LAST UPDATED: September 11, 2019
Best RC Trucks: Top Picks For Racing and Bashing
These popular RC trucks will provide hours of fun
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON September 11, 2019
Remote-control trucks are also known as RC trucks and are popular with both children and adults. They're typically about one-foot long and can be used for racing or bashing (jumps, wheelies, and more). It doesn’t take much to get hooked on these toys, and we’ve created a buying guide so you can find the best RC trucks on the market.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of RC Trucks
- They’re fun. For some people, the joy of playing with trucks doesn’t go away with age. These toys are fast, powerful, and entertaining for children and adults of all ages.
- They're tough. The best off-road remote control trucks can take a beating and long outlast cheaper models. You can drive them over difficult terrain and big rocks without worrying about them imploding.
- They’re great for beginners or experts. You don’t need to be a pro to have fun with a remote-control truck. They are designed for newbies as well as experts, depending on what type you purchase.
Types of RC Trucks
Some of the best-rated remote control trucks are nitro vehicles. They have a ton of power, which makes them really fast and loud. However, this type of remote-control truck requires a lot more maintenance (as well as money) than the alternative. If you enjoy tinkering on the truck's inner workings and want something that is powerful, then this is the type of toy you need.
The top electric RC trucks tend to be geared towards entry-level hobbyists. If you are not mechanically inclined, this type of remote-controlled vehicle may be the better option. The batteries are long-lasting and charge quickly. If you want a dependable truck and don't want to spend a lot of time getting it running properly, then electric is the way to go.
Brushed Versus Brushless
Brushed trucks are open to the environment, which cools them down. However, this can result in dirt and debris getting stuck in the components. Brushless trucks are more expensive, but they are also more durable and efficient. One downside is that brushless can overheat because they're susceptible to high temperatures.
The best electric RC monster trucks are known for their enormous tires and suspension. RC monster trucks, in particular, can handle rough terrain and most anything that gets in their way. While they can climb and traverse all types of surfaces, they aren't very fast.
Stadium trucks have an open-wheel setup like a buggy. They have decent suspension and a truck-style body, and they are good all-around vehicles that can tackle many different types of terrains. However, they can't handle extremely hard terrain like their monster truck counterparts.
These trucks are built for speed. They are slimmer than stadium trucks and buggies and have smaller wheels. Their suspension and ground clearance is not as good as other types of RC vehicles. Overall, they’re designed for flat surfaces and don’t traverse rough terrain very well.
The nation's best selling RC truck manufacturer is Traxxas, which is based in McKinney, Texas. The company has been building ready-to-race radio-controlled performance machines since 1986. Traxxas has more than 25 performance models under $350. Some of its top products are the Traxxas 1/10 Slash 4X4 Brushless Short Course Truck (Platinum Edition), and Traxxas Stampede 1/10 2WD Monster Truck.
Redcat Racing, based in Phoenix, Ariz., was founded in 2005. They design ready-to-run, gas, nitro, and electric powered remote controlled surface vehicles that come fully assembled and ready to run right out of the box. Two popular products are the Team Redcat TR-MT10E 1/10 Scale Remote Control Monster Truck and the Redcat Racing Volcano EPX.
Founded in 2005, Axial was acquired by Horizon Hobby, LLC in 2018 and is based in Champaign, Ill. The company manufactures high-end remote control products and accessories for beginners to racers that focus on performance, durability, and style. We recommend its Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho 4WD RC Rock Crawler.
RC Truck Pricing
- $15-$30: RC trucks in this price range are not very durable and tend to have a very short battery life (typically 15 minutes). They are a good holiday toy but won't last very long.
- $30-$70: You can find a variety of remote-controlled trucks in this price range, but don’t expect to get anything that’s made very well unless you pay a little more.
- $70-$150: The best electric RC truck for the money is not cheap. The more you pay, the better the truck. Expect the RC trucks in this price range to be made of higher quality materials.
- $150-$400: High-end RC trucks take a bit of commitment. If you know you want to stick with the hobby then it's worth investing in a high-quality product that is well made, waterproof, fast, and powerful.
- Over $500: You can spend upwards of $1,000 for a premium RC truck. However, you can still find a lot of enjoyment in a less-expensive model that still provides a lot of features.
The best radio controlled trucks have one of two battery options: Ni-Mh or Li-Po. The former is easier to use and meant for beginners but isn’t as powerful. If you are more experienced, then Li-Po batteries are something to consider. They produce higher speeds but are more expensive. Some brands only last for 15 minutes, while others run much longer on a single charge.
The best RC race truck is built for speed. They are more lightweight in design; however, their materials tend to be less durable. These vehicles are made to go fast, execute quick turns, and ride smoothly on race tracks. One thing to pay attention to is whether the steering and controls are easy to use at high speeds.
You want your RC truck to last a long time so you don’t have to spend money to replace it. The best way to do this is to select a product that is made of high-quality parts. The best remote control trucks will be very strong with resistant chassis. You want to ensure that the internal components are protected so they don't break if the toy hits a curb or flips over.
This is how far you can drive the truck away from the transmitter before controlling it becomes challenging. In general, a control range of 30 meters is considered pretty good. It’s not very fun if you can’t control your vehicle from a decent distance.
- Terrain: When researching the best remote control trucks, think about where you will be using the vehicle. Will it traverse smooth floors and even pavements or grass, sand, and gravel? RC trucks can cover a variety of surface areas, but some are better than others on rocky trails and muddy areas.
- Ease of Use: There are a variety of RC trucks to suit your needs. Whether you want the best 4x4 RC truck or the best 1/10 scale RC truck, there's something for everyone. However, some are easier to use than others. Check the age limit in the product description, which will indicate how advanced the toy is.
- Two-Wheel Drive Versus Four-Wheel Drive: Two-wheel drive RC vehicles are less expensive, easier to maintain, and more durable. However, they're not as quick as the best 4x4 RC trucks. Four-wheel drive RC trucks are faster, more grippy, and more aggressive. They tend to be more popular, but both types are fun.
Best RC Truck Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The Redcat Racing Everest Rock Crawler comes pre-assembled and ready to use. All you need are four AA batteries for the transmitter. The truck has an adjustable ride height, wheel base, and toe angle. It also features tunable suspension and shocks and a waterproof 40-amp brushed ESC (electronic speed controller).
This RC truck is larger than the average rock crawler and comes with realistic-looking tires, detailed bodywork, and several scale accessories. The truck is well-built considering the price. It performs much better right out of the box compared to cheaper toy models because it has fully proportional steering and speed control. It's a solid beginner's truck that you can upgrade to grow with you as you get more interested in the hobby.
However, it has plastic gears instead of metal, and there have been several complaints that the steering servo fails after a short period of use. And while it climbs okay, it would be better off with wheel weights to climb more realistically because it has a high center of gravity.
Maisto's rock crawler features two motors, low gearing, and articulated front and rear suspension. It is 12.5 inches long and has TPE tires for added grip. It also comes with a tri-channel transmitter, so three people can use their Maisto RC vehicles at the same time.
This truck is a great option for young children just learning about the hobby. It can climb through piles of laundry inside and over dirt and tall grass outside. It easily bumps down stairs where it somersaults and keeps driving. It runs for about an hour on the batteries. Overall, it's a great value and a really good option for beginners.
However, this is not a great RC truck for RC enthusiasts with experience who want speed and tight turning capability. Also, the six AAA batteries for the vehicle and two AAA batteries for the controller are not included with the purchase. In addition, it is not waterproof and won't do well in puddles or in really wet conditions.
This RC truck features an officially licensed F-100 Ford XLT Ranger body. It comes with a seven-cell NiMH battery and 4-amp 12-volt DC peak-detecting fast charger. The receiver box is waterproof and watertight with three channels. The truck is painted in blue metallic with chrome body accents.
The truck is designed to work in a variety of weather conditions, and the internal antenna is resistant to damage. The receiver is ergonomically designed so it's comfortable to use for hours. It's fun and entertaining to use and looks pretty cool. It also does well on most terrain.
However, the tires are made of a vinyl-like material and are very soft. Also, the motor may whine when it's in neutral and when you use it at slower speeds. In addition, it doesn't not come with a charger that can be plugged into a regular house outlet.
The TRX-4 Sport is a performance-driven, lightweight pickup truck. Its bumpers, wheels, and body are constructed to handle technical terrain, and it has a large ground clearance and specially-designed portal axes to prevent chassis torque twist. The truck also features spool-locked front and rear differentials for traction and a single-speed transmission.
This is a great all-around, hobby-grade RC for the trail and rock crawling. It has great power out of the box, and the electronics are waterproof, so you can use the TRX-4 in adverse conditions. It's also upgradable should you decide to customize it with accessories. Overall, it has excellent capabilities, and even the stock are tires are quite efficient
On the downside, the steering servo is a little weak, but that's not uncommon with hobby RC vehicles that are ready to run. Also, it doesn't come with a battery, and it's a little top-heavy.
The Stampede is a best-seller for a reason. It's a high-performance monster truck that features a bold design, high horsepower, and according to Traxxas, comes with "drive-over-anything ground clearance." The ready-to-race truck comes with a Titan 12-turn 550 modified motor, XL-5 electronic speed control, and waterproof electronics for year-round fun.
The Stampede is fast, solidly-built, maneuverable, easy to operate, and can run for 30 minutes with the stock battery and proper throttle management. It can travel more than 30 miles per hour on the road, and it cruises through grass and over dirt. The stock motor is very good for an entry-level type truck, and it can take a beating yet continue to run. In addition, you can replace all the parts if and when they break.
One downside is that it can not make sharp turns at high speeds because the wheels slide. Also, the included charger is not very good (you must plug it into a car), so many users are forced to buy a separate one for more convenience.
The four-wheel drive Volcano EPX is ready to run out of the box. It comes with an electric brushed 27T 540 motor, forward/reverse transmission, a high-torque steering servo, and a two-channel AM radio. It features a lightweight molded plastic chassis, front and rear gear differentials, and tunable suspension.
It has aggressive tires and a low center of gravity, which promotes high-speed performance. The truck is a lot of fun and plenty fast for a beginner or even intermediate driver, especially considering its price. It runs for 15 to 20 minutes on the battery, and it has a great range with the remote control. There are also a variety of upgrade parts and spare parts available, so you don't have to worry if you break something.
One problem with this truck is the front steering rod and several screws have a tendency to get loose and fall out. The charger is also not the best quality, and you need to supply four AA batteries for the transmitter.
The four-wheel drive Blackout XTE PRO is ready to run and has a signature "bashable" chassis with interchangeable parts, an inner roll cage, a hinged body, and a protective cover for the chassis. It also features tunable gear differentials, suspension, and shocks, as well as an adjustable ride height, camber, and toe angle. The high-torque steering servo and 45A brushless ESC are waterproof.
All the major components are made out of good-quality composite plastic. It's out-of-the-box build is great, and the setup is simple. The truck goes between 30 to 35 miles per hour on pavement, which is impressive for an RC truck. It's also very easy to take apart due to its simple design, and replacement parts are commonly available. You really can't go wrong considering the price of this vehicle.
However, the battery may loosen, and you may need to use a strip of foam to tighten it up within the bracket. In addition, when you flip the truck, the bulkhead has a tendency to break. Finally, it’s an entry-level truck that is not meant for hard driving, so experienced hobbyists would want to look elsewhere.
The Grave Digger is ready to run out of the box, and it has authentic graphics and monster truck sounds, oversized tires, and other neat details. It comes with batteries for the controller and a USB cable for charging the truck. The 2.4 GHz-frequency controller has a range of 250 feet, and you can race up to six trucks simultaneously.
Kids love this RC truck because it's loud, but you can also drive it with the sound off. It's sturdy, handles well, and you can drive it quite a distance without losing the signal. And while it's not something that's meant for off-roading and it can't traverse over substantial obstacles, it does do great around the yard and on paved surfaces.
Unfortunately, the battery doesn't last very long, and it's a little underpowered considering its size. The steering may also fail after a short period of use, and when the sound is on, it can be annoyingly loud for nearby adults.
- Be sure to check the battery specs. Determine how long the charge lasts and if it charges quickly. Also, if the truck doesn't come with a battery, you have to factor that into the cost.
- Before you use the RC truck, consider applying Loctite to the shock screws, bumper screws, and drivetrain screws because they may come loose.
- Even if the truck is waterproof, try not to submerge it in water and keep water out of the receiver because moisture can affect its performance.
- RC trucks are all about modification. You can change various components, such as the tires, to go faster or traverse different terrain.
Q: Is it better to get a pre-assembled RC Truck?
A: It's a personal preference. A pre-assembled RC truck works right out of the box. At the most you have to charge the batteries. If you have to assemble the truck it will help you better understand the machine's inner workings. However, that will take a little time and can be frustrating if you're new to the activity.
Q: Are RC trucks waterproof?
A: It depends on the brand. The best pro remote control trucks tend to have waterproof electronics, but be sure to check the manufacturer's description to be sure.
Q: How long do RC truck batteries last?
A: Typically, RC truck batteries last between 10 to 20 minutes. However, you can upgrade to a more expensive battery that will give you up to 30 to 40 minutes of use, if not longer.
Our pick for the best RC truck is Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Rock Crawler. It’s durable, goes up to 30 mph, has waterproof electronics, and is great for beginners. You can bash it around and not worry about it coming apart.
If you would like a more budget-friendly option, consider the Maisto R/C Rock Crawler Radio Control Vehicle.