Buying a ready-to-fly drone can be a great experience, but after buying a couple of them, you realize that they limit you in the modifications you can make, and you sometimes don’t understand how it all works.
Disassembling an RTF drone when you don’t know what you’re doing could lead to damages, and you could even void your warranty.
That’s why you should consider a DIY drone kit. These kits come with all the parts the drone needs to work, and your job is to assemble them.
If you’re a student or interested in building drones for personal use or FPV, they are an excellent way to understand how drones work.
A drone kit with a camera also allows you to experience taking the first footage with something you built.
With the various options available, which are the best DIY drone kits with a camera?
The Joshua Bardwell FPV kit is perfect for those interested in FPV, and the DJI and QWinOut kits are ideal for those who want to build and customize huge rigs for personal or commercial use. The Ryze Tello is the best DIY drone kit with a camera for kids or people who want to learn to code.
Keep reading to learn why these options made it to the top of our list. Whether you’re a beginner or have been building drones for a while, we have a drone kit that is perfect for you.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
1. Joshua Bardwell Edition V2
- Every part you need to build your first drone is included
- Detailed step-by-step instructions and support are available to build the drone
- You can upgrade the final product to a professional FPV quad
- In case you crash, spare parts are readily available
- It’s quite expensive
I’ve been interested in joining the FPV world for a while, and one of the kits I have my eyes on is Joshua Bardwell’s beginner DIY FPV drone kit.
If you’re looking for a drone kit that you will assemble from scratch and use even for professional shoots, this is a kit you should consider. Why?
For starters, there is a lot of documentation on it.
Joshua Bardwell is an FPV expert who has shared much of his expertise on his blog and YouTube channel. He compiled the parts in this kit in collaboration with Lumenier and Xilo.
Bardwell has also created a well-detailed video on assembling this drone and tuning it to your specifications.
Even if you have never built a drone before, you should be able to follow through and get your drone to fly.
So, what’s included in this kit:
- Xilo Stax V2 45A BLHeli_32 ESC
- 2207 6S 1800KV motors
- DJI camera and a Caddx Vista Kit
- QAV-S durable AirFrame kit
- Xilo Stax V2 F4 Flight Controller compatible with the latest Betaflight firmware
Don’t worry about the jargon if you’ve never used drone parts before. Joshua Bardwell will guide you on how to put everything together.
While this kit may be more expensive than most other options on this list, I recommend it to anyone interested in professionally flying FPV.
Besides the DJI camera, you can also add an HD camera, such as the DJI Action or the GoPro camera, for high-quality footage.
However, if it’s your first time using an FPV drone, you will also need the following:
- FPV goggles
- Extra batteries
- Assembly tools
You can get the kit and the extra tools for under $1,000.
The good thing is that the transmitters, goggles, batteries, and chargers can be used with other drones, so you will not have to repurchase them whenever you need a new drone.
Below is a video from Joshua Bardwell showing you how to set it up.
2. QWinOut 330mm
- It’s a great way to challenge yourself after building some easier quads
- The camera mount allows you to attach a camera of your choice
- Battery and controller aren’t included
The QWinOut 330mm DIY drone is a good option if you’re looking for a challenge.
It features a sturdy F330 frame and all the necessary parts to build a drone, such as ESCs, propellers, motors, flight controllers, camera mounts, etc.
However, some of these parts may have to be purchased separately depending on the type of drone you want to build.
You might have to figure out somethings yourself because the instructions aren’t always clear, and there isn’t enough information online to guide you on assembling this drone, so be careful when purchasing it.
Below is the assembly guide for this kit:
3. DJI Tello EDU
Ryze Tech Tello Quadcopter (2019) 4 x Ryze Tech Propellers for Tello (Set of 4) Ryze Tech Propeller Guards for Tello (4-Pack) Ryze Tech Battery for Tello Micro-USB Cable.
- It’s easy to use
- Very affordable
- Safe to fly
- You can’t add an extra camera
- It may be too easy for people who have built drones before
If you have kids or anyone wanting to learn to code while enjoying a drone, the DJI Tello EDU is another excellent option.
It doesn’t involve soldering and bringing all the different parts together, making it safe for children or anyone unfamiliar with electric components.
The DIY part is mostly the software, as you can program the drone to accomplish various stunts and tasks.
The Tello EDU resulted from the collaboration between DJI and Ryze Technologies.
As such, it features DJI’s state-of-the-art technology and Intel firmware and hardware, giving you a safe, durable, and easy-to-use drone.
Unlike most of the kits you will come across, this drone comes ready to fly, features GPS, and has a basic camera that can capture pictures in 5 MP resolution.
The 12-minute battery life is also quite long compared to other kits.
When controlling this drone, you can either operate it through an app on your smartphone or get a controller separately.
At less than $99, this makes a perfect gift for anyone looking for their first drone that can also be used as a learning tool.
Below are some programming tutorials for the DJI Tello EDU:
4. DJI F550 Wheel Arf Kit
- Provides a lot of room for customization
- Huge payload capacity
- Excellent value for what you can do with it
- Not everything is included in the kit
- It’s challenging to assemble for beginners
If you want to start from the basics when building a powerful multi-copter, the DJI F550 Wheel Arf Kit is another excellent option.
DJI is known for its ready-to-fly drones, such as the Mavic and Mini drones, but they created this kit with builders in mind.
This kit includes a sturdy frame and PCB wiring, which makes it easier to wire other components, such as the ESCs.
While it doesn’t include a camera, you can mount your own camera and gimbal. Extensions are available that enable you to carry a camera as large as a DSLR, but that will come at an extra cost.
The frame is also wide, and with a takeoff weight of up to 5 pounds, you can easily add larger props and even auto-pilot systems.
Whether you want a simple drone or a sophisticated rig for cinematography or FPV racing, you can build one based on this kit.
Unfortunately, the kit does not include everything you will need to build a complete drone.
It only has the ESCs, motors, frame, and assembly tools. You will still need to purchase batteries, a transmitter, a controller, and a flight controller.
Below is a step-by-step guide to building a drone based on the DJI F550 kit:
5. QWinOut Q705
Q705 airframe designed for users with high portability requirements, it is especially suitable for monitoring, remote sensing, surveying, aerial surveying, fire observation, life exploration, cable inspection, farm monitoring, etc.
- Provides even more room for customization
- Thoughtful foldable design that makes it portable
- Not ideal for beginners
Building or assembling a drone doesn’t have to stop at experimental kits.
You can build your own agricultural, remote sensing, or surveying drone. But you will need a sturdy frame and rugged setup to build such a device.
That’s what the QWinOut Q705 is built for.
It measures 705 mm, giving you enough room to add all the features you will need your drone to have, and has a landing gear design that inspired the same design we see on the DJI M300 RTK and the newer DJI M350 RTK.
While it’s designed for building commercial rigs, it’s also foldable, making it portable without damaging the various parts.
To purchase this kit, you must first determine what you will need to build your drone since each part is sold separately.
As such, this kit is not perfect for beginners. It’s better for professionals who know what they want to build, how it works, and the parts needed to ensure it all works.
Below is how setting up the Q705 would look like:
Before you get that drone kit, below are some factors you should consider.
Building a drone is not as easy as it looks. It requires expertise in how drones work, electrical engineering, aviation technologies, etc.
While several kits will show you how to assemble the parts, having this knowledge is also helpful. If you need to get a drone and start working as soon as possible, getting an RTF drone might be the safest option.
Before you get started on that project, check if there exists a drone that can do exactly what you need your drone to do. You’d be surprised at how advanced the drone industry is.
I’m not discouraging you from getting a kit.
I’m just letting you know that before you reinvent the wheel, consider what’s already available, if it can be used for your project, and how accessible it would be compared to building your own.
If you feel you can improve on what’s available or want to get it for a learning experience or just for fun, building or assembling from a kit is still worthwhile.
Besides, researching what’s already on the market allows you to gain insights on building on existing technologies which could be better than building your own from scratch.
Before purchasing a DIY drone kit, consider the costs involved and whether getting a ready-to-fly drone would be cheaper.
As you may have seen with most of the kits I have reviewed, they don’t include everything in the kit. Items like controllers, transmitters, cameras, gimbals, etc., may have to be purchased separately.
While the individual parts may seem cheap, the costs will add up, and you may spend the same or even more by getting a DIY kit compared to an RTF drone.
However, if you plan to build more drones, controllers, batteries, and chargers can be reused, making it a cheaper option long term.
Again, the purpose of getting the kit also matters, but don’t spend more if you could spend less and still achieve what you need to achieve.
One great thing about building a drone from a kit is individual parts are easy to find at lower costs. These could be new parts or used parts.
If you’re looking for an FPV kit, it will be easier than purchasing an RTF FPV drone.
Why? You will crash a lot of FPV drones as you learn, and if you have to purchase a new drone every time you crash, it is not a sustainable venture.
Besides, getting individual parts for RTF drones like the DJI Avata can be quite difficult.