Updated January 2022
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Buying guide for best rc trucks

Some toys never get old: remote-controlled (RC) vehicles have been a favorite of kids and adults alike for decades. Those same classic toys do, however, get updated. Modern RC vehicles can go anywhere and do a lot more, like carry onboard dashcams for video or reach speeds upwards of 60 miles per hour.

If you want an RC vehicle that can go off road, or anywhere that isn’t a track, you’ll need to get an RC truck. RC trucks are more capable on rough terrain. They have bigger wheels and are more ruggedly built than RC cars, so they can withstand multiple tumbles. They’re perfect for anyone who wants to try an RC vehicle outdoors or anyone who’s ever dreamed of driving a real monster truck.

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RC trucks are known for being durable, but they still have sensitive electronics on board, so they’re not invulnerable. If you plan on driving your RC truck through puddles, get a truck that’s waterproof.

Key considerations

Before you start shopping, consider these key questions – they’ll help you focus your search.

Are you buying an RC truck for racing or just for your own fun?

If you’re planning on racing your RC truck, you’ll want to get the lightest, fastest model you can. There are two types of RC trucks: electric and nitro. Electric trucks make up the vast majority of the market because they’re more affordable and less expensive to maintain. Nitro trucks have small internal combustion engines, which they can use to achieve much higher speeds.

Most RC truck racers buy nitro RC trucks because they can go a lot faster than typical electric RC trucks. If you’re a casual enthusiast who’s okay with speeds between 20 and 30 miles per hour, stick with a basic electric RC truck. If you’re a racer, look into a nitro RC truck or consider the few high-end electric models that can outpace nitro RC trucks.

What type of terrain will you be driving your RC truck on?

Consider the roads your RC truck will be traversing. Will you mostly be driving it on smooth indoor surfaces or will you take it outside and let it loose on your lawn or at the park? If you want an RC truck that can get dirty or withstand the rain, get one that’s got rubber wheels designed for heavy terrain. If your RC truck will mostly be on flat surfaces, any truck will be fine.

How far away do you want to be when controlling your RC truck?

One of the big differences between RC truck models is how far away the remote will function. Distances can vary anywhere from 20 to 50 feet, although some models have much longer ranges. The connectivity between the RC truck and the controller is also subject to interference. In general, it’s a good idea to never let your truck get too far away; sometimes it can be tough to get it to come back.


While most RC trucks generally look the same, there can be a lot of differences under the (plastic) hood. Here are the specs to track most carefully as you’re shopping for an RC truck.

Multiple batteries

Most RC truck batteries are only good for about 15 minutes of drive time, so it’s really helpful to have extras around. Many RC trucks come with a spare battery, which can be a lifesaver if the power runs out unexpectedly. Just be sure to make time for charging. Most RC truck batteries take at least an hour to recharge, sometimes longer.

Four-wheel drive

Four-wheel drive is as useful on RC trucks as it is on real ones. It’s a must for heavy snow, and it gives the driver a lot more traction and control. If you’ll be taking your RC truck anywhere with inclement weather, getting a 4x4 model is a must.

Post-sale support

RC trucks play hard, and they often need replacement parts, so it’s important to buy one from a manufacturer who can provide product support long after your purchase. Some manufacturers offer lifetime parts and warranties on their trucks, so you’re covered for literally anything that could go wrong. As you’re shopping, compare warranties and read reviews to see how others fared when asking for help.

Expert Tip


Most basic RC trucks cost between $25 and $75. Models in this price range are pretty straightforward. They reach speeds of around 25 miles per hour, they offer decent steering control, and they do okay in tall grass or when faced with similar obstacles.

RC trucks between $75 and $150 strike a balance between premium features and cost. Trucks in this price range include bells and whistles like extra batteries and remote controls with long ranges. However, they forego some premium features like waterproof engines or adjustable suspension.

RC trucks that cost more than $150 typically aren’t worth it. If you’re buying an RC truck for competitive racing, you may need to shell out for the extra horsepower. But if your driving generally looks more like Mario Kart than NASCAR, go for a less expensive model.


  • Compare different models to see how long they take to recharge. Some batteries can take up to three hours to recharge, while others can be topped off in an hour. Keep track of how long it takes for various models to charge, and make sure you’re comfortable with the charging times.

  • If you drive your RC truck outside, thoroughly clean it every time you’re done. RC trucks can rust, and they have plenty of nooks and crannies that can get dirty, too. To make sure your RC truck lasts as long as possible, make sure to wipe it off after each use.

  • If you’re new to RC trucks, buy one with a training mode. Some RC trucks come with a training mode, which means they can run at reduced power. Training mode keeps the speed relatively low so you can learn how to steer effectively without risking any big crashes, which is perfect for beginners.

Other products we considered

The Remoking RC Rock Crawler Vehicle with WiFi HD Camera is a unique RC truck that we love. Its tank-style wheels put other RC truck wheels to shame, and the onboard camera is perfect for watching your drives from a passenger’s perspective. If you have especially difficult terrain, or if you just want an RC truck that can make movies, the Rock Crawler is your best bet. The Cheerwing 4WD Off-Road RC Monster Truck is one of our favorite entry-level RC trucks. It’s half the price of most of its competitors, it goes fast enough for casual use, and both the remote and the truck use AA batteries, so you don’t have to wait for them to recharge. If you’re curious about what RC trucks are like, get this truck – it’s the perfect introduction.

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If you want to get seriously involved in competitive RC truck racing, start with an electric truck. Once you’ve mastered the controls and your technique, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a nitro model.


Q. How fast do RC trucks go?

A. Typical RC trucks can reach peak speeds between 20 and 25 miles per hour. Some high-end models can reach speeds of 60 or 70 miles per hour, while some home-built models have been recorded at speeds closer to 100 miles per hour. If you plan on racing your RC truck, keep a close eye on the speeds different models can reach.

Q. Can I buy extra batteries for my RC truck? Are they expensive?

A. All RC trucks are battery-operated, and most rely on a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Many models even include an extra battery so you can swap in a fresh one when the first one runs out. Buying extra batteries is always a good idea, especially considering that most RC truck batteries only last for 12 to 15 minutes of driving time. Additional batteries cost anywhere between $25 and $50.

Q. Why do so many RC trucks list 2.4 GHz as a feature? What’s that?

A. RC trucks are steered by a small plastic wheel on a wireless controller. The wireless signal required for driving an RC truck is sent over the standard 2.4 GHz wireless frequency, so when an RC truck lists 2.4 GHz as a feature, it means that the remote control uses that frequency.

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