Getting into drone racing can be exhilarating, but the barrier to entry can be daunting, you need a good racing drone, for starters. For those that are not quite ready to buy professional gear, just want to try out a hobby racer and see about getting started in the sport, let’s explore some inexpensive racing drones.
Our goal today is to stay under a $250 price point, but we may squeeze above a tad, if the machine warrants it.
Why trust Drone Rush?
I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.
Drone racing is a relatively new sport. While it has been fading from the limelight a lately, the sport is as strong as COVID will allow. Prizes for competitions are as big as ever. The machines are as fast and agile as ever. It’s a fun time to be involved in the sport of racing drones.
We can’t all just hop into a race car and start winning races, we have to start somewhere, and the same is true for drones. Today we propose you start with a racing drone under $250.
Walkera Rodeo 110
The Walkera Rodeo 110 was designed to be a no-compromise racing drone, one that just happens to be very small and cost less than most machines on the market. While there are some machines specifically designed to help pilots learn how to fly racing drones, the Rodeo 110 is just a solid entry-level straight up racing drone. Forget the training wheels, start racing today.
Walkera Rodeo 150
A little larger and a little more refined aesthetically than the 110, the Walkera Rodeo 150 is a decent racing trainer. Not as resilient as some of our other options, we might recommend you save this machine until after you’ve got the hang of the 110 or other drone from our list today.
Check out the Walkera Rodeo 150 for $219 on Amazon today.
Fat Shark 101 trainer
Please forgive us for not adding this Fat Shark drone sooner. This is the Fat Shark 101 trainer. We first encountered this fun little drone at CES 2018, it was scooting around the Drone Rodeo making friends with everyone, whether they wanted to meet it or not. Actually, we were very impressed with how complete of a flying package you get for the price, Fat Shark built the perfect kit here for the beginner with drone, remote and goggles. Granted, the kit may not scale up and grow with you very well, but at least it’s fun and worth its price.
Check out the Fat Shark 101 trainer for $180 today.
Micro racing: Blade Inductrix drones
Blade makes a few drones, most based around the Inductrix airframe. The main Blade Inductrix is a tiny quadcopter that is little more than a toy, but is adaptable to different uses and accessories. One of the leading benefits of the Inductrix is that it can connect to advanced 2.4GHz controllers. If you have a powerful transmitter from your full-fledged racing drone, or an RC airplane, you can bind it to the Inductrix as well.
- The base Blade Inductrix is around $40.
- The Blade Inductrix FPV is $58, with a built-in 1080p camera.
- The Blade Inductrix Switch is $70, which converts from drone to fixed-wing craft, and even converts into a hovercraft.
There are more
We’re going to stop our list here for today. We know there are other drones out there that offer a great beginner’s experience for under $250, but we think these machines provide some of the best speeds and decent resilience to crashes.
Best racing drones for any budget
This is just a reminder that we have a larger list of racing drones for when you are ready to step it up. If you haven’t flown a racing drone before, just ignore this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a beginner’s racing drone?
As with most things, it is your choice if you need a beginner’s racing drone. They have the advantages of being less expensive if you break them, they fly a little slower so you can learn faster and be a little safer, and they are usually ready-to-fly units that do not need a screwdriver before you can take to the sky. You’ll still have a ton of fun, they’re still able to compete in recreational racing, and some of them allow a little bit of customizing, so you can take them to the next level, but you’ll eventually need to buy a more substantial machine if you wish to grow in the hobby, so you can consider buying big now, and hoping you don’t destroy the powerful machine before you get the hang of racing.
Do racing drones have cameras?
Most racing drones do have cameras, however, they are usually not designed to record video. These will be FPV cameras, made to provide a live view to your remote or headset. They will also be low resolution cameras, not ideal for recorded footage, but with super low latency, so you can see an almost real-time video from the drone, so you don’t crash it while racing. It’s OK for most camera drones to have more latency due to higher resolution video, but your racing drone will hit the wall before you see what’s happening with a slow connection.
Can I race small drones outdoors?
One of the benefits of the small racing drones on this list is that they can be safely flown indoors. You can, if you desire, take them outside, they will handle a bit of wind and some sunshine. What you need to know is that you will need a dedicated spotter if you plan to use your FPV goggles. The FAA in the United States requires that you must always have an unaided direct line of sight to your drone – when you are in goggles, you do not have line of sight to the drone, but you can use an official observer for the flight, they have to be able to see the drone at all times, and be able to communicate with you without any communication aids, like walkie-talkies. Make a friend and you can take turns being the eyes of the operation.
Do I need a license to fly?
Yes, all hobby pilots must acquire their TRUST certificate before they take to the sky, and if you will be flying in a race with cash prizes, that is considered to be compensation for your flight, which is a commercial operation, requiring your Part 107 certificate.