The Best ESC for FPV Drone

Here are some of the best FPV drone ESC’s on the market. There are more to consider when choosing ESC than just current rating, some ESC come with key features that improve performance you don’t want to miss out on.

Further Reading:

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

What key features to look for in FPV Drone ESC:

  • Runs either BLHeli_32 or BLHeli_S firmware
  • Decent noise filtration – when you see lots of capacitors on the ESC, it’s always a good sign
  • Bigger MOSFET’s usually means the ESC can handle higher voltage and current, making the ESC more robust and capable to withstand abuses. MOSFET size is especially important for high voltage rigs such as 6S due to the higher voltage spikes

The performance difference between BLHeli_S and BLHeli_32 is minimal, so it really doesn’t matter which one you get. Both firmware now support Bi-directional DShot Protocol, which means you can use RPM filter in Betaflight with both types of ESC.

BLHeli32 is the newer generation and offers advanced features that BLHeli_S doesn’t, such as ESC telemetry, custom startup sound and RGB LED support. Get BLHeli_32 if you want your ESC to be more future proof, or get BLHeli_S if you want to save some money.

Regardless the amount of filtration on the ESC, you should always solder extra capacitors to the power of your ESC, this will reduce the chance of getting noisy FPV feed and improves flight performance. Take a look at this tutorial where I explain why and which capacitors you should use.


The Best 4in1 ESC

4-in-1 ESC’s are getting more and more popular these days due to the compact form factor and ease to use by putting 4 individual ESC’s on a single board. This results in less soldering and wiring due to fewer solder joints. 4in1 ESC normally sits under the flight controller, and connect straight to it with a wire harness. However downside is that if one ESC breaks you will have to replace the whole board which is more expensive.

It would cause less headache if you buy a “stack” which consists of a FC board and a 4in1 ESC board, because they are meant to be “plug and play”. Although you can use a 4in1 ESC with almost any FC you want, but FC from different brands might use different pin-out, which can burn your FC or ESC if you connect them without checking. Make sure you check and swap wires in the harness if necessary before connecting.

Holybro Tekko32 F3 Metal 65A 4in1 ESC – Top of the Line

Product Page:

Probably the most sturdy and lowest noise ESC on the market with that shocking amount of noise filtering onboard. It’s amazing how clean the power is when using this ESC. The Tekko32 F3 Metal is rated for 65A, with 85A burst current, a great choice for 4S and 6S, freestyle and racing builds. See this review for more detail.

Racerstar REV35 4in1 – Cheapest Worth Having

Product Page:

The Racerstar REV35 35A 4in1 is one of the cheapest 4in1 ESC on the list. Interestingly it looks identical to the Holybro TekkoS 4in1 we previously recommended, it’s highly likely to be a rebranded product, and I loved the TekkoS 4in1 before they discontinued it. Note that it doesn’t have any solder pads so you would have to use the connector.

XRotor Micro 60A – Tried and Tested

Product Page:

The Hobbywing XRotor Micro 60A is probably one of the most recognizable 4in1 ESC’s in the industry because it’s endorsed by many top pilots. It’s a feature-rich ESC: DShot1200 support, beefy FET’s, direct pins for low ESR capacitor, and you can either use the connector for a plug-n-play setup, or direct solder to the flight controller. If budget isn’t an issue for you, this is a serious contender to consider.

HGLRC FD_45 4in1 – Compact 20x20mm

Product Page:

Not the “cleanest” ESC (in terms of noise), but these have very compact form factor with 20x20mm mounting holes. Don’t be fooled by the small size, they actually have 45A current rating per motor output, and supports up to 6S! It’s small enough to fit in 3″ builds. If you ever need a 20x20mm 4in1 ESC for a light weight 5″ build, this is the one I’d recommend.


The Best Individual ESC

If you use individual ESC’s, make sure to buy an “all-in-one” (AIO) style FC.

Spedix IS30 ESC – Cheapest Worth Having

Product Page:

These are some of the oldest ESC on the list, but they are cheap ($10 each) and get the job done. The Spedix IS30 ESC runs BLHeli_S firmware, support DShot600 and 4S, and they have decent performance (low noise). Great for a budget build.

Racerstar RS30A V2 – Cheapest Worth Having

Racerstar 30A Best Mini Quad ESC

Product Page:

The Racerstar RS30A V2 is another budget ESC’s I’d recommend, and the quality is actually quite decent. It runs BLHeli_S, supports DShot and Multishot out of the box without any modification.

These are actually just rebranded Cicada 30A and there is a smaller 20A version if you are looking for slightly lighter ESC’s.

The Racerstar RS30A V2 is capable of running DShot600 ESC protocol and supports 2S-4S input voltage.

Holybro Tekko32 35A (Top of the Line)

Product Page:

Frankly most BLHeli_32 ESC perform kind of the same, what makes them stand out is their reliability. The Holybro Tekko32 35A has been very reliable during my time of testing them. Build quality is top notch, and the solder pads are well sized, you can even solder on both sides of the board, making it very easy to work with. As you can see there are many capacitors onboard for noise filtering, and they are indeed some of the best performers when it comes to noise.

The TekkoS32 35A weighs only 5g, supports 2S to 6S input voltage, and there are built-in RGB LED’s.

I know Holybro has released a newer F3 version, but I just can’t bring myself to recommend them over this one. The F3 35A version is much cheaper, but has little noise filtering onboard, while the F3 65A version is much beefier, however it’s $7 more expensive (each), and frankly 65A is an overkill. The F3 processor is faster than the F0, but it brings little to none improvement in performance. With that said, if you are going for 6S, perhaps consider the F3 65A version if you have the budget :)

Aikon AK32 35A ESC (Tried and Tested)

Purchase:

I used the AK32 35A ESC’s on a build for months and didn’t have any issues with them, great reliability and performance. These are simple and plain BLHeli_32 ESC’s without any fancy RGB LED’s. The Aikon AK32 35A ESC is rated for 2S to 6S voltage, and the burst current rating is up to 45A (10 seconds).

Conclusion

To be honest most latest ESC’s these days perform similarly well, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the choices mentioned.

Update History

  • March 2017 – article created
  • Oct 2017 – added Betaflight BLHeli_32 ESC, removed DYS XSD 30A v2
  • Mar 2018 – list updated
  • Aug 2018 – list updated
  • May 2020 – added new product
  • July 2020 – updated list

31 thoughts on “The Best ESC for FPV Drone

  1. Giv Soltani

    Hi Oscar,
    I got my the above question. However, The port connection on that ESC “Tekko32 F3 4in1 ESC” is NOT the same as the “I/O PWM OUT” port on the PixHawk-4 or at least it is NOT labeld the same and it is not a direct connection one to one. So, How the Port on this ESC should be connected to the PixHawk-4?

    Thank you for your time.

    Givi

    Reply
  2. Giv Soltani

    Hi Oscar,
    Thank you for all the good information you are putting out. I purchased a “Kakute F7 V2 & Atlatl-HV-v2 & Tekko32 ESC STACK V1.5” and now I like to use the “Tekko32 F3 4in1 ESC” that came with that stack defferntly. However, I am not finding documentation or pinout for this ESC and I am new at this. I need to know which pins are connected to which wire on the motors etc. Can you help please.

    Regards.

    Reply
  3. joe

    @ Vern
    “I can’t seem to find any ESC-s not meant for RC applications. I just want to control a damn motor without having to “arm the esc” and all the safety features. Any clues?”

    Simply get a $2 servo tester to control the speed of the esc, the are is for your safety, you just need to be at min throttle (so you dont power up and mow through your body.

    Reply
  4. Lawrence

    Hey Oscar, all of your articles are so well written and informative! I lost so much time reading them (esp. the “how to choose esc” one). And I am now in Bali for vacation. So you can imagine how distractive this site is.
    Keep this up man!
    P.S I hope you can update some of the list at least once a year.

    Reply
  5. Vern

    Hi there!

    I can’t seem to find any ESC-s not meant for RC applications. I just want to control a damn motor without having to “arm the esc” and all the safety features.

    Any clues?

    Reply
  6. Hendrik

    Hello,

    In the excel-sheet I see ESCs that have a current sensor, but no telemetry.
    What’s the point of the current sensor then? How does the current reading make its way into the Flight controller?

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      In this case, the current sensor can still be used for “current limiting”. But You are right, it’s pretty dumb not to provide telemetry because it’s just a pinout as far as i now.

      Reply
    1. ZeeBeeFPV

      Yes they are, I just looked over both of them trying to find a difference but they are the same. Mine is a Wraith 32 “Kamikaze” brand from Underground against a holybro-packaged version. Good!!
      Looking forward to teying these out I have read/seen good things about them.

      Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Where I fly is full of tall grasses so Turtle mode isn’t possible, so I haven’t tried it yet.

      Reply
  7. Carl-Ulrich Stoltz

    Please include a statement on the noise the Esc create as this is always a hassle when you track down the source of your “disturbed” video

    Reply
  8. Max

    How about an update for the esc list? Since most brands have their BlHeli_32 Escs out,it doesn´t make sense to me to look at the BlHeli_S variants. The price difference is too small for that. But there are many Escs out there, that support BlHeli_32 but don´t have a current sensor or telemetry pad, so it gets a little time consuming to sort them out…

    So I would love an update here, if you got the time someday.

    greets from Germany

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Yea that’s on my to-do list :)
      it’s tough to keep up because I have at least 10 other articles I am writing at the same time constantly!

      Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      They are all great ESC’s, get whichever you can get your hands on :) except KISS, i would probably only get it if you run KISS FC :)

      Reply
      1. Carl

        The Emax bullets are very noisey. Small yes, but I wouldn’t recommend them. Surprised they made the list.
        youtube.com/watch?v=Yxv7rL8kg2c

      2. Oscar Post author

        I personally have been using them since March and they’ve been solid for me (same set of ESC’s still working great today).
        I have not noticed any noise problem in flight, nor in my FPV video, at all.
        To be honest all that matters is how they perform in actual flights, I will only take these bench testing as a grain of salt.
        It’s hard to say how much effect the noise shown in an oscilloscope would do in actual flights until you really test it in a quad.

      3. Alon

        I’ve had bad experience with the 30A bullet. They are great while they are working but 4 of them died on me (including two that actually burst into flames).

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