There’s no better way to spend the summer than by picking up a new hobby. Especially with the post-COVID excitement as vaccines start to roll out, everyone’s going to want to be as social and active as possible. Drones are all the rage, and while you’re probably used to seeing these flying robots cruising slowly in the sky and taking pictures, the right drone is a great racer. Drone racing is a great hobby for all ages and anyone who likes a little excitement will be sure to love racing their new drone. Of course, you don’t want any old hunk of metal for your racing drone, and we want to help you find the best high-quality racing drones out there.
Carry on reading to see our full list of the best racing drones, followed by a recap breaking down what makes each product on our list stand out. Or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.
What Should You Look for in a Racing Drone?
If you’re new to drone racing, you probably won’t exactly know what makes a good racing drone. But that’s what we’re here for. Separating the good from the bad is the key part of any purchase, and we want to make everything as easy to understand as possible. That’s why we’ve added this short and simple rubric to detail the criterion we used when evaluating the best racing drones on the market. Keep reading to become a certified racing drone expert.
Criteria #1: Speed – I think this one is pretty obvious. If your drone isn’t fast, you’re not going to be winning a lot of races. That being said, drones with a speed of over 100 mph aren’t competition legal, so we’ll be keeping things below that speed. We want to be as fast as possible while still being within the rules. Of course, most drones won’t get even close to the legal limit, so it’s somewhat of a non-issue.
Criteria #2: Flight Time – It’d be pretty awkward if your drone’s battery died on you in the middle of the race. You also might want to warm up a little before the actual race, or cruise around afterward. A good racing drone can have a flight time of 20-30 minutes at cruising speed, or 10-15 minutes at top speed. Since we don’t want to give you any sub-par products, that’s the range we’ll be aiming for with our drones. We want you to be able to fly your drone without thinking about the battery the whole time.
Criteria #3: Design – Admittedly, this criterion is a bit of a big tent. “Design” can mean a lot of different things. This will include size and portability as well as other factors like what flight mechanism the drone uses and whether or not it has a good camera. There are also drones that will use a remote control, while others will be able to connect to your smartphone. A lot of these features will be a matter of taste, so the final choice is up to you. That being said, we’re going to give you all of the relevant information so that you can make the best purchase possible.
Criteria #4: Price – We’re not here to make you spend a ton of money for no reason. Meeting this criterion is less about being cheap and more about justifying your price. We’d rather buy an expensive product that’s cheaper than it should be than waste money on a cheaper product that isn’t worth the money and that will just break on you or not perform well.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Racing Drones
We measured the specs of the top products on the market against our listed criteria to see how they held up and if they’re worth buying. We then checked customer reviews, blog posts, and “best racing drones” articles to see if the products on our list performed as advertised. We’ll also make sure to include a wide variety of products that covers different niches and price points. This way, everyone can find the perfect product that will satisfy their needs and their budget.
And without further ado, here is our list – tailored to your specific needs – of the best racing drones.
#1: EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone (Best Value – All-Purpose)
It’s pretty tough to find a list of the top racing drones that don’t feature at least one EMax product. That means it should come as no surprise to see the EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone topping off our list. This high-quality EMax racing drone features a top speed of 35 mph, and it offers a breathtaking FPV camera to let you see what it sees. It’s even compatible with virtual reality equipment, so some investment could make the EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone give you the best view modern technology will allow. Our top-ranked racing drone is also nice and portable, and it has a frame of just 6.4 x 5.9 x 2.3 inches with a weight of only 5 ounces and change.
The EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone has been praised for being durable and easy to set up, and – as its name implies – it’s great for indoor use, so you can get plenty of practice in a more controlled environment. Of course, this also means that the EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone will be great during the winter.
The only real flaw with this EMax racing drone is that it has a very short battery life. That being said, the overall performance and price of the EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone are pretty tough to beat. It’s fantastic for beginners, the best value out there, and our best racing drone.
#2: Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone (Best Overall Racing Drone)
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The EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone may be the best deal available, but if you want to be really competitive in your races, you’ll have to pull out all of the stops and get the best racing drone possible. In this case, that’s probably the Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone. This professional-grade racing drone may be expensive, but it’s sure to give you the edge in any race and help you impress your friends. Here are the big features that might convince you to max out your credit card on the Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Acrobatic Mode
Sometimes you want a little more than just practical and efficient performance. Life is nothing without a little style, and the Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone is the best drone if you want to show off for your friends or hot dog your way to the finish line. Thanks to the acrobatic mode on this racing drone, you’ll be able to perform amazing flips, rolls, and dives and create a YouTube-worthy highlight reel of tricks and stunts. Our runner-up racing drone has been praised for switching seamlessly between standard flight mode and acrobatic mode, so if you’re feeling particularly flashy, you could probably pull off a flip or two mid-race without losing ground. Embrace your inner showoff with the Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Ready-to-Fly Design
There might not be a better use of your money than a more streamlined user experience. Setup is annoying, and if you’re not an expert, it can be daunting and overwhelming. That makes the RTF (ready-to-fly) design of the Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone the best friend of any beginner. With absolutely zero setup required, you’ll be able to pull this RTF drone out of the box and get started flying. Time is money, so save your time with the Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone.
In addition to the fancy acrobatic mode and the beginner-friendly RTF design, the Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone features smooth turning and a durable build. And if something does break – these things happen- this drone is easy to repair and doesn’t require any smoldering – hex keys and plug-ins only. You’re also getting a solid battery that can maintain top speeds for a longer time than previous models.
The big complaint about the Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone has been that the camera resolution is a bit low, so if you want crisp image quality then there are better choices for you. But if you want a high-quality drone that’s great for beginners and experts alike, then look no further than the RTF Walkera F210 3D Racing Drone.
#3: Arris X-Speed 280 V2 Racing Drone (Most Durable Racing Drone)
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Any drone – especially a racing drone – is going to need to be able to take a hit or two. But if you have a particularly aggressive flight style or if you’re a beginner who wants to have some insurance, you’ll want a particularly robust drone. And if that’s the case, you’ll have to check out the Arris X-Speed 280 V2 Racing Drone.
This RTF quadcopter racing drone is made of two-millimeter fiber composite sheets to keep durable without sacrificing size too much, and it has a powerful motor to propel its light frame to blinding speeds. This durable and fast drone really is the best of both worlds, and it might be the best drone out there if you’re going to be seriously competing.
The big catch is that its frame of 20.28 x 10 x 6.02 inches and weight of 5.35 pounds are both pretty large, so the Arris X-Speed 280 V2 Racing Drone might not be the best portable option. It also doesn’t have any LED lights, so it’s kind of a no-go if you want to fly outside at night. Of course, that might be a small price to pay for leaving the competition in your dust.
This is definitely an expert-tier drone, and it’s probably only for more serious drone pilots. As such, it’s fast, strong, and responsible, and it offers great range on the reception, so you can fly a little farther away from the controller and really explore. Of course, it’s also very expensive, which will turn off most beginners. But if you want to maximize your potential and make sure you can survive a crash or two, then the Arris X-Speed 280 V2 Racing Drone is calling your name.
#4: Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter (Best Low Cost)
After the previous two racing drones on our list, you might be concerned that the EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone is the cheapest racing drone out there. That would leave you out of luck if it’s out of your budget. But don’t worry, there’s always an affordable option out there if you know where to look, and in this case, the right place to look is the Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter.
This super-affordable racing drone boasts a long battery life that lasts close to 15 minutes, and it has a solid top speed of 17.9 mph. The Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter measures 3.9×3.6×1.6 inches and weighs less than a pound, so your efforts to save are rewarded with one of the most portable drones on the market.
The Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter also offers an FPV – first person view – and the controller has a dock for your smartphone so you can easily access all of the amazing features of this drone while flying. Plus, the camera is pretty solid, so you’ll get a crystal clear view while using the FPV camera.
The Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter has been praised for being quiet, wind-resistant, and, of course, cheap. It’s great for beginners, and the only real flaw is that it’s not quite as fast as some of the other drones out there. This means that it’s probably not a good choice for die-hard competitors. Of course, it’s the cheapest option out there, and it offers all of the starting specs you’ll need. That makes the Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter the best budget racing drone and the best pick for beginners.
Frequently Asked Questions
Drones are still breaking out into the mainstream, which means these marvels of modern technology are still a mystery to a lot of customers. I’m sure you still have some questions, and we want to do our best to answer them. We’ve added this FAQ section so that we can all-but-guarantee that you’ll know everything you need to know by the time we send you on your way. Keep reading to find the answer to your nagging question!
Do I Need a License to Fly a Drone?
The short answer is “probably not.” While you do need a license to fly certain drones, it depends on the size of your drone, and the FAA only requires a license if your drone is for commercial use. Since most racing drones are below this threshold, and since you’ll probably only be flying recreationally, you’ll be saved all of that pesky paperwork, and you’ll be able to take to the skies without going through a lengthy licensing process. Of course, if you’re racing for prize money, then things become a lot more complicated, and you’ll most likely need to get a license.
Is My Racing Drone Legal?
You might have gathered that the legality of drones becomes a little iffy and, unfortunately, somewhat complicated. Now that we’ve most covered drone flying in general, I want to clarify the facts in regards to your specific drone.
If your drone weighs more than 8.8 ounces, you need to get a registration number for it. Note that this is not the same as requiring a drone pilot license, and the process is both shorter and cheaper. Of course, if you want to avoid those logistics (I certainly prefer to avoid bureaucracy whenever possible) then there are a few drones on our list small enough to save you any annoying paperwork.
Verdict: Your Best Racing Drones
We’re reaching the end of our list, and you’re hopefully starting to get a good idea of which of our products is best for you. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, not to worry. We don’t want to rush, and we know how important it is to make sure you’re getting the racing drone that’s perfect for you. That’s why we’re going to recap all of our racing drones and focus on their standout features. This way, you’ll be able to see the highlights and really know what each product has to offer for you.
If you want the best value for your money, pick the EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone.
With a blazing top speed of 35 mph, a high-quality camera with an FPV, and a light, portable frame, the EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone really does have something for everyone. This indoors EMax racing drone is also incredibly cheap, and it’s pretty much impossible to get this performance from any similarly-priced drone. With the only flaw being a rather short battery life, our top-ranked drone is great for anyone who prefers to fly in shorter stints. The EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone is perfect for beginners and experts alike, and it’s the best value on the market.
If you need this specific feature, pick the Arris X-Speed 280 V2 Racing Drone.
You get what you pay for. If you want a drone that’s fast, durable, and handles well, then it’s no surprise that you’ll have to break the bank a little bit. The Arris X-Speed 280 V2 Racing Drone is expensive, but it’s worth every penny.
If I had to point out flaws of this expert-grade drone, it’d be that it’s a bit bulky. It could get pretty difficult to travel with this powerful drone. It also doesn’t have any LED lights on it, so you won’t be able to fly it at night. I personally wouldn’t mind that too much, but different strokes for different folks.
If you need a drone that can take its fair share of punches and is fast to boot, then whip out your wallet and pay the big bucks for the Arris X-Speed 280 V2 Racing Drone.
If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter.
No hobby should be stuck behind an expensive paywall, and just because you can’t or won’t spend a ton of money doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to give drone piloting a try. The Ryze offers everything you could ask for and manages to be cheaper than a family trip to the grocery store. It’s absolutely tiny, has great battery life, and a fantastic camera with an FPV. It also boasts a convenient controller that comes with a dedicated slot for your smartphone.
You’ll have the smoothest flying experience possible with this affordable drone. It’s not the fastest on the market, but that price just can’t be beat. Save your money and give drone piloting a shot with the Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter.
That finally wraps up our list. We’ve shown you 4 fantastic racing drones, and we hope that even if none of them were what you’re looking for, you’ve learned enough to continue your search with some more confidence. If none of the highlighted drones above were quite what you’re looking for, then you might be more interested in the acrobatic and ready-to-fly EMax Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone.
Remember, all of our racing drones have a feature or two that really sets them apart from the pack, so this is where you’ll want to focus when you’re making your final decision. Of course, you may also want to go about things from the other direction and think of the feature that’s more important to you before really beginning your search.
No matter what approach you decide to take, we hope this list has helped you find the perfect drone. That’s all for now. Happy flying!