Using LiPo Batteries for FPV Drones: A Beginner’s Guide with Top Product Recommendations

LiPo batteries are an incredible power source for FPV drones, providing a substantial amount of energy storage and delivery capabilities. However, if not handled correctly, they can pose safety risks. This guide will cover the basics of LiPo batteries for FPV drones, including safe charging practices and proper storage techniques when not in use.

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Disclaimer: The information on this page is intended as general advice. Ensuring battery safety is your responsibility, and you should use the information provided at your own risk.

Battery Recommendations

When choosing LiPo batteries, always opt for reputable brands to ensure performance and value. The most common LiPo batteries used on 5″ FPV drones are 4S and 6S. To understand the differences between them, visit: Typical battery capacities range between 1300-1600mAh for 4S and 1000-1300mAh for 6S.

For smaller batteries for micro drones (Tiny whoops, 2″, 3″, 3.5″), check out this post:

GNB – Budget Option #1

For beginners, investing in top-tier batteries may not be necessary since you won’t need all that power, and crashes are more likely to damage them. Choosing a cost-effective option is a smarter choice during the learning phase.

GNB has been a reliable budget option in the FPV drone world for quite some time. Many batteries available in the market are actually rebranded from GNB, demonstrating the industry’s confidence in their products.

Product Page

4S 1500mAh:
6S 1100mAh:
Other voltage/capacity:

Dogcom – Budget Option #2

Dogcom 6s 4s Lipo Battery Fpv Drone

Alongside GNB, Dogcom is another great budget battery. However the trade off for having excellent performing cells is that they are ever so slightly larger and heavier than other brands in its class, it’s worth it if you need that extra punch.

Product Page


Best LiPo Batteries for 3″ FPV Drones

Dogcom 550mAh 150C
Dogcom 650mAh 150C
Tattu R-Line 550mAh 95C
Tattu R-Line 750mah 95C

Are LiPo Batteries Safe?

When handled correctly, LiPo batteries are perfectly safe. However, LiPo batteries may catch fire due to improper handling or physical damage. Ensuring safety involves careful treatment and vigilance in handling your batteries.

Understanding LiPo Battery Basics

Lithium polymer batteries, or LiPo batteries, boast an exceptional power-to-weight ratio, making them an ideal choice for FPV drones.

To select the appropriate LiPo battery, it’s crucial to learn how to interpret its specifications and become familiar with essential terminology, which will be explained in the following sections.

LiPo battery label explained: voltage, capacity, cell count (s)

LiPo Battery Voltage

LiPo batteries consist of individual cells, each with a nominal voltage of 3.7V, which is indicated on the battery label.

A LiPo battery is designed to operate safely within a specific voltage range, typically between 3.0V and 4.2V. Overcharging a LiPo battery above 4.2V is dangerous and may lead to a fire. Discharging below 3V may result in irreversible performance degradation or battery damage. This minimum voltage is also referred to as the cut-off voltage. It is generally recommended to stop discharging when the battery reaches 3.5V per cell to extend its lifespan.

Cell Count

LiPo batteries may have multiple cells. The ‘S’ rating on a battery refers to the number of cells it has. So, a 6S battery has six cells, a 4S battery has four, and so on. Because each cell has a nominal voltage of 3.7V, a 4S battery has a nominal voltage of 4*3.7V=14.8V, while a 6S battery has a nominal voltage of 6*3.7V=22.2V.

Battery voltage directly affects motor speed, so using a higher cell-count battery can increase your drone’s power (assuming the drone supports the higher voltage). However, adding more cells also makes the battery heavier and more expensive.

In the hobby, we typically refer to batteries by their cell count or “S” designation:

  • 1S = 1 cell = 3.7V
  • 2S = 2 cells = 7.4V
  • 3S = 3 cells = 11.1V
  • 4S = 4 cells = 14.8V
  • 5S = 5 cells = 18.5V
  • 6S = 6 cells = 22.2V

For example, we call a 14.8V battery a “4-cell” or just “4S” battery.

Interesting facts:

  • Connecting two identical batteries in series doubles the voltage but doesn’t change capacity (e.g., two 2S 1000mAh batteries in series become a 4S 1000mAh battery). Connecting them in parallel doubles capacity while maintaining the same voltage (e.g., a 2S 2000mAh pack).
  • LiPos may also use a “P” designation for voltage, with “P” indicating the number of cells in parallel. 2S1P means “2 cells in series and 1 cell in parallel.” If a battery doesn’t have a “P,” it’s assumed to be “1P,” so 2S1P and 2S are the same.
  • 3S2P means “3 cells in series and 2 cells in parallel.” This battery has a total of 6 cells, with 2 parallel groups of cells, each containing 3 cells in series.


The capacity of a LiPo battery, measured in mAh (milliampere-hour), indicates how much current you can draw from the battery continuously for an hour until it’s empty. Note that 1000mAh equals 1Ah.

For example, with a 1300mAh LiPo (or 1.3Ah), it would take an hour to be completely discharged if you draw a constant 1.3A current from it. If the current draw doubles to 2.6A, the duration would be halved (1.3/2.6=0.5). If you draw 39A of current non-stop, the pack would last only 2 minutes (1.3/39=1/30 of an hour).

Increasing your battery capacity might offer longer flight time, but the tradeoff is a heavier, larger battery. Weight significantly impacts an aircraft’s flight time, so it’s essential to choose a battery with an optimal balance between capacity and weight for maximum efficiency.

Higher capacity batteries could also provide higher discharge currents, as explained in the next section.

C Rating

C Rating is an indicator of the maximum current you can safely draw from a LiPo battery without causing damage. In theory, this can be calculated by:

Maximum Current Draw = Capacity x C-Rating

Drawing more current than specified by the C-rating is not recommended, as the battery can overheat, increase internal resistance over time, shorten battery lifespan, or even cause thermal runaway (catching fire) in extreme cases.

Batteries with higher C-ratings tend to be heavier and larger even at the same capacity. For example, these two 4S 650mAh batteries shown in the image have different weight and sizes due to differing C-ratings.

 A higher C-rating battery offers better performance, especially for power-hungry drones, but it’s not always the best choice. On a low-power cruiser, extra power from a higher C-rating battery might be unnecessary, while the added weight could be counterproductive and result in less flight time. It’s all about using the right tool for the job.

Although C-rating could be a useful tool, it has become mostly a marketing tool in recent years, so take it with a grain of salt. Brands might inflate C-rating numbers, making it meaningless for comparison between brands. However, it can still be helpful for choosing a battery from the same brand, assuming they follow the same standard. As long as you select batteries from our recommendations, C-rating shouldn’t be a major concern.

Internal Resistance

All electrical components have resistance, including batteries. The resistance within a battery is called internal resistance (IR), which indicates how much the battery resists current flow. Internal resistance can be used to measure LiPo battery performance. Lower IR means the battery can deliver power to your FPV drone more effectively.

Monitoring IR over time is also useful for determining when to retire a LiPo battery. LiPo cells’ IR increases slowly with time and usage, an inevitable and irreversible process. The following bad practices can accelerate battery aging:

  • Over-discharging and over-charging
  • Pushing the battery too hard by discharging at a higher current than it’s rated for, for an extended period
  • Overheating

The biggest factor affecting a battery’s maximum discharge rate is its internal resistance. High IR leads to more noticeable voltage drop as you increase throttle, a phenomenon known as “voltage sag”. As voltage decreases, motors lose RPM, and the drone feels less powerful and responsive.

Some batteries are designed for low-current applications (e.g., 8C or 10C rating for powering a radio), which inherently have higher IR. 18650 Li-ion batteries also have higher IR than typical LiPo batteries, which is normal.

For more information on when to retire a battery and how to measure internal resistance, check out our dedicated article on the topic:

Discharge Connector

All LiPo batteries come with two sets of wires/connectors: the discharge connector (main lead) and balance connector (balance lead). However, 1S batteries only have a discharge connector since balancing is not required for 1 cell.

The discharge lead typically consists of two thicker red and black wires used to power the FPV drone.

Another set of smaller wires connects to a white connector; this is the balance lead. The number of wires depends on the battery’s cell count.

LiPo battery label explained: voltage, capacity, cell count (s)

The most common discharge connector is the XT60, mainly used in 5″ FPV drones or larger. For smaller drones, the XT30, a smaller version of the XT60, is often used. They have similar shapes but differ in sizes and current ratings.

Other battery connectors commonly used in FPV drones and equipment include:

Name Image Voltage Wire Gauge
PH2.0 and BT2.0 1S 22-28AWG
GNB27 Sub250 Nanofly16 Ultralight Fpv Drone (1.6inch Toothpick) Lipo Battery Connector 1S, 2S 20-28AWG
XT30 2S, 3S, 4S 20-26AWG
XT60  3S, 4S, 5S, 6S 12-18AWG

For more information on electrical wires and connectors, refer to our in-depth article on the topic:

Balance Connector

LiPo batteries with more than one cell will always have a balance lead, which is for monitoring and balancing cell voltages. The official name of the balance connector is JST-XH.

LiPo battery balance leads

You will need to connect the balance lead to the charger when charging. This allows the charger to check and balance the voltage of each cell during charging. Importantly, always plug in the balance lead before charging!

The number of wires in a balance lead starts at 3 for a 2S LiPo, and that number increases by 1 for every increment in cell count:

  • 2S – 3 wires
  • 3S – 4 wires
  • 4S – 5 wires
  • 5S – 6 wires
  • 6S – 7 wires

It’s not uncommon for your balance lead to be damaged by spinning propellers during flight. To learn how to repair a broken balance lead, refer to our detailed tutorial:

Keeping Battery Balanced

Toolkitrc Mc8 Lipo Voltage Checker Menu Screen Interface Cells

It’s important to make sure the cells in a battery are within similar range before using it, otherwise you can risk over-discharging the cells with lower voltage. Also if a battery pack consistently become unbalanced, the cells probably have different internal resistance and should be inspected more closely.

Just plug in the balance lead into a voltage checker and it will display the voltage of all cells. Get a voltage checker here:

Battery Types


LiPo stands for lithium polymer, it’s the standard battery chemistry used for racing and freestyle FPV drones. LiPo has a fully charged voltage of 4.2 V and storage charge voltage of 3.85V.


LiHV is a special type of LiPo battery, with HV standing for “high voltage.” They are more energy-dense than traditional LiPo batteries and can be charged up to 4.35V per cell (as opposed to the standard 4.20V). However, there are mixed reviews regarding the longevity of LiHV batteries, as they might experience a decrease in performance sooner than regular LiPos. In our post, we compared a LiHV battery with a LiPo in terms of performance. Despite these concerns, LiHV batteries have become a popular choice for 1S Tiny Whoops because the impact of the higher voltage is significant.


Li-Ion stands for Lithium ion, typically have a much higher capacity compared to LiPo of the same weight. Because of its higher capacity per weight, Li-Ion batteries are great for long range flying. However it has much lower discharging performance, making it not suitable for aggressive flying. Learn more about Li-Ion batteries and recommendations here:

Choosing the Right LiPo Battery

If you follow my LiPo battery recommendations, you can avoid worrying about calculations I am going to show you below. Also make sure to steer clear of “no-name” batteries, and stick to reputable brands such as:

  • GNB (Gaoneng)
  • CNHL (China Hobby Line)
  • Lumenier (GetFPV)
  • RDQ
  • Rebel Batteries
  • Tattu R-Line

Here’s I will show you how to choose an ideal battery for your drone.


As a rule of thumb, the battery should weight roughly 1/2 of the weight of the freestyle/racing drone. And you pretty much don’t need to consider anything else if you follow my battery recommendations as the performance should be good enough. If you have a drone that has different size or weight class, then you can follow these additional rules below.

Determining Drone Current Draw

After deciding on motor and propeller sizes, you should be able to find thrust data for your motor, as well as the current draw for supported propeller sizes. For example, with this motor and 5040×3 props, it draws up to 36.74A at 100% throttle.

The total maximum current draw for a quadcopter with four motors would be 36.74 x 4 = 146.96A at 100% throttle. If you want to play it safe, you can use this number to find a battery with a high enough C-rating. However, I usually reduce it by 30-40% for two reasons: firstly, we rarely fly at 100% throttle for more than a few seconds (I personally mostly fly at around 40-60% throttle); and secondly, motors draw significantly fewer amps in real life than in static thrust tests due to moving air.

Although other components also draw current, their impact is insignificant compared to the motors, so you can usually disregard them.

Choosing optimal battery capacity

Now you need to work out the suitable battery capacity, which depends on the size of your quadcopter, and C rating required. Here is the general guideline I personally follow:

For 4S LiPo:

6 inch: 1500mah - 2200mah 5 inch: 1300mah - 1800mah 4 inch: 850mah - 1300mmah 3 inch: 650mah -1000mah

For 6S LiPo:

6 inch: 1200mah - 1500mah 5 inch: 900mah - 1300mah 4 inch: 550mah - 900mmah 3 inch: 400mah - 650mah

From there, we can calculate the C rating requirement using this formula:

C Rating = Current Draw / Capacity

How to Charge LiPo

Selecting A LiPo Charger

To charge LiPo batteries, you’ll need a charger specifically designed for them due to their strict charging requirements. You can learn how to choose a high-quality LiPo charger in this buyer’s guide:

The following information applies if you choose a charger from my recommendations.

Connecting a LiPo to a Charger

Charging LiPo batteries with most modern chargers is quite simple. Typically, you just need to plug in the XT60 and balance connectors, set a few parameters, and you’re good to go.

Charger Modes

  • Balance Charge: While charging the battery, the charger monitors the voltage of each cell and keeps them balanced. This is the safest and most recommended method of charging your LiPo battery.
  • Storage Charge: The charger brings each cell to storage voltage (which is between 3.80V and 3.85V, depending on the charger).
  • Discharge: The charger attempts to drain the LiPo battery (this process can be extremely slow, depending on the discharging power of the charger).

The Importance of Balance Charging

Always plug in the balance lead before charging.

Each cell in a battery has slight variations, and after a flight, you might find that the cell voltages differ. Charging a battery with imbalanced cell voltages without using the balance lead could lead to some cells ending up below 4.2V and others exceeding 4.2V, which is dangerous.

Most modern LiPo chargers have balance charging as the only charging mode. If you have a cheap or old charger that allows charging without the balance lead, discard it immediately and invest in a proper charger. Charging without the balance lead is unsafe!

Charging Speed: How Fast Should You Charge?

Charging LiPo batteries at 1C or lower is recommended, as it puts the least strain on the battery. This means setting the charge current to 1 times the battery’s capacity. For example, for a 1500mAh LiPo, charging at 1C means setting the charge current to 1.5A (1C x 1500mA), and for a 900mAh battery, that is 0.9A, and so on.

Fun Fact: Charging at 1C will take approximately one hour to fully charge the battery from empty.

Many batteries now support faster charging, such as at 3C or even 5C. Ensure you understand your LiPo’s specifications before charging at higher rates. If in doubt, just charge at 1C, as charging your battery at higher C rates increases the risk of LiPo overheating or causing a fire.

Choose a Safe Charging Location

It is crucial to charge your batteries in an area free of flammable items and materials. If you are charging indoors, try to do it near a window or door so that you can quickly throw the battery out in case of a fire.

I personally store and charge my batteries in an ammo box (available on Amazon). Do not rely solely on “LiPo Bags”; they may slow down a LiPo fire, but they won’t completely contain it. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby when charging batteries.

Never Leave Charging LiPo Batteries Unattended

Do not leave the room while charging your batteries. Many LiPo-related fires occur because people leave the charging process unattended. You should always supervise LiPo batteries during charging. Regularly check their temperature; they should remain cool. If a battery becomes warm or starts to swell, stop charging and investigate. It could be a faulty LiPo that needs to be retired, an overcharging issue, or simply charging too quickly.

Other Safety Rules

Incorrect handling of LiPo batteries can potentially cause fires. Please familiarize yourself with these safety rules before handling or charging batteries:

  • Pick up LiPo batteries by the body, not the wires, which can be pulled off from fragile solder joints.
  • Allow batteries to cool down completely after a flight before charging them.
  • Never use or charge a damaged or swollen battery.
  • Verify the number of cells and battery type are set correctly on your charger before charging.
  • Avoid overcharging. While smart chargers can normally take care of this for you, it’s wise to check cell voltages regularly.
  • Keep batteries out of direct sunlight.
  • Always remove the battery from the device it’s powering and place it in a safe area before charging.
  • Never short the outputs of a battery at any time.

Parallel charging

Parallel charging may not be the safest method for charging LiPo batteries, but it offers a quick way to charge multiple batteries simultaneously. I have a comprehensive tutorial that explains how to safely perform parallel charging:

Hota S6 400w Dual Channel Smart Lipo Charger Parallel Charging Operation

Charging 1S LiPo batteries

Charging small 1S batteries can be a bit different than charging larger packs. One option is to charge multiple 1S batteries using a parallel board, which essentially combines them as one large 1S battery. However, the most effective method for charging 1S batteries is to use a dedicated 1S battery charger or serial charge board. Check out my recommendations for 1S battery chargers here:

Vifly Whoop 1s Series Charging Board Lipo Batteries Bt2.0

How to Use LiPo Batteries Safely

How long you can leave LiPo batteries fully charged?

It’s ok to charge your batteries the day before your flights. However, personally, if I don’t fly the next couple of days, I always return my batteries to storage voltage (e.g. 3.8V per cell).

Avoid leaving them fully charged or empty for extended periods. Batteries not at their storage voltage will degrade faster over time. Generally, most people find it acceptable to leave batteries fully charged or discharged for a few days. However, if you don’t plan to fly for more than a couple of weeks, it’s best to put your batteries at storage charge. Most modern chargers can do this easily, but discharging can be slow. You might want to consider getting a dedicated discharger if you do this frequently:

Operating Temperature

FPV drone LiPo batteries perform optimally between 30°C and 60°C. Cold weather negatively affects LiPo battery performance, resulting in worse voltage sag and reduced flight time. Keep your batteries warm before a flight (e.g., by placing them in your pocket). Here are some additional tips on how to fly FPV in cold weather:

LiPo batteries also suffer in excessive heat, as they can swell or even catch fire. Make sure not to leave them under direct sunlight in the summer!

When to Land

You should land your drone when your battery voltage reaches 3.5V to 3.6V.

Although you can continue flying with lower voltages, doing so puts extra strain on the battery and may shorten its lifespan. All cells in a battery are different, and during a burst of throttle, the battery will sag with some cells sagging more than others. This can result in cells going below the safe limit and causing damage. Landing at around 3.5V reduces the risk of this happening.

Another reason to land early is that voltage drops significantly faster below 3.5V. Continuing to fly could result in over-discharging your battery before you can land safely. Over-discharging can cause permanent damage and shorten battery life.

LiPo battery discharge diagram: voltage vs capacity

How to Store LiPo Batteries

As mentioned earlier, if you don’t plan to use a LiPo battery for an extended period (longer than a few weeks, for example), you should:

  1. Storage charge it to 3.8-3.85V
  2. Store it in a fireproof place (in LiPo bags, ammo box, etc.)
  3. Store it at room temperature – excessively cold or hot conditions can impact battery lifespan and safety

When a LiPo cell is around 3.8V-3.85V, it has approximately 40% to 50% charge remaining. This is the most stable state for a LiPo battery, which is why new batteries from shops typically arrive half charged.

LiPo Safe Bags

Creator: Gd Jpeg V1.0 (using Ijg Jpeg V62), Quality = 70

LiPo bags are made of cloth, often with a metallic compound woven into them, and generally have either a zipper or Velcro fastener. They provide lightweight, inexpensive storage for battery transportation. While LiPo bags may slow down a battery fire, they are not effective at stopping or containing one. For long-term storage, a metal ammo box is recommended. However, LiPo bags are relatively affordable and still better than nothing.

Get your LiPo bags from:

Ammo Box

Creator: Gd Jpeg V1.0 (using Ijg Jpeg V62), Quality = 80

Before using an ammo box to store your LiPo batteries, remove the rubber seal on the lid (just pry it off with a screwdriver). If possible, drill a couple of small holes to allow air to escape in the event of a fire (or ensure the box is not tightly shut) to prevent pressure buildup inside an airtight metal container.

Get your Ammo Box from:

Bat-Safe LiPo Box

Bat Safe Lipo Battery Charging Box

The Bat-Safe box safely contains battery fires, vents hot gases, filters flame and soot, while ensuring easy battery charging and transportation. It’s like the upgraded version of the Ammo box. See my full review here:

You can find the Bat-Safe Box here:

What to do with over-discharged LiPo

Completely discharging a LiPo battery can result in oxidation of the cells over time, causing a permanent reduction in performance. However, if detected quickly enough, you can usually save the battery without significant damage to its performance.

Chargers may not recognize an over-discharged battery due to low cell voltage. In such cases, it’s advisable to discard the battery. There are ways to rescue an over-discharged LiPo, but proceed at your own risk.

Traveling with LiPo Batteries

Many airlines and airports allow LiPo batteries in passengers’ carry-on luggage. Keep the following points in mind:

  1. Always check with your airline about traveling with LiPo batteries
  2. Do not carry LiPo batteries in your checked baggage
  3. Place your batteries in storage charge
  4. Tape or cover the connectors and store them in a LiPo safe bag
  5. Never travel with damaged batteries

For more information, see my guide on “How to travel with mini quad and LiPo batteries”:

What to Do if a LiPo Battery Catches Fire

  1. Don’t panic; if possible, unplug all connections first
  2. Use a fire extinguisher
  3. If that’s not an option, sand can effectively put out a LiPo fire; cover the burning LiPo with sand
  4. Avoid breathing in smoke and wait for the fire to go out and the battery to cool
  5. Do NOT use water

LiPo Disposal

When to Retire a LiPo Battery

LiPo batteries have a limited cycle life, with each charge and discharge counting as one cycle. A well-maintained LiPo battery for RC models could potentially last over 300 cycles. However, for many users, damaging the battery physically before reaching that point is a common occurrence.

There isn’t a specific rule for when to dispose of a battery, but LiPo batteries can lose their “punch” and capacity as internal resistance builds up over time. Internal resistance is a good indication of battery health. You should definitely dispose of a battery if it becomes dented from a crash or if it’s swollen like a balloon.

Learn more about when to retire or dispose of a LiPo battery in this article:

How to Dispose of LiPo Batteries

Old and damaged LiPo batteries should be disposed of properly. Learn about the different ways of disposing LiPo batteries in this article: Never to puncture LiPo batteries, as doing so can cause a fire.


Here are some common questions from hobbyists.

Q: Are swollen (puffed) LiPo batteries dangerous? A: Yes, swollen LiPo batteries are not safe to use or store.

Q: What causes LiPo batteries to become swollen? A: LiPo batteries swell when gas gets trapped inside the cells. This can occur naturally, but physical abuse (such as damage, overheating, or over-discharging) can cause the battery to generate more gas.

Q: Can I fix a puffed LiPo battery? A: No, you can’t. Once a LiPo battery becomes swollen, it’s irreversible. Dispose of it properly as soon as possible.

Q: How can I avoid swollen batteries? A: To avoid swollen batteries:

  • Do not over-discharge – use a voltage alarm or monitoring system
  • Don’t overheat – avoid leaving batteries under the sun or close to heat sources, and don’t overload the battery
  • Never overcharge – set up your charger properly and monitor it while charging
  • Store your LiPo batteries properly, as mentioned earlier in this article

Q: Do new batteries need to be broken in? A: Break-in procedures for new batteries are a controversial topic in the FPV community. Some believe that new batteries should go through a series of slow charge and discharge cycles before being fully utilized. Others, like myself, have tried this method and found no noticeable difference. For more discussion on the topic, see this forum thread.

Technical Terms

  • Cut-off voltage – the voltage at which a battery is considered discharged completely; For LiPo it’s 3.0V
  • Cycle life – 1 cycle is when you charge and discharge a battery. The cycle life is the total number of cycles the battery will last
  • State of charge – the energy level of a battery from 0% to 100%.
  • Burst C-Rating – the maximum discharge rate over a short period of time (normally within 10 seconds)


Congratulations, you made it!

Hopefully, you’ve learned something about LiPo batteries and how to use them safely. However, this guide doesn’t cover everything you need to know. If you’re uncertain about anything, continue researching to ensure you’re handling your LiPo batteries as safely as possible. Happy flying.

Edit History

  • Feb 2017 – Article created
  • Aug 2017 – Added “how to choose lipo”
  • Sept 2018 – Added “is LiPo safe?”
  • May 2019 – Updated Explanation of Cell Count and IR, updated section “how to charge”
  • Apr 2023 – Updated guide

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