This is a very fiery debate in the RC world. Both Futaba and Spektrum users will try to justify their transmitters, one way or another.
Which one should you get between Futaba vs Spektrum?
First of all, Futaba and Spektrum use two different spectrum methods: FHSS and DSSS. Currently, Futaba has a budget-friendly S-FHSS and T-FHSS technology which rivals Spektrum’s DSM2 and DSMR technology. There’s Spektrum’s DSMX system which is almost on par with Futaba’s FASST.
However, this doesn’t cover everything on this matter. Therefore, we hope you’ll stay with us till the end.
Getting to Know Futaba & Spektrum: The Brands and Their Methods
In easy words, your receiver receives signals sent by your transmitter. But there can be interferences that can disrupt the signal.
That’s why transmitters send signals in a pattern that eliminates the probability of interference. This is defined as Spread Spectrum Modulation.
The one Futaba uses is called Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum or FHSS. On the other hand, Spektrum’s DSSS stands for Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum.
It all comes down to which method is better in what price range. That’s why we’ve made a chart for you –
|Budget||Futaba Receivers||Compatible radios (Futaba)||Spektrum Receivers||Compatible radios
|Entry level (Less than $100)||FHSS||Futaba 3PRKA||DSM||Outdated.|
|Low Budget ($100-200)||S-FHSS||All radios||DSM2||Still supported.|
|Medium Budget ($200-300)||T-FHSS & T-FHSS SR||All radios except Futaba 3PRKA||DSMR||All radios|
|High Budget ($300$+)||FASST||High end Futaba models||DSMX||High end Spektrum models|
So, what do you think after reading the chart? Keep in mind that this chart is only focused on receivers.
What are FHSS and DSSS?
Before we start a detailed comparison, we should know what transmission types these companies use.
In an FHSS pattern, data can hop around 3 channels at a time. In this way, data can avoid interference and safely reach the receiver.
Intelligence agencies and militaries have been using this for years.
On the other hand, DSSS or Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum uses a pseudo-random noise. This noise or PN code increases bandwidth and lets the signal spread. As a result, it doesn’t get detected or face interference.
Both Futaba and Spektrum have improved their spectrum method over the years.
Futaba vs Spektrum: Budget-Wise Comparison
Now let’s have a quick look and jump into the details. This can potentially change your overall judgment too.
Knowing key differences can make many complex matters easy to understand. Spektrum DX6 vs Dx6e is one of the very few examples.
Which Brand is Better for Entry Level Budget
If you’re a beginner, this is the best range for you. Because you can venture into the RC world without spending too much money.
However, in this range, only Futaba 3PRKA supports FHSS receivers. These are used on surface RC models. You can get the receiver very cheap and they are perfect to start with.
On the other hand, Spektrum doesn’t make old DSM receivers anymore. However, you may find them in hobby shops at a very cheap price.
Winner: Futaba, as they are still selling FHSS receivers.
Which Brand is Better for a Low Budget
If the entry-level seems too cheap for you, this one will be a great option. You can manage a decent receiver in this range. They support most of the models too.
In this range, Futaba gives you a little bit faster receiver called S-FHSS. This protocol supports all kinds of Futaba transmitters.
So, you can just get this and later upgrade to any transmitter you want.
On the contrary, Spektrum offers the DSM2 protocol supported by their transmitter models. However, they have switched to DSMR protocol which offers faster speed but costs a little more.
Winner: S-FHSS is much better than DSM2 because it’s a much stronger signal. That’s why we’re going to pick Futaba here as well.
Speaking of receivers, here are some of our top picked receivers –
Which Brand is Better for a Medium Budget
This price range is the best to get almost everything at a fair price. Both Futaba and Spektrum sell their better gears in this range.
Within 300$ you can manage Futaba’s T-FHSS and T-FHSS SR receivers. They use telemetry systems and are much faster than S-FHSS technology. You can definitely use them with your top-notch RC cars.
Unfortunately, Futaba 3PRKA does not support T-FHSS.
T-FHSS SR is faster than T-FHSS and costs a little bit more. The SR stands for Super Response. They only support Futaba 4 PM and onward models.
Similarly, Spektrum also uses a telemetry system in their DSMR technology. They are also much faster than DSM2. DSMR is more of a refined version of that.
Winner: Spektrum’s DSMR is much more affordable than T-FHSS but it can’t run RC airplanes.
Which Brand is Better for a High Budget
If money isn’t an issue, this one’s perfect for you.
Futaba’s FASST technology uses both FHSS+DSSS methods together. Therefore, it’s the clear winner between FASST and DSM2.
On the other hand, Spektrum’s DSMX performs on par with FASST. DSMX nullifies DSM2’s drawbacks which makes it a direct competitor of FASST.
These are the best options for high-quality RC floatplanes. But it might be overkill for surface vehicles.
Winner: Futaba’s FASST. However, DSMX is a good cheaper option.
Futaba vs Spektrum: Which Takes The Crown?
Have you reached your conclusion?
The best one is the one that works and the one you can afford. However, we can summarize and help you decide.
Simply put, Futaba’s quality on every product is excellent. But they cost way more, which might not be the best for you.
On the contrary, Spektrum offers a lot of options at a fair price.
Question: Can you mix different brand’s transmitters and receivers?
Answer: No. A Futaba transmitter can only send information to a Futaba receiver. Same goes for Spektrum or Sanwa.
Question: What is the difference between FHSS and DSSS?
Answer: FHSS can activate 3 channels at once and hops around to avoid interference. On the contrary, DSSS has wider bandwidth to avoid interference and detection.
Question: Who makes Spektrum?
Answer: Horizon Hobby is the manufacturer of Spektrum, along with other RC devices.
Now you know everything you have to know about Futaba vs Spektrum. We hope this clears your confusion.
Which do you think is better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Lastly, have fun with RC!