RC cars are one of the cheapest and safest ways to get a fast thrill. You don’t have to spend thousands and put your life on the line to get your heart racing! They used to have a bit of a stigma of being over-complicated and – let’s face it – a bit geeky. But that’s all changed.
Nowadays, they are much simpler, much faster, and a lot more fun. We’ve featured 12 ready-to-run RC cars that barely require any setting up, so you can charge them up and start racing!
Whether you’re buying it for your kids or for yourself, this list has everything you need. We’ve got fast-paced monster trucks, awesome rock-crawlers, and even an RC car that can drive on the roof!
The Best Remote Control Cars
This little rocket has everything you want from an RC car: blistering pace, rugged tires, strong chassis, and waterproof controls. That means you can take it pretty much anywhere and come back with it in one piece. With an impressive top speed of 35mph, you won’t be left wanting for extra power. In fact, you’ll probably leave everyone else in the dust.
Built for durability, the Traxxas RTR Rustler is at home in mud, snow, dust, or gravel. It’s got studded, aggressive rear tires which throw all the power to the back and give it tons of grip. One of the biggest frustrations of RC car motoring is running out of battery, just when you are getting to grips with it, they need recharging. Fortunately, this car comes with the Traxxas 8.4V Battery and DC Fast Charger, which means it stays charged for longer and charges 10x faster than other RC cars.
Top speed 35mph
- Weight7.01 pounds
This one’s a bit of a beast. Another great RC car from Traxxas, this truck is a bit more heavy-duty than the Rustler. It’s got 4 studded, off-road tires making it slower on tarmac, but an absolute machine on gravel, or any other rough surface. The body is well-built too. Due to the four-pronged suspension and flexible chassis, this truck will take an impact well.
Under the hood, it’s got a Titan 12-Turn 550 modified motor, with a Revo-Spec Torque-Control slipper clutch. If you’re not a complete RC nut, then you’ll have no idea what that means. Basically, it will push the Traxxas Stampede Monster Truck to over 30 mph, even on rough ground. That’s pretty impressive for a monster truck!
Top speed 30mph+
- Model36054-1 BLK
- Weight2.2 pounds
The Vatos RC Desert Buggy is perfect if you’re looking for something a little less hardcore. With a top speed of around 10 mph, this car can’t compete with the speeds of the Traxxas cars, but it’s still a lot of fun. It’s driven by an impressive little 2WD electric motor, which can take it up steep inclines and over almost any surface, albeit not that fast.
You can charge it through a USB port, which can take around 3 hours, and gives you around 15 minutes’ playtime. Not the best battery life, but still enough time to have plenty of fun. The body is made of engineering nylon, which makes it collision resistant, so no need to worry about breaking it on first use.
Top speed 9mph+
- Weight2.49 pounds
Remember in the Fast & The Furious, when they flicked the Nitro switch and the car zoomed off, beating every other car? Well, now you can get Nitro in your RC car. The Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro Buggy isn’t for the faint-hearted, and the manufacturer recommends having some experience with nitro vehicles. Having said all that, it’s all pretty straightforward if you follow the instructions. It’s got a 4WD, single speed transmission and a 2.67cc Nitro engine with a pull-start. That gives it a top speed of 35+mph.
It doesn’t come with nitro fuel, so you have to buy all that separately, but it’s all available on Amazon. It’s rare to get a nitro-fuelled car for this cheap, so it’s pretty good value. The whole thing is well made and will be able to handle pretty much anything you throw at it. Just don’t forget that you need to buy a starter kit and nitro fuel separately. You don’t want to be disappointed when it arrives in the post!
Top speed 35mph+
- BrandRedcat Racing
- Weight7 pounds
The Hosim ZK-01 Terrain RC 9112 is one of the best budget RC cars around. At only $72.99, it’s half the price of a lot of similar performing models. It will hit a top speed of around 33mph and has 4 large off-road tires that mean it can handle any surface. The quality of materials won’t be as good as some of its more expensive rivals, but for the casual hobbyist, this is still a great car.
It’s got an impressive range of 260 feet and an ergonomic controller, which is highly responsive and makes for great handling. The only downside is the battery life – it takes around 3 hours to get 10-15 minutes of driving. You can improve it with a better performing battery, but you’d better know what you’re doing! Need more ideas to surprise your kid? Find a perfect toy in our laser tag sets review.
Top speed 33mph+
- Weight3.9 pounds
The GPTOYDS S916 RC Car is yet another awesome, affordable RC car. You can pretty much drive it straight out of the box, after a bit of charging, which is perfect for hobbyists who aren’t interested in putting their car together. Like the Traxxas cars featured at the start of this article, this car is fully-waterproof and built to handle a number of conditions. It will hit around 26 mph and it’s built strong enough to take an impact at high speeds.
One of the great little features of this car is the flat mount for your GoPro. On the back of the body, there is a flat section purpose-built to attach your GoPro, so you can film your adventures and post them online. This is a great car for someone who’s just into the driving part of owning an RC car. If your child likes toys, then check out our list of Lego Star Wars sets for more great options.
Top speed 26mph
- Weight4.17 pounds
The HBX All-Terrain RC Car 18859E is one of the best ready-to-run RC cars for beginners and kids. It’s cheap at only $69.80 and has some pretty impressive stats for its price. The manufacturer claims it will hit 30mph+ and has a radio distance of 280 feet. It’s not as well-waterproofed as its more expensive rivalsbut will still stand a few splashes.
You get around 10 minutes driving from a 60-minute charge, which really isn’t bad considering how other RC cars perform. And, you can charge it using a USB charger which makes it convenient, if you are out in the car. For the price, you really can’t beat this one! Our handy guide to the amazing educational toys features more great products like this.
Top speed 30mph
- BrandBBM HOBBY
- Weight2.1 pounds
Type – Kids RC
The kids will absolutely love Prextex RC Police Car! With its working lights and siren, they’ll have hours of enjoyment, racing around chasing the baddies. It runs on AA batteries, so as long as you keep them in constant supply, the car will keep running. It’s not the fastest or most impressive car on this list, but it’s well designed and fast-enough to be fun.
The lights and siren are pretty powerful, so it could be worth buying some earplugs as well!
Working lights & siren
- Weight2.01 pounds
Type – Kids RC
If there’s one complaint I have about all the cars featured so far, it’s that they can only drive on the floor. How boring is that? Fortunately, The EpochAir Remote Control Car can drive on any surface, including the roof. Think of it as the Spiderman of RC cars. The kids will drive it up the wall, which will – in turn – drive you up the wall. But how do they do it, you ask? Well, it has an air suction set at the bottom of the car which creates a vacuum underneath. Clever, right?
The responsive controls can turn it in any directions and perform 360° spinning maneuvres. It charges using a USB and even has reversing lights! It’s not the most advanced RC car in terms of performance, but it is well worth buying for the enjoyment of driving it up and down walls! Love this toy? Check out our review of the best coding toys for our top picks.
Can drive on walls & roof
Performs 360° spins
- Weight12 ounces
Type – Monster Truck
If driving along the roof isn’t your thing, then why not opt for the Distianert Electric RC Car? Based on a desert-buggy, this realistic little car is loads of fun! It can handle most surfaces and hit speeds of around 10mph, which is enough when you’re starting out! Designed for kids, the controls are simple enough for children as young as 5 to master. It comes fully-charged, so all you need are some AA batteries for the controller and you’re good to go! Our handy guide to the best Hot Wheels Tracks features more great products like this.
Top speed 10mph
- Modelcar 1
- Weight2.65 pounds
Type – Kids RC
The cheapest on this list, the QUN FENG Electric RC Car-Lamborghini Veneno offers lots of fun on a really tight budget! At only $17.99, you really can’t beat the price, but you’re also not going to get the same performance as some of the other cars on this list. It’s still pretty quick though, reaching speeds of around 10mph. That makes it perfect for racing around the house or on a smooth surface outside. It’s also a licensed Lamborghini model, so the detail is pretty great. Find more great toys like this by checking out our cool magnetic toys guide.
Top speed 10mph
Smooth surfaces only
- BrandQUN FENG
- Weight13.6 ounces
Type – Crawler
Most of the cars on this list are all about speed. But that’s not the only way you can enjoy an RC car. The Rabing Off-Road Rock Crawler is all about climbing. It can climb steep, unsteady surfaces with ease due to its independent suspension and ground clearance. That means the car can move flexibly without getting stuck. It’s also got a well-built, shockproof body that protects the inner electrics of the car.
It’s great fun if you’re into off-roading, but probably won’t be much good in a race situation. You may also like to check our Lego robots list for more amazing toys.
Top speed 12mph
- Weight1.8 pounds
Safety Tips When Using a Remote Control Car
- Choose a suitable area – you should never operate your RC car on a public road, or near children and pets. It’s really important to find somewhere quiet and safe to operate your RC car. They might be little, but at speeds of 30+ mph, they can pack a punch.
- Insert the right fuel –if you put the wrong fuel in your RC car, it could be disastrous. Read the instructions and check the label on your fuel.
- Always have fresh batteries – you don’t want your RC controller batteries to run out when your car is hurtling down a hill! Make sure your batteries are fully charged.
- Regularly service – it might not be the most fun part of owning an RC car, but you should service it after every use. Ensure it’s clean on the inside, the bolts are tight, and everything is in working order.
- Let it cool down after use – never open your RC car and touch it after use. The engine can be extremely hot and cause severe burns.
- Don’t put your fingers near moving parts – if you are doing any maintenance on your RC car, check that everything has stopped moving before you put your fingers in!
- Don’t let children play – RC cars might be toys, but they can be dangerous. Only let children play if it is safe to do so.
- 9 Safety Tips to Operating Your Nitro RC Car – RC Models Wiz