RC cars are not the simple racers you had as a kid. They’re complex and powerful devices capable of high speeds and cool tricks.
There are several things you’ll want to consider before buying a new RC toy. The car has to handle the terrain you want to use it on, and the remote’s signal needs to be strong enough to reach it at the distance from which you plan to use it. Before making your next RC purchase, take a few minutes to learn more about our top RC car picks for 2021.
Remote-controlled cars are small-to-medium, motorized toy vehicles controlled wirelessly via remote control. Some models can be controlled from up to 250 feet away and drive 30 mph or faster. Many RC cars even handle rugged terrains and are durable enough to try high-speed flips and tricks.
One of the most affordable ways to alter the speed of your RC car is by changing the pinion gear in your motor. The pinion gear is the smaller gear attached to the output shaft. Pinion gears come in different sizes and can have a different number of teeth. The higher the number of teeth, the higher your car’s top speed. If you want your car to accelerate faster, opt for a smaller pinion gear with fewer teeth, though it’s important to note, this will lower your car’s top speed.
While many RC cars are ready to go out of the box, you may prefer to build your own. RC car building kits give you all the fun of making your remote-controlled car but often come with a lower price tag than building one from scratch. Some kits resemble model cars, whereas others might feel more like using the popular K’nex brand toys.
Many controllers for RC vehicles have a trigger-operated joystick configuration. One hand controls a trigger that makes your car accelerate, and the other a dial that steers the car.
Other vehicles feature a controller that’s more akin to a video game controller, with two joysticks. Although these two joystick controllers resemble video game controllers, they function a bit differently. Whereas a video game controller works on a 3D plane, an RC controller works on a 2D plane. One joystick controls forward and backward acceleration, and the other controls left-and-right movement.
If you don’t plan on using your RC car from too far away, the remote’s range may not be a significant concern. Still, having a vehicle that you can control from 100 feet or even 200 feet away prevents you from having to chase your car around and allows you to focus on driving.
Be aware, not every RC car is built the same. Cars like Rastar’s Lamborghini Huracan are designed to go at decent speeds on pavement but don’t drive well on gravel or dirt. Others tread through the mud, jump ramps and climb hills with no problem. Choosing an RC car that best suits your terrain will ensure you get the most out of your RC experience.
You can have hours of fun with an RC car that costs less than $20, but if you want all the bells and whistles, you may pay up to $180 or more.
A. Yes, you’ll want to clean the vehicle with a moist rag or toothbrush and detergent. Using compressed air behind the tires is a great way to keep them spinning smoothly, especially for all-terrain vehicles.
A. Not all RC cars are meant to be speed-demons, but some can go as fast as 30 mph straight out of the box. If you decide to modify your car to go faster, it can reach 70 mph or more. The fastest RC speed ever recorded was the “Radio Controlled Bullet,” built by Nic Case, making it up to a mind-blowing 202.02 mph.
Laegendary 1:10 Scale Large 4x4 Monster Truck
What you need to know: An ultra-fast RC truck with fully operational suspension, this option can stand up to nearly any terrain.
What you’ll love: This monster truck can plow through mud, snow, gravel, dirt and nearly anything else. The truck goes up to 30 mph and can be controlled from up to 250 feet away. The tires do an exceptional job at gripping most surfaces.
What you should consider: They don’t often live up to the promised 40 minutes of battery life.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Maxtronic Remote Control Stunt Car
What you need to know: This incredibly inexpensive stunt car’s design does tricks and goes on the wildest rides you can imagine.
What you’ll love: At less than $20, this is the perfect option for anyone who isn’t looking for a top-dollar device, and it’s highly durable despite the low price point. It goes up to 8 mph, climbs stairs, does 360-spins and can handle exciting jumps.
What you should consider: This model requires six AAA batteries.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Group Sales RC Kawasaki Brute Force 750
What you need to know: This detailed ATV both looks and drives like the real thing.
What you’ll love: Stands an enormous one foot tall. You can control it from up to 49 feet away. The tires do an excellent job of gripping whatever surface you drive it on.
What you should consider: The batteries aren’t included.
Where to buy: Sold by Macy's
Cody Stewart is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.