King of the Hill: ESCs 2022-05-27

This will be a continually updated resource reflecting what’s happening in the current ESC landscape, and the company currently offering the best combination of product reliability, affordability, product specs, and customer service will own top position a.k.a King of the Hill, with reliability being the most important for obvious reasons. Inactive or unknown manufacturers will not make the list.

If you have a different take on the current situation, please share your thoughts below and if we reach a concensus, I’ll update the list.

King of the Hill as of 2022-05-27:

1: Maker-X.



Here’s why: In addition to bringing out the new GO-FOC DV6 100A dual, their regular DV6 is reported to be very reliable, and they currently make the best V4 spec ESC with the DV4.

They also have an impressively broad range of ESCs, so there’s pretty much anything to fit your build and budget. (I have four of them.) The company is fairly responsive with online questions, and while customer service has been up and down, it is usually positive.

There are multiple reports of people needing to flash the bootloader so that the fw will stick and here and there the odd DOA unit, but overall, Maker-X is easy to recommend these days.

2: LaCroix Stormcore


Many will ask why the Stormcore series (60D+ and 100D) is not in the top slot, and it’s a fair question. Recent reliability issues are the only thing that has dropped the Stormcore series to 2nd place, and they’ll no doubt figure things out.

For the moment, far too many DOA units out in the wild, and that’s accounting for some user error, as one must with ESCs. (It must be noted that Stormcores in OEM Lacroix boards seem to have a lower failure rate.)

Pricey, but once they fix the reliability concerns, contender for top slot.

3: Trampa VESC6

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Here’s another case where you can argue that the Trampa ESC should be higher up as it’s pretty well known as one of the more reliable options in ESCs.

For me, they’re just too expensive for the average DIY builder, so that’s why I see them in 3rd. Couple that with the unquestionably dodgy tactics Trampa displays in the DIY space, and they’re probably exactly where they should be at present.

4: Spintend

This is a tough company to rate, since their products are all over the place when it comes to reliability and setup. They get credit for bringing out one of the earlier high voltage ESCs with their V1, but there were far too many units that would up and burn to a crisp. Add to that the recent spate of motor detection deaths with their even higher voltage V2, and you have far too many reliability question marks.

The general feeling in the community towards Spintend is that they appear to have a serious lack of general testing/QA in place. Until they can straighten out their reliability issues and reliance on custom firmware to fix mistakes made in manufacturing, they’re going to have a hard time being rated higher.

5: Xenith

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The Xenith started life as a hearty middle finger to Jason Potter, and a good option for those who wanted the ease of the Unity controller without supporting the bad actor known as Potter and his sleazy MassiveStator webshop.

However, a recent run of bad units and a lack of customer service have pushed what was once a promising option far down the list. Especially when you consider that the V2 Xenith–now produced without the CAN chip present on the V1-- is in the same pricing neighborhood as the Stormcore 60D+.

6: Flipsky

Where to start with Flipsky? While some have had good luck with their offerings (myself included), no one would rate them very highly for reliability, specs, or customer service. Though reports are that the quality has picked up somewhat, the stigma remains. Maybe the ultimate “you pay your money and you take your chances” ESC option.

They do have decent sales from time to time, but they also do that thing where the regular price is jacked up so the sales price looks even better. :face_vomiting:

7: Unity

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I had to overcome some personal disdain for Jason Potter and MassiveStator to even add this product offering, but here we are. The Unity was a pretty solid option for a number of years, but recent batches seem to be built with less care, maybe owing to the original BOM files no longer being in the manufacturer’s hands.

A pretty risky option in 2022, and this applies even more strongly to their Tenka (strongly rumoured to be Unity refurbs with potting to cover the evidence).

(For the sake of the community, no URL will be shared.)

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Hope those don’t fall in this category, but we could add the cheap/little focer and rion escs.

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Yup, could add. I’d like to see them in a few more builds, though.

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Working on that one :sweat_smile:

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Running great in my buddy’s ebike. We installed it to replace the blown ESC in his Bafang mid-drive. 13s battery, running HFI on that big motor with no issues!

Probably has around 200 miles on it so far, and it will be getting a 20s battery sometime soon.

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I think that, in light of the massive uptick in DOA units and lackluster customer service (blaming all issues on “user error,” ghosting customers without offering a resolution, etc.) these should be further down the list.

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This is a good point, but I wonder if the Xenith deserves to take its spot. Might Flipsky of all things replace it?

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Damn fine work @BillGordon! As someone who’s thinking of actually building something again FINALLY (last full build was 2018!!!), this is truly helpful.

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Great write up William!

I keep seeing spintends going pop but we’re also pushing higher voltages into them so it’s a tough breakdown.

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It’s been a while since I looked, but what about the torque boards tb6. Has that ceased to exist? I thought they were a decent option.

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Yup, good question. Considering I’m running a pair in one of my builds, I should have at least thought about them. :person_facepalming:t2:

I guess with all the weirdness surrounding Torqueboards, I haven’t seen them as a viable option moving forward. Might have to think about this a bit.

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Lovely list!

MakerX has really done a good job so far.

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They discontinued it. Their doing some new ones based on the 75/100 hardware now. And apparently a dual 70v as well. Currently testing them from what I got from whoever was anwsering emails this week. Volunteered as tribute but haven’t heard anything back since then.

Edit: sleep deprivation and crying babies.

Dual v6 hardware 100cont amps with a antispark I would assume since they said on/off via button

And a dual 75v

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