Drone flying is a hobby that is seeing exponential growth as of late. With drone racing, aerial photography, and all the other fun applications, the sky’s the limit! Have you ever thought of building your own quadcopter? You’re saying wait a minute, that’s crazy talk! Really though, the whole process of building your own quadcopter is half the fun, and with a drone kit it’s an option even for the novice “droner”. The first step is just finding the best drone kit to get you started- and we’ve done the dirty work for you.
Is it Worth it to Build My Own Drone?
Building your own drone gives you the chance to learn a ton about quadcopters. You will gain the knowledge to optimize your drone and purchase/install special upgrades. There’s kits for FPV and play, some that come with dozens of extra parts, and some with just the bare-bones allowing you to customize the rest. We’ve rounded up what we consider to be the best drone kits available that can help you get started on this new hobby. Check out our comparison and reviews of drone kits below!
The 10 Best Drone Kits of 2018
Here are the all around best quadcopter kits for the money, along with their specifications and features that we think you’ll benefit the most from.
- 4 x LHI2205 2300KV motor included
- 1 x 700TVL camera
- 1 x TS5828 FPV 5.8G 32CH 600mW Transmitter TX
- Remote control and batteries not included
This is one of the most popular mini drone kits on the market. Many beginner and more experienced drone builders consider this as the best quadcopter frame. If we had to pick, it’d be our selection for the best mini drone kit for under $200. The brushless DX2205 2300kv motor, Littlebee 20A Mini electronic speed control, and F3 flight controller board means your dollar is going further. It comes with all the hardware you will need to put it together and then you’ll be off to the races in no time. It doesn’t come with instructions, so you may want to use a YouTube video such as the one below to get things put together correctly.
The 700TVL camera is the weak point of this kit in our opinion, but it can be replaced with something better down the road. It is a well rounded kit with a 5.8GHz antenna/5.8G 32CH 600mW transmitter, LHI 5045 propeller, power distribution board, motor guard protection caps, and four LEDs. The two big pieces this kit is lacking is a remote and battery. LHI recommends a 6CH and above radio system and 3s – 4s 1200 mAh to 1500 mAh battery.
- 4x Hobbymate 2204 Motor
- Does not include camera, transmitter, or batteries
Another extremely popular quadcopter kit is from company Targethobby. It comes it at a lower price point than the LHI 220 and does come with as near as many items. Though it’s lacking in some areas, the overall kit is still enough to get you started on a lower budget, which is why it has made its way onto our list as one of the best DIY quadcopter kits.
A full 3K carbon fiber frame (3mm thick main plate) well designed with multiple mounting holes and bumps are the end of the four arms to protect the more fragile parts from damage during a crash. This kit features Hobbymate’s 2204 motor and BLheli 15A ESC (electronic speed control), certainly one of the best quadcopter motors and frame kits out there.
Battery belt, 4 motor protectors, 4 Gemfan props, and 1 wrench are the other odds and ends that are included. Again, this one doesn’t come with a battery but Targethobby suggests a 3s or 4s 1500mAh. We suggest a 3s 1800-2200mAh battery for an optimal experience. You’ll also need to pick up a flight controller, receiver, 3s lipo charger, and zip ties/thread lockers wouldn’t hurt.
- 4 x MT2204-2300KV motor and 12A ESC
- Transmitter and Camera not included
- 1 x CC3D Flight Controller
The 250 FPV is one of the best 250 quadcopter frames available. This quadcopter kit from SunFounder is perfect for hobbyists and beginners alike that are interested in doing some FPV flying. It is arguably the best DIY drone kit out there. This is one of the most comprehensive quadcopter kits out there. While quite pricey, the parts included in this kit are quality and built to last. Plus, for true beginners there’s assembly videos found on SunFounder’s website as well as a software debugging guide.
What do you get in this package? Quite a lot! The frame, 4 MT2204-2300KV CW Motor, balance charger, USB cable, adapters for both power and cables, nylon zip ties, allen wrench, velcro tape, CW propellers, Li-Po battery, and a whole lot more. This unit runs the OpenPilote firmware and comes with a robust 12A brushless electronic speed controller. Whether you’re looking for tight controls in smaller spaces or fast 3D flight in wide open areas, this quadcopter will deliver.
The biggest negative with this drone kit, is that the camera isn’t included- which is an essential part to making drone flying fun. Be prepared to have to set aside some extra money for that and a transmitter.
- 4 x MT2204 2300KV Multicopter Motor
- Transmitter and Receiver not included
- Camera not included
- Lipo battery: 2-3S
If you’re looking for quality barebones for a FPV or Race Copter, this could be the one. Those hunting for the best racing drone kit may also be quite pleased with this Robocat. A great kit for those who have basic electronics and soldering knowledge. You get a quality MT2204 2300KV Motors (x4), Simonk 12A ESC (x4), 6030 CF Propeller Prop (x4), and Robocat Carbon Fiber frame. This isn’t the best kit for beginners as you pretty much have to build this bad boy from the ground up, plus it’s a mini and that smaller size makes it even harder to nearly wire everything together.
What else will you need in addition to this kit? Good question. You’ll need your own flight controller board, transmitter, receiver, and don’t forget that soldering iron and solder! Once everything is put together, you have a very attractive look and a nice expandable platform to build on. With the right added components, it’s going to fly well and be able to survive most crashes. This is our pick for the best racing drone frame.
- 1x DJI 5870mAh High Capacity Battery
- Touch Screen Transmitter
- 20 Megapixels Camera
- 2x Genuine DJI 5870mAh High Capacity Batteries (in Bundle Kit)
If money is no issue, DJI’s Phantom 4 kit isn’t a bad route, isn’t a bad route at all! This quadcopter comes ready to fly. While you don’t get the pleasure of putting it together yourself, you will be up in the air in no time flat. From one of the premier brands in the drone business, you get the ultimate kit that includes one of the most stable ready to fly quadcopters and 4K professional camera gimbal with 20mp camera. With this kit you’re getting the Phantom 4 Pro Plus with Display as well as the 3 battery ultimate bundle.
Here are some of the kit’s highlights: 3x DJI 5870mAh batteries, Phantom 4 Pro Plus remote controller with a pretty integrated touch screen display, 1 16GB + 1 64GB SD cards, 100W battery charger for flight battery and controller, carrying backpack, and a USB 3.0 SD card reader. If this kit doesn’t make your friends jelly dog, we don’t know what will!
Honorable Mentions for Best Drone Kits
Best Drone Kit for Beginners, Kids, or for STEM Teachers
- 4 x Propeller Motor Combo
- 1 x 2.4 Ghz Transmitter (mode 2)
- 1 x 3.7V 600mAh Li-Po Battery
- Camera Quality not listed
If you’re a beginner, or perhaps have a young child or student that is interested in drones and wants to build their own quadcopter, you should check out Fltyec’s building building blocks drone. It’s the best drone kit out there for kids, and it won’t break your budget. The camera is built in, and is a great way to make sure your kid will be committed to the process before dropping $100+ on a full drone DIY kit.
- 4 x A2212 1000KV Motor
- 1 x 11.1V 2200mah 20c lipo battery
- 1 x Radiolink T8FB 2.4GHz 8Ch RC Transmitter and R8EH Receiver
- No Camera
- 4 x 1806 motor
- 5.8G 32CH 600mw
- battery not included
- 700 Line HD NTSC camera included
- 2 Pair JMT 920KV CW CCW Brushless Motor
- 1 pcs FS-i6 6CH 2.4G AFHDS 2A LCD Transmitter iA6 Receiver
- 1 pcs 11.1V 4400MAH 30C 3S1P battery
- No Camera
- 4 x EMAX 1806 motor
- 5.8G 600mw transmitter
- Lion power 1500mAh battery
- 700 Line HD NTSC Camera
General Thoughts on Putting Together Your Own Quadcopter
If you’re worried and you’re not sure where to start, there’s some good news. Between us here at UnleashtheBot.com and the many other RC hobbyist sites out there, there’s plenty of information at your fingertips. There’s more models and kits out there than ever before. Truly, it is a golden age for the world of RC.
Drones and quadcopters have brought more enthusiasts into the fold than any one single design. The market has accommodated us, and prices are low if you know where to look. Whether you’re looking for the best FPV drone kit, best build your own drone kit, or one of the best drone kits with camera, there’s a little something for everyone out there.
By purchasing a quality quadcopter kit, you accomplish two things.
- One, you get to build with quality components and make the learning curve a bit easier on yourself because you don’t have to worry about snapping a cheap part or something of that nature.
- Two, once you complete the building process, you’re going to have a quadcopter you enjoy piloting and that’s going to last you awhile before you’ll need to make a major repair (unless you take a nosedive into the brick building that came out of nowhere!).
The big thing you’ll need to decide on is how comprehensive of a kit are you looking for. There are a number of factors to take into consideration. First, do you want something that’s RTF (ready to fly) out of the box? Well don’t get a kit that only includes the frame, props, and motors. There is a very wide array of kits and what parts manufacturers include and don’t include. Read the parts list carefully and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before hitting that buy button!
No matter which direction you choose to go, putting together a kit is going to give you the knowledge you need to make repairs and upgrades down the road. It is going to give you a leg up on the competition.
We like the analogy of the car owner who knows their engine like the back of their hand.
They aren’t going to get swindled by some auto mechanic for hundreds of dollars.
They can complete the simple repairs themselves and do the preventative maintenance stuff that will keep their engine running sound.
So is the case with quadcopters, you’ll get an eye for what’s a good deal, who makes the best components, and what type of upgrades you should look at doing first.
Why Buy a Quality Quadcopter Kit
These kits can be fairly expensive which may leave some asking why spend the extra cash up front. We think it makes sense of buying a quality kit to start with, instead of buying say three cheap kits and then they all fall apart within weeks or months of use. That’s a waste of time and money in our book!
Aren’t all quadcopter kits basically the same? Certainly not. Some will provide you a sturdy frame and a great platform for customization while other are sure to leave you with nothing but disappointment and frustration. This is a hobby and it’s meant to be fun and relaxing, but watching well-earned money get flushed down the toilet is far from either.
That brings up a whole other side of things worth discussing — whether you are the kind of the person who would enjoy putting together a quadcopter kit. View the image below, if it scares you or looks like more trouble than it’s worth, if that’s your knee jerk reaction we don’t recommend purchasing a kit. Listen to your instincts and get yourself something that is ready to go out of the box. If you do enjoy putting things together, building things, DIYing, troubleshooting, and have soldering or electronics skills, then building your own quadcopter is right up your alley.
We suggest checking out the video below of a hobbyist putting together a K450 quadcopter build. This is done by our friends over at The Drone Worx. We highly recommend there building and flying lessons section of their website. By watching the video below, you may find whether or not building your own quadcopter is something you want to undertake.
Also, we suggest checking out this guide by Intructables about building your own quadcopter from scratch.
Benefits of Quadcopter Kits
Here are some of the top benefits that may convince you buying a quadcopter kit is the right path for you.
- Sense of Self-Achievement. Just like building/fixing your own car or building your own gaming rig, putting together a drone is a ton of fun and feels good when completed. Watching it take off from the ground for the very first time is enough to make a grown adult jump up and down with enthusiasm.
- Value of Learning the Process. By going through the steps of putting together your own quadcopter, you’re going to know how things work. If things go awry or you experience a nasty crash, you’re going to be leagues ahead of someone who bought a prebuilt. You will be able to diagnose the issue, buy the correct replacement part, and do the repair yourself.
- Upgrading. Hand in hand with doing repairs and successfully replacing parts, is upgrading your quadcopter and making it better. Tinkerers and performance enthusiasts will love optimizes each and every part of their quadcopter.
- Save Money. Some folks would balk at this benefit, but hear us out. This is more of a long run claim than a short run claim. At first, during the learning process of building as well as flying, things are going to go wrong. Crashes are going to happen. That means you’re going to be doing a lot of shopping, picking out parts, etc. Plus for that first build, it is unlikely you are going to get everything you need the first time around. It is a bit of a time sink at first. However, once you gain all this experience and knowledge, you are going to know exactly what is a good deal and a bad deal. You are going to know which part you’ll need to achieve a certain speed or FPV capability. This knowledge is priceless and with how the climate is online right now (prices are all over the map) you’re going to save a lot of money only buying the things you need and components from the trusted brands.