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Did you know that the first RC buggy called the Rough Rider was created by Shunsaku Tamiya under the influence of American magazine about an off-road racing convention? He even set out a trip to the desert racing show in America, and several years later introduced his creation to the public, which was a huge success.
When shopping for the best RC buggy, environment type should be your primary concern, as different models could fit more for particular terrain. You should also consider the tires, because some of them are designed primarily for speed, while others for grip and stability on rough terrains. We’ve rounded up our 8 top picks with sufficient ground clearance, 2.4GHz operation (a standard for full functionality) and various sizes to help you find the best option for having quality fun, where the Team Losi DBXL-E 2.0 deserved to be our top choice.
More features: desert electric buggy, spectrum AVC tech
This fearless basher buggy is an extremely fast vehicle – it can reach the speed of 50+ mph. It’s fitted with an outstanding AVC Spektrum Technology, meaning that you can literally dial in extra stability as needed without backing off the power. You’ll have increased traction when carving corners and better stability when nailing jumps.
The AVC technology system senses when the tail of your car starts to get loose (drag or spin) and it makes instantaneous throttle adjustments to your forward momentum. If you’re racing your friends or racing competitively in hard terrains, this buggy will give you a deadly edge.
Additionally, it’s an electric car and comes with 4 AA batteries for immediate use and no-hassle quick power changes. For nights it offers a built-in LED light bar, and its electrical components are designed to be waterproof, so you would be able to race even when it rains.
This car’s aluminum deferential center allows for a more balanced vehicle that can adjust more easily for difficult terrains such as sand, rocky hills, and thick mud. For an even better experience concurring all terrains, this RC buggy features a strong 780 kV motor and an impressive 2.75 inches of ground clearance. It’s truly a fearless vehicle.
What we liked:
Active Vehicle Control (AVC) technological system.
More features: metal universal joints on both axles, 45 degrees of steering, Nitto Trail Grappler 1.9 tires
The Axial AXI03022T1 is a truck that has a 4-wheel-steering system that makes it easy to maneuver on any terrain. It comes with a Spektrum DX3 transmitter that enables you to steer the rear axle from 0%to50% or 100%, left and right, allowing you to adjust the wheels into a position that allows you to overcome all road challenges. This transmission mechanism also offers a dig feature. However, when the truck comes from the factory, this feature is usually disabled, and you may need a micro servo or 4-channel radio to use it.
This rig features a tube chassis that gives it the appearance of a scale rock crawler buggy while also providing the perfect suspension and tire clearance needs. Additionally, it has Currie F9 Portal Axles that provide a 45% steering increase, offering more ground clearance. Both axles are equipped with metal universals that allow for smooth action and a more efficient drivetrain. The rig comes with components and connectors made from rust-resistant stainless steel, offering Precision and durability.
More features: rock crawler buggy, instant reverse and drag brakes
With a custom tunable suspension, this might be as close as you can get to custom fitting a buggy for specific terrains. It’s this buggy’s most impressive feature – though this is also the most affordable car on our list – and allows for you to jack up your car to an insane clearance of 3.7 inches maximum.
Fit the suspension of your car to each environment, taller for rocky ones and lower to the ground for flatter race-tracks; you’ll finally be allowed to set up for a range from smooth slick rock to heavy boulders. In addition to the custom suspension, this car is equipped with a strong 2.4GHz radio control system, which offers instant reverse options and the implication of drag brakes for sharp corners at high speeds; you’ll always be in full control wherever you go.
The RC buggy is designed for fast-paced races with a lightweight full-tube design and 4-link suspension with strong 2.2 bead lock wheels and bighorn tires. Its portal axles are heavy duty and conform to all higher ground clearance choices.
For jumps and hard collisions, this buggy features G-Transition shocks and a high torque metal-geared motor which can reach a speed of up to 50mph.
What we liked:
10-day warranty on electrical components
Completely tunable suspension.
Ground clearance of a max 3.7 inches
Is fit for racing on difficult tracks
What could be better:
Batteries and chargers sold separately
Lightweight frame is easier to damage than metal frames
More features: electric racing buggy, variable motor and center differential angles
This vehicle has an increased forward weight bias, meaning its design allows for improved stability on high-speed tracks. Usually (for RC buggies) these tracks are homemade and consist of many terrains. A feature that will truly assist on these homemade terrains is this buggy’s molded driveshaft and aluminum shock, helping the vehicle to recover from hard crashes and stiff jump landings.
The base frame (or chassis) of this vehicle is made from T-6 durable aluminum and improves the car’s suspension and self-adjusting geometric variables; meaning its weight is able to shift for better adjustments which the car’s system can sense.
Additionally, the buggy’s chassis has been specifically engineered for electric power, with a 2500 kV motor that can reach a speed of up to 50mph. The stock center plate puts the motor and differential directly in line with the chassis and the two battery locations are also located central to the chassis.
Designed with racing in mind, and with a great ground clearance of 2.4 inches, this car will dominate on all the high-speed tracks.
What we liked:
New engineered chassis design.
Best for flat-terrain high-speed tracks
2500kv motor for up to 50mph
Self-adjusting system, which can sense cars geometric variables
More features: electric racing buggy, full-time 4WD
Kyosho’s ready set package comes with all fully assembled components and extras for immediate action the day you receive your RC buggy. This competitive vehicle is known for its world-beating performance and full electric power design – with a renowned team Orion brushless motor of 4200kv power that can reach an insane speed of up to 60mph.
For speeds like this, where a car can prove more difficult to handle, the manufacturers have paired their design with increased precision control and handling. The advanced controller has a 2.4Ghz frequency with a large LCD screen; a KT-331P built-in transmitter creates faster response time in all your racing, as well as a higher torque.
The ground clearance is low, at 1.1 inches, however, it’s paired with a competitively lightweight design which features compact front and rear deferential units with full ball bearing specifications.
Controller settings include: full-time 4WD, 3-shaft drive, and 4WD independent wishbone suspension. For the professional competition, this car would require self-installments of additional items to compete, however for all the other racers who like fun runs of courses made at home, it’s an amazing buggy to add to your collection.
More features: electric racing buggy, 3-gear transmission
The RB6 model maintains the superiority of proven suspension and steering and features a selection of 3 different gear boxes: “Rear Motor”, “3 Gear Midship”, and “4 Gear Midship”.
Additionally, the 2700kv rear motor is balanced and more reliable for loose surfaces and increased power to the car’s dual transmissions. Mid-built transmissions provide a higher grip on dirt surfaces and lower-built transmissions provide ultra-high-grip for slick elements (slick rock) and tracks with artificial turf and carpet.
This buggy will out-compete other cars with its detailed precision settings, allowing the machine to become compatible for any surface type and any racer type (defensive or offensive).
The car’s chassis is designed with side guards and strong lightweight metal components, and the sideways battery mounting allows for fine-tuning the chassis weight when making manual distributions.
The radio control has a frequency range of 2.4GHz, 2-channel radio settings, a digital LCD screen, and a 15-model memory for increased racing capability on all tracks. For jumps and high-speed collisions, the shocks are designed with oil-filled coil components and threaded springs.
In 2015 this buggy won the Off-Road World Championships, and now its time for you to take an educated risk and see what you can do with it.
What we liked:
Detailed Precision settings for all racing environments
More features: 60A electronic speed control, powerful battery capacity
Fast and furious is the way to describe this little monster of an RC car. The GoolRC Wltoys remote-controlled car is one of the fastest entry-level RC cars we have seen. It has a motor no one has heard of, which nevertheless makes more than 30mph. We weren’t able to get ours to the advertised max speed.
For such a tiny car, the GoolRC Wltoys RC car is heavy. It weighs slightly over two pounds, a good sign of the heavy-duty metal parts used where it matters. However, for such a powerful car, there shouldn’t have been any plastic parts.
Many of the other features of this car are standard. A 30amp, 7.4V battery pack is included a 2.4Ghz controller with a max distance of 100m and a completely modular design.
Even then, we were able to squeeze out lots of fun from this little car. It drifts beautifully and has impeccable control, even though it did show some understeer at high speeds. We also loved the adjustable oil-pressure shock absorbers that can go offroad in a second.
What we liked:
This is a very affordable and powerful entry-level RC car. You can easily swap out any of the parts for better and stronger ones
The speed on this little car is fantastic. It is one of the fastest ones we have tested at this price point
We loved the strong aluminum frame construction, which makes it somewhat resistant to crashing and rolling
The acceleration on this car is fantastic, a testament to its powerful motor
Feedback on control is almost instant
What could be better:
Delivery took forever, almost two months from the date we ordered the car. It also seems that stock parts could take as long
Some of the parts are not built to withstand the car’s awesome power. That includes the differential, shock absorber mountings, and plastic bumpers
Motor or engine: 2200kv 4 pole brushless electric motor
Ground clearance: 2.5 inches
Warranty: 10 days on electronics
More features: electric crawler buggy, waterproof electronics box and fuel cell weight box
Axial Yeti’s design was inspired and engineered after real full-sized dessert trucks, and it’s strategically designed like one with increased bashing stamina and technical rock-racing abilities.
Without compromising other landscapes and off-road conditions, the design is still best suited for rocky landscapes and even has a clearance of 2.5 inches from the ground.
Like any full bashing beast, this buggy has a transmission of all metal gears, full ball bearing, and single-speed design with ‘high gear’ installed; it can reach up to 50mph on a 2200 kV 4-pole motor. The trucks front suspension is completely independent from the rear, and all elements feature a solid axle build, increasing buggies ability to handle the harshest rock-racing environments.
It’s build features 17mm aluminum hex hubs, steel turnbuckles, and CNC metal cut gears; all electronic components are waterproofed. Icon aluminum shocks offer more stable landings from jumps and an increased ability to withstand hard collisions. Some reviewers complain that the fuel-cell box is too heavy, yet it doesn’t influence the acceleration too much. This buggy is truly a monster to be feared.
What we liked:
2200kv 4-pole motor (up to 50mph)
High ground clearance
Increase rock-racing design
10-day warranty on electronics
What could be better:
Heavy fuel-cell box
Things to Consider
On the off-chance you’ve never experienced buggy buying – let alone buggy racing – the remainder of this guide focusses on the facets of owning a buggy and descriptions/explanations of the features you might not be familiar with. Frequently asked questions are discussed and answered, and we even give our nominations for the top three buggies on our list. We hope this information is able to help you make an educated and ideal purchase.
Having quality fun with an RC buggy. Starter kit
You probably won’t start out racing buggies right away unless you’ve already found a group of local racers or a competitive circuit near you. If this is not the case, you’re going to want to find alternatives – of which there are many – to having quality fun with your RC buggy.
First off, if you live in a city and rarely get out of it to more rural areas with different off-road environments, then you’re going to want to find local gardens and parks near you for RC driving. Either that or you might want to consider other RC cars (on-road options) – check out our pick of the best RC cars under $100 or under $200 for some ideas. If you want to take your RC toy off the ground, also look into getting an RC helicopter. Buggies are the most fun with a mix of environments, from muddy riverbanks to stretches of smooth rock mixed with intermittent boulders.
Start out finding different environments near you to test out your buggy, mostly because its fun to make your RC car compete against nature and the elements. It will also help train you for driving buggies in dry to wet environments, and from mountainous to flat environments.
If you want, progress to getting a buggy for a friend or partner, even your kids could handle one, and then start testing yourself against other learning racers. Try jumps and sharp corners, try shallow puddles and then deeper puddles. The goal is to learn the limits (if any) of your buggy, and it’s honestly one of the most fun parts of the experience.
Finally, you might even want to progress to designing your own race tracks, though this does require a large enough environment to create a circuit. The best circuits feature multiple kinds of alternating terrains, each more trying on your buggy and racing skills than the last.
What type of buggy fits which type of area?
Rocky environments are best for buggies, which have larger ground clearances and stronger shocks for collision and jumps. The best car on our list for rocky areas and mountains is the Gmade 51011 R1, which has insanely good shocks and an adjustable ground clearance up to a max of 3.7 inches – another great option for this functionality is an RC rock crawler.
Wet environments with small lake areas, muddy stretches, drive-through puddles, are best for buggies which have waterproofed components. Especially waterproofed electrical components with a speedo, cover, or just waterproof materials. All the cars on our list are waterproofed.
Desert environments can be great for low-ground buggies, like the Kyosho Inferno MP9e TKI, but they tend to have a mix of flat stretches and rocky or plant-filled courses so the best cars should at least have 2-inch medium ground clearances. Other environments, such as the artificial turf and carpet some race courses use, typically require speed and turning control over ground clearance. A car which will work great on really any course, with technology that can sense the environment under the buggy’s wheels and automatically adjust the RC’s minor functions, is the Team Losi DBXL-E 2.0.
Features to consider while choosing an RC buggy
The following features are all important parts of your buggy and will alter the way it performs and even competes against other RC’s.
Size, also known as ‘scale’ is the number (often listed as a fraction) which denotes how big or small a buggy will be. The ideal buggy might actually depend on the circuit/track you’ll be on, such as a larger buggy for larger rocky tracks or with deeper puddles. The scale is discussed right below, but here we’ll list first the largest and then the smallest of the buggies on our list: Team Losi DBXL-E 2.0 and Kyosho Ultima RB6 RS.
What’s the scale?
The larger the scale, the smaller the buggy is. For example, a 1/10 scale buggy is smaller than a 1/8 scale buggy, which is in turn smaller than a 1/5 scale. Before making your purchase and picking the scale of your buggy, it’s important to pick the track you’ll be racing on. Check with the track to see what scale of buggies they allow, and which ones are forbidden.
It is also always advisable to check your terrain type. For instance: a course with large dirt mounds, where it might be wise to choose a buggy that can handle those kinds of hills without flipping over backward.
For racing-specific needs, you’ll really only want buggies which are lightweight and fast. It’ll be up to you to learn when and how to decelerate, and improve your technique of drifting around corners. However, with high-speed tracks that often have boulders, hills, jumps, and other components which can be hard on your car you’ll want lightweight cars which still have all-metal components. Don’t pick buggies with heavy-metal gears, chassis designs, and casings, unless the track you’re on is very intense – rocky, wet, sharp turns, obstacles, etcetera.
More speed = more fun?
Definitely! There are some racers who think that having too much power and speed will compromise your ability to race because making turns will be more difficult. However, the majority of professional racers argue that increased speed can actually assist with turning so long as you know how to handle your buggy. As well, long stretches where speed is essential can be so much fun when you’re racing against your own ‘best time’ or another racer. One of the fastest RC buggies on our list is the Kyosho Inferno MP9e TKI which the manufacturers have made easier to drive with technological increased control and precision handling.
When it comes to operating radio-controlled (RC) vehicles, frequency is the specific radio signal sent from the transmitter to the receiver to control the vehicle. GHz is the measurement used to describe frequencies. These pulses will move a vehicle forward and backward on single-function toys, however, with full-function buggies (all on our list are operated at 2.4GHz) the vehicles can be turned left or right while moving forward or backward.
Does it all depend on the engine/motor?
No, your entire race won’t be dictated by something as small as the engine/motor, though this can make a major difference. Many engines operate with nitro or gas, though all on our list are gas operated and electrically run by batteries. Often two things matter about your engine: the speed it can generate, and its weight capacity/position in your car. Most engines are closer to the back of the car and create a better balance while racing.
Picking the ground clearance
Often this decision will be made off of the terrain you’ll be driving on the most. The majority of the buggies you’ll look at having a ground clearance a little more than 2-inches. These buggies will be slower than buggies closer to the ground, but they’ll also be able to navigate most (if not all) terrains. One of the trickiest terrains to gauge are water terrains (such as puddles) where you will risk driving through the sides and center of the puddle, even though you’re not quite sure how deep the water might go. Some buggies, like the Gmade 51011 R1, have an adjustable ground clearance which can be set for all kinds of different racing experiences.
This will depend on your preference because some tires are designed for speed while other tires are designed for grip or climbing potentiality on dirt or mud hills.
The chassis is the base frame of your vehicle and its where most of the weight is located fore and aft along the buggy. It holds your battery pack as well as your engine, and it can be made up of lightweight plastic or tube components (lighter but easier to damage) or full-metal components. Consider the Team Losi Racing 8IGHT-XE as one of the prime examples for a good chassis which will not only improve your racing but will balance your car along with all environments.
All cars and remotes on our list utilize battery power, though some of them can be recharged and need chargers and charger-chords purchased separately. Before a race, always check that your power source is full or close to full, otherwise risk going dead in the middle of a high-speed neck-in-neck.
Typically, a good warranty will give you protection for larger purchases, especially if a buggy comes with a manufacturing defect (though this is rare and unlikely). With RC cars warranties tend to cover only the electrical components, and the only two cars on our list with specified warranties are the Axial Yeti XL and the Gmade 51011 R1.
Your buggy really shouldn’t be ‘swimming’ in anything. Waterproof means your buggy can get wet and blast through small to medium-depth puddles without getting damaged, however submerging your buggy or making it go through extreme depths of water (well over its size) will prevent it from moving and may over time damage electrical components. Rule of thumb: if the tires can’t find any surface traction, then the car won’t move.
First, you’ll want to asses the damage and dirt which builds up over time across the bottom (the majority of grit and wear/tear) and perhaps dislodge the chassis (frame with the engine) from the hood/top section of the buggy. Next generally start by taking your frame and chassis over to a compressor and getting rid of the lodged dust and grit by blasting it with compressed air. Next wipe your rig down with a cleanser – we suggest ‘simple green’ – and finally move on to cleaning your rig with a brush.
One of the best and sturdiest brushes for grit is the Purdy Angled Brush, but for dirt/etcetera which won’t come off we suggest you move on to a toothbrush; don’t worry about doing damage while brushing, you couldn’t possibly hurt your rig more than any high-speed collision would. Last but not least, it’s always a great idea to polish over your work with something like WD-40.
Not only will you want tools for the upkeep of your car, but you’ll also quickly realize that you’ll need them. A great kit to consider is the Plano Molding Organizer which will hold all your screwdrivers, extra wiring components, fresh tires, cleaning brushes, and additional shocks/springs you’ll buy over time.
Here’s where we list the top three buggies as decided by speed, terrain functionality, price, and other main features.
Team Losi DBXL-E 2. Our best-all-around choice, the Team Losi buggy utilizes some of the newest and best technology to assist in high-speed races with difficult twists and turns where the weight of your rig would normally cause problems for other cars.
Axial AXI03022T1. This truck comes with front and rear steering right out of the box for maximum precision when maneuvering.
G-Made 51000 R1 Rock Crawler Buggy. Not only is this our budget-pick from the best RC Buggies, but it’s also one of the most adjustable models for ground clearance, with a maximum possible height of 3.7 inches.