The 7 Best Remote Control Cars to Buy in 2018

Take these mini wheels for a spin

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Exceed RC Electric DriftStar

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. 

Runner-Up, Best Overall: GMAXT S913 RC Truck

Whizzing by at almost 25 mph, employing an ergonomically designed control, and optimized with a research-informed RC suspension, this GMAXT truck has a lot going for it. You can drive this puppy through sand, grass, wet mud, and swampland without any issue, the latter thanks to the IPX4 Waterproof rating. The electric brushed 380 RC motor is powered by a 2.4GHz radio transmitter (the standard for stable operation), and the rechargeable battery will build up to full juice within an hour or two and offer up to 20 minutes of play time. The PVC-material rubber tires and four-rod independent suspension allow for a supremely smooth ride while the remote distance allows for almost 400 feet of operating distance. There’s even a dedicated control on the remote for “crawling” which optimizes the torque and power to scale inclines and tougher terrain. 

Best Budget: Top Race RC Monster Truck

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 way out of its weight class. 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.

Best for Kids: Maisto Rock Crawler Extreme

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.

Best for Toddlers: Holy Stone RC Cartoon Race Car

Holy Stone RC Cartoon Race Car
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Best Off-Road: KingPow 2WD RC Car

Traxxas Summit
Courtesy of Amazon.com

You’ll be surprised at just how rugged this RC car is. The high-powered motor with ratcheted-up torque will take the thing as fast as 15 mph and up 45-degree slopes, while also giving it enough oomph to get over those rocky landscapes (hence that “Best Off-Road” distinction up there). Pair that with the four-wheel independent suspensions and ultra-shockproof tires made of PVC-like material and you can be sure this thing won’t get thrown on any surface. The control itself operates at 2.4GHz which avoids interference and allows operation at up to around 250 feet. The battery is 3.7V and 700MAh, and fully charges in 45 minutes, allowing about 15 minutes of high speed operation. And, while it is marketed toward kids, they recommended experienced user supervision of ages 10+. 

Best Splurge: Kid Galaxy Ford f150 RC Truck

This RC truck that’s modeled to look like the Ford classic pickup is the perfect entry-level truck for the RC hobbyist in your family (AKA the kid who’s tired of those “toy trucks” and wants one that can play with the big boys). With the most powerful, 20-volt battery in its class, this truck can hit flat speeds up to 30 mph (which is scaled from 100mph at the full size), and it does so operating for more than 30 continuous minutes, which is three times longer than the average RC battery. And, to get their feet wet on hobby customization, this 21 x 13 x 12 inch truck can have its parts swapped to fit any application, so your kid will get the chance to learn what it takes to supe up an RC rig. As a bonus, the thing can scale rocky, gravelly roads just like the full sized Ford, so even though it isn’t targeted as a true off-road car, it’ll handle some all-terrain fun.