Best RC Cars: Play or Race with Speed and Power
These fun and fast RC cars will provide hours of racing excitement.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON April 20, 2021
Whether you’re an avid RC hobbyist or are just looking for a great gift idea for your son, daughter, niece, or nephew, there’s an RC car out there that’s perfect for what you’re looking for. RC cars can provide hours of entertainment and excitement for kids and adults of all ages. Take your RC car out to your backyard for some fun off-roading and stunting or take it down to your local RC track to challenge your friends.
RC cars can range greatly in price and capabilities. Some are designed to be exact replicas or real-life vehicles, while others look like heavy-duty futuristic cars that are designed for doing fun stunts. Some are strictly for street racing, while others are made to tackle all kinds of crazy terrain. If you’re in the market for a new RC car, we’ll help make your decision easy with our informative buying guide and our in-depth product reviews that outline some of the best RC cars on the market.
A rugged and super fast RC car that is built for on- or off-road racing. It’s a great entry-level car with a top speed of more than 35 miles per hour.
- Vehicle is water-resistant and comes with a durable aluminum alloy chassis
- Car can be operated from up to 328 feet away, giving you plenty of options for where to race
- Quick charging time of 3 hours
- Super short run time of only 10 minutes before needing to replace or recharge the battery
- One of the pricier units on our list
This is a punchy and powerful 1:18 scale dune buggy that is designed for taking on tough terrain and doing fun stunts. Its oversized semi-pneumatic tires give it serious gripping power.
- Super affordable RC car that is a fun and durable option
- Comes with a one-year limited warranty
- Can be operated from up to 195 feet away
- You have to be careful not to overcharge the battery and shorten its lifespan
- Battery life is short, at just 20 minutes per charge
A versatile RC car that can be driven on its top or bottom, so there’s no need to flip it over manually. It’s made out of a durable, non-toxic, environmentally friendly plastic. Its top speed is nearly 8 mph.
- The thick wheels and tires roll easily and quickly over small debris
- The car has a 360-degree turning, rolling, and flipping radius and is incredibly shockproof and responsive
- The battery life is low, and it doesn’t come with batteries for either the car or remote
- Has trouble handling larger obstacles. The controls may be difficult to learn
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of RC Cars
- Learn responsibility. Considering RC cars run over all kinds of dirt, dust, and debris daily, they require regular cleaning and proper maintenance. Also, they can easily get damaged if not controlled correctly. Therefore, children realize they need to take care of their RC cars rather quickly. They slowly gain a sense of responsibility that is very beneficial at an early age.
- Enhance skills. Controlling an RC car is highly beneficial for hand-eye coordination. While steering their vehicles, avoiding bumps, and making turns, children learn to react faster. They also begin to develop fine motor skills, understanding the concept of vehicle parts working as a whole.
- Play outdoors. RC cars are known to promote outdoor play. Children who own these little toys love to spend time outside. It's much more interesting to drive an RC car over grass and different obstacles rather than controlling it in limited space indoors.
- Socialize. An RC car allows children to spend more time with friends and even meet new ones. It also gives families an opportunity to bond over an exciting activity. Overall, RC cars prove to be one of those toys that promote socializing.
Types of RC Cars
These are designed for those looking for more speed and excitement. RC cars speed up to 40 mph or more, flying over grass and pavement. They can be drift, rally, or on-road cars, so you can pick the one that suits you the most. However, it's crucial to keep in mind that these are mostly made for hard and flat surfaces. They don't do well on rough terrain.
RC trucks are heavy-duty vehicles suitable for all kinds of terrains. Depending on the design, they can climb rocks, cross rivers, and much more. The two most common types are monster trucks and stadium trucks.
Monster trucks are ideal for off-road rides. They are designed to withstand daily abuse and prove to be quite powerful. You can use them for long outdoor courses and enjoy adventure rides. Stadium trucks are also heavy-duty but because they are two-wheel drive, they are more suitable for indoor use.
If you're not sure what to get, you can always go for all-rounders or so-called buggies. These are great on hard surfaces and can be quite speedy. Those who are experienced in driving RC vehicles will also find buggies ideal for off-road purposes. All in all, they can handle both flat and uneven surfaces and withstand daily use.
Wltoys is a Singapore-based toy manufacturer that specializes in producing fun and affordable RC cars, boats, airplanes, drones, and replacement parts. One popular product is the WLtoys XKS 144001 Off-Road Drift Car RTR.
Laegendary is located in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. What started as a small family business quickly became one of the most popular toy companies. The thing that makes Laegendary special is its passion for unique products that prove to be both fun and educational for children. The Laegendary Remote Control Car is one such product, and it made it on our list.
Top Race was founded in 2010 and is located in Brooklyn, New York. It's a company that focuses on producing high-quality RC models, from all kinds of vehicles to planes, helicopters, and robots. The Top Race Remote Control Police Car is one of the company’s most popular products and is highly rated among customers.
RC Cars Pricing
- Under $50: This is a regular price for most mid-range RC cars that prove to be ideal for beginners and hobbyists. They offer decent speed, quality design, and overall excellent performance.
- $50-$150: For some more cash, you can find high-quality RC cars that can speed up to 60 mph and provide more reliability in the long run. Also, at this price point, you can get some extras such as lights, audible effects, sturdier parts, and more.
As we mentioned above, there are several RC vehicle types. Although the overall design of the models can vary a lot, most of them are divided into two categories: on-road and off-road vehicles.
The first one is fast and suitable for hard and flat surfaces, while off-road vehicles can go over bumpy roads and withstand much more abuse. Consider your personal preferences and application before the purchase, so you can pick a type that works the best for you.
RC vehicles are modeled after full-size cars and trucks, which is why the scale number is crucial. It stands for the size of the model compared to its full-size counterpart. For example, a 1:10 scale refers to the RC vehicle that is 10 times smaller than the real one.
When it comes to choosing a scale, that will mostly depend on your personal preferences and needs. Most models come at 1:8 and 1:10 scales and are suitable for most purposes. Still, you can choose smaller or bigger vehicles depending on whether you want to run them over hills and rocks or around the block.
Consider how fast you want for your RC car to go. Entry-level vehicles go around 25 mph. However, mid-range models go up to 40 mph and the high-end ones can even run at around 60 mph.
If you're a beginner, you'll be quite satisfied with the RC vehicles that speed up from 25 to 40 mph. Still, those who want to engage in races and seek more excitement might want to consider getting a high-end and super fast RC car.
- Motor. There are two most common motor types used in RC vehicles. The brushed one offers more reliability for the user but is less powerful. It's mostly recommended for beginners and children who are learning how to control RC cars. Brushless motors are highly efficient, offer more power, and can accelerate at higher rates.
- Battery. The battery can significantly influence the overall performance of your RC car, so it’s important to pick carefully. Ni-Mh batteries are the most commonly used ones, as they are inexpensive and easy to use. However, they are not very powerful. Li-Po ones are pricey, but they provide high power and can make your vehicle fly over different terrains.
- Number of Wheels. While 2WD vehicles are powered by only two wheels, 4WD ones are powered by all four of them. That means you'll have more power and speed. Therefore, it's important to keep an eye on the wheel drive and choose accordingly.
Best RC Cars Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Store the car and remote somewhere temperate and dry. Condensation can build in the machinery and damage the batteries.
- Remove the batteries from the remote and the car after playing with it to conserve their life.
- Avoid leaving the battery charger connected when it is not in use to prevent the risk of a fire or overcharging the battery and shortening its lifespan.
- To operate multiple cars near one another, make sure they are each on different frequencies. Many remotes allow you to change the frequency by pressing a button or flipping a switch. Some cars may come with frequency settings on their bodies.
- Since most RC cars have a short run time of under 20 minutes, purchase one or two extra batteries that you can swap out to race longer.
Q. How fast can an RC car go?
A: All RC cars have different speed capacities. Some of the higher end cars can go between 35-60 mph. You’re going to pay for that speed with a higher price tag, of course. Most RC cars that are used as kids toys can reach speeds of 10-15 miles per hour.
Q. What kind of batteries do RC cars take?
A: Most RC cars and trucks require either AA or AAA batteries. Some newer models run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries of various sizes, and there are even a few cars that use 9-volt batteries.
Q. Can I use a different remote for an RC car?
A: In many cases, it is possible to switch remotes for your RC car. The only requirement is that the car and the remote run on the same frequency, which is pretty simple, as most RC cars run on the same frequency.
For the ideal combination of speed, durability, and performance, our top pick has got to be the
WLtoys XKS 144001 Off-Road Drift Car RTR. It can go more than 35 miles per hour and is built for on-road or off-road use, so you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to choosing where to race it.
If you’re looking for a fun and reliable option that’s super budget friendly, check out the HB-P1801 4x4 Rock Crawler Off-Road Buggy Vehicle. This punchy little dune buggy can do some fun tricks and stunts and is perfect for off-roading.