This page is regularly updated as new products come out. This page was last updated January 25, 2020.
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If this will be your first time ordering from Banggood, you should know a few things.
CONTROLLERS / TRANSMITTERS
The controller goes in your hands. The receiver goes in your quad. You move the sticks on the controller, and those commands are transmitted wirelessly to the quad via the receiver.
Different brands of controllers use a different protocol to talk to their receiver. So a Futaba receiver won’t work with a FrSky controller. When you buy a controller, you need to realize that you’re also locking yourself into which receivers you’re going to buy. This is actually way more important than many beginners realize. Some brands of receiver are 2x or 3x as expensive as others. Some brands don’t have a good selection of micro-receivers such as are used in mini quads. Some brands lack features like telemetry (so you can check your battery voltage and other stats while flying). One exception to this rule is the Jumper T16, which comes with a RF module that can bind to FrSky, FlySky, Spektrum, and more.
Remember, you’re going to buy one controller, but you’re going to put a receiver in every single quad or plane that you build, so a brand that has cheaper receivers is going to pay big dividends in the long run.
CHEAPEST WORTH HAVING
FLYSKY FS-I6 & X6B
The FlySky FS-i6 is a cheaply-made radio that is totally redeemed by its software features and robust receiver selection. Once upon a time, you would have had to buy a much more expensive controller in order to get features like six channels, digitally adjustable channel endpoints, and programmable channel mapping. Today, even cheap radios are computer-controlled, and so its easy for manufacturers to add these once-premium features to a budget controller. If you’re interested, you can even install custom firmware on it to turn it into a ten-channel radio!
The down-side of this radio is that it lacks the build quality of other radios. The stick gimbals especially are not excellent, and since that’s the way you actually fly the quad, it matters more than you might think. But many beginners start with this radio and stick with it even after they could afford an upgrade.
Another advantage of this radio is that it uses the same FlySky receivers as the Evolution radio, and there are also higher-end FlySky radios. So if you do decide to upgrade, you don’t have to refit your whole fleet with new receivers.
The recommended receiver is the X6B. Don’t be tempted by the FS-A8S, which is smaller, but which has serious issues with electrical interference.
If you’re looking to get into the air at the absolute bottom price, the FS-i6 is the radio you’ll buy.
MY PERSONAL BUDGET PICK
FRSKY TARANIS QX7 & R-XSR
Purchase at Rotor Riot – Radio / Receiver
Purchase at Banggood – Radio / Receiver
Purchase at RaceDayQuads – Radio / Receiver
Purchase at GetFPV – Radio / Receiver
Purchase at Amazon – Radio / Receiver
Purchase at ReadyMadeRC – Radio / Receiver
The Taranis QX7 runs OpenTX. OpenTX is an incredibly powerful and flexible operating system for controllers. Pretty much anything you can imagine wanting your controller to do, OpenTX can do. Since I’m a real gear-head nerd, that makes it perfect for me. The down-side of this is that OpenTX can be a little complicated to learn to use at first. Some beginners struggle.
The Taranis QX7 uses the FrSky protocol receivers. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest reasons to choose a Taranis radio. FrSky has the widest variety of micro receivers for mini quads, as well as full-size receivers for fixed wings, and even long-range receivers. Most modern Taranis receivers also support telemetry. Oh, and did I mention, they all support 16 channels?
The QX7 is my personal budget pick because it has every single feature you could possibly want, decent build quality, and a pleasant, modern form factor, at a reasonable price.
The recommended receiver is the R-XSR. The XM+ is about $5 cheaper, but it doesn’t support telemetry. If you have an on-screen display (OSD) to show you voltage and other stats, you might feel you don’t need telemetry. The other cool thing telemetry enables is the ability to change PIDs, rates, and vTX settings from the Taranis.
I just switched to the Jumper T16 it as my personal daily-driver radio. What makes it so good? Ergonomics “inspired by” Futaba. Huge color screen makes configuration a breeze and allows more useful widgets and scripts. Hall Effect gimbals. Internal multiprotocol module allows binding to FrSky, Spektrum, FlySky, and more. Supports Crossfire and R9 for long-range control. Runs OpenTX for maximum functionality and configurability. All the buttons and switches you could possibly want. Runs off of 18650 cells for easy field swapping and charging.
You might have heard some rumors of a conflict between the Jumper team and the OpenTX team. Good news! That’s resolved. OpenTX will have full support for the Jumper radios going forward. Another point of concern has been that the Jumper radios were not CE and FCC certified yet. Jumper reports that this is weeks away from happening (in fact, it might already have happened by the time you read this).
And, get this. The T16 is only about $160. Compare that to my old radio, the Taranis X9D+ SE, which costs around $250. The Jumper is a better radio in almost every way, for $100 less. What’s not to love?
I used to have a laundry list of things I wished Jumper would improve about this radio. They’ve addressed all of my concerns. And that’s why this radio is going to be my daily-driver going forward.
The Jumper T16 is not available in many popular stores. Some dealers have reported to me that FrSky pressured them not to carry the Jumper. This may be why the Jumper T16 is hard to find.
TOP OF THE LINE
FRSKY HORUS X10 EXPRESS
The Horus X10 is the best radio FrSky has ever made. It has real and significant functional advantages compared to the X9D or the QX7. It is so much more pleasant to use in almost every way. It is a joy to look at and to touch.
The gimbals in the X10 are significantly better designed and machined than those of the X9D or QX7. The X10 has an internal diversity antenna that some have reported gives even better range than the external antenna. It also saves you the worry of breaking off your antenna and makes it easier to store and transport the radio. The big screen on the X10 significantly improves the usability of OpenTX. You can customize the main screen on the X10 with specific “widgets” so that you see exactly what you want to see when you glance down.
Although the radio is beautiful, its ergonomics, to me, are worse than the X9D. I find the X9D to be more comfortable to hold. The sticks on the X10 also feel little further inward from the edge of the radio, so that it feels like my fingers have to reach just a bit more than on the X9D. The angular shape of the radio means that the switches are not placed exactly where your fingers naturally land. Finally, battery life on the X10 is shorter, probably because of its huge, beautiful screen.
If you buy an X10, I can pretty much guarantee you that you won’t be disappointed. This is a really, really good radio. The question isn’t whether the X10 will make you happy: it will. The question is just whether another radio would make you just as happy, and keep a fair chunk of cash in your pocket.
There are lots of long-range control systems out there, so why have I singled out Crossfire for its own category on this List? Because Team Blacksheep is the first to have created a whole system that is robust, reliable, and (relatively) easy to use. They’ve even made a tiny little receiver specifically for us FPV racing and freestyle pilots!
Crossfire operates around 900 MHz, which means it has much… MUCH longer range and better penetration than the 2.4 GHz systems linked above. Even if you don’t intend to do long-range flights, the reliability and security of the Crossfire link gives you confidence to fly places you never would have dared. The real surprise is that racing pilots are also flocking to Crossfire. Why? They hardly need long range. It turns out Crossfire also has ultra-low latency, for the most responsive, connected feel.
If you’re just getting started in this hobby and are having a bit of sticker shock, let me make this easy for you: you don’t need Crossfire. If you’ve got the budget and you want an awesome combination of range, responsiveness, and ease of use… Crossfire is what you’ll buy.
If you want to learn more about what Crossfire is, I’ve got an introductory video here.
For most FPV pilots, I believe that the Micro TX Module is the right choice. It fits easily into the JR module bay of your transmitter. It transmits at up to 250 mW, which gives more than enough range to outrun typical 5 GHz FPV systems.
Here is what would make you want to buy the full-sized Crossfire module, which goes up to 2 watts. If you plan to do long-range flights with customized video equipment. If you are willing to pay a bit more for the assurance that you really, really will have the most solid link possible. If you have a Spektrum radio (which doesn’t have a JR module bay, and so requires the full-size module). If you prefer to use the joystick and LED screen on the back of the module instead of a “Lua Script” running inside your radio.
If you have a Taranis QX7 or Horus X10, you won’t be able to make full use of the Micro TX module unless you open up the radio and perform a difficult soldering modification. The full-size module avoids this, and is preferred by some owners of QX7 and X10 radios for this reason.
The Nano receiver will be the preferred Crossfire receiver for almost everybody reading this. There are larger receivers, intended mostly for fixed-wing aircraft, and there is a Nano Diversity receiver that comes with two antennas, if you intend to push really long distances. For a typical FPV racing or freestyle pilot, the one linked above is the best choice.
SPARE PARTS & ACCESSORIES
RDQ 2S 3500 MAH
BATTERY PACK FOR TARANIS QX7
If you’ve purchased the QX7 instead of the X9D, this is the battery you’ll want to use. It fits neatly into the battery bay on the QX7 and significantly extends its life. It’s a 2S LiPo, so I recommend using 8.2 volts as the top of the scale and 7.3 volts as the bottom of the scale.
THE BEST DAMN NECK-STRAP
I get super excited when I see a small thing done really well, in a way that I never knew I needed. That’s why I really flipped out with joy when I first saw this neck-strap.
Here’s what it does so well: it’s got a releasable clip so you can put your radio down without taking the strap off from around your neck. It’s a tiny thing, but it makes a HUGE difference. Especially when you have FPV goggles on your head, taking off the neck strap is a pain in the butt. But walking around with your transmitter dangling in front of you is so awkward. And an invitation to damage or even accidentally arming your quad.
This is literally the only neck-strap that I use.
These colored switch nuts are an easy way to add a little personalization and bling to your radio. Pay attention: the low-profile ones are for face-plate switches while the taller ones are for the shoulder switches. The nuts come with a specialized wrench for tightening them.
To be honest, I felt a little silly spending $10 on colored nuts for my radio, but I love the way they look, and it makes it easy to tell which radio is mine at the field.
COLORED SILICONE SWITCH COVERS
These are more than just a way to make your radio look great. They’re also nicer to touch than the bare metal, and give a slightly more positive grip.
The photo above shows the RAINBOW ones, but click through and you’ll see you can buy them in solid colors too.
This stand attaches easily to the carry handle of your Taranis. It folds flat when not in use, and folds out to hold the Taranis at an angle when you set it down. This is especially useful if you have a big external antenna or if you have a full-size Crossfire module attached to the back of your radio.