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For those with a budget, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to sacrifice features, terrains, and applications when purchasing a high-quality RC car. This Top Race truck clocks in at well under $30 making it the cheapest on our list, but with 4WD, a strong anti-collision structure, anti-skid tires, immense rock-climbing power (with the super absorbent shocks to go with it), a 2.4Ghz transmitter, and all the batteries you’ll need for operating right out of the box, this little RC rig pulls is also the best remote control car overall.
A bonus here is that it’s also waterproof, so the kids in the family (ages 8 and up) can take it through puddles and across streams without almost any fear of shorting.
The Maisto Rock Crawler Extreme handles off-road trails and driveways with aplomb and can keep kids engaged for hours. Built with three motors to help handle rough terrains like grass and rock, the Rock Crawler Extreme tackles it all with large tires, a full suspension, and four-wheel drive.
Supported by a durable frame that can handle some crashing and rolling around, the Maisto achieves a kid-friendly top speed of around five miles per hour making it manageable for kids learning to control the vehicle. The pistol-grip joystick is a good size for smaller hands and includes a trigger for moving forward or reverse and a circular control toggle for changing direction. It requires six AA batteries, giving the Maisto a longer runtime without the constant need for recharging.
While the adults get to have most of the fun with remote control cars, kids are not without their own options. The Holy Stone RC cartoon race car doesn’t go off-road and it doesn’t come waterproof, but this remote control car for those 18 months and up is the perfect beginner’s model for young children. Featuring two-channel direction with forward, reverse, left and right, there are also honking sounds, as well as music and flashing headlights.
Additionally, there’s a removable race car driver that kids can take out and play with separately and then put back when they want to drive around the house. With a simple, two-button design, bright colors and plenty of noises to keep a toddler entertained, the cartoon race car will bring hours of joy. Three AAA batteries are required to power the car and two AA batteries are needed for the remote.
The Kid Galaxy Platinum Ford F150 is built specifically with speed in mind — it can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. Whether your little one is looking to get into RC car racing or just wants something faster than the average hobby car, this downsized pickup truck is one of the best remote control cars around. The 20V lithium-ion battery is rechargeable and provides up to an hour of playtime. You can also swap it out with a 20V Black & Decker, DeWalt, Porter-Cable, or Stanley power tool battery for more power options and longer play.
This RC car requires no assembly, so it’s ready to go right out of the box. The wide, rubber wheels can handle almost any surface from sand, dirt, gravel, and pavement. The best improvement over the previous model is that the Platinum Ford F150 features a safety breaker that shuts down the car if the battery or motor gets too hot, preventing damage to the car and reducing fire hazards.
The JEYPOD RC car is another option for both kids and adults looking for a way to get into RC car racing. This model can reach speeds up to 12 miles per hour, perfect for younger kids to keep up with while also getting a feel for more advanced RC car operation.
This car comes with two rechargeable batteries so you can keep one charged while you use the other. Each battery gives you about 30 minutes of play and can reach a full charge in as little as 90 minutes. The frame of this RC car is made to be highly maneuverable. Its small wheels make taking sharp turns a breeze, and the compact frame also makes it perfectly travel-size.
The large rubber tires can take on a variety of surfaces from pavement to gravel and dirt, while the battery and motor compartment are splash resistant, so you don’t have to worry about driving through small puddles.
The LEGO Technic WHACK kit is the ultimate choice for kids looking for a car that can take bumps and dings in stride while also offering tons of customization options. The Technic WHACK is compatible with all LEGO building sets for almost limitless modification of the car itself or building obstacle courses. The car has a pull-back engine that doesn’t require any electrical components so you never have to worry about dead batteries.
The car body is designed to be crashed; its large front bumper protects more delicate parts, and the "engine" LEGO block pops out on impact for more dramatic crashes. When assembled, the car measures just two inches wide, six inches long, and three inches high. Its small size is ideal backpack storage and travel — take it to the park or a friend’s house for hours of play. The WHACK kit is recommended for kids ages seven to 14.
Treading a really delicate line between “uber-expensive hobbyist RC” and “RC that’s fine for kids” the Electric DriftStar is a decent price point at pro operation levels. With stable arm suspension and aluminum-capped shocks that are filled with actual oil, the suspension system pays homage to a full-sized drift car (which this thing is 1/10th the size of).
The precise steering tech gives drivers full control while the high precision SP03018 electric speed control keeps the engine measured and in check. And speaking of that engine, the RC540 motor is basically top of the line. Combine that with a 7.2V 1800maH Ni-MH battery power and an extra-large bumper for extra sudden collisions and you’ve got an RC car that will go the distance.
If you’re relatively new to remote control vehicles and finding yourself a bit baffled by all of the options and features that are available, the DOUBLE E Monster makes is the best remote control car for you. It’s a well-rounded RC truck that checks a lot of boxes for the person who wants a solid remote control toy that’s affordable and easy to figure out, and it packs in some of the best battery life we’ve seen as well. It’s also got a great classic monster truck design that kids will love.
The 1:12 scale means it’s on the larger side, but it can also tackle just about any terrain. It’s great for both off-road use on rocks and gravel but it can motor along really well on streets and sidewalks too. It’s a four-wheel-drive vehicle, with separate front and rear motors, lots of torque to spare, and an independent suspension system to it won’t be shaken up on even the roughest surfaces.
The best part of the Double E Monster, however, is that you won’t be stuck replacing batteries; it sports an internal rechargeable 6V 800 mAh pack that can be recharged from any USB power source. This saves you the trouble of having to carry around an extra power adapter; you can recharge it from your laptop or use your mobile phone or tablet charger. Even better, a single charge (which takes about two hours) provides up to 40 minutes of running time, making it one of the longest-lasting RC cars we’ve seen in this price range.
If you spend even a few minutes searching up remote control cars on Amazon, you’ll be absolutely amazed by how much you can actually spend if you ever decide to get into the hobby in a serious way. However, there are some pretty good cheap and cheerful options available as well, so there’s really no need to break the bank when getting started. Among these, Growsland’s little supercar comes in at under $20.
With a classic racing sports car design, the Growsland isn’t going to be climbing any rocks or doing any offroading, but it handles great both indoors and outdoors on streets and sidewalks, and the 1:24 scale means it’s small enough to motor around indoors without knocking around your furniture or freaking out your pets. It can get up to a pretty reasonable speed of around 8 mph.
A simple two-joystick remote makes it easy for younger kids to operate, although it’s worth noting that the use of the older 27 MHz frequency for the remote means that you won’t be able to race two of the same cars in close proximity as the remotes will interfere with each other. The car and remote will also require you to supply your own set of six AA batteries, but we don’t think that’s a serious omission considering the price tag here.
While rock-climbing monster trucks are among the most common RC vehicles you’ll see, if you’re looking for something a little fun and different, there are some pretty cool stunt vehicles available too. By their very nature, these can also usually handle some pretty rugged terrain, making them the best of two worlds. Among these, the Blexy RC Stunt Car stood out for not only offering the ability to flip and spin around but to even go amphibious.
On land, Blexy’s car can motor along at up to 12 mph, with the four big wheels allowing it to quickly turn on a dime, even at speed. It also handles fine on just about any surface, and the best part is that you can use it on a rainy day, as you don’t have to worry about getting it wet or even rolling through puddles. In fact, dirt and sand aren’t a problem for it either, and it can roll right into the water, so it’s a fun RC vehicle you can take to the beach. Any further and you'll need to upgrade to a boat.
The downside is that you’ll only get an average of 20 minutes of playtime from the rechargeable batteries, and they can be a bit of a pain to recharge; the amphibious nature of the vehicle means that the battery has to live in a sealed compartment, and you have to remove it in order to recharge it, which takes about three hours but can at least be done using a standard USB power source. This is the kind of vehicle where we’d really recommend picking up a second battery pack if you plan to use it a lot.
We bought four of our readers’ favorite remote control cars that our reviewers tested for 26 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these remote control cars, from price to battery life. We’ve outlined the key points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
Age range - Perhaps the most important consideration when buying a remote control car is the age of the person (or people) who’ll be using it most. If the car is for a young child, you may not want want a feature-rich model with a high top speed. But if it’s for a tween, teenager, or even an adult, the option you select can be more complicated.
Battery life - There’s nothing worse than setting up a new piece of technology just to have it run out of batteries before you know it. That’s why paying attention to battery life (in addition to keeping a set of spares handy if its battery isn’t rechargeable) is smart. It’s also worth noting that a vehicle with more features will drain a battery more quickly.
Price - You’d be surprised at how much you can pay for a remote control car if you want one that’s fast, durable, and packed with features. That’s why it’s important to prioritize what’s really important to you and pay attention to the price tag.
Long battery life
A little slow
“The long battery life and the small size make it perfect for families,” our tester said of the Top Race RC Monster Truck. “Plus, it's got a fun, cool design that kids will love,” she added. The downside? “The turns are wide and the center of gravity is higher so it's easier to flip,” our reviewer explained. While she also mentioned it’s a little slow, she thought the long-distance transmitter, great controls, and the fact that it’s waterproof make it a great purchase.
Great on a variety of terrains
Plastic exterior seems cheap
Controls can lag at long distances
Our tester thought this was a great option based on its off-roading abilities, battery life, and overall value. “The car has some great treaded tires and great controls,” she stated. “The battery life is also superb and lasts for days.” On the other hand, our reviewer noted, “Sometimes the controls lag at great distances, and the car itself is made of a cheap plastic exterior.” According to our tester, the car is also on the slower side, but she said its affordable price point makes it a good option for kids.
Incredibly high speeds
Easily drives over obstacles
Short battery life
Difficult to control
While on the more expensive side, if you’re looking for high speeds and great handling of terrain, this car will do the trick, according to our tester. She raved, “This car flies up to 30 mph across parking lots and down streets!” Another plus? “Its hardy design and the suspension make crossing branches and rocks a breeze,” our reviewer said. On the other hand, she warned, “The high speeds make it difficult to control, and the battery life is a joke—after 20 minutes the battery dies.” In the end, our tester felt this car is probably best suited for adults who are looking for high speeds and understand that the battery life makes the fun short-lived.
Fun, vibrant colors
Easy to control
Much better suited for indoors
Our tester highly recommended this toy “if you're looking for a kid-friendly starter RC car” because it has basic controls, vibrant colors, and a compact size. In terms of limitations, our reviewer said, “The controls only go in two directions, making it harder to steer and harder to overcome obstacles.” She explained this “makes it more of an indoor car.” Overall, though, our tester called it “perfect for young kids.”