Best RC Cars - Buyer’s Guide

Gareth Otwell By Gareth Otwell · Last Updated September 18, 2018

featured imageAre you new to RC racing and thinking of your first purchase? Or are you looking for a gift for your kid? This guide will assist you in avoiding making a purchase of the best RC car that doesn’t suit your intended use for your remote controlled vehicle of choice.

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

Here’s 15 Best RC Cars To Buy For Any Budget In 2018

Model Weight Max Speed Recommended Age
Traxxas RTR 1/10 Rustler
(Editor’s Choice)
7.01 pounds 35 mph 14 years and up Check Price
Hapinic 1:18 Off Road Crawler
(Editor’s Choice)
1.98 pounds 15km/h 6 years and up Check Price
HOSIM Off-road RC Car Electronic Monster Truck 9125
(Editor’s Choice)
5.8 pounds 30 mph 8 years and up Check Price
Distianert 1/12 4WD
(Editor’s Choice)
4.52 pounds 30 MPH 12 years and up Check Price
Double E 1:12 3.1 pounds 6km/h 8 years and up Check Price
Traxxas T-Maxx 10 pounds 45 mph 14 years and up Check Price
Redcat Racing Brushless Electric Tornado EPX PRO Buggy 7.3 pounds 35-40 mph 14 years and up Check Price
Redcat Racing Everest-10 8.6 pounds no data 14 years and up Check Price
Redcat Racing EPX Drift Car 6 pounds 22-23 MPH 14 years and up Check Price
Redcat Racing Volcano EPX Electric Truck
(Editor’s Choice)
8.9 pounds 15-20 mph 14 years and up Check Price
Velocity Toys RTR GT3 Racer Supercar 3 pounds 15 MPH 8 years and up Check Price
RASTAR Ferrari La Ferrari 2 pounds 8-10 mph 6-8 years Check Price
RW Lamborghini Veneno 0.95 pounds 5-7mph 8 years and up Check Price
Cartoon Radio Control Car for Toddlers 10.4 ounces n/a 1.5 years and up Check Price

Hapinic 1:18 Off Road Crawler - Most Affordable RC Car

Finding a balance between quality and cost is difficult with RC cars. Those new to the hobby may not be so thrilled about dropping $100+ on a nice car. The Hapinic is a good option for people on that fence. It's rather affordable, but it won't be anything special for this reason. There have been a number of cases where the car would break down on or shortly after arrival. While this can be offputting, the Hapinic company is known for having quick and pleasant customer experiences, so a replacement should be no problem.

Unboxing Hapinic 1:18 Off Road Crawler

Pros
  • Affordable Price
  • Great Customer Service
  • Popular with Kids
Cons
  • Average quality

Double E 1:12 - Best RC Monster Truck

If you want rc toy able to climb rough terrains, you need a rock crawler. The large wheel to body ratio of the Double E Rock Crawler allows it to traverse any surface relatively unhindered. All four wheels have their own independent suspension system. So it can tough out any jumps and flips you face it with. The most common complaint is with the battery, which drains quickly. Especially if you forget to set the car in the off position.

Pros
  • Excellent Climber
  • Good Jumper or Flipper
  • Great Price
Cons
  • Battery Life

Distianert 1/12 4WD – Best Off-Road RC Truck

Even as a toy-grade truck, the Distianert 1/12 4WD 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 rc truck makes for a good buy at just about $100. This would be an excellent choice as an hobby toy-grade off-road truck.

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
  • Metal frame that has a plastic top

Traxxas T-Maxx - Best Nitro RC Truck

Some folks want speed; some want power. If you want it all, you want the Traxxas T-Maxx. It's big, it's tough, and it's fast. This is the kind of RC car that would make smaller cars scamper in fear, if they had that kind of sentience. Though not everyone is ready to handle something as beefy as this. The maintenance, break-in time, and set up can be overwhelming to casual or newcomers to the hobby. I wouldn't recommend this particular RC car for a newcomer anyway, not at that price. But if you're not afraid of a commitment and want the best, this is a great car to choose.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Fast and Tough
  • High Quality
Cons
  • Not Newcomer Friendly
  • High 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

Drifting Beauty in Action

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

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 Electronic Monster Truck 9125 - An Offroad RC Gem

Priced currently about $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 9125 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 91259125 is pretty good for a toy-grade all-terrain RC.

Pros
  • Equipped with two motors, the largest in this class
  • Offers superior speed up to 30 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
  • IPX4 Waterproof Level
Cons
  • No signs of the battery level

Traxxas RTR 1/10 Rustler - Excellent Hobby RC Car

Not everyone wants to have a top-of-the-line RC car. Sometimes they'd rather enjoy something good, but not too expensive. The Traxxas Rustler meets that middle ground quite well. The quick charge and waterproof body means you don't need to wait forever to recklessly drive through a rain puddle. Though I wouldn't suggest trying it in the mud. Cosmetic parts tend to break easily, so many users purchase an attachable bumper for additional safety. But if you aren't looking for a tank of an RC car, then this might be a good option for you.

Pros
  • Powerful charger
  • Offers speed up to 35 mph
  • The S-truck suspension technology gives it a great off-road performance
  • Waterproof electronics for all-weather driving in water, mud and snow
Cons
  • Parts break easily

Velocity Toys RTR GT3 Racer Supercar - Radio Controlled Car For 10 Years Old Kid

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

RASTAR Ferrari la Ferrari - Best Remote Control Car for Kids 5 Years Old

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.

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

Cartoon Radio Control Car for Toddlers

While RC cars are a fantastic hobby, most of them come with certain risks that aren't suitable for babies. Liberty Imports attempts to remedy this with the Cartoon RC Car. Everything from the car to the controller is rounded out to reduce the chance of injury.

It's built with extra durability as well, to keep it in one peace when left alone with a curious child that likes to throw things. It's baby-safe and inexpensive. If you're looking for "baby's first RC car," then this might be a good place to start.

Pros
  • Infant Safe
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not interesting to older ages

Buyer’s Guide

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 vehicles that are essential to understanding the type of car that you want to buy.

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 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.

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.

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

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