Drones need several parts to fly in the air smoothly and accurately, and a drone flight controller is one of the most vital components in the list. Due to their usefulness, there now lots of available options on the market.
As a result, most people are asking what the best flight controller is. In all honesty, there's no best drone controller. Just because different controllers are made to suit the diverse needs of pilots.
Most drone flight controllers on the market are good, and it consequently comes generally down to your fondness as to which model you should purchase. However, some people don't want or don't have enough time to compare all the flight controllers on the market. That is why a few of them end up with the wrong one.
To prevent this kind of situation from happening and help you with your acquisition, we have performed thorough research and made this content. Here, we are going to review the best drone flight controllers on the market these days.
In this content, you'll not only see the best models, but we will also include a simple buyer's guide which can help you in deciding which flight controller to get.
The flight controller is the “brains” of the operation inside a drone. It’s what contains the sensors and processors needed to control your drone. The sensors will tell the drone how high it is, what direction it’s flying in, where it’s at, and how quickly it’s moving.
In this article, I’m going to review, what I think, are the best drone flight controller models for people building thier own drones.
Flight controllers or commonly known as GC are the "brains" of the quadcopter or drones. It's a circuit board which consists of various sensors as well as processors that send and receive instructions within the drone's engine.
A flight controller directs each orientation which is related to the drone's movement including the rotors' movement. With flight controllers, you will be able to get accurate information regarding the current position and other important things of your quadcopter while it is in the air.
On the other hand, almost all drone flight controllers come equipped with basic sensors like Accelerometer (ACC) and Gyroscopes (Gyro). Though other FCs utilize more innovative sensors like a compass (magnetometer) and a barometric pressure sensor (Barometer).
This sensor is beneficial for measuring the degree of angular variation. Even so, this can be restrained up to three axes. On the other hand, you have made some repetition to get the right angle.
The majority of flight controllers for drones have an accelerometer. Essentially, this sensor a device which measures the copter's linear acceleration in a three-axis system. Also, the accelerometer also provides an output which allows every user to create an idea of the drone's current position.
However, the fact that this sensor is capable of responding to and detecting gravity means that it stays above the ground guaranteeing a flat and smooth flight.
This component of flight controllers consists of both the accelerometer and the gyroscope. Nevertheless, there are various systems which combine the usage of magnetometers and the likes.
As we all know, a barometer is a device which is commonly used for measuring pressure. However, the pressure sensor found on drones can offer a flyer a precise value of the device’s height from the water level.
The most precise details regarding the height is specified by the combination of the GPS altitude and pressure sensor.
The magnetometer is an electronic compass which is commonly installed on the flight controller board. This is especially needed to align the direction of your drone.
This kind of sensor is usually integrated into modern drone controllers. The distance sensor enhances the value of the height given by the barometer or pressure sensor.
Unlike aircraft that have fixed wings, drones, on the other hand, are inherently stable and typically more difficult to fly.
Drones aren't stable just because they depend on your control. This device doesn't have fixed wings. However, drones are capable of staying steady in the above ground while in the air.
However, once you touch the controls and then release them afterward, there is a higher chance that your drone's stability will go away.
It only takes one propeller to slow down or speed up for the drone to tilt and crash except if you could bring it to level quickly. Good thing you can do that using the best drone flight controller.
Flight controllers will keep the propellers spinning at a similar speed depending on the directions you provide it.
If you've ever flown a drone or a helicopter that is radio-controlled, you may notice their difference when it comes to how they operate and why drones are more unstable.
Drones used more energy compared to helicopters even if they are carrying the same loads.
Unlike helicopters, the propellers of drones move at a very speed; this is where the best drone flight controller comes into play.
The best flight controller keeps your drone in the air. This controller reads sensor data continuously so that the motor of your drone will be adjusted with ease.
Aforementioned, these controllers utilize gyro sensors for improved stability and accelerometers to adjust and measure of the drone’s speed.
Either way, these things are functioning together to fly and control your drone using a simple pull or push of the different controls.
Now that you already what a flight controller let’s now move to the best drone flight controllers of 2018.
This drone flight controller supports autonomous features which makes it one of the most versatile models on the market today. Nevertheless, if you are looking for an autonomous flight, you will never go wrong with this one.
The Vector Flight Controller comes equipped with an OSD as well as other versions of connectors. Meaning to say, you don’t need to acquire them separately.
In addition to that, this controller is easy to set up and program it doesn't require you to use a computer. On the other hand, it is compatible with the customary fixed wing, hexacopters, tricopter, V-tail planes, and quadcopters.
Even so, the Vector Flight Controller from Eagle Tree features an inbuilt Flight Data Recorder, IMU, a magnetic compass sensor, and altimeter. Nevertheless, its existing sensor supports over 6S Lithium Power or Li-Po packs.
-Easy to setup
-Easy to program
-Comes with several processors
-Reliable and excellent software
-Supports various flight configurations
-It is pretty easy to tune.
-It is a bit costly compared to other cheaper flight controllers.
This best drone flight controller by DJI – a leading drone manufacturer – supports GPS.
Undeniably, Naza-M V2 is reliable as well as a reliable controller, but it's a bit expensive. This best flight controller for quadcopter best suited for those are looking for a firm platform for above ground or aerial photography.
Due to its impressive performance and features, this model is highly accepted by multiple rotor flyers. Also, it supports nine kinds of multi-rotors like Octo Rotors. Nevertheless, Naza-M V2 is ideal for shooting videos as well as sports flying.
This best drone controller has a more improved stabilization algorithm. The fresh algorithm offers better stabilization, new take-off mode, and auto compass compensation.
Either way, if you’re looking for an all-in-one drone to fly in the air whether for surveying, aerial photography, sports flying, or events you will never go wrong with Naza-M V2 by DJI.
-Several flight control methods
-Pretty easy to use and operate
-Easy to set up an autopilot
-Improved failsafe features
-This drone flight controller Ideal for aerial photography
-Support nine kinds of multi-rotors
-Not suitable for beginners
-Users need a hub to mount two or more DJO accessories
This drone flight controller from RMRC has an impressive reputation, and it is trendy in the drone racing industry.
The RMRC Seriously Dodo comes with eight input channels and eight output channels. With this best flight controller for a quadcopter, you will not have to worry about external BEC. That is because this controller can make use of power the flight battery directly.
Just like any other flight controllers this one from RMRC is also easy to set up. In addition to that, it’s compatible with several receivers such as PPM, Spektrum, and SBUS receivers.
Another good thing about this drone flight controller is that it is accessible at a reasonable price tag. So, if you are serious about making your own and awesome drone, then this flight controller is perfect for you.
-Easy to configure
-Comes with eight output and input channels
-Works with other receivers
-Easy to set up
-This is not ideal for serious flyers
DJI A3, the best drone flight controller for Octocopter, Quadcopter, and Hexacopter. Similar to Naza-M V2, the DJI A3 also support GPS. It is highly recommended for both cinema and industrial operations.
The Ground Station of this controller has been renovated by DJI to support several advanced features such as:
-Formation flight for several aircrafts
-Mission design (offline)
-Route planning and
On the other hand, this product also has an inbuilt flight simulator that allows you to try more difficult movements in advance without causing damage to your quadcopter. Apart from that DJI A3 has excellent software. Its fault-tolerant control system will allow you to land your device safely especially if there's an issue during your flight.
-Auto landing and take-off
-Reliable and fully compatible safeguards
-Easy to utilize
-Custom flight radius and altitude limits
-Intelligent failsafe mode and flight mode
-Great drone flight controller board.
-It is costly.
-Not ideal for beginners
This drone flight controller weighs 1.0 pounds and has a total dimension of 81.65mm by 50mm by 15.5mm.
The LPZ Pixhawk is compatible with PPM receivers and its ideal for an aerial photography drone. On the other hand, this controller comes equipped with special features such as:
-Manual and automatic mode
-NuttX RTOX real-time operation system
-Full and dual angle LED
-Multi-colored external LED
Even so, the board of this drone controller has a 32-bit chip technology as well as integrated sensor technology. This feature eliminates the need of an eight-bit CPU or APM.
Also, both manual and automatic modes are accessible and provide a redundant power supply input and failover. Nevertheless, the featured Micro SD is ideal for storing images and other information.
-Ideal for aerial photography
-Loaded with special features
-It has an integrated sensor technology
-32-bit chip technology
-Doesn’t need an 8-bit CPU or APM
-The price is a bit costly for beginners
Kiss FC is a simplified and modern drone flight controller that can be both at a very affordable price. Just like any other flight controllers in this list, the Kiss FC by Flyduino is also pretty easy to configure.
Because of its simple user-interface, there is no doubt even beginners will be able to learn it with ease. On the other hand, this controller has minimal hardware. In addition to that, it also supports various types of frames such as hexa, tri, and quad.
The Kiss FC is compatible with Spektrum, PPM, and other receivers. Even so, it includes FC firmware that lessens the ballast.
This best flight controller for quadcopter has a pilot optimized code. Meaning to say, if you want to fly, all you to do is select your Airframe in the GUI.
Another good thing about this flight controller is that the model comes with a serial number. With said illegal copies and even fraud could be prevented.
Nevertheless, the Kiss FC Flight Controller supports Telemetry data, and it can be powered from the battery directly.
-Support various frame configurations
-It can handle 2s to 6s Lithium Power Packs
-Reverse separation protection
-Support almost all the popular types of RX
-Simple user interface
-Easy to configure
-The hardware is compact
-The solder pads came off just for the period of light soldering
-Activation is needed to use this drone controller
Matek Systems is a reliable name when it comes to manufacturing LED boards as well as power distribution boards.
Either way, the Matek F405 is an excellent and straightforward drone flight controller that sports a very nice layout. This quadcopter controller features an SD card reader which is ideal for blackbox logging and A Betaflight OSD.
However, one common drawback of Matek F405 is that it does not have the inbuilt PDB capability. Though users can pair it using the Matek FCHUB that is also accessible on Amazon using a handy ribbon cable.
On the other hand, its gyroscope sensor will leave you a cleaner signal. Plus improved flight reliability as well as performance. Moreover, since the PDB and FC are separated, the FC can be installed easily without the need for ESC wires and massive power.
-Simple FC for drone
-Features Betaflight OSD
-Improved flight reliability and performance
-It can be installed easily without the need for massive power
-This flight controller does not have the inbuilt PDB ability.
This drone flight controller from FuriousFPV is unique by its "X" profile that helps to lessen its weight down to 5.8 grams.
Moreover, this controller has a 2s to 6s voltage input range, five UART pins that can be configured, built-in OSD, a 32hHz gyroscope, and 5 volts power supply.
To minimize the interference that comes from electrical noises, the gyroscope is powered using a separate circuit.
On the other hand, this drone flight controller features rubber mounting curbs to support the 32 kHz gyroscope. This FuriousFPV flight controller is conformal coated which protects it from dust and water.
All in all, the FuriousFPV Fortini is an impressive flight controller that is worth having. Either way, it is ideal for weight conscious flyers or people who choose to run an attached PDB.
-The lightest 32kHz FC
-Easy to set up
-Easy to configure
-It has a horde of functionality
-It doesn’t have a built-in PDB or power distribution boards.
-This FC doesn’t come with built-in blackbox
This drone flight controller from FOXEER is specially created for multicopters. With this controller, you don’t need a resistance as well as capacitance. All you have to do is connect the CC from the controller to the OSD pin directly.
On the other hand, Falcorc F405 has supplanted the FCC3D to permit a lower CPU load. In addition to that, this flight controller has a built-in power distribution board.
However, at 10 grams, this model is considered of the lightest controllers. Not only that it also sports a small-sized design but proven durable. This controller is made of premium quality material.
Either way, with Falcorc F405 flight controller you will fly longer without consuming too much power.
-Comes equipped with a built-in power distribution board
-Resistance and capacitance aren’t needed
-Made of premium quality materials
-Doesn’t consume too much power
-Ensure a longer flying experience
-Easy to configure
-Issues may occur when users avoid the OSD
This flight controller from FPVDrone is best suited for Mini FPV QAV250 Quad Racing Drone.
Either way, it comes equipped with a modern GUI that is compatible in all operating systems. Apart from that, it also has onboard USB for setting up as well as configuration.
The FPVDrone Naze32, on the other hand, has an in-built FrSky Telemetry converter. Also, it runs in a 32-bit processor.
However, this quadcopter controller only weighs six grams and has a total dimension of 36mm (H) by 36mm (W) making it ideal for pilots who prefer a lightweight drone.
It is specially designed for use with a small indoor and small to medium size outdoor multi rotorcrafts.
-Accessible at a very affordable price
-Easy to set up and configure
-Inbuilt FrSky telemetry converter
-High-quality flight controller
-Ideal for beginners
-Its different modes are quite tricky
-It requires lots of adjustment before you can fly your drone.
There you have it the ten best drone flight controllers where you can choose from. Nevertheless, now that you already have an idea what are the best flight controllers let us know move on the next section which is the buyer's guide.
Here, you will see the essential things that you need to consider before making a purchase.
Listed below are some of the essential things that you need to consider before making a purchase.
When looking for the best drone flight controller, avoid opting for plastic connectors. Because such connectors could melt when the board overheats, and they can be disconnected with ease.
The same goes for solder pads. Make sure to look for a board that has through holes. Thus you will be able to use either direct solder or header pins especially when you have to work up to it.
Another essential feature that you need to consider before buying a flight controller for drones.
Either way, since each controller is crafted for particular flying purposes, you need to choose a model that fits your needs. There are three different flying styles and here are the following:
It is considered the most innovative flying style and usually liked by experienced flyers. In sports flying need to perform changes more rapidly during your flights. Plus, you would need to show a discrepancy between very passive and very aggressive maneuvers.
On the other hand, this style of flying can help you perform faster roll rates, hold a certain angle, and do 360-degree flips. It is the main reason why professional drone use loves sports drone flight controller.
As the name implies, this kind of flight controller usually uses to obtain smooth videos. In addition to that, it also slows down the stick rates and lessens flight characteristics.
Lots of drone users, particularly the beginners tend to fly their device without utilizing myriads of control.
Thus, if you fall on this category, then the autonomous quadcopter controller is perfect for you. It comes with auto-programmed features such as one-click, auto-landing, and automatic take-off.
Considering the drone's price before making an acquisition is highly recommended as well. If you are breaking the boards because of aggressive flying, it is best for you to go for a cheaper model.
Apart from that, if you're only considering drone flying as your hobby, cheap flight controllers might be the best option.
However, if your primary goal is to capture clear images or videos, or use your drone for aerial photography, investing in a more expensive model is worth considering.
Nevertheless, our advice is if you're a professional flyer choose best drone flight controller that suits your needs. However, if you're only starting or a beginner, opt for a cheaper model.
If you’re planning to do some modifications on your board, remove or incorporate more features, for instance, make sure to choose a controller that comes with an open source board. With that said, keeping an eye in this feature is very important.
The best flight controller for quadcopter is the one that comes with various sensors like a barometer, compass, GPS, accelerator, and gyro.
These sensors can offer you a better flying experience. As a matter of fact, without sufficient or right, you will not be able to push your quadcopter to the highest level.
Nevertheless, you don’t have to worry, because almost all the flight controllers that are currently available on the market come with several sensors.
Without a doubt, some flight controllers are harder to work with compared to other. That is why avoiding such controllers is highly recommended.
So when you're looking for the best drone controller make sure to check if it is easy to use to prevent lots of frustrations when you're building your quadcopter.
Look for a drone flight controller that comes with an integrated PDB as this feature eliminates the need for additional PDBs and even wire harnesses.
If you prefer not to use a firmware, it is best to choose a flight controller that come equipped with an inbuilt flash memory or SD cards. These storages are big enough for keeping commands.
GPS always come in handy. Plus, it doesn’t only allow your drone to keep its position but stores a record regarding your flying data as well.
At these days, there are several types of processors for drones on the market: F4, F3, and F1. F1 is the least processor and F4 is the most powerful among the three. F3 processors, on the other hand, offer just as much power as F4 processors.
Either way, if you want to have the best drone controller make sure to stay from F1 processors except if you're getting a heck of deals.
A flight controller is a piece of equipment that’s susceptible to faults. That is why, when you sync your quadcopter controller for the very first time, make sure you’re in an open or safe area in which you can try it safely.
The drone, on the other hand, may lose its control with ease especially when there's something wrong with its controller.
Anything might go wrong from the drone crashing to burning the controller if the wires are not correctly connected.
For sure, you don’t want to damage others property and harm other people. That said, always follow the given instructions that come with your controller to ensure that you set it up correctly.
If you are new to quadcopters or drones and want to build one on your own, then read our guide on how to build a drone. This guide covers the basics of building a drone. Apart from that, you will also see two detailed videos that show how to assemble all the drone parts.
Without a doubt, flight controllers are indeed a vital and invincible part of a quadcopter. Thus, ensuring that you are getting the right one is very important.
However, by merely considering all the information mentioned above, facts, and product suggestions rest assured that you will be able to end up with the right model that will suit your needs.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you a lot in choosing the best drone flight controller.
If you have some questions, feel free to use the comment section below, and we will try our best to answer them.
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