7 Best Ready-To-Fly FPV Racing Drones for 2022

One of the best things I love about flying drones is the FPV mode, where you get to view the world from a bird’s eye view. And what better way to get the thrill of that view than when racing? That’s right. Drone racing is now a sport with several big-league companies investing in it and quite a few drone pilots making a killing as professional drone racing pilots.

To participate in major drone racing competitions, you may need to build your drone from scratch or at the very least customize one. But, what if you’re a beginner with no experience in building drones? That’s where ready-to-fly drones come in. Technically, they are racing drones you can fly right out of the box. But there are many models out there. So, which are the best ready-to-fly FPV drones for 2021?

The EMAX Tinyhawk 2 has everything you’re looking for in a racing drone. It’s light, fast, and has excellent transmission. If you’re looking for one that can also double as a filming drone, the DJI FPV combo is your best bet.

In this article, I will explore each of the best models for this year, as well as explain what you’ll need to start drone racing.

What you need to know before buying a racing drone

While racing drones provide some of the most thrilling experiences, there are some aspects you need to know first before starting. Let’s look at each of them.

The drone

To compete in drone racing effectively, you need a drone. And not just any drone. But a drone specially designed to achieve top speeds and maneuver the tracks. I will cover what you need to look for in a racing drone in a minute.

Drone Regulations

You must register your racing drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before you fly because it’s an aircraft despite how small a drone is. This rule applies to drones that are between 0.55 (250 grams) lbs. and 55 lbs. However, most racing drones are very light (less than 250 grams), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t regulated.

The FAA has put in place various regulations on drone flying for safety purposes. It is less restrictive to race drones indoors, but you need to be more cautious in the open air.

You are required to get a license or a registration certificate to fly your drone. Remember, if you’re competing to win a prize, that may translate to using a drone professionally, which requires a Part 107 license.

You also need to show an understanding of the flying rules, such as do not fly your drone more than 400 feet from the ground, keep your drone in line of sight, and don’t exceed the speed of 100mph.

Spare parts

Even if you are a professional drone pilot, there are some instances where you will not act fast enough to prevent hitting an object. Consequently, you will need to replace the missing or damaged parts.

Even if you are strictly amateur, anytime you are preparing to race with your drone, remember to carry some spare parts to ensure you can successfully finish your session.

I would recommend you carry at least two spare parts of your whole drone. This will ensure you are back in the air anytime you hit a hard obstacle. In addition, it’s advisable to have two ready-to-fly drones with various designs to use with different configurations.

Propellers and batteries are absolutely essential spare parts. Also, ensure you carry several batteries to keep you flying all day long. It would help if you also had propellers in pretty since they easily break anytime you hit a bump.

FPV Goggles

Besides the drone, FPV goggles are another device you can’t join drone racing without. These are devices you wear over your eyes to see the live view like you’re in a pilot’s cockpit. The reason they are essential is the racing track’s designs. You can’t see every section on the track. So, you’ll have to rely on the goggles to navigate the track.  That’s why in some races, the judges also require the pilot to have the goggles and an extra spotter to guide him or her.

Practice

We all know that practice makes perfect. Professional drone pilots will tell you that flying a drone is easy, but in a real sense, it’s not. It takes time to master all the controls.

Unlike other drone types, racing drones don’t have flight assistance; hence you need to practice more to reduce the chances of crashing. As a beginner, buy cheap drones for training before investing in expensive racing drones.

Regular practice will make you gain ideal experience to fly racing drones. A better remote and hand-eye coordination can be very helpful when flying your racing drones. You can also try out racing simulators to get a feel for the controls without having to crash your real drone.

Insurance

When cruising at high speeds, you can bet that you will crash your drone several times. I’ve watched numerous racing videos where some of the drones don’t even make it past the first hurdle – some crash at the starting line.

To cushion yourself from such damages, you will need to insure your drone. Some drone racing leagues will also require you to have insurance before you can fly. So, check with your local area, online, or consult other pilots for the best insurance companies.

Drone Leagues

There are several leagues you can participate in. Some major, some local. Below are some of the most popular leagues;

  • The Drone Racing League (DRL)
  • MultiGP Drone Racing League (MultiGP)
  • FAI Drone Racing World Cup (FAI)

Some leagues may have strict measures to join, but this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this hobby. You can also organize a league with your friends just for the thrill.

What to look for in a racing drone

As mentioned earlier, a racing drone isn’t like other consumer drones. Most of them are light, fast, and lack other advanced features that may weigh down a drone. It’s possible to find a consumer drone with a “sport” or “race” feature that allows you to convert it to a racing drone and a filming drone when you need to.

While this may be convenient for people who still want to use the drones for other activities, these drones may not be the best to compete in league events. With that in mind, below are more features to look for in a racing drone.

Durability

Racing drones crash a lot. So, you’ll need to look for a drone built with durable materials that weigh it down. A good example is drones constructed with carbon fiber materials.

Transmission and camera quality

Transmission between the drone and the controller is important for racing drones. It should be strong, sensitive, and reliable to ensure the drone responds to the controls and to ensure the drone relays the video in real-time.

This brings us to the camera quality. Blurry cameras or cameras getting obstructed by the propellers can cost you a lot in a race. Since every manufacturer has its own way of building cameras, it’s best to test and ensure they are up to par.

Compatibility with FPV goggles

As mentioned earlier, you need goggles to race. Some manufacturers may provide the goggles, but they may not always be the best. To improve your performance, you may need to get better goggles. So, make sure the drone you’re purchasing is compatible with other goggles and any other features you would like to switch.

Cost

Racing drones come in different prices and functionalities. Don’t go for a drone worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you’re just starting out. Start cheap, because you will crash a few times as you learn. And once you’re confident and ready to join the big leagues, you can update to a more expensive one.

Best Ready-to-Fly FPV Racing Drones for 2022

Drone Model  Key Features Flight Time Speed Price
EMAX Tinyhawk 2 II RTF
  • Impressive dynamic range
  • Max speed: 80km/hr
  • 600TVL camera
7 minutes 50 mph $210
Check current price on Amazon
ARRIS X-Speed 280 V2 FPV
  • Flycolor Raptor S-Tower 4-in-1
  • Radiolink AT9S transmitter
  • 5.8G FPV video TX
  • Brand new ARRIS 2205 motor and 5042 propeller
10 minutes $340
Check current price on Amazon
Hubsan X4 H122D
  • 720P High Definition Camera
  • 2.4Ghz RC Control Series
  • 360°Flips & Rolls
  • 5.8Ghz Video Transmission
6 minutes 22 mph $132
Check current price on Amazon
iFlight Nazgul5 V2
  • 360-degree TPU guard
  • Easy-swap arms
  • TPU crash-guards
  • Popular True-X configuration
6 minutes 90 mph $325
Check current price on Amazon
Parrot Anafi – FPV
  • 4K HDR camera
  • Dolly Zoom Function
  • Skycontroller 3
26 minutes 33 mph $799
Check current price on Amazon
DJI FPV Combo
  • Comes with DJI dedicated FPV goggles
  • 4K/60 fps camera
20 minutes 87 mph $1000 to $1500
Check current price on Amazon
Walkera F210 Professional
  • F3 flight control system
  • 700TVL camera
  • Sleek, durable design
12 minutes 25 mph $260
Check current price on Amazon

EMAX Tinyhawk 2 II RTF

PROS
  • It’s flexible since it only needs a USB charger
  • It has various PID profiles for 2S or 1S batteries
  • Lightweight and durable
CONS
  • It could use a better camera

EMAX Tinyhawk is a tiny drone suitable for beginners. With a wheelbase of about 75mm, this nano drone is smaller compared to goggles and controllers. It’s perfect for flying both indoors and outdoors.

The drone comes with two batteries, a 300mAH and 400mAh, that allow you to fly up to 7 minutes. Besides, the batteries enable you to blast to a speed of up to 50mph, which is impressive for a drone of this size.

Thanks to the white balance and dynamic range, the 600TVL camera captures videos better than many other small racing drones. The LED lights give you a chance to wow the gathered crowd, especially when you are racing in low light.

ARRIS X-Speed 280 V2 FPV

PROS
  • The drone is hard-wearing
  • Extended flight time
  • It gives you a long-range
CONS
  • It has no LED lights for night flights
  • The FPV goggles are not included

Are you looking for a fast and elegant racing drone? ARRIS X-Speed 280 V2 FPV is a perfect choice for you. The drone has a beautiful outer appearance, and it’s built for longevity and speed, making it an excellent racing drone for advanced pilots and beginners alike.

ARRIS X-Speed 280 V2 FPV is an upgrade of the X-Speed 280 version with an upgraded ARRIS S2205 2300KV motor, reducing the drone weight and making it more convenient in future maintenance. Besides, the radio is also upgraded from Radiolink AT9 to AT9S 10CH radio.

The racing drone has a simple structure frame with a tower structure ESC/PDB, making it easy to assemble and repair. There is no need to install the tower separately since it comes with an integrated OSD.

And thanks to the Flycolor Raptor S-Tower 4-in-1 (30A ESC + F3 + OSD + PDB), you don’t have to worry about wiring messing.

How about durability? This racing drone features highly durable 3mm thick arms. The new, high efficiency S2205 2300KV motor and 5042 propellers offer you exceptional performance and longer working life.

ARRIS X-Speed 280 has a high safety 4S 1500mAh lipo battery that lets you fly for up to 12 minutes, which is a plus considering most racing drones can’t achieve 10 minutes of flight time. In addition, the drone has the 5.8G 40CH video TX and antenna for added functionality.

However, this racing drone has no LED lights; hence it cannot safely fly at night. But if you operate during the day, then this drone is fast and fun to race with.

Hubsan X4 H122D

PROS
  • VR goggles are included in the package
  • It gives high-quality videos and photos
  • The drone is affordable
  • It’s easy to fly
CONS
  • Limited operating range
  • Limited racing speeds

If you are looking for an affordable FPV racing drone, Hubsan X4 H122D is an excellent choice for you. It is ideal for beginner drone pilots because it has a wide range of in-flight options that make it easy to fly. Furthermore, it has a 3K carbon base that is sturdy enough to withstand crashes.

It has a durable carbon fiber frame with powerful coreless motors. The motor will instantly stop if the propeller stops or the aircraft crashes due to external factors to avoid further damage, thanks to the motor stall protection.

As I’ve mentioned, you get two flight modes, a beginner mode that limits most of the advanced functionalities and the expert mode. The expert mode achieves top speeds and is quite sensitive to controls. If you’re not that experienced, you could easily crash when using this drone. So, make sure you gain some experience before flying in expert mode.

To offer the best value for money, you get a 4.3-inch FPV monitor and FPV goggles for an immersive drone racing experience. And the 720p HD camera ensures good streaming or recording video quality.

Better yet, you can control the drone in 3 ways; the controller, the smartphone app, or through the VR setup. It not only flies at top speed, but it can do 360-degree flips. But don’t mistake this for a toy drone. It’s a racing drone by its own rights.

The 7.6V 640mAh Li-po battery enables the drone to fly for about 6-8 minutes. To spend more time flying outdoors, make sure you get at least three batteries.

One downside of this drone is the speed since it only achieves 22 MPH. That’s why I recommend this as only an entry drone. For advanced races and higher speeds, you will need a faster drone. The other issue is the 100-meter range which isn’t the best but great for a start.

iFlight Nazgul5 V2

PROS
  • It’s durable, thanks to the 5mm arm design
  • Incredible long range
  • Fast and lightweight
CONS
  • It’s expensive
  • Need to purchase transmitter separately

This is another excellent racing drone that is a perfect fit for FPV professional pilots. It’s powerful and excitingly fast. The 5mm thick carbon arms make it quite durable while maintaining a lightweight design for cruising at top speeds.

While this review is about RTF drones, I’ve decided to include this BNF (bind and Fly) drone since they aren’t that complicated either. While RTF drones come with all components, BNF drones allow you to choose a transmitter. This drone explicitly features the Tbs Crossfire Nano Rx that works with TBS radio controllers. Don’t worry about the setup since it only takes a few minutes.

If you’ve been learning about drones for some time, this BNF drone will make a good upgrade.

Featuring the latest iFlight XL5 V5 FPV frame, TPU all-around protection, and true-X design, the Nazgul5 is designed to handle crashes with minimal to no damage.

The 1300mah 6s lipo battery provides loads of power and smooth flights that enable you to stay aloft for an extended period. But what I love most about the batteries is that you can choose between 4S and 6S. 6S batteries will offer the performance for racing. But when you want to convert this drone to a filming drone, the 4S will provide more flight time and operating range.

Did I mention this drone comes with GoPro mounts? Yes, the Cadex Ratel 2.1mm lens camera is not that bad for racing, but you can get even better videos and photos with GoPro cameras, especially when filming.

Parrot Anafi – FPV

PROS
  • Foldable and compact
  • Extended operating range
  • Longer flight time
  • Very versatile
CONS
  • Relatively low top flight speeds
  • It lacks obstacle avoidance sensors

Are you looking for a superb and travel companion racing drone? Search no more. Parrot Anafi – FPV is an ideal choice for you. It may be expensive, but many features have made it land on our list of the best RTF racing drones. And it’s not just a racing drone. As you’re going to see, it fits in many other applications, making the slightly higher price worth it.

For starters, it has a unique FPV mode. While drones like the DJI models offer FPV goggles, the Parrot Anafi offers a strap where you can place a smartphone and enjoy FPV flying. This is a cheaper and more convenient mode, and the straps are compatible with a wide range of smartphones.

Secondly, you get a powerful 4K HD camera that offers high-quality images from miles away thanks to the 3X zoom.

I have to admit, you’ll get better footage with this drone than you will with most racing drone cameras. The automated flight modes such as the panorama or Follow-me work great when filming since they can do the flying as you focus on filming. And in case the drone gets lost, it can automatically fly back to the last known location thanks to the return-to-home feature.

Better yet, this drone has two working modes. One is the photo mode, where you get to utilize the camera fully. And the “Race mode”  is what turns this into a racing drone.

Another area this drone outdoes the rest is in the flight time. Racing drones don’t last long in the air, but the Parrot Anafi offers a whopping 26 minutes flight time. Considering it has a 4KM range, imagine how far you can fly it? You may not need to fly all 4 kilometers, but this shows that it has a more robust connection when flying within a short range.

DJI FPV Combo

PROS
  • Top speeds for racing
  • Excellent camera
  • Stylish and high-quality FPV goggles
CONS
  • It’s quite expensive
  • You can’t use it with third-party FPV goggles

If the other racing drones I’ve reviewed today are regular sports cars, then the DJI FPV combo is the Lamborghini of racing drones. DJI has been dominating the drone industry for a while now, mostly with photography drones. They were not the best at building FPV drones until they released the FPV combo, and it didn’t disappoint. So, what does it offer to drone racers?

It can achieve up to 87 MPH for starters, which is one of the best speeds for an RTF racing drone. Most drone pilots only achieve this speed by customizing their drones. This drone not only sprints but also has superb acceleration, which is necessary to give you a competing edge in drone races.

And it doesn’t stop there. This drone also comes with DJI’s FPV goggles that are a bit similar to Ironman’s helmet. These goggles offer a state-of-the-art 150 degrees FOV immersive experience while racing or even when filming.

Another reason you would choose this drone is DJI’s OcuSync 3.0 system that offers a range of up to 6.2 miles. For a long time, OcuSync 2.0 was the best in the drone world due to longer ranges and stable image quality when streaming. The 3.0 offers even more quality and a better connection to the controller.

You also get 20 minutes of flight time, which is one of the longest you can get for such a drone.

The 4K/60 fps camera is a bit of an overkill for a racing drone, but it works great, and it means this drone doesn’t have to be limited to racing.

Unlike some racing drones, the DJI FPV combo has built-in safety features such as the RTH and obstacle avoidance. You also get to control it in three ways; smartphone app, controller, and a unique motion controller.

Walkera F210 Professional Racing Drone

PROS
  • Light and durable build
  • Excellent transmission
  • Easy to fly
CONS
  • It could use a better camera
  • It lacks advanced safety features

Walker is another brand that’s doing its best to simplify the entry process into drone racing. I’ve flown a couple of their drones, and one thing’s for sure, most of them can handle the “life” of a racing drone. I settled for the F210 for a lot of reasons.

First of all, it’s super light but very durable thanks to the carbon fiber build and 5mm thickness. To achieve top speeds with flawless transmission, this drone is built onto the F3 flight control system that features a 5.8 G transmission system, a powerful camera, and a 700TVL camera.

The manufacturer also provides Goggles4 goggles that offer a “cockpit” experience. And those who love flying at night, whether racing or freestyling, you’ll love the night vision camera and photosensitive sensors.

However, I feel like they should have offered more features, especially for those looking for more than a racing drone. But if you’re eyeing to race with your friends in abandoned buildings, forests, or basements, the Walkera F210 has everything you need.

Conclusion

And that wraps up my guide of the best RTF FPV racing drones of 2021. Now, they may not achieve top speeds like custom-built ones, but they are great entry-level drones for this hobby. Everyone started somewhere, right?

Leave a Comment