Looking to buy your first drone and puzzled by ARF, RTF and BNF? Why are there sometimes three versions of the same quadcopter? We break these acronyms down and explain exactly what they mean by using the Eachine Wizard as an example.

RTF “Ready-to-fly”

what does RTF mean

RTFs basically comes ready to fly, well… almost. You might need to charge up the batteries or fix up the propellers. But this is the easiest quad for beginners who just want to hit the ground running.

BNF “Bind-and-fly”

BNF quad
Just needs a transmitter.

BNF is great if you already have the transmitter and are just looking for a new quad to fly, keep the controller you already have. It sounds simple but be careful, only certain transmitters can bind to other quads, so check compatibility before jumping in and going BNF. Otherwise, if you have the wrong transmitter, you can end up spending more than the RTF version.

ARF “Almost-ready-to-fly”

what is in an arf quad?
With ARF you should always read the description carefully to determine what actually is included, most of our ARF items will have a note as shown above.

ARF is smacked in between RTF & BNF. This is essentially requiring some assembly and extra parts. There is a range of what is included and excluded, sometimes it is without the motors, receiver & the transmitter. If you are going with ARF, read the itemized list of what is included in the ARF pack so you know exactly what other parts you need.

ARF needs more planning and research, you will need more parts and to build connections and components together, this is great for learning how to build however requires a basic understanding or research on what components you need to complete the full build. The setup of flight controller too is also needed to fully program the quad, although this is not difficult and the software is free it is a learning process.If you are looking to repair a crashed quad, an ARF can be a good repair kit too as buying the parts separately can also add up to more than you would get with a full ARF kit .ARF can be cheaper as it allows you to recycle parts from other quads you may have.

What one do I need?

In short,  if you are new go RTF, it’s is a standalone setup and will run straight out of the box and ideal if you have no parts or transmitter already. If you are going BNF be sure your receiver and transmitter protocols match as every transmitter will not bind to every multicopter.

I hope now you have a better understanding of what these mean and it helps you distinguish exactly what one you need.

If you have any further questions or tips of your own for beginners be sure to leave a comment.

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