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.
Top 10 Best Radio Cars
1. Editor’s Pick: Redcat Racing Lightning EPX Pro Radio Cars
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 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.
Pros/Great price, fast, looks good, big battery
Cons/Can’t go off-road can be hard to control
2. Traxxas Rustler RTR Radio Cars
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 Rustler 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.
Pros/Fast, durable, can go off-road, fully weatherproof
Cons/Does not come with a wall charger
3. SGOTA RC Car Radio Cars
This RC car from SGOTA is much cheaper than the three-figure products above. Coming in 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.
Pros/Inexpensive, durable, great for young kids
Cons/Maybe too slow for older kids and adults
4. Traxxas Short Course Truck 1/10 Scale Radio Cars
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 4 am 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.
Pros/Very fast, the rear-wheel-drive makes it fun on loose surfaces, great off-road, upgradable
Cons/Expensive could be more durable
5. Tamiya No. 570 Lancia Delta Integrale 1/10 Scale RC Radio Cars
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 are 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 doubles 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.
Pros/Looks AWESOME, cheap replacement parts, can be modified, great hobby, build it yourself
Cons/RC components not included, expensive
6. Traxxas XO-1 1/7 Scale AWD Supercar Radio Cars
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 an all-wheel-drive, machined aluminum steering knuckles, and other aluminum suspension components for durability. 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.
Pros/Ridiculously fast, metal steering and suspension components, long battery life
Cons/Only suited to experienced RC racers, very expensive
7. Redcat Racing Lightning STK Radio Cars
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.
Pros/Looks cool, relatively inexpensive, fast, the body can be swapped out for others
Cons/Not super durable, remote takes AA batteries
8. Redcat Racing Everest Radio Cars
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 and 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.
Pros/Durable, super capable, hobby-grade rock crawler for cheap
Cons/Some plastic parts may need replacing after lots of use
9. Traxxas AWD Ford Fiesta ST Rally Car Radio Cars
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, full-time all-wheel-drive, replica rally wheels with grippy tires, and a hobby-grade radio system. The battery and charger are 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 its 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.
Pros/Looks great, fast, grippy AWD, upgradable
Cons/Battery and charger not included, a bit expensive
10. Traxxas TRX-4 Ford Bronco Radio Cars
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.
Pros/Looks AWESOME, very capable, durable, high quality
Cons/Battery and Charger sold separate, expensive
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Photo credit: N-studio / Shutterstock.com
What is the Bigfoot?
Essentially a licensed scale RC car inspired by the legendary Bigfoot monster truck, it packs a seven-cell Ni-MH battery and a four-amp, 12-volt DC fast charger.
How fast can Bigfoot travel?
The Bigfoot can reach top speeds of up to 30 mph but it won’t make a fool of itself while climbing stuff either thanks to its four-inch ground clearance.
What are the best RC cars for kids?
We’ve picked 10 RC cars that suit all preferences and pockets.
What is the Spesxfun RC Off-Road Truck?
Courtesy of two e-motors, it can go as fast as 25 mph and its Ni-MH battery pack allows for 20 to 30 minutes of ceaseless fun on a full charge.
How much does the RC car cost?
Get it for $40 on Amazon.
What is the best Traxxas RC car?
Another Traxxas RC car that makes it on our list is the Rustler 4×4 VXL truck.
What are the best electric car speeds?
Sending power to all fours via a shaft-driver AWD setup, it can reach top speeds of 65+ mph.
What is the Altair Power Pro 4×4 RC Truck?
It’s got a four-wheel independent suspension system setup with six metal shock absorbers and all-terrain wheels that can handle almost anything you find!
What is the Best Truck for Snow?
The Altair Power Pro 4×4 RC Truck can help you with that right in your own backyard!
What do you need?
This means that Traxxas fitted it with portal axles (yes, you read that right!), remote locking differentials, and a Titan motor fed by 6- or 7-cell Ni-MH batteries.
The best radio cars for gifts are those that are easy to operate and maintain. They should also be durable so that they last long. A good car should be easy to drive and park. It should also be safe to drive and park. If your gift recipient has children, then you need to make sure that the radio car is child-proof. This way, no one gets hurt when driving the car.