Best Paramotors in 2021: Reviews, Tips & Buyer Guide

Updated on
The Rundown
  • Best Overall: Scout One Carbon
    Reserved for expert fliers looking to push the boundaries of aerial exploration.
  • Runner-Up Best Overall: Nirvana Rodeo
    If safety is your top priority—this is the paramotor for you.
  • A lightweight but powerful favorite for budget-conscious pilots.
  • Runner-Up Best Lightweight: Parajet Maverick
    Artistic yet practical, this lightweight paramotor is the perfect choice for skilled fliers.
  • An ultra-affordable paramotor from a trusted name.
  • Best for Beginner: Blackhawk Black Devil 172
    Hands-down the best option for budding pilots to get their feet off the ground.

“I’ve never seen the Icarus story as a lesson about the limitations of humans. I see it as a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.” – Randall Munroe

Paramotors may not be made of wax—but you certainly don’t want to take to skies in a limited machine. Floating above the earth at 300-500 feet is awe-inspiring, breathtaking, and exceedingly dangerous if you don’t have the right equipment and training. Paramotor training and careful research are an absolute necessity.

If you want to buy a paramotor but don’t know what unit you need, our paramotor reviews will show you different makes and models based on price, weight, and overall performance. Find everything you need here to buy the best paramotor that fits your preferences and budget.

Scout One Carbon
Reserved for expert fliers looking to push the boundaries of aerial exploration.
What we like
  • Dynamic torque compensation
  • Comfortable and protective seating
  • Hands-off flying
  • SafeStart for injury prevention
  • Carbon fiber technology
What we don’t like
  • Hefty price tag
  • High hangpoints

Only the most adventurous flying enthusiasts should consider the Scout One Carbon due to its light weight, which makes it more difficult to control. However, this paramotor lets you push the boundaries of aerial exploration.

The Scout One Carbon represents a high point—pun intended—for flying innovation. It features a robust frame made with carbon fiber for the perfect blend of durability, low weight, and a stunning visual design. Scout Paramotors boasts an industry-leading strength-to-weight ratio for this machine.

The thoughtful design benefits users with a carbon shield that keeps your back safe in case of an unexpected accident. It spreads the force of impact across the paramotor, reducing potential harm to your spinal column.

Carbon fiber technology also plays a crucial role in improving the Scout One Carbon’s aerodynamics. Traditional tubing creates four times more drag on a paramotor than airfoil design. The classic design can also hinder your glide ratio by up to 30%, while the cage and netting inadvertently cause you to burn more fuel.

The carbon fiber design makes your machine slick and streamlined in the air. It has minimal drag so that you can fly without resistance. Skilled fliers will enjoy the maneuverability this engineering marvel offers.

While the cage section has an efficient strength-to-weight ratio, it doesn’t sacrifice power or performance compared to other steel or aluminum models.

If you fly paramotors, you’ve probably come to terms with the torque as an undesirable, but omnipresent force. The effect causes pilots to turn upwards and pull left when the aircraft’s propeller spins in the opposite direction. Scout Paramotors offers a solution to this age-old problem with dynamic torque compensation.

The machine’s efficient propeller generates less torque than the standard paramotor. The company further offsets the torque effect with an asymmetric airfoil cage. The cage has modified carbon fiber molding and cage spar angles, so each section acts as an asymmetric airfoil. The result: no more torque effect.

The Scout One Carbon features a long list of other innovations, such as a smart bar attachment and precise handling, regardless of speed. If this paramotor has any downside, it’s the hefty price tag. You’ll pay a small fortune to fly this paramotor, but it’s a small price to pay for the best product on the market.

Nirvana Rodeo
If safety is your top priority—this is the paramotor for you.
What we like
  • Rigid four-part protective frame
  • Ergonomic design
  • Above-average fuel-efficiency
  • Multiple main switches
What we don’t like
  • Heavy frame

Nirvana has made a name for itself with cutting-edge powered paramotors that deliver pleasant flying experiences and intuitive usability.

The Czech company prides itself on developing new and creative ways to advance paramotoring while remaining compliant with the strictest safety standards. Decades of flying experience and technical expertise have produced the Nirvana Rodeo.

This machine delivers enough force to get you airborne in seconds. It features a composite two-blade carbon 2R2 PULSE propeller and a three-blade 125 carbon aeroelastic 4R2 125. The blades rotate up to 6,800 revolutions per minute, thanks to the powerful Simoni Mini2Plus engine, which generates up to 27 horsepower.

The Nirvana Rodeo offers impressively easy liftoff and navigation. Its simple construction gives you more control, whether you’re taking off or winding through a slalom course. You can also break it down into four parts after a long day of flying for compact storage.

Nirvana has a reputation for safety in its devices, and the Rodeo is no exception. You will find a reserve chute inside your seat in case of an emergency to give you peace of mind, knowing you have a Plan B within arm’s reach if something goes wrong.

The company emphasizes malleable crumple zones. Crumple zones are the parts of the paramotor that breakdown on impact.

Well-designed crumple zones absorb the force of a crash, so you reduce your chance of injury. The frame serves as the first point of impact, while the sturdy plastic tank makes contact with the ground first, absorbing most of the force.

Additional security features include laminate backshells that protect your spine during flight and sudden impacts. You can take advantage of two main switches that prevent you from accidentally disabling the engine during flight or landing. You even have easy-to-read fuel mirror gauges, so you can plan to land with plenty of time to spare.

One of the few drawbacks to this machine is the overall weight. The Nirvana Rodeo weighs 55 pounds without any operating fluids, partially because of the bulky Simoni engine. Most paramotoring companies deal with the same problem, so while it does present an inconvenience, it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

Air Conception Titanium Nitro 200
A lightweight but powerful favorite for budget-conscious pilots.
What we like
  • 44 pounds without liquids
  • Redesigned harness
  • 28 horsepower engine
  • Carbon fiber silencer
What we don’t like
  • No anti-torque system

Pilots face a constant struggle between their aircraft and gravity. The lighter the machine, the easier it is to get it airborne. However, the paramotor can’t be too light, or it will compromise the pilot’s safety during takeoff, flight, and landing.

Air Conception offers an affordable solution for aspiring and veteran pilots alike. The company makes portable and straightforward paramotors. The Titanium Nitro 200 weighs only 44 pounds before operating liquids, making it one of the lightest options available.

The Titanium Nitro 200 revolves around a hyper-powerful motor. It operates upward of 28 horsepower, which outperforms the Nirvana Rodeo, despite its smaller design. It also generates 158 pounds of thrust if you use the 49-inch blade and 165 pounds with the 51-inch blade.

Air Conception does more than mount forceful engines on paramotors, though. The company strives to make the flying experience as smooth as possible. That includes a carbon fiber silencer, internal and external engine cooling components, and an exhaust system that reduces noise.

The recently redesigned harness improves user safety and security, too—among other new innovative features. While the new model maintains many of the same features as the original, it includes a frame with Dyneema 10 mm that can withstand 4,850 pounds of force on impact.

The harness only weighs four pounds, so it won’t affect your piloting abilities or comfort. Air Conception added a zipper under the seat where you can place an airbag or other on-board accessories. All harnesses come certified according to EN 1651, so you have plenty of trading convenience for performance.

Air Conception does have anti-torque systems, but you won’t find them on the Titanium Nitro 200. If you need torque compensation, the company offers it on the Air Conception Titanium RACE and SPLIT paramotors, which ensure a smoother flight from start to finish.

The Titanium Nitro 200 appeals to budget-conscious pilots around the world. If you want to explore the skies, this paramotor can help you do it at a fraction of the leading model’s price. The reliable, rugged, and ergonomic design allow you to fly with ease and control.

Parajet Maverick
Artistic yet practical, this lightweight paramotor is the perfect choice for skilled fliers.
What we like
  • Lightweight titanium frame
  • 54 pounds without liquids
  • 17-liter fuel tank
  • Easy assembly and repair
What we don’t like
  • Not for beginners

Parajet caters to pilots at all levels. Whether you’re a student, veteran, or instructor, the company has paramotors for a wide range of flying activities. If you want a sporty machine for aerial maneuvering or weekend tours, check out the Parajet Maverick.

The latest product from Parajet has become one of the most popular paramotors worldwide. It comes with a lightweight titanium frame, a 17-liter polygonal tank, and a slick aesthetic. The forward-thinking design even helped Parajet earn the J. Robert Havlick Award for Innovation.

Maverick designers simplified the paramotor, so it’s accessible to more users than any other. It has a straightforward setup and disassembly, including a snap-fit netting system that eliminates your need for tools. That way, you can spend more time in the air and less time preparing and fixing your machine.

Each Maverick has a light, yet stiff, frame that has a titanium dioxide finish. The coating ensures that this paramotor keeps its pristine finish, even in the harshest flying conditions. The blend of lateral durability with vertical compliance delivers the optimal strength-to-weight ratio.

While many competing paramotors have a practical style, Parajet strives for an artistic approach to the Maverick’s design. The airframe features generous sloping curves that add an ambient glow from its lightly finished surface. This natural aesthetic and sleek appearance mean the Maverick looks as good as it feels.

The thoughtful construction continues with the economic pull-start mount, which stays within an arm’s length at all times. An elevated pull-start mechanism gives you a dynamic range of motion while reducing arm fatigue. The accessible mount translates to more reliability, so you don’t have to fumble for the handle.

Parajet uses Vittorazi engines, specifically the 78cc Atom 80 and Moster 185 MY’20. While the compact Atom 80 produces little noise, it delivers a whopping 114 pounds of thrust. The engine can handle pilots up to 187 pounds without compromising handling.

The Vittorazi Moster 185 Plus appeals to sportier users while still providing a balanced ride. The 25-horsepower motor has more than enough thrust to satisfy your craving for adventure and athletics. You can equip your Parajet Maverick with either an electric or manual pull version.

The 17-liter fuel tank lets you fly longer than ever. It nearly doubles your flying range and reduces the frequency between refueling trips. The tank also comes with Parajet’s classic angular appearance and optimized airflow for improved performance. Parajet rounds out the all-encompassing paramotor with an ultra-comfortable harness. The seat cushions your body without restricting your range of motion. Its seamless design means you’ll never have to worry about sliding out of your harness.

Best Budget: Miniplane ABM Flex Gage Top 80

Miniplane ABM Flex Gage Top 80
An ultra-affordable paramotor from a trusted name.
What we like
  • Trusted name brand
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Holds passengers over 200 pounds
  • High fuel efficiency
What we don’t like
  • Average weight shift
  • Not ideal for long trips

Miniplane has taken the lead in paramotoring from the beginning. It has pioneered ways to reduce takeoff weight without negating engine power or safety. According to MidwestPPG.com, Miniplane even had the first purpose-designed paramotor engine in 1989.

What model used that original paramotor engine? You guessed it—the Top 80. The Italian designer and manufacturer kept the engine weight to a paltry 24 pounds. The compact design also reduces the vibrations, while making the paramotor easier to start.

The most remarkable part of the engine lies in its energy efficiency. Its low burn rate lets you fly longer, consuming fuel at two-thirds the pace of the Vittorazi Moster 185 Plus. The company estimates that you can remain airborne anywhere from three to four hours.

Another groundbreaking invention includes Miniplane ABM. The design has a low-mid attachment point, so you have constant stability during your flight. You can shift your weight naturally without losing your balance, an issue that plagues other paramotor manufacturers.

Miniplane excels at creating flexible structures that stand up to impact. Its fiberglass outer ring bends into a circle during setup, forming a rigid frame even though it doesn’t have welded aluminum. The frame comes in two varieties—classic and cateye—with the slightly wider classic version for added stability.

The design makes the Top 80 convenient to assemble and transport, and it can handle pilots who weigh over 200 pounds. Even if you fly tandem, you’ll still have access to effortless controls. The Top 80 also serves as a premier option for free flight pilots looking to transition into paramotoring.

Satisfaction comes standard with the Top 80. A survey from Independent Paramotor Owners found that Miniplane users have the highest overall customer satisfaction rating. Visit your local paramotor dealer to see why so many people trust Miniplane.

Cors Air Blackhawk Black Devil 172
Hands-down the best option for budding pilots to get their feet off the ground.
What we like
  • Holds passengers up to 285 pounds
  • Ideal for tandem flying
  • 155 pounds of thrust
  • Flying time of 2.5 hours
What we don’t like
  • Above-average vibrations
  • Difficult to restart

The BlackHawk Black Devil 172 marks a one-of-a-kind collaboration between BlackHawk Paramotors USA and CorsAir Motors. The partnership gives users more power and versatility than ever. CorsAir supplied its Black Devil 172 to Blackhawk’s engine line up, in addition to its Black Bee and Black Bull engines.

According to Jeff Goin, “the Black Devil appears to be the most popular motor being mounted to PPG’s and enjoys the broadest support.” The critical approval comes from the company’s long-standing reputation for reliability and support. Today, the Black Devil 172 is one of the most widely available paramotors on the market.

The Black Devil 172 gives you ample thrust to get off the ground and into the sky. Toggle the manual pull or dual electric start and the 155 pounds of thrust if you use a 51-inch propeller. The engine can carry up to 285 pounds of weight, making it ideal for tandem flying.

The paramotor itself weighs 55 pounds without any fuel. The 172cc engine produces more power than its counterparts in its weight class. If you set the device to full force, the 25-horsepower motor generates 7,900 revolutions per minute.

Black Devil 172 owners do not need to worry about excessive wear and tear. Manufacturers created the head using a die-cast aluminum alloy for substantial durability. It has a high silicone content, so the engine can readily disperse extra heat and keep its internal and external components cool.

If you’re a student or beginning pilot, the Black Devil 172 has everything you need to get started. The user-friendly design makes it all but foolproof for new users. The modest weight and consistent performance let you take flight sooner rather than later.

Final Verdict

Two things have remained true about paramotoring since its popularization in the late 1980s: all pilots have different needs, and all paramotor models are unique. If you want to buy a paramotor, you need to find a middle ground between these two points.

While Scout paramotors have outstanding performance, they’re not necessarily the best choice. You’ll want to consider the engine power, blade length, aerodynamics, your experience, and even your weight before settling on a paramotor. More advanced pilots should think about how their flying style gels with the machine, too.

We highly recommend the Scout One Carbon if you’re an experienced pilot plan on thermalling or flying at low levels. The engineers at Scout have outdone themselves with a paramotor that combines power, maneuverability, and durability. The fact that it has comfy seating for continuous support offers a pleasant bonus you won’t find in every paramotor.

If you want to go pylon racing, check out the Air Conception Titanium Nitro 200. This paramotor boasts a light frame, even though it has a powerful engine. If you take one thing from our paramotor reviews, know you’re in good hands with any model on our list.

The Ultimate Paramotor Buying Guide

Closeup look of paramotor machine
Photo by Suriya Suththisom

The biggest mistake you can make when buying a paramotor is thinking that all models are the same. Each paramotor has distinct features that enable different styles of flying and degrees of usability.

Consider these factors before you buy a paramotor.

Flying Style

Cross Country

Cross country paramotoring is the most intense way to travel the skies. You need a long-lasting motor that has enough force to conquer inclement weather and other challenges in the air. Your paramotor should also have seamless weight shift capacity and ample fuel capacity, so you can kick back and relax during the long flight.

Acrobatic

A niche section of the paramotoring community wants to turn the industry upside down, literally. Acrobatic flights involve intricate maneuvers that are equal parts entertaining and challenging. If you’re going to test your acrobatic abilities, look for a paramotor with top-end weight shifting. Many pilots opt for the Top 80 engine for its low weight, while others select powerful paramotors for rapid ascension.

Thermalling

Thermalling entails turning off your engine and using air currents to elevate you to high altitudes. Only experienced pilots should attempt this style of paramotoring, which requires precise weight shifting. If you buy a paramotor, choose a non-clutched engine so the propeller can stop spinning and eliminate any unwanted drag.

Low Level

Like thermalling, you probably won’t go low-level paramotoring as a beginner or student. Low-level paramotoring involves gliding relatively close to the ground.

You’ll need to navigate obstacles, such as trees, houses, and power lines, so you need ample engine power. Remember that if the engine fails, you won’t have time to pull the cord, so consider investing in a model with an electric start.

Slalom

Slalom flying, also known as pylon racing, gives pilots a chance to test their skills on an obstacle course. Maneuvering around inflated pylons requires industry-leading engine performance, while you maintain the proper altitude. Make sure the paramotor has strong weight shifting abilities so that you can take turns with precision.

Leisure Flying

Anyone interested in a weekend trip or spontaneous adventure should try leisure flying. You climb upwards of 500 feet, sailing for hours. Buy a paramotor with a powerful engine and a large fuel capacity before you make your first ascent.

Thrust

Every pound matters when it comes to getting yourself off the ground—more weight means you need more thrust. Some of the best models generate enough force to lift fliers who weigh more than 300 pounds.

Thrust does more than get you off the ground, too. It dictates how quickly you can climb. If you weigh too much for your paramotor, you’ll have a hard time avoiding obstacles. When you attain a level flight path, you should also have enough thrust to maintain top speeds.

Smaller pilots often buy a Top 80 because of its lightweight and compact frame. Heavier pilots should consider the Moster 185. According to Vittorazi’s website, the engine delivers up to 165 pounds of thrust when using a 52-inch blade.

The propeller size makes a significant difference in your overall thrust levels and fuel efficiency. Larger blades typically produce more thrust, which means you do not have to rely on the throttle as often.

Fewer throttles mean you use less fuel and experience less torque. If you have to choose between two otherwise identical propellers, buy the longer one.

Manual vs. Electric

Choosing between a manual and an electric start will depend on your flying style. If you want to reduce your weight, you should consider a manual start. The system adds two to four pounds, which can burn fuel slightly faster than an electric one.

An electric start works better if you go thermalling. The flying style requires you to turn off your engines, which can cool at altitude. The cooldown can make it difficult to restart your motor because you need to prime and pull the choke. An electric start removes any concern about restarting in mid-air.

Weight

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of your paramotor’s weight. You need a device light enough for you to take off while giving you enough durability for landings. If your legs buckle while landing a fragile frame, you may permanently damage the paramotor.

Don’t forget to calculate fuel weight. A paramotor like the Parajet Maverick holds up to 17 liters. Filling the tank would add 28.8 pounds before takeoff. If you have a bulky paramotor frame, you’ll need more momentum if you want to get off the ground.

Aerodynamics

Your flying experience correlates directly with the device’s aerodynamics. Many manufacturers produce highly aerodynamic frames that minimize drag during flight. That includes streamlined fuel tanks and thin netting that improve airflow through the paramotor.

Aerodynamics won’t make much of a difference when you fly under your own power. If you switch off the engine, you’ll feel a little more drag with each dip and turn. One trick to improve your efficiency is to tuck your legs under your seat.

You can also use an anti-torque system. These lamels go inside the netting and counteract the torque effect that naturally causes aircraft with propellers to drift up and left. The system creates equal force in the opposite direction to negate drag.

Clutch vs. Non-Clutch

Do you want the propeller to spin when your engine idles? If the answer is no, then you want a clutched motor.

The more power you add, the greater the clutch’s bite. The thrust may not be as quick as its non-clutched counterpart, but it is less aggressive.

A clutched motor favors pilots who ascend regularly, and it can protect your propeller and cage, especially when you hit the ground. A spinning propeller may damage either component if they come in contact.

Non-clutched units spin after you start the engine. The more power you apply, the faster the propeller spins. The only way to stop a non-clutched model is to turn off the engine and wait.

Non-clutched motors are safer when you come down because you have less chance of the blade hitting the cage. The same applies if the wings fall on top of the propeller. Make sure to exercise caution during takeoff to prevent the propeller from catching one of your lines.

Costs

The cost of paramotoring depends on what equipment you purchase. Entry-level products cost approximately $6,000, while high-end models will set you back around $12,000. You will also need training which you can expect to cost about $2,000.