This easy-to-follow guide looks at the best RC transmitter options for drones, RC planes, and helicopters. Jump to the RC transmitter reviews if you’re up to speed on the technology and just want to check out the products. I recommend everyone else continues to read this short intro. It only takes a few minutes and is certain to help you make better buying decisions.

Budget
Best-budget-RC-Transmitter
Flysky FS-i6X 2.4GHz
4.5/5.0
13.8 oz
Channels: 10
Ergonomic, lightweight design, and smooth responsive sticks.
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Best Value
Best-value-RC-Transmitter
FrSkyTaranis X9D Plus
4.6/5.0
51 oz
Channels: 16
Real-time flight data logging and audio speech outputs.
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Top Pick
Top-value-RC-Transmitter
Futaba 6J 6-Channel S-FHSS
4.7/5.0
38 oz
Channels: 6
Feature-packed transmitter and built-in antenna.
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Transmitters—also called XMTR or TX for short—are no different to other products with regards to quality features and price. But you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get a very capable tool.

About these Reviews

I’ve looked at all the details and read lots of user feedback to come up with this shortlist of capable transmitters. There’s something here for everyone whether you fly at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels. The reviews are short and to the point. I’ve ordered them by price with the least expensive at the top first for your convenience.

The table below shows these radio transmitters in the order they appear in this guide.

Best RC Transmitters Comparison Table

Make and ModelChannelsMemoryPrice
Flysky FS-i6X 2.4GHz Transmitter1020Check Price
FrSkyACCSTTaranis Q X7 (2.4GHz)16UnlimitedCheck Price
Turnigy 9X Transmitter (Mode 2)98Check Price
Spektrum DX6E 6Ch Transmitter6250Check Price
FrSkyTaranis X9D Plus (16-CH 2.4ghz Mode 2)16UnlimitedCheck Price
Tactic TTX660 6CH 2.4GHZ Slt Radio Transmitter630Check Price
Futaba 6J 6-Channel S-FHSS 2.4GHz RC615Check Price

Point to note: For any hobby or serious transmitter to function it needs a receiver. A lot of transmitters come with receivers because they often need their own compatible devices in order to work. You might have to buy a receiver as an optional extra with some other products.

1. Flysky FS-i6X 2.4GHz (10-CHANNEL) RC

Flysky FS-i6X 2.4GHz (10-CHANNEL) RCView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Flysky FS-i6X 2.4GHz 10 channel model is hard to beat for the price. It’s well-built for a transmitter in its class and is a breeze to use even at the entry-level.

  • Best feature 1: Lightweight, easy to hold and handle
  • Best feature 2: Clear LCD display
  • Plus points: Long battery life, easy menu, smooth responsive sticks, reliable
  • Minus points: Switches could be marked clearer

The robust and comfortable design sports an easy-to-use menu system with a plethora of functions. I’d say the FS-i6X has a look and feel to it that you’d usually find on much costlier models. It only weighs around 14 ounces which is ideal when you use the device for long periods.

The LCD is clear and easy on the eyes indoors and out. The overall power consumption seems low as the four 6V DC 1.5 AA batteries tend to last for days even with heavy usage. I’ve read some negative reports about Flysky’s menu layout but others find it easy to navigate. I agree with the latter. The control sticks also have a nice intuitive feel to them and all the RC switches are within easy reach.

Overall this is a nicely built 10 channel 2.4GHz receiver that does exactly what it says on the box.

The Not So Good

Although the switches work well and feel great they do fall short on design. The problem with the switches is that they are not in contrasting colors and that makes them difficult to see.

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Tech Specs
Dimensions: 7.5 x 6.8 x 3.5″
Product Weight: 13.8 oz. (391g)
Channels: 10
Model memory: 20
Range: Not specified
The Pros
Great value
Ergonomic, lightweight design
Easy to use (once familiar with the switches, see cons)
LCD easy on the eyes
Long battery life
Intuitive menu; easy to navigate
Smooth responsive sticks
Robust, reliable product
The Cons
Switches not in contrasting colors; difficult to see

2. FrSkyACCSTTaranis Q X7 (2.4GHz 16-CH)

FrSkyACCSTTaranis Q X7 (2.4GHz 16-CH)View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

This is another quality transmitter from FrSky at the budget end. It’s simple to use, feels comfortable in the hands, and is easy to program and run flight simulators. It offers a lot for very little outlay.

  • Best feature 1: RSSI Alerts (Receiver Signal Strength Indicator)
  • Best feature 2: Real-time logging of flight data
  • Plus points: Audio speech outputs, quad ball bearing gimbals, lightweight, feature-packed
  • Minus points: Limited instructions, no battery or charger

The RSSI Alerts are a nice touch and not something you find on all transmitters. The only downside with this particular model is that they may not be setup by default as they are with other Taranis transmitters. There should be YouTube videos to guide you if your model has this issue. Other popular features are the flight data logging, audio speech outputs, and the quad ball bearing gimbals.

To appreciate the quad ball bearing gimbals you have to experience operation without them. You will see that they make everything so much smoother to the touch. Add to this the lightweight feel of the craft and it’s easy to see why the Taranis Q X7 is so popular.

Feature Packed at an Affordable Price

This RC transmitter is feature-packed. Just take a look at its other major characteristics:

  • Haptic Vibration Feedback System (alternative feedback to sound and voice alerts)
  • 16 channels
  • 6 switches and 2 knobs
  • Runs on OpenTX
  • Can share files with the X9D Plus
  • MicroSD card slot (for unlimited memory)
  • USB port (upgrades and to adjust settings via a PC)
  • Spring loaded sticks
  • Backlit menu
  • Audio jack output & trainer port
  • Others

The Not So Good

The FrSky 2.4G ACCSTTaranis Q X7 16CH transmitter comes with instructions but they’re vague at best. It’s better to become familiar with this transmitter using YouTube videos tutorials. It doesn’t come with batteries or a charger either so make sure you have those ready in advance.

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Tech Specs
Dimensions: 11 x 9.9 x 4.4″
Product Weight: 37 oz. (1049g)
Channels: 16
Model memory: Unlimited (MicroSD)
Range: Dependent on the receiver. Expect at least 1km with a decent product.
The Pros
Affordable transmitter
Easy to setup and use, but watch videos rather than try to follow enclosed instructions.
RSSI Alerts
Real-time flight data logging
Audio speech outputs
Quad ball bearing gimbals
Lightweight
Feature-packed (see review)
The Cons
Instruction not overly clear
No battery or charger included

3. Turnigy 9X Transmitter (9-CH Mode 2)

Turnigy 9X Transmitter (9-CH Mode 2)View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

The earlier Turnigy 9X 9-channel Transmitter was a bit buggy and wouldn’t have made it onto this page. The new V2 firmware update has since corrected those earlier flaws making it a better product.

  • Best feature 1: Ultra-fast reaction times
  • Best feature 2: Great transmitter for entry and pro level
  • Plus points: Interference-free, 8-sticks, simulator interface, warning alarms, switch error
  • Minus points: No instructions, no card slot

This is an economic transmitter that has decent scope for the cost. And if you know what you’re doing it’s quite possible to modify the station. For example, you can change firmware, module change, and update to a lipo battery to name a few possibilities. The fast reaction times make it a good transmitter for expert operators as well as entry-level users.

Specs and More Specs

The updated version is interference-free, though the 100% claim may be a tad ambitious to be honest. The positioning of both switches and pots make them comfortable to use. The sticks are adjustable which means you can tailor their position for personal comfort.

Here are a few of the other transmitter highlights:

  • Simulator interface
  • Warning alarms including switch error
  • AFHDS 2A Protocol
  • 8 Model Memory
  • Multi-channel frequency hopping
  • Unique ID recognition system
  • Low power consumption
  • SBUS/IBUS and CPPM/PWM support

The Not So Good

There are lots of complaints about missing instructions with this product and I’m not sure why. Most people tend to prefer online video tutorials anyway but that’s not the point. Another disadvantage is the absence of a memory card slot so the model memory stays at eight.

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Tech Specs
Dimensions: 14.8 x 10.5 x 5″
Product Weight: 34 oz. (953g)
Channels: 9
Model memory: 8
Range: 500m +
The Pros
Affordable transmitter
Fast reaction times
8-sticks
Simulator interface
Low power consumption
Multi-channel frequency hopping
Warning alarms
The Cons
No instructions included
No memory card slot
Fairly short range

4. Spektrum DX6E 6Ch Radio Transmitter

Spektrum DX6E 6Ch Radio TransmitterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The Spektrum DX6E 6CH is a capable radio transmitter that seems popular among users. It’s versatile and feature-packed but it won’t suit everyone so let’s take a closer look.

  • Best feature 1: 250 model memory
  • Best feature 2: Helicopter, multirotor, airplane, and sailplane programming
  • Plus points: Built-in telemetry, wireless trainer link, share model setups, easy to use
  • Minus points: Drains battery fast, instructions not clear for novice users, no WIRED trainer port

The 250 model memory is more than enough for the majority of users. What’s even better is that the Spektrum DX6E will only populate the model list with the ones the user configured. Programming is a breeze and supports helicopter, multirotor, airplane, and sailplane. The built-in telemetry and wireless trainer link are other cool features as is the ability to share model setups with other Spektrumusers.

The Not So Good

The AA batteries can drain fast so converting to a chargeable battery pack is important (not included). Another gripe is that the instructions are not clear for novice users so it’s YouTube video tutorials to the rescue—again. And finally, there’s no wired trainer port. The wireless training link is great but no WIRED option means you can’t plug it into a regular PC for use with simulators.

amazon

Tech Specs
Dimensions: 12 x 9.3 x 5.5″
Product Weight: 54 oz. (1531g)
Channels: 6
Model memory: 250
Range: Not specified
The Pros
Amazon’s Choice Product
250 model memory
Helicopter, multirotor, airplane, and sailplane programming
Built-in telemetry
Wireless trainer link
Share model setups with other Spektrum users
Easy to use (once you get the hang of it)
The Cons
Drains AA batteries quite fast
Instructions not written with novice users in mind
No WIRED training port

5. FrSkyTaranis X9D Plus (16-CH 2.4ghz Mode 2)

FrSkyTaranis X9D Plus (16-CH 2.4ghz Mode 2)View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The FrSkyTaranis X9D Plus is a nice RC with a quality feel to it. It has an extensive menu system too, but don’t let it overwhelm you. You certainly don’t need to know everything to get started.

  • Best feature 1: Backlight LCD Screen
  • Best feature 2: Real-time flight datalogging
  • Plus points: Quad ball bearing gimbals, built-in battery charger, audio speech outputs, MicroSD
  • Minus points: No user manual (booklet), not novice-friendly

The FrSkyTaranis X9D Plus is a nice RC with a quality feel to it. It has an extensive menu system too, but don’t let it overwhelm you. You certainly don’t need to know everything to get started.

The Taranis X9D Plusdaunts some people because of its bells, whistles, and seven switches. The secret is to simply start using it then everything will make more sense. FrSkyhas taken care of all the small details too. You get a 2000mAh NiMHbattery, battery charger, neckstrap, and a quality carry case. I mention these things because not all transmitters include them, not even in this price range.

Using the FrSkyTaranis X9D Plus

The backlit LCD screen is a godsend for operating outdoors. The real-time data logging lets you record flight data immediately—as it happens. And you can feel the difference with quad ball bearing gimbals which add to the transmitter’s usability appeal. The built-in battery charger makes recharging simple. The standard setup should give a range of about 1.5km but it’s possible to upgrade.

The audio speech outputs are welcome in a time where we like to hear the spoken word in tech products. The slightly robotic voice informs you of things like current settings, alarms, and values, etc. There are 60 model memory slots by default but the SD card option means there are few limits.

The Not So Good

The poor instructions make the cons list again. It’s not the guidelines per se; it’s how they deliver them. You get a few loose sheets in the box rather than a organized booklet. And there are a few gripes from novice users that the receiver’s hard to use but that’s nothing a little patience won’t cure.

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Tech Specs
Dimensions: 16 x 13 x 6″
Product Weight: 51 oz. (1446g)
Channels: 16
Model memory: 60 (more by SD card)
Range: 1.5km (standard setup)
The Pros
Backlit LCD screen
Real-time flight data logging
Quad ball bearing gimbals
Built-in battery charger (battery included)
Audio speech outputs
MicroSD slot
The Cons
No user-manual (booklet)
Transmitter has a learning curve; not novice-friendly

6. Tactic TTX660 6CH 2.4GHZ Slt Radio Transmitter

Tactic TTX660 6CH 2.4GHZ Slt Radio TransmitterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

Whatever kind of pilot you are the Tactic TTX660 6-channel 2.4GHZ SltRC should serve you well. It has specially dedicated menus for consumer drones, planes, and helicopters.

  • Best feature 1: Dedicated menus for drones, planes, and helicopters
  • Best feature 2: Large backlit LCD screen
  • Plus points: Push-button programming, flight simulator cable jack, ergonomic design
  • Minus points: Limited user feedback, no SD card slot, price tag

This is a great looking receiver with a nice feel to it. It’s also one of the most feature-packed on this page but with a price tag to match. It has a nice bright blue backlit screen and that’s always welcome. Programming is simple thanks to the push-button functionality. There’s also a flight simulator cable jack located on the back of the casing. That means you can plug the RC transmitter directly into a PC.

Here’s a quick rundown on some of the TTX660’s main features:

  • Transmitter compatible with all Tx-R aircraft and SLT receivers
  • 2 sliding levers w/ full sweep angle
  • Proportional dial
  • Intuitive easy-to-navigate menus
  • User switch assignments
  • 30-model memory
  • 4 programmable mixes and 8 pre-programmed mixes
  • Digital trims with slow/fast adjustment
  • Adjustable low-voltage alarm
  • Adjustable sticks (length & tension)
  • Wireless training system
  • Ball-bearing gimbals for more precise control

There are others tooandlotsto explore with this versatile transmitter by Tactic.

The Not So Good

Tactic hasn’t sold many units yet compared to the more established models. That means there’s a lack of real user feedback at the time of writing. There’s a 30-model memory but it’s not expandable because there’s no memory SD card slot. The price tag is another disadvantage. It’s not because it’s too expensive but because it hasn’t found its place in the market just yet.

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Tech Specs
Dimensions: 10.4 x 9.6 x 4.4″
Product Weight: 39 oz. (1106g)
Channels: 6
Model memory: 30
Range: Depends on the setup
The Pros
Affordable transmitter
SLT receivers are cheap (not included)
Ergonomic design and feel
Large blue backlit screen
Easy to program
Dedicated menus
Wired and wireless trainer system
Battery protection
The Cons
Limited user feedback (reviews)
No SD memory card slot
Price a little on the high side

7. Futaba 6J 6-Channel S-FHSS 2.4GHz RC

Futaba 6J 6-Channel S-FHSS 2.4GHz RCView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The faceplate of the Futaba 6J is clean and uncluttered compared to a lot of transmitters in its class. Everything you need access to is right there at your fingertips despite the neat design.

  • Best feature 1: Airplane and helicopter software
  • Best feature 2: Throttle cut button
  • Plus points: Trainer system, low battery warnings; antenna diversity, range check mode
  • Minus points: Tiny throttle cut button, cheap plastics, small LCD screen, no LCD backlight

The transmitter comes with heli and plane software and lots of neat features to boot. There’s also a trainer system but you have to buy the cord separately so be sure to get that in advance.Some other features include battery warnings (mix & low), a range check mode, and a lot more besides.

The Physical Transmitter

The 6J even has a built-in antenna that prevents accidental damage or breakage. It’s the small details like this that can make a big difference to the end user. The physical transmitter is nicely balanced (sits well with the neck strap on) and feels comfortable to grip. The unit also has a flat broad base which means it can stand firm when set down.

There’s a lot to like and plenty to explore, but is it worth the price tag (most expensive in this guide).

The Not So Good

The push-button throttle is a handy feature but it’s tiny and poorly located. It’s the one button that needs to be bigger and better positioned for quick access. The plastics used in the build feel cheap despite the ergonomic design. The LCD is also small and it lacks backlighting.

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Tech Specs
Dimensions: 4.8 x 10.2 x 16″
Product Weight: 38 oz. (1077g)
Channels: 6
Model memory: 15
Range: Not specified
The Pros
Clean, uncluttered design
Feature-packed transmitter
Built-in antenna
Airplane and heli software
Push-button throttle cut
Trainer system
Battery warnings
Range check mode
The Cons
Tiny throttle cut button located in poor position
Cheap plastics used in the build
Tiny LCD screen with no backlighting