What’s BNF, RTF and PNP of FPV drone?

So you’re diving into the exciting world of FPV drones, but the technical jargon can be overwhelming. What’s the difference between a BNF and an RTF? Should you build your own drone or buy pre-assembled? Fear not, aspiring pilot! This guide will decipher the drone lingo and help you make an informed decision.

The Acronym Breakdown:

  • RTF (Ready-to-Fly): This kit lives up to its name – everything you need to take to the skies is included. Think drone, transmitter, receiver, battery, charger, and sometimes even extras like propellers and spare parts. It’s the grab-and-go option for beginners.
  • BNF (Bind-and-Fly): Similar to RTF, but it skips the transmitter (you need to provide your own and “bind” it to the receiver). Battery and charger might also be absent depending on the kit. Think of it as RTF minus the controller.
  • PNP (Plug-and-Play): This kit requires more assembly. You’ll need to install the motor, servos, and ESC (electronic speed controller) yourself. Programming them to work together adds another layer of complexity. Battery and charger are usually not included. This option appeals to those who want some customization without starting from scratch.


Choosing Your Path:

The best option depends on your experience level and preferences:

  • Beginner: RTF is your friend. Easy setup, instant gratification, and less risk of messing things up.
  • Intermediate: BNF or PNP offer a balance between convenience and customization. You can explore different components and settings without the full DIY commitment

What’s BNF, RTF and PNP?

Choosing an FPV drone kit can feel like deciphering code with acronyms like BNF, RTF, and PNP thrown around. But fear not, aspiring pilot! This guide will break down these terms and help you make an informed decision based on what’s included in each kit.

Unpacking the Acronyms:

  • BNF (Bind-and-Fly): Picture an assembled drone with a receiver installed, but missing the transmitter (your remote), battery, charger, and potentially FPV goggles. You’ll need to buy these separately. Think of it as “drone only” for experienced pilots who already own most gear.
  • RTF (Ready-to-Fly): Imagine everything you need in one box: the drone, receiver, transmitter, battery, charger, and often even FPV goggles. It’s the ultimate grab-and-go option for beginners, but the included gear might be more basic.
  • PNP (Plug-and-Play): Think of this as a semi-assembled kit. You get the airframe, motor, sometimes the flight controller, but need to install additional components like servos and the ESC (electronic speed controller) yourself. Some technical knowledge is required.


Finding Your Perfect Match:

The best kit depends on your experience level and preferences:

  • Beginner: Start with RTF. Easy setup, instant flying, and minimal technical know-how needed.
  • Intermediate: BNF or PNP offer a balance. Customize components while avoiding a full DIY build.
  • Advanced: Explore ARF (Almost-Ready-to-Fly) kits. Build from scratch for ultimate control and personalization.

What Components are Included in FPV Drone Kits?

To help visualize the differences, here’s a table summarizing what’s typically included in the BNF, RTF, and PNP kits. Remember, these are general trends, and specific inclusions can vary based on the product and manufacturer, so make sure to check the product page before buying:

Receiver Radio LiPo/Charger Goggles
BNF Yes Yes No Sometimes
RTF Yes Yes Yes Yes
PNP Yes No No No


Prebuilt FPV Drone Kit Vs. Building Your Own Drone: Which is Better?

I talked about buying vs building in detail in my FPV drone buyer’s guide, here’re the key points:

Prebuilt FPV Drone Kits


Saves Time: Prebuilt drones save you the hassle of assembly. The RTF models, for instance, require minimal setup time, allowing you to get airborne quickly.

Less Technical Knowledge Required: Prebuilt drones like RTF and BNF require less technical know-how, making them an excellent choice for beginners.


Limited Customization: With prebuilt drones, customization options are often limited. You can’t choose your own specific parts or components unless you modify the drone post-purchase.

Challenging Repair: For beginners, repair could be difficult due to limited knowledge and experience. Also the drone may be built in an unfamiliar way which can further complicate the repair process.

Things to consider:

1.Cost: while prebuilt drones usually offer a better deal than sourcing components individually, it’s not always necessary the case. It’s wise to break down the costs—check the price of each component. This way, you can ensure you’re really getting bang for your buck.

2.Tuning: Some pre-built drones offer excellent tuning out of the box, saving you the hassle. However, this isn’t a guarantee and some can fly terribly, so do your homework—read my reviews before committing


Building Your Own Drones from Scratch


Complete Customization: Building your own drone gives you the freedom to select each component based on your specific needs and preferences. This allows for a more personalized drone flying experience.

Understanding of Inner Workings: Assembling a drone from scratch provides you with a thorough understanding of how the drone works, which can be extremely useful for troubleshooting and performing repairs.


Time-consuming: Building a drone from scratch can be a time-consuming process, especially for beginners. It requires careful assembly and configuration of all components.

Technical Knowledge Required: DIY drones require a good understanding of drone technology and how the different parts work together. For those new to the hobby, this steep learning curve can be challenging


Wrapping Up: Making the Right Choice

The choice between a prebuilt drone kit and building your own drone largely depends on your equipment, comfort level with drone configuration, and budget. Custom built drones offer more flexibility and customization potential, while RTF and BNF kits offer convenience and an instant ready-to-fly experience.

For those new to FPV flying or who prefer a hassle-free setup, RTF drones are an ideal choice. They offer a complete package with minimal assembly and setup time, enabling you to get to the flying experience quickly. However, the included radio controller (remote) and FPV goggles might not be top-tier, but they’re more than capable of getting you off the ground without breaking the bank.

Should you wish to start with quality gear without buying everything twice, you might want to consider my radio and FPV goggles recommendations. Pair these with a BNF drone and you’ll have your own radio and goggles ready to go.

If you’re eyeing a specific radio link not provided by the drone manufacturer, a PNP drone allows you to install your preferred receiver.

However, if customization and flexibility are your priorities, and you’re not afraid of DIY and tinkering, you should consider building your own drone. Not only will this allow you to hand-pick your favourite components tailored to your specific requirements, but you’ll also gain comprehensive knowledge of your drone. This in-depth understanding will prove invaluable when the time comes for repairs and troubleshooting. In the end, the choice is yours – and the sky’s the limit!

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