What’s the best quadcopter for beginners to start out

What is the best quadcopter is for beginners? In this post I will explain the options what you should try when starting out in this hobby. This post is especially useful if you have no previous RC flying experience in the past.

Research and Study

Spend time reading and watching guides, build logs, and reviews, learning from experienced quadcopter pilots and builders can really help your understanding in drones.

You can’t go wrong with doing a lot of research, there is an overwhelming amount of useful blog posts and videos online. Ask tons of questions in forums like IntoFPV.com before you spend your hard earned money on a box of stuff you have no experience with.

Check out this comprehensive guide on how to get into FPV mini quad.

What is the best quadcopter to start out with for beginners?

When I first started in this hobby, I had nobody to teach me, I had no resource like this article to tell me what’s wrong or right.. So I went and bought a 450mm quadcopter with a KK2 flight controller as my first quadcopter.

You can probably guess what happened next – I took off, had no idea how to control the thing, it just rocketed into the sky, I was horrified and cut my throttle. “Bang!” The quad was totally destroyed in the crash and that was my glorious 15 seconds with my first quad :(

I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT fly a full size drone until you get some experience in flying.

Simulators are your best friends!

I strongly recommend learning on a FPV simulator first. I have seen what well these simulators can help beginners in real life. I have a friend who spent 20 hours on a sim before flying his racing quad, he could do power loops around a racing gate on his first day with the real quad! Pretty amazing :)

Micro Quad?

Another “ancient” method is to learn with a toy-grade micro quad. This was “the way” to learn flying a quadcopter before simulators become really realistic, it’s still a good way if you don’t have access to a computer with good spec and flight simulators.

Take a look at this guide and understand the types of drones on the market, and identify which one is that you want

Toy grade micro quads are very affordable, usually in the price range between $20 to $50.

They are light weight and small, which means they won’t get damaged as easily as the bigger models. They are also easier to fly and maneuver in smaller places such as in your living room.

I listed some good value toy grade quadcopter options here.

sizecompare

Building a racing drone

Once you feel confident and brave enough you can build your own mini quad, but it requires skills in soldering and deeper understanding in RC.

Building a mini quad can be beneficial to learning the in’s and out’s of these very technical machines.

Tutorial on how to build a racing mini quad for beginners.

What to avoid if you are buying RTF drones?

I don’t encourage people to start out with an RTF (read to fly) drone that come pre-built, but if you really hate building and insist, there are many great options available:

Low Budget:

Medium Budget:

Don’t just buy what everyone else is buying because they said it’s the best. Their personal preference and skill sets will vary compared to yours and may not suit you.

As a beginner you want to stay away from machines that are overly complicated. You want something that will allow you to focus on the flying. Having all the options and best equipment is great, but doesn’t necessarily means they will make you a better pilot. Learning the basics of multirotor building/flying/repairing should be your first priority, they are all part of the learning curve and shouldn’t be skipped.

Something else to remember, things are changing at such a fast pace in this hobby, it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of what’s best or what’s the most popular. Something we refer to as “Hype Train”.

The most expensive or popular gear won’t necessarily make you a better pilot either. Once you find something that you like and flies well, stick with it utll you’ve mastered it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know what you want and what you should get next.

Learning how to fly

How long it will take you to learn to fly competently, hugely depends on the person, but spending 30 mins to an hour everyday for a couple of weeks should get you to fly a quadcopter in line of sight or in FPV quite confidently.

Don’t be afraid to crash, that is a good opportunity to learn emergency maneuvering, or worse, repairing :) These are all crucial lessons you can apply to flying larger and faster multirotors.

We put together a training course tutorial on how to fly a mini quad in FPV.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, or ask on our quadcopter forum.

Edit History

  • Sept 2013, article created
  • May 2016, article revised
  • Dec 2017, article revisited

21 thoughts on “What’s the best quadcopter for beginners to start out

  1. David Bellerive

    Hi Oscar,
    First thanks for all yours articles! There are very informatives.
    I have some quads ligne the Hubsan H107L, the XK X100 and X251 and I want to buy a RTF racing quad. Do you think the Kingkong 210GT or the Eachine Wizard X220 or the Realacc GX210 will be a good choice? If not do you have another suggestion?
    Thanks a lot!
    David

    Reply
    1. elliot

      Hey I’ve got the same question. I was wondering if you ever found an answer or made a decision and bought one of these. If so can you tell me how you decided and what its like?
      Thanks
      Elliot

      Reply
  2. Edgar

    Hi Oscar
    “Best Quadcopter For Beginners” is obviously important. I just finished my LKTR120 a few weeks ago and I think it was a good choice because it is small and doesn’t break easily. Currently I am learning to fly and I am sure soon I want a more powerful quad. Now the big question is: How much more powerful? I think about a BoltRC Black Ops but I am not sure if I should built one with 4″ props or 5″ or start with 3S or jump right away to 4S. In the moment I just fly for fun, no racing. What are your ideas for the 2nd quad? Maybe that would be another interesting article to write.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      it depends a lot on your flying style :)
      but I would recommend going 5″ on 4S…
      with 2300KV motors, start with 5030 props if it’s too powerful for you…
      gradually you can try higher pitch props, even 5040 triblades…
      it would save you a lot of money upgrading over and over

      Reply
  3. Vincent

    I guys,
    Thanks for this nice article.
    For beginner and for indoor training, I personnaly recommand the Bayangtoys X9. I made a little demo how it can perform in a small area. Links are in the video detals. youtube.com/watch?v=1Z_xn4W0y-Q
    This guy is very cheap and fly very well. Parts are cheap too. In my opinion you get more bang for the buck with this little quad
    Vincent

    Reply
  4. Bill Ellis

    Oscar,
    I really appreciate all work you put into this blog. I am a beginner and following all your recommendations has releaved me of all the pitfalls and made learning a enjoyable process. I flew airplanes in my youth and took a shot a helicopters but it just did not connect, Quads for some reason is more satisfying. Your blog is my go to source for unbiased information and enjoyable to read.

    Bill

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Thank you for the kind words Bill! i would really appreciate it if you could join the forum: http://intoFPV.com … I don’t want to miss your comment, because I only check my blog comments once a week, but I use the forum daily!

      Reply
  5. Chad

    Hi Oscar,
    I’ve crashed my syma x5c everywhere, even in a creek, it has survived so far and keeps coming back for more. Right now it’s in the top of a large tree but I’m having another go at getting it this afternoon. There was a frost last night so I hope the electronics aren’t ruined. IMO it’s a good quadcopter to start out with and at least get the basic hang of things since it’s cheap and replacement parts are available.

    Reply
  6. Rodrigo C Smith

    Hello – Thank you for sharing this knowledge. I’m a newbie (or will be) for commercial reasons. I work in the Telecom business and those drones will help us improve site survey, tower and tower based equipment maintenance, etc. Any particularly tips for this industry specifically (Telecom) ? I appreciate you input. Best regards,

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      for site survey you probably want long flight time, and being able to lift heavy payload, that means you need a relatively large quadcopter or hexacopter that runs 12inch propellers or even bigger ones…

      Reply
    2. Simon Hansen

      After seeing ” the worlds scariest Video”, and it is 15 minutes of a guy free-climbing a Radio-Tower to install a BULB! Well, obviously the drone would not be able to replicate the job he did, but what about eliminating the job anyways? What about a drone that would fly up and BE THE BEACON? If it could be capable of flying up, attaching itself to some charge-port, and then the bulbs could be flown up and down, or basically, it would be engineered for one purpose only. Fulfilling FAA Requirements, while removing the need for a guy to Free-Climb and replace light bulbs. Another application for Drones, would be ones that take off and hover, then record in Hi-Definition to observe the Earthquakes in Japan, and elsewhere. It would really help the Scientists if the camera was not attached to a wall that is also moving. And, best of all, if you only knew what it costs to repaint Bridges, because of bird-poop. They have a Bridge in my City that costs one-million dollars every three years to repaint. It is not water that degrades the paint, it is the bird-poop that does not wash away. In China, they hire a guy with no harness to walk out underneath and sweep. America is not China, how about some drones that go and squirt a little water on the bird-poop? My original idea is very old, it is simple, a motion sensor hooked up to an electro-hydraulic switch. If a Youth tries to spray-paint your Greek Sculpture, the motion sensor sprays water on the statue, preventing the paint from sticking. This same method could be used under bridges. As well as on a timer, in the entry-way of businesses that have issues with Vagrants. It’s only WATER, I don’t think you would get sued, and nobody would be sleeping in your doorway anymore. I have big solutions, million-dollar ideas, and billion dollar ideas. Even Trillion-Dollar ideas. If you need ideas, ask me.

      Reply
  7. Cheryl Smith

    Hi Oscar,
    Starting off standing behind the quadcopter is a good idea. I want to get my son into this hobby. I have really enjoyed it over the years. Hopefully, he will like it as much as I do.

    Reply
  8. Paul

    Hi Oscar
    Thanks, Im wanting to get my son a Quad and get him off the pstation.. out and about, he works with the Australian Rules footy team RICHMOND and otherwise is stuffed and we have a great partks around to fly, Ive built many balsa remotes but the Quad with a Camera is of great interest for INDRA its his 21st and he has a form of autism but is very good with technology. I wish to get him out and about … And this interests me very much Ie Id purchase a phantom 3 as I love photography but need to start at a level with my son.. Thanks Paul. _Ps I want to get his birthday present along with my toy too.. big dad.. cheers,

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Hi Paul, sounds great :)
      I think it would be good to start with a micro quad like the hubsan or something… then progress to a 250 mini quad, which you can select your own parts, and build it yourself :D it’s great fun!

      Reply
  9. inFlight

    How big is the difference between flying a normal RC helecopter and a multicopter? Do you think controling a quadcopter is more or less difficult?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      It’s not harder nor easier, but if you can fly a heli, you should be able to fly a multi. It just takes practice.

      Reply
    2. madgadget

      Of the primary types of rc helicopters each differ in difficulty, I will address them accordingly. Co-axial fixed pitch slightly more difficult than basic quad, fixed pitch conventional heli with a main and tail rotor a little more difficult, collective pitch conventional helis exponentially more difficult. Almost any mini or micro quad will be significantly less challenging than typical rc helicopters. Example I gave a trimmed and setup micro fixed pitch helicopter to a friend who has substantial surface rc experience and he returned what was left of it. I let him TRY my micro skull drone in the garage one evening and that’s the last I’ve seen of my little quad. And he won’t even talk about giving it back. Unfortunately our friendship has more value than the quad, so I ordered 3 more. But don’t tell him!

      Reply

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I only check blog comments once or twice a week, if you want a quick reply you can post your question on this forum IntoFPV.com... You might get a faster response from me there (multirotor related only).