Fastest drones you can buy [Table of speeds]

I know that when I was first flying my drone I wanted to fly as fast as possible. As a beginner it is pretty dangerous to be flying outside of your capability but it is the attraction of flying fast through the air that many people buy a drone. There are plenty of incredibly fast drones on the market and they are typically racing drones.

The fastest drones you can buy are typically racing drones. Racing drones are built for speed and not safety or ease of flight. They are light, powerful, and robust. You can pick up a racing drone for as little as US$200 and can customise it with new batteries and motors to make it faster.

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about the fastest drones that you can buy from racing drones through to DJI drones there will be one that suits your needs and desires perfectly.

First of all, what do we mean by a fast drone?

What do you mean by fast?

There are many ways that you can characterise a drone as fast. The most important ones are climb rate and ground speed. These are typically factors that are shown on the specification sheets of consumer level drones and allows you to do a direct comparison between different models.

Many drones have different settings such as sports mode or beginner mode which can limit or extend the maximum speeds at which the drone can climb and move.

Climb rate

The climb rate of a drone is how fast it can send into the sky. In consumer level drones this is typically limited to approximately 4 or 5 m/s. This is because ascending and ascending is where a lot of accidents happen. Not many consumer level drones below US$1500 have sensors which allow them to see 360° around them. Therefore, climbing can be a particularly dangerous part of the flight as the propellers are the leading component of the movement.

Racing drones, however, are able to be programmed to climb a much faster than consumer level photography drones and DJI have just released a first person view racing drone which can achieve unlimited vertical climb rates.

Ground speed

The next important speed that we need to consider is how fast drones move across the ground. The forward momentum of a drone is limited by the propellers, motors, battery power, and weight.

Racing drones have been specifically designed to be light and powerful with a huge power to weight ratio. This means that their cameras are often much smaller and less capable and very often do not have a gimbal since that simply increases the amount of weight the drone carries.

On the other hand, DJI camera drones carry camera, gimbals, a lot of sensors, and many other components to make the flight easier and safer for a hobbyist consumer of drones.

Racing drones can achieve grand speeds of approximately 30 – 40 m/s (70 mph) whilst camera drones have an upper limit of approximately 30 m/s. Most of them actually fall between 15 and 20 m/s.

Fastest drones on the market

The fastest drones in the market are typically racing drones. These can reach speeds of up to 40 m/s and are customisable. The thing that makes a first person view racing drone so appealing to hobbyists is that they can tinker away to their hearts content.

There are a number of different components which can be modified to increase the power to weight ratio of the drone these include:

  • the drone frame – this holds everything together
  • Power distribution board – this takes the battery voltage and provides a pathway to all of the other electronic components
  • flight controller – the brains of the drone
  • video transmitter – transmits the signal from your camera if you have one
  • video antennas – best way to improve your video arranging clarity
  • brushless motors – the motors are what provides the thrust and you must take into account the motor size, thrust, and different propellers you can use with it as well as the amount of currently draws from the battery
  • electronic speed controller – this is what produces the three-phase currently drive your motors
  • propellers – these are what keep your drone in the air by spending at very high revolutions
  • lithium polymer battery – this is the heaviest component but provides all of the power to keep the drone in flight
  • RC receiver – use this to control the drone
  • and much more…

Because racing drones are built for speed there time in the air is very limited. This means that you can only expect to get a maximum flight time of approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Racing drones

Some of the best racing drones that you can currently buy for a reasonable price and a very fast speed include the ones below in this table.

ARRIS C250 FPVLink
EACHINE Wizard X220 FPVLink
ImmersionRC Vortex 230 MojoLink
Walkera F210 3D EditionLink

Each of these drones provide a basic fundamental kit which provides everything you need to start flying as fast as you can around a course.

There are plenty of modifications and changes you can make to each one of these drones. If you are looking for a camera drone which can also move fast you need to then upgrade to a consumer photography drone and the faster ones are going to cost you a lot more money than

 

Which DJI drone is the fastest?

The drone series, until only recently, contained camera drones and nothing else. As soon as you stick a camera on a drone the main use case and user of the drone is focused on photography. This means that speed is not a factor and it is much rather about stability and quality of the camera which is able to be carried by the drone.

In 2020 DJI released its first racing drone the DJI FPV and it is DJI’s fastest drone by far. It is designed as a racing drone but carries some impressive camera hardware and can be controlled by a DJI motion controller.

Here are all of the vertical and grand speeds that are able to be achieved by each of the most popular and most recent DJI drone releases.

Mavic Mini 25 m/s16 m/s
Mavic Air4 m/s19 m/s
Mavic Air 24 m/s19 m/s
Mavic Air 2S6 m/s19 m/s
FPV10 m/s (no limit in M mode) 39 m/s
Phantom 4 V2.06 m/s20 m/s
Inspire 25 m/s26 m/s

You can see that the DJI FPV drone is much faster than any of the other types of drone. Interestingly, it still carries with it a very high definition camera – 4K at 60 frames per second. So you can capture some amazing footage of your flight. The high frame rate is very important as you are travelling faster as it provides a nice smooth viewing experience for the audience of the video.

It has a fully immersive flight experience where the pilot wears the DJI goggles and it has high definition low latency transmission unlike other racing drones which often rely on analog signals to communicate with the video camera. It has a super wide angle hundred and 50° lens and a maximum frame rate of 120 frames per second in high definition.

This drone offers an “N” mode which has traditional flight drone controls and DJI safety features like obstacle sensing.

On the other end of the spectrum, it has “m” mode which removes all of the limitations of the drone and you can customise all of the parameters with an acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in only two seconds – that is insanely fast.

The next fastest drone in the DJI drone ecosystem is the Inspire 2. This can travel at 26 m/s horizontally and has a climb rate of only 5 m/s. Once again this is because the drone has been designed for ultimate stability and carrying cameras for Hollywood and serious productions.

What is the maximum speed of a drone?

The maximum speed of a drone is ultimately limited by its wind resistance and the amount of power that it can generate.

In the Guinness world records the maximum climb speed is hundred and 89 km/h or hundred and 17 mph. This was achieved by a custom drone which was designed specifically to break this world record.

You can view this world record breaking attempt and the drone that they used in this YouTube video, below.

As well as the wind resistance and power output the weight of the drone and the efficiency of the motors and internal electronic components also dictate the top speed of a drone.

Here are some of the ways that you can make your drone fly faster.

How to make your drone fly faster

For a full rundown on how you can make your drone fly faster you should check out my other article where I go through all of this in a lot more detail and provide you with the tools and tips for getting the most out of your drone.

How can I make my drone fly faster?

You can make your drone fly faster by:

  • flying with a tail wind – if your drone is working with a headwind a lot of the energy of the motors is used to counteract the wind blowing in the opposite direction. If you want to improve the speed of your drone you can simply fly with a tail wind to give you that extra boost.
  • Sports mode – there are plenty of drones which offer different modes of flying. From beginner all the way to unrestricted. If you want to fly faster move off beginner mode and use a sport mode. This will remove all of the top speed limitations and make the drone much more agile and increase its acceleration.
  • Reduce the weight of your drone – if you’re building your own racing drone there are loads of components you can swap out the lighter versions or removed completely. If you have a commercial drone, however, you may not be a swap out the internal components but you may be able to swap out external features such as the cameras.
  • Turn off lights – some drones have external lights which allow the pilot to view the orientation of the drone. However, turning these off will simply allow the battery life to be extended and will provide an extra boost to your battery.
  • Use a healthy battery – using a healthy battery is one of the best things you can do for flying faster. The amount of energy that your battery can discharge per second will dictate how much energy is able to get to the motors through the power distribution board.
  • Upgrade your drone – some drones just aren’t built for going fast. If you want to go faster and you are concerned about battery life you can buy a racing drone whereas if you have a camera drone the only real way to make it fly faster is to upgrade.

 

Summary

In this article, we have gone over the fastest drones that you can buy and exactly what you can expect from drones like racing drones and DJI camera drones.

If your drone is flying faster it means that the amount of energy being consumed is increased and the acceleration causes the battery to deplete much faster than if you are flying conservatively.

Really fast racing drones typically only have a battery life of between 10 and 15 minutes because they are depleting their battery at a huge rate.

The fastest drones on the market at the moment are the DJI FPV drone and racing drones that you can build yourself and upgrade the internal components to make them faster.

Frequently asked speed questions

There are many different speeds of drones and not all drones are made the same. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers from the most up-to-date sources of information and state of the art drones.

How fast can the average drone fly?

By average drone I’m going to assume that you mean consumer level drones. As we have seen above, the average top speed of a drone from the DJI consumer level is between 18 to 20 m/s which is approximately 65 to 72 km/h.

This means that a drone is able to keep up with a car as it dries through a city and can easily outrun a person at top speed. You can also use a drone to track someone as they are riding the bicycle through a park with no problems.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. Andy started droneflyingpro.com to share his love and the research of all things drone! He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drone. His favorite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!