Quadcopter drone

In this article I’m planning to make you understand what is a quadcopter drone and what are its main parts. At the end of this post you will also find a list of the best quadcopter drones that I personally reviewed.

What is a Quadcopter Drone?

In my opinion the term of “Quadcopter drone” was born by a misunderstanding of those two words.All about quadcopter drones

In nutshell, a quadcopter is a drone with 4 motors. Drones (flying robots) are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). An aircraft may be remotely controlled by a pilot from the ground or, thanks to its GPS positioning system, it can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans (mission planners/waypoint flight).

Biggest disadvantage of quad-copters over hexa-copters is the lack of any redundancy on motor failure. If one rotor is gone the aircraft will crash. Nevertheless, quadcopters are the most popular and widespread drones.

The four motor design allows excellent stability and great maneuverability. Fewer motors means less electronic parts and wires, less weight, less power consumption and last but not least lower price.

Currently there are several type of quadcopter drones with different features, but from the small toy grade ones to the most expensive professional ones, they all have approximatively the same main parts.

Main parts of a quadcopter drone

Airframe

Although the frame holds together all the parts, it is probably the cheapest component of a multi-rotor.quadcopter drone airframe

According to the final design of the aircraft, frames can be categorized in: “X”, “+” and “H” shape ones.

While cheap quadcopter drones are built on plastic frames, racing quadcopters, where crashes are inevitable, are built on more resistant carbon fiber frames.

Propulsion system

The propulsion system of a quadcopter drone is formed by motors and propellers.

Every quadcopter drone has two CW motors and two CCW motors, respectively two CW propellers and CCW propellers (CW – clockwise and CCW – counterclockwise).

Drone motors can be two types: brushed (coreless) and brushless. While brushed motors are cheaper, smaller and lighter, brushless motors are more powerful, reliable and expensive.Quadcopter drone - Propulsion system. Motors. Propellers

Brushless motors require dedicated driver boards called ESC (Electronic Speed Controller).

Speed of the drone motors is rated in KV. For example a 1000 Kv motor powered by 12v will have 12.000 RPM (rotations per minute).

While most widespread propellers are 2-blade, there are drone props with even 6 blades. 2-blade propellers are considered the most fast ones.

Flight controller and Sensors

The flight controller (FC) is the brain of the quadcopter drone. Based on the signal received from the remote controller and sensors (like: accelerometer and gyro) the rotation speed of each motor is individually set by the FC.

Flight controllers can be configured with different flight modes, from fully autonomous flights to free style flights.Quadcopter drone - FC

Modern quadcopter drones are equipped with ultrasonic sensors which allow precise obstacle avoidance.

Radio system (Transmitter and Receiver)

The receiver board can be an independent module or integrated into the flight controller. Besides the proprietary (closed) radio protocols, there are other common radio protocols like DSM2/DSMX and AFHDS.

Both, remote controller and receivers, can have from 4 to up to 24 channels (or even more). Each channel is assigned to a function: CH1 – Aileron, CH2 – Elevator, CH3 – Throttle, CH4 – Rudder, CH5 – Flight mode and so on.Quadcopter drone - Radio protocols

There are high-end drone quadcopters that don’t require anymore a physical remote control. You can give them voice commands or they can follow the signal of a smart GPS watch.

Power source

I hope I’m not wrong but I think that nowadays 99% of the quadcopter drones are powered by Li-Po batteries.

Roughly, drone batteries are categorized by capacity and number of cells (1s is equal with 3.7v). For example, while the Tiny Whoop is powered by a small 1cell (1s) 200mAh battery, the DJI Inspire is powered by a huge 6s 4280 mAh intelligent flight battery.Quadcopter drone - Li-Po battery

The “C” rating (continuous discharge rate) of the Li-Po is very important especially for racing quadcopter drones. For example, for a 1000 mAh battery with a 45C rating, the continuous current that may be drawn out of the battery is 1000 mAh x 45 = 45000 mA (45 Ampere).

FPV and Video system

These are optional parts. Manufactures started to equip quadcopter drones with cameras in order to make their products even more attractive. Today you can find drone quadcopters for less than $1000 equipped with 4K camera and 3-axis brushless gimbals.Quadcopter drone - FPV. Cameras

FPV quadcopter drones are equipped with camera and real-time image transmission system. Currently, there are two major types of FPV systems: Wi-Fi and 5.8G.

Best quadcopter drone reviews

Over the last 3 years here on FirstQuadcopter I reviewed many quadcopter drones and I thought it would be useful a page where you can find all of them.

Most of my reviews include test videos that hopefully will help you find the best multi-rotor for you.

TitleContentDateAuthorCategories
FrSky Taranis Q X7 transmitter reviewLast week I reviewed two FrSky receivers and now it’s time to review the Taranis …2017/05/16Quadcopter reviews, Remote controller / Transmiiter
FrSky receivers with PPM, CPPM and SBUS: XSR and D8Today I will review two FrSky receivers, the mini D8 and the XSR ACCST. While …2017/05/08DIY Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews, Radio receivers
Eachine QX110 VTail quadcopter reviewAbout a month ago I introduced this Eachine V-tail QX110 drone in the news section and now …2017/04/15Eachine, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
KingKong Tiny7 review: Tiny Whoop for lessTill I get the genuine one, I thought to review the KingKong Tiny 7. As you …2017/04/12FPV Quadcopters, KingKong, Quadcopter reviews
Cheerson CX-17 Cricket quadcopter reviewTesting and evaluating the Cheerson CX-17 mini Wi-Fi FPV drone Went for a walk, recently, in the nearest …2017/04/10Cheerson, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine E33W review: Basic drone for newbiesEachine E33W quadcopter drone for first time pilots Last month Eachine announced two new entry-level drones, this E33W …2017/03/31Eachine, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine E55 review: Ultra compact sElfie droneTiny cameras that can fly still seemed like a sci-fi dream just few years ago but, …2017/03/28Eachine, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine DVR03 review: Camera, VTX, Antenna and DVREachine DVR03 FPV camera with integrated DVR (video recorder) At first impression, adding video recording …2017/03/09FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
DM002 drone review: Dirty cheap and easy to buildDM002 – Cheap DIY quadcopter with FPV camera Recently, I received the DM002 quadcopter for tests, a …2017/02/13DIY Quadcopters, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
FPV Airport Backpack for racing fanaticsFPV Airport Helipak backpack by Think Thank Photo In my opinion, the most important goal of the …2017/02/10Backpacks and cases, Quadcopter reviews
Tablet and FPV screen chest harness reviewTablet harness for drone professionals by ReadyAction At the time I started my journey in the …2017/02/06Quadcopter reviews
Eachine QX70 review: Nice concept but underpoweredEachine Turbine QX70 in-depth review As I said in one of my recent review, during cold …2017/01/31Eachine, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine FB90 review: Testing the “Fatbee”Eachine Fatbee FB90 review with pros and cons Lately, due to unfavorable weather for outdoor …2017/01/26Eachine, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
HobbyMate Q100 review: Build and TestHobbyMate Q100 micro FPV quadcopter for indoor fun During winter days, when outside are -15ºC, somehow you can’t …2017/01/20DIY Quadcopters, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
XBM-55 review: Nice design and lots of featuresT-Smart XBM-55 drone with altitude hold and smartphone APP control Yesterday, my wife came home …2017/01/17Quadcopter reviews
Syma X8SW review: Best budget drone in 2016?Syma X8SW drone with altitude hold and WiFi FPV Through X8SW it seems that Syma ends …2017/01/06Quadcopter reviews, Syma Toys
Walkera Rodeo 150 review with pros and consWalkera Rodeo 150 review – Aka hands-on the little beast I always try to be …2016/12/18FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews, Walkera
JJRC H37 Elfie quadcopter reviewJJRC H37 – the cheapest smartphone controlled foldable “selfie drone” Usually selfie drones like this …2016/12/11JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
Xiaomi Yi 2 camera in-depth reviewXiaomi Yi 2 4K- Best camera for aerial filming? Yesterday, out of curiosity I searched with Google …2016/12/09FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
SYMA X5UW quadcopter reviewSYMA X5UW drone – Is it the perfect Christmas gift? In my opinion, the Syma …2016/11/20Quadcopter reviews, Syma Toys
Yuneec Typhoon quadcopter backpack reviewCheap Realacc backpack for Yuneec Typhoon 4k quadcopters Large quadcopters are beautiful on the high-sky but become complicated …2016/11/15Backpacks and cases, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine Tiny QX95 micro FPV drone reviewEachine QX 95 – My first micro brushed FPV racing quadcopter After many brushless racing quadcopters, I thought …2016/11/04Eachine, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
Kaideng K80 Pantonma quadcopter reviewKai Deng K80 quadcopter – The first cheap drone which claims to have obstacle avoidance …2016/10/28KaiDeng, Quadcopter reviews
Litchi APP for DJI Phantom and Inspire dronesUnleash the devil of your DJI quadcopter with Litchi APP I have heard for the first time about the Litchi …2016/10/20Quadcopter reviews
Eachine TX01 and TX02 micro FPV camera reviewReview of the super mini Eachine TX01 and TX02 FPV cameras Few weeks ago when …2016/10/15FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
FPV backpack for racing drones by Think ThankFPV Session Backpack for racing quadcopter enthusiasts If you are a FPV fanatic you already …2016/10/01Backpacks and cases, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine MC02 FPV camera with adjustable powerEachine MC02 AIO first person view camera for small quadcopters One of the biggest challenge if …2016/09/25FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine E010 Mini quadcopter reviewEachine E010 cheap mini drone with ducted fans At the time when Eachine E010 Mini was announced …2016/09/14Eachine, Quadcopter reviews
JJRC H23 drone car in-depth reviewJJRC H23 quadcopter car for double fun Recently, JJRC announced their H23 drone car. It is basically …2016/09/07JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
Floureon Racer 250 test and in-depth reviewFloureon Racer 250 RTF FPV racing quadcopter Last Monday, returning from a short holiday where …2016/08/29FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine MC01 FPV camera reviewEachine MC01 all-in-one first person view camera for quadcotpers and drones Frankly, I was a …2016/08/22FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
XK X252 Shuttle quadcopter reviewXK X252 entry level racing quadcopter with FPV screen I read somewhere that XK Innovations is “deluxe” …2016/08/12FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews, XK Innovations
Hubsan H111D quadcopter reviewHubsan H111D world’s first mini FPV quadcopter Since I started the FirstQuadcopter.com blog I wrote about many Hubsan …2016/08/01Hubsan, Quadcopter reviews
Walkera Goggle 4 reviewWalkera Goggle 4 in-depth review with pros and cons Just published my first FPV goggles …2016/07/29FPV goggles, Quadcopter reviews
Cheerson CX-10WD mini quad in-depth reviewCheerson CX-10WD – the smallest quadcopter with altitude hold and WiFi FPV This new Pokémon …2016/07/20Cheerson, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
KDS Kylin FPV Goggles for the massCheap FPV goggles with built-in 5.8G receiver from KDS Model Currently there is a large …2016/07/19FPV goggles, Quadcopter reviews
JJRC H31 wannabe waterproof quadJJRC H31 cheap quadcopter with headless mode and RTH Waterproof  quadcopter means that the aircraft can …2016/07/04JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
DJI Phantom 3 case by RealaccHard case for the DJI Phantom 3 series Definitely, after you pay about $ 1000 for …2016/06/30Backpacks and cases, Quadcopter reviews
GTeng T909 FPV gear reviewGTeng T909 5.8G first person view watch Currently there are several type of FPV displays on …2016/06/24Quadcopter reviews
RunCam Owl Plus camera reviewRunCam Owl Plus review – Your eyes during night flights Probably everyone knows that owl’s …2016/06/15FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine E30W quadcopter reviewEachine E30W – The mini Phantom 3 Pro Eachine is a very popular quadcopter and …2016/06/10Eachine, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
SKRC Q16 quadcopter reviewSKRC Q16 – Dirty cheap WiFi quadcopter After many “high-end” quadcopter reviews, it was time …2016/06/05FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
REDCON Phoenix 210 reviewREDCON Phoenix 210 – Cheap racing drone As this summer I’m planing to organize some …2016/05/30DIY Quadcopters, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
FlyPro XEagle reviewFlyPro XEagle Sport – My first selfie drone First time I read the news about …2016/05/25FlyPro, Quadcopter reviews
Yuneec Q500 4k vs DJI Phantom 3Yuneec vs DJI – The battle of the big ones Frankly, I would have preferred to …2016/05/17Quadcopter reviews, Yuneec
Walkera F210 quadcopter reviewWalkera F210 – Mini racing quadcopter I know that I’m a bit delayed with the review …2016/05/13FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews, Walkera
Eachine E10C Mini quadcopter reviewEachine E10C Mini – world’s smallest quad with HD camera Visually, there are not too …2016/04/30Eachine, Quadcopter reviews
Cheerson CX-35 quadcopter reviewCheerson CX-35 Phantom all-in-one FPV quad Few weeks ago when I introduced this Cheerson CX-35 on my …2016/04/24Cheerson, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced reviewMy first DJI Phantom quadcopter After almost two years of flying with more or less …2016/04/14DJI Innovations, Quadcopter reviews
JJRC H20C hexacopter reviewJJRC H20C mini hexa-copter with 720P camera Somehow I missed to review the JJRC H20C …2016/04/06Hexacopters, JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
RunCam Swift camera reviewRunCam Swift camera for racing quadcopters If I count correctly, this RunCam Swift camera will …2016/04/01FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
XinLin X181 FPV quadcopter reviewXinLin X181 quadcopter with 5.8G FPV My biggest curiosity at the time I knew that I …2016/03/28FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
Yuneec Q500 4k reviewYuneec Typhoon Q500 quadcopter with 4K camera reviewed Yes, I know!  How can it be interesting …2016/03/17Quadcopter reviews, Yuneec
Cheerson CX-10W reviewCheerson CX-10W world’s smallest first person view quadcopter Yesterday, when I received the Cheeson CX-10W …2016/03/11Cheerson, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
LiDi RC L6F hexacopter reviewLiDi RC L6F hexacopter with complete 5.8GHz system Since I started my journey in the …2016/02/16Hexacopters, Quadcopter reviews
Fayee FY805 micro haxacopter reviewFayee FY805 World’s smallest haxa-copter Hexacopters like this Fayee FY805 offers greater stability compared to the 4 …2016/02/13Hexacopters, Quadcopter reviews
F450 my first DIY QuadcopterF450 quadcopter with ArduCopter flight controller My son is always willing to help me in building …2016/02/11DIY Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews, Quadcopter Tips
HAKRC Storm32 cheap 3D gimbal reviewAffordable Storm32 3-axis gimbal from HAKRC You can have the best quadcopter camera of the moment but, without being …2016/01/31Gimbals, Quadcopter reviews
JJRC X1 quadcopter reviewJJRC X1 affordable quadcopter with brushless motors I started my journey in the world of  …2016/01/24JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
Feiyu Tech MiNi3D Pro reviewMiNi3D Pro 3 axis brushless gimbal for GoPro I have heard for the first time …2015/12/23Gimbals, Quadcopter reviews
Foxeer Legend 1 camera reviewFoxeer Legend 1 lightweight quadcopter camera It seems I have reached the end of my small …2015/12/21FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine H8C Mini quadcopter reviewEachine H8C Mini – Cheapest quadcopter with camera Newbies are always looking for affordable models …2015/12/15Eachine, Quadcopter reviews
RunCam 2 quadcopter camera review RunCam 2 lightweight FPV camera for RC fanatics If I count correctly, this RunCam 2 will …2015/12/10FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
Runner 250 Advance racing quadcopter reviewRunner 250 Advance – My first Racing Quadcopter Few weeks ago I’ve already introduced this Runner …2015/11/24FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
Z1-Evolution 3-Axis Gimbal reviewZhiYun Z1-Evolution handheld 3D gimbal I know this Zhiyun Z1-Evolution is not a 100% quadcopter …2015/11/19Gimbals, Quadcopter reviews
SY X25 car quadcopter reviewSY X25-1 Space Explorer aka Syma X9 The SY X25 flying car represents the new …2015/11/16Quadcopter reviews
RunCam PZ0420M camera reviewPZ0420M aka SkyPlus lightweight FPV camera Most of the TVL security cams can be also used as first person view cameras …2015/11/10FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
GW008 Mini Skull reviewGW008 Mini Skull quadcopter – Scare in the air This type of gadgets like the GW008 …2015/11/09Quadcopter reviews
Eachine LCD5802S FPV screen reviewEachine LCD5802S 5.8GHz 7″ LCD with diversity Yesterday I had my first FPV flight using this …2015/11/03FPV monitors, Quadcopter reviews
DHD D1 pocket quadcopter reviewDHD D1 world’s tiniest pocket quadcopter Pocket quadcopters like this DHD D1 are appreciated because they are affordable and extremely …2015/10/28Quadcopter reviews
RunCam HD reviewRunCam HD quadcopter camera – Born for RC fanatics Having many quadcopters it’s very hard to …2015/10/27FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
Cheerson CX-10C reviewCheerson CX-10C – the smallest quadcopter with camera Ten years ago it seamed unimaginable to play with such a small …2015/10/19Cheerson, Quadcopter reviews
Hawkeye FireFly 5s reviewHawkeye FireFly 5s quadcopter camera There are many action cameras like this FireFly 5s  on the a …2015/10/14Quadcopter reviews
FPV 2 axis brushless gimbal reviewThe cheapest 2D brushless gimbal First of all, cheap does not necessary mean poor quality… OK, not …2015/10/07Gimbals, Quadcopter reviews
XK DETECT X380 reviewXK X380 GPS Quadcopter I received some useful critics on the RC Groups forum regarding my previous …2015/09/27Quadcopter reviews, XK Innovations
Syma X5sC-1 quadcopter reviewS5sC’s Syma X5sC-1 stylish quadcopter for beginners All the kids are now back to school …2015/09/16Quadcopter reviews, Syma Toys
HiSKY HMX280 racing quadcopterHiSKY HMX280 mini review Looking at the pictures with the HISKY HMX280 racing Quad we …2015/08/21Quadcopter reviews
Syma X8W reviewSyma X8W Quadcopter review I tested lately a lot of small and beginner quadcopters and finally I received a bigger …2015/07/28Quadcopter reviews, Syma Toys
Blackview Hero 1 reviewBlackview Hero 1 2K quadcopter camera These kind of action cameras like the Blackview Hero …2015/07/11Quadcopter reviews
Eachine H8 Mini quadcopter reviewEachine H8 Mini – Best quadcopter for every beginner As I remember, I paid $60 …2015/07/07Eachine, Quadcopter reviews
Tarantula X6 quadcopter reviewYiZhan Tarantula X6 – big toy for big boys I got this new quadcopter last …2015/06/18Quadcopter reviews
FQ777-124 Pocket quadcopterFQ777-124 the ultimate micro quadcopter Micro quadcopters like this FQ777-124 are appreciated because they are affordable and very …2015/06/09Quadcopter reviews
EKOO S090 mini quadcopter cameraEKOO S090 Mobius type small quadcopter camera I have more than five mid sized quadcopters …2015/06/08FPV cameras, Quadcopter reviews
Syma X13 Miracle review Syma X13 Miracle mini quadcopter I started my journey in the word of quadcopters with …2015/06/03Quadcopter reviews, Syma Toys
Airport Helipak quadcopter backpackAirport Helipak – DJI Phantom 3 Backpack Can one backpack be fit for all your …2015/05/03Backpacks and cases, Quadcopter reviews
Eachine 3D X4 quadcopter reviewEachine 3D X4 – acrobatic quadcopter Honestly, when the Eachine 3D X4 was announced, I was not interested …2015/04/30Eachine, Quadcopter reviews
Keecoo quadcopter camera reviewKeecoo – Cheap Wi-Fi FPV quadcopter camera There are several small cameras on the market so why Keecoo …2015/04/14Quadcopter reviews
My first small quadcopterMy first small quadcopter – Cheerson CX-10 or Syma X12 Last summer I purchased my …2015/02/01Quadcopter reviews
Mariner waterproof quadcopterMariner – the fully waterproof quadcopter If you want to take aerial videos over rivers, lakes …2015/01/22Quadcopter reviews
JJRC H8C quadcopterJJRC H8C  – Best quadcopter under $60 This new quadcopter comes under different names: JJRC H8C, JJRC …2014/12/02JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
DFD F183 reviewDFD F183 quadcopter After I switched ON the DFD F183,  my first impression was that it has enough power and …2014/11/14Quadcopter reviews
Skyartec FREE X SkyviewSkyartec FREE X Skyview GPS quadcopter with gimbal I accidentally came across with this FREE X …2014/10/28Quadcopter reviews
Flying 3D X6Flying 3D X6 cheapest GPS quadcopter If you want to move from toy graded quadcopters to …2014/10/21Quadcopter reviews
Walkera Scout X4Walkera Scout X4 with the DEVO F12E, real-time telemetry and mission planning is the ultimate quadcopter! …2014/09/25Quadcopter reviews, Walkera
Galaxy Visitor 6Galaxy Visitor 6 first person view quadcopter from Nine Eagles The Nine Eagles manufacturer recently announced a new …2014/09/23Quadcopter reviews
JJRC H5C another X5C cloneJJRC H5C – new quadcopter or just rebranding? Looking on the design and the specs nothing …2014/09/18JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
JJRC JJ-5000A and JJ-5000B Super VoyagerThe  JJRC Super Voyager is another small palm sized quadcopter from the Jian Jian Toys Chinese manufacturer. …2014/09/14JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
Cheerson CX-30W WIFI FPV quadcopter for iPhonesCheerson CX-30W WIFI FPV Quadcopter Few month ago, the Chinese Cheerson manufacturer launched a very attractive …2014/08/22Cheerson, FPV Quadcopters, Quadcopter reviews
IDEAFLY Apollo FPV GPS quadcopter reviewThe Apollo from IDEA-FLY is a ready to fly quadcopter perfectly designed for aerial video hobbyists. This aircraft …2014/08/06IdeaFly, Quadcopter reviews
Cheerson CX-30 small quadcopter with cameraThe Chinese Cheerson quadcopter manufacturer launches a real offensive in the world of small multi-rotors, …2014/07/13Cheerson, Quadcopter reviews
Galaxy Visitor 3 from Nine EaglesThe Galaxy Visitor 3 ‘s simple control system and good inherent stability make it an …2014/07/09Quadcopter reviews
UDI U839 NanoOn the first look the UDI U839 Nano quadcopter seams to be an Hubsan H111 …2014/07/02Quadcopter reviews
JJRC 1000A micro quadcopterJJRC 1000A micro quadcopter The JJRC 1000A quadcopter is one of the smallest and the …2014/06/28JJRC, Quadcopter reviews
Syma X5C ExplorersSyma X5C Explorers worst to buy it? The X5C Quadcopter with 2MP HD Camera is …2014/06/22Quadcopter reviews, Syma Toys

Thank you for reading my article about drone quadcopters. If you have any suggestion or question just droop me an email.