Last Updated on January 13, 2023
Do you want to get started drone racing but have no idea where to start? You’re not alone, as more and more people are becoming interested in this unique hobby. In fact, the market is expected to reach $2,060.7 million by 2026.
One of the challenges to getting started in drone racing, is the high price tag for all the drone components. You’ll need to have a racing drone with goggles, but not all drones come with controls and goggles.
You’ll also need to consider that the best racing drone may not be the most expensive one depending on your current skill set, as crashes are common when you’re just starting out.
Read on to learn all about the drone racing league as well as how to choose a racing drone for beginners!
What is an FPV Racing Drone?
If you already have your own experience with a hobby drone, how is a racing drone different? You’ll find that one of the major differences is the FPV aspect or first-person view flying. These drones give you a first-person perspective from the drone that you’ll receive through goggles.
This view is important, as it gives you the ability to maneuver your drone through tight obstacles. Many commercial hobby drones such as the DJI Spark come with GPS technology so that they stay in the same position even when the wind blows. However, you’ll need more skill in order to pilot an FPV racing drone.
Except for the DJI FPV drone, many of them tend to have boxy frames. They’re built to navigate courses at up to 120 mph. In contrast, the DJI Mavic Pro can go up to 40 mph in Sport mode.
Beginner Ready-to-Fly Drones
When it comes to a beginner racing drone, we recommend purchasing an inexpensive, lightweight ready-to-fly (RTF) drone. The reason for this is because they’re far less expensive than drones meant for intermediate or advanced racers, meaning that if you crash and break your drone, you won’t break the bank.
This also gives you the ability to practice with your drone frequently without the fear of breaking it. Being a beginner means that you’ll make a lot of mistakes and crash your drone. Fortunately, you won’t feel as hesitant about making risky moves, as these lightweight beginner drones are hardy and also less prone to injure you.
Tiny Whoop drones are the best for beginner practice. This is a general term for any brushed micro quadcopter that also comes with an FPV camera and onboard transmitter. Here are some of our top recommendations:
EMAX Tinyhawk 3
The EMAX Tinyhawk 3 is one of the most popular Tiny Whoop options out there. At only about $100, these indoor drones are known for their durableness. We recommend picking up the kit that comes with the controller and goggles in order to get started as soon as possible.
HappyModel Mobula 6 BNF
At under $100, the Mobula 6 drone is a popular option for those on a budget. It’s known for its speed, ruggedness, as well as reliability. It can be used both indoors and outdoors, though it’s preferable to use indoors.
Intermediate Local Meet-Up Recommendations
As you become more familiar with flying your Tiny Whoop drone, you’ll want to invest more into a fast, indoor drone that you can take to local meet-ups and compete with. You’ll find that you’ll invest $300-$700 in a ready-to-fly drone or a bind-and-fly drone that requires the purchase of goggles.
Professionals who are competing at a more competitive level will use a racing drone kit or assemble a DRL racing drone themselves through separate parts. At that point, you’ll easily spend over $1000. Here are some of our intermediate drone recommendations:
Walkera F210 3D Edition
The F210 3D Edition is one of the most popular ready-to-fly intermediate drones because of its durability, customizability, and fairly generate battery life at eight to nine minutes. At about $350-$360, it’s a great price at this intermediate level.
DJI is a popular drone brand known for high-quality drones for photography.
If you have a higher budget, you may want to look into the digital experience of the DJI FPV drone. At around $1300, this drone also comes with a controller and goggles. Although it wasn’t embraced by the drone racing community at first, people are impressed by the picture quality as well as its ability to detect obstacles in its N mode for new users.
This means this is a great option for new FPV pilots who want the luxury of a premium drone without worrying about crashing into a pole or tree. It also has an impressive 20 min battery life that allows you to have longer practice sessions.
Drone Leagues and Championships
Now that you know more about your options when it comes to the best racing drone, you’ll want to keep the competitive landscape in the back of your mind. Know that if you start to accept money from winning races and tournaments, you’ll want to get a Remote Pilot Certificate in order to keep the FAA happy.
Here are the current leagues and championships:
- The Drone Racing League – Global, professional racing circuit that leads to the World Championship
- MultiGP Drone Racing League – Includes classes and chapters throughout the world
- British Drone Racing Association – Race through special club programs
- Drone Racing World eSports – Racing events that are streamed online through the Multiplay eSports simulator
As a beginner, consider delving into these organizations to see the classes and opportunities they offer.
Choosing a Racing Drone: Starting with the Basics
When it comes to investing in your first racing drone, it’s important to focus on honing your skills first. Instead of purchasing a drone that’s over a thousand dollars, start with a Tiny Whoop drone for indoor practice sessions that’s durable and affordable. You can then start investing in ready-made drones that are higher quality once you’re more familiar with the controls as well as your dexterity. Ready for more drone recommendations and information? Take a look at our RTF FPV Racing Drone category!
An additional option to purchasing a ready-made-drone, you may be keen on getting one of the many DIY Drone Kit options available that allow you to customize your drone to your specific needs.