The Ultimate Guide: How Much Does A Racing Drone Cost?
If you’ve made it here, you’re probably looking to buy a racing drone to whip it around some courses. But how much does the best racing drones cost? And, is there even that much difference between the racing drones?
Well, you’re in the right place:
By the end of this article, you’ll understand the advantages of building your racing drone compared to buying one. And roughly how much the best racing drone will cost you. Sound good?
Great, sit back while I give you everything you need:
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Will A Racing Drone Cost You?
- 2 Are You A Beginner?
- 3 What Are The Key Components of A Racing Drone?
- 4 What’s The Difference Between Cheap & Expensive Racing Drones?
- 5 Where Can I Learn More?
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Will A Racing Drone Cost You?
Drone racing costs about $200 to get into, but if you want to win races it will cost more. Assembling your own racing drone can save money but you can also buy a ready-to-fly racing drone like the Blade Inductrix for under $200.
But it depends on what you’re looking for, and how experienced of a pilot, you are. At this point, you have two choices, which will determine what direction you need to go in. You can either build one or buy an RTF (Ready To Fly).
But is one of them cheaper than the other?
Let me explain…
Building Your Drone
The good thing here is, you control exactly what’s in the racing drone and how powerful it can be. Another great thing about building your drone is, it can be a lot cheaper than you’d expect.
Although this depends on what you want to put in your drone.
A starter kit can start between $40-$200 but, if you were looking to build something a little more advanced, then you could be looking at $400-$800 by the time you’re done.
And sometimes it can be more than that. One thing to note is, it takes a lot of time and technical knowledge to build your racing drone, so if you live a busy life it might not be for you.
Ready To Fly Racing Drones
The primary benefit of buying a ready to fly racing drone is, you don’t have to mess about when it arrives.
Which let’s face it can be far more desirable than spending on hours trying to figure out what goes were.
The downside is some of these are harder to upgrade than others due to the custom connections which doesn’t make it great for drone racing.
You’ll also find that the drone can be more expensive when it’s ready to fly. So which one should you choose? Well, to help you answer this question, you need to think:
Are You A Beginner?
If the answer is yes, you’re better off buying an RTF Racing drone; you can pick up a reasonably cheap one for around $100.
This will be more than enough to get your started learning how to fly, and whether you actually want to spend a lot of money on it.
On top of that, it will save you a lot of wasted hours being spent on building a racing drone you don’t know how to fly.
When you’re a beginner, you don’t need something fancy; it’s just to practice with anyway.
What Are The Key Components of A Racing Drone?
If you’re deciding to build your own FPV racing drones, then it’s a good idea to have some understanding of all the working parts. Hell, even though you’re not planning on building a racing drone, it’s still a good idea to know how the parts work:
Let’s take a look:
The frame of the racing drone is the component that holds the drone together.
It can be made using various materials, most commonly plastic or carbon fiber due to the light-weight and it’s durability.
You need to think hard about what size drone you’re looking for before you start buying the parts, it will determine what you can do with a drone, and what parts you can use.
The carbon fiber frames can come in a wide array of sizes, starting 50-150mm to 250mm+.
Smaller FPV racing drones tend to be cheaper to build as the parts for big drones can get pretty expensive. They’re also less likely to break under a high-speed collision.
The motor is the part that helps you get over the finish line in a reasonable time.
Most racing drones come with four motors, but in some cases, it could be more. When it comes to the motor, you have two options, brushed or brushless.
The most common motor is a brushless motor due to the high output. They also produce less heat and need less maintenance overall.
Some thing s to look out for is the efficiency of the motor, you need to know how many grams of thrust it provides compared with power consumption.
You should also think about the weight of the overall racing drone; it must be less than the power of the combined thrust.
The dimensions of the propellers are classified by the length, pitch, and the number of blades it contains.
As I mentioned before, the motors come with a thrust table, which shows you the force generated by each propeller style.
Your best option is to stick to the motors recommended size; you’re more likely to get the best results.
Another thing that is worth thinking about is is the size of the frame. There’s no point putting large blades on a micro-quadcopter; it’s just not going to work.
The frame will tell you what the maximum size blades are, so you don’t overdo it.
Electronic Speed Controllers
Or ESC turns the DC voltage and pulse width modulation signals and turns in to a three-phase AC output for the motor. Basically, it allows you to modulate the throttle from 0%-100% when needed.
The most important thing you need to understand when it comes to ESC is knowing the maximum current draw from the motor. All this information can be found on the manufacturers’ table.
There are two options to go for here, and as usual, one is better than the other. You can either go for the LiPo or Lithium-Ion Polymer.
The most popular choice is the LiPo, they have a small size, yet remain extremely powerful.
To know what voltage battery you need, you’ll have to know what the electronic speed controller and motor requires to run with optimal efficiency.
The most important thing to consider is the mAH; this is determined by how much current the battery can provide for one hour.
Let’s put it this way; if the four motors drain four times the amount of current from the battery, you would only have 15 minutes of flight.
It works as the brain for the racing drone, and like any brain, it receives signals from sensors dotted around the body. It then processes the information and sends solutions to the respected part.
When you’re looking into flight controllers, I’d advise you look for one that can be adjusted to change a few key components. You’ll also want to install new firmware and provide some technical tuning to help you win races.
FPV drone stands for first person view, it’s basically like VR for your racing drone. This feature gives FPV drone racing a more futuristic feel. In fact we have a detailed guide to buying the best FPV racing drone with Goggles.
It lets you see exactly what the FPV camera sees, giving a more immersive experience. It uses a receiver to capture the 5.8 GHz signal and project it on to a digital screen for you to see
One thing to think about is the range you’ll be flying at; some receivers don’t have a particularly long-range, which can end in sudden cut-outs or fuzzy reception.
Depending on what you’re looking for, you could be spending up to $500 for a set of Fat Shark goggles.
Radio Transmitter & Receiver
They don’t really play much part in the performance.
But they are an essential piece of kit.
If you’re racing, you should opt for a 2.4 GHz transmitter and receiver. It has the best flexibility and uses a wide frequency band.
Most drone enthusiasts opt for a transmitter that can accept multiple receivers; this stops the need for buying numerous radio transmitters.
You’ll need a bare minimum of four channels for the essentials, throttle, roll, pitch, etc. Most go for nine channels, but it’s up to you.
Receivers are used to pick up signals sent by the transmitter and then relay the information to the flight controller.
The main thing to look out for is the transmitter can link up.
What’s The Difference Between Cheap & Expensive Racing Drones?
When it comes to differences between worst and the best FPV racing drones, it can be pretty noticeable in some areas.
Here’s what you can expect from each price bracket and a rough indication of what you can expect performance-wise.
The speed a drone can go heavily depends on how much time and money you want to spend on it.
A Cheap FPV drone might get you up to 30 MPH if you’re lucky. But a well thought out a drone with money and time can supply the power can go up to 80MPH.
Then you get to the DRL (Drone Racing League), where they reach speeds of up to 120 MPH.
In fact, the Drone Racing League recently broke grabbed the Guinness world record for the fastest racing drone, were at its fastest reached speeds of up to 179 MPH.
The power of the drone is determined by the motors and batteries capabilities of working together.
An expensive drone will have a calculated power ratio, which starts at the base. Opt for a 2.4 GHz transmitter and receiver. It has the best flexibility and uses a wide frequency band.
When you’re traveling at high speeds on the racing tracks, you need to be able to navigate through obstacles quickly and efficiently.
Cheaper racing drones tend to be to fair more delayed when you send them actions, and to top it off are unable to perform Sharpe turns.
Then you move up a little and notice not only does it perform well on corners, but they can perform aerobatics such as flips and rolls.
Cheap materials often end with poorly manufactured parts, which break after the first tiny collision. In the long run, the cheaper parts end up costing more money due to the number of repairs and replacements you need to take care of.
Some times it’s worth splashing out on an expensive, but durable material that can last more than 1 or 2 bumps.
Cheap batteries or overperforming motors can dramatically decrease the available flight time.
It doesn’t mean an expensive drone will have a flight time overall. In fact the faster you build your drone the less likely you’ll have a high flight time.
That being said, a cheap battery would mean any motor worth buying, would drain so quickly you’d be lucky to 2 minutes flight time.
Flying racing drones means you need a significant area of space to feel the full effect. But if you’re controller doesn’t have the range flying can be made very difficult. The more expensive the controller, the better range, and response times you’ll get.
Cheaper controllers tend not to have the range or the capabilities to the user will need. It’s worth looking into what you’re drone will need, and if you’re planning on owning multiple drones.
There are a few things you need to think about before buying the best FPV goggles. Make sure they have IPD (Interpupillary Distance), so it can be adjusted to your eyes. Another thing to watch out for is a reduced resolution nobody likes a grainy image.
Once you start spending a little bit more on a set goggles, you’ll see higher picture resolution with a vast range. Cheaper goggles tend not to have the range or the capabilities to the user will need.
It’s worth looking into what you’re drone will need, and if you’re planning on owning multiple racing drones.
Where Can I Learn More?
This has just been article has only been a quick look into the drone building world, so if you want to learn more, there are some really viable sources out there.
You should take a look at our recommendations for the best FPV racing drone. There’s no need to spend a lot of money if you are just starting out.
Otherwise, you can subscribe to some of these awesome FPV drone blogs or take a look at these resources to learn more-
Frequently Asked Questions
With drone racing becoming ever more popular, DRL Drone pilots are taking home bigger cash prizes than ever. And when you add their sponsorship on top of that, it really is quite impressive.
Some of the best drone racers are taking home six figures in sponsorships. Add that to the $75,000-$250,000 cash prize; there’s some serious money to won.
The best drones are always built, it’s the only way to get maximum performance, but we understand that not everyone has time for that. Which is why we made we put together an article to find the best FPV racing drone for most people, check it out!
It depends on what you’re looking for; starter kits can start from as low as $40, although these aren’t the best. Around $120-200 is a safe bet for a decent build.
After that, you could be into the $1000 before you know it, especially when you add FVP goggle into the mix.
We answer this question in more detail with our “How much does a racing drone cost” article.