Best Remote Control Cars Reviews & Curated List for 2017

Who doesn’t like car games? Who doesn’t like small cars that can be controlled with remotes? Being a race-car gamer and car enthusiast myself, I can vouch for the fact that remote control Cars are a great way of having fun and passing time for kids and adults alike. In England and America, attempts to create model cars that could be controlled through remotes were well underway as early as 1920s itself. Today the model cars from that period are considered classics and have become collector pieces.

Best Remote Control Cars - Our Top Picks

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The Best Remote Control Cars in the Market

Traxxas Rustler XL-5

Editor Rating:

Time and again, this car has been chosen as best RTR (ready-to-run) RC car out there and ranked 1st in several top RC car reviews. 

Its user-friendly features like customization, reparability and detailed handling make it the first choice for newbies in the hobby-grade RC vehicle racing world, since it’s a truck that grows along with the player’s skills. Although it is a two-wheel-drive car, it has full suspension, due to which the Rustler is extremely good even in off-roading, with great control over uneven surfaces and can drive around corners spectacularly.

Along with these features, the car also has sharp braking and reversing options. This car can reach up to 35 mph speed, which is pretty good considering the speed limits offered by other RC cars, and so, it falls exclusively in the category of hobby-grade RC cars. Best of all, Traxxas provides all necessary accessories and replacements in the market as well. The remote control has a pistol-grip, requires four AA batteries and offer highly precise control over the movements of the car. Traxxas offers support that includes a 30-day warranty against manufacturing defects.

Maisto RC Rock Crawler Extreme Radio Control Vehicle

Editor Rating:

This off-road vehicle is manufactured exclusively for rock crawling. It is an ideal RC car for kids due to its low top speed of 5 mph, off-road performance and small pistol-grip transmitter. 

In fact, its soft tires provide maximum grip on steep and uneven surfaces. Although it’s not in competence with the performance of hobby-grade RC monster trucks, on the plus side, the Maisto RC Rock Crawler Extreme Radio Control Vehicle is a relatively inexpensive and capable toy-grade RC car for kids.

The car requires six AA batteries (not included in the set), and the small transmitter requires two AAA, also not included in the set. The remote, considering it is a toy-grade car, is pretty basic and offers very limited control on the speed of the car, which doesn’t quite count, since its top speed is so low. Maisto does provide support for this car by phone and email, which includes 1-month warranty against defects.

Redcat Racing Volcano EPX

Editor Rating:

This particular car has got features like excellent performance, high top speed (19 mph) and good handling. 

The speed actually increases slightly as the car breaks in. Also, not only can it just run fast, it also can maintain its speed impressively even over rough surfaces. This car, apart from excellent off-roading, can also easily bounce over heavy obstacles that otherwise disrupts other RC cars. It is a four-wheel-drive car, has large tires and independent front/rear suspension which makes it extremely durable. Also, the chassis as well as the vital internal parts are very well sealed and waterproof.

It is a typical hobby-grade RC car and it comes with a rechargeable Ni-MH battery. To be honest, the battery strength is the one thing that is a bit of exhaustion in this otherwise perfect RC car, since you need to charge the battery for well over 1-2 hours whereas you get a runtime of a little over 10-15 minutes tops. If you intend for longer racing period, it would be wise to carry extra battery packs and charger. The 2.4GHz pistol-grip remote control requires eight AA batteries and provides quite precise control over the car. Redcat also offers an unusually long 90-day warranty against any manufacturing defects. Replacements and upgrades are available in the market.

WL Toys Wave Runner Super Sport RTR 1:12 2.4GHz Electric RC Buggy

Editor Rating:

This ready-to-run car can run both on-road as well as off-road. Its top features include high power revolution motor, large rubber tires and independent front/rear suspension that help you to control your car better both on and off-roads. It has a sturdy exterior, a two wheel drive and can attain speeds up to 25 mph on even surfaces. 

The top speed for off-roading may be a tad less than 25 mph, but it can glide very smoothly on rough terrains. The set also includes a 7.4V Rechargeable Battery pack and a wall charger. As mentioned above, it is better to carry these along when you want a longer driving period. The 2.4GHz transmitter requires 4 AA batteries (not included in the set), and offers a great range of proportional control.

Redcat Racing Lightening EPX Drift

Editor Rating:

As the name suggests, this on-road car is probably the best out there if you want to perform spectacular maneuvers like drifting while taking a sharp turn. It is a hobby-grade vehicle with amazing looks. 

Apart from this and the ‘drift’ feature, it doesn’t come up to the mark with other RC cars when compared with their top speed, surface versatility and smooth unhampered handling.

The car has special type of tires that are rather slick and hard, which, when turning a corner, doesn’t grip much ground, thus resulting in a clean drift. At first its top speed might be around 12 mph but as the car breaks in, the top speed may increase up to 15 mph. Unlike off-road cars, this one provides you with more challenge. While driving it, the player has to bring forth all his/her best driving skills and perform them with finesse and creativity. It also allows stunts like spinning and other tricks. Compared to off-road vehicles, the Lightening is not very sturdy and durable. The remote is a typical hobby-grade 2.4GHz pistol-grip transmitter with sensitive but precise control. The set comes with a 90-day warranty along with support by phone or email from Redcat Racing. As with the others, this set too has replacement parts available in the market.

These are among the most famous brands that manufacture RC vehicles of any and every kind. Even so there are a million more great brands out there in the market to choose your preferred RC Cars. Now the question remains, among all this plethora of varieties and brands, HOW will you choose the best one? Let us assess the matter further.

Remote Control Cars: A Closer Look

Remote control cars appeal to a very wide range of people – be it small kids playing, to car enthusiasts in general, it has a pick for everyone out there. There are ample number of categories and sub-categories from which to select. We have on-road and off-road cars, then there are ready-to-use cars, and electric cars and gas or nitro-fueled cars, etc.

Although there are so many varieties to choose from, there are mainly two major types:

  • Gas or Nitro Fueled Cars: Don’t worry! These cars do not run on conventional gasoline, rather they run on a special kind of safe fuel intended for toys like these only – nitro hobby fuel (10-40% nitro methane) that you can get any of your local hobby shop. One of the best things about these cars is that they can run for longer periods of time and can reach pretty high speeds.
  • These cars belong more to the serious hobby category, they are more expensive than electric cars, quite high maintenance, require more driving skills, require time, have safety issues and have certain limitations on use, for instance, the noise factor which limit them as an outdoor game only.

But as I already mentioned, these cars are for those who are really into RC race cars and are ready to work hard and invest into their passionate hobbies. For them, investing in these cars, a little maintenance is not limitations but all part of the thrill.

  • Electric cars: By this point, you’re probably wondering whether to buy a nitro car that may be expensive but have all the features you wish for or to just get a more pocket friendly electric toy RC car and compromise the other features like high speed. Well, good news then! There are hobby-grade electric cars available in the market which have better features like high speed and more power as well as are maintenance free. Yes, they run on batteries like toy cars but that is it with their similarities. And, to be fair, these cars are a lot quieter, more reliable and of course, maintenance free. But again, you have to be ready to invest a little more than the toy cars.

Both types have ready-to-use beginner’s models as well as hobby-grade cars available in the market.

Apart from these above mentioned major types, there are also various other body-types of RC cars:

  • On road Cars: These cars have extremely precise built and efficient smooth surfaces. Stuff like turning corners with perfect style and breaking with a classic Stoppie.
  • Off road Cars: These cars, in spite of what the name suggests, are good to go on concrete road as well as other non-concrete surfaces. Of course, with these you won’t get superfine and smooth handling performance as in an on-road car but on the other hand, these are more versatile and offer a lot of interesting options for different stunts like stoppie, wheelie and jumps.

How to Choose a Remote Control Car

The best way to choose which RC car to buy depends upon what the person you are buying for has in mind about it. Do you want a car that is fast, or a car that is reliable or the one that is durable? Or would you prefer one with all of these features in it together?

Toddlers and children actually just want to have the thrill and fun of riding a balance bike or running along with the toy cars, remote in hand. So, when buying for them, features like easy to use (ready-to-run), safety, and durability, like water-proof car and remote, not too heavy to lift, etc. should be looked for in the products, i.e. the toy-grade RC vehicles.

Those who are actual RC car enthusiasts do know what to look for in such a product apart from ease of use and safety. In this case things like speed, performance and advanced detailed features have to be looked into, i.e. the hobby-grade RC vehicles.

Now, once you are decided on the grade of vehicle that you are going to buy, you will next have to consider whether you want an On-road or the more flexible Off-road RC vehicles depending upon the features that have been explained above.

Next, you have to decide whether you want a nitro-fueled RC Car or an Electric RC Car that includes rechargeable battery-packs, which again depends on the person you are buying it for – if it’s a small kid, its best to go for the rechargeable battery availed RC cars, and if for an adult Car enthusiast, you can easily go for the more challenging gas-fueled RC Cars.

Finally, you have to take into consideration the remote control that comes along with your chosen RC Car or Truck. Some remotes are very basic and do not offer a lot of options to control and manage your vehicle. Others, especially the 2.4GHz pistol-grip variety, offer far better ergonomics and great control over your vehicle along with varieties of options like swerve, jump, wheelie, stoppie, turn-&-break and so on. Furthermore, if you are looking to driving with and alongside other players, you would also better check out the number of channels your remote offers, since driving two or more cars on the same channel may hamper the race.

Along with the above mentioned look-outs, you should also keep in mind whether the product you buy offers further upgrades and modifications in case you want one in the future. RC Cars undergo a great number of jumps, stunts and unfortunate ‘accidents’, so to gain the maximum out of your RC vehicle, it’s wise to choose one that you can repair if some accident occurs.

Repair and Maintenance of Remote Control Cars

While buying a suitable RC Car, one of the important things to keep in mind is its Maintenance. You certainly don’t want to become a mechanic after investing in a great RC Car right? You want to have the fun of top-class racing out of it. Well, fair warning, Nitro cars will demand more prep time both before and after the main play.

To avoid problems in the future, you can put after-run oil in the engine after every game. In considerably hot weather, you have to adjust the air/fuel mixture, although time-consuming and exhausting at times, it will ensure that your vehicle remains as good as new and runs smoothly every time you are on. Comparatively, Electric Cars require less maintenance than Gas Cars. Nonetheless, having to change the battery packs too often can also seem very exhausting as they last only about 15-20 minutes whereas tale well over 2 hours to charge fully.

My Assessment

Well, as I mentioned before, myself being a hardcore car enthusiast, it is best to be on the look-out for exactly which features and body-type you want before you actually go on to buy an RC vehicle. Of course, try to stick with the best brand names mentioned and also the ones that you know about as good ones – the main reason for this being that you would easily get spare parts and repairs at your local hobby stores or on internet. Also, keep in mind the interests of the person for whom you are going to buy the RC car, and you are good to go!

  • Updated June 23, 2017
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