What To Buy If You Have $1,000 To Spend on FPV
This is the best price point to come into the FPV drone hobby because with $1,000 you can buy equipment that you will use over your entire FPV career. This price point will get you in the air and set you up to grow in the hobby.
If you are spending $1,000 I'm assuming that you are all-in in this hobby and want to invest in equipment that is going to last for a long time. So, this budget focuses on the radio transmitter, goggles and hobby grade battery charger which you will use forever. When you have this type of equipment, you can buy any bind-n-fly (BNF) drone that supports FrSky.
What the $1,000 budget does not include is the tools that you will need if you grow in the hobby and start to build your own drones. Learning to fly and learning to build both have steep learning curves and will add to the total cost of this hobby. Most people quickly get into building and this hobby has some deep DIY roots.
While I would love to advise you to start building immediately (and many pilots will tell this) I worry that $1,000 is not going to support that. To build you will need to get specialized tools and you will end up rebuying parts as you make mistakes and so on. To me, it's better to learn to build at your own pace when you don't have the pressure of wanting to get into the air immediately.
Anyway, enough tangents let's get to the shopping list! I'll start with the most important stuff that you will need: a solid hobby grade charger:
ISDT D2 200W 12A2 AC Dual Channel Output Smart Battery Balance Charger $139
ISDT makes state of the art hobby grade chargers and you really can't go wrong with any of their models. I choose this one because it comes with it's own power supply and it can charge two sets of batteries at once.
These chargers are by far the easiest to use and also the safest.
Click here to get your battery charger.
Taranis QX7 Radio Transmitter $125
Radio transmitters are used to control your drone. The QX7 is a really cost effective radio transmitter that most pilots use for FPV. At $125, it has the features of a $500+ radio. Since this radio is used so much by FPV pilots you will find a lot of support online when you have questions.
You could really choose any radio in the Taranis line, but I like this one because of the cost and because it's simplier to use than many radios. If you want to upgrade take a look at the QX7S which has better build quality and comes with a battery, charger and case.
Click here to get your radio transmitter
PyroDrone FRSKY QX7 2500mAh Li-ion 7.4V Battery $15
Like everything else in this hobby, you will need a special battery to power your radio. The PyroDrone battery can be charged with your ISDT charger which is a big plus since you don't need to buy another piece of equipment.
Click here to get your Taranis PyroDrone battery.
FPV Goggles $194
These are the best goggles that you can get at a budget price. I've used these box goggles for about a year and have been pretty happy and even now I use them when setting up my drones because the screen is detachable. The screen is clear and bright and it includes lens to focus your eyes (I've learned the hard way that not all goggles will include this which makes it difficult for nearsighted pilots).
I like that this set comes with everything that you need: receiver, antennas and a battery. Normally you would need to buy all that stuff seperately. The only baffling omission from this package is that there is no battery charger. But, they are only around $20 and I include a link to a charger below.
Click here to get your FPV Goggles.
Fatshark Battery Charger $21
You should be able to charge your Fatshark battery with your ISDT charger and if you are a DIY hobbyist already you can certainly make an adapter to this. But, I could not find an adapter online for this purpose so and I assume you will have the same problem. So, you should probably go ahead and pick up a charger for this battery:
Click here to get your Fatshark battery charger.
Here's the stuff you've been waiting for: the drones, or quads as we like to call them. So far we've spent $494 of the budget giving you about half the budget that you can dedicate to drones. You can go a few ways here. Since you are learning how to fly you will be crashing and you will have to be extra careful when flying the five inch park fliers around. For new pilots I would actually suggest flying something very small but still flyable in the outdoors like the Babyhawk below. Also, I would spend time with an FPV simulator (these work with your QX7) learning how to fly in acro. But I now you want to fly for real…
I know you are not budgeting $1,000 to fly simulators or toy drones and you will want the real deal as well. So I'm linking to a state of the art 5 inch FPV drone from Armattan that will work with your equipment.
Babyhawk BNF $129
We are going to use the Babyhawk as a trainer because it flies in acro like a real quad and at this weight we don't need to have any conversations about safely for FAA regulations. You just buy this and it will work with the equipment above to get you in the air. Plan on spending a few weeks with with model as you learn to fly FPV. Once you move on to 5 inch drones you may still find yourself going back to this model when you want to fly in more causal settings for fun.
Make sure that you pick up the BNF (stands for bind and fly) model and choose the FrSky protocol. FrSky is the protocol that works with the recommended radio below and is a standard that you will use with all your drones in the future.
Click here to get your Babyhawk drone.
Tattu 2S Batteries
Batteries are about to become a much bigger part of your life than you can have imagined. Seriously, there are lots of batteries types and each has their own type of connector and specs and all your equipment will need them. One day, I'm going to have to write whole article just on batteries.
These are the batteries that you need for your Babyhawk. They are 2S Lipo batteries with JST connectors. Below when we talk chargers, you will find out what you need to buy to charge these guys up so that you can fly your Babyhawk.
Click here to get your Babyhawk batteries.
XT60 to JST Adapter
You will need an adapter to plug in your Babyhawk batteries to your charger. These will work and with the charger above you can charge two batteries at a time. Not much to say about this other than you will should be careful to make sure that when you get new batteries that they will actually plug into your charger.
Click here to get your JST adapter
Armattan Rooster 5 Inch FPV Drone $359
When you are ready to try five inch FPV drones I would recommend picking up a pre-built Rooster from Armattan. Be sure to pick the FrSky reciever option. The Rooster comes with a practically unbreakable titatium camera cage and extra thick carbon fiber. It's pretty hard to break. But, that's not the reason I recommend this model for beginners (and experienced pilots actually).
The real reason is that Armattan does a great job of building, setting up, tuning and documenting your drone. You get instructions and a video on how to setup your drone for the first time. They do QC to make sure it works right out of the box. At around $360 these drones are a steal and honestly I couldn't even build one myself at this price point.
Oh and by the way, if you break the frame on the Rooster Armattan will send you replacement parts. They have an insane warrently policy; I know because I've used it three times myself. Don't know how they stay in business sometimes.
Click here to get your Armattan Rooster.
Tattu 4S 1500 Mah Batteries
More batteries! These are 4S batteries that you need for your 5 inch Rooster drone. Bigger drone, bigger batteries. If you are waiting to get a Rooster you can also wait to get these batteries. I would recommend picking up at least four of these batteries. You don't need an adapter for these, they will plug right into your charger.
Click here to get your Rooster batteries.
If you buy all this stuff, you will get close to maxing out your $1,000 budget. Spend some time learning how to use this equipment. For this YouTube is your best bet or you can simply read the manuals that come with this stuff.
Here are the next steps that you will want to take as you get further into this hobby:
- Charge your batteries
- Bind your BabyHawk to your transmitter
- Research how to put your Babyhawk into “Acro” or “Rate” mode
- Practice hovering your babyhawk in Acro mode
- Practice flying your Babyhawk LOS (Line of Sight) by keeping it in forth of you and slowing moving the drone around
- Do your first FPV session in a wide open area
- Fly that Babyhawk as much as you can, but always in Acro mode
- Download a FVP simulator like Liftoff or FreeRider and use that with your transmitter in Acro mode as much as you can to learn the muscle memory you will need to handle the five inch drones
- Start to educate yourself about FPV drones, including how to build and repair the via YouTube
- Research the parts and tools that you will need for your first build
I'm going to flesh out that list with articles in the future, but I think that you have enough to get started. Happy Flying!