Reviews

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.

Best Overall
Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho 4WD RC Rock Crawler
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Summary
Summary

This waterproof rock crawler comes fully assembled and features an ultra compact transmission, high clearance, and rugged Falken WildPeak M/T S30 tires.

Pros
Pros
  • Tough and rugged model that easily outperforms cheaper, smaller RC trucks
  • Realistic and accurate scale model of a full-size truck
Cons
Cons
  • Pricey
  • You have to purchase the rechargeable battery pack and charger separately
Best Overall
Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho 4WD RC Rock Crawler
Best Value
New Bright 4x4 1:10 Scale Remote Control Jeep Rock Crawler
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • Slower than many other models
  • Suspension and many of the components are made from plastic, which isn’t very durable
Best Value
New Bright 4x4 1:10 Scale Remote Control Jeep Rock Crawler
Honorable Mention
Traxxas Slash 2Wd Short Course Racing Truck
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Summary
Summary

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.

Pros
Pros
  • 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
Cons
Cons
  • It’s two-wheel drive, not four-wheel drive like many other models.
  • Doesn’t come with batteries or a charger
Honorable Mention
Traxxas Slash 2Wd Short Course Racing Truck

Why Trust Us


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.

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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

Nitro Engine

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.

Electric Engine

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.

Monster

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

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.

Short Course

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.

Top Brands

Traxxas

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

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.

Axial Racing

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.

Key Features

Battery Life

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. 

Speed

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.

Durability

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.

Control Range

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. 

Other Considerations

  • 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

Best Overall
Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho 4WD RC Rock Crawler

Our choice for the best overall RC truck is hands down the Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho 4WD RC Rock Crawler. It comes fully assembled, saving you time and frustration having to build it out. This model of RC truck features a compact transmission that gives you plenty of gearing choices and excellent driveshaft angles. 


It has a high clearance compared to other models thanks to its single piece AR44 axle, so you can roll effortlessly over obstacles that stymies other RC trucks. The Trail Honcho also features rugged Falken WildPeak M/T S30 tires like you would see on a real-life full size off-road truck. An adjustable battery tray and steel C-channel frame rail chassis add to the overall versatility and durability of this high-end RC truck. Four-link rear suspension geometry reduces torque twist and axle steer. 


The 2.4GHz two-channel transmitter is pretty standard on this type of RC truck. We aren’t big fans of this truck’s hefty price tag and the fact that you have to purchase a 6-cell NiMH or 2-3s LiPo battery pack and charger separately, inflating the cost even further.

Best Value
New Bright 4x4 1:10 Scale Remote Control Jeep Rock Crawler

For a budget-friendly option that offers rugged and fun performance and is great for beginners, consider the New Bright 4x4 1:10 Scale Remote Control Jeep Rock Crawler. It features Extreme Flex suspension that helps give the truck extra stability and traction on bumpy and aggressive terrain. Oversized tires are equipped with a deep tread pattern that provides extra grip on all surfaces.


This model also features an efficient rollover recovery setup, so that when it does tip over, the vehicle can right itself without needing help from you. Like most other RC trucks, this one comes with a 2.4GHz wireless transmitter and a large remote control that is easy for beginners to figure out. We also like the fact that it comes with a powerful 9.6-volt lithium-ion battery pack and wall charger. It has a relatively short charging time of only two hours and a run time of approximately 25 minutes.


We don’t love that the suspension and most of the components on this car are made of plastic. More durable materials would greatly improve the performance of this RC truck. While it is pretty zippy, it’s definitely not the fastest truck on our list, so don’t plan to use it to win any races.

Honorable Mention
Traxxas Slash 2Wd Short Course Racing Truck

When you’ve got the need for speed, check out the Traxxas Slash 2WD Short Course Racing Truck. This truck has a powerful Titan 12-turn 550 motor that gives you speeds up to 30 miles per hour, making it a solid racing contender. It’s ideal for serious hobbyists, racing enthusiasts, or older beginners who are looking to upgrade for the first time. It comes equipped with four-wheel independent suspension that’s well-suited to big air and aggressive jumps. 


Unlike some models, however, this is a rear-wheel drive truck that may take some getting used to if you’ve been running four-wheel drive RC vehicles. It features extra-wide, beefy tires that give some of the best traction and grip of any RC truck we’ve seen. It comes fully assembled and ready to drive, unfortunately you’ll need to purchase batteries and a charger separately before you can go anywhere.


It’s equipped with fully waterproof electronics, giving it added versatility over some models that are only water-resistant. It only has a 30-day warranty, so be sure to check it for any defects or function issues as soon as you receive it.

Honorable Mention
Axial 1/10 SMT10 Grave Digger 4WD Monster Truck

This RC truck features a funky 1950s style design with an iconic “Grave Digger” paint job that’s modeled after the real life Monster Jam legend. It’s an extremely detailed, true-to-scale, straight-axle, four-wheel drive monster truck with an SMT 10 tube frame chassis. This model is specifically designed to offer maximum bashing strength. 


This truck is equipped with a 2.4GHz radio system and a powerful 550-size 12-turn brushed motor that gives this truck serious torque and quick, responsive handling. It has a waterproof, brushed ESC that is compatible with both NiMH or LiPo batteries. There are also forward/brake/reverse, forward/brake, and crawler drive modes, making it one of the most versatile RC trucks on our list.


This truck is so detailed, it even has multiple shock mounting positions to give you different suspension configuration options to suit different types of terrain. There are lots of upgradeable parts you can buy for this truck. However, it doesn’t come ready to run, since it’s not equipped with batteries or a charger. You’d think at this price point, the manufacturer would include those. There’s also some concern over the long-term durability of the ESC and servo.

Honorable Mention
DEERC 9200E Off-Road Monster Truck 

If you're looking to get a fast and fun RC truck without investing a ton of cash, the DEERC 9200E Off-Road Monster Truck might be just what you’re looking for. It’s a 1:10 scale four-wheel drive truck that boasts a top speed of 48 kilometers per hour, thanks to its powerful 540 high speed motor. This model is equipped with two 1,700mAh rechargeable batteries that give you up to 40 minutes of run time. 


The 2.4GHz synchronous remote control is responsive and intuitive to use. This truck is also equipped with real metal oil-filled shocks and rugged, extra-wide high-density tires that help protect the truck’s inner electronics while allowing you to tear up some serious terrain. 


Some users report that the outer plastic body of the truck could be built more substantially, as the four anchor points don’t impart enough durability and tend to break if impacted too hard. Also double check that all screws and pins are secure before undergoing your first test run, as several people complained about losing loose parts on their maiden voyage.

Honorable Mention
Redcat Racing Volcano EPX

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.

Honorable Mention
 Redcat Racing Blackout XTE

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.

Honorable Mention
REMO 1621 2.4G 4WD 1/16 RC Truck

Another fun and pleasantly affordable option that’s ideal for kids and novices is the REMO 1621 4WD RC Truck. It has a wicked top speed of 50 kilometers per hour, thanks to a respectably powerful 390 brushed motor. It’s equipped with four-wheel drive and features full four-directional control. This model has the usual 2.4 GHz radio control system and an easy-to-use, super responsive trigger controller. 


The housing is fully waterproof and the unit comes with a 7.4-volt 1,500Ah LiPo rechargeable battery pack and charger, making this RC truck an even better value. At 1:16 scale, this is one of the smaller RC trucks on our list, and doesn’t have the same amount of clearance as some other models.


It’s a fun and durable RC truck that is ideal for racing on tracks, although it doesn’t seem to corner as well as models with better constructed tires. The housing could also be a little more heavy-duty.

Tips

  • 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.

FAQs

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.

Final Thoughts

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.