With recent advances in technology, drones and drone kits have become accessible and very popular with the general public. These unmanned, remotely operated aerial vehicles, whose ownership was once limited to the military and other government agencies, can now be purchased online in the form of drone kits—a DIY drone kit that allows users to build/assemble a fully-functioning drone, while learning the physics, aerodynamics and electronics so crucial in drone technology.
What Are Drone Kits and How to Choose the Right Kit for You?
Similar to the model cars and airplanes you carefully assembled in your youth, albeit much more technical in nature, drone kits are disassembled project kits that contain all the pieces, fittings and hardware necessary for building these airborne machines – mostly you’ll find quadcopters kits readily available.
You may be wondering whether to buy a ready to fly copter or invest in a quadcopter kit that you will have to build yourself. It depends on what your end use is going to be(if you are just getting into aerial photography, then a ready to fly is good).
Racing drones or acrobatic drones should be bought as a build it yourself kit at least once. This way you’ll learn where all the parts go and what everything does, so when you have that inevitable crash, you’ll know how to repair it!
What Are the Different Types of Drone Kits for Sale?
Drones can essentially take on two shapes—those shaped like airplanes and those defined as quadcopters – meaning a drone with 4 upward facing propellers. However, the vast majority of drones that are intended for recreational pursuits come in the form of quadcopter kits, meaning they rely on the spinning action of four rotors for flight.
Quadcopters can be very basic in nature or very elaborate, and the price often reflects this wide range – from the very expensive drones to cheap drones under $100. Some are intended for hovering only, while others are designed for racing.
What Drone Parts Are Included in a Drone Kit?
As the name implies, an RC drone “kit” generally contains all the components necessary for building and ultimately flying the vehicle. Here are just a few of the items found in most drone kits:
- Frame. The frame is the largest piece in every drone kit—the piece to which all other components are attached.
- Propellers. The propellers in drone kits are the pieces that ultimately allow for flight. There should be at least four propellers contained in every kit, although many companies supply extra propellers to allow for breakage.
- Motor. All Quadcopter drone kits should contain a motor. The motor is the component that powers the propellers—and the more powerful the motor, the higher (RPMs) of the propeller.
- Battery. The battery of the Quadcopter provides the juice that powers the motor, which in turn powers the propellers or rotors. As a general note, the higher the (“C rating”) on the battery the better.
- Remote Control. To remotely operate your newly-built drone, a remote control is typically provided in your kit. Since remote controllers might actually get a bit expensive and can be used with several drone kits, you might find that some kits don’t contain a controller.
What to Consider Before Buying a Drone Kit
If you’ve ever researched drones or any type of “Build Your Own Drone Kit” with the aim of owning one, you have no doubt discovered the wide variety of these products on the market today. However, before buying one of these remote control drone kits, there are many things to consider. Some of these include:
Drone Kit Price – what are you willing to pay. Are you a hobbyist or a pro?
With prices ranging from $20 or less on the low end, to more elaborate models costing (several hundred dollars) each, drone kits can vary greatly in price. Naturally, the pricier drone kits tend to offer some very attractive features, such as First Person View, and multiple flying modes, but you will definitely have to pay more for these features.
Your Level of Expertise – Are you a newbie or an advanced flyer?
The more expensive RC drone kits may have a lot of bells and whistles, but these features are not worth much if you are unable to build or accurately fly the machine. Beginner or novice drone enthusiasts may be wise to start with a more affordable drone kit and upgrade as they become more experienced.
Parts and Accessories Included (and what is NOT included)
While nearly all drone kits come with at least the basic parts and accessories necessary to build your unmanned aerial vehicle, some peripheral parts may not be included. Some kits, for example, do not come with a battery or a remote control, meaning these items will have to be purchased separately.
Purpose – how do you plan to use your custom-built drone?
How you plan to fly your drone once it is assembled should always be considered before making a purchase. For instance, if you just intend to hover the drone for recreational purposes there is really no need to invest a lot of money. However, if you plan, for example, to take (aerial photos) for a business venture, you will definitely need a FPV drone kit that comes complete with an HD camera.
Advantages/Benefits of Different Drone Kits
Once you’ve answered the above-listed questions, it’s time to think of the advantages and benefits of the various drone kits on the market today. Here are some of the advantages for three such types: the beginner drone, the FPV Quadcopter and the Racing Quadcopter.
Advantages of Buying a Beginner Drone Kit
- Lower Price Point. The beginner drone is typically priced well below some of the more advanced models.
- Easy to Assemble. As a rule, there are fewer moving parts) and pieces to assemble in a beginner drone kit.
- Peace of Mind. Because of its low price, crashes with the beginner drone will not be as earth-shattering as those with a highly-expensive kit.
Advantages of Buying the FPV Drone Kit
- Great Still Pictures. FPV Drones usually have a high-quality HD camera that takes brilliant still pictures.
- Real-time Video. Once you sync the FPV drone to your Apple or Android device you can watch HD video in real-time.
Advantages of Buying a Racing Quadcopter Kit
- Faster. The lightweight design of the racing Quadcopter allows operators to fly faster.
- Better Maneuverability. Racing Quadcopters can corner better at all speeds.
- Easy Setup. Designed to be stripped down to the bare essentials, racing drones can be assembled much quicker than their FPV counterparts.
Product Reviews for great Drone Kits from Amazon
YKS DIY 250 Racing Quadcopter
YKS DIY 250 Racing Quadcopter Full Carbon Fiber Frame Kit ARF with Camera
Full Carbon Fiber frame kit, which is ultralight and great intensity.
Bundled with 5.8G 600mw image transmission and 700 line HD NTSC camera.
Bundled with EMAX 1806 motor and electronic speed controller (ESC).
A comprehensive, DIY drone kit, the YKS 250 Racing Quadcopter features an ultra-light, carbon fiber frame, an EMAX 1806 motor and a multi-functional electronic speed controller (ESC) that makes flying this drone a real blast.
YKS DIY 250 Racing-Quadcopter Drone Kit with Camera
- Shock Resistant. With its strong rubber damper, the YKS DIY 250 Racing Quadcopter is very shock resistant, making parts like propellers and motors last longer.
- Clear Assembly Instructions. The YKS 250 Racing Quadcopter Kit comes with a written assembly manual and supplemental video help that make putting this drone together a snap.
- Genuine DIY Kit. The YKS 250 Racing Quadcopter is a genuine do-it-yourself kit, with no instructions on wiring or frame assembly.
- No Video Reception Hardware. The YKS DIY Quadcopter kit does not include the mounting hardware for the camera,
- Not for Beginners. If you’re looking for an easy kit that will be ready to fly out of the box, the YKS Quadcopter Kit is NOT for you.
- Inconsistent Quality. Reports of problems with motors and flight controllers in some kits are a bit troubling.
SunFounder 250 FPV Quadcopter Drone Frame Kit
SunFounder 250 FPV Quadcopter Drone Frame Kit CC3D ESC Simon 12A Motor MT2204 Glass Fiber Racing Flying 4-Axis Propellers Battery Balance Charger for Openpilot EMAX Lumenier QAV250
The SunFounder 250 quadcopter is tailored for hobbyists and beginners for FPV flying.
This aircraft is light in structure with its propeller blades featuring high strength, explosive-resistant and small wind resistance due to their smooth design.
It runs the firmware of CC3D flight controller, working with the MT2204-2300KV motor and 12A ESC.
Tailored for hobbyists, the SunFounder 250 FPV Quadcopter Drone Frame Kit is a super product for the price and suitable for both experienced and novice drone enthusiasts. The drone kit comes with everything you could possibly need to build a fully-functional Quadcopter, including high-strength propellers, a lightweight carbon frame, and an easy-to-follow video instructions manual.
- Easy to Assemble. The video manual that comes with the SunFounder 250 FPV Quadcopter kit is very informative, offering step-by-step directions that even a beginner can follow.
- Battery and Charger Included. Unlike similar drone kits in this class, the SunFounder 250 kit includes the battery and battery charger.
- Impact Resistant. Both the carbon frame and propellers on the SunFounder 250 FPV Quadcopter are very strong, and are thus able to stand up to potentially damaging impacts.
- Remote Receiver Not Included. The Remote Control transmitter and receiver needed to remotely operate the SunFounder 250 Quadcopter is not included in the kit—has to be purchased separately.
- Low Run Time. With a run time of just 7 minutes per charge, the SunFounder 250 can be very inconvenient.
- Questionable Customer Service. No phone support (just email) is provided with the SunFounder kit.
LHI 220 Quadcopter Kit
LHI 220 Quadcopter Kit Full Carbon Frame Kit+DX2205 2300KV Brushless Motor+ Littlebee 20A Mini ESC+F3 Flight Controller Board Cleaflight 6DOF Standard+700TVL camera+TS5828 FPV 5.8G 32CH
This action is a DIY Replacement QAV250 Quadcopter, it is unassembled, come with original LHI2205 2300KV motor and Littlebee 20A Mini ESC, high quality!
This kit is a very popular Mini Drone, it has a strong rack, beautiful appearance, and a stable structure for smooth flight, it is the best choice for play and FPV.
Please be note this kit need remote control and battery to complete
Widely considered one of the top-rated DIY drone kits among serious drone pilots, the LHI 220 Quadcopter Kit features a strong, sleekly-designed frame, and a stable structure for smooth flight in all weather conditions.
- Fully Customizable. The LHI 220 Quadcopter Kit is fully customizable, allowing operators to adjust and readjust specifications to meet their needs.
- Great Camera (Included). The 700 TVL camera, which comes included with the LHI 220 Quadcopter kit, takes stunning still pictures and crystal clear video.
- Great Racing Quadcopter for the Price. Given all this package contains, the LHI 220 Quadcopter Kit is very reasonably priced.
- Complex Assembly. Due to its complex assembly, the LHI 220 Quadcopter Kit may not be the best choice for beginners.
- Battery and Remote Not Included. The battery and remote control will have to be purchased separately.
- Reports of Motors Coming Loose from Mounts. The motor in the LHI 220 kit has a tendency to come loose from the frame mounts.
Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter Kit
NIGHTHAWK 250 V2 CARBON FIBER QUADCOPTER COMBO KIT
Aluminum alloy spacer, light weight, reliable (color subject to availability)
With rubber damper to decrease vibration during flight
E-Maxx MT2204 2300kv CW and CCW
A highly customizable and comprehensive drone kit, the Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter comes entirely disassembled with all the parts and accessories needed for ultimate flight. This gives users the unique and fun opportunity to tweak the specifications of the machine as they see fit, while simultaneously learning the ins and outs of drone technology in the process. The drone’s solid, durable carbon fiber frame flies well in all conditions and is very impact resistant.
- High-Power Sensing Light. The high-power sensing light on the Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter enables the drone’s camera to take stunning pictures in any light.
- Fully Adjustable. Made for the beginner to intermediate drone pilot/operator, the Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter is fully adjustable.
- Great Maneuverability. With its EVO flight controller, the Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter corners great at high speeds.
- High Price Point. Compared to other similar products, the Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter kit has a fairly high price point.
- Fairly Difficult Assembly. If your soldering skills are up-to-date, you should have no problem assembling this kit; otherwise you may find yourself needing assistance from someone who has mastered this skill.
- Battery Not Included. The battery—and battery charger—will have to be purchased separately.
OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter
OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter ,DIY Carbon Fiber Frame Kit with Camera & Transmitter
Full Carbon Fiber frame, lightweight and strong.
Bundled with 5.8G 600mw image transmission and 700 line HD NTSC camera.
Equipped with rubber damper, high quality and strong ability of shock absorption.
The OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter Kit comes bundled with a strong, lightweight carbon frame, top of the line FPV camera, brushless motor and electronic speed controller. Completely disassembled, this is a fun kit to put together and even more enjoyable to fly.
OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter Drone Kit
- Great Camera Quality. The 700 Line HD NTSC Camera on the OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter takes great pictures and video in all lighting conditions.
- Great Price. A great price tag compared to other similar drone kits.
- Solid Construction. The frame of the OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter is very strong, yet light enough to allow for great maneuverability.
- Motor Shafts too Short for Propellers. The shafts on the OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter should be a little longer to accommodate the propellers.
- Not Highly Customizable. Unlike other products in this category, the OCDAY Quadcopter does not allow for much creativity in terms of adjustments.
- Basic. The OCDAY 250 Racing Quadcopter is not very sophisticated and thus not very alluring for the more serious drone enthusiasts.
Conclusion – which of these drone kits should you get?
While there is definitely something to like about all of these remote control drone kits, the YKS 250 Racing Quadcopter is by far the best of the five for the price. If you can overlook the somewhat difficult assembly and the lack of video hardware mounts with this model, its advantages, which include a shock-resistant and very strong frame; a powerful EMAX 1806 motor, and crystal-clear assembly directions make this model stand out head and shoulders above the rest. Moreover, the YKS 250 Racing Quadcopter is a true DIY drone kit, which affords experienced builders and operators the unique opportunity to tweak the specifications and make adjustments on the fly.