Do you want to build your very own quadcopter? Then getting a quadcopter kit is a very good idea! In this post, we’ll discuss how to pick the best quadcopter kits for beginners.
We’ll first discuss why getting a quadcopter kit is a good idea and then proceed to the necessary parts that make up a fully flyable quadcopter.
Then, we’ll discuss the selection criteria. Finally, we’ll discuss and briefly review some of the best quadcopter kits for beginners out there today (according to us, at least).
So why should you get a quadcopter kit? Why not just go for a ready to fly (RTF) quad that comes with a transmitter, batteries and other accessories – maybe even fully capable of FPV flight? There are many answers but the one that stands out the most is that building a quad on your own is fun and educative. The best way to understand how a quadcopter works is to build one from all the necessary components.
The skill you would gain would come in handy when you want to custom build your craft in the future for special occasions like drone racing. Also, want to be able to put back together a damaged quadcopter from a crash? I bet you do!
The other advantage of a quadcopter kit is that it is cheaper. A similarly powerful RTF quad would be much more expensive.
You could of course buy all the parts needed separately and build a custom quad instead of getting a quadcopter kit, but we discourage you from doing that if you are new to this. Quadcopter kits come with all the necessary parts in configurations that work well with each other. You don’t have to calculate and experiment.
Not all quadcopter kits come with ALL the necessary components for a fully flyable quadcopter. Most kits do not come with a battery and transmitter and some do not come with a flight controller either. Here are the parts and equipment you’ll need:
The body of the quad/multirotor you’ll be building. This is the part that holds all the other components together. If you want a quad, you’ll want a body that is configured as such.
The flight controller is the main “brain” of the craft. It tells the ESCs how to rotate the motors, ultimately controlling and regulating how the quadcopter flies. These come in various features and configurations. Some only have the ability for basic flight control while other FCs come with GPS, magnetometer and other fancy features.
The motors are the main “power drivers”. Their role is to turn the propeller and generate lift, enabling the quadcopter to actually get up in the air!
The ESCs or speed controller serves two purposes in most cases: one is to control the motors as per the input from the flight controller and the second is to ‘step down’ and regulate the voltages from the battery before letting it pass on to the flight controller and motors. This is possible because most ESCs are built with an inbuilt BEC (battery eliminator circuit). Only the ESCs and the battery are connected to the main power distribution board via soldering.
The name says it all. In most cases, LiPo batteries are used. You might even want to get a decent LiPo battery charger, if you don’t own one already.
You’ll need a transmitter that you would use to control the craft. The receiver would receive the message from the transmitter and relay that to the flight controller. The flight controller then sends that information to the ESCs which ultimately get passed onto the motors. Most quad kits do not come with a transmitter and receiver. You’ll have to buy them separately.
Most quadcopter kits listed here are under $120. None of them come with a transmitter or receiver and some of them do not include a flight controller. For each kit, we have specifically stated what isn’t included. Nevertheless, we recommend you double-check what parts are included and what you’ll need to buy separately, before making a purchase!
Before you go about choosing the best quadcopter kit, you should decide the size of the quadcopter you want to build. The quadcopter kits listed here fall in the 450 and 250 category (distance between two diagonally opposite or furthest motors in millimeters). The 450 quad is fit to carry heavier batteries and other payload. They are also faster and stable, especially in windy conditions. That being said, the 250 style quad is more maneuverable.
Some of the kits in this best quadcopter kits list have a glass fiber body while others have a carbon fiber body. What you need to know is that carbon fiber is lighter and more rigid but glass fiber is much more “flexible”, making it less prone to breaking. Cost wise, glass fiber is much cheaper.
The DIY F450 is ought to be the most common configuration for beginners getting into building quadcopters from a kit. The assembled 450mm model flies really well with any flight controller and can be upgraded into a full-fledged FPV craft in the future.
This is the cheapest of this list of best quadcopter kits, but it doesn’t come with a flight controller. Get a KK, Naze or CC3D board and you’ll be good to go. You need to get a transmitter, receiver and battery too![table id=15 /]
As the name suggests, this one is a 250mm quad made from Carbon Fiber. Like we discussed earlier, the 250s are maneuverable, but not as powerful and stable as some of the bigger quads. Note that the body that comes with this kit is made from carbon fiber, which is lighter. The upside to this is that despite having smaller propellers, it can potentially reach speeds comparable to that of the bigger quads, along with the added maneuverability! This is the ideal kit, if you want to build a cheap racing-style quad. The downside is that carbon fiber is a tad bit more expensive.
This kit comes with a CC3D flight controller and everything else you need except for a transmitter, receiver and a batter, which is why we included it in this list of best quadcopter kits.[table id=16/]
Like the LHI, this one is another great, racing style carbon fiber quadcopter kit. However, it doesn’t come with a flight controller board. We suggest getting a CC3D or a Naze to go along with it. Like most other quadcopter kits, you have to get a battery, transmitter and receiver separately too.[table id=18 /]
The Hobbypower X525 builds into a 600mm quad which is plenty bigger than even the 450 quads which is great if power and stability is your main goal. The best part about this quadcopter kit is that the frame that comes with it is fold-able. Also, unlike the BW DIY kit, the X525 comes with KK2.x flight controller. You only need to buy a transmitter, battery and receiver![table id=17 /]
To summarize, consider the following to make a decision as to what are the best quadcopter kits for your building needs: