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Best FPV drone in 2022: racing drones that use goggles for a real adrenaline rush

Best FPV drone
(Image credit: DJI)

Looking for the best FPV drone? This guide will help you to choose, tell you what to watch out for, and give you up to date prices.

First Person View, or FPV, drones have been increasing in popularity for some time. Many of the early enthusiast builds used this approach, placing a camera on the front of the copter and relaying a live view to goggles worn by the pilot. A gamer would argue that a screen very near the pilot is also “first person view,” just as Doom was, but this is a view treated with some skepticism by experienced pilots.

Jargon

Acro: acrobatics
ARF: almost ready to fly (some construction needed)
BNF: bind and fly (a drone where you need to buy your own controller
Cinewhoop: Small drones designed for safe flying around people
FPV:
first person view
Freestyle: Flying acrobatically / acro for fun
HUD: head up display
Lipo: Lithium polymer battery
mAh: milli Amp hours (measure of battery capacity)
PNP: plug and play (a drone where you need to provide the receiver/transmitter)
RTF: ready to fly

Here we will take first person view to mean drones flown by drones which at least allow goggle-wearing, and encourage speed. In that context FPV has always been popular with the hobby community as well as interested visitors at events like the International Drone Day “Mini Air Show,” first held in 2015. More recently this has been commercialized as a spectator (not to mention TV and gambling) event by organisations like the Drone Racing League and Multi GP.

After years of speculation by the flying community the world’s biggest drone manufacturer, DJI, finally got in on the act launching a dedicated FPV drone. Around the same time, millions of views were attracted by a viral video, apparently shot using FPV, which highlighted the stylistic possibilities these very different drones offered the cinematographic community.

That means, if you’re interested in taking charge of some mini acrobatics, there are plenty of decisions to make in terms of technology, not just in terms of the camera and radio technology but also how you’re going to get started – will you choose a ready to fly (RTF) kit, assembled or otherwise, one which lacks a controller, or perhaps take the DIY route?

Best FPV drones in 2022

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: DJI)
Best FPV drone for cinematography

Specifications

Weight: 795g (inc battery)
Dimensions: 255 x 312 x 127mm
Diagonal size: 245mm
Controller: Yes
Video resolution: 1080p at 120fps, 4K at 60fps
Goggles resolution: 1440 x 810 (each eye)
Camera resolution: 12MP
Battery life: 20 minutes
Max range: 10 km / 6mi (or 6km in UK/EU)
Max speed: 140kph / 87mph

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing acceleration
+
Effective safety sensors
+
Some replaceable parts
+
Partial motorized gimbal on FPV

Reasons to avoid

-
2x high-speed MicroSD cards needed
-
Expensive path into FPV 

The DJI FPV is a drone with a lot of possible uses; it has a good quality camera which (if you supply fast enough MicroSD cards) can capture 4K at 60fps. Unusually for an dedicated FPV drone, the camera features mechanical stabilization, albeit only on the X axis (good digital image stabilization handles the Y axis and camera vibration well). A Any ddelicate gimbal motors might seem a design risk but the frame does feature a degree of roll-bar like protection for the camera and, perhaps more importantly, this is where DJI’s other major area of development plays a significant role: collision sensors.

Unlike most FPV drones, the DJI FPV can be flown at two lower (but still exciting) speed options with very effective collision sensors in operation, and the system can even avoid some objects. Other safety features include an ‘all stop’ button which brings the drone to a stationary hover nearly immediately as well as the usual GPS-powered return-to-home. DJI’s dedicated 120fps goggles are also thoughtfully designed, with large field of view not too taxing on the eyes or head band; the visual quality is breathtaking compared with early analog equivalents.

Recommended

(Image credit: iFlight)

2. iFlight Nazgul 5

Best FPV drone for freestyle (and GoPros)

Specifications

Weight: 440 plus battery
Dimensions: 90 x 104 x 19mm
Diagonal size: 115mm
Controller: Included, radio
Video resolution: NTSC/PAL
Goggles resolution: 480 x 272
Camera resolution: (GoPro mount)
Battery life: 7 minutes
Max range: 100m
Max speed: 140 km/h

Reasons to buy

+
Thick carbon fiber arms with corner protection
+
GoPro mount
+
Excitingly fast

Reasons to avoid

-
Through-X prop configuration

Powered by Xing-E 2207 2750KV motors, the Nazgul 5 might be named after the baddies in Lord of the Rings, but that power is a useful thing if you choose to act responsibly; many drone pilots will lament the increase in weight to the latest GoPro Hero 9 Black, but this powerful machine seems unconcerned by the extra grammes. (Perhaps that’s why it uses the Succex-EF4 flight stack?)

With 5mm thick carbon arms, this drone is going to be difficult to break even in a pretty fast collision, but if you want to try iFlight are offering the machine in both (fast) 4S and (screeching) 6S versions. It can even keep up with a fixed wing. The firm are also well known for the quality of their default PIDs (flight settings), and this machine is no exception, which means even pilots used to very consumer-friendly experiences should be able to transition to the world of FPV.

The drone includes the Caddx vista HD digital video transmission system, so you’ll likely need DJI FPV Goggles which will be something of an investment in themselves though. Other than that, you get a good selection of accessories in the box: antennas, tools, rubber battery stickers, props, and more.

(Image credit: BetaFPV)

3. BetaFPV Cetus FPV

A complete kit with drone, goggles, and controller for beginners

Specifications

Weight: 35g (with battery)
Dimensions: 72 x 72 x 20mm
Diagonal size: 102mm
Controller: Yes
Video resolution: NTSC
Camera resolution: 800 x 480px
Battery life: 5 minutes
Max range: 100m
Max speed: -

Reasons to buy

+
Altitude hold function
+
Complete kit with 
+
Learn freestyle or hover

Reasons to avoid

-
Won’t carry a camera

The Cetus is a small  drone with the unusual addition of an optical flow sensor. Not only does this offer hover, but a gentle automatic land when the battery is failing. Beginners can work their way up through three modes, including a full traditional FPV style. The same applies to the tech; the goggles and controller are of the same kind you can use with other real RF-drones. 

The controller, in fact, has an especially pleasing feel for ‘noobs’, with real RC-controller sticks surrounded by a more game-like housing. Indeed it can be used as a USB joystick when connected to drone simulators. It’s a shame that this is a live-view experience only – you’ll need to invest in pricier googles for a record option – but this package is more about fun. 

(Image credit: iFlight)

4. iFlight ProTek25 Pusher CineWhoop FPV

The best 2.5in frame for cinematographers

Specifications

Weight: 143.8g (without battery)
Dimensions: 76.3 x 76.3 x 21 mm
Diagonal size: 108mm
Controller: FRsky receiver
Video resolution: 720P at 60fps
Camera resolution: - MP
Battery life: 10 minutes
Max range: 10 km / 6mi
Max speed: 120 km/h

Reasons to buy

+
Low vibration frame (better footage)
+
Beginner-friendly packaging
+
Powerful enough to lift GoPro 9 or 10

Reasons to avoid

-
Bring your own goggles
-
No pairing instructions or video

Like it or not, the historical chain of names ending in “—whoop” is now part of quadcopter lore, and this is a CineWhoop – meaning it has the power to lift a GoPro but isn’t too dangerous to avoid up close and personal. The word ‘pusher’ in the product name refers to the inverted engine arrangement, which makes it look a little like a skeletal hovercraft but has the effect of a cleaner air flow beneath the craft for smoother flight (and, by extension, smoother video).

The tiny size means it can be flown through small gaps, chasing subjects like skateboarders. It’s a few grams heavier than other 2.5-inch drones. We did wonder, however, if replacing the bull-nosed props with 5-blade types may offer a smoother flight, though any GoPro with image stabilization will see no issues anyway.

Flexibility is a big advantage of the FPV space, and the ProTek25 is available in analog too, but the digital option includes the Caddax Polar Vista 60fps FPV camera which will connect to the DJI goggles and controller.

(Image credit: EMAX )

5. EMAX TinyHawk 3 RTF

Best tiny drone for FPV beginners

Specifications

Weight: 43.5g with battery
Dimensions: 90 x 104 x 19 mm
Diagonal size: 115 mm
Controller: Included, radio
Video resolution: NTSC/PAL
Goggles resolution: 480 x 800
Battery life: 7 minutes
Max range: 100m
Max speed: 80 km/h

Reasons to buy

+
Flexibile: only needs a USB charger
+
Auto White Balance 
+
Rates easy for beginners
+
Good choice for STEM

Reasons to avoid

-
Frame can be scuffed by concrete crash
-
Different PID profiles for 1S or 2S batteries

The EMAX TinyHawk 3 is a great nano drone to start flying with; the wheelbase (motor-to-motor measurement) is just 75mm, so the drone is smaller in the box than either the controller or goggles but, crucially, all those things are available in the same box, assuming you choose the Ready To Fly (RTF) bundle. 

It’s possible to stay aloft for up to 7 minutes, OK for a machine with tiny 2-inch props, or blast along at up to 50mph (again impressive at this size). If you’re doing so in low light the array of LEDs provide the opportunity to wow the assembled crowds; their brightness responds to the accelerator.

In the past Emax’s kits have included gamepad-like controllers, but this includes the new E8 transmitter which has a more traditional feel, better for learning pinch controls. It also has a mount for the bundled Transporter 2 receiver screen, which can either be worn as a traditional FPV screen or used atop the controller if preferred. The Transporter 2 can record video to an SD card, too.

While there isn’t the power to carry a GoPro, the camera provides surprisingly good-looking video – much more so than other small drones – thanks to its dynamic range, white balance and the 200mw VTX (transmitter) which ensures better transmission than many in the category. The only real complain is the ‘land now’ warning seems to come a little early, so the drone is better suited to racing flight than aggressive “acro” (acrobatics).

(Image credit: Makefire)

6. Makerfire Micro FPV

Best budget option for kids and beginners

Specifications

Weight: 42g
Dimensions: 82 x 82 x 20 mm (plus guard)
Diagonal size: 151mm
Controller: FRsky receiver
Video resolution: NTSC
Camera resolution: - MP
Battery life: 5-6mins
Max range: 100m
Max speed: 50 km/h

Reasons to buy

+
Altitude hold
+
One key return
+
Headless mode
+
40 channels

Reasons to avoid

-
Camera angle fixed

Sometime before the virus took hold, your humble wordsmith was taken in a bus to the desert outside Las Vegas not to be executed by the mob but to see these mini drones do their stuff. I’ve long suspect that I was only returned to the Consumer Electronics Show because I didn’t crash mine too hard (not for want of trying), but it’s good to see the cheerfully toothy micro-copter has made its way to stores.

What really makes this copter stands out is how inexpensive it is for a kit including goggles and a controller. Sure, the build quality might not compare well to some machines, but useful features are still available; standby charging is available on the goggles, which also have enough vents to avoid trouble. The camera’s 170˚ field of view works well for flight through goggles, too. Very usefully, for both first timers and for those making the transition from gadget store toys – the system has all the same safety features, not to mention rolls and flips, associated with toys in that category too, making for an easy transition.

(Image credit: BetaFPV)

7. BetaFPV Beta95X V3

Powerful enthusiast FPV whoop quad

Specifications

Weight: 99g + battery
Dimensions: 95mm wheelbase
Diagonal size: 151mm
Controller: FRsky receiver
Video resolution: NTSC
Camera resolution: -
Battery life: 5-6mins (450mAh 4S required)
Max range: 600m
Max speed: 50 km/h

Reasons to buy

+
Protective edge
+
Supports HD Digital VTX

Reasons to avoid

-
Drone only

With a flat bottom, this inverted “pusher” frame style can land flat. Recently refreshed to minimize camera jello effects the 4,500KV motors make this a powerful gravity-defying whoop-style quad. It ships with new AT32F415 ESCs and a generous 600m range supplied via the 5.8GHz VTX which operates at 350mW. It is styled to match BetaFPV’s own SMO 4K Insta360 ultralight camera should you want to record your flights in cinematic detail, while the main FPV camera can be adjusted from 25 to 45 degrees to fit flying style. Remember, though, this is a true hobbyists product; it doesn’t come with battery, goggles or radio controller; in other words, this might be your second step into the tiny whoop community rather than a beginner's choice, but it does look cool. 

(Image credit: Emax)

8. Emax Hawk Pro 5

An ideal option to explore the possibilities of the hobby

Specifications

Weight: 265g
Diagonal size: 210mm
Controller: FRsky receiver
Video resolution: NTSC
Camera resolution: -
Battery life: 5-6mins )
Max range: 500m
Max speed: 100mph (160kph)

Reasons to buy

+
Fully customizable
+
32-bit speed controller
+
Alternate props to emphasis speed or flight time

Reasons to avoid

-
Must supply your own goggles, transmitter, receiver, battery

This is one geeky quad (if you’ve not got this far through the list without realising there is a lot of self-building in the FPV community, that’s on us really, so sorry). The BUZZ Freestyle is built to go fast, but it does have a built-in camera which – if you supply your own FPV goggles – you’ll be able to pilot through. As is typical with drones in this class, you can tweak the angle the camera points back at base, but there is no option to adjust things mid-flight. On the plus side, the Caddx Ratel 1200TVL HDR camera supplies a better-than-average video signal, though still via NTSC or PAL.

Where EMAX do provide a welcoming hand into the deeper depths of the hobby is by supplying two full sets of props (propellors); one they call 'AVAN Flow’ – for speed – and the other ‘AVAN Scimitar’ which are slightly smaller and afford a longer flight time. We appreciated the rubber pads on the base to protect the screws on a hard landing (not to mention the immense 3K of carbon fibre woven into the frame). 

Gear up with a FrSky receiver (plus batteries and a balance charger) and you’ll be off.

(Image credit: Walkera)

9. Walkera F210

A (literally) solid option for experiencing FPV

Specifications

Weight: 370g inc battery
Dimensions: 182 x 182 x 103mm
Diagonal size: 210mm
Controller: 5.8GHz
Video resolution: NTSC
Camera resolution: -
Battery life: 12 mins
Max range: 800m
Max speed: 100mph (160kph)

Reasons to buy

+
Everything except batteries and a charger
+
An ideal first-time FPV quad if you’re moving into the hobby

Reasons to avoid

-
Must supply your batteries & charger
-
This is a hobbyist machine; be prepared to crash and repair

This deal isn’t the cheapest on here, but the quad comes with everything you need to get flying except a 14.8 4S li-po and the balance charger you’ll need to top it up. That, though, is a choice most developing hobbyists want to make for themselves anyway, so there is no real loss there. The transmitter is powered by either AA batteries which should last a while, and the F210 is largely built from carbon fibre so it’ll survive a few bumps – which is just as well.

We weren’t’ 100% sure about the two-blade props included; three blade props can sometimes put out more power – but most of the time the difference wasn’t very apparent. Walkera used to make them available for an automatic 3D flight mode (the drone would automatically fly them backward when the drone was inverted), but that novelty doesn’t seem to be on the list any more and we can’t say we miss it, so why not tri-blade props? Ah well. On the plus side, having included goggles and a controller makes this a great starting FPV quad.

(Image credit: DJI )

10. DJI Mini SE

A consumer drone with a hint of FPV

Specifications

Weight: 249g inc battery
Dimensions: 160 x 202 x 55 mm (140 x 82 x 57 mm folded)
Diagonal size: 213mm (unfolded)
Controller: 5.8GHz / 2.4 GHz
Video resolution: 720p Live view (2.7K recorded
Camera resolution: 12MP
Battery life: 30 mins
Max range: 3000m
Max speed: 30mph (46kph)

Reasons to buy

+
Quality video and photos
+
Can be used as an ‘ordinary’ drone
+
Record video and images onboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Video a little laggy  
-
Relatively slow
-
FPV to goggles requires extra devices

There is no arguing the quality and relative value of the DJI Mini SE; it captures excellent video and images for a drone considerably cheaper than others in its stable. The only problem is that – by the strictest of enthusiast definitions – it isn’t technically a FPV drone.

That said, the view seen on your phone screen (acting as monitor) is a first-person view. After all, a shooting game like Doom doesn’t require VR goggles. With a little ingenuity it is also possible to get that phone image in front of your eyes FPV-style: Get hold of a headset which can accept a mirrored video signal from your phone, or an HDMI signal. If the later, connect the HDMI to your phone using a device like a MiraScreen).

The fact the Mini SE isn’t the quickest drone is probably useful given that the digital video, especially mirror-cast (control isn’t as responsive as on a racer), but the experience is still good – plus all the advantages of DJI’s video recording system. In the Control menu, set the Gimbal Mode to FPV and the camera will tilt with the drone (rather than maintain level horizons), again like a ‘real’ FPV drone. 

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With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 


Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 


He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook