Is Radio Control and Remote Control the same thing?

Remote vs Radio Control

If you are new to RC Cars then you may be a little overwhelmed by the complex terminology. One issue could be around the use of ‘remote’ and ‘radio’. They may seem to be used interchangeably but are they actually the same thing?

What is the difference?

To understand the difference lets quickly look at each one.

Remote Control: To be called remote the control needs to be separate (or remote) from the car itself via either a cable or radio transmission.

Radio Control: To be radio control car the car needs to be controlled via a radio transmitter.

This means that all radio controlled cars are also remote controlled but not all remote controlled cars are radio controlled.

Does it matter?

These days because of the cost of materials the majority of cars come without cables. Go back 30 years to when I was a child most remote control cars were controlled via a cable. It meant that you had to follow it around which was easy until you drove under the dining room table.

That is probably the reason so many cars are now radio controlled. Kids cars aside the more expensive, fast, more powerful models such as Nitro and Petrol RC Cars are without a doubt controlled via a radio transmitters.


A perfect example of how most cars are now radio controlled is the JOYIN Toy Cartoon RC Race Car Radio Remote Control available from Amazon. This is a cheap little RC Car perfect for a 2 year old (Toddler). Even though it is cheap and for child it is still cable less.

End Result

The end result is don’t worry to much about the exact wording. Unless you are talking about a remote controlled car for a child then it is going to also be a radio controlled car and as the above example shows even a child’s car is most likely to be radio controlled – the true remote control car is pretty much a thing of the past.

For more information on RC Car terminology check out my Beginners Guide to RC Cars.

Recent Content