Best Flight Controllers For Mini Quad & Racing Drones

Here are some of the best flight controllers (FC) for mini quads and racing drones running Betaflight, KISS and Raceflight firmware.

I have a tutorial explains all the technical terms, specifications and features on flight controllers.

I compiled the specifications of all FC’s for mini quad in this spreadsheet so you can compare them more closely.

Before choosing an FC board, you should decide which FC firmware you want to use.

Personally recommend Betaflight if you are just starting, because it’s the most widely used firmware. There are tons of resources out there, and there would be more people who can help you when you have problems.

For other racing drone product recommendations, check out our “Best FPV Products” posts.


The Best Betaflight Flight Controllers

Common features in popular Betaflight FC’s are:

  • Priced at around $40-$50
  • Using either F4 or F7 processors
  • Most are equipped with MPU6000 Gyro
  • Built-in Betaflight OSD
  • Supports a while range of input voltage – 4S, 5S and 6S
  • Soft mounted in some way

There are special flight controllers designed specifically for the DJI Digital FPV system: best FC for DJI FPV system


CLRacing F7 V2 DAUL – Best FC for 4in1 ESC

  • F7, 2x ICM20602
  • Soft mounting grommets
  • Betaflight OSD
  • Integrated PDB
  • 5V 3A BEC
  • 32MB Flash memory for blackbox
  • Supports 2S – 8S LiPo Input

The CLRacing F7 is the successor to the very popular CL Racing F4 and F4S. It continues with similar clean and convenient layout and well-sized solder pads, it’s very enjoyable working with this flight controller.

It’s one of the most affordable flight controllers in this list given the long list of features it supports: SmartAudio, ESC Telemetry, and built-in FPV Camera Control (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.

It’s an F7 FC, so no hassling with uninvert hacks when setting up SBUS and SmartPort.

The CL Racing F7 is designed specifically to be used with 4in1 ESC’s. The ESC header supports both external current sensor input and ESC telemetry.

It’s one of the very first FC to have “True Pitmode” built in – a feature to turn on and off both your VTX and FPV camera using a switch on your radio.

One of the most remarkable features in the V2, is the dual gyro’s working at the same time, averaging sensor data to reduce noise. Together with the latest RPM filter in Betaflight, tuning is going to get a lot easier.

Check out my review to learn more about this FC.

Shops:

Holybro Kakute F7 AIO – Best FC for Separate ESC

  • F7, ICM20689 SPI (32KHz Looptime)
  • Soft-mounted Gyro sensor
  • Betaflight OSD
  • Integrated PDB
  • 5V/2A BEC
  • SD Card Reader for Blackbox
  • Supports 2S – 6S

Most flight controllers soft-mount the whole board, but the Kakute F7 has the Gyro sensor soft mounted instead, so there is no need to soft mount the FC at all. ICM series Gyro sensors are relatively more noise-sensitive, but I am not too worried because of the effective gyro soft mounting.

The downside is that you have to make sure the gyro is clear from wires and components that might be touching the Gyro and transferring vibration to it. Furthermore, you cannot put anything on top of the FC with things like a receiver or VTX.

With F4 FC’s you have to deal with signal inversion using SmartPort Telemetry and SBUS. This is not a problem anymore with F7 because this can be easily dealt with in the software.

The Kakute F7 FC is feature-packed and has a functional layout, but it’s not the easiest to work with for beginners, as most of the pads are all grouped in the same area. Luckily there is an extremely detail online manual provided by Holybro, which is super helpful.

One common concern is the ribbon cable which might feel a little fragile and could break in a crash. It’s replaceable though, in fact the FC comes with a spare ribbon cable for the Gyro. However, to replace such a tiny cable requires some advanced soldering skills.

This is a great board for experienced builders/pilots who looking for clean gyro performance. They also do the non-AIO version, which you can use together with 4in1 ESC’s. If you want to learn more, check out my Review.

Shop:

Airbot OmniNXT F7 FC

The Airbot OmniNXT F7 flight controller is capable of running all the latest features in Betaflight without compromises. It has two gyros built-in, an MPU6000 if you want to run low noise 8KHz, and an ICM20608 for 32KHz prior to Betaflight 4.1. It has an 5V power output as well as an 8V for your VTX and camera.

The pad layout is intuitive and convenient for wiring, however they are not known to provide detail documentations about their products, so experienced users only.

It’s NOT an AIO FC, and is meant to be used with a PDB board or 4in1 ESC.

Frsky adopted/rebranded this FC and added a built-in R9MM receiver.

Shops:

Diatone Mamba F722S Stack

Apart from all the usual features you would expect from a modern F7 flight controller, the Mamba F722S even comes with a built-in Bluetooth module that lets you configure Betaflight settings from your mobile phone wirelessly.

It has both 5V and 9V BEC to provide power for both your FPV camera and VTX, this reduces noise getting to your video from motors and ESC. The IMU is the MPU6000, as known as the “good gyro” – less noise sensitive than the ICM sereis.

The 4in1 ESC is rated for 50A, and supports 6S LiPo, making it a reliable and versatile option.

Where to Buy?

Omnibus Fireworks V2

  • F4 Processor
  • Soft Mounted ICM20608 IMU Gyro
  • Betaflight OSD built-in
  • Integrated Current Sensor

The Omnibus F3 and F4 flight controllers have been some of the most popular and solid boards in the drone racing industry for quite some time.

What caught my attention in the latest Omnibus Fireworks V2 FC is the ESC connection design. You get ESC power, signal, signal ground and ESC telemetry at each corner which makes wiring and soldering much easier.

It also has the soft mounted Gyro protected inside a plastic case. The high performance ICM20608 allows for 32KHz looptime. With the solder-less IMU connection you can even replace the Gyro easily.

Shop: Amazon, Banggood


KISS (1 board)

Since KISS firmware is closed-sourced, users have no choice but the options from Flyduino.

KISS FC V2

  • F7 Processor, MPU6000 Gyro
  • KISS FC Firmware

After about 2 years, Flyduino finally released the KISS V2 to replace the first generation. KISS has a huge fanbase who prefers its flight performance and characteristics. When you are spending $80 on a KISS FC V2, you are not only paying for the hardware, but the closed sourced KISS FC firmware as well, which is exclusive to KISS flight controllers.

I’ve flown KISS before and I found it fly smoother and softer on the sticks, while Betaflight feels a bit more precise but more robotic. It might not be the most accurate description, but this is the best way I could put it.

The KISS FC was one of the first controller boards that came up with the “H” shape. They were also the first to replace through-holes with all solder pads so you can solder wires directly on the FC more easily.

The V2 has improved the layout and pin location massively, now the ESC signal pads are at the corners. Integrated plug header also allows for cleaner wiring for certain PDB’s. The latest software setup is very simple compared to that of Betaflight.

The KISS FC V1 supports Betaflight firmware, (hopefully the V2 will follow soon), but there are better FC options out there for Betaflight. The main reason to get the KISS FC is really just for the firmware IMO :)


Raceflight (1 board)

There were more flight controller options for Raceflight before it went completely closed source. I believe going forward they will be like KISS and it will leave the users no hardware choice.

Revolt F4

Revolt F4 FC - Best Flight Controller

  • F4 Processor, Invensense 20602 Gyro
  • Designed for Raceflight firmware

The Revolt F4 FC is designed specifically for Raceflight by the Raceflight team, to run 32KHz gyro update rate and PID looptime.

Some might disagree with the “faster is better” concept, but many users have expressed positive feedback regarding the performance of the Revolt F4 running Raceflight. Their latest software “RF1” (Raceflight One) also continues to develop and makes setting up easier for users.

The original Revolt F4 is an extremely simple FC without any bells and whistles, there isn’t even an on-board 5V BEC, that means you will need an external 5V power supply for this FC (and an additional VBAT connection to monitor LiPo voltage). RF team explains the reason behind this is to keep the noise to the minimum. The lack of 5V BEC has been the main complaint from users because it makes it harder to build. An extra VBAT connection is also needed to read the battery voltage.

But since then Raceflight has released different versions of the flight controller with additional features, such as the RevoltOSD which supports LiPo direct input and OSD, and the MiniVolt which is basically a smaller version of the Revolt.

By the way, the Lumenier Skitzo FC is another FC that runs Raceflight, but in fact it’s just a rebranded Revolt. They are essentially the same board, you are just paying extra for the name on the board.

Purchase:


Top flight controllers in the past

The following FC’s made it to the list in the past, but no longer the best. With that said, you might still find them useful for certain applications.

Matek F405 and FCHub VTX

The Matek F405 is a simple flight controller with features like Betaflight OSD and SD card reader for blackbox logging etc. It doesn’t have the built-in PDB capability, but you can pair it with the Matek FCHUB VTX using a convenient ribbon cable.

The Matek F405 and FCHUB VTX combo is the same as getting an FC, PDB and VTX in one package with some really good benefits. Moving the high power, high voltage circuit away from the processor and gyro sensor will leave you with cleaner signal and improved flight performance and reliability. Having separate FC and PDB also allows the FC to be easily soft-mounted, without heavy power and ESC wires touching it and transferring vibration.

The ribbon cable even includes a connection for VTX control, so you can change channels and power levels using your TX sticks.

However if you are looking for a VTX that have a higher output power or is capable of PitMode, then the FCHUB VTX is not for you. Also your frame has to have enough room to house the double-board stack.

Shop

Matek F405 CTR

  • F4, MPU6000
  • Betaflight OSD
  • Integrated PDB
  • 5 UART’s
  • In-built SD card slot for blackbox
  • BEC: 5V/2A

The CTR FC is the remake of the Matek F405 AIO.

The AIO was a pretty good FC with a long list of features and excellent layout. However there have been many complaints about yaw twitches and vibrations caused by the noise sensitive gyro sensor.

So finally Matek decided to replace the Gyro with a more noise resistant MPU6000, along with a few other improvements. Take a look at our review to find out why we think this is one of the coolest FC for Betaflight and iNav right now.

Review | Purchase: Banggood, Amazon

DYS F4 Pro

  • F4, MPU6000 SPI
  • Soft mounting grommets
  • Betaflight OSD
  • Integrated PDB
  • 5V/3A BEC
  • 8MB Flash memory for blackbox
  • Supports 2S – 6S

The DYS F4 Pro has very similar features and capability to the Kakute F4. Excellent board layout and the ESC/XT60 power pads sticking out would help building and soldering tremendously.

There is only 1 hardware inverted UART, which is for SBUS. If you want to use Smart Port telemetry you would have to get the uninverted signal from the receiver. For those who don’t use S.Port telemetry might not find this a lost, as that means one more available UART for other serial devices. (inverted UART for Smart Port can’t be used for other stuff)

Shop | Review


Edit History

  • March 2017 – Article created
  • July 2017 – Separated the list by FC firmware: BF, RF and KISS; added DYS F4, Kakute F4, Matek F4; retired Lux V2 and DRC Soul
  • Jan 2018 – Updated the list
  • Aug 2018 – List updated – Kakute F7, Fireworks V2
  • Dec 2018 – Updated CL Racing F4S with F7
  • Sep 2019 – Updated products

33 thoughts on “Best Flight Controllers For Mini Quad & Racing Drones

  1. Ujjwal Piprewar

    Hi i am a beginner. And I am not into fpv at the beginning. Actually i am having a major confusion in choosing the best flight controller for my 250mm quadcopter which will give me very stable controlled flight. Our competition are basically like we have obstacles at a distance of 1 ft and we have to pass through them. So basically flight board shoulf give us more control over the quadcopter. My friends recommended me omnibus f4 is more stable and does not require more changes in PID settings but which omnibus f4 they didn’t told and there are many versions of it. What do you recommend? Please do tell as fast as possible also it should not cost much.

    Reply
  2. ron ailer

    My thoughts on best FC is simple and thats one that works. Every pilot should know their own skill level and what fc would suit their needs best. I think FC’s should come in simple , advanced and expert. Also it would be nice if the hobby supply chain actually knew what a recall is instead of knowing something is crap but just let it keep selling as was my recent experience when I purchased a CLRacing F4s being led to believe they were such a great board and what I recieved was obviously old stock V1.4 and got stuck with the roll of death. I then purchased the cheapest omnibus f4 from banggood and I now have a quad that actually flies without uncontrollably hitting the dirt. Product developers have to step up and recall their products when they know they have a problem or people will will simply not buy their product again. I know I personally will not buy another CL Racing product along with a couple other brand names I wont mention here. In Canada I paid 49 bucks for that FC, may as well have flushed it down the toilet.

    Reply
    1. thetruth

      You getting stuck with some old crappy stock, that is your fault, for not watching what your buying. Dont be the dumb butts like on ebay that get all made because they only saw CL racing flight controller and missed the fine print that said its only a picture of a CL Racing flight controller. But let me guess you bought it for a discounted price from banggood meaning it is not a CL Racing flight controller its some fake of the real thing. Some sites like bang good they say CL Racing flight controller if you take time to actually read below that you will find out no it a copy of a CL racing flight controller not a actual CL Racing flight controller, why do you think they can sell it for $19 instead of $30 because what they are selling is a copy made some low tech crappy slappy tappy china factory. I dont order any boards from bang good or any site like them because you are not gettting the real thing your getting some cheap crap that some dude copied the design and slapped it together and those boards fry out fast because of that yea sure you can buy 2 for 1 ever month but because I bought a real name brand CL Racing flight controller for $30 mine is still running strong after a year of flying every day even in light rain. Because it was actually made by the real company that the owner chose meaning quality not some crap made in a garage. If you got some old crap that your fault for not looking or checking what your buying, im so tired of people giving bad reviews on stuff becausee they messed up. a little word of advise if the website doesnt say what version your buying then dont use that website, iv never had a CL Racing board fry out on me, actually its one of the strongest iv had to date. Now that being said it is a simple board and doesnt do everything I need in all my drones but for a light weight fast racer drone that doesnt need much yea cl racing is a strong board iv had mine for right over a year it hit one pole at 153mph shattered the camera the frame busted my 4in1 esc and broke 3 of the motors and the flight controller just needed to be brushed off and put back in the next one and good to go. So stop blaming your mistakes on the company, I can tell your the guy that gets mad at the company because you put neg to pos and pos to neg then you get mad because it fries out when you plug it up, once again your fault not theres, you know they can only make stuff so dummy proof at some point you have to take responsibility for your own action and you ordering a old board from some crappy company that your fault not CL Racing. Like I said I bet you bought it from bang good or one of the other companies that dont sell CL Racing board they sell a copy made by some cheap company that has nothing to do with CL Racing everyone I know of has never had a problem with CL Racing board. So sick of you dum dums blaming your failures on good companies trying to make them look bad because your a moron. Next time make sure you know what your buying dont just look at the title them hit check out dum dum. Like I said I fly with 3 of the best pilots in the world non have ever had a issue. even the roll of death issue your talking about, never had a problem learn how to build a good drone and you want have so much vibration. Same thing on the f45 AIO all you idiots saying oh the FC sucks because I get the roll of death, never had a problem with mine because I know how to build a real drone not some half wap crap. The reason your getting the roll of death is because of your build. I can tell thats over your head becausee I bet your going to say well I put different board in and didnt have a issue yea because you put a board in that made alittle more dummy proof so has more a tolerance for a bad build. Cl Racing and F405 AIO both require a expert builder you build a good drone you will never have any issues with those. What your looking for is a board for a moron builder or a newbe builder that dont know what they are doing. Your the guy that shows up at the pro racing that crashes people because your crap is crap. But thats besides the point there will always be idiots in any kind of racing or sports. But what im getting real tired of i seeing morons like you give a killer flight controller or a killer part a bad name because you screwed up. You by chance are not the guy on the other site that gave those batteries a bad review because you didnt look at the size of the battery so you cant use it so you gave it a 1 star because you screwed up and bought the wrong thing was that you, this is clearly a case of that.

      Reply
      1. TeamScream

        HI Oscar, I really like ALL of your info, and am extremely grateful that you take the time to share it with the rest of the world.

        The one thing I find very frustrating however, is that you do not put a date anywhere on any of your blog posts, so I have no idea if this article was written in 2019, 2018 or 2003 ?

        Do you have any plans to perhaps put a date/time stamp somewhere on your entries so we can know if the information is current or not?

        Thanks again sir.

  3. Marc

    Hey Oscar,

    i tried to build a QC myself with a MultiWii CRIUS 2.5, but still can’t get it to hover steady. As the errors are “unstable” and varying, i want to test with another FC.

    Can you give me a recommendation for an “easy” FC that will work with an old 35MHz PWM-Receiver and 40A-SimonK-ESCs?
    A 5V output for the Rx would be nice (no BEC on ESCs), but not mandatory.

    Thank you very much in advance,

    Marc

    Reply
  4. peter

    I am putting together (or purchasing a pre-built armattan) quad for freestyle. My question is regarding the FC choice armattan uses on their ready-to-fly builds, they use a CL Racing F4S AIO. Is there any reason not to use a CL “racing” FC for freestyle?

    Reply
  5. bils0n

    Kakute F4 v2 “Furthermore, you cannot stick anything on top of the FC with things like a receiver or VTX.”

    Why not? I have matek VTX mounted on top of the Kakute and it works fine and flies beautifully

    Reply
  6. Obinna Ndu

    Hey Oscar, I love you FC…. I bought the CL RACING F4S when it first came out and installed it in my quad but ever time I arm and disarm it won’t rearm unless I unplug the battery and replug…I’ve tried every remedy I could think of but nothing’s woring… I even swapped out the FC for another one of the same kind and still nothing…. I did notice that you mentioned that some esc’s weren’t compatible with it…. could that be my problem?…..please help!!

    Reply
      1. Logan

        I’m actually having the same problem with my CLR F4S as well~
        Also, I’m not sure if I’ve got a burnt out M4 pad, but it looks like I’m not getting a motor 4 even when I’ve remapped it to another pad like cam-control. Any tips?

  7. Moritz Beyer

    Hello I am a Newbie,
    I want to built my first mini quad, which qualifies for races and lets me grow. I read your great articles but information from the manufacturer is low.
    I want a 32khz Gyro, F4 Flight Control, OSD, DSHOT 1200, Voltage and Current monitor.
    I want to use Betafly.

    Does my proposed combination work and deliver just that?

    – Omnibus F4 Corner Nano FC ICM20608
    – Racerstar Tattoo_S Mini 25A 4 IN 1 ESC 2-4S Blheli_32bit Dshot1200
    – FURIOUSFPV Innova V4 25/200mW OSD – VTX

    Thanks for understanding!

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      sounds good to me.
      But to be honest i think getting an FC with MPU6000 and run 8k is a much more reliable option.

      Reply
      1. Matt

        I have really fallen in love with the layout of the JBF4, definitely worth the look! If my quad doesn’t have a Heliospring IMUF it has a JBF4.

  8. gliderboy

    My favorite is missing, SirinFPV FC/VTX/BF OSD is cleanest possible minimalist package. I run mine with 4in1Aikon ESC. Has all essentials as long as you think it makes better sense to do one’s current sensing on the bench under controlled conditions

    Reply
  9. Robert kosick

    Just a general complaint. To all FC makers. Instead the classic IT WORKS GET IT ON THE MARKET! Why don’t you fully developed these boards before running your greed to the bank? All anyone wants is a standardized FC that you don’t need a degree to operate! Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      New to multicopters?

      That’s been the culture of every drone vendor, even DJI, heck even X UFO (asctec), hell, even the military since the inception of commercial drones. For example, it took dji 4 versions (and lots of crashes) to get to mikrokopter flight quality…. or course at 1/2 the price.

      It’s going to be a rush to sell features, and make it CHEAP. reliability/usability takes a back seat.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Why? That’s counter-intuitive. Can someone explain this? It would be like making cars that have bluetooth, built-in navigation, side and backup cameras, seat warmers, self-inflating tires, and transmissions that randomly seize.

  10. Ole

    Regarding F4 and smartport, you should be able to use softserial as uart for smartport and therefore you can inverted in software instead of modifying receiver og buying / making an inverter.

    In doing this on my Airbot F4

    Reply
  11. James Dicklow - CT Wild Flyers

    Little disappointed that the BrainRE1 wasn’t on the list. It’s the best one I’ve used and I now have 2 of them!

    Reply
  12. Jeff G

    Is anyone familiar with the fpvstyle f3 evo flight control board?? I got it for only 20 but did get any paper work or screws etc and was just wondering if anyone has any knowledge on this board?? Hope to hear back from someone, jeff g

    Reply

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