Best RC Trucks: Tear Up the Track or Go Off-Road
Get outside and enjoy hours of fun and entertainment with these high-quality RC trucks.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON May 14, 2021
Whether you’re an avid hobbyist or are looking for a great gift for your child or grandchild, there are a wide array of rugged and surprisingly fast remote control (RC) trucks on the market that will fit the bill. Kids and adults alike love tearing up tough terrain with a durable and rugged RC truck. It’s a great excuse to get outside and enjoy some fresh air, either with friends or on your own.
If you’re in the market for a new RC truck, you might be shocked to see the plethora of options on the market. Not to worry—we have you covered and will give you plenty of clarity with our well-equipped buying guide and top product reviews. We’ll have you tearing up the turf in no time with a fast and beastly RC truck that won’t leave you stranded.
This waterproof rock crawler comes fully assembled and features an ultra compact transmission, high clearance, and rugged Falken WildPeak M/T S30 tires.
- Tough and rugged model that easily outperforms cheaper, smaller RC trucks
- Realistic and accurate scale model of a full-size truck
- You have to purchase the rechargeable battery pack and charger separately
This Jeep rock crawler features Extreme Flex suspension that helps give the truck extra traction on bumpy terrain and oversized tires with a deep tread pattern for solid traction.
- This model is very affordable and an excellent option for kids and beginner hobbyists
- Comes equipped with a rechargeable battery pack and charger and is ready to go right out of the box
- Slower than many other models
- Suspension and many of the components are made from plastic, which isn’t very durable
This fast and rugged RC truck has a top speed of 30 miles per hour. It has a four-wheel independent suspension with oil-filled shocks that are perfect for taking on some seriously tough terrain.
- Equipped with fully waterproof electronics housings
- Fast enough to race and rugged enough to run off-road
- Has rugged and durable hardened steel gears and transmission
- It’s two-wheel drive, not four-wheel drive like many other models.
- Doesn’t come with batteries or a charger
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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 58094-1 2WD Slash Short Course Truck, and the 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. One popular product is 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 to $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 to $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 to $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 to $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.
- $500 and up: 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 Trucks Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- 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?
If you’re a beginner, or are purchasing an RC truck for a child, it’s best to get a fully assembled RC truck that’s ready to be used right out of the box. Serious hobbyists and racers who like to make plenty of modifications will do better with an RC truck that requires assembly prior to use.
Q: Are RC trucks waterproof?
Many RC trucks are waterproof, but most only have select waterproof components. Higher end RC trucks will offer durable waterproof housings that protect all the electronic inner workings of the unit. Be sure to double check the manufacturer’s description prior to purchase.
Q: How long do RC truck batteries last?
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.
After seeing all the various options available, you can easily see why we chose the Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho 4WD RC Rock Crawler as our top pick overall. This waterproof rock crawler comes fully assembled and features an ultra compact transmission, high clearance, and rugged Falken WildPeak M/T S30 tires. It’s a tough and rugged model that easily out-performs cheaper, smaller RC trucks and will give you hours of entertainment.
Our favorite budget-friendly RC truck is the fast and durable New Bright 4x4 1:10 Scale Remote Control Jeep Rock Crawler. It’s a great choice for kids and beginner hobbyists.