From sleek track racers to monster trucks, the world of RC cars gets everyone’s engine revving. Your child’s joy as their toy car zips around the driveway and crashes into your foot, or when you take your own sophisticated all-terrain machine to the local forest and watch it plough through dirt tracks with ease.
Radio control cars don’t have to be expensive to be great. Here’s what to look for when shopping for a radio control car for yourself, a friend, or anyone in the family.
What is an RC car?
A radio-controlled car is a battery/gas propelled model car or truck that can be controlled remotely using a special transmitter. The RC cars come in different shapes each with its advantages and disadvantages as well as different driving modes.
Some people prefer high-speed racers but also there are RC cars that drive off-road and crawl over rocks. RC cars can be expensive if you are looking for a high-power racer. So, before biting the bullet, ensure you know what you are going for. With this knowledge, you will find the right RC car in a very short time.
Types of RC Cars
There are several categories of RC cars. With the overwhelming array of RC cars available, let’s begin by understanding the different types that may suit your needs.
Off-road RC cars
Cars in this category are well suited for rough terrain that includes gravel or sand. These cars have bigger and raised tires compared to other types of RC cars. Vehicles in this category include:
- Monster truck
- Rock crawler/scaler
- Short Course Truck (SCT)
- Stadium/Truggy Truck
These cars are great for driving in open areas and anywhere their tires can deal with.
On-Road RC cars
Vehicles in this category are designed to run on smoother, flatter grounds such as pavement. They are usually 4-wheel drive, come equipped with a suspension and can attain high top speeds. In case you value speed and skill above all else in your RC car, then you should consider this category. Cars in this category include:
- Formula 1
- Road Car
- Pan Car
- Touring Car (TC)
Also, if you are the kind who prefer to modify their RC Cars to meet their personal preferences, then consider this category.
Gas- Powered RC Cars
These as the name suggests rely on gas to run. If you intend to purchase a gas-powered RC car, ensure you can have a regular fuel source, as they’re expensive.
Amphibious RC Cars
These RC cars are amazing. They can work on both land and water. However, driving them through a lake or submerging them is a bad idea. These cars are meant to be driven on shallow ponds and puddles that won’t damage their electrical components.
Electric-powered RC Cars
These use electricity their source of power. They use either rechargeable batteries or replaceable AA or other types that let you drive them anytime. Also, this is the quietest source of power for RC cars.
Nitro-Powered RC Cars
The major source of power for these cars is a combination of nitromethane, oil, and methane. They require a constant supply of fuel for them to work.
Things to Consider in an RC Car
There are some things you need to consider before you into purchasing of an RC car. Regardless of whether you are an RC car enthusiast or just starting, an RC car that you will be proud of will require some considerations. Here is a basic rundown of what you need to look for in RC cars. For more details on what you can consider, this video explains it well.
RC cars are of different types but the most common ones are cars, trucks, and buggy. For an adrenaline junkie, trucks are a great option. Buggies are an in-between choice and can be deceptively fast in the right hands.
Not all batteries deliver the same amount of power. Although you may not be versed with RC lingo, batteries can be either Ni-Mh or Li-Po. Ni-Mh batteries tend to be less powerful and are easy to use for beginners. Li-Po batteries are more expensive, harder to charge and store but can transform you RC car into an adrenaline-spiking rocket.
Brushed motors are great for beginners although they are less powerful. Brushless motors tend to be more efficient and durable but come at a higher price.
2WD or 4WD
2WD RC cars are usually cheaper, easier to maintain and last longer. However, they are slower. 4WD RCs tend to be more stable, have great grip and appear more aggressive. 4WD RC models are great for adrenaline junkies.
Safety and Performance
For RC car enthusiasts, performance is the most important factor to consider. The level of fun is determined by the performance of the RC car. Top speed, primary use, and handling are the main features that determine the RC car performance. Top speed is important because the faster an RC car is the more fun you will have driving in a dirt terrain, or launching off-ramps. Nevertheless, this is not applicable when buying an RC car for kids. To safeguard your shins, it is better to purchase a slower model for children.
Runtime denotes the period an RC car will be used before it requires its battery to recharge. Several RC cars have a long runtime because their batteries have a huge capacity and more efficient drivetrain and motor setup. Generally, 2WD cars have a longer runtime compared to 4WD RC cars.
RC cars for hobbyists are very expensive. So, in this case, good budget RC come with batteries and chargers among other accessories necessary to operate and enjoy using your RC car.
Off to The Races
So, regardless of whether you are a seasoned RC enthusiast looking for an efficient RC car for yourself or as a present to your children, take time to establish what you need. There are different types of RC cars to choose from and it’s certainly possible to get a cheap, effective RC car that you’ll have a blast with.