The RC car is a toy that stands the test of time.
Commercially viable RC cars (radio-controlled cars) were invented way back in the late 1960s, but even today, after the advent of smartphones, streaming television services, and game consoles, RC cars are still popular. There’s just something undeniably fun about racing a fast and fidgety little RC car around the house or down your street.
In this post, we’re going to show you what some of the best RC cars are on the market today. Some RC enthusiasts are much more serious about the hobby than others, though, so our list will cover a range of price points. We’ll also cover RC cars that are meant for both on- and off-road use and those designed for tarmac use only.
So without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at some of the best RC cars around today.
1. Editor's Pick: Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Pro
The Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Pro is a good middle ground between performance and price, which helped it land our ‘Editor’s Pick’ designation.
This RC car features a 3500 mAh lithium polymer battery (LiPo), a 2.4GHz radio and a brushless 3300KV 540 Novatech motor. It will do over 40 mph and the battery should last around 20 minutes or so. You may want to buy a backup battery with it if you plan on using it for longer than 20 minutes, though.
This RC car is extremely fast, well-priced and is of good quality. This is a tarmac only RC car, so you won’t want to be jumping it or going off-road with it, but is perfect for paved surface racing or driving. We’d say the only cons are that it can’t go off-road and that it’s so fast it may be hard to control for less experienced users.
2. Traxxas Rustler RTR
The Traxxas Rustler RTR is similarly priced to the Red Cat Racing EPX Pro and has similar performance specs, but unlike that RC car, the Ruslter can go off-road.
Traxxas promises the Rustler will top 35 mph, which is fast on tarmac and very fast off-road. It has a nickel-metal hydride battery (NiMH) with a 12-volt DC charger. It also features a torque-control clutch that allows for some slip, allowing you to perform spectacular yet easily controllable drifts. The Rustler is also fully waterproof and can be driven in water, mud and snow. It features a 2.4 GHz radio.
This is a fast, well-priced off-road RC car that will be fun, durable and reliable. It also comes with everything you’ll need to get driving including a battery, charger and remote control. The charger is only a 12v outlet charger, though, so if you want to use a wall socket, you’ll have to buy the wall charger separately.
3. SGOTA RC Car
This RC car from SGOTA is much cheaper than the three-figure products above. Coming it at under $35, this is among the least expensive RC cars you can buy – but it doesn’t sacrifice too much in the way of quality to do so.
That said, don’t expect crazy performance from this kid’s toy. It will top out at around 10 mph and has a smaller 3.6v, 600 mA battery. The battery will hold enough charge for about 25 minutes of driving. The RC receiver will also work up to distances of around 50 meters.
While not fast, this RC car is inexpensive and durable, making it well suited for young children.
4. Traxxas Short Course Truck 1/10 Scale
This off-road ready RC car from Traxxas is a 1/10 scale version of the full-scale short course off-road racing trucks.
What makes it interesting is that it’s not four-wheel drive, despite it being an off-road focused truck. That means you can pull off sweet drifts in the dirt, sand or other loose surfaces and throw up impressive rooster tails.
This truck comes with a 4am DC fast charger, a nickel metal hydride battery, a 550 Modified motor and a Revo-Spec Torque-Control slipper clutch. It’s also fully waterproof, so you can drive it in the rain and snow without having to worry.
This truck will reach speeds of over 40 mph, making it extremely fast. For that reason, some of the parts are vulnerable to breaking. Users describe it as being of medium durability, so you may want to take some care when driving it if you don’t want to buy replacement parts. The battery will last for about 30 mins of use.
5. Tamiya No. 570 Lancia Delta Integrale 1/10 Scale RC
This is one for the rally fans! Tamiya’s Lancia Delta Integrale RC car body will remind you of times when rally racing was completely unhinged.
Tamiya’s 1/10 scale series of build-it-yourself RC cars is perfect for older buyers looking for a fun way to kill some time. It should be noted that this kit only comes with what you’ll need to build the car. You need to buy the motor, battery and other components separately. That’s all part of the fun, though! This allows you to customize the car with different motors, batteries and other components so you can make it as fast as you like.
While not cheap, this line of Tamiya products double as great-looking display pieces, in addition to being fun to drive. This makes them well suited for older car enthusiasts or those who are typically into building scale models of cars, ships and the like. Tamiya has a bunch of other cool car bodies as part of this series as well, like this Alfa Romeo GTV, so you can pick and choose your favorite.
6. Traxxas XO-1 1/7 Scale AWD Supercar
Now we’re talking. This is the unhinged, 100+ mph Traxxas XO-1 1/7 Scale AWD Supercar. It’s extremely fast and not surprisingly, rather expensive.
Traxxas says this RC supercar will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.3s, 0-100 mph in under 5s and top out at over 100 mph when equipped with the optional third polymer battery (it comes with two). Stock, it will go over 50 mph.
It also has all-wheel drive, machined aluminum steering knuckles and other aluminum suspension components for durbaility. Traxxas claims it also has the largest brushless motor ever offered on a product of this type.
This product comes with the proper battery charger and radio remote control for operation as well.
This is a seriously fast RC car that is essentially the holy grail of mainstream, consumer-grade remote controlled vehicles. If you like speed, look no further than the XO-1. We should note that this is only suited for experienced RC racers. Due to the speed, this product could pose a risk to those in the surrounding area if not driven with care. You wouldn’t want it to hit your foot at speed, for example.
7. Redcat Racing Lightning STK
The Lightning STK from Red Cat Racing is a bit more affordable than the Lightning EPX Pro but offers similar performance, making it a less expensive alternative to our Editor’s Pick.
We like the way the Lightning STK’s NASCAR-style body looks, but that’s not all it has to offer. With a 550 brushed motor, an 1800 mAh nickel-metal hydride battery, adjustable suspension and aluminum capped, oil-filled shocks, this 1/10 scale RC car is ready to race out of the box.
This RC car is rated at about 25 mph. Buyers suggest buying a spare battery to extend its usage window and also getting rechargeable batteries for the remote. The remote takes 8 AA batteries, which can quickly get expensive to replace.
This is also a tarmac-only RC car and is not waterproof, so just like NASCAR in real life, you should only drive this on a paved, dry road.
8. Redcat Racing Everest
The Redcat Racing Everest has been described as a hobby-grade rock crawler that can be had for less than comparable products from brands like Traxxas.
This rock crawler is fully upgradable, but also comes ready-to-rock (no pun intended) right out the box with long travel shocks, knobby tires, front and rear multi-link suspension and a 2000mAh NiMh battery with a charger. It’s also fully waterproof is ready for whatever the elements can throw at it – be it snow, water, dirt, sand, mud etc.
This RC rock crawling truck is appropriate for hobbyists and kids alike. It’s priced right and is fairly durable, making it a great pick for anyone who wants to do some radio controlled off-roading.
9. Traxxas AWD Ford Fiesta ST Rally Car
This awesome-looking AWD RC rally car from Traxxas may be familiar to you if you watch Ken Block’s Gymkhana series. It’s modeled after the Fiesta ST rally car that Block has been known to pilot and can pull off similarly impressive drifts.
This ready-to-drive RC car comes with a waterproof electric motor, fulltime all-wheel drive, replica rally wheels with grippy tires and a hobby-grade radio system. The battery and charger is sold separately however , which is a downside, but this at least allows you to purchase a good battery for it that will extend the life and improve the overall performance of it.
With different gearing and an improved battery, this can be an extremely fast RC car, but out of the box it will do about 30 mph.
10. Traxxas TRX-4 Ford Bronco
This is a very expensive RC crawler, but it was just too cool not to include. Styled after the much-loved Ford Bronco, this RC truck is impossibly cool.
It’s also of high quality, featuring durable portal axles, working locking differentials, low- and high-speed gear ranges and an extremely detailed body with accurate details and even windshield wipers. It can accept NiMh or LiPo batteries (these are sold separately though) and features a robust 550 electric motor.
You can get a ready-to-drive Traxxas TRX-4 chassis (which this truck is based on) for less if you opt for the unlicensed truck body, it should be noted. The TRX-4 chassis can also accept a variety of bodies – here it is as a Land Rover Defender, for example.
While expensive, this RC Ford Bronco is of extremely high quality and looks very, very cool. It’s also fully upgradable (like many other Traxxas products, we’re sure you’re beginning to realize) so this is a great starter kit for the budding hobbyist.
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