9 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First RC Car

9 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First RC Car

By Joe Rich

9 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First RC Car

There are plenty of hobbies out there.

There is one, however, that has been around for decades and has a focus on both speed and control, precision and power.

The RC car hobby is unlike any other hobby out there. So here are 9 things you need to know before buying your first RC Car.

The 9 things are:

  • Who can I buy an RC car for?
  • What size should first RC car be?
  • What is your RC car budget?
  • Toy grade or hobby grade RC car which one?
  • Ready To Run or kit RC car?
  • Which make of RC car is best?
  • What model type of RC car?
  • Electric powered or Nitro powered RC car?
  • Are upgrades available for my choice of RC car?

RC car enthusiasts range across all ages and income levels.

This is because there is a shared desire for speed, precision, control, and all the other aspects of RC cars that make them so interesting to hobby enthusiasts around the world.

There are more than a few things that make RC cars such a cool and unique hobby option.

More importantly, these are nine things that you need to consider before making your next RC car purchase to get the most out of your car that is in your budget range.

Bestseller No. 1
QFC RC Cars 1:18 Scale Remote Control Car, 4WD High Speed 40+ Km/h Off Road RC Monster Vehicle Truck, All Terrains Electric Toy Trucks with Two Rechargeable Batteries for Boys Kids and Adults
  • 1:18 Scale High Speed RC Car: This 4WD high-speed remote control car with its 380 high-speed motor can reach speeds of 25 mph. The car’s 4-wheel drive, powerful motor and high traction tires can handle any surface and grade. The remote control comes with a speed level setting knob you can adjust for different types of runs.
  • Long Battery Life, All Terrain: This rc truck comes with two high quality rechargeable batteries which can provide about 40 or more mins of fun filled driving time. The rc cars for adults and kids can climb all types of terrain: grass, gravel road, beach, hills and whatever you can find to put it up against. It can not only handle small jumps with ease, but can also do wheelies and with the right terrain can even do flips.
  • Sturdy Build, Durable and Nimble: The hobby grade remote control car for adults and kids comes with long travel suspensions, PA chassis, a high strength PVC car shell and tires, which provides excellent protection from high-speed collisions. In addition, this remote control racing car will handle all kinds of rough terrains with ease.
  • Easy to Use and Run: The off-road RC monster car comes with a 2.4GHz remote control system. The remote control is very responsive and it is adjustable for speed, turning sensitivity, steering adjustments etc, making it suitable for everyone from the beginner to the most skilled driver. 
  • This package includes a 4WD rc car, a 2.4GHz remote control, two rechargeable batteries, a USB charging cable, 3 AA batteries, a screw driver, a set of spare screws, a socket wrench and the user manual. A Christmas gift the kids and adults are sure to love and have a ton of fun with.
SaleBestseller No. 2
Tecnock RC Racing Car, 2.4Ghz High Speed Remote Control Car, 1:18 2WD Toy Cars Buggy for Boys & Girls with Two Rechargeable Batteries for Car, Gift for Kids (White)
  • 【Incredible Speed】 1:18 Scale big size, can reach a maximum speed of 20km/h, you can feel the powerful & amazing speed.
  • 【Large capacity battery】 2 x 3.6V 700 mAh rechargeable batteries for car, can be played about 30-40 minutes each battery.
  • 【High quality material】 Non-toxic plastic and electronic elements which is super flexible, make the car more ruggedness and crashworthiness.
  • 【Easy to control】 Equipped with 2. 4GHz controller, It makes easy operation. Two or more RC vehicle can be racing together without remote confusion.
  • 【Perfect gift for kids】 If anything goes wrong with your RC car, or you decide it is just not for you, We will always be there with you. Add the cart now and give your kids a surprise.
Bestseller No. 3
DEERC RC Car, Remote Control Monster Truck W/ 2 Batteries for 40 Min Play, All-Terrain 2.4GHz RTR Rock Crawler Toy Gift for Boys Girls Kids Beginners
  • 【Excellent Value RTR RC Car for Beginner】The sleek truck body features exciting colors, a rigid, injection-molded rear wing for more downforce, and the front bumpers protect against impacts. The strong composite chassis balances strength, weight,and performance.
  • 【Small Size with Great Power】Underneath the 1/20 scale RC truck body, the brushed motor reach to 7 mph or more under optimum conditions. 4 metal shock absorbers smooth out bumps for thrilling and controlled driving. Our all-terrain tires offer an aggressive, chunky tread pattern for excellent traction on a wide range of surfaces.
  • 【Up to 40 Min+ Play Time】 You can enjoy the fun of driving for about 40+ mins at a time with two 500mAh high-quality rechargeable batteries. Come with a USB charging cable, which is simple as plug-in, charge, and Go!
  • 【DEERC 2.4GHz Radio System】 The 2.4GHz radio system features dependable control and a 262ft long-distance range. It allows multiple players to play at the same time. Just go out with your friends, and enjoy RC time.
  • 【A Monster Truck for Young Drivers】S767 is low-priced, easy to drive, and all right out of the box, which is a perfect entry-level RC gift for young drivers. So invite a friend and create your own RC Truck Racing Series. Rip around the corners, fly over the jumps and speed across the finish line!

1. Who can I buy an RC car for

A great thing about buying an RC car for someone is that it is appropriate for all ages.

 They definitely have different intended uses based on who you are buying it for, but there is no age range on RC cars because they are simply that versatile.

Buying for kids means getting them something cool that they can race around the house, the yard, or on a custom track that you can build with or for them.

Best of all is that they are so easy to use that a kid can take it out of the box and start going in no time, meaning maximum fun in minimum time.

Or perhaps you have a hobbyist in your life.

There are few hobbies out there quite as popular as RC cars.

 This is because there are so many possibilities out there, not to mention the max speeds that can be achieved by these cool cars.

No matter who you are shopping for, an RC car can fit right in for them.

That kind of versatility in a gift can be difficult to match and makes RC cars a great gift for just about anyone.

2. What size should your first RC car be?

When choosing the size of your RC car, there are several factors you need to consider. For beginners, a smaller 1:18 scale car is an excellent choice. These models are typically less expensive, making them ideal for those on a budget or just starting out. They’re also easier to handle and control, perfect for honing your driving skills. However, they might not perform as well on rough terrains compared to larger models.

For more experienced users or those looking for off-road action, a 1:10 or 1:8 scale model would be a better fit. These larger cars often feature more powerful engines and robust suspensions, allowing them to tackle a variety of terrains with ease. They may cost a bit more, but the enhanced performance and durability are worth it.

Then there’s the massive 1:5 scale models, the giants of the RC world. These vehicles offer unparalleled power and speed, providing a thrilling experience for advanced users. They’re best suited for outdoor use where there’s ample space to unleash their full potential. However, they require a significant investment and can be more challenging to maintain due to their complex mechanisms.

We have a article about the best 1:5 scale RC cars click here to read.

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to RC cars. It all depends on your experience level, intended use, and budget. Rest assured, whether you’re a novice looking for an affordable and user-friendly model to start your RC journey or a seasoned enthusiast seeking high-speed thrills, there is a diverse range of RC cars has something to suit everyone’s needs.

We have a article all about RC car scales click here to read.

3. What is your RC car budget

Much like the range of appropriate ages that an RC car is suitable for, there is also a huge range of pricing available as well to fit any and all budgets.

For instance, if you were buying for a younger enthusiast, you might not want to shell out the money for a higher-end RC car. Thankfully, there are a ton of different pricing options available so that you can get the right RC car at the right price.

For the younger enthusiasts out there, there are RC car options for as low as $25.

That means you can get them a sleek, cool car that will zoom around any kind of course or terrain, keeping them entertained for hours on end.

Those serious enthusiasts can certainly ramp the costs up by a substantial amount.

The average quality hobby RC car can run in the $200 range, but they certainly can cost a lot more.

Some of the more expensive options out there can run into the $1000 range depending on what kind of car and options that you get.

A higher-end car can almost be seen as an investment and isn’t used quite so flippantly as the lower-end models may be.

Take that into consideration when making your purchase as well.

4. Toy grade or hobby grade RC car which one

Many people out there may not even be aware that there are differences between toy grade RC cars and hobby grade RC cars.

They may all look quite similar, but there are substantial differences between the two grades that can make for vastly different experiences.

We have a article about the best 25 hobby grade RC cars you can buy click here to read.

The quality of a hobby grade RC car is vastly superior to that of a toy grade.

This is because the toy grade cars are made from less expensive materials so that they can be purchased for less and played with more often and aggressively.

The hobby grade cars are made of more authentic, durable materials despite the fact that they aren’t meant to take nearly the amount of abuse.

The biggest difference is in the parts. In a hobby grade car, the parts are able to be replaced much the same as they would on a real car.

BEZGAR HM202 1:20 Scale Hobby Grade Fast RC Cars for Adults-4WD 2.4GHz High Speed 35KPH All Terrain Off-Road RC Truck,Remote Control Car W/ 2 Rechargeable Batteries Great Gift for Boys Kids
  • 【1:20 Off-road RC Truck】 The new masterpiece from Bezgar. Built with a high performance brushed motor, this 1:20 4WD remote control car generates a greater horsepower to race in all terrains. With a breakthrough in acceleration, this remote control truck allows for optimum efficiency at 40km/h.
  • 【All-round Collision Protection】 The sturdy front and rear bumpers are protecting the car from collision and accidental falling, when racing or compete against other RC cars. Therefore, this impact absorbing design extends a longer life and durability for this RC car.
  • 【Strengthened Body Frame】 The whole chassis of the remote control trucks is made of synthetic thermoplastic linear poly-amide and nylon, which features with resistance to crash and great elasticity. Its strengthened body frame give the RC car a better ability to reduce the impact. A tough toy gift suitable for adults and children age 8-12 years old.
  • 【Hobbyist Grade RC Car】 This remote control car, performed with superior durability and impressive speed, is designed for the entry level or intermediate level RC players. If you want to become a higher end hobbyist grade RC player, this RC car is a cost-effective choice to advance your skill and hobby.
  • 💝【Ideal Gift to Xmas & Birthday】💝 It is also an extra cool remote control cars gift for boys and girls age 8 9 10 11 12. Bezgar is devoted to bring the sheer pleasure of control to you and your families.

 With toy cars, breaking a part means breaking a part.

It is often inexpensive enough to just buy a new car, making replacement parts something that makes no sense.

Lastly, the cost is the biggest factor between the two.

As covered in the budget section, there is a massive difference between hobby grade and toy grade.

Toy grade tends to be much more affordable whereas their hobby counterparts can run up a substantial price tag.

BEZGAR TB141 RC Cars-1:14 Scale Remote Control Car,2WD High Speed 20 Km/h All Terrains Electric Toy Off Road RC Car Vehicle Truck Crawler with Two Rechargeable Batteries for Boys,Girls Kids and Adults
  • Large Size Remote& Super-Speed Control Car: The scale of the remote-control car currently in the market is about 1: 18 , in order to provide a more realistic racing car and better cross-country racing experience, we have increased the vehicle size to a 1: 14 scale with a better car styling and a vivid color design. With powerful built-in motors, the speed reaches up to 20-25 km/h, which makes the car race faster than others
  • Non-jamming Performance: The remote-control car has a wireless control system which runs in a 2.5 Ghz Frequency. What it does is that it can offer a stable signal and it has an non-jamming function which allow multiple users play at the same time
  • Convenient & Safe: USB charging line gives great convenience for charging the RC car. The USB charger for the battery has several functions such as overcharge protection and short circle protection, to a large extent this can help to avoid accident like battery catch on fire which increase the safety. In addition, two original battery packs allow you to experience a longer and uninterrupted gaming time
  • Durable Material: This remote-control car main body is made of alloy material which ensuring it has a strong collision resistance and a strong shockproof body that won’t break if it falls from high altitude. The front and rear of the body have strong crash-proof bumper to effectively protect the body and frame, whether it’s speeding on a wide field, crashing or rolling over in a narrow terrain the body will not be damaged
  • Large Size Remote& Super-Speed Control Car: The scale of the remote-control car currently in the market is about 1: 18 , in order to provide a more realistic racing car and better cross-country racing experience, we have increased the vehicle size to a 1: 14 scale with a better car styling and a vivid color design. With powerful built-in motors, the speed reaches up to 20-25 km/h, which makes the car race faster than others

We have a article about the difference between toy and hobby grade RC cars click here to read.

5. Ready To Run or kit RC car?

Each type has its own set of advantages and considerations. This guide will help you understand these two popular types of RC cars and make an informed decision that suits your needs.

Kit RC Cars

Kit RC cars are essentially model kits that require assembly. They come in a box with individual parts, including the car body, motor, wheels, and other components. You’ll also receive a detailed instruction manual to guide you through the assembly process.

The time it takes to assemble a kit RC car can vary widely based on the complexity of the model and your experience level. For a beginner, it might take several hours spread over a few days.


  • Customization: Kit cars allow for a high degree of customization. You can choose your preferred components and modify them as per your liking.
  • Learning Experience: Assembling a kit car from scratch provides valuable insights into how different parts of an RC car function together.


  • Time-Consuming: Assembling a kit car can take a significant amount of time, especially for beginners.
  • Additional Costs: Some kit cars may require you to purchase additional items like the radio system, battery, and charger separately.

Ready to Run (RTR) RC Cars

As the name suggests, RTR cars come fully assembled right out of the box. All you typically need to do is charge the battery, and you’re ready to hit the track.


  • Convenience: RTR cars are perfect for those who want to get started quickly without the hassle of assembly.
  • Cost-Effective: Most RTR cars come with all necessary components included, so you don’t have to worry about additional costs.


  • Limited Customization: Since RTR cars come pre-assembled, there’s less room for customization.
  • Potential Quality Issues: The pre-installed components may not always be of the highest quality.

Which is Better for Beginners?

For beginners, RTR cars are generally a more suitable choice. They offer a quick and convenient way to delve into the world of RC cars without the need for technical know-how or spending hours on assembly. They are also usually more cost-effective as they come with everything needed to start racing.

However, if you’re keen on learning the mechanics of RC cars and don’t mind investing some time and effort, a kit car can be a rewarding choice. It offers a hands-on experience and allows for greater customization.

An example of a popular RTR car is the Traxxas Rustler 4X4 VXL. It comes fully assembled with a powerful brushless motor and is known for its excellent durability and performance.

We have a article about Traxxas RC cars click here to read.

On the other hand, the Tamiya Subaru WRX STI Kit is a classic example of a kit car. It’s an entry-level model perfect for those looking to learn the ropes of RC car assembly.

We have a article about Tamiya RC cars click here to read.

Whether you choose a kit or an RTR car largely depends on your personal preferences, time commitment, and technical skills. Both types offer their unique joys and challenges, and either can provide a fulfilling entry into the captivating world of RC cars.

Traxxas Rustler 4×4 VXL, Brushless RC Truck, 65+ mph, Green
  • Traxxas 67076-4 – Rustler VXL Brushless 1/10 4X4 Stadium Truck W/TSM RTR, Green
  • Features: VXL-3s Waterproof Electronic Speed Control Velineon 3500kV Brushless Motor Traxxas Stability Management (TSM) Up to 65+ mph with 3S LiPo battery TQi 2.4GHz High Output Radio System Clipless ProGraphix Body Low-CG Chassis design for responsive handling Traxxas Exclusive Self-Righting Extreme-duty driveshafts Talon EXT 2.8″ tires
  • Includes: (1) Rustler 4×4 VXL RTR (1) 2.4GHz 2-ch Transmitter & Receiver (1) Body (1) ESC (1) Motor (1) Servo
  • Specs: Length: 18.78 inches (477mm) Width: 12.94 inches (329mm) Ground Clearance: 1.1 inches (27mm) Weight: 5.12lbs (2.32 kg) Height: 6.35 inches (161mm) Wheelbase: 11.62 inches (295mm) Front Shock Length: Long Rear Shock Length: XX-Long Tires (pre-glued): 4.5” x 2.3” (114mm x 58mm) Talon EXT Wheels: 2.8 inches (71mm) Black Chrome Speed Control: VXL-3s Motor (electric): Velineon 3500 Brushless Battery Compartment: 162mm x 50mm x 25mm (*42mm
  • Part number(s) included (in factory packaging): 67076-4
Tamiya Subaru WRX STI – 24th Nurburgring Kit 4 Wheel Drive TT-02 TAM58645 Cars Elec Kit 1/10 On-Road
  • The aerodynamically-optimized form of the race version of the WRX STI is accurately rendered in lightweight and durable polycarbonate.
  • Separately molded parts are included in the kit to recreate side mirrors and rear wing.
  • The beginner-friendly yet highly adaptable TT-02 is a versatile and easy-to-maintain chassis.
  • Gun metal color mesh type wheels are paired with slick tires.
  • Stickers are included to recreate the markings of the car, as are masking stickers for use when painting.

We have a article about Tamiya RC car kits click here to read.

6. Which make of RC car is best?

Just like in any industry out there, certain manufacturers manage to stand above the rest for a variety of reasons.

 The same is true when it comes to RC cars.

There are certain manufacturers out there that have been doing it far better for far longer.

Traxxas has become the name in RC cars because they became the first manufacturer to offer fully assembled cars.

This changed the way that hobbyists see and interact with RC cars. Simply put Traxxas is the prime name in the industry.

There are other great manufacturers like HPI and Duratrax as well.

 These manufacturers make fast, efficient, and durable RC cars that fit any price and age range.

 Their cars have evolved to the point that they now feature specific items like 4WD, customizable brake systems, and so much more.

The best manufacturer is all subjective as there are many different brands out there that more than fit the optimal car type.

We have an article The best 10 RC car makers if you would like to read it click here

7. What model type of RC car?

Depending on what your intended use for the RC car is, the different kinds of models out there can vary greatly.

 Obviously, the more serious enthusiasts will favour a more comprehensive car that has more options than the more basic types.

It should come as no surprise that Traxxas leads the way with some of the best individual cars out there.

There is even one model, the Traxxas X0-1 AWD Supercar that can hit a whopping 100 mph top speed.

That is insane to get out of an RC car.

There are models out there meant for pure speed, some that are meant for better control, and others that are meant to handle the toughest of terrains.

 It really all depends on what you plan to use the car for.

Perhaps the best models out there are the ones that offer the most control and handling.

 This allows for a better driving experience, allowing the driver to traverse even the toughest of courses with greater control than ever before.

Understanding what you plan to do with your RC car is the biggest and most important step toward getting the best RC car for your needs.

We have a article about the different types of RC car for beginners click here to read.

8. Electric powered or Nitro Powered RC car?

There are two primary types of cars out there: electric/battery powered and gas/nitro powered.

Understanding what each can bring to the table is an important factor in choosing your next RC car.

When it comes to nitro gas-powered products, there is a certain aesthetic to the whole thing that makes it unique to hobbyists.

 Nothing quite beats the smell of gas and the noise of a gas-powered engine while racing it around.

It’s like driving a muscle car, but for a fraction of the price and even less mass.

Of course, with nitro gas powered cars, there is the cost of the fuel to keep in mind.

Sure, you’re not powering a full-sized vehicle, but it is still money out of pocket to keep the car running whenever you want it to be running.

There is also the fact that gas-powered cars tend to be not only more customizable, but faster and more powerful as well.

There are certain things that you can do with a gas-powered RC car that simply can’t be achieved with an electric.

Electric cars, meanwhile, operate on batteries that can be charged whenever they are not in use.

This means no added expense for fueling the car, meaning you can race it around for as long as you want whenever you want.

It is also far more limited as far as power and top speed.

We have a article about brushed and brushless electric motors click here to read.

They are quieter than the gas-powered version, but that is because they aren’t matching the power available in their counterparts.

If power and noise are part of the selling point of an RC car, electric is not for you.

Traxxas Revo 3.3: 4WD Powered Monster Truck (1/10 Scale), Green
  • TRX 3.3 racing engine delivers massive power and torque to all 4 wheels to conquer any terrain at speeds up to 45mph
  • TQi 2.4GHz Transmitter with Traxxas Link wireless module, factory installed telemetry sensors, and TSM stability control
  • Heavy-duty reversing transmission with exclusive OptiDrive Electronic Shift Module
  • Rechargeable receiver battery, EZ-Start Battery and 2-amp DC peak detecting charger included
  • Wider, taller stance with new Geode wheels and 6.3″ Maxx-sized tires and dual digital waterproof ball-bearing servos
Redcat Racing Piranha-TR-10 Piranha Tr10 Truggy, Blue
  • Completely ready-to-run with everything included
  • Hobby Grade 1/10 scale RC Truggy with tunable suspension, toe angle, camber, and slipper clutch.
  • Large rear wing and aggressive tires for high speed performance. Truggy platform offers buggy-like performance with added stability.
  • 540 brushed motor, waterproof 2-in-1 ESC/receiver, powerful steering servo, full-function proportional 2.4GHz radio system.

We have a article about electric and nitro cars which is best click here to read.

9. Are upgrades available for my choice of RC car?

Perhaps the coolest aspect of hobby grade RC cars is that they are customizable and have the ability to perform upgrades.

If there is an aspect of your car that isn’t meeting your needs, you can perform the necessary upgrades to get the results that you desire.

It is important to note that most electric RC cars do not have upgrades available because they are not meant to be taken apart and customized like their gas counterparts.

Electric cars are generally what you pay for; gas-powered cars offer a litany of different options for you to tweak along the way.

The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to upgrading and customizing your gas-powered RC car.

Things such as the gear ratio, reducing the weight, changing the tires, or upgrading the engine are just a few things that you can do to drastically change the way your RC car moves and operates.

That level of freedom and control is what makes the RC car hobby such a unique and interesting one and why more experienced hobbyists can do some truly unique things with their RC cars as well.

There are so many different kits out there that it would take years – decades, even – to cover all of them and see what they could do for your RC car.

We have a article about upgrades for Traxxas RC cars click here to read.

Which RC car the final decision

When it comes to purchasing an RC car – either your first one ever or the next one in your continuing hobby – there are many factors to take into consideration.

Not all RC cars are created equally, be it in power levels or price.

For the younger RC car enthusiasts out there, getting a car that has all the basics for a reasonable price is likely the best option.

 Buying a hugely expensive hobby car for a kid is not worth the cost for the return that will likely ensue.

For older, more experienced RC enthusiasts, there are a ton of options available that make them so much fun to take apart, customize, and build.

That makes the RC car experience a unique and comprehensive one, a hobby that could take up all of your time without you noticing.

Think about all of these factors when making an RC car purchase so that you can get the right kind of RC car for your needs and budget.

To view the Tamiya website click here.

To view the Traxxas website click here.