Best RC Cars - Buyer’s Guide

By Gareth Otwell · Last Updated June 15, 2017

featured image

Are you new to RC racing and thinking of your first purchase? Before going headlong into the hobby, it is best to gain an overview and then build upon that foundation over time. There are several idiosyncrasies about RC racing that are essential to understanding the type of car that you want to buy. This guide will assist you in avoiding making a RC car purchase that doesn’t suit your intended use for your remote controlled vehicle of choice.

The first question that usually comes from anyone new to RC cars is: ‘Which RC car should I purchase?’ This is actually a great question, but it is a little misdirected. The right question will actually be: Which type of RC car will you buy? Before choosing any RC, you must understand that there is a stark difference between toy-grade and hobby grade. The latter is much more expensive but as you can expect, they are more durable, faster, and generally better. We’ll cover both grades in this brief guide.

There are several categories of RC cars, each with a special function. Here is a basic rundown of the major categories:

  • Buggy: A hybrid between street and off-road RCs are buggies. They work very well on flat surfaces and have just enough height to handle off-roading. However, the off-roading experience will be much slower.
  • Drift: Drifting RCs are similar to normal cars that use slick tires for drifting around corners (which could be extremely useful on some tracks). Controlling an RC to drift correctly is difficult.
  • Street: On flat, paved surfaces street cars are typically unmatched in terms of speed and cornering. However, street cars suffer greatly on rough terrains and some are completely useless on non-flat surfaces.
  • Trucks: Similar to traditional-sized monster trucks, RC trucks are the most capable for heavy off-roading. However, they are very slow on the street.
  • Truggy: These RC are basically the opposite of Buggies, being more suited to off-roading than street.

*There are other classes of RC cars such as pan, touring, scrawlers, SCTs, and others. But these are more for enthusiasts and special circuits which you’ll undoubtedly learn about if you get into building your own RC or competitions.

Once you find the right RC, you may find the hobby to be highly addictive. This is especially the case if you locate a local racing circuit or obstacle course. Several modern RC cars have been engineered to achieve some amazing feats, particularly when they are in the hands of a skilled driver. As you increase your prowess as a driver, you’ll come to a better realization of what your vehicle maximum capabilities. Over the years, advancements in RC technologies have skyrocketed which has raised the level of driver competency.

The following listing covers 10 of the best RC cars on the market to date. Once you have decided which type of RC you are seeking, you will do well to consider the models in our listing below.

As you review the list you notice nearly every category of RC car. Each of the cars chosen has a set of features that are quite useful for its terrain speciality. While some of them are more expensive, we made it a point to list even those that are entry grade so as to give an amateur a good starting vehicle.

The costliest RC in the list is Traxxas XO-11/7 Scale AWD Supercar. Despite its high cost, this is definitely the best of the lot and the preferred option for all those who are in their pursuit of buying a great RC.

Best Remote Control Cars 2017

While there are other options in the market, we selected (in our opinion) the best 10. We designed this list by:

  • meticulously checking what each has to offer
  • considering the current offers and discounts on each RC
  • shortlisting the best features, pros, and cons


Model Weight Dimensions Max Speed Motor Type Radio System Recommended Age
Redcat Racing EPX Drift Car
(Editor’s Choice)
6 pounds 14.2 x 8 x 4.5 inches 22-23 MPH Electric Brushed 27T 540 2.4Ghz 14 years and up Check Price
Distianert 9300 2.5 pounds 9.5 x 8.9 x 6.5 inches 30 MPH no data 2.4Ghz 8 years and up Check Price
Redcat Racing Everest-10 8.6 pounds 18.2 x 10.2 x 6.5 inches no data Electric Brushed 2.4GHz with Waterproof Receiver 14 years and up Check Price
Redcat Racing Volcano EPX Electric Truck
(Editor’s Choice)
8.9 pounds 15.8 x 12.2 x 7.5 inches 15-20 mph Electric Brushed 27T 540 2.4Ghz 14 years and up Check Price
Traxxas XO-1 1/7 Scale AWD Supercar 14.4 pounds 27 x 11.6 x 5 inches 100mph (requires high-speed gearing) Brushless 25.2V extreme ESC 2.4GHz with Wireless Module 16 years and up Check Price
Redcat Racing Brushless Electric Tornado EPX PRO Buggy 7.3 pounds 15.8 x 10 x 6.5 inches 35-40 mph Electric Brushless RC-540 Motor 2.4Ghz 14 years and up Check Price
HOSIM All Terrain RC Car S911 4.1 pounds 12.6 x 10.2 x 5.5 inches up to 33 mph Brushed 390 motor 2.4Ghz 14 years and up Check Price
Velocity Toys RTR GT3 Racer Supercar 3 pounds 21.2 x 10.7 x 8.3 inches 15 MPH no data 2.4Ghz 8 years and up Check Price
RASTAR Ferrari La Ferrari 2 pounds 14 x 2 x 5 inches 8-10 mph no data no data 6-8 years Check Price
RW Lamborghini Veneno 0.95 pounds 10.7 x 4.3 x 5.8 inches 5-7mph no data no data 8 years and up Check Price

Redcat Racing EPX Drift Car - Best RC Drift Car

Available in 2 bright colors, this racing car by Redcat comes with a polycarbonate body. The design of the car is commendable enough and looks promising. Both the colors are bright and catchy and likely to attract people who want to get their hands on an RC.

Priced appropriately; this is a mid range RC which comes with good enough feature and a price which won’t be too much on your wallet either. As we know that drifting is a form of driving which is somewhere between the line of control and the trouble of chaos; so, this car comes with comb tires which help the RC slide effortlessly even when you make it turn and revolve a bit too many times.

Pros
  • Excellent design
  • Sturdy built and is likely to give good performance
  • The motor is good enough for turns and some twists
Cons
  • Comes with too many upgrade options which mean that your expenses may turn out to be way too more than what you anticipate
  • The plastic built isn’t very impressive and is likely to wear a tear when you do a lot of drifting
  • Achieves a maximum speed of 20 to 25 mph until you go for some upgrades

Drifting Beaty in Action

Distianert 9300 Electric Monster Truck RTR – Best Off-Road RC Truck

Even as a toy-grade truck, the Distianert 9300 handles rough terrain very well. Many customers rave about its 4 x 4 traction which is able to get the driver out tight spots. Another feature is its shock resistance suspension which allows it to handle ramp jumps exceptionally well. The 9300 makes for a good buy at just under $85. This would be an excellent choice as an entry level toy-grade off-road truck.

Distianert 9300 Unboxing

Pros
  • Offers realistic racing experience
  • Great controls
  • Reaches speed of 30 MPH
  • The use of strong turbines adds to the stability
  • Comes with the best kind of heavy duty wheels
Cons
  • The build is a little fragile and needs to be handled with care
  • Metal frame that has a plastic top (pictures are a bit misleading)

Redcat Racing Everest-10 - Best RC Rock Crawler

For those who love adventures and a little hard hitting time in the outback, this model has been designed for you. This RC is so much more than just another car. It comes in two colors namely red and blue. The design of this rock crawler is just the way it should be – sturdy, hard and meant for some wild adventures in the outback.

Get ready for the rock crunching, stone slamming, boulder stomping

Pros
  • The motor is quite commendable.
  • It comes with aluminium capped oil filled shocks
  • Battery and charger are included in the model
  • It comes with both forward and reverse transmission
  • Users can enjoy different kinds of activities like rock crunching, stone slamming, and boulder stamping without bang afraid that this will damage the externals or even the whole RC.
  • The parts are replaceable should the need arises
Cons
  • The locking mechanisms are made from plastic and are injected to rapid wear and tear. They might need quicker replacement than what you anticipate

Redcat Racing Volcano EPX PRO - Best RC Electric Truck

If you are ready to move over cars and would like something even larger, how about racing trucks? This is for those who are not afraid to experiment and change. This volcano EPX electric truck has been gaining quite a lot of popularity in the market. It comes in bright blue color with silver touches to it.

VOLCANO EPX Truck by REDCAT RACING

Pros
  • The truck has been designed to offer high torque servo
  • The body has been meticulously designed and comes with aluminium capped oil filled shocks
  • It offers both forward and reverse transmission
  • The motor is quite good too as it is electric brushed 27T 540 motors.
  • The radio has a yard range of over 100
  • More than 10 vehicles can run together without any kind of interference
Cons
  • It can only reach a maximum speed of 15 to 20 mph
  • There is no provision for the charger for remote

Traxxas XO-1 AWD supercar - Best RC Car for Adults

A mighty expensive car, this one is for the little car geeks who are not looking to settle for anything else. It can be purchased close to $700 and is one of the most cutting edge designs in the market at the moment. The bright blue on the outer side and the great finishing gives it a wow factor and will surely make you wish you too can own it.

Not just the exteriors built; there are a lot of features which this RC comes with too. The features along with the design make it a must buy model.

Pros
  • Comes in a lot of different vibrant exciting colors
  • It makes use of the largest brushless motor which is ever offered in similar series
  • It can reach a top speed of 100 mph.
  • Can reach thrust of 1 to 60 in 2.3 seconds only
  • The presence of telemetry sensors makes another great add on
  • The exterior has been aerodynamically styled to ensure that the kind of high speed which the car can attain and even the stability level is top notch.
Cons
  • While this car comes with most of the pros, one of the biggest drawbacks is the price factor. It is extremely expensive but if you have money to spare, it turns out to be one of the best RC you can have your hands on.

Redcat Racing Electric Tornado EPX PRO - Best RC Buggy

Those who are looking for a really stylish car that has a different and unique design, this is definitely the RC model you need to keep an eye on. The overall design is sturdy and different and it will give you a good run for your money too.

This RC comes packed with too many great features that seem to be promising and the performance output is quite excellent as well.

Cyclone of Muscle

Pros
  • Comes with the mighty powerful electric brushless RC – 540 motor
  • It also has the forward and reverse transmission feature
  • It can reach a top speed of 35 to 40 mph and on a single charge; it can run between 35 to 40 minutes
  • It can be used even on wet grass as well.
Cons
  • There are a lot of advanced features which are absent
  • It requires care and handling
  • It is quite expensive given the kind of features it comes with

While the car seems to be good enough, you definitely have more advanced and better versions in the market if you are ready to shell out a few more bucks we would recommend opting for other models. Those who are on the lookout for a beginner RC can surely check this one out.

HOSIM All Terrain RC Car S911 - An Offroad RC Gem

Priced currently under $100, this RC is a popular buying option for any who are interested in a powerful all-terrain RC. The motor of this engine is hailed for being exceptionally fast. However, the HOSIM S911 easily spins out due to its overwhelming power. This will lead to amateur frustration since it will take concerted effort to feather the controller throttle. Although this RC has drift and tumble capabilities, you should be careful not to make repetitive collisions with hard surfaces at top speed. Overall, the HOSIM S911 is pretty good for a toy-grade all-terrain RC.

Pros
  • The brush 390 motor is the largest in this class
  • Offers superior speed up to 33 mph
  • The S-truck suspension technology gives it a great off-road performance
  • It can be driven even on wet mud, marshy; and various other surfaces
Cons
  • The RC is semi-waterproof which means that it can’t be driven outdoors during extensive rains
  • Battery life is horrible; hence many exchange it with a Floureon 9.6 1800 battery and perform a modification (gives the S911 about 25 minutes of running time)

Velocity Toys RTR GT3 Racer Supercar - Most Affordable RC Car

Velocity toys is a reputed brand and are known to make some good action packed cars. This RC is surely a promotion option and comes in a catchy design. The overall build of the car is good enough to attract buyers because it is also known to be packed with the right features for good performance too.

Pros
  • The motor used is good enough and can offer good performance levels
  • The build is quite durable and it shouldn’t break with little hits on the road
  • It permits racing of multiple cars simultaneously
  • It has a good build as it measures a foot and half.
Cons
  • Maximum attainable speed is limited to 15 MPH
  • There have been plenty of complaints with the build. The tires, in particular, are not very impressive.

RASTAR Ferrari la Ferrari - Best Remote Control Car for Kids

Now, Ferrari needs no introduction and despite being just an RC (official license model), we all know how crazy the craze for a Ferrari is. This is why this car which comes with the open door provision is definitely turning to be a rage in the market. The catchy red and the high-end finishing make it a good buy.

Pros
  • Open doors adds to the beauty of the car
  • All the functions are radio controlled
  • The head lights and rear lights also add to the jazz
Cons
  • Multiple cars operate on the same frequency which makes it hard for two people in the same family to race their cars as a single controller might work for both of them making it hard to engage in a competition.
  • There are better alternatives available in the market.

RW Lamborghini Veneno Car – Radio Remote Control Sport Racing Car

This is a rather compact car that has managed to impress quite a lot of customers. It comes in 2 colors of white and red and is a good bargain. While this isn’t the most advanced RC you can get, it comes with good enough features when compared to the kind of money you shell for it. The main highlight of this model has to be the catchy and vibrant design and of course, the Lamborghini class.

Pros
  • Great catchy design which is sure to attract
  • Offers functions like forward, reverse, left, right and stop
  • The tail lights have been nicely put to make the RC look fancy
Cons
  • Achieves speed up to 8 to 10 MPH only
  • The remote’s range too is limited to 30 to 40m
  • Limited features model

 

FAQs:

What else should I consider before buying an RC?

How you drive your RC will have a great bearing on some of the other features that you will desire for it. For instance, if you are going to drive the vehicle everywhere, you may want to check the RC’s crash-rating. Some vehicles are obviously more robust than others, so if you are intending for your RC to survive a wall crash consider a stronger car.

What type of batteries do RC’s use?

Different manufacturers use various battery types. However, common batteries are 9V and AA. You should also know that there are some RCs that have nitro motors. So while the controller may need batteries, the engine may need batteries and fuel.

Can two of the same RC be used at the same time (with different controllers)?

If you are purchasing two of the same RCs, check to see if they have different frequencies for the controllers. Most of the time, manufacturers have multiple frequencies on the controller and car so that this will not be a problem. But always check before you complete your purchase.

Can an RC handle jumps?

Again, this greatly depends on the type that you buy. Of course, off-roading RCs are more suited to handle jumps that street car types. If your RC have suspension shocks, then most likely it can handle mild to moderate jumps from ramps.

Can I design my own RC?

You certainly can! There is another level of enthusiasts within the hobby that use RC kits to build customized models. However, if you a just learning about RCs or do not have the time to invest in builds it is most likely a better option to stick with ready-made cars.

Can I use my RC on the beach or sandy surfaces?

You can but it should be done with extreme caution or avoided outright. Sand particles can get into the bushings, gears, suspension, and other tiny parts causing a lot of wear and tear. Anyone using their RC on the beach or in sandy conditions will lose some lifespan from their vehicle.

Additional Part Considerations

Below are a few things to understand about RC components. This information may come in handy if you need replacement parts or you are seeking to get into building a customized RC.

RC Motor Differences

Currently, all RCs have motors that are brushed or brushless (sometimes abbreviated as BL). Among the two brushless are the best.

Brushed motors operate slower than BLs; hence, most of the cheaper RCs (particularly toy grades models) feature brushed motors. The rating for brushed motors is calculated by its revolutions or turns (typically symbolizes with ‘t’). Many of the stock motors in ready-made RC have a range between 19t and 30t. High performance brushed motors range between 5t and 12t. Hence, the lower the turns the faster the engine. Some brushed motors are rebuildable and feature easy disassembly so the brushes and springs are accessible. Other brushed motors are closed (non-rebuildable, hence called ‘cans’) and have to be replaced as a whole.

Brushless (BL) motors are more durable, faster, and use battery power more efficiently. Therefore, they are more expensive. BLs are classified by KV. In contrast to brushed motors, BL KV ratings that are higher are equivalent to more RPM. But just because a BL has a high KV does not automatically mean better. Lower KV equals more torque which is essential to heavier RCs like trucks and other off-road/all-terrain vehicles.

Gareth Otwell

About Gareth Otwell

Gareth Otwell is a 28-year-old tech geek. Currently working at a big IT company. He chooses to widen the topics he writes about so as to provide his readers with an all-in-one go-to platform that they can use to research for just about anything. Read more

GET OUR GEEKS NEWSLETTER ON NEW PRODUCT REVIEWS