The Ultimate Guide to Buying FPV Drone Gear in 2024

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RCHobby Lab’s Author: Kristen Ward
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Reviewed by Daniel Henderson
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Reviewed by Daniel Henderson

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First person flying drones, also known as FPV drones, have exploded in popularity over the last few years. And for good reason – flying FPV gives you an immersive flying experience like no other.

It’s like you’re sitting in the cockpit, flying through the skies. But breaking into FPV can feel overwhelming for beginners. There’s so much new gear, so many choices to make.

That’s why I’ve put together this monster guide of the latest and greatest FPV gear to buy in 2023. I’ll give you my no BS recommendations so you can avoid the common beginner mistakes and get airborne faster.

Let’s get into it!

A Quick Intro to FPV Flying

For those completely new to FPV, here’s a quick overview:

FPV stands for First Person View. With FPV flying, you wear specialized goggles that let you see a live video feed from a camera mounted on your drone. This gives you an immersive, first person view as you fly, as if you were sitting in the drone’s cockpit.

FPV drone flying puts you in the pilot’s seat

FPV drones are often small, agile quadcopters capable of incredible speed and maneuverability. They are manually controlled, usually with a dedicated radio transmitter.

This combination of immersive FPV goggles and high performance drones makes for an incredibly fun and exciting flying experience. It’s truly the closest thing possible to actually being a bird soaring through the sky.

Over the last few years, FPV technology has improved by leaps and bounds. We’ve gone from low resolution analog video to stunning HD digital video feeds. The performance of drones has taken a similar jump.

This makes it an amazing time to get into FPV flying. The gear has never been better or more capable.

But sorting through all the options can be tough for newcomers. That’s why I’ve put together this guide of the latest and greatest FPV gear options in 2023.

Let’s start with what I consider the most important piece – the controller.

The Best FPV Controller – DJI FPV Remote Controller 2

The controller (also called a radio transmitter) is how you control your drone while wearing FPV goggles. You won’t be looking directly at the drone, so having a comfortable, capable controller is crucial.

For FPV, you want a controller that’s optimized specifically for drone use. It should have plenty of switches and controls accessible without looking. After all, you’ll be keeping your eyes on the FPV display the whole flight.

I firmly believe the DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 is the best transmitter for most FPV pilots:

The DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 – my top pick for FPV flying

Here’s why it’s my top recommendation:

  • Ergonomic design – It has a very comfortable, ergonomic shape and rubberized grips that fit nicely in your hands. The compact, rounded design makes it easy to grip.
  • Integrated controls – All the most important controls are built right into the controller so you don’t have to fumble around while wearing goggles. This includes things like toggles switches, control dials, and shoulder buttons.
  • Rechargeable battery – It has an internal LiPo battery that charges via USB-C. No more dealing with AAs!
  • Easy to use UI – It has an integrated touchscreen that displays critical info like battery life, connection status, etc. The simple UI makes it easy to tweak settings as needed.
  • Works seamlessly with DJI FPV ecosystem – It automatically connects and works perfectly with DJI FPV drones and goggles. Very simple plug-and-play operation.
  • Comfortable hand position – Your hands rest in a very natural, comfortable position with easy access to all controls. Makes a big difference during longer flights.

For someone new to the hobby looking to get started with an end-to-end FPV setup, the DJI controller really can’t be beat. It just works so seamlessly with the rest of DJI’s FPV gear.

However, it is a more premium priced option at around $500. If that’s too much, there are cheaper alternatives that still work great.

Budget Alternative FPV Controllers

Here are some good alternative radio transmitter options if you’re on a tighter budget:

FrSky Taranis Q X7

The FrSky Taranis Q X7 is a popular, lower cost FPV controller

The FrSky Taranis Q X7 is a longtime favorite budget radio for FPV pilots. It provides a ton of switches and controls in a compact form factor.

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the DJI controller, but it will get the job done on a budget. Costs around $100 – $130.

One downside is it still uses AA batteries rather than having an integrated rechargeable LiPo.

Radiomaster TX16S

The Radiomaster TX16S is a step up with more features and controls

The Radiomaster TX16S gives you a great middle ground option between the FrSky and DJI controllers.

It has TONS of switches, dials, and programmable inputs. You get all the controls you could ever want without paying the premium for the DJI branded gear.

It has an integrated multi-protocol module for easily controlling different transmitters. You can also add external modules like Crossfire or ELRS.

Built-in battery gives around 8 hours of operation per charge. Highly versatile radio at a great price.

Overall, while I believe the DJI controller is worth the premium for a smoother experience, the Radiomaster or FrSky are great alternatives on a budget.

FPV Goggles – DJI Goggles 2 vs DJI FPV Goggles V2

Once you’ve picked a controller, the next big decision is your FPV goggles. These are special headsets you wear that display the live video feed from your drone’s camera.

The goggles let you see from the drone’s perspective as if you were sitting inside it. This gives the pilot an incredibly immersive flying experience.

When it comes to FPV goggles, DJI is my top choice. They make two excellent goggle options:

DJI FPV Goggles V2

The DJI FPV Goggles V2 – A great mid range option

The DJI FPV Goggles V2 sit in the middle ground for DJI’s goggle lineup.

Key features:

  • Provide a crisp, low latency FPV feed at 1440p resolution
  • Offer a wide field of view for immersive flying
  • Have integrated head tracking that lets you control the drone’s camera angle simply by turning your head
  • Weigh 470g making them comfortable for longer flights
  • Price is very reasonable at around $430

For most hobbyists, the V2 goggles offer the best balance of price and performance making them my standard recommendation.

The only real downside to them is they are a bit bulky compared to newer designs. But for the money, they are hard to beat.

DJI Goggles 2

The DJI Goggles 2 offer cutting edge performance

On the cutting edge side of things, DJI recently released their new Goggles 2 model. These offer their most advanced FPV goggle experience to date.

Highlights include:

  • Massive improvements to ergonomics – they are super lightweight at only 340g and have a curved fit for incredible comfort
  • Higher resolution displays for more stunning visuals
  • New OLED micro displays which provide amazing image clarity and motion smoothness
  • 810p 120fps video feed for insanely low latency flying
  • 6 hour battery life per charge
  • Anti fog fan keeps your view crystal clear

There’s no doubt the Goggles 2 are DJI’s most advanced FPV goggles. However, they come at a hefty price of $799.

For many hobbyists, the extra cost won’t be justified over the already excellent performance of the cheaper V2 goggles. But if you really want the cutting edge experience and money is no object, the Goggles 2 deliver.

Third Party FPV Goggles

There are also lots of good goggle options from other manufacturers like Fat Shark, SkyZone, etc. However, I generally recommend sticking with DJI’s goggles if going the DJI route.

The reason is simple – seamless integration.

DJI’s goggles are designed to perfectly integrate with the rest of their FPV equipment. Everything connects easily, works flawlessly together, and provides the smoothest overall experience.

Third party goggles often require extra setup, fiddling with settings, calibration, etc. And even then may not be 100% optimized with DJI gear.

As a newcomer, you want a setup that just works with minimum hassle. That’s why I suggest DJI’s own goggles to pair with their industry leading FPV video transmission systems.

FPV Drones

The drones themselves are obviously a huge part of the equation.

Unlike photography drones that fly autonomously along pre-programmed flight paths, FPV drones are entirely manually controlled by the pilot. This allows for much more agile, acrobatic flight.

Choosing the right FPV drone depends on your experience level and preferences. Let’s explore some of the main options:

Ready To Fly (RTF) vs DIY Drones

The first key decision is whether you want to buy a pre-built ready-to-fly (RTF) drone or build your own custom quadcopter.

For newcomers, I overwhelmingly suggest going with a Ready To Fly model rather than trying to build your first FPV quad.

Prebuilt drones allow you to simply purchase the drone already assembled and tuned by the manufacturer. Just charge the batteries, bind it to your controller, and you’re flying in no time.

Building your own does allow for customization and tweaking performance but takes a LOT more technical knowledge. As a beginner, you want to eliminate complexity and spend your time actually flying.

With prebuilt models, repairs and replacements are also much simpler. If a part breaks you can usually just buy that individual component vs having to troubleshoot and tinker on your custom build.

Here are some of the top prebuilt FPV drones I recommend based on experience level:

DJI Avata – Best Beginner FPV Drone

The DJI Avata – my top pick for beginner FPV pilots

If you’re completely new to FPV flying, the DJI Avata gets my vote as the best drone to start with.

This all-in-one package was designed from the ground up for beginners getting into FPV.

Some of the many reasons it’s great for new pilots:

  • Incredibly simple to fly – It has pre-programmed flight modes like Normal and Sport. Normal mode makes it easy to learn the basics while Sport mode unlocks faster speeds when you feel comfortable.
  • Worry-free – It has obstacle avoidance sensors on all sides. This prevents crashes while your skills are still developing. You also get automated flight features like Smart Return to Home.
  • Robust construction – The Avata is built like a tank. The ducted fan shrouds protect the props allowing you to bump into objects without breaking anything. It’s almost impossible to damage this thing for a newcomer.
  • Long flight times – You get 18-27 minutes of flight per battery. This gives tons of stick time to practice flying.
  • Awesome FPV camera – The onboard camera provides a crisp, clear FPV feed to your goggles along with an ultra wide 155o FOV. Combined with the CineSmooth stabilization, it looks amazing.

Overall, the DJI Avata is hands down the smoothest way for a total beginner to get into FPV flying. It couldn’t be any simpler to fly right out of the box. Once your skills progress, it can also handle much more advanced maneuvers.

My only real gripe is the price – $629 just for the basic drone and 1 battery is definitely on the high end. But you do get a lot of technology and features for the money.

iFlight Nazgul5 – Best Beginner/Intermediate FPV Drone

The iFlight Nazgul5 V2 – A great starter/intermediate FPV quadcopter

Once you have a little more stick time under your belt, the iFlight Nazgul5 V2 is an excellent drone to move up to.

As an intermediate pilot you likely feel comfortable flying in manual mode and making basic maneuvers. The Nazgul5 lets you continue advancing your skills with:

  • A durable yet lightweight airframe tuned for optimal handling and performance
  • Capable motors and speeds beyond a beginner drone
  • The option to carry an action camera like a GoPro for better image quality
  • 10+ minutes of flight time per battery
  • Plenty of configuration options to setup the drone how you like

It’s a 5″ prop quad, which is the most popular size class for freestyle FPV. This gives a great blend of speed, agility, and stability.

At around $300 the Nazgul5 V2 is also reasonably affordable. Yet it provides professional grade performance. This makes it hands down the best mid range FPV drone and my go-to recommendation for intermediate pilots.

iFlight Chimera7 Pro V2 – Best Long Range FPV Drone

The iFlight Chimera7 – Excellent for long range FPV

One of the most amazing aspects of FPV drones is being able to fly long distances. While smaller quads are typically limited 1-2km, some specialized long range models can reach 10km+ from the pilot!

This allows you to fly places and capture perspectives that would be impossible otherwise.

My top pick drone for long range FPV is the iFlight Chimera7.

Some of the key features that make it excellent for long range missions:

  • 7″ propellers provide tons of thrust with excellent efficiency. This allows it to carry heavy battery payloads.
  • Can carry large 10,000mAh+ batteries for 30+ minute flight times.
  • Optimized aerodynamics and design for stability in windy conditions. Important for pushing farther out.
  • DJI Air Unit provides a clear HD video feed even at long distances.
  • Durable construction that can handle less-than-perfect landings in tricky remote areas.

The Chimera7 really is purpose built for long distance exploration. It’s amazing being able to manually fly kilometers away from your launching point. This allows you to capture unique perspectives and footage in locations normally impossible to reach.

Just be aware of your local regulations, as flying long distances often requires additional approvals.

Micro Drones – Best Tiny Whoop FPV

Tiny whoops like the Meteor75 are a blast to fly indoors

On the opposite end of the size spectrum are micro drones. These are super tiny quads, usually around 75mm motor to motor.

The small size makes them perfect for indoor flying or tight spaces where a larger drone can’t go. They are very durable and can bounce off walls and objects with no issue.

While they don’t have the same top speed as a 5″ drone, micro quads are an absolute blast to zip around indoor environments. And they make great trainers for improving your general flying skills before moving to a more capable outdoor model.

Some of my favorite micro drones include:

  • BetaFPV 75X – One of the legends of the whoop world and still going strong. A great introductory model for newcomers.
  • Happymodel Crux3 – A bit more performance for racing/freestyle while still being very durable. It’s a nice step up in speed and handling over a basic trainer whoop.

While they don’t have the performance of their larger cousins, micro quads are an absolute blast to fly indoors. They also help build fundamental flying skills like orientation and control that translate to bigger drones.

I suggest getting a tiny whoop style micro drone as your first FPV quad before moving up to a more capable outdoor model.

FPV Cameras

To complete your FPV setup, you need to decide what camera to use for capturing high quality aerial footage.

The most common options are action cams like GoPros or dedicated FPV cameras:


GoPros remain the most popular camera choice for FPV pilots who care about image quality. Models like the Hero 10 Black or new Hero 11 Black provide incredible stabilization, clarity, and resolution in a tiny package.

The GoPro Hero 10 Black is my go-to FPV camera

Some of the advantages of GoPros for FPV use include:

  • Amazing video quality, especially with settings dialed in properly. GoPro’s Hypersmooth stabilization also helps smooth out the footage.
  • Tons of mounting options available to attach them to your drone. Easy to mount and unmount.
  • Compact size doesn’t add much weight to your quad. New models are under 100 grams.
  • Large selection of accessories like filters, external mics, battery packs, etc.

The downside is the additional cost having to buy the camera separately. But if video quality is important, a GoPro is hard to beat on a mini quad.

FPV Camera Options

There are also dedicated camera options like the Runcam Phoenix and Foxeer Pnp Micro. These are optimized specifically for FPV use.

FPV cameras like the Foxeer Pnp Micro provide a streamlined option

Benefits of these purpose-built cameras include:

  • More affordable than GoPros at around $100 – $150.
  • Integrated video transmitter means only a single power connection required. Reduces complexity on your drone.
  • Small, lightweight designs minimize weight impact on your quad.
  • Replaceable lenses – swap between wide angle, fish eye, and narrow angles.

The tradeoff is lower video quality compared to GoPros. But for hobbyists mainly looking to capture FPV footage, a dedicated camera is a smart route.

I suggest the Runcam Phoenix or Foxeer Pnp Micro as great options that provide good quality without breaking the bank.

Recording and Viewing FPV Footage

To view and record your flights, you’ll want a standalone FPV recorder like the DJI FPV Air Unit or RunCam TX200U. These let you capture smooth, high quality footage right from your FPV feed.

You can also use a DVR built into your goggles to capture footage. However, separate recorders tend to provide higher quality video.

LiPo Batteries

No FPV drone can fly without a good battery. Just like all electronics, the right batteries are critical to performance.

To power your drones, you’ll need high-quality Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries designed for the demands of freestyle and racing quads.

For most 5 and 7-inch drones, I recommend 30C 1500mAh 4S batteries from reputable brands like Tattu or GNB. This offers a good balance of power and flight time.

On micro drones, smaller 450mAh-850mAh batteries are common to shed weight under 250g. And for long-range 7-inch builds, 4S 1800-3300mAh batteries provide extended flying.

When shopping for batteries, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Battery chemistry – Lithium Polymer (LiPo) is the standard for drones. Li-Ion packs are also options but less common. Avoid old NiMH batteries – they are obsolete for drones.
  • Capacity (mAh) – Higher capacity batteries can store more power for longer flights. But also come with more weight. 500-1500mAh is common for mini quads.
  • Voltage (S) – Voltage plays a big role in power delivery. 3S-4S is typical for mini quads. Some micro drones run 2S for indoor flying.
  • C Rating – The discharge rating (e.g. 65C, 100C) indicates how much current a battery can supply. Higher is better for power but also means more heat.

Here are some of my go-to picks:

  • CNHL Black Series – My favorite LiPos for 5-7 inch quads like the Nazgul and Chimera. Provide a great balance of power, capacity, and price.
  • GNB – Top choice for micro drones and toothpicks. Affordable packs with high C ratings for small quads.
  • Tattu – Premium batteries with leading performance but higher prices. It’s worth it for pilots doing professional/competitive flying.

Shop around, read reviews, and buy batteries suited for your specific drone. Take care of them and they will perform reliably flight after flight.

Finally, just make sure to properly manage and charge your LiPos to prevent damage or fires. Some key battery safety tips include:

  • Never leave charging unattended
  • Don’t over-discharge batteries
  • Store around 50% charge in a fireproof bag or container
  • Never fly damaged batteries

Following basic safety precautions will ensure you can enjoy your batteries for many flights.

Battery Chargers

To keep your batteries humming, a proper charger is essential. Never attempt to charge LiPo batteries without a compatible balance charger. This is a potential fire hazard.

Look for key features in your charger like:

  • Balance charging – charges each cell individually to maximize battery health and lifetime.
  • Discharge circuit – safely discharges batteries for storage. Crucial for LiPo health.
  • LCD interface – displays voltage levels and other info. More data is better.
  • High power output – charges batteries faster so you can fly again sooner.

Some top choices in various price tiers:

Budget: ISDT Q6 Nano
Best Bang For Buck: HOTA D6 Pro
Premium: ISDT Q8 Plus

Final Thoughts

That covers all the main types of FPV gear I recommend based on your skill level and preferences.

The key is finding options that strike the right balance of quality, features, and price. You don’t have to buy the absolute cutting edge equipment if you’re on a budget. There are lots of affordable options for newcomers.

I hope these FPV gear recommendations have provided a helpful starting point as you get into this amazing hobby. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Time to get out and start flying!

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Written By Kristen Ward

My name is Kristen R. Ward. I’m an adventure Filmmaker and I run a production company based out of New York. FPV drones are integral to my business. I'll be teaching you everything I've learned over the years creating videos for clients.

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