If you're reading this article you probably have at least a vague idea about the difference between brushed and brushless motors.
Even so, I'm going to explain a bit about the advantages of one over the other.
You might have heard that brushless motors are better than brushed, and that's perfectly true.Lately, these motors are the staple of the RC (radio-controlled) world in pretty much anything from boat to aircraft. Even more so drones, which require a constant use of the motors while in the air.
The most basic difference between the two is that one uses brushes while spinning while the other does not.This reduces the amount of friction within the motor and it makes it more efficient.
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of brushless motors:
- they are more powerful
- the durability is considerably increased
- they don't heat as fast
- don't require maintenance
- last way longer in time
- don't heat as fast
- are usually bigger
- the brushless motors are more expensive than the brushed versions.
Considering the last negative point made, when it comes to multirotor drones the same principle applies: They are more expensive overall than their brushed counterparts.
What are the best CHEAP drones that have high quality brushless motors?
While many people think of products like the Phantom 3 series and other drones like Yuneec q500, there are way cheaper alternatives to these but don't expect the same level of performance.
I won't make many compromises when it comes to quality, so the drones I'm reviewing here are still top notch, compared to some beginner ones for example.
The cheapest brushless quadcopter: jjrc x1
You can find toy grade brushed motors for the same price, yet this thing is making it on the top of my list as a very speedy and forceful brushless quadcopter.
With its 2280Kv motors and plentiful battery charge (1300 mAh), it can stay in the air for 10 to 15 min and cut the wind like none other.
As with the other drones on this list, I do not recommend it for beginners, as brushless motors can be to powerful to handle.
What I like about it
- very powerful and speedy
- has enough power to carry an action camera (even a GoPro)
- very good flight time
- excellent range despite the cheap controller
- has a slot to connect an fpv camera
- nice sporty design
What I don't like
- poor led lights
- it can tip over because of the not so wide landing gear
how to solve this problem: put the prop guards on, so even if it tips over it won't do any damage.
The transmitter on this device is pretty much toy grade but with a pretty big range of flight.
I've noticed that the starting button sequence is quite complicated as you have to move the throttle button down first, then right to left a few times and only then up. Even so, it shouldn't be a problem after you get used to it.
I'm not a big fan of the landing gear on this thing, as it's pretty small and the bird always tips over when landing. This shouldn't be a problem most of the time if you have the prop guards on(included in the package).
The JJRC x1 doesn't come with an included camera, but it's powerful enough to lift even a GoPro, although I would recommend smaller ones.
Stick your favorite action cams on it, like the runcam or a mobius and it won't even feel it.
You can even attach an FPV system on it.
It has a slot for the FPV camera to connect to and there's even an FPV set you can buy that's custom for this quad.
Here's a beautiful video footage of the X1 from a runcam
Cheerson cx 20 - cheapest brushless GPS drone on the market
This is probably the closest very cheap alternative for the Phantom 3 series.
A great video platform with included GPS and a great hobby grade transmitter.
It's very resilient and pretty tough as it can sustain some beating, although you probably won't have to find that out if you don't do stupid stuff like testing the max range(like I did).
How well does the GPS function work?
It works pretty well, even though it's not so stable in stronger wind. Overall, pretty far from the stability of the Phantom 3, but a nice addition anyway.
This will enable you to use the return to home function, as it isn't called "auto pathfinder" for no reason.
What I like about it
- the price is amazing for all it can do
- great hobby grade controller
- auto return to home function
- it's resilient
- can carry a big action camera and gimbal
- has a good battery life
What I don't like
- the GPS doesn't work perfectly (it is to be expected at this price)
- one of the legs can get in the footage if you're using an action cam (nothing that can't be edited in post production)
Does the Cheerson cx10 come with an included camera?
No it doesn't, but some bundles come with a slot for your action camera. I would however invest some additional money in an attachable gimbal and a good camera ( it can easily hold GoPros).
There's no point in having this quad besides using it as a camera platform, because it isn't as nimble to use for racing or speedy stuff in general.
Here's some really cool footage with a gopro Hero 3 attached
Blade 200 qx - a very sporty and great quality brushless drone
If you're looking for more in-depth details about it, check out my review for the Blade 200 here.
Yes, I lied in the article title. This one isn't RTF(ready to fly), but BTF(bind to fly) and I hope you'll forgive me, but some people just preffer using their own transmitter, especially since this drone is very sporty indeed.
Overall, I must say I'm pretty impressed by this quad, as it has both the potential to be a good camera platform and more of a stunt drone.
What I like about it
- very fast and fun to fly
- you can upgrade the firmware easily
- it has pretty bright lights
- strong enough to carry a gopro despite its size
What I don't like
- the battery life isn't great
- the outer shell can crack pretty quickly, especially since there's the opportunity to fly at high speeds... brushless motors have their disadvantages, lol.
3 flying modes that can completely transform how it flies:
1.Low angle stability mode (camera mode)
- will enable you to fly steadily while capturing smooth video (in the lack of a better option like a mechanical gimbal.
2.High angle stability( also known as stagility)
- a more speedy version of the previous that still uses all the 6 axis of the gyro but this time has a little more pitch and therefore speed.
- Let's call this Insanity mode, as it changes everything completely.
- It disables 3 of the gyro axis and the quad becomes very sensitive to the slightest touches of the sticks. This enables more advanced users to do flips and other stunts with full control.
- But beware, you have to make the flight adjustments by hand, don't expect it to auto level during a flip.
Does the Blade 200 qx work with a camera?
It does, but you have to provide your own, as it doesn't come included in the package.
You can buy a camera that's custom made for it, but it's very low quality and hard to mount, so I don't recommend it.
The quad is very small and mobile but it packs a lot of punch, so it can easily carry a camera around.
I would recommend you a mobius camera with dampeners or even a GoPro.
One disadvantage is that you can't fly it for long as the battery goes down pretty quickly.
A thing that can be solved by getting a few batteries and getting into the habit of replacing them.
The white protective shell might also break easily if you fly it hardcore and hit something hard.
I'd recommend upgrading to a Rakon frame from Amazon, that not only looks totally badass, but also grants extra protection thanks to the carbon fiber.
Here's a complete video review of this quadcopter from Flying Ryan