Whether you’re looking for some short-lasting fun or you are contemplating on joining the hobby, you will definitely want a high-quality drone. Considering this, chances are high you will be forced to choose between several models each having different characteristics. Well, today we are going to be focusing on one of them – the motors! More precisely, in this article, you’ll not only see 9 awesome drones with brushless motors but also a lot of additional information on them.
This information will answer the most common questions such as what are brushless motors, how are they different from brushed ones, are they better and so on… So, if you’re interested in the topic I suggest you sit back, relax and continue reading.
But, before jumping to the explanations, here are the best brushless drones available, sorted into several price categories:
Best Brushless Drones Under $200 :
|1. MJX Bugs 3 Mini||No cam||10min||300m||Coming soon|
|2. XK X251||No cam||10min||300m||See best offer|
|3. MJX Bugs 3||No cam||15min||300m||See best offer|
1. MJX Bugs 3 Mini
The first in the line of awesome brushless drones is the brand new MJX Bugs 3 Mini. This interesting little fella is so new that is hasn’t even been released at the time of writing this article. It is coming out pretty soon though so it would be a real shame to make this list without it. So, what does this all-new birdie has to offer? Well, that’s exactly the kind of information you can read about down below.
Camera and features
The first thing you’ll notice is that this little brushless quadcopter does not come with a camera. Instead, it sports a bright LED which can easily be taken out and replaced with an AIO FPV system. As for other features, you’ll be surprised to find out this little bugger sports acro mode. Yup… And it’s not the only one in this list sporting it – XK X251 is there as well.
Even though these 2 are quite similar in terms of specifications, I’d say the clear winner is MJX Bugs 3 Mini. It is much agiler and sports a more aggressive battery (not only is it lighter but has higher C rating as well) resulting in more powerful punchouts and… well… more fun!
In terms of specifications, this mini quadcopter with brushless motors fares quite well against the competition… if it actually has any considering it’s the only decent mini brushless drone in its price range. It’s powered by a bulky 2S 850mAh 45C LiPo which is insanely aggressive and can take up to 10 minutes of airtime.
Operating range clocks in at 300 meters which is miles ahead of most other brushless quadcopters that go for the same price. So yeah… the conclusion – MJX has done a great job and their Bugs 3 Mini drone is surely going to be a huge hit in 2018.
2. XK X251
Let’s face it, the majority of you reading this have never even heard about the drone brand that goes by the name XK. Well, to be honest, I haven’t heard of them either up until summer last year. Then I had the chance to test out 2 of their models, XK X250 and X251 (Drone with brushless motors). The latter brushless quadcopter left a much better impression on me thanks to its brushless motor and acro mode. Yup, you read that correctly… this birdie is capable of flying in acro which will make it a lot more fun to fly than all other models featured in this article.
Camera and features
But don’t get your hopes up if you’re a beginner – acro mode is really difficult since it doesn’t involve any sort of stabilization. You will be responsible for the full drone movement in all 3 axis which takes a lot of time and effort to master. That’s why, if you are a beginner I highly recommend to stay in normal mode until you learn the basics.
Other than that, it’s also important to note XK X251 has adjustable flying rates, 3K carbon fiber arms and supports the mounting of an AIO FPV system. In fact, I highly recommend you make this mod – you’ll enjoy your XK X251 a lot more since it does not come with a camera.
First of all, this brushless quadcopter is powered by a 2S 950mAh 25C LiPo battery which might not be the best one out there… but still packs quite the punch. It can hold the drone in the air for quite some time though, all the way to 10-12 minutes. Operating range is good too, hovering around 300 meters in clear and open areas with no interference.
All things considered, if you are in the market for a beginner friendly FPV racing drone, XK X251 makes for a fine choice. It’s a ready to fly model that will surely amaze you with its acrobatics!
3. MJX Bugs 3
With so many brushless quadcopter manufacturers putting new products on the market daily, getting a solid machine worth your money may not be such an easy task after all. Entry level drones could be a real pain in the ass to find, as most of the low-end ones won’t provide what you’d expect them to.
MJX Bugs 3, drone with brushless motors however, should be affordable to most of you and comes with a lot of things to offer. Without wasting any more of your time lets jump into it and see what gives it the edge over the rest.
Camera and features
For just over $100, this quadcopter with brushless motors has a hand full of features, providing an experience worthy of more premium models. What makes it so cheap is the lack of a camera, but an integrated GoPro camera mount solves that problem for anyone wanting to record their flights or take captivating shots from the sky. If you own such camera, make sure to put this one at the top of your list as it will give you an amazing aerial photography experience.
Last but not least, MJX Bugs 3 also comes with 3D flips, LED lighting, low battery alarm, altitude hold, one button take off and landing, and a lot of other things to mess around with.
When it comes to flight time and quality build we don’t see anything in this price range coming even close, this is one of the best brushless drones in this price range.. Not only does MJX Bugs 3 sport around 300 meters of operating range but you will also be getting up to 15 minutes in the air. Needless to say, this little brushless quadcopter comes with brushless motors, providing stable and high-performance flight and making it eligible for this list.
Best Brushless Drones $200 to $500 :
|1. MJX Bugs 2W||1080p||18min||1000m||See best offer|
|2. DJI Spark||1080p||15min||2000m||See best offer|
|3. Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer||1080p||20min||2000m||See best offer|
1. MJX Bugs 2W
At the moment, the best value for money as far as brushless drones under $500 go, there is only one clear option and that’s Bugs 2W by MJX. This is an absolutely brilliant mid-sized quadcopter with plenty of power underneath the hood. However, even though its fast and agile, this little fella is also insanely stable thanks to the built-in dual navigation systems. Overall, I guarantee you will not find a better brushless drone for the same amount of money!
Camera and features
Features-wise, Bugs 2W is MJX’s first drone to support GPS. But, not only does it support GPS but GLONASS too, allowing for around 15 to 25 GPS satellite connection. Needless to say, that’s much more than all of its nearest competitors. Furthermore, this little bugger is nicely poised with 3 different return to home protocols and sports altitude hold and headless mode too.
As for the camera, there’s a solid built-in wide-angle CMOS sensor. It records videos in 1080p at cca 30fps. Unfortunately, there’s no stabilization (hardware or software) but that’s not really a problem since the drone is stable on its own. Obviously, this reflects back on the footage which looks buttery smooth no matter the weather.
If you thought the features and camera section is awesome, wait till you hear more about MJX Bugs 2W brushless quadcopter specifications. They are so good that I don’t even know where to start off… I guess operating range makes for a good start since it’s a nice round number – 1 kilometer. Yup, you read that correctly – this insanely affordable drone can go up to 1 kilometer!
Not only that but it can also fly around the area for up to 18 minutes which is another praiseworthy feat. Even if something goes wrong with the range or the battery, you don’t have to worry about anything. Why? Well, once again, this drone with brushless motors sports all the latest failsafe protocols meaning it will return to its takeoff location in a pinch.
2. DJI Spark
DJI Spark, DJI’s smallest brushless drone ever. Even though this was reserved for Mavic Pro (or at least that’s what the majority of us initially thought), the Spark took the throne soon enough. And quite frankly, this little bugger has cemented itself as the best selfie drone available on the market. With a beefy camera, outstanding specs and great in-flight performance, DJI Spark puts to shame virtually all other selfie drones out there. Here’s why…
Camera and features
Considering we are talking about a miniature selfie drone here, I guess it’s only logical to start off with its camera. DJI Spark has a surprisingly good one. It can record in 1080p and actually sports a functional gimbal. It’s a 2-axis, not a 3-axis one but that doesn’t make a lot of difference. You will still enjoy nothing but buttery smooth videos and that’s pretty much all that matters.
When it comes to the onboard features, this little birdie really has a lot to offer. In addition to altitude hold, GPS, and all those supporting smart features, DJI Spark also sports facial recognition. Furthermore, there are 2 brand new features called PalmControl and PalmLaunch which allow for a true hands-free experience. Try it out and you’ll be amazed, I guarantee it!
Specifications-wise, DJI Spark is absolutely dashing. Depending on the area you live in (due to different technical standards applied), you will be able to fly this beauty anywhere from 500 meters to even 2 kilometers away from you. But, that’s only if you get the DJI Spark Fly More Combo. It costs slightly more than the standard version but will get you the dedicated Spark controller that’s in charge of the extra range. Battery duration is great too, allowing up to 15 minutes of constant flying per charge. Pretty neat coming from such a small drone, right?
3. Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer
Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer is one of those mid-tier brushless quadcopters that feel and fly like a premium one. With a whole bunch of safety features and insanely stable flight, there is no doubt this little bugger will outright amaze you. However, there are still a lot of things to be told about it, especially its unique package that is precisely targeted at those with adventurous spirits. So, without much further adue let’s see what’s this puppy all about!
Camera and features
First off, let’s start with the integrated camera capable of filming videos in full HD resolution and taking 14Mpx shots. Follow Me and Dronies features are also available for capturing great moments with ease. 3-axis digital stabilization system is implemented for smooth and stable videos even during the worst of weather conditions.
As I said above, this quadcopter with brushless motors comes in a bundle, so besides the drone itself you will be getting a backpack to carry it anywhere you want, SkyController 2 for extra range, and Cockpitglasses for an immersive experience. 2 sets of propellers are also included so you won’t have to worry too much if careless flying gets you into problems.
8GB of onboard flash memory should be more than enough to keep all of your recordings and photos. Parrot Bebop 2 Adventurer is powered by a battery which can hold it in the air for impressive 20ish minutes. Not bad, especially with everything rest on the mind. If you decide to take it to the open fields, you will be able to control it from 2 kilometers away thanks to the addition of the SkyController 2.
Best Brushless Drones Above $500 :
|1. DJI Mavic Pro||4K||27min||7000m||See best offer|
|2. DJI Phantom 4 Pro||4K||27min||7000m||See best offer|
|3. Yuneec Typhoon H||4K||25min||1500m||See best offer|
1. DJI Mavic Pro
If you want something that’s compatible yet immensely powerful, look no further than DJI Mavic Pro. This is the absolute pinnacle of today’s drone tech. A superbly powerful drone in an insanely compact design. You don’t need a special case for it. Nope! DJI Mavic Pro, once folded, can easily be placed inside your backpack… if that’s not impressive enough for you… wait till you hear more about its performance!
Camera and features
DJI is definitely the go-to brand if you want the most comprehensive list of features available from your brushless quadcopter. From smart flight features to obstacle avoidance and failsafe protocols, this baby has it all. On top of all that, DJI Mavic Pro also sports a foldable design which allows it to fit virtually anywhere. It’s small on its own but when completely folded it takes portability to a whole new level.
As for the camera, you will be outright amazed by the integrated 4K ready camera. In fact, there’s also a fully functional 3-axis gimbal that will make the photo/video quality that can be compared to that of DJI Phantom 4 Pro. All in all, if you are looking for a portable quadcopter with brushless motors that doesn’t have any performance-related compromises, DJI Mavic Pro is the obvious way to go.
DJI OcuSync is among the biggest factors behind Mavic Pro’s amazing success. This transmission technology allows Mavic Pro to travel up to amazing 7 kilometers without any issue at all. Thanks to the self-healing transmission and several layers of failsafe protocols there’s absolutely nothing that can go wrong while this little bugger is in the air. And it can stay there for quite a bit of time too. We are talking about numbers of full-sized models. More precisely, around the same flight time as its big brother DJI Phantom 4 Pro which is cca 27 minutes. Absolutely brilliant, don’t you agree?
2. DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus
The third drone with brushless motors made by DJI on this list is the well known Phantom 4 Pro. This time around, we’ll be talking about the Plus version that sports an integrated display for viewing HD live stream thanks to DJI’s Lightbridge technology. It’s an incremental improvement, but a worthy one for sure. So, if you’re willing to dash out a bit more money, then DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus is the best mainstream drone currently available on the market!
Camera and features
In contrast to the standard DJI Phantom 4 version, the Pro delivers a brand new camera with a mechanical shutter. We are talking about a highly sophisticated 1-inch CMOS 20mpx sensor capable of recording breathtaking videos (in every sense of that word). Of course, it’s not doing everything on its own, there’s also the integrated 3-axis gimbal which works wonders in terms of image stabilization.
As for the features, you can expect a whole bunch of autonomous flight modes as well as comprehensive failsafe protocols. Among them are the likes of ActiveTrack, TapFly, Return To Home, and many more.
The spec sheet continues in the same brilliant fashion. As mentioned above, DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus uses DJI Lightbridge technology which grants it impressive operating and live streaming range. We are talking about the 7-kilometer mark which is absolutely ridiculous. Flight time is not to be taken for granted either. DJI P4P Plus brushless quadcopter will hold in the air for about 25 to 27 minutes which is among the best flight times on the market.
3. Yuneec Typhoon H
Last but not least, we have Yuneec Typhoon H, a truly mighty drone that doesn’t take no for an answer. This huge hexacopter is well capable of doing exactly what you want from it. No matter the task you put it up against – with such a quality machine you can rest assured it will do the job…
Camera and features
First of all, you should know that Yuneec Typhoon H makes for a great aerial photography brushless quadcopter. If that is not your niche, you will perhaps be happier with its bridge inspection, surveillance or even transport capability. Thanks to its liftoff power and superb reliability, you can have a peace of mind whenever this birdie is in the air.
As for the actual imaging solution, Typhoon H comes equipped with a 4K ready camera that’s mounted on a 3-axis gimbal. Features offer a good dose of autonomy as well as reliability. The latter is a result of their coalition with Intel and its RealSense obstacle avoidance technology. Other than that, it’s also noteworthy to add Yuneec Typhoon H’s 5 motor failsafe which will save you a lot of nerves (and money) if a motor dies out in the middle of a flight.
Specifications-wise, Yuneec Typhoon H continues with the same display of pure brilliance. In addition to everything mentioned above, Yuneec Typhoon can withstand close to half an hour in the air. More precisely, you can expect around 25 minutes of flight time per charge. Operating/livestream range is no pushover either. Thanks to the provided ST16 transmitter, Yuneec Typhoon H’s range extends all the way to 1.5 kilometers. Pretty sleek if you ask me…
Brushless quadcopter : Brief terminology explanations
Here’s a quick rundown the drone terminology which will be used in the next couple of sections. It’s all pretty straightforward so no need to worry.
Stands for Ready To Fly. If a drone sports RTF next to its name it means that it comes with everything needed to get it up and running.
Stands for Bind and Fly. This means the drone sports everything it needs to fly but you’ll have to provide your own transmitter.
- 1S, 2S…
1S, 2S, 3S, 4S and so on… These are all cell counts of LiPo batteries. Each cell has cca 3.7v meaning 2S (2-cell battery) has 7.4v, 3S has 11.1 etc.
Stands for Electronic Speed Controller. It’s a fundamental part of all brushless drones since it’s in charge of regulating and controlling their speed.
- XT30, JST…
These are just 2 of many widely available connectors for powering drone batteries. XT30, XT60, JST, JST-ph etc… the list goes on…
What is a drone brushless motor?
I’m sure you’ve all already heard about brushed and brushless motors. They are the base of all DC motors and as such, they should not be taken for granted. Their applications move from project building to handheld tools and even model RC cars and aircraft. But which of them is better?
Starting off with the brushless motor – it is a type of electric motor that’s commonly used for all sorts of projects. Needless to say, they come in all shapes and sizes, matching them for various types of needs. Today, of course, we will be focusing on brushless motors for drones. With that said, here’s a short definition for you:
BLDC (brushless DC electric motor) is a DC powered motor working with an inverter or a switching power supply. But what’s the difference between brushless and brushed motors? Let’s see…
Comparison – brushless vs brushed motors?
Brushed drone motors
Brushed motors, as their name suggests, are based on a rotating set of wound wire coils. It basically acts like a 2-pole magnet. Unfortunately, due to the fact they possess brushes which wear out with use, brushed motors are nowhere near durable as brushless ones. They are cheaper though, making them a common occurrence in lower price tiers.
Brushless drone motors
Brushless motors, on the other hand, are much more expensive to manufacture. But, they have certain advantages. For instance, they don’t have brushes (hence the name brushless) but instead sport a permanently magnetic external rotor and 3 phases of driving coil. They require ESCs to work but are able to deliver more power and last much longer.
There’s no doubt that brushless motors make up for much better solutions than their brushed counterparts. Not only do they provide better efficiency and power/weight ratio but they are also much more durable thanks to the lack of brushes. With that in mind, if you are contemplating between buying a brushed or brushless drone, I believe the answer is simple – go for the brushless one!
What does Kv stand for in drone brushless motors?
Kv is the first thing you’ll see when purchasing brushless motors right next to their respective size. However, you will be surprised at the huge number of people that don’t actually know what does it stand for. I mean, they do know their way about the numbers behind Kv, but the actual concept of what it means is unknown to them. Well, don’t be one of those people… Here’s all you need to know about this marking:
So, for an example, a 6,000Kv brushless motor connected to a 3S (11.1V) LiPo battery will have a nominal speed of cca 66,600 rpm (66,600rpm/11.1=6,000). I said cca because this is only a theoretical speed since there are certain mechanical losses during the process.
Don’t forget ESCs
ESCs are a vital part of every brushless drone. They are in charge of controlling and providing the motors with enough power to carry on with its tasks. They come in all shapes and sizes with various characteristics. For instance, there are 4in1 ESC boards and then there are single ones. Other terminology you might encounter is the like of Input voltage, BEC, run current, burst current, mounting holes (if we’re talking about 4in1 ESCs), opto, and more. If you’re looking for the most basic explanation that will help you choose the right one for your build, you will have to know what sort of a machine you’re building. If you happen to get an ESC that is too weak for your build, you’ll be risking of possibly frying it… and you don’t want that to happen while making your first quad as its really disheartening.
Depending on your battery choice (2S, 3S, 4S) and the type of motor/propeller combination you’ll be running, you will have to match your ESCs accordingly. Let’s say you’re building that micro 120mm quad we’ve already described above. For that same build, you can rest assured 20A or even 15A 4in1 ESC will be just enough. For more aggressive builds you’ll have to go over 30A. BEC (battery elimination circuit) is also something to keep in mind since it can save you a lot of hassle. All in all, before ordering an ESC you must make sure it will fit into your build. If you’re building your very first quad it’s not bad to ask around the forums. People in this hobby are generally friendly and very helpful to each other so don’t be ashamed to ask around if you’re having troubles.
Brushless drones, in all their glory, indeed are the right way to go for all types of drone users. Brushed drones, although still on the market, are losing the race. Not only are they inferior in terms of performance and durability, but the price gap and manufacturing costs are becoming smaller and smaller in favor of their brushless counterparts.
This leads to the conclusion you should not even be bothered purchasing a brushed model. I guess they’re OK if you’re thinking of buying a “weekend” drone under $20… but for anything above that price, I warmly recommend going with brushless drones. As you had the chance to see above, there are RTF brushless drones for slightly over $130 which is freaking amazing. Just 2 years ago, for that kind of money, you could barely buy a solid brushed model… Talk about competitiveness and price drops…