Remote control cars combine the excitement of videogame racing with real-world environments. From track cars and drift missiles to monster trucks and off-roaders, there’s something for everyone. And like real racing, it’s easy to get hooked. Before you know it, you’re going down the rabbit hole of part upgrades and searching for more powerful batteries, better tires, or even a new car.
Fortunately, RC cars cost a small fraction of what you’d pay for a real race car or even a high-end computer gaming setup. However, performance is expensive, so it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are many RC cars available, but the range and price of them can be overwhelming. That’s why in this guide we’ll cover what to consider when buying an RC car and recommendations for the best remote control cars to help you get in on the fun.
— Best Overall: Traxxas Rustler XL-5
— Best for kids: Orrente Stunt RC Car
— Best Budget: Bezgar 17 RC
— Best Drift Car Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Drift
— Best Off-Road Redcat Racing Volcano EPX
— Best Built-for Speed: Traxxas Rustler 4×4 VXL
These are the Products We Choose
We compared the specifications of specific models to determine the best RC cars. We also consider the impact of experience on this selection, as well as an evaluation based on four things.
Performance: Speed is important, but handling and battery life are equally important. Handling refers to how the car responds and how accurate the controller is in terms of range, accuracy, and accuracy. Battery power is the output of the battery and, more importantly how long you can keep it charged.
Durability: Is the car capable of enduring abuse? Is the car well-made and can it be repaired. These questions will help you decide if an RC vehicle is worth repairing or if it is a disposable toy.
Scale: RC cars are scaled to a fraction the size of a full-sized model. A RC car made to 1/10 scale is, for example. It is one tenth as large as a full-sized automobile, and 10 times smaller that a full sized car. The most common sizes for RC cars are 1/8 or 1/10 scale.
Value: We compared features and quality against the cost of the cars. RC cars that had equal or better features at a lower price scored better than cars that had the same features but cost more. We also considered upgradability for the more expensive cars.
Review and recommendations for the Best Remote Control Cars
Best Overall: Traxxas Rustler XL-5
Why It Made The Cut: Offering speed and all-around capability at a good price, the Traxxas Rustler XL-5 is the best remote control car for most people, making it the top pick.
— Scale: 1/10
— Top Speed: 35 mph
— Car Battery: 8.4V 3000mAh
— Versatile with all-terrain performance
— Easy setup and use
— Sealed electrics
— Limited battery performance
Occupying the top spot on the list is the Traxxas Rustler XL-5. It is a great combination of features at an affordable price. It is a great mid-level vehicle, with all the features of higher-end models such as sealed electronics and thermal shut down protection. Best of all, it’s reasonably fast and fun to operate, and it offers a good mix of on and off-road performance.
The Rustler XL-5 arrives almost completely assembled and is very easy to set up straight from the box. Equipped with a NiMH rechargeable battery, it’s capable of reaching speeds of 35 mph but lasts only 15 minutes per charge. It is easy to upgrade the battery and many other features of the car with parts available at Traxxas. The vehicle is sturdy, with good ground clearance that allows it to maneuver through obstacles.
The Rustler XL-5 combines a steering wheel with a trigger throttle for precise control. The throttle comes with three settings to allow beginners to get familiar with the operation. Large tires provide excellent traction and make it easy for novices to pop wheelsies. As RC cars go, it doesn’t stand out in any one category, but it’s a great all-around option that will provide enough performance for most people.
Best for kids: Orrente Stunt RC Car
Why It Made The Cut: The Orrente Stunt car is ideal for kids ages 6–12 or kids at heart who want a durable stunt car that can do tricks and handle indoor and outdoor terrain.
— Scale: 1/24
— Top Speed: 4 mph
— Car Battery: 3.7V 500 mAh
— Fun to use
— Easy to operate controls
— Good for indoor and outdoor use
— Limited battery performance
— Not upgradable
Kids are hard on toys and lose interest in them quickly. For these reasons, spending several hundred dollars on an RC car is usually a bad idea. Fortunately, Orrente provides a great choiceFor kids and anyone who is interested in stunt driving. This car is a fraction of the price of entry-level RC cars, and its large tires provide great protection for the car as well as any objects it crashes into.
For children aged 6-12, the controls are easy to learn and you will need two sticks to control each side of your car. Once you’re comfortable with it, the Orrente Stunt can turn, flip, or navigate any terrain.
Unfortunately, like many kids’ toys, the batteries wear out quickly, but they are rechargeable. The car cannot be upgraded. However, if your kids or you decide to keep RC racing alive, you can always get the Bezgar and a comparable car for a fraction of the price.
Best Budget: Bezgar 17 RC
Why It Made The Cut: Whether you’re looking for a high-end toy or an entry point into the world of RC cars, the Bezgar 17 is a good choice for a great price.
— Scale: 1/14
— Top Speed: 12 mph
— Car Battery: 6V 800 mAh
— Great price
— Lots of details and features
— Durable aluminum body
— Low top speed
— Struggles with off-road terrain
It’s surprising how many features and details the Bezgar 17It is affordable with its working roll-bar headlights and a spare tire on the back. The aluminum body is solid. It is a great upgrade to the Orrente Stunt or a good option if you have an older child.
Although the battery life is decent, it can last between 25 to 30 minutes, the top speed of 12 miles per hour is not as high as other cars. It is also unable to handle off-road terrain.
But it’s hard to argue with the price. For less than fifty dollars, the Bezgar 17 sits at a point where it’s either a great high-end toy or a good entry-level option into the world of more serious RC cars.
Best Drift Car Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Drift
Why It Made The Cut: If drifting is your favorite part of driving an RC car, the Redcat Racing Lightning EPX will keep you thoroughly entertained and sliding sideways around any track.
— Scale: 1/10
— Top Speed: 15 mph
— Car Battery: 7.2V 2000 mAh
— Easy to drift and slide around
— Durable with good quality components
— Reasonable price
— Low top speed
— Short 15-minute battery life
If you love the sport of drifting or just want an RC car to slide around, the Redcat Racing Lightning EPXThe best choice. It was made for sliding and going sideways. You could spend hours practicing slides and spins or drifting in a playground or parking lot.
Unfortunately, the fun only lasts 15 minutes before you have to recharge the batteries. It’s also slower than expected, with a top speed of 15 mph. Given that there are cars that can reach speeds of over 70 mph I expected a bit more.
There’s a saying that “it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow,” which applies to a lot of cars I’ve driven over the years. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t apply to RC cars as well. It certainly does in the Lightning’s case.
Best Off-Road Redcat Racing Volcano EPX
Why It Made The Cut: Combining serious off-road capability, upgradability, and a reasonable price, the Redcat Racing Volcano EPX is the top choice in RC off-roaders.
— Scale: 1/10
— Top Speed: 19 mph
— Car Battery: 7.2V 2000 mAh
— Fast and stable over uneven terrain
— Solid and durable with waterproof construction
— Great ground clearance
— Not that fast
— Battery life could be longer
The further you get into RC cars, the more you start to realize one car won’t cut it. You’ll want one car to tear around on the pavement and a separate car for off-roading. Looking at the Redcat Racing Volcano EPX, you’ll see why this is true. It’s one tough truck with serious ground clearance, chunky tires, and a steel front plate.
Its wide track and steep approach angle allow it to climb steep hills and obstacles. Rocks, branches, high grass, and other impediments don’t stand a chance. The suspension is flexible and can be controlled to cover uneven terrain at full speed.
The rechargeable NiMH battery is powerful but can last longer. Some have had good results upgrading the battery pack. Redcat is an entry-level offroader that offers a wide range of upgrades making it hard to beat the Volcano EPX.
Best Built-for Speed: Traxxas Rustler 4×4 VXL
Why It Made The Cut: If you have a need for speed, the Traxxas Rustler delivers with a blazing-fast top speed over any kind of terrain.
— Scale: 1/10
— Top Speed: 65 mph
— Car Battery: Not included
— Blazingly fast on pavement
— Good off-road performance
— Rollover protection and self-righting feature
— Battery not included
If you’re looking for a speed demon, the Traxxas RustlerIt is a beast. It has a four-wheel drive and large Talon EXT tyres that provide plenty of grip on all terrain. It’s also got a wide track, making it extremely stable. It can even flip over remotely using the self-righting feature.
The clipless body allows for one-handed removal and easy access to all internal components. This makes repairs and upgrades easy. Mechanically the Rustler is equipped with the Traxxas’s Velineon 3S power system, which delivers a potent combination of efficiency, speed, and run-time, along with refined control.
The Rustler comes without a battery. However, this is a drawback at this price point. A 7-cell NiMH NiMH battery has a top speed limit of 35 mph. However, if buy a lithium-ion polymer or LiPo battery, you’ll see speeds up to 65 mph out of this racer.
The chemical makeup of NiMH and LiPo batteries is what makes them different. LiPo batteries cost more, but have a higher level of energy density. This makes them more powerful and lasts longer than NiMH. This article provides a more detailed explanation of the battery differences.
Things to Consider Before You Buy a Remote Control Car
Experiential RC car enthusiasts have their preferred brands and setups. They know what they want and where they can find it. But if you’re just starting out or are looking to upgrade, it can be hard to tell what’s important. Here are some tips to remember:
It doesn’t matter if you’re racing on a road course or powering through an obstacle; speed is the one thing everyone wants. Most RC cars reach speeds of 10 to 20 miles per hour (mph), but some will exceed 30 mph or reach speeds as high as 60–70 mph. The main factors that affect speed are weight, battery output (motor power), motor power, and tires. Upgrades are available for top-level RC cars. They can increase power, improve tire performance, or reduce weight. Your options are limited for entry-level and lower-end cars.
More important than speed is handling. A car that is better at handling is easier to control, and it’s easier to drive fast without getting tangled up or rolled over. All cars, except the most basic entry-level, can have their handling improved. Tires play a big part in handling, but you can also upgrade your RC car’s suspension.
The RC controller plays a crucial role in handling. The controller’s range, speed, accuracy, and speed will determine how fast and precisely your car responds. Most cars with good quality can be upgraded to upgrade their controller, including the receiver and transmitter.
RC cars can take a beating. They can do jumps and wheelies, spin around and crash. Parts can break, batteries can wear out, and so on. At some point, you’re going to be stuck with an inoperable car and a choice to repair it or buy a new one. You can repair any car. However, if the price was less than $50, it might not be worth the effort. You can repair and even upgrade cars that cost more than $100, but you should consider two things.
Durability is the first thing you should consider. RC cars with higher prices are typically made from heavy-duty metal and plastic. They are built to withstand rollovers, crashes, and other abuse. That doesn’t mean they won’t break, but it does mean they will last longer.
The second thing you should consider is how easy it is to fix the car. An RC car that is well-built can be repaired so you can swap out any parts or even entire car bodies.
Q: What is the cost of remote control cars?
A kids’ toy RC car costs around $25. A basic RC vehicle for older children and adults costs around $50. Hobbyists will find good entry-level RC vehicles for around $150 to $250. While higher-end cars can be purchased for $300 to $500.
Q: What is the working principle of RC cars?
Radio transmitters control RC cars. When you make inputs on the car’s controller, it transmits a radio signal to the car. The car comes with a built-in receiver which converts that signal into an action. Most controllers use a frequency in the 2.4 GHz range with unique transmitter IDs, so they don’t get jammed by other RC controllers, and have a range of about 200 feet.
Q: How fast can remote-controlled cars go?
Most cars reach speeds under 20 mph. However, higher-end cars can achieve speeds of 30 to 50 miles per hour. You can increase top speeds to 70 mph by upgrading the battery, motor and transmission.
Q: Can my phone control my RC car?
Some cars can be controlled via an Android or iOS smartphone. This capability can also be retrofitted into an older vehicle. The downside is that Bluetooth phones are not radio-frequency compatible, so the range is limited to 50 feet.
You will have a lot of fun with any of these remote control cars. It all comes down to your level of interest in RC cars and how much money you are willing to spend. The Traxxas Rustler XL-5The is a great midlevel choice if you want a car with good performance on a variety of terrains and that can be easily upgraded. If you’re looking to dip your toe in the water or want a good car for an older child, it’s hard to beat the Bezgar 17 RC. Finally, if you’re looking for a car to fulfill a specific role, check out one of the others on our list, or the Traxxas Rustler 4×4 VXLThis package combines speed with all-terrain capabilities in one package.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism could receive a percentage of any sales made from products linked to in this post.