Durable

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference when it comes to fine-tuning a drone. It needs to be lightweight and strong but not so light that it’s unstable in a breeze.The best models use carbon fiber in their construction, at least in part. Carbon fiber is a light and incredibly strong material that consists of thin (5–10 micrometers) crystalline filaments of carbon.Look out for quality plastics and rubberized mounts for other parts. The better the materials and protection a drone has the less damage it’ll suffer during those inevitable crashes and collisions.

Racing Drone Guide

This guide is ideal for first-time drone racers but it’s not only for the novice. Experienced racing drone pilots may find these reviews useful as a way to keep up on the latest racing quadcopters and features.

You’re certainly in the right place if you’re a newbie wondering where to start with the technology. Even guys who get to be Guinness World Record holders started with zero knowledge or know-how.This guide is not for kids. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with racing drones. This applies even at the entry-level and with the more toy-like flying robots.

Some people like to race their camera drones. But an average camera drone is not the same thing as FPV racing crafts. Camera drones fly slower and lower for one. Most aren’t built for speed competitions.

The cameras on racing quadcopters are different. Their purpose is not to capture cinematic quality video or amazing still images. When you race you have to be in the virtual pilot seat and see ahead.

In simple terms, the racing drone’s camera acts as your eyes in the sky. Your video piloting consists of three crucial pieces of equipment:

  1. A quality FPV camera (they’re not all equal)
  2. A fast, responsive, and reliable FPV drone with capable motors and propellers
  3. A good quality transmitter aka the remote controller (RC)

For the ultimate remote-person view (RPV) you need to wear a pair of quality FPV goggles. If this is something you haven’t done yet then prepare for the experience of a lifetime.You can also experience FPV via an external screen. It will need to be a decent size for serious drone racing and not the tiny window found on modern smartphones.

What’s Not in this Guide

This is not a highly technical guide stuffed with confusing jargon. The language used is plain and to the point. I highlight all the essential features and talk about the drone’s ability as a racer in its category.

Follow the ‘Best Price Check’ links at the end of each review if you want a full list of technical specifications. I cover the important ones in the review tables but you can dig deeper if you want to.

Here’re a few of the things you may want to learn about if racing drone mechanics interest you:

  • Design/build (materials, type of frame, weight, etc.
  • Top speed—potential
  • Payload capability and restrictions
  • Navigation systems: GPS, radar, etc.
  • UAV thrust-to-weight ratio / thrust G
  • Motors: brushed, brushless, type, power, brand, etc.
  • Battery type/options
  • First Person View (FPV) and Line of Sight (LOS) racing
  • Drone assembly, i.e. RTF, ART, BNF, full kit, etc.

This guide touches on a few of the items above but only at the practical level.

Summing Up this Intro

Unlike consumer camera drones, racing drones are not always aesthetically pleasing to the eye. You’re buying a craft based on performance, not good looks. Consider those that have stood the test of time.Weigh up all your options and understand that faster is not always better. Speed is important but it’s not everything. Remember to look at flight times, build, access to spares, and reviewer’s opinions.

You don’t have to be a mini engineer to become a talented racing drone pilot. Even so, the more you learn about the way these machines fly, their optimal settings, capabilities, and limitations, the better.