Updated September 2022
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Buying guide for Best RC cars for kids

Kids are excitable types, so they eagerly dive headlong into an activity like it's an adventure. Instead of trying to restrain your child's unbridled enthusiasm, why not encourage it with a toy that truly makes their eyes light up? An RC car for kids can take playtime to the next level — safely.

The best RC car for a kid is age-appropriate and easy to control. It should feature a fun, engaging design that stimulates the child's imagination. Notably, the battery life and signal range of an RC car can limit the fun … unless you opt for a model that maxes out both specs. A few bells and whistles, such as lights and horn sounds, can be welcome additions, as well. The remote can vary greatly from one model to the next, and not all remotes are comfortable for small hands.

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Some RC cars may require a bit of assembly. If this is your child’s first vehicle, consider investing in a fully assembled model.

Key considerations

Besides considering the minimum age, when selecting an RC car for a kid, there are only three broad areas you should think about: the vehicle, the remote, and the power source. 

The vehicle

The vehicle you choose will depend upon how your child will use it. Take these factors into consideration when looking to make sure it will be suitable for the intended use. 

Type of vehicle: The first decision you'll have to make is where you'll want to use your RC car. For instance, a car that goes fast on a smooth pavement won't work very well on a beach. Additionally, if you want an RC car that does tricks, you will need a special type of vehicle. If you first decide what you want your RC to be able to do and where you want to drive it, you can quickly narrow down your options.

Speed: Everyone thinks they want the fastest RC car. However, if you're new to the world of RC cars or you have a younger child, it might be better to start with a model that has limited speed so that it is easier to control.

Weather resistance: Running your RC car through puddles might look cool, but it can cause significant damage to the motor and other delicate parts. No RC car is completely water- or weather-proof, but the better those inner working parts are shielded from the elements, the better the chances are of your RC car having a long, adventure-filled life.

Durability: When kids play with RC cars, chances are they will play hard — racing about the terrain, doing daredevil stunts, and having fun. If you want your RC car to survive more than a few outings, you'll want to look for a model with high marks in durability.

The remote

The remote is the part your child will actually be interacting with, so you want to make sure it is perfect for their hands and for their skills. 

Size: If your child has tiny hands, a large remote is not a good idea. Conversely, a tiny remote would be hard for someone with larger hands to manipulate with a great deal of finesse.

Variety of controls: The remote is how you control all aspects of your RC car. If all it features is forward and reverse, it's not going to be much fun — and it will wind up getting stuck... a lot. Look for an RC car with a remote that has a variety of controls so that you can make the car do everything you want it to do. If you are choosing a toy for a younger child, a remote with limited functions will be easier to understand and operate.

Control setup: Just as there is a wide variety of vehicle designs, there is a great deal of flexibility in how your remote does its job. If your child is a gamer, a dual-joystick controller might be the most intuitive. If you have a young child, a steering wheel could be the method that makes the most sense to them. Whether it's buttons, a trigger, or one of the other aforementioned options, look for a remote that has the most intuitive type of controls for your child.

Range: Lastly is one of the most important considerations for the remote — range. If the RC car loses the signal 10 feet away, your child will be spending the day chasing the car around. If you have a model with a 100-foot range, on the other hand, your child will likely be able to stay somewhat stationary and focus more on having fun and developing his or her driving skills.

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The power source

By far, batteries are the way to go, especially since the RC car is for a child. Battery-powered vehicles are safer, quieter, more affordable, and easier to operate than models that require fuel. The biggest downside is that some batteries might not have quite as much raw power and they may not last as long as nitro. Additionally, if this is for a child, it is not advisable to get an RC car that uses a LiPo battery pack as those are highly combustible if misused.

A person wearing a blue and white BestReviews shirt assembles an RC car.
It is important to get only age-appropriate RC cars for your child as models for older kids may feature hazards such as sharp edges, small parts, and even combustible chemicals.



How big do you want your RC car to be? The scale is represented by two numbers with a colon in between, such as 1:10 (which means the RC is 1/10th the size of a full-size vehicle). The larger the second number is, the smaller your vehicle will likely be. Although many hobbyists prefer a larger scale RC car, having a smaller vehicle is not necessarily a bad thing because less weight means potentially greater speed, better response, and longer battery life. In addition, smaller RC cars may be better suited to younger kids who could injure themselves or others with a larger vehicle. Small RC cars are also easy to pick up and take with you.


Some RC cars require some assembly. If your kid just wants to open the box, charge the battery, and get riding, these are not the models for you.


There are RC vehicles in almost every imaginable design — some look like cute cartoons while others are rugged road warriors. Be sure your child has a great deal of input on this part, as it could be the most crucial part of the decision-making process (in your child's mind, at least).

Lights and sounds

If your kid wants your RC car to light up, blare a horn, or play music, you won’t have trouble finding a model with these features. Less flashy models are available as well. 

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Even if your RC car is water-resistant, avoid racing it through puddles as that could compromise the vehicle's functionality and create a shock hazard for battery-powered models.

RC cars for kids: prices

It is easy to spend over $100 on an RC car, but many models for children are available at low prices.


The small, colorful, rounded toys for the youngest kids are available for under $15. These models can be a lot of fun, but since they don't offer much versatility of control or high speeds, they may be underwhelming for older kids.


In the $15 to $50 price range, there is an incredible amount of variety. You can find elegantly designed models with appreciable speed, considerable remote range, and a variety of controls. In many instances, especially for beginners, this is a comfortable price range to explore.


If your child wants something special, like an extra durable stunt car or an accurate replica of a real vehicle, you should expect to spend from $50 to $100. While there are more expensive models intended for adults and enthusiasts, this is a reasonable range for a higher-quality vehicle that will more than satisfy your child's needs.

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By far, batteries are the way to go, especially since the RC car is for a child. Battery-powered vehicles are safer, quieter, more affordable, and easier to operate than models that require fuel.

Benefits of using RC cars

RC cars provide children with hours of entertainment and can teach them valuable motor and social skills. Here are just a few.

  • Getting fresh air: The best place to play with RC cars is outside in the open. Kids can follow behind their RC car as they explore with it. 

  • Family bonding: Whether it's in a park or just in the backyard, racing RC cars is an activity that the whole family can enjoy together.

  • Learning directions: For the younger kids, an RC car can be a great tool that helps a child learn the difference between right and left.

  • Learning to take turns: If you only have one RC car but two kids, this exciting toy is a great way to teach patience and develop social skills.

  • Developing hand-eye coordination: Controlling where the RC car goes as a child watches is a quick way to hone those fine motor skills.

  • Improving strategic thinking: Whether your child is racing or just avoiding obstacles, using an RC car helps him or her to learn how to strategize.

  • Improving gross motor skills: Gross motor skills involve the larger muscles, so chasing after an RC car will help your child learn to use those larger muscles.

  • STEM: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can all come into play when using an RC car, especially if you opt for a model that requires assembly.

  • Zero screen time: Playing with an RC car involves zero screen time. It's a real-world activity that will prove to your child that having an exhilarating adventure can happen in the physical realm too.
"Not all RC cars are the same. Be sure to read the entire owner's manual to make sure you completely understand how to properly operate and care for your vehicle."


Q. How does the remote send a signal to the vehicle?

A. In the broadest usage, "RC" means "radio controlled." The controller sends radio signals to a receiver that is located in a vehicle. These signals tell that particular vehicle what to do — accelerate, turn left, turn right, go backward, and other maneuvers. In entry-level models, this could actually be a controller with a wire that is attached to the vehicle. If this is the case, your child will need to follow closely behind the vehicle when operating it. Unless this is specifically what you are looking for, we recommend models with wireless controllers.

Q. Do RC cars require any maintenance?

A. Of course! Many RC cars are toys that are designed to race off-road through dirt and mud. To keep your vehicle running, you need to keep it clean. It's best to stay away from chemicals, so for dirt, use a dry, stiff paintbrush or a toothbrush and compressed air. If you've got mud, a cloth that has been moistened with a mild detergent, which won't harm the finish of the vehicle, is best. Additionally, you may need to lubricate some of the parts. Check your owner's manual to learn what is recommended or required for your particular RC car.

Q. How long does it take to fully charge the battery in my RC car?

A. While there are equations that allow you to calculate how long it should take to charge a battery, the best advice is to consult the instructions that came with your RC car. The information contained on these pages is specific, and it comes from the manufacturer, so it should supersede any generic tips or "hacks" that you might find elsewhere. 

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