Best RC Cars Reviews (2020)

Posted: 16 May 2020

Introduction To Best Radio Control Cars To Buy Both BIG and small

If you’re in any way interested in radio-controlled cars, it’s never too late to start. Depending on your budget, it will ultimately dictate how much “car” you’ll be getting for your money. RC cars range from as little as few dollars to as much as a few hundred dollars for the premium quality brands.

Some of today’s best RC cars cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and a handful can actually be bought for a surprisingly small amount. Whether you want an electric RC car or a gas-powered RC car, you’re going to want to first figure out what budget you want to stay under.
For gas-powered radio-controlled cars, you’ll be looking at a minimum of 80 dollars. Electric vehicles that are fast, and have interchangeable parts, you’ll be looking at around 100 dollars +. Now with that being said, we managed to find some cars for very reasonable prices. (extra: see our rc trucks guide here)

best rc cars

Here’s a list of the best electric radio controlled cars to buy today. Keep in mind that these vehicles aren’t all manufactured in the year 2020, just some great deals to not pass.

Here’s 5 Best RC Cars To Buy For Any Budget In 2019

5. Tamiya 58346 The Grasshopper RC Car

A true classic when it comes to the hobby grade RC world, the Grasshopper by Tamiya is an RC car kit that is sure to please. It’s only rear wheel drive, but meant for tackling small to medium sized jumps, sand, dirt, and simple concrete.

This is probably one of the best RC cars to get for the older generation from the ’80s. Redesigned and allowing you to lace your own internals such as electronic speed control, servos, motor, and battery. If you want a great RC electric car (more of a buggy), look into the Grasshopper.

4. Traxxas RTR Rustler with Water Proof XL-5 RTR Remote Control Car (truggy)

Traxxas is a true competitor with solid roots, from their budget oriented brushed vehicles, to their insane brushless motor vehicles. For fast RC cars on a budget, the Traxxas Rustler RC Truggy is a solid choice.

Overall, this vehicle has a wide stance to ensure your high and low jumps always land properly. Top speed is somewhere around 30 to 35 mph for the base model. Luckily every part is interchangeable, allowing you to swap out to as many parts as you want, no matter how many times you break them.

Something extra to keep in mind with the Rustler, is the rear wheel drive part. Much like the Grasshopper mentioned above, you’ll do the best playing in the dirt, gravel, and even on plain concrete. A very good entry level radio controlled car and without a doubt of the best remote control cars that are quite fun and not too expensive.

3. HPI Racing E10 Mustang Monster Energy Radio Control Car (drift)

There’s radio controlled cars that are great on the street, and there’s radio controlled cars that are meant for super smooth surfaces. The HPI Racing E10 Mustang is a ready to run 1/10 scale car that is designed to be an epic drift machine. Every part is interchangeable to ensure your car is catered towards your taste.

The low profile is designed strictly for very flat surfaces, to glide from side to side seamlessly, and to ultimately compete in drifting competitions (see YouTube for some epic videos of rc cars drifting).

Not the cheap car some would expect for this entire package, with everything put together, you’re bound to be impressed.

2. Traxxas XO-1 Supercar RTR Electric RC Car

For anyone who is willing enough to handle an electric RC car, capable of hitting 100 mph in just a few seconds, the Traxxas XO-1 radio controlled car is the perfect car. By far the most expensive vehicle and fastest we have on this list, you’ll receive a giant 1/7 scale vehicle with EVERYTHING you’d need to get started RIGHT now.

The special aerodynamic shape is a big contributing factor to the incredible top speed. In fact, the X0-1 is one of the fastest and best RC cars for sale right now. On top of that, the ultra flat bottom lets the air pass smoothly and really lets it experience insane bursts of speed. We can easily classify this vehicle as a “dangerous toy”, and as fast as you can actually go in it, you can just as fast destroy it by making one wrong move at full throttle.

If you have the money, and some experience, the XO-1 Super Car by Traxxas is well worth the money.

1. Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Electric Drift Car

RedCat Racing Lightning EPX RC Car
RedCat Racing Lightning EPX RC CarFor cheap rc cars, you’d typically not find a “hobby grade” vehicle that lets you fully customize every aspect of it. While RedCat is a company that is tailored towards budget oriented radio controlled vehicles, The RedCat Racing Lightning EXP RC 1/10 Car is one which beginners and intermediates should deeply look into.At under 150 dollars for everything you’d need to get started, it’s a great way to drive deep into a hobby of casually drifting and racing cars.

Buyers Guide To The Best RC Cars

➡️ Why Buy a Remote Control?

Remote control cars appeal to all sorts of people of different ages and backgrounds. Many of us who had RC cars as kids can probably remember back to a Christmas or Birthday where we crashed our toy RC cars into people, furniture and walls before it smashed to pieces! They were always great fun even if they didn’t last long, nostalgia takes many of us back to those happier days and now we are a bit maturer we likely won’t be destroying our precious vehicle by crashing it at high speed into a wall.

Buying a remote control car can mean different things to different people. There are dads who want to get their kids out of the house and enjoy a shared experience away from phones or video consoles. For some, it’s just a great hobby to unwind after a stressful work week and they can race a model of a real-life car that they could never afford and enjoy their dreams. Some guys prefer the ready to run cars while others like the idea of a build it yourself RC vehicle kit.

When you introduce your new RC car to friends or family members you’ll be surprised at how of them will be super enthusiast about your new hobby and some even envious!

➡️ What To Consider When Buying a Remote Control Car?

Not all remote control cars are created equal and there are many considerations to think about before you purchase. By the time you have finished reading our buying guide, you should be completely clued up on buying an RC car or truck that is just right for you. If you do have further questions then check out our FAQ’s section to see if we have an answer for you there.

➡️ Which Car Type To Choose On-road or Off-road?

We are going to take a closer look at the different types of RC cars you can buy next but basically they can be put into two categories; they are on and off-road. On-Road RC cars are designed for flat surfaces and for speed. Off-Road RC cars and trucks are designed for rougher terrain and can handle climbing rocks and driving through dirt and grass. They are usually slower but are more durable. You’ll probably prefer one type more than another but many RC enthusiast end up with a variety of different car types once the hobby has taken hold.

Types of RC Cars

Street Remote Control Cars

These are the standard remote controlled cars that you will find for sale. They are mainly used for driving on roads or pavement and even dirt roads aren’t that much of an issue. Often they will be built with a hybrid off-road tire and suspension to give them more versatility. They make a good remote control vehicle to get started with.

RC Touring Cars

These are prestigious looking cars that are based on popular automobile brands that are designed for use on flat surfaces such as pavement or carpet. They aren’t designed as an off-road RC or for doing tricks. They are usually 4 wheel drive and made of high-end materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum and sometimes even titanium. Generally, touring cars are 1:10 scale RC vehicles.

Drift RC Car

I can hold my head up high and say that the movie Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is one of my all-time favorites! I’m pretty certain that you know what drift racing is but just in case you’ve been living under a rock. It’s a way of driving where you force the rear wheels into a slide. By doing this the car is sent into a sideways motion and the skill is to maintain control at high speeds while doing this.

If you want to recreate all the fun of drift driving but scaled-down then an RC drift car might be beckoning you. Many of the RC drift cars you can buy are modeled on real vehicles and are built with the same functionality in mind speed and control while drifting. Typically RC drift cars feature low grip wheels so they can easily slide. Check out our best RC car reviews at the top of the page namely the HPI Racing E10 Mustang and the RedCat Racing Lightning EXP for two great drift cars. You’ll find the best RC drift cars are electric and 4-wheel drive.

RC Buggy

Remote control buggies are great fun. They are built to drive on all terrains so if the environment is rocky, sandy, muddy whatever a buggy will handle it. Buggy’s will have wheels with plenty of ground clearance, full suspension, and built-in roll cages. If you want a tough remote control vehicle to enjoy in all weather and all-terrain then you can’t go wrong with an RC buggy. As buggies are fairly forgiving when it comes to rough use they are great for beginners or for kids and teenagers who might give them a bit of a bashing!

RC Truggy

A Truggy is a hybrid between an RC buggy and stadium truck hence the name ‘Truggy.’ They tend to have bigger wheels and bodies like the stadium truck but maintain the agility of a buggy. They tend not to be as fast as buggies but are easier to use. You’ll see our recommendation for The Traxxas Rustler RC Truggy in our reviews section if you scroll to the top of the page. This is an affordable Truggy that benefits from interchangeable parts so if they get broken they are easy to swap out.

RC Monster Trucks

Who doesn’t love monster trucks? These bad boys pack and punch and with their huge wheels and suspension can handle most off-road scenarios, be it grass, snow, puddles, or climbing hills. A monster RC truck is not the fastest of vehicles but they can power through anything that gets in there way. If you want to purchase a monster truck you are well catered for as there are plenty on the market at price ranges to suit all.

RC Rock Crawlers

As you can probably guess rock crawlers are built to handle harsh terrain such as rocks and gravel that other vehicles might not be able to handle. They are smaller than monster trucks but still have great power though they aren’t built for speed. There are lots of different models at different price ranges for rock crawlers and you need to do your homework to research if they are going to be durable enough or fall apart after a few knocks. You will likely find that rock crawlers may require more maintenance than other RC vehicles especially if you put one through its paces.

The scale of RC Cars

RC models are scaled-down versions of trucks, cars, planes, boats, and other vehicles. So for instance a model that is at 1:10 scale would be 1/10th of the real-life vehicle. The most popular sizes for remote control cars are 1:8 and 1:10 size but there are smaller mini RC Cars and much larger ones. RC vehicles aren’t just scaled down in size but they are built to resemble their bigger brothers in style and performance as well.

The Durability of The RC Vehicle

Some cars or trucks will need to be more durable than others especially if you have opted for an off-road RC vehicle that you are going to put through its paces in outdoor terrain. Whatever RC vehicle you end up buying you should ensure that it is made from high-quality parts that can take a few knocks. That’s why it’s always best to stick to known brands as they tend to have a good track record in durability while the no-name brands might be equally as good but are often unproven. If you are purchasing the RC car for kids then it is likely to get even more knocks so look for a model that is known for its toughness.

The Need for Speed [Or Not]

If you are planning of using your RC car for racing then speed is going to be paramount but otherwise do you really need your car to go like a bomb? The Off-road vehicles are designed to navigate rough terrain so the speed isn’t their primary function. If it all about the speed for you then check out some of the fast cars like the TRAXXAS XO-1 Supercar that can hit 100 mph! This comes at a price of course! If you are a beginner you also are going to need to control that car going at speed so take that into consideration as well.

Battery Life

Ideally, you want an RC car that has a long battery life, the longer it lasts the more use you will get out of it in one session. Check to see if it has a fast charge time as well.

Types of Battery

Most RC vehicles will come with a battery included but if you are planning on building your own RC car or want to understand a little more about the batteries that are used here goes.

Alkaline – These are the standard non-rechargeable batteries AA batteries that are used to power your TV remote.

NiMH [Nickel Metal Hydride] – These are the batteries that are found in many home appliances, they are safe and easy to use and are rechargeable. They are required to be completely empty before they are charged and also should be fully charged before they are stored.

LiPo [Lithium-ion polymer] – These batteries last longer and are more powerful as well as being lightweight this also does mean that they are a little more expensive.

Price

You’ll find RC cars to suit all budgets, what you will spend is dependent on many individual factors. It can be very easy to get carried away with enthusiasm and spend more than you should of. If you are a novice to RC vehicles it is best to be cautious with your spending and opt for a mid-range model from a reputable brand. Later on, if you want to invest more in your hobby you’ll have the experience and knowledge gained from your first purchase.

Electric vs Nitro-Powered

Though we might get the serious enthusiast up in arms we recommend the best place to start on your RC vehicle journey is with an electric truck or car. They can be used straight out of the box, aren’t so noisy, are simple to use, and don’t need the same maintenance that a Nitro-Powered car needs. At a later date when you know your way around RC vehicles you can always look into purchasing a nitro powered car.

The choice though is entirely up to you and it might be that you want to dive into the deep end from the get-go and for that reason, we will discuss the differences and pros and cons between the two.

Electric RC Vehicles

If you are new to RC cars then these novice-friendly models are the simplest route. There are no mechanical skills needed all you need to do is be able to charge a battery and once done you are good to go. Electric RC vehicles are easy to maintain though down the line, you might have to replace worn or damaged parts.
Most electric RC cars are waterproof so you can have fun with them even in snow or rain. they are also a lot quieter than the Nitro cars so you are less likely to annoy the neighbors. You’ll also find the high-end electric cars are speedier than the nitro ones. Due to advanced techs such as brushless motors and LiPo batteries electric outcompetes nitro. Certain models such as the Traxxas XO-1 Supercar can reach speeds of 100mph!

Electric cars do have their drawbacks and it is mainly down to the time it takes to charge the battery which is usually between 45 minutes to an hour. You will be able to drive your RC car for up to 25 minutes and then it will need to be charged again. The only workaround for this is to have plenty of extra batteries fully charged as backups. Of course, this will also entail extra costs.

Nitro RC Vehicles

For the immersive RC hobbyist who enjoys getting their hands dirty and getting under the hood of their car or truck then Nitro-fueled vehicles might be worth exploring. Nitro powered cars are similar to their full-size counterparts in that you get to tweak the engine and carry out regular maintenance. While some enthusiasts love this aspect of the hobby others might find it a chore. Just the same as a real car a nitro powered vehicle runs on fuel, this means exhaust fumes and the real sound of the engine accelerating. As well as all the tinkering and tweaking you can perform with a nitro-model the big advantage is that you can drive the remote controlled car up to forty-five minutes before it needs a refuel. This beats battery-powered RC trucks and cars that will need constant batteries on charge.

There are a few drawbacks to owning a nitro-fueled vehicle. While using nitro-fuel negates the issue of constantly having to charge up batteries you have to take into account that you will have to buy a constant supply of fuel to keep the car running which over time will get expensive. Yes, you will still need to replace a battery at some point but in general, the cost of fuel will add up to more than the price of the batteries. A nitro-fueled car will require some mechanical knowledge and a lot more work it’s not plug and play. You need to spend time giving it tender loving care and while some enthusiasts enjoy this aspect of owning an RC car others can find it tedious. The last downside is that they aren’t waterproof so driving them through puddles and in the rain is out.

Brushed or Brushless Motor

If you purchase an electric RC car there are two types of motor brushed and brushless. Rather than go into the technicalities of how the motors work we will discuss the pros and cons of each option.

Brushed Motors

Brushed motors benefit from there simplicity as well as being a dependable option. Brushed motors tend to best for off-road RC vehicles that don’t necessarily need a lot of speed but need the ability to navigate through difficult terrain. You’ll also find that brushed motors are usually more affordable than the brushless ones. The main shortcoming for this type of motor is that they have lower power efficiency that brushless motors. Usually, the power efficiency level is around 75% to 80% for the brushed motor compared to brushless at 85% to 90%. Ultimately this means that it offers a lower speed range. Another drawback is that the brushes will out so replacements will be required from time to time.

Brushless Motors

The main advantage to brushless motors is revealed in their name being ‘brushless’ they don’t have brushes that can wear out inside their motors which gives them greater longevity than the brushed motors. This results in fewer issues and maintenance needed over time which in the long term can save you money. You can expect your brushless motor to last for up to six years, problem-free. Handling and speed are often better for RC vehicles with brushless motors as they are lighter. So if you want speed and a long lifespan for your motor then look at the brushless RC options.

As with anything, there are always some negatives and the main one for brushless motors is that they are more costly. Despite the expense in the long-term a car with a brushless motor might work out cheaper as is won’t need to be replaced or repaired as much as a brushed motor. The second drawback is that they don’t provide as much load speed control making them a challenge to handle tougher terrain in comparison to brushed motors.

If you are brand-new to RC hobbies and have a tight budget a brushed motor is fine especially for off-road vehicles. You can always upgrade to brushless at a later date, this is fairly simple to do but you will need to upgrade a few other components to make it compatible.

2WD or 4WD

This isn’t just a question that you ask yourself when buying a full-size car! Two-wheel drive RC vehicles aren’t the easiest to control and this can be challenging at first but experienced hobbyists claim that it improves your driving if you put in the effort to master it. You’ll also find the 2WD RC vehicles are some of the least expensive as there aren’t that many moving parts. 4WD vehicles are much simpler to drive as you can control all four wheels at once. As 4WD RC vehicles have more moving parts and rely on brushless motors they are more expensive than the 2WD versions.

Ready to Run or DIY

This is something to definitely take into account if you are buying the RC vehicle as a gift. Is the person you are giving this to a practical type who enjoys putting things together or someone who will want to rip open the gift wrapping and drive their car right out of the box? It can be a rewarding and satisfying experience to build a kit from scratch especially if you are mechanically minded. You might not have the interest or patience and want a plug n’ play model that you can use straight away and this is also fine. Building your own does have the advantage that you can make it more customizable and personalize the RC vehicle to your own tastes. Either way, assembled or kit form you’ll have many hours of enjoyment with your new hobby.

Toy vs Hobby Grade RC Car

If the budget is tight or you are really not sure if RC hobbies are for you, then starting with a toy-grade car or truck could be a good way to get started. They usually have simple controls and speeds that go up to 10 miles per hour so they are easy to use for novices. They are good for learning the ropes and as you won’t have invested much money on purchasing one if you crash and break it you won’t be too disappointed. While they are simple to use and maintain they will usually have a short life span due to cheaper parts and you won’t get the speeds or quality that you’ll find in a hobby-grade model. A hobby-grade vehicle will cost more and you’ll probably be more nervous about breaking it but they are more durable and if treated right will last a lot longer than the toy ones. You’ll also get the chance to upgrade and replace parts when needed while the toy-grade vehicles you’ll end up just throwing in the bin and having to buy a whole new replacement. As RC car enthusiasts we would say go for hobby-grade all the way they are so much more superior.

RC Car Safety Tips

Most of these tips are obvious and common sense but its always a good idea to share them just as a reminder.

Use Your RC car or truck in a suitable environment, for instance using it on a public road is a big NO! The least of your worries is your car getting crushed the worst that you could cause a dangerous accident. You should also be careful around small children or animals a RC car might be small but going at speed they can still do some nasty damage.

If you are going to open up your RC car after you have used it give it a bit of time to cool down. If you touch the engine straight after use realize that it is going to be extremely hot and you could end up with some nasty burns.

Watch those fingers! Keep your fingers away from any moving parts of the car.

Your remote control car will usually have an age range it is suitable for and some kids aren’t as mature as others so if you are going to let the kids play with an RC car make sure that they are old enough and responsible enough to realize it isn’t just a toy. If you are not sure then stick around and supervise.

RC Car Maintenance

Like the car in your garage if you don’t take care of it then it’s lifespan is going to be shortened. So you should regularly check the remote control for loose screws or other parts. Make sure to check and clean the tires on a regular basis as well as the engine. You can use warm water and a toothbrush to get rid of dirt or debris. Some cars mind need more maintenance than others especially if you are using them off-road in harsh

Best Remote Control Cars FAQ

➡️ How Do Remote Control Cars Work?

An RC car only needs a few components for it to function, these are a transmitter, a receiver, motor, and power source. All RC vehicles will have these four components though the quality will vary depending on the price and brand. So let’s briefly discuss how they work together starting with the transmitter.
The transmitter is used to control the RC vehicle by transmitting radio cars to a receiver that is located in the car. The remote control is where the transmitter is housed and it is battery powered. When you use the control buttons on the remote control it will transmit the signals.
The receiver as we just stated is part of the car, it actually consists of two parts the antenna and inside the car a circuit board. They receive signals from the remote control transmitter so that you can control the vehicle. Every car needs a motor, right? And RC cars are no exception this is what powers the car and lets you move and steer it. Lastly, we need a power source that can range from a battery to gas-powered engines in advanced models.

➡️ What Speed Can a Remote Control Car Travel At?

This will depend on many factors including the cost of the car, its purpose, and design. Some high-end hobby RC vehicles can hit speeds of 100 miles-per-hour. If you have purchased a hobby-grade car there are different ways you can make it faster such as adding new tires, reducing the weight of the vehicle, or upgrading the batteries and motor.

➡️ What are the Best RC Car Brands?

There are lots of great RC vehicle brands on the market. One of the best known is TRAXXAS they have a huge range of RC models to choose from including on and off-road, buggies, monster truck, and more.
They’ve been around since the eighties and have a great track record. Another favorite with the RC community is HPI they also have been on the RC scene since the eighties and are known for their classic scaled replicas. Redcat Racing is another brand we love, they are a newer company established in 2005 and have vehicles ranging in scale from 1/24 scale to 1/5.

Conclusion and Recap on The Best RC Cars

We hope that you have enjoyed our reviews of some of the best RC vehicles on the market. If you want to experience the thrills of drift racing check out the HPI Racing E10 Mustang or for off-road the Traxxas RTR Rustler Truggy. If money is no object and you have cash burning a hole in your pocket then go for the awesomely fast Traxxas XO-1 Supercar.

Still unsure then read through our buying guide so that you have all the knowledge you need to get the best RC car to match your budget and personal preferences.

If you pick the right RC vehicle you will soon find out what a great hobby this is. It can also be a great social pastime either racing with family and friends or with fellow enthusiasts all over the country. There are plenty of groups that meet up and race and display their RC vehicles with pride in most towns.