Radio Control Cars – Buyers Guide

Best RC CarsLooking to buy a RC Car but do not know where to start? Well our Best RC Cars Guide will show you the very best models in 10 different categories so you can be sure of buying the very best model for you.

There are so many models of remote control car out there it can be hard to know which one is best – that is where this guide comes in. We look at the 10 best radio control cars offering a short review as well as pros and cons of each one.

You may also enjoy more specific buyer guides with the most popular ones shown here.

Please note the cars on this page are the best in my opinion. You may or may not agree. To see a full range check out www.nitrotek.co.uk

 

Categories

  • RC Cars for Beginners
  • RC Cars for Kids
  • RC Cars for Adults
  • Electric RC Cars
  • Nitro RC Cars
  • Petrol RC Cars
  • RC Truck
  • RC Buggy
  • RC Drift Car
  • Best Value RC Car

 

10 of the Best Radio Controlled Cars

Please Note: Before we begin throughout this article re use the terms RC Cars, Remote Control Cars and Radio Control Cars interchangeably. Please do not be fooled by this. They are all the same for the purposes of this article.

RC Car for Beginners

Best RC Car for Beginners - XSTR Electric RC BuggyXSTR Electric Radio Control Buggy

There is often a lot of uncertainty when you begin something new even if that is a hobby. For that reason, we have chosen the XSTR Electric RC buggy as our choice for beginners. There are several reasons for this.

This car is a fantastic example of speed and power. It is at an affordable price but still offers a great deal and is very upgradeable. It has a aluminium drive shaft, powerful 540 motor and aluminium capped oil filled shocks amongst many other features.

What I particularly like about this car other than its snazzy looks is that it is a ready to run vehicle with four-wheel drive. It can also be driven off road. This gives the beginner the chance to get going without needing to put anything together. The electric battery is easy to change, and the car can be driven almost anywhere.

PROS: Ready to Run, 4WD, Off Road, Well Priced for a beginner.

CONS: Brushed battery is not as good as brushless, but it is enough for this vehicle to really fly.


RC Car for Kids

Best Cars for Kids - Bigfoot Electric RC Mini Monster TruckBigfoot Electric RC Mini Monster Truck (£39.16)

When looking for a great car for a kid there are extra considerations that need to be made. It is not exactly safe for them to have a petrol-powered vehicle as that is highly flammable. It is far safer for them to have a chargeable model and fortunately there are plenty around.

We have gone for the Bigfoot Electric RC Mini Monster which is a battery powered car with good looks and massive tyres. It is a four wheel drive off road car meaning that it is perfect for the back garden or the local park.

As you can see from the picture it looks good and has many great features while remaining affordable for any child or parent.

PROS: Affordable, 4WD, Off- Road

CONS: Not the largest car on the market.


RC Car for Adults

Meteor Nitro RC Buggy (With Free Fuel)

Best RC Cars for Adults - Meteor Nitro RC BuggyThis is a great option for any adult looking to get into RC Cars. It is the Meteor Nitro Car and it comes with all the features that a new person to the hobby would need.

It is a ready to run vehicle with four-wheel drive and is perfect for both on road and of road fun. That means that no matter how much knowledge you have about cars you will be able to get this started with ease. It can also go on any surface making it ideal if your son or daughter already has a car.

This car is in the middle of the price range. We feel this is a good compromise between a good car but not to over the top just in case you find you do not like the RC world.

PROS: 4WD, Ready to Run, Looks Good

CONS: To be ultra-critical I’d like it to be a little larger.


Electric RC Car

Best Electric RC Car - XSTR Electric RC BuggyBest Electric RC Car – HSP XSTR Electric RC Buggy

When it comes to finding the best electric RC car there really is only one – The HSP XSTR Electric RC Buggy. This car has the best you can get in a battery powered vehicle. This includes a brushless motor, four-wheel drive and a design allowing for off road adventures.

This is the Pro upgraded version of the XSTR buggy that arrives ready to run. It comes with an FSD 3300KV Brushless motor and a 7.4V 3500mAh Lip battery with charger. This 1:10 scale buggy has dimensions of 400mm in length, 250mm in width and 160mm in height.

When you take into consideration if can drive anywhere, it size, its 4WD, its brushless motor and competitive price tag this car really is a great choice for anyone from a newbie through to a collector.

PROS: Brushless Motor, 4WD, Off-Road, Ready to Run

CONS:


Nitro RC Car

Best Nitro Car - Backwash Nitro RC BuggyBackwash Nitro Radio Controlled Buggy

One of the most popular types of car is the nitro car and when you look at the Backwash Buggy it is easy to see why. Apart from its bright design it has large wheels with a fantastic grip and some awesome looking suspension.

The Backwash buggy can perform both on and off road utilizing its 4-wheel drive and its .18 Nitro engine. It is delivered ready to run making set up easy and quick.

This nitro buggy has dimensions of 400mm in length, 160mm in height and 250mm in width and is classed as 1:10 scale in size. There is so much more to this car beyond looks and speed. If you want to know more then check it out in more detail. We think this is the best nitro RC car you will get. What do you think?

PROS: 4WD, Ready to Run, On and Off Road

CONS: Further upgrades are available but don’t come as standard.


Petrol RC Car

Marauder Petrol RC Desert Truck

Best Petrol RC Car - Marauder Petrol RC Desert TruckIt is tough to pick the best petrol RC car when there are so many top-quality models to choose from. There was only one way to decide and that was to think which one I want to own. I do not currently own a petrol-powered car but if I did it has to be the Marauder Petrol RC Desert Truck.

This truck is a beast of a vehicle – with its powerful 30cc engine it can reach amazing speeds. It is delivered ready to run although you obviously must set it up. Putting in petrol and oil is a major part of that.

It is two-wheel drive which is a shame as it is an off-road design. I would have preferred to have seen the four-wheel drive version as standard. The good news is that you can pay for an upgrade which is awesome. Still it is fast, powerful and a must anyone petrol heads out there.

PROS: 30cc Engine, Ready to Run, Fast, Powerful, Fearsome Looks

CONS: Only 2 Wheel Drive as standard (remember upgrade is available)


RC Truck

HSP Nitro Monster Truck

Best RC Truck - HSP Nitro Monster TruckThis is the HSP Nitro Monster truck which as you can see is indeed a real monster. This 1:8 scale nitro powered truck will be the envy of your friends and competitions at the local track.

It comes with truly monstrous wheels which combined with the four-wheel drive give this truck real power and speed. Delivered ready to run it requires minimal setup although nitro fuel may well need to be added.

It has a .21 Nitro engine and comes with dimensions of 521mm long by 380mm wide and 250mm in height. As mentioned this is a 1:8 scale truck which means it is larger than most. Only a 1/5th Scale petrol powered truck would be bigger.

We have chosen this because we felt that a nitro powered truck is better and although not powered by petrol it has everything you need including good looks.

PROS: Good Grip on Tyres, 4WD, Ready to Run (RTR),

CONS: The look is a little to dark for my liking.


RC Buggy

Best RC Buggy - FS Racing Petrol RC Buggy Best RC Buggy – FS Racing Petrol RC Buggy

This is the fantastic 1:5th Scale FS Racing Petrol RC buggy. It is powered by a 30cc 2 stroke engine which gives it incredible top speeds and the acceleration to get to those speeds fast (Top speed in excess of 50mph). This is without doubt the best RC buggy on the market and one of the finest of the petrol-powered category.

The first thing most notice about this buggy is its large wheels. They have great grip which allows it to coroner really well and as any experienced hobbyist knows this is a key criteria. It is powered by normal unleaded 93# or 97# and 2 stroke oils just like the family car.

Due to the extra power this buggy has an upgraded steering servo and is made from a strong metal. As you can see it has role bars although we hope you won’t need them.

It has a long list of features which we recommend you check out on our car review. These include things like being ready to run, having 2 Wheel Drive and being designed for off road adventures.

With its 2.4GHz radio it has everything you need. It is easy to see why we rate this as the best RC buggy on the market.

 


RC Drift Car

Best RC Cars - Subaru RC Drift CarBest RC Drift Car – Subaru WRX Style Drift RC Car

Made by HiSpeed this is the upgraded PRO version which comes with a number of top features. As you can see the Subaru WRX Style Drift Car is fantastically lifelike.

With a FSD 3300KV brushless motor, a Hobbywing 50a brushless ESC and a Fullymax 7.4V 3500mAh Lipo battery with charger this car is far more than just good looks – it has great speed too.

The speed of this drift car is one of its major assets. This is the reason that this model is so popular with drift race enthusiasts.

It is a 1:10 scale care with dimensions of 112mm in height, 360mm in length and 200mm in width. It is ready to run and comes with four-wheel drive which really aids its performance.

Some other key specifications include a 2.4Ghz radio, gearing ratio of 6:1, ground clearance of 4.5mm, wheel width of 26mm and a diameter of 65mm.

The features list is long but include aluminium oil filled shocks, working differentials as well as an aluminium shaft and upper chassis. We recommend checking out our more detail review if you want to know more.

PROS: Ready to Run, Upgraded Model, Four Wheel Drive (4WD), Stunningly Accurate Looks, Superb Speed

CONS: On Road Only

Please Note: Do not confuse this model with the model that comes with a NiMh battery also available. This model has a much-improved level of power.

 


Best Value RC Car

Best Value RC Car - BT24 Electric RC BuggyBest Value RC Car – BT24 Electric RC Buggy

For those new to the radio-controlled world a cheaper car may be just the ticket. There is little risk when buying a car like the BT24 Electric RC Buggy. This car will cost you no more than £40 and gives you a great taste of what it is like. It is also a great model to give as a toy at Christmas or for a birthday.

This case is a 1:24th scale car which means it is on the smaller end. It has dimensions of 165mm in length, 100mm in width and 70mm in height. It is a four-wheel drive off road buggy that is delivered ready to run.

Powered by a rechargeable 4.8v 220mAh battery it can still get up to an impressive speed. You will need 4x AA batteries for the controlled. The motor is brushed which is pretty standard for a car of this spec.

As cheap radio control cars go this is a lovely model. It has everything you need and doesn’t break the bank to get it. It is easy to get started and easy to maintain.

PROS: Four Wheel Drive, Ready to Run, Off Road, Easy to Use.

CONS: A Little Small

 


 

Buyers Guide – Terminology

Wheels

The most identifiable part of any car is the wheels. We all know what they are but perhaps do not realise how important they can be. If you buy an off-road car it is designed to go around dirt tracks. For this reason, you will want to ensure that it has good grip. This isn’t such a problem for on-road vehicles, but it is always good to have a car that is easy to control.

Chassis

The chassis is basically the frame. You will not need to know too much about this but just be aware of it. If you are talking about a toy car, then the car will be sealed. If it is a ‘hobby grade’ electric RC car, then you will be able to get access to all the parts of the car by removing the shell etc. Just bear that in mind.

Motor

Motors can be either brushed or brushless. This refers to the internal workings of the motor which surprisingly either have little brushes or not. The motors that come without brushes are generally much more powerful although in electric RC vehicles a brushed motor can be plenty especially if the vehicle is on the smaller side.

Battery

Batteries are another aspect that is important to know something about. Before buying your remote controlled car it is important to know you are getting a good battery. The better the battery the longer the car will run for.

Servo

The servo is the little part found on the car that controls the steering. When you turn the wheel on the controller it sends a message to the receiver which activates the servo to move the wheels. The car then turns just like the real thing.

As we said above the receiver is the part of the car that receives input from the controller. It then sends the signal to the part of the car that needs to respond. This could be the servo or the motor.

Controller

The controller is what you hold in your hand. It allows you to travel forwards and backwards as well as turn the car left and right. You can choose forwards by pulling your finger back like you would fire a gun. To reverse you would push your finger in the oposite direction. The design allows the controller to be controlled with just one finger. You can then use your other hand to turn the wheel which controls whether the car turns to the right or left.

Benefits of Radio/Remote Control Cars

There are many benefits to buying a radio controlled car. So many in fact that we have decided to list a few of the most important benefits so you can see just how amazing the chargeable variety of cars can be.

There are Many Models of Car Available

One of the biggest benefits are that there are just so many to choose from. No matter your age, your sex, your taste or your experience with the cars in the past there will be something to suit your wants and needs.

Some people like to get a small 1:24 scale chargeable car. It may be a child’s first RC car. Others may have had one as a child but now grown up they want a slightly larger more powerful one to ensure their own son or daughter doesn’t beat them round their garden. Whatever your reason for wanting one there is sure to be a model for you.

Prices are Competitive

Moving on from the point made above no matter what model you decide upon the prices are excellent. This is partly because of mass production but also because sales are so good that it pushes the prices down.

In fact, a low price helps bring the price down and keep it down. An affordable car will always prove popular driving further sales and so the circle continues. An affordable price is always going to be within reach of a child saving their pocket money. Even petrol powered cars while more expensive are still very competitively priced.

Idea for a Newbie to the Hobby – Including Children

We all need a good hobby to give us some down time from the stresses of life. Even a child needs a favourite toy to play with. One that gives them something to occupy them once their homework is done. No matter what your age you need a hobby, and this is as good a hobby as any.

Progressing to Nitro and Petrol cars is an obvious one as you get older, but it doesn’t mean you have to. If you are happy with chargeable RC Cars, then that’s fine. There are plenty of them and they are affordable as we have mentioned above. If you get fun from them then that is all that matters.

Includes Ready to Run and Self Build

As well as the sheer number of different models available on the market there is also a variety of types of car. There is the standard car for those who just want to open the box, charge the car or add fuel and drive it round their garden. There are also self-build models which are fantastic for those who want to learn a little more about how they fit together and work.

Learning how a car like this works is a good way of learning more for when you progress to nitro and petrol powered models. You are always going to be more confident with fueling a car when you know what all the parts are and how they work. A self-build car will allow you to understand what a receiver, a servo and shocks are. It took me a while.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do I charge my car?

Answer: Any car under the Electric RC Car umbrella is charged in the mains. This is as simple as plugging it in as you would a mobile phone of an electric shaver. Check the instructions to confirm the length of charge needed. Nitro and petrol powered cars need to have fuel and oil added.

Question: What type of battery will my car have?

Answer: This varies from car to car. It is best to check before you buy. Anyone of our full reviews will mention this in the specification e.g. Rechargeable 4.8v 220mAh with UK charger.

Question: How big will my Car be?

Answer: Radio Control Cars come in many sizes. The size of a car can be an important factor so in this section we are going to look at it in a little more detail.

The quickest way to get an idea of the size of a vehicle is to look at what scale it has. This can be anything from 1:5th Scale right through to 1:24th scale. The best way to understand it you simply need to remember that the larger the right hand number the smaller the car is likely to be.

Electric RC Cars are the smallest of the types of car – they are typically from 1:8th scale all the way to 1:24th scale which is the smallest we review. There are a number of models that are the same size as a nitro car but in general they are the smallest.

Nitro Cars can be anything from 1:8th Scale to 1:16 scale – these are the middle range cars size wise. They have fuel tanks making them larger than their electric brothers but the tanks are not to the same size as a petrol model.

Petrol RC Cars are usually 1:5th scale – these are larger vehicles partly because they have powerful 26cc or 30cc engines and a fuel tank that takes petrol.

Question: Should I Get a 2WD or a 4WD Car?

The truth is it doesn’t really matter to the majority of people however I like to look at it like this. If you are going to buy an off-road buggy or truck then 4WD may be better. If you are going for an on-road model, then 2WD will probably be OK.

At the end of the day I wouldn’t let how many wheels drive it is stop you from buying a car you love. The Marauder Petrol RC Car is 2WD yet it is my favourite truck. It can be upgraded of course but even if it couldn’t I wouldn’t let that stop me from buying it.

Question: Should I Get a 26cc or a 30cc Petrol Engine?

In truth I would focus more on the truck or buggy you like. The engine is big and powerful enough to get good speed and whether that is 26cc or 30cc will not make a huge difference.

If you focus on the specification of the overall car the answer will sort itself out. If a 26cc cannot go as fast as a 30cc and you want speed then go for the 30cc. There is a good selection when it comes to petrol cars so choose wisely.

Question: Where can I find Radio Control Cars for Sale?

Answer: All of the cars that we have reviewed above are available to buy through our recommended online retailer. They have been in the industry for many years and supply a large variety of makes and models as well as offering great customer service including after sale service.