This page is regularly updated as new products come out. This page was last updated December 3, 2019.
Basically all of the links on this page are affiliate links. I receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase after clicking one of the affiliate links below. Read our Affiliate Link Policy for more information.
If this will be your first time ordering from Banggood, you should know a few things.
The flight controller (FC) is the brains of the quadcopter. It receives your commands from the receiver and translates that into motor outputs that make the quadcopter fly. Modern flight controllers typically also include accessories like voltage regulators, and on-screen-display (OSD), a power-distrubtion-board (PDB) and more.
Flight controllers on this page come in two flavors: those with an F4 processor and those with an F7 processor. F4 is capable of running all Betaflight functions today, but not at the absolute fastest loop times that Betaflight supports. F4 is more than sufficient for most pilots. F7 is a bit more expensive and gives a little more future-proofing.
CHEAPEST I’D RECOMMEND
MY VERY OWN…
JBARDWELL F4 AIO
If there is one product that I care about, it’s flight controllers. I spend a lot of energy nit-picking the feature sets of flight controllers. So I jumped at the chance to design a flight controller of my own.
The JBardwell F4 AIO is basically my perfect flight controller. It supports all major Betaflight functions, such as SBUS, SmartPort, SmartAudio, ESC Telemetry, and FPV Camera Remote Control, simultaneously. Two inverted UARTs so no hassling with uninvert hacks. Built in Camera Control pad means you can simply wire up your FPV camera… no additional resistors and capacitors needed. And of course, it’s got an dataflash chip for Blackbox.
Under the hood, the power system has been designed for cleanest video and minimal gyro noise. It’s got an MPU6000 gyro–the “good one”. And the power supply includes a well-filtered 9v output for your vTX and FPV camera.
For more about the product, check out the product page, and definitely dig into the 20 PAGE USER MANUAL that I wrote (linked on the product page).
Of course, you can hit me up if you have any questions.
Products with a prominent person’s name on them usually come with a premium price. You’ll be glad to know that I’m not going to gouge you for this board. The price is $35, the same as the “cheapest I’d recommend” board that used to fill this slot before my board came out.
F7 POWER / EASY BUILD
HOLYBRO KAKUTE F7 AND F7 AIO
The Kakute F7 has two really innovative features. First, the gyro chip is mounted on foam for vibration isolation. This makes tuning easier and improves flight characteristics, especially on quads where it’s not possible to soft-mount the whole flight controller board.
Second, the Kakute has an incredibly awesome user manual that takes even an absolute beginner through every step of wiring it up. Who was it who wrote the user manual for the Kakuate F7 AIO? Oh yeah. It was me!
If you’re into blackbox logging, the Kakute has a SD card reader, which means you have essentially unlimited storage for logs.
The ribbon cable that connects the gyro to the flight controller is pretty sturdy. But there are a couple of solder pads nearby to it, and you’ll want to be really careful not to touch the ribbon cable with your soldering iron when you’re working on the board.
If you want to use the Kakute F7 with individual ESCs, get the AIO version. It has built in PDB so the ESCs and battery lead can solder right to it. If you’re using a 4-in-1 ESC, buy the standard (non-AIO) Kakute F7 and use its 4-in-1 socket to connect it to your ESC.
TOP OF THE LINE
Matek is one of the best flight controller designers working today. They pack an unbelievable number of features into a board, while still keeping the pad layout intuitive. Although they don’t have printed manuals, their web site has comprehensive documentation for all of their products.
The F722-SE packs in all the features you could want from an F7 flight controller, and two new features that almost nobody else has: camera switching and vTX power switching. That’s right: you can turn the power to the vTX on and off using an Aux switch on your transmitter. This is better than pit mode! It works with any vTX! And it completely powers down your vTX so you know for sure you can’t interfere with anybody. Camera switching means you can install two cameras and switch between them using an Aux switch. This is great for planes with downward facing cameras, or a “cheaterkwad” build with both a front and rear-facing camera that allows the pilot to fly backwards.
Another great feature of the F722-SE is that it supports iNav firmware. If you intend to use GPS-assisted flight, iNav supports features that Betaflight doesn’t, such as GPS loiter, true return-to-home, and waypoint functionality.
The Lux F7 Ultimate is almost identical to the Matek F722-SE shown earlier on this page. In fact, they even use the same Betaflight firmware target. So their functionality is the same, but their layout is different. The Lux F7 does not have a built in PDB, and it has larger solder-pads, but half of them are on the under-side of the board meaning you have to turn it over to solder to them.
If you plan to use individual ESCs, the Matek F722 is the best choice. If using a 4-in-1 ESC, consider the Lux F7 Ultimate.
TOTAL INTEGRATION ALL-IN-ONE
HOLYBRO TEKKO / KAKUTE / ATLATL STACK
I’m the kind of person who prefers to pick my own gear, one piece at a time. If you’d prefer to totally avoid the hassle of wiring up your flight controller, this Holybro stack is perfect. Basically, all you have to do is connect a receiver, motors and a camera, and you’re ready to fly.
The real beauty of the Holybro stack is that it’s totally modular. Each of the boards is connected to the others with a wire plug. So you can quickly and easily swap out a broken part, or you can even substitute some other part that you like better, if you prefer.
The Holybro stack is available as an FC and ESC only, if you prefer to use some other vTX.
BEST CHOICE FOR TIGHT BUDGETS
DIATONE MAMBA POWER TOWER F405
The Diatone Mamba Power Tower is a flight controller and ESC stack, for the same price as many flight controllers all by themselves. Frankly, that alone made me suspicious of its quality. But Diatone has a great track record of reliable hardware. If they say this ESC can do 30 amps continuous, then I believe them. (Mostly)
The F405 flight controller has almost anything a pilot could want, including both a 5v and a 9v regulator, and up to 6S input voltage. The fact that it’s an F4 means you don’t have quite as much flexibility with peripherals and you won’t be able to run the newest firmware features at the fastest speeds. But considering how inexpensive this stack is, many people will forgive these limitations.
Here’s the big question that will stop some from buying it: is the ESC trustworthy? When you consider that a budget-grade 4-in-1 ESC could cost $45 all by itself, seeing an ESC and FC together for that price has go to make you wonder. Here’s one way to think about it: if the ESC does fry itself, just imagine that you paid $45 for a pretty solid flight controller, and forget about the ESC. It’s not such a bad deal.
Airbot has been on the forefront of flight controller design almost as long as flight controllers have existed. The OmniNXT is their flagship unit. With an F7 processor, it can run all Betaflight features even at the fastest 32 kHz gyro sampling rates. It’s got an 8v regulator for camera and vTX (lower voltage provides more filtering for cleaner video). A ribbon cable allows direct connection to Airbot’s Typhoon ESC for a no-solder connection.
The OmniNXT sports dual gyros: an MPU6000 for low-noise 8 KHz sampling and an ICM 20608 for sampling up to 32 kHz. This gives you the option to play with Betaflight’s fancy new filtering if you prefer, but fall back to a safe and reliable option if you run into trouble. The gyros are soft-mounted inside a protective acrylic cover to prevent them getting jarred. The ribbon cable going to the gyros is well protected from damage.
Airbot flight controllers are feature-packed and have efficient, functional layout. But they may be a little challenging for a beginner to build. The sheer choices can be overwhelming. Figuring out the wiring can be tough even though Airbot makes detailed wiring diagrams. Some of the soldering required is tough for beginners due to small pad sizes.
ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROLLERS (ESC)
The ESC makes the motors spin. BLHeli_S ESCs have okay performance, but lack some features that pilots today usually expect. BLHeli_32 is the latest and greatest. In terms of flight performance, there isn’t much difference between them, but BLHeli_32 is where most development is going now, and we recommend that you use it if possible.
One catch is that BLHeli_32 requires an Internet connection to update firmware on the ESCs, and is not open source. Some people prefer BLHeli_S for this reason. Another reason to prefer BLHeli_S is that they are usually a bit cheaper, so if you don’t care about the “advanced features” and just want to fly, BLHeli_S might be for you.
There are two important motor protocols: Multishot and Dshot. Dshot is better, and all of the ESCs below support Dshot600 or higher.
One of the biggest challenges in buying an ESC is choosing the right size. Here’s some general advice. ESC’s rated for 20 amps are the absolute minimum you should choose for a 5” build. ESCs rated for 25 amps are good for most 5″ props with motors of size 2306, 2207, or smaller. Motors may pull more current than this at full throttle, but you typically won’t spend a lot of time at full throttle, and the ESC’s “burst rating” can handle these short surges. Higher-rated ESCs should be selected if you are using larger motors, higher-kv motors, if you plan to spend a lot of time at full throttle, or if you just want a bit more headroom to help ensure that the ESC doesn’t burn out.
These ESCs are today’s choice of the beginner-on-a-budget. Here’s the bottom line: they will 100% get you into the air, and their performance is more than adequate. But they have a small chance of burning up for literally no reason except that they’re cheap (and I don’t mean inexpensive). In fact, don’t just buy four. Buy five or six so you’ll have a spare. And at that point, maybe you’d rather just buy a better ESC.
TOP OF THE LINE BLHELI_S
Here’s a dirty little secret that ESC manufacturers don’t want you to know: almost all BLHeli_S ESCs perform very well. So why buy a more expensive one? Reliability. Reliability means the ESC is going to handle the abuse of mini quad life without burning up or dying out. Reliability also means the ESC will be able to drive challenging motors like the new rush of massive 23XX and 24XX motors.
Spedix ESCs have great performance, decent price, and spectacular reliability. That’s why I recommend them as my “top of the line” pick.
MID-PRICE BLHELI_32 ESC
When T-Motor released its line of ESC’s, my first thought was, “What makes them think they can make good ESC’s, just because they make good motors?” I couldn’t be happier to find out I was wrong. T-Motor ESC’s are some of the best available.
What makes them so good? It’s not their raw performance. The truth is, most Blheli_32 ESC’s perform very well. The biggest thing that makes T-Motor ESC’s stand out is their durability. They’re as close to absolutely bulletproof as an ESC can get. And they’ve never had any “oopsies” at the factory that result in a bad batch.
The F35A is rated for 6S voltage and is has a more than high enough amp rating for almost any application. If you want to spend significantly more for a bit of additional confidence, buy the F45A instead.
PROVEN BY WORLD-CLASS RACERS
HOBBYWING XROTOR MICRO 60A BLHELI32
Alex Vanover is one of the fastest pilots on the planet. This was his go-to ESC for the 2019 racing season. (I say “was” because by the time you read this, he’ll probably have moved on to something newer.) Personally, I haven’t tested this ESC, but if Vanover wasn’t able to kill it in a season of racing, then that’s all I need to hear to put it on this list.
One thing that makes this ESC stand out is that it has both 10v and 5v regulators. Many builds won’t need this, since many flight controllers take vBat and have their own built-in regulator. If you elect to use the 5v regulator, be careful because it’s only rated for 500 mA. This is enough to run a FC, camera, and receiver, but you shouldn’t run a 5v vTX, LEDs, or other high-powered accessories from the Hobbywing ESC regulator.
When I started making my own branded products, I swore I would never say my product was best just because it put money in my pocket. The truth is, the “best” product is different for different people. But I truly believe my ESC is the best for most people. Here’s why.
The Bardwell ESC is $50, which puts it firmly in the “budget” category. There are cheaper, but reliability issues keep me from recommending them. We’ve tested the Bardwell ESC in the harshest conditions we can, and it just kept coming back for more, which gives it “top of the line” credentials. It runs BLHeli_32 and Dshot1200. It’s got ESC Telemetry. It supports up to 30 amps at up to 6S voltage. What more could you ask for?
If you’re using my JBF4 flight controller, this ESC will plug in directly for zero-soldering connection. It also works with other flight controllers, but you may need to re-order the wires in the plug.
Of course, no single product is best for everybody. This ESC doesn’t have a 5v regulator, so if your flight controller can’t take vBat, you might consider another ESC. This ESC also only does telemetry, not analog current sensing; if your FC is short on UARTs and can’t do ESC telemetry, another ESC might serve you better.
WHEN YOU NEED A 5V REGULATOR
AIKON AK32 35A BLHELI_32
This ESC has been on my list almost since the beginning, and I’ve thought about retiring it several times. The Aikon isn’t bad, but there are newer ESC’s out there with better specs at the same price.
So why is the Aikon still on my list? Because it’s one of the only ESC’s still around with a high-rated 5v regulator. If you’ve got a flight controller that needs an external 5v regulator, and if you plan to run a 5v-based video transmitter like the TBS Unify Pro, the Aikon’s 2 amp 5v output will save your build.
If you don’t need a 5v regulator, there’s probably another ESC on this list that would be a better choice.
The biggest reason most people hesitate to buy 4-in-1 ESC’s is fear about their durability. If a 4-in-1 smokes one FET, you’ve lost the entire cost of the ESC. If you plan to push your ESC beyond typical limits, or if you’re willing to pay for that extra nth degree of reliability, the T-Motor F55A is the ESC for you.
The F55A is rated for 55 amps sustained current draw on 6S voltage, with surges up to 75 amps. Let’s be real: there are hardly any quadcopters out there that can actually push this ESC to its limit. But that’s okay, because running an ESC at its limit eventually leads to a dead ESC.
In the world of ESC’s, there’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee of reliability. But the T-Motor F55A comes as close to a perfectly bulletproof ESC as I can imagine.
This ESC supports blheli32 ESC telemetry, but it does NOT output current sense data via telemetry. If you want current sense, use the “CURT” pin, and connect it to your FC’s analog current sense input. The TLM pin only carries rpm and temperature information.
The Pro II version of this ESC adds soft-mounting gummies. This gives some shock absorption to help protect your investment in a crash. One other significant change is that the BEC output has been changed from 5v to 10v. For most builds, this is a good thing, but if your FC needs a 5v input, you’ll want to stick with the original F55A instead of the Pro II.
MOTORS FOR 4S
CHEAPEST WORTH HAVING
DYS SAMGUK SERIES
With the Samguk series, DYS aims to provide power and performance to budget-minded builders. One of the best features of this line is the variety in motors: there’s a size and kv rating for almost any application. A few compromises have been made to keep cost down, but especially if you’re a beginner, you’ll really appreciate how affordable it is to replace them when you crash.
My personal favorite of this line is the 2207 / 2600kv version. 2207 size gives a bit more top end with a bit less linearity in the thrust curve. This means the motors “pop” more when you hit the throttle, which I like for freestyle. The 2600kv rating will suck your batteries dry if paired with an overly aggressive prop, so if longer flight time or more aggressive prop selection is a priority, consider the 2306 / 2500 kv version.
The biggest place these motors fall short is durability and quality control. The bearings tend to wear out faster than higher-quality bearings used on more expensive motors. A few motors even come from the factory with rough bearings. The wide availability and low cost of these motors will make up for these deficiencies, for many pilots. After all, you can buy five or six of the Samguk series for the price of four premium brand motors.
SLIGHTLY LESS CHEAP, MUCH MORE BETTER
3BHOBBY 2306 2500KV TRAINING MOTOR
3BHobby has a reputation for making mid-priced motors with better-than-expected quality. Now they’re aiming at the “trainer motor” segment. Trainer motors are inexpensive, because you’re going to break a lot of motors while you’re training, so you might as well break cheap ones. But they offer enough performance that you may not notice a significant difference when you level up to a premium motor (if you ever do).
Compare this motor to the Samguk motors earlier on this list. The closer you get to the absolute lowest price, the more you give up. The 3B motor is a little more expensive, but it’s way better quality. Frankly, the out-of-box defect rate on the Samguks alone might make the 3B a better value.
If you need the absolute cheapest motor that will get you in the air, or if you plan to destroy LOTS of motors, the Samguk is the one you’ll buy. If you are willing to pay a little extra for a much more reliable and durable motor, the 3BHOBBY Training motor is the one for you.
When it comes to motors, it seems like everybody either goes super-cheap or super-expensive. 3BHobby is one of the few manufacturers that seems to target the mid-range. Their motors perform great, have features and build quality often found on more expensive motors, and come in around $20. The 3B 2207 Pro stands out for having a hollow titanium-alloy shaft, which reduces weight and increases strength. It uses 7075 aluminum which is harder and more durable than the softer 60XX alloy often used on cheaper motors.
I’ve selected the 3BHobby 2207/2650kv as my mid-price racing motor because 2207 seems to be the size favored by most racers today, and racers aren’t scared of the battery-killing 2650kv rating. Be sure to pair it with a light quad (let’s say 450 grams AUW maximum, and 400 would be better) or your batteries will hate you for it. You could choose to step down to the 2400kv version for a little less speed and a little less amp draw.
TOP OF THE LINE 4S RACING
T-MOTOR F60 PRO III 2500KV
There’s a video out there, where some guys built a 500 lb chainsaw out of a V8 engine. That’s what my original impression of this motor was: an interesting novelty, but too big and power-hungry to be practical. But then I started noticing that top racers were running these motors… and winning! So who am I to argue?
This motor is preposterous! On the T-Motor 5150 prop, it made over 1700 grams of thrust! The tradeoff is that you really have to tailor the quad around the motors, or the battery simply won’t be able to keep up. The key is extremely light weight, careful prop selection… oh, and a top notch high C-rating battery.
T-Motor continues to improve the design of these motors. The 2nd generation updated the original design to include a naked bottom (saves a few grams of weight) and anti-split knurled bell top, to keep the prop from slipping without requiring you to over-tighten the nuts. The motor also has silver-coated windings for slightly lower resistance and increased temperature rating. The 3rd generation has high-temperature silver windings, so the motor is more resistant to smoking when you bend a prop and finish the race anyway. The bell is also redesigned for improved durability.
Freestyle pilots want the smoothest possible flight. They usually have to give up power to get it. Not any more. The 2407 stator on this motor gives massive torque and responsiveness, even to aggressive props. The result: smooth, propwash-free flight and ridiculous punchouts and speed, all at the same time. These motors are best paired with higher-pitch 5″ props such as 5×4.8 or even 5050 size. On “typical” freestyle props such as 5×4 or 5×4.3, they would be under-propped and not make up for their additional weight in thrust.
The obvious question for a motor this size is: will it kill your batteries? Any time you get more thrust, you’re going to draw more power; but this motor was designed to give usable efficiency. I’ve test-flown it on CNHL and RaceDayQuads 1500 mAh 4S packs (about $20-$25) and get 2:30 flight time down to 15.0 volts. So it’s not an endurance motor, but it’s not going to suck your packs dry in 30 seconds either.
If you’re looking for a freestyle motor that gives you powerful punchouts and neck-whipping acceleration, while still flying smoothly, give this one a try.
TOP OF THE LINE FREESTYLE
IFLIGHT XING 2208 / 2450 KV
iFlight makes some of the most beautiful and well-crafted motors available today. Their distinctive curved bell and spoked design increases durability and looks awesome. They come in bold colors and designs unlike almost any other available. Design features include titanium alloy shaft and a damped bearing which helps eliminate vibration due to vertical play. It also absorbs shocks, helping to prevent damage.
Here’s why I’ve named a 2208-sized motor as “top of the line freestyle”. Freestyle pilots care about smooth handling, and that comes from a torquey motor. When the motor has enough torque to spin the prop, it can respond to changing aerodynamic situations smoothly. With a big, toruqey motor, you don’t have to use wimpy props just to get good handling. You can have good handling AND lots of thrust.
The tradeoff of the 2208 motor is that it is heavier and draws more current than the 2207 size. So you’ll need to cut weight elsewhere or use the highest quality batteries you can find.
MOTORS FOR 5S AND 6S
Four-cell (4S) voltage is still the standard for the majority of freestyle and racing FPV pilots. But it’s more and more common to see pilots using higher voltages like 5S and 6S. The general approach is to reduce the motor kv to produce a similar RPM as before. So for example, a 1750 kv motor on 6S produces approximately the same RPM at the prop as a 2450 kv motor on 4S.
If the RPM at the motor is the same, then what’s the advantage? This is a hotly debated question. But proponents of 6S low kv argue that you get longer flight time and more torque for better handling. The tradeoff is that 6S batteries are more expensive than 4S; there simply aren’t any “budget” 6S packs available. You can get a good 1500 mAh 4S pack for $20. An equivalent 6S pack will cost $30 or more.
TOP OF THE LINE 6S FREESTYLE
BROTHERHOBBY RETURNER R6 2207/1750 KV
BrotherHobby is known for rip-snorting powerhouse motors that leave your opponents in the dust and your batteries crying. So it might be surprising to see them listed as a great freestyle motor! But the Returner R6 is something different. It’s smooth and… dare I say it? Efficient? Well… reasonably so. If you’re building a 6S low kv freestyle rig, this motor is a great choice.
TOP OF THE LINE 6S FREESTYLE
The JB2407 motor is now available in a 1750kv (for 6S) version. The 6S version of this motor enhances the already-excellent responsiveness and torque, while reducing amp draw and improving flight time compared to an equivalent 4S build.
This is also an excellent motor for a 4S or 5S build using 7″ props.
TOP OF THE LINE 6S RACING
PYRODRONE HYPERLITE 2207.5/1722KV
I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a racer. So I asked the fastest racer I know, HeadsUpFPV, what motor the top racers were running on 6S. This was his answer. The fact that he’s sponsored by Pyro-Drone probably played into it a little bit.
TOP OF THE LINE 6S RACING
T-MOTOR F60 PRO III 1750KV
This is the 1750kv version of the F60 Pro III described above. It’s got everything great about that motor, in a 6S-friendly kv rating.
Why are there two “top of the line” 6S racing motors here? The Hyperlite motors are excellent, but they’re only available from one site, only from the United States, and they’re often out of stock. We want to showcase products that are widely available, not just niche products, no matter how good the nice product is.
A prop has three main characteristics: size, pitch, and number of blades.
Size is the diameter of the prop. Quadcopters are divided into classes by the size of prop that they take. So people will refer to a five-inch quad, a six-inch quad, a four-inch quad, and so forth. The best general-purpose prop size for an acro or racing quad is 5″. All of the props on this page are 5″. There’s nothing wrong with other size props, but we have to start somewhere.
Pitch is the steepness of the angle of the blades on the prop. A low-pitch (shallow) prop will make less thrust and generally be more efficient. A high-pitch (steep) prop will make more thrust and generally draw more current from the battery. This is a drastic over-simplification, and the actual shape of the prop blade can have dramatic effects on prop performance that aren’t reflected in the pitch number. Modern props seldom have a single, fixed pitch over the length of the blade. These days, prop “pitch” is sort of a generic label to distinguish one prop design from another.
Mini quad props typically have between 2 and 4 blades. Two-blade props are most common in top-speed runs, but they aren’t ideal for general purpose use. They tend to feel a little bit “slidey” and imprecise in turns, and they don’t have as much bottom-end thrust. Four-blade props have tons of bottom-end thrust but aren’t as fast at the top end. They’re sometimes preferred by freestyle pilots who want to make a lot of abrupt moves. They’re terrible for most types of racing. Three-blade props are the most widely used both by freestyle pilots and racers. They balance precise cornering with decent bottom-end thrust and top-end speed.
BEST BUDGET FREESTYLE
DAL CYLCONE T5040C
Freestyle pilots–especially ones on a budget–sometimes choose lighter, smoother motors than racing pilots. These motors usually have less torque, and need to be paired with lighter props for best handling.
The truth is that the T5040 is a bit conservative for today’s powerful motors. But it’s a very good prop that is inexpensive and widely available, so I’ve left it on the list. If you’re using 2205 or 2206 sized motors for freestyle then this is a great prop. If, like most people, you’re using 2306, 2207, or larger motors, then you probably should move up to a more aggressive prop.
DAL CYCLONE T5045C
The DAL Cyclone can do it all. It makes enough thrust for either racing or freestyle. It’s aggressive enough that it’ll liven up a 2300kv motor, but it won’t over-load a 2600kv motor either. It’s unbelievably durable. Even if it gets a little nicked up, it seldom breaks, and you can just keep flying it if you don’t mine a few vibrations.
So what’s not to like? It’s not exactly cheap (although its durability balances this out somewhat). And it’s kind of sharp… I’m not kidding, I regularly get little cuts on my hands from changing props.
Although this prop is listed as the Best All-Round, it’s also my favorite for freestyle, as long as your motor has enough torque to spin it properly. Pretty much any modern 2306 or larger motor should be fine. Smaller motors may struggle to fully eliminate propwash oscillation (but few people are using them any more)
If you want the exact same prop with a little bit more thrust and less efficiency, the T5046 is your choice.
Can we just start by acknowledging how controversial it is to declare any single prop the “best for racing”? Racers are constantly searching for the best gear, and there won’t ever be any one thing that’s just plain best. But in this shopping list, we’re trying to cut through the clutter and recommend widely-available equipment that will work for the largest variety of people, so in that context, we claim that the DAL Cyclone T5050C is the best for racing.
Don’t let the fact that it looks just like the T5045 fool you. The T5050 has a similar blade profile, but steeper pitch, so it makes a lot more thrust. This prop is best matched with a high-torque motor, 2306 or 2207 size at least. If used with a motor of around 2500kv or higher, this prop will scream, but it’ll also draw a lot of power, so make sure you have a top-notch battery to supply it.
THE KING IS BACK
(THE KING NEVER LEFT)
HQ V1S SERIES
The HQ V1S series finally puts to bed HQ’s reputation for making fragile, expensive props. The V1S is only expensive. But holy cow is it durable, and that at least sort of makes up for the price.
But look, I’m really under-selling it. If all this prop did was update the classic HQ 5x4x3 to be more durable, then it would be a heck of a good prop. The V1S series comes in four pitches, to suit whatever motor and flight style you have.
The 4.3″ pitch version is for light, low-torque freestyle motors. Just a little more thrust than the classic 5x4x3, for stronger modern motors.
The 5″ pitch version is for people who want lots of thrust, and don’t mind hurting their batteries a little. It’s best paired with high-torque motors in the 2306, 2207, or larger size class.
The 4.8″ pitch version is closer to the 5″ than the 4.3″. It still needs a relatively torquey motor to handle best, but it’s just a little less amp-hungry.
The 4.0″ pitch version of this prop, in my opinion, is a little light for modern motors, even the smaller ones. If you really wanted to give up thrust in order to maximize flight time, then the 4.0″ would be your choice. But for me, the 4.3″ is as light as I would want to go.
FAST, PRECISE, AND DURABLE
I first came to love the Hurricane 51499 prop when I was searching for the best prop for my JB2407 motor. Because my quad was heavier, it was loose and imprecise in corners. The 51499 has razor sharp handling in corners and plenty of speed in the straights.
Although the Hurricane line was designed for racing, I like them for freestyle. They are not as smooth and controllable in the low end as some pilots would prefer. This is a great prop for somebody who wants to punch the throttle and get slammed back in their seat.
The Hurricanes are also designed to be durable. The hub is reinforced so that, after a crash, you can just bend them back and keep flying. This is advertised as making them suitable for racers, but I know freestyle pilots will appreciate it just as much.
If you have big, torquey motors and you want the most thrust and sharpest handling, choose the 51499 size. But you’ll need really healthy batteries or a really lightweight quad in order to keep you flight time up. The 51466 version is slightly easier on the battery, and may be a better choice for smaller motors, or higher-kv motors.
LOST MODEL BUZZER
Crashing a quad somewhere and not being able to find it is heartbreaking. There are lots of techniques for finding a lost quad, but most of them require the battery to be plugged in. What if the battery ejects in the crash? That’s where these lost model buzzers come in. They have a built in 1-cell LiPo that charges up while you’re flying. When the lipo disconnects, they begin to beep. LOUDLY. Way louder than a standard buzzer. That way, you can always find your quad, even if it’s lost power. BONUS! All of these buzzers also act as your normal quad buzzer, which means you have an EXTRA LOUD buzzer that you can activate using an aux switch whenever you need to.
The Vifly Finder is my personal favorite. It’s the loudest of the three on this page. The others sound loud until you are in the middle of a field trying to find them and then suddenly you wish they were louder. The Finder has a push-button for disarming, which is more convenient than the Hellgate’s method of plugging and un-plugging the LiPo. The Finder V2 added a LiPo that flashes, to give a visual indicator of the quad’s location. It also added a photo sensor that causes the quad to only beep during the day, to save power and avoid annoying your neighbors. The main disadvantage of the Finder is that it’s about twice the size of the other two (due to its giant buzzer), so it may not be the best choice for very tight builds.
The Hellgate has to be acknowledged as the original product that defined this category. It wasn’t the first lost-model buzzer to exist, but it’s the first to fit everything into such a small package. In fact, it’s the smallest of the three, which makes it perfect for very tight builds. My favorite method of mounting the Hellgate is to heat-shrink it to a standoff. It just tucks right in. The Hellgate can last longer than the other buzzers–up to two weeks! It does this by slowly decreasing the frequency of the beeping as the battery discharges. The main disadvantage of the Hellgate is that it lacks a disarm button. To disarm it, you plug the LiPo in for a few seconds, then quickly un plug it. That’s fine, but if the Hellgate has come off the quad, or if the XT60 is broken, then you’re stuck with the damn thing beeping and beeping at you and it won’t shut up and it drives all your friends crazy and … well, if you’ve lived through it, you know how annoying it is. The Hellgate is also the most expensive of the three. At a price of about $30, you’re probably going to wince at putting one on all your quads.
CHEAPEST WORTH HAVING
FULLSPEED LUCKY BUZZER
The Lucky Buzzer is the least expensive of the three, coming in under $10. It’s about half again as large as the Hellgate, so it’s still pretty small, but not exactly go-anywhere tiny. It’s got a disarm button and an LED that flashes. One thing that makes it stand out is that it’s got configurable alarm delay and frequency. The Lucky Buzzer’s battery life is the shortest of the three on this page. The Hellgate uses a special algorithm to extend life by beeping less frequently as the battery gets lower, while ViFly just uses a much bigger battery.