Best RC Trucks: Top Picks For Racing and Bashing
These popular RC trucks will provide hours of fun
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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.
- Best OverallTraxxas 2WD Slash Short Course TruckSummarySummaryThis truck is designed with an officially licensed Ford Raptor body. It has a seven-cell NiMH battery with iD technology and a four-amp, 12-volt, DC peak-detecting fast charger.ProsProsThe truck goes up to 30 mph, and it has waterproof electronics for all-weather driving. It's very durable, and the internal antenna is impervious to damage.ConsConsIt doesn't perform very well on muddy terrain. You may flip the truck a lot while figuring out how to control it, and the charger gets very hot.
- Best ValueRedcat Racing Blackout SC PROSummarySummaryThis four-wheel-drive truck has an electric brushless KV3800 motor, heat sink, waterproof brushless ESC, and oil-filled adjustable shocks. The 7.4v 3200mAh LIPO battery and charger are included.ProsProsIt's fast enough for those just getting into hobby trucks. It's durable, handles great, and is easy to repair. You can push it to and beyond its limits around a dirt course.ConsConsThe truck may stop working if it gets too wet. Also, the front end is poorly designed, so if you hit something you may break the differential gearbox bulkhead.
- Honorable MentionTraxxas Slash 4X4 1/10 Scale 4WD Short Course TruckSummarySummaryThis short course truck provides extreme brushless VXL power to potentially go over 60 mph. It has integrated low voltage protection, waterproof electronics, and TSM stability management.ProsProsThis truck can do nearly anything. It's really fast out of the box, and the optional gearing pinion makes it even faster. It can handle everything from trail running to jumps.ConsConsIt's very pricey, and the battery and charger are sold separately. It may not be a good pick for beginners because replacing parts can be costly.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product 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 '69 Chevrolet Blazer 4WD RTR RC Rock Crawler Off-Road 4x4.
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 2019
Best Overall: Traxxas 2WD Slash Short Course Truck
This RC truck is designed with an officially licensed Ford Raptor body featuring an injection molded grill, integrated bumper, side mirrors, and tailgate for scale realism. It includes a seven-cell NiMH battery with iD technology and four-amp, 12-volt, DC peak-detecting fast charger for reliable charging.
The truck goes up to 30 mph using its Titan 12-turn 550 modified motor. It has waterproof electronics for all-weather driving in water, mud, and snow, and its TQ 2.4GHz radio system's ergonomic design is comfortable for all-day driving. Also, the internal antenna is impervious to damage, so you can beat the heck out of it and it will keep going. It's very durable, and if you crash into a curb, it won't easily scratch.
While the manufacturer boasts about its waterproof capabilities, this Traxxas truck doesn't function particularly well on muddy terrain. In addition, it may be a little fast for beginners, particularly children. You may struggle and flip the truck a lot while figuring out how to control it. Also, the charger gets hot while charging.
Best Value: Redcat Racing Blackout SC PRO
This four-wheel-drive short course truck has an electric brushless KV3800 motor, heat sink, waterproof brushless electronic speed control (ESC), and oil-filled adjustable shocks. The 7.4v 3200mAh LIPO battery and charger are included. It also features forward and reverse ESC. The radio requires eight AA batteries, which are not included.
This truck is fast enough out of the box for someone just getting into the world of hobby trucks. You can easily program the ESC to your driving style, it has great handling, a durable design, and it’s easy to repair. The oil-filled shocks handle jumps and bumps really well, and the suspension components, while mostly plastic, handle great and are quite rugged. Overall, you can push it to and beyond its limits around a dirt course.
There have been some complaints that the truck will stop working if it gets too wet. Also, the front end is poorly designed, so if you hit something you may break the differential gearbox bulkhead because everything is attached to it. In addition, it doesn't come with a toolset, and the owner's manual isn't very helpful for beginners.
Honorable Mention: Traxxas Slash 4X4 1/10 Scale 4WD Short Course Truck
The most expensive pick on our list, this short course truck provides extreme brushless VXL power to potentially go over 60 mph. It has integrated low voltage protection, waterproof electronics, and TSM stability management to harness power without sacrificing entertainment. The rigid triangulated chassis resists flexing under load while a smooth tray reduces drag and prevents snags.
This truck is a versatile addition to any RC collection, and it can do nearly anything. It's really fast of the box, and if you use Lipo batteries, it's even more impressive. The stock gearing is quite fast, and the optional gearing pinion can make it even faster. It can handle most terrain just fine, including trail running and jumps. Also, the TSM is adjustable, allowing you to easily control it at high speeds.
One downside with this truck is the battery and charger are sold separately. Also, there have been some complaints that the axle breaks easily. Overall, it may not be a good pick for beginners because the truck has so much power that it's very easy to break some of the parts, which can be costly.
- 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 Traxxas 2WD Slash Short Course Truck. 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 Redcat Racing Blackout SC PRO 1/10 Scale Brushless Electric Short Course Truck with Waterproof Electronics.