Here are the pre-built toothpick (ultra-light micro quad) that I have tested so far. I will sum up the good and bad about these quads in this short article, if you want to learn more about each model, feel free to check out the full reviews.
A “toothpick” is a very light weight micro quad, usually under 60 grams without battery. They are powered by a small 2S and 3S LiPo batteries, and run a 2.5″ triblade or 65mm bi-blade propeller.
The five main factors I look for in a micro quad are price, component choice/quality, overall design, how easy it is to setup, and flight performance. Some tick a lot of the boxes, unfortunately there is no perfect quad yet in my opinion.
See my full review of the Sailfly. You can purchase it from:
If we are talking about toothpick micro quads, then we would have to start with the Happymodel Sailfly-X. It was this model that got me into the whole “toothpick” adventure. It showed me how much these tiny quads can do, and I was immediately hooked after my first flight.
For $90 you can a whole package including a battery. Simply bind it to your own transmitter and you are in business!
The motors are not particularly powerful, and KV is pretty modest, but it is still one of the fastest models I’ve tested! I think it’s mainly due to the ultra light weight. It supports both 2S and 3S so you have total control on how fast and agile you want it to be.
It’s also very reliable. I’ve put it through 100+ flights and it’s still working fine.
The biggest problem with this quad, however, is range. Not much you can do about it really, this is a common issue with the Crazybee Pro board. The integrated SPI receiver only provides 100 to 150 meters of range and poor signal penetration.
The other issue is the fixed camera angle. It’s quite an aggressive angle and you can’t change it, so you might find it flying too fast in tighter courses. Camera and VTX image quality is flyable, but not great. You get what you pay for, after all it’s the cheapest model on this list.
Overall, I think this is an extremely great value purchase, and I do highly recommend it.
See my full review of the RedDevil.
You can purchase it from: http://bit.ly/reddevil-quad
The RedDevil is basically the Sailfly with a few tweaks. Flight performance is almost identical, but flying experience is slightly more enjoyable with its better FPV camera and adjustable camera angle for an extra $14.
See my full review FullSpeed Toothpick. You can purchase it from:
This model is limited to 2S because of the high KV motors. Great for speed run and racing, very easy to control. But personally not a fan of the stretch-X frame as it seems to make it less agile and acrobatic.
And also it doesn’t feel as fast as the sailfly even with those higher KV motors (comparing both of them on 2S), not sure if that has something to do with the heavier weight.
However I do like its hardware, especially the FPV setup and external receiver, gives me great range and image quality with adjustable camera angle. If I had to change one thing, I would love to see a 16x16mm FC stack with proper soft mounting, instead of the 20x20mm hard mounted stack. A 16x16mm stack is a weight saver, and perhaps more versatile as spare part for future DIY builds.
See my full review of the Phantom.
You can purchase it from: http://bit.ly/phantom-toothpick
Top notch electronics, and the frame is sturdy and stiff. But at the same time it’s a bit bloated and slow compared to many options here, probably the slowest. If you don’t mind about speed and power, this would make a decent first time purchase, because of the better hardware which you could use again in your future DIY builds.
The other advantage is range, which is more than double of the Sailfly. But for some reason the VTX gives me very weird image color, and things just look very dark for some reasons. I can turn the brightness up in my goggles, but DVR footage is almost unusable.
This is the most expensive model on the list at $140. To be honest, it’s a bit unreasonable given the camera is the crappy Caddx EOS2 as well. If it’s $25 cheaper then I might recommend it.
Setting up was super straight-forward, no soldering or tweaking needed, just bind it to your Taranis, setup modes in Betaflight, and you are good to go!
See my full review GTB229. You can purchase it from:
Perhaps one of the most premium/expensive toothpick models I’ve tested – it’s $130 and doesn’t come with a radio receiver, which also means there is slightly more work involved when setting it up. The box frame is quite a unique design, but not the toughest against crashes.
The stock PID tune definitely needed some work. Although the frame is quite stiff, and the FC stack is all soft mounted with rubber rings, for some reasons PID tuning wasn’t as straight forward as I hoped.
The good news is the parts are all standard and you can use them on many other frames. Looking for the best hardware? Look no further.
See my full review of the Talon.
You can purchase it from:: http://bit.ly/2yFo7vx
Perhaps the most complete BNF toothpick and the easiest to setup on this list. It’s 50g out of the box, and flies pretty decently! Getting rid of the unnecessary parts to drop the weight down to 46g and it flies amazingly 🙂
Hands down the best flying performance out of all the quads tested so far. Good speed, minimum amount of vibration, and very smooth handling.
I love the FPV setup too, it’s using a Runcam Nano 2 camera, which is probably one of the best nano camera on the market in terms of image quality. With the external XM+ receiver, range just feels like unlimited compared to the Tinyhawk Freestyle. 😀
However, the motors have non-standard mounting (as well as the arms), you can’t easily change to a different brand unless you use a different frame, which is kind of annoying.
See my full review of the Turbobee. You can purchase it from:
They offer different version of this model: 2S and 4S, as well as 2.5-inch and 3-inch. I explained which one I would choose in the review. I tested the 2S 2.5-inch model and 4S 3-inch.
Great motors and beautifully designed frame – unfortunately the weight is a bit over average for this class. High performance FC/ESC/VTX stack, apart from the push pin connections which is not great for durability. It’s a shame the stock tune is not great, lots of vibration and you have to spend some time tuning it for your choice of props and wind condition.
See my full review of the TinyHawk Freestyle. You can purchase it from:
Overall decent performance, a very efficient freestyle cruiser, it flies better than I thought despite the above average weight. It’s a worthy upgrade for those who own the original TinyHawk as you can use the same batteries.
However there are some downsides to this model. First of all, range is not great, similar to the Sailfly at around 100-150 meters. Secondly the FPV setup is flyable but not enjoyable, VTX is weak at only 25mW. Thirdly the parts are all non standard. Every part is unique to the Freestyle, swapping parts from a different brand might be tricky.
See my full review of the Parrot120. You can purchase it from:
HGLRC took a very different approach from all the other toothpicks with the Parrot120, and it blew my mind with its freestyle performance! It’s really heavy for a 2.5″ ultra-light micro quad standard, at 76g, but it flies so good out of the box!
Yes, it’s not a very fast quad, but the quad “carries more momentum” than the other toothpicks because it’s heavier, when you do inverted moves it just feels like it had “longer hang time”. It behaves a lot more like a 5″ quad when you do acro moves and also handles the wind better too.
Excellent FC/ESC/VTX stack, good motors, strong frame, nice antenna mounting, easy to setup. I wish they would change out that terrible camera though. It’s not fast enough for racing, and will not give you long flight time, but for casual freestyle flights, I would highly recommend it.
You can purchase it from: http://bit.ly/tyro69-fpv
This Eachine Tyro69 is only $69. Yes it’s cheap, but before someone tells you this is the cheapest, it’s not.
First of all, it’s not a whole quad, you still have to buy a radio receiver (e.g. XM+), and LiPo is not included. Not to mention you will have to build it yourself too. To get the RX and a single battery, you are looking at another $20-$30, so total $90-$100.
Therefore the Sailfly is still a better option in terms of value. It flies okay by the way, but not as good as the Sailfly. And the design is minimalist at best – there is no protection to the FPV setup. So again, Sailfly is better in terms of durability.
Only get it if you are someone who wants to build a quadcopter from scratch but doesn’t have the budget to buy a proper kit. This is honestly the easiest drone kit you can put together even for a beginner. And it can also be a great project for kids too (the building part, maybe not flying).