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There isn’t much that causes fun quite the way remote control cars do. For kids, they’re one of the best experiences possible and RC cars can produce endless hours of fun, in all kinds of weather. With friends or even on your own, these miniature machines can be a great source of mayhem, competition and outright happiness. Even for an adult, the best remote control car can be a great way to let off some steam, spend time with friends, and they can be a great hobby.
So, the only thing left to do is to find the right RC car for yourself. There are a few things to consider when you’re in the market for a remote control car. What type of car you want – are you an off-roader or a supercar racer? The age of the user – is this for a small child or is it for an adult who wants to maintain and modify the car? We’ll try to take you through the most important features you’re likely to come across when you’re trying to make your decision.
We’ve looked at many of the attributes these machines have. It’s a diverse field and we’ve tried to present a range with our reviews that will offer something for everyone. There are plenty of RC cars on the market, but not many offer a quality build that will withstand constant use – the majority of models available are pretty flimsy. For this review, we’ve spent plenty of time selecting not only the cars that offer great features, but those that are highly durable, too. In terms of speed, types of car, control distances and other options – we’ve got it pretty much all covered, and we go into more detail in the buying guide. If you’re looking to find the best remote control car, stick with us!
Extra features: weatherproof; officially licensed Ford GT replica
This a very good replica of the sleek and mean looking Ford car that won the world famous Le Mans 24-hour race a few years ago. The Traxxas Ford GT is a stunning looking vehicle.
When you look at this remote control car, it really is just like looking at a scaled down version of the full sized model. The attention to detail is absolutely amazing and if you’re not careful, you’ll be immersed completely in the spirit of racing that brought about the design of the Ford car.
The Traxxas Ford GT has working disc brakes and features a powerful motor that provides drive to all four wheels. This racing beast is agile – with a very low centre of gravity – and it’s a great mix of aerodynamic design and torque in a very nice package that’ll get many hearts racing.
This car has a brushless motor, which is a great feature and means lower maintenance so you can concentrate on the fun parts of looking after the Ford.
A disappointing feature here is that you’ll need to buy one of two different battery and charger combinations – separately. Although, Traxxas are very upfront about that before you buy. Many will feel that the car they’re getting here justifies the extra spend. This is a great, very upgradeable remote control car, and it’s top of our list for that reason.
Extra features: waterproof; detailed Land Rover body with spare tire; available in 2 colors
The attention to detail which has gone into the design and build of this remote control vehicle is nothing short of absolutely stunning. The Traxxas TRX-4 Defender, RC Crawler is almost a perfect miniature version of the fully sized Land Rover Defender and this thing will go anywhere you want it to.
First of all, let’s get past the elephant on this safari and say that – as with the first effort from Traxxas on this list – you’ll need to take your choice of two different battery and charger combinations and purchase that separately to get this excellent vehicle on – or off the road.
That said, what you get here is just amazing. The Traxxas TRX-4 Defender, RC Crawler features both a high and a low transmission range – just like the real thing. What’s more, you can control and switch between ranges remotely, so this is a fully prepared off-road machine, and you’ll be able to adjust your transmission for terrain without going anywhere near the vehicle or stopping the fun.
The body on this thing looks nearly exactly like the real version and the small details are great. A lot of effort has gone into making this an accurate representation of the real vehicle. Lots of fun to be had here.
Clearance is massive, which means all terrain. The electronics here are waterproof too, which means even more terrains. The controller has great range and if you want to get wet and messy with your remote control car, it’ll be hard to look past this unit.
Extra features: brushless motor; waterproof electronics; adjustable independent suspension
Ok, so this absolute beast of a vehicle is the Redcat Racing EP Brushless Touring Car and what a package you get when you go for this remote control car! This guy comes with a really nice touring car body and you can but two and race them against each other if you wish, because there’s enough channels to accommodate that.
One of the greatest things about the Redcat Racing EP Brushless Touring Car is the speed. There’s proper versatility here too though, because you can buy an extra set of drifting wheels – if getting that back end out is what floats your boat. Stick with the track tires and you’ll be burning up the track at speeds in excess of forty miles per hour. This thing is very low slung too, so expect great road holding with the standard tires fitted.
Batteries for the car, and a charger, are included. Although, you’ll need to buy your own set of eight batteries for the radio controller and it might be worth factoring in the extra spend to get rechargeable units there too. You’ll probably want to race this car a heck of a lot, so consider it.
The body here is a lightweight polycarbonate material, so it won’t slow the car down much. You don’t get completely lifelike reproduction of a full sized car’s bodywork – but then, this thing will probably be moving too fast to be able to see that. Great fun.
Extra features: battery and charger included; adjustable suspension and oil-filled shocks
Next up on our list of six of the best remote control cars is the Redcat Racing Piranha-XTR-10 Piranha TR10 Truggy, and this is somewhat of a hybrid vehicle. This remote control vehicle offers some of the best of both worlds because it’s sleek but with good clearance, and it also features some adjustability built in, which make it a very good option for those out there who want to use a car in more than one setting or terrain.
There are some confusing contradictions with this car, and that’s worth looking at and keeping in mind. The looks suggest desert racer, but the drive is only two wheels, so don’t be taken in by appearances and be realistic about where you’ll be able to run the Redcat Racing Piranha-XTR-10 Piranha TR10 Truggy, because it won’t go too far off road without getting bogged down in the wrong conditions. Beware.
This remote control vehicle does give you adjustable suspension, though, which is oil filled and of decent quality. The car isn’t suitable for all terrains, as we’ve said, but it is suitable for more settings than a street racer or a replica supercar. It comes with a very powerful battery pack in-car, and all the gear you need to recharge that and keep motoring. The Redcat Racing Piranha-XTR-10 Piranha TR10 Truggy even comes with batteries supplied for the controller, and this is a versatile buy, that won’t bust your wallet. Good option.
Extra features: independent swing axle front suspension and rolling rigid axle rear suspension
In the world of remote control hobbyists, the Tamiya 58346 The Grasshopper RC Car is considered to be a genuine classic. This design has been around for decades and many of the Dads – and maybe even some Grandads – out there will recognize the classic looks of the Grasshopper from their own childhoods. This fun remote control vehicle will bring back a lot of happy memories.
What you get with the Tamiya 58346 The Grasshopper RC Car is a relatively simple and low-cost remote control car that is only two-wheel drive, but great in the dirt and sandier environments. This is a classic kit-style package too, and because of the nostalgia associated with this design, a lot of fathers out there will probably want to use this as a project they can do with their kids. In that way, the Tamiya 58346 The Grasshopper RC Car is a very worthwhile purchase, and there’s hours of expectant fun to be had – even before you hit the road.
You’ll need to upgrade a few things if you want to use this car regularly. The bearings are plastic, and this car doesn’t come with a speed controller. Be aware of that and you’ll be fine – because the Tamiya is a timeless classic when it comes to fun, and the initial cost is low.
Extra features: performs double-sized 360 flips; shockproof
Last but not least on our list is the quirky and brightly colored Rodzon Remote RC Car, which is a departure from the rest of the cars on here, let’s be clear about that.
This remote control vehicle is aimed at a younger market than the rest of the cars here, so it has its place and it’ll be a very good option for some. This would be great as a gift for a smaller child, and it’s rated for users over three years old. The controls are super-simple.
This car also aims to please those out there that are not hardcore hobbyists and may even be looking at trying out remote control vehicles by dipping a toe with something easier to control and a car that won’t get too bogged down or require too much mechanical or driving knowledge. This car certainly fits that bill – it has independent wheels which will keep going over many bumps and humps and this car will provide great fun without too much thought.
A drawback is the lack of rechargeable batteries. If you do decide to purchase the Rodzon Remote RC Car, I’d strongly recommend investing in some standard rechargeable batteries because this car will only run for a maximum of twenty-five minutes before it drains a set, and you’ll end up spending big if you use throw-away batteries – not to mention the environmental implications.
An additional word of caution, the Rodzon Remote RC Car is not waterproof, so be careful where you use it. This is a great option for the extremely low cost, but factor in rechargeable batteries.
Why is it special?
Cheap and fun
Great for kids
No experience or extra knowledge required
What are the flaws?
Factor in buying rechargeable batteries
Things to Consider
We’re going to run through a few of the key features on these gadgets and we’ll try to put you in a position that enables you to make your own informed choices. There’s a lot of tempting racers on the market, but which one is the right racer for you? Let’s take a look.
Reasons to get an awesome remote control car
If you’re looking for all the thrills of motoring, without the large price tags and the garage bills which come with your average supercar, then remote control might just be the best route to take. These days, remote control cars are near perfect miniature representations of the full-size models and remote control technology is impressive. You can experience a lot of the same joy of motoring you get with the fastest full-size cars with some of the best mini remote control car models out there.
You can race friends, or you can just cruise around the block with your remote control car. Or maybe even do a spot of four wheel driving when the mood takes you. Remote control cars are an inexpensive way to experience the fun of motoring, and you don’t even need a driving license to get behind the controls! There’s a great range of types of remote control cars too. You can experience road cars which possess startling speed and road holding, or you can go for a sand buggy that’s built to take on the dunes. Whichever option you decide on, there’s a great choice of mini machines to look at.
Features to consider when choosing an RC car
Remote control cars are great fun. You can own your own Ferrari even if you’re not a millionaire, and you can go off-roading in the backyard. But what do you need to look out for when you’re looking to buy your own remote control machine?
The truth is that as with most purchases, there are no hard and fast rules when you’re looking to buy a remote control car. Everyone is different and you’ll need to work out what matters to you. The best remote control car for kids may not be best for Dad. The best remote control car for a 10 year old may not be the best remote control car for toddlers – choose wisely.
We’re going to run through some of the things you need to look out for to ensure you pick the right car for your needs. Like most things, remote control cars come in various shapes, sizes and types. Try to get an idea of your own expectations before you buy. As we’ve said, budget will be a factor for most people. If you’re looking for a remote control car under $100, you’ll need a different wish list than a person looking for the right remote control car for a 4-year-old. Another thing to consider carefully is where you live. What sort of terrain is available to you? There’s no point buying a beach buggy if you don’t have sand to run it on. Likewise, there’s no real reason to buy a low slung Ferrari or Lotus if you don’t have too much flat tarmac to race it on.
Think carefully about what matters to you. It’s true that if you’re looking at one of these excellent machines, you’re probably a car enthusiast. But which type of car gets you excited? Think about the sort of racing you’re likely to be into and what your opportunities are for competitive action. If your neighbor races four wheel drives, then maybe you’ll have the most fun if you buy a machine that enables you to get some racing done. Don’t necessarily go for the first remote control car that pops into your head. A lot of the thrill with these machines can be in pitting your skills and wits against friends.
Type of car and scale
The most important thing to remember here is that each remote control car is designed for specific conditions, or a set of conditions. Scale becomes important for things like clearance.
A larger car is going to bottom out far less, because it’ll sit higher off the ground and be able to negotiate rougher terrain and bumpier surfaces.
Scale may also be a factor in determining price and a smaller car may also suit a smaller person. If you’re looking for a remote control car for a 6 year old or a toddler, for instance – make sure it’s not too heavy for them to pick up. The Rodzon RC car we’ve reviewed above is a great option for kids as it’s relatively lightweight, when compared to an adult model such as our top choice, the Traxxas Ford GT, for example.
Depending on the what you want to do with your car, you’ll need to prioritize speed to varying degrees. Not all cars need to be fast, as in the real world. For some, like off-roaders, it’s more about clearances, traction and torque. But if you intend to race on the flat open road, you want to check out speed and acceleration.
If you want to drive in the mud, you’re going to need drive to all wheels. If you’re looking for a road car, then front and rear wheel drive vehicles both offer their own advantages and disadvantages. Choose carefully. If you’re into drifting, then you can also go for a car with a front wheel drive system. If you’re after an off-roader, such as the Tamiya Grasshopper, then a two-wheel drive will also suffice.
Range and channels
Unlike with full-size cars, range isn’t a measure of how far your remote control car will go between gas station fill-ups. With remote control vehicles, range refers to how far away you can be and still control your car. It’s the distance from which your controls can send instructions to the vehicle. This is an important factor if you intend to race on big tracks, or take to the wilderness.
Channels is basically about how many open and available radio channels there are on your controller. If you want to use your car around lots of other people, you’ll each need to operate on a different radio channel to avoid problems with control. So, the more channels your controller features, the larger the group you’ll be able to have fun with. This is only a factor where you’re likely to use your car with a lot of other remote control cars around.
Who will be playing – and where?
It’s important to choose your vehicle based on the terrain you’ll want to deal with, and the level of user behind the controls. Don’t buy something too complicated and sophisticated if it’s a gift for a small child who’ll be happier with the rough and tumble of a robust vehicle which doesn’t require the owner to be too precious about the odd bump and scratch. Remember it’s about fun, nothing else. The best remote control car for adults won’t be the best kids remote control car. Be realistic and buy for the user.
Waterproof and shockproof features
Again, with remote control vehicles, a big factor is how you use them. This dictates what you’re going to be exposing them to on a day to day basis. If you’re going to do a lot of wet weather driving in the rain, then get a waterproof car.
Likewise, if you want to go off-roading in the mud or the surf, pay attention to water resistance. If your goal is to get an off road remote control car, then you need to look at features like waterproof ratings.
If you intend to do some stock-car style racing and you’re going to be rear-ending your opponents, or if you just want to forget about damage and go all out to eliminate your opponents by any means necessary, get something durable that can take the knocks.
Overall build and durability
The more robust your car is, the better. That’s a fact. You never know when something unexpected is going to come up and your vehicle will hit a bump in the road. Also, collisions can happen and it’s always good to have something that’s tough and durable – the Redcat Racing Brushless Touring Car and the Redcat Piranha are both fantastic, durable options. Again, bumps in the road surface aside, this will largely be a factor when you intend to use your vehicle competitively. But, you also need to pay close attention to build quality if you’re buying a dune buggy or an off-roader style remote control vehicle – because they’re going to take more knocks and get far more airborne more often than the average Aston Martin. It’s about how you intend to use your vehicle, so keep it in mind when you make your choice.
Different options will come with differing levels of play time between charges or battery changes. Also, with some cars, you may need to buy additional components to be able to recharge batteries and not have to buy throw-away units. Although rechargeable batteries add cost upon purchase, they often save you money over time.
Quality and therefore price will have a large influence on this. As will how you use and look after your choice of remote control car. If you play rough, the car won’t last as long as if you are careful driver – much like with full-size vehicles.
Decent remote control cars will take modification well. You can change out the motor for a more powerful one with a lot of the cars on the market, and there’s many features and parts you can swap to make your car faster or to suit different terrains and conditions.
Like you would a real car. Always keep an eye out for developing problems and be ready to perform the required maintenance. A great place to start is to thoroughly clean and inspect your car after each use. This will enable to you spot and stay on top of any damage. Another good idea is to pay close attention to manufacturer instructions. Do as they recommend, to enhance the life of your car.
So, we’ve taken a look at what’s important when you’re looking to buy a remote control car, and we’ve looked at a wide range of cars to find a good mix of the six best out there. The car that came out on top was the Traxxas Ford GT, and this was a great remote control vehicle that offers all of the factors that cause fun. It’s a great option and it’s really going to suit the racers and enthusiasts out there who like supercars.
In second place, and just missing out on the checkered flag, was the brilliant Traxxas TRX-4 Defender RC Crawler, which is another miniature motor vehicle that’s massive on thrills. This is a vehicle that’s going to get the off-roaders excited and it’s a real head turner.
In third, and one for the touring cars fans out there was the Redcat Racing EP Brushless Touring Car. This remote control car is as good as it gets for saloon car racers and it’s big on speed. If you like racing production cars, this might just be the one for you.
Whichever remote control car you decide on, just remember one very important thing – have lots of fun and keep that pedal to the metal!