Recently I've built a 5" Freestyle quadcopter based on the best value components - not the cheapest but the best price/performance ratio (i.e. bang for buck). The components I've chosen plus comparison to alternatives can be found in the component selection article here. As it stands the build cost of this one is around $150-$170 depending on which specials you can take advantage of. I see the RC Addict (His YT channel here) has done a similar thing for a race build and he refers to it as the "The cheapest quad worth building"
This quad has since been built, setup, flown, adjusted and then flown a lot more. I'm now in a position to pass judgement over all of the components and will then cover as the quad in total. For each I'll look at the positives and negatives and then go into a little more discussion with my recommendations
Discussion and recommendation
At the time these Emax Eco were chosen as they were the standout budget motor. They have been available for $10-$12 and based on how they perform represent outstanding value - the top equal standout recommendation for this parts list. Emax had the original breakthrouhg brushless motor in the quad scene - the RS2205s which changed the industry. While others have caught up since they still make well-researched high quality motors. The Eco series draws off the learnings from the LS and RS2 series - they remain VERY light but have increased the bearing size from 8mm to 9mm to improve durability significantly. Retained from the RS2 and LS series however are the thin magnets. Although these mean the motor doesn't make the same peak thrust as heavier motors with larger magnets, it does gain in improvements through being lighter, more efficient and smoother at throttle transition. This makes it a great match to freestyle where these positive attributes tend to be preferred over peak thrust @ 100% throttle. In use these are very nice motors to fly. They are quiet, smooth and cause less battery sag and longer flight time than more expensive motors I use such as the brother hobby returner R6 2306.
Interesting that based on the success of the Emax Eco, iflight and brotherhobby have followed suit. 3bhobby also have the training motor although this may have just been out when the emax eco was launched.
I have decided to piece together a bang for your buck freestyle build to coincide with the summer in the Northern Hemisphere. My objective for this build was not to build the cheapest quad but the best value. This means parts will be from recognised brands with a good track record of performance and reliability with a good degree of future proofing. To be clear, this is not a $99 build, it is more like $150-$170 but will be more reliable AND outperform any pre-built quad and will easily hold it's own against something double or triple the price - I like to think of it as the Sweet Spot.
This Sweet Spot Quad will be split into 3 parts:
For each key component I'll show you what I chose, a cheaper option and a more premium option with price indication and justification. Let's get straight into it!!