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Best Beginner Drones for Racing

Flying racing drones is not an easy task, but we all have to start somewhere. It’s highly recommended to fly beginner racing drones before investing in something more powerful.

What are the best beginner drones for racing?

If you’re just starting to fly FPV drones and want to race, the EMAX Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle is a fantastic drone kit that’s damage-resistant and perfect for learning to race. Alternatively, you can invest in GEPRC Mark 5 HD or iFlight v2 5-inch as bigger drones for racing.

In this guide, I’ll tell you what you need to know about racing drones, recommend a few to start with, and provide tips to follow for the best experience when learning.

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1. EMAX Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle 2.5 Inch

Emax Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle
$136.23

EMAX Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle 2.5 inch FPV Drone for Beginners Ready to Fly RTF Kit 200mw 2s Carbon Fiber Frame 7000KV

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03/06/2024 10:31 pm GMT

I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t this a freestyle drone? 

Yes, it’s a strong carbon fiber drone designed for freestyling, but the EMAX Tinyhawk 2 is also fantastic for learning to race.

The drone has smooth controls, quick acceleration, and can take sharp turns. The motors are pretty powerful for such a small drone, giving you the control you need when racing.

And on top of that, if this is your first FPV drone, the EMAX Tinyhawk 2 comes with a complete kit and is bind-and-fly. This is the perfect choice as the first drone you learn racing with.

SpecsEMAX Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle
Size & Weight2.5-inch quad, 79 g
Battery Type2S (2x1s 450mAh batteries)
VTXAnalog with Runcam Nano 2
Radio ProtocolEMAX SPI Receiver compatible with FrSky D8 mode
Motors7500kv
Any other notes/specs– Comes in a kit with EMAX Goggles and Remote Controller
– The drone receiver is compatible with any FrSky D8 Controllers
– The drone runs with 2s batteries, but the advantage of having 2x1s is that you won’t need a special Lipo charger

Why do we like the EMAX Tinyhawk 2 as a beginner racing drone?

  • It’s fast and powerful enough to have fantastic controls
  • It’s lightweight
  • This drone is also very cheap and can be easily acquired as part of a full kit, perfect for first-time pilots
  • The analog system has very low latency and response time

Why EMAX Tinyhawk 2 may not be suitable for you

  • It does not compare to bigger and more powerful racing drones
  • You are pretty limited in what you get and may find it challenging to change parts
  • The remote controller may not be the smoothest, but any D8-compatible RC should also work fine
  • As a pilot, you will have a step down to get into analog images, which will be far inferior in image quality to the digital transmission system of standard GPS drones

The Tinyhawk 2 Freestyle is also a good quad to start flying first-time FPV.

2. GEPRC MARK5 HD Caddx AIR UNIT

GEPRC MARK5 HD Caddx AIR UNIT

MARK5 is carefully assembled and assembled by GEPRC team, with excellent performance.

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With this quad, we’re getting into more professional territory, but it’s also a strong FPV drone for a beginner.

Please remember that in this case, the quad will use 6s batteries, and you will have to acquire the batteries, a Lipo charger, a compatible remote controller, and goggles separately if you don’t have any. 

We will help you along the way with recommendations.

SpecsGEPRC MARK5 HD Caddx
Size & Weight405 g without batteries
Battery Type6S version with recommended LiPo 6S 1050mAh-1550mAh
VTXCADDX Air Unit (digital transmission)
Radio ProtocolTBS Nano RX
MotorsSPEEDX2 2107.5-1960KV
Any other notes/specs– Good shock-absorbing structure
– The VTX is compatible with DJI FPV Goggles V2
– The RX is compatible with crossfire modules or controllers 
Note: Please always research how to charge Lipo batteries and charge them in a metal can or fireproof bag because the slightest charging mistake can set the Lipo battery on fire, and never leave the charging batteries unattended!

Furthermore, we have to recommend the following compatible parts to fly this drone:

  • DJI FPV Goggles V2
DJI FPV Goggles V2
$429.00 $349.00

DJI FPV Goggles V2 for Drone Racing Immersive Experience.

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03/06/2024 11:56 pm GMT
  • TBS Tango 2 Pro RC
TBS Tango 2 PRO RC
$225.00
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03/07/2024 03:31 am GMT
  • CNHL Black Series 1300mAh 6S Lipo Battery
CNHL Black Series 1300mAh 6S Lipo Battery
$32.99
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03/07/2024 03:32 am GMT
  • Lipo Charger
Lipo Battery Charger
$59.90
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03/07/2024 03:36 am GMT

What we like about GEPRC MARK5

  • It’s a professional FPV drone made by a very well-known FPV company
  • It’s an excellent drone to freestyle and race with
  • It comes with a digital transmission system
  • Very powerful motors and high thrust
  • The frame is durable and should withstand impacts
  • It’s a top-tier FPV drone
  • It can carry a GoPro Naked (although we don’t recommend it for racing, only for freestyling)

What we don’t like about GEPRC MARK5

  • We don’t recommend it for first-time FPV pilots and as a first drone because you have to charge custom Lipo batteries, which is dangerous if not done correctly
  • You will have to invest in other parts such as the goggles, remote controller, charger, batteries, and so on
  • It’s a large, powerful drone, but you can quickly lose control

If you’re a beginner with some basic knowledge of FPV racing, the GEPRC MARK5 is an awesome next-generation drone you can acquire to practice racing.

This drone is fantastic for freestyling and racing and should be very durable.

3. iFlight V2 HD 5inch

The iFlight V2 is yet another excellent drone you can learn to race with, similar to the above drone, the GEPRC Mark 5.

The iFlight V2 also has a Caddx HD system and a TBS Crossfire Nano module, making it compatible with the above setup.

The drone is already pre-tuned and ready to fly once it’s bound to the goggles and remote controller.

SpecsiFlight V2 HD
Size & Weight400 g without batteries, 5-inch quad
Battery Type4s batteries
VTXCaddx Nebula Pro Digital HD System
Radio ProtocolTBS Crossfire Nano
MotorsXING-E 2207 motors
Any other notes/specs– This drone setup is compatible with the GEPRC Mark 5 parts mentioned above (goggles & remote controllers), but please do not use 6S batteries with this drone
– The flight controller supports 2-6s batteries, but the motors are designed to work with 4s batteries

Zeee Premium Series 4S Lipo Battery

Zeee Premium Series 4S Lipo Battery
$33.99
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03/07/2024 03:36 am GMT

What we like about iFlight V2 HD 5inch

  • It’s a robust quad to fly freestyle and race with
  • It comes pre-tuned and is bind-and-fly
  • Good digital system and has the Crossfire Nano RX module
  • Very powerful motors
  • Has a beeper (if you lose the drone, this will help you find it)
  • It’s lightweight for a 5-inch quad
  • Good performance and smooth flights

What we don’t like about iFlight V2 HD 5inch

  • It may be challenging to fly for beginners without prior experience with FPV quads
  • You may have to set up specific rates for racing
  • It will require taking risks and charging custom 4s batteries
  • On top of the drone, you will have to invest in goggles, a remote controller, a Lipo charger, 4s batteries, and other parts and propellers (if you don’t have any)

Prebuilt with the SucceX-E F4 flight controller and the SucceX-E 45 Amps ESC, and the Caddx Vista digital system, the iFlight V2 HD is a good drone to learn FPV and start racing. 

Although it may require binding with other parts that you must acquire (as it does not come as part of a kit), this drone is absolutely fantastic with smooth controls, a robust frame, and a few perks, such as a beeper, telemetry, LED strips, 8Mb black box, and so on.

iFlight is well known for creating quality quads for freestyling and racing and is one of the most known and appreciated companies in the FPV world.

4. EMAX Tinyhawk II

EMAX Tinyhawk 2
$224.99

Camera Racing Drone with Goggles and Controller for Kids and Racing Beginners.

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03/07/2024 03:17 am GMT

Do you want to have fun and learn racing in the truest sense with little investment and in the safest way possible outside of simulators?

The EMAX Tinyhawk II is a special micro-racing drone in the form of a Cinewhoop (the propellers are protected) made for learning racing and flying in tight spaces.

If you have a larger house, you have the perfect drone to make a track and race indoors.

SpecsEMAX Tinyhawk II
Size & Weight31.2 g without battery and 75 mm wheelbase
Battery Type1s 450 mAh
VTXAnalog with Runcam Nano 2
Radio ProtocolEMAX SPI Receiver working on FrSky D8 protocol
Motors16000kv
Any other notes/specs– Polypropylene frame
– VTX Power up to 200mw
– LED, which increases in brightness depending on the throttle input of each motor
– Unique aerodynamics

What we like about EMAX Tinyhawk II

  • Inexpensive quad made for racing
  • Durable
  • Very easy to learn and use, a decent beginner-friendly FPV drone for racing
  • Perfect for indoor and outdoor race training
  • It comes in a complete kit and is ready to fly
  • It works with 1s batteries, so you don’t have to invest in a specific Lipo charger
  • It’s fun to fly
  • Adjustable camera mount
  • Low latency 

What we don’t like about EMAX Tinyhawk II

  • Analog video on lower quality
  • The remote controller is not very high quality
  • It’s an FPV drone for learning to race, but not suitable for getting into competitions

The EMAX Tinyhawk II is one of the best cheap and beginner-friendly racing drones you can get, a fantastic choice if you want to learn racing.

This drone is extremely small and suitable for flying indoors and outdoors. Polypropylene is a strong material on such a small scale and will resist all sorts of impacts, which will happen while learning to race.

Moreover, this drone is a micro Cinewhoop with the motors and propellers protected, making it suitable to fly near people, objects, and, as mentioned before, indoors.

You can purchase this drone as a kit and receive goggles, a remote controller, two batteries, a charger, and spare props. 

We recommend acquiring additional 1s 450 mAh batteries if you want to train seamlessly with this drone.

Emax Tinyhawk Whoop HV LiPo Battery
$24.99

Original EMAX 450mAh 1S LIHV lipo battery for EMAX Tinyhawk Brushless Micro Indoor Racing Drone and the other Micro FPV Racing Drone.

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03/07/2024 03:21 am GMT

How to start racing drones

  • You can only race with FPV drones, and you must invest in a complete kit including goggles, remote controller, drone, batteries, charger, spare parts, and many propellers.
  • Racing drones are dissimilar to standard GPS and FPV drones and may require you to set different rates in BetaFlight or similar software.
  • The batteries beyond 1s can be charged only with specific Lipo chargers.
  • You must choose a resistant drone because you could often crash while learning to race. 
  • It’s best to start with simulators such as Liftoff or Drone Racing League before racing outdoors with your quad, gaining as much experience as you can in these simulators.
  • Analog transmission is most recommended in drone racing due to low latency and cost, but nowadays, the digital VTX evolved quite a bit to offer a reliable connection to the goggles. However, you still have to focus on obtaining the shortest response time.
  • These drones are not long-range, so you should not attempt to fly far, as the connection may break.
  • Although 5″ quads are fine for racing, we recommend starting with smaller quads that can sustain more crashes and fly at lower speeds.
  • You don’t have to build your quad from scratch when you want to start racing. But eventually, it is best to learn how to repair your FPV racing drone and change parts.

I want to share a video with some pro tips on FPV racing. I hope it helps!

Choosing a beginner drone for racing and a few tips

  • Most freestyle drones are acceptable to use for racing and to improve, up to the point where you will be racing in a competition where you need to build your own unique racing quad. Just make sure your FPV drone is robust and can withstand impacts.
  • When you choose an FPV drone to learn racing with, consider grabbing a lightweight battery for the drone, and don’t mount any GoPro or camera on top of the drone, as you will need it to be as lightweight as possible.
  • Please remember that our recommendation list contains beginner FPV drones suitable for learning racing and NOT special racing drones.
  • If you’re a beginner and already have an FPV drone (that’s durable), consider using that for light racing. 
  • DJI FPV and DJI Avata are NOT suitable for racing at all. They can perform well but are not as crash-resistant as some racing quads, especially the DJI FPV, which is challenging to repair.

Note: We can’t stress this enough, but please acknowledge the danger of charging custom Lipo batteries, especially with a Lipo charger. They can easily start a catastrophic fire if the charge is not set correctly – you must manually set the charging parameters. I recommend watching the following video to learn how to safely charge Lipo batteries.