Funtek Raid Adventure : A low-cost, Land Rover style RC car
Now reading: Buyers Guide - Best Remote Control Cars 2022
Looking to buy a remote control car as a present ? Then look no further than our buyers guide showcasing a range of RC cars suitable for all ages and budgets. This guide covers models suitable for driving indoors or out, along with some advice on scale and batteries for first-time buyers.
With so many models available, our editor has set about curating a list of the best models we sell, grouped by budget. Whatever you opt to purchase, you can be sure our recommendations will result in a great gift.
One of the huge surprise hits of last year, this tiny rock crawler has proven a gifting favourite. Customers loved the body detail and dual-drive-motors that make it perfect for kids to roll around the house with.
Including the car battery plus USB charger, it requires just two AA batteries to get going. Pick one up on our webstore today and opt for the pro combo to bag a bonus battery pack to keep you driving for longer.
A quality, compact (just 27cm long) car, it is fully featured with a 2.4Ghz radio system, proper suspension, splash proof electronics and a fully proportional (not just on/off) steering system. The supplied 2S LiPo gives the model some pep but it isn't fast enough for kids to get into trouble.
Arriving pre-built and painted, you can have fun applying the body stickers the way you want and can even add the included bumper LEDs for some low-light driving.
It is available as a monster truck with truck body and knobbly tyres, or a Truggy with streamlined body and larger wing hung out the back, both at the same price. We'd recommend picking up our high capacity battery and charger bundle at the same time.
RC Drift car popularity has never been higher and UDI have managed to build a superb drift car on a budget. The bodies feature remotely switchable head and taillights and great rollcage/interior detail, but the real magic is under the skin.
What makes this the ideal starter drift car is the integral gyro in the electronics. This gadget works inline with the steering control, automatically counter-steering to stabilise the car in a slide, making it easier for beginners to hold long slides. As you get more competent at drifting, you can wind back the 'intensity' of this effect.
The model is available with either a Breaker truck or Panther saloon body and both models include a spare set of rally 'knobbly' tyres alongside the model, battery, USB charger, transmitter etc. More experienced drifters will also enjoy the more powerful brushless variants now available.
For a proper RC experience on a budget, look no further than these Wind Speed or Storm Rider buggies! One of our most popular sellers during the holiday season, this small ready-to-run RC buggy offers hobby-grade performance at catalogue-shop prices. This zippy little buggy features a shaft driven 4WD system and sports a lightly detailed body with roll cage and roof rack, dependant on which model you opt for.
With good ground clearance, it can cut across a mown lawn or gravel carpark with ease. We love the stamina of this little buggy, thanks to the lightweight chassis and body it just keeps on going! Then thanks to the USB charger you can top the battery up from a powerbank or any USB port even when you are out and about.
Both the Wind Speed and Storm Rider are available on our webstore. They are ready-to-run but you will need 3x AA batteries for the controller to get driving. We now have a full catalogue of spares to keep these models running.
If you would prefer something similar to the Tracer but with a little more attitude, Blackzon have you covered with their Slyder models. The black bodies and coloured decals give way to a similar chassis and thus the same great performance.
Looking for something larger? This chunky 1/12 scale car measures an impressive 38cm long and what it lacks in proportional steering it makes up for with its unique smoke effect! Pour water into a reservoir at the rear of the vehicle and when running it lets out a cloud of vapour out of the back with an exhaust effect.
One last buggy to consider is Absima's High-speed truck. Slightly larger than the Tracer/Slyder, it features a 2S power system with a novel feature; It is powered by the 18650-size batteries used in laptops, vapes and powerbanks! The market is full of different capacity 3.7v cells meaning you can source your own high-capacity cells and have a car with mind-blowing run-time.
Available with either a blue or red body, the High Speed Truck comes ready-to-run with transmitter, USB battery charger, etc. and is available on our webstore.
Also worth mentioning are these fully-licensed RC cars include models from Audi, BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Mclaren and more. What they lack in driving dynamics, they make up for with almost die-cast level of detail, some including LED headlights and operable doors.
Whilst they are undoubtedly toy grade, they make for fantastic stocking fillers for children or automotive enthusiasts, shipping in windowed display boxes. Read our overview article regarding the models available and also check our in-depth look at their transforming models here. Browse the cars available on our webstore.
We sell more cars in this price range than any other and its easy to see why. Our most popular models are packed with fun and arrive ready-to-run, with model batteries and chargers, just requiring AA batteries for the transmitters. The market is currently so competitive in this price bracket, that you can even bag a buggy with brushless power!
Whilst UDI hold the mini drift crown, FTX has been the steadfast favourite for anyone looking to get drifting at 'full size' 1/10th scale. The Banzai offers admirable level of adjustment of suspension droop, camber and toe-in at what would be considered a bargain price for a normal tarmac touring car. The S15 style body features tinted windows and a big wing, all sat over chunky 6-spoke TE37 inspired black rims.
FTX's Banzai is available in green or red and includes the radio gear, charger, car battery and more. Shipped with special hard tyres already fitted, you'll only need four AA batteries for the transmitter to get drifting!
Rear wheel drive is cool, but on a loose surface AWD can be just as fun. Our most popular 4WD Truggy sold last year was this, the FTX Carnage. The budget shaft driven (open-diff) chassis features a slipper clutch, metal turnbuckles, oil-filled dampers, off-road tyres and much more.
Including a basic car battery and charger, the model is ready to run, yet requires 8x AA batteries for the transmitter. With a relatively short run-time, purchasing additional batteries for the buggy (such as this 5000Ah one) is in our opinion a must.
We also sell a brushless edition of this Truggy and recently compared the performance between it and the brushed model above. TLDR? You are getting an effective 25% performance increase for your higher initial outlay, certainly something to consider if your budget will stretch to it! Learn more from our comparison article.
Models at this price point can have the odd sacrificial part, but spares are readily available for both variants. You can pick up the brushed model in red or blue and the more powerful brushless model over on our webstore.
Another beloved FTX model, the Outlaw is a 4WD off road buggy with a trailing rear arm and plenty of suspension travel. Its dampers and ride height make it ideal for anyone who is looking to tear around a root-filled forest floor or a pebble-covered beach.
The crazy amount of suspension articulation is reminiscent of some of our RC crawlers but the buggy is geared for speed. Muhc like the rear-mounted spare wheel/tyre, the roll-cage isn't just for show, you can unbolt the body panels for a naked baja buggy looking beast that can take some abuse. Buy the Outlaw here and take advantage of our combo deals to keep you running for longer.
Looking for a ‘full size’ RC car? Maverick's Phantom XT a 1/10th scale ready-to-run RC truggy measuring just under 42cm long. With a longer wheelbase and a larger motor than the Wind Speed it is more stable at the higher speeds it is capable of. You get all the benefits of hobby grade RC such as oil filled dampers, a servo saver, waterproof ESC and a high-torque motor.
Arriving ready to run with car battery and USB charger , all you need are 4x AA batteries to power the transmitter. This model has proved a huge hit in the past and with Maverick's proven quality, we expect it to maintain its popularity, you can pick one up on our webstore here.
If you are restricted to drifting around your kitchen and are determined to get a really small drift chassis then consider HPI Racing's Micro RS4 Drift Fail Crew Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R. Beneath the mouthful of a title is an 1/18th scale AWD belt driven chassis measuring just 22cm in length.
The supplied hard-plastic tyres combined with the light mass of the vehicle make drifting a cinch. Interested in the micro RS4 drifter? We'd recommend picking up an extra NiMH battery by taking advantage of our pro combo deal on our website.
An alternative to FTX's Banzai, the Maverick Strada DC is 'the same but different'. Similarly designed with a shaft driven AWD tub chassis, Maverick have upgraded their unit with gold coloured shock caps and upper chassis deck. We feel the included body is a rough approximation of the Toyota Chaser but with opaque windows and a massive wing attached to the tailgate.
Whilst it doesn't offer the adjustability of the Banzai, the overall quality of the package does just edge it. If you are doing more than just dipping your toe into the hobby, consider the brushless version of this car. Fitted with a powerful 3215KV motor and Maverick's SC-30BL-WP waterproof ESC, it offers the driver adjustments such as punch, alongside the added performance and efficiency you'd expect from a brushless setup. You can buy the Maverick Strada DC from our webstore.
This Maverick is one of our biggest toys under £200! The Quantum MT is nearly half a meter long, over 36cm wide with a roofline 20cm from the ground. Well designed, the long suspension and huge 2.8inch wheels give it a load of ground clearance for rolling over tree roots and clambering over over larger obstacles.
Whilst it lacks the 'do it all' ability of the X-Maxx, at nearly a 6th of the price it offers fantastic value. The included USB charger makes it easier than ever to top up your battery, charging out on the trail from USB powerbanks or in your car. You can pick up a Quantum MT from our webstore in blue as pictured, or in a hot pink/yellow/black combination.
Our budget crawler has made many fans. Beyond its passing resemblance to the Land Rover Defender, FTX’s crawler has a torquey 60T brushed motor, telescopic driveshafts, metal gears and a complex multi-link suspension giving it solid off-road ability.
The value for money is hard to argue with. The model features radio gear, wall charger, a 10.5kg waterproof servo, front, metal output, crown and differential gears, oil-filled adjustable coil-over suspension plus a detailed body with working LED lights!
Shipped with a slightly weedy 1800mAh NiMH, you will need to supply the 8x AA batteries for the transmitter to get crawling. Check out the Kanyon on our webstore here.
At this price point you are typically purchasing a high quality, expertly designed model from an established RC manufacturer. Please check the product page details as many of these models will require batteries and chargers.
This full-fat drift car is built off off HPI Racing's tried and tested E10 chassis. Fitted with a high-torque Saturn 27T 540 motor, this model is an excellent intro to drifting for anyone who doesn't feel ready to build a chassis up from scratch.
It is common to swap out the bodies of tarmac racer RC cars, especially after months of driving takes its toll on them and the cracks begin to show. Perhaps with this in mind HPI have instead concentrated on chassis-based cosmetics with details such as (non-operational) brake discs and callipers.
Pick up HPI's E10 from our webstore today and take advantage of our combo deals to secure an extra battery and charger at the same time to extend you run time.
As one of our cheaper brushless RC cars, the Quantum XT Flux models have been flying off of the shelves. The monster truck comes with an incredible 45A ESC hooked up to a 3300Kv motor which will power those oversize 2.8inch tyres across pretty much any surface with ease. It features independent double wishbone suspension, oil filled adjustable coil over shocks and metal gear differentials front and rear.
Maverick's 'Flux' brushless drivetrain is available in the stadium truck chassis alongside a monster truck in either blue or green. Unsurprisingly for a model of this power, at this price point, the Flux variants of the Quantum cars do not include a battery or a charger. For beginners we recommend ordering a 2S LiPo battery from a reliable manufacturer such as these packs from HPI Racing. The sky is the limit when it comes to LiPo chargers but a simple balancing unit such as this and accompanying 'safe bag' from Overlander, is probably safest for amateurs. You will also need the requisite 4xAA batteries for the transmitter.
Traxxas have widely been considered the Kings of RC since the turn of the millennium, so to see one of their models offered at such an affordable price point is a big deal. The E-Revo's chassis design and composite construction are way ahead of its competition. Its specification features a torque-control slipper clutch, sealed differentials, all-terrain tyres with foam inserts and more.
Much like the Carnage (and indeed the Vantage) the Outlaw is available with a high-powered brushless power-train! Whilst the standard model isn't lacking power, this brushless model takes it to the next level better energy efficiency and a higher top speed.
We particularly like that you can remove the body panels revealing the tubular roll-cage chassis underneath. When ‘naked’, this setup has a extreme-off-roader look and feel.
We feel the more powerful and more efficient brushless electronics more than warrant the price hike and thoroughly recommend it. For those on a budget, the FTX Outlaw Ultra-4 Brushless buggy can be purchased on our webstore.
A mega name for a mega truck. The Granite is Arrma's answer to Mavericks' brushed MT. Designed and built tough, this blue monster truck was recently revised with a stronger chassis, steering with greater clearance, sliding gear mesh and rubber-shielded bearings throughout. We feel that touches like this put it in a class above.
You will need a battery and a charger to get this running but we have you covered with the pro combo. Grab the Granite from our webstore here.
New from Maverick is this brushless beast that will knock on the door of 50mph with a 4S battery! Pitched as a budget rival to the Arrma Infraction, this tarmac charger is built for speed on smooth surfaces. A FLX10-4S120 Flux 120 A Waterproof ESC and FLX10-3675-2250KV Flux motor make for unstoppable power, fed through a tough HPI-Racing-designed heavy-duty transmission.
You can pick up the model in stealthy grey, blue and red or black and red. Due to the higher-speeds these cars can reach, we advise against giving them to children. As with other high end models, the model will need a car battery (with deans connector) and charger (check our ultimate combo for pointers there) alongside the transmitter batteries.
The revised Traxxas Rustler returns with 4WD, a low centre of gravity chassis and heavy duty driveshafts. Its modular composite frame is markedly stronger and more rugged than many of the models previously mentioned.
Traxxas continue to innovate, the clipless body latching system used here the same as that found on the E-Revo. It is simple to use and far superior to body clips, allowing for one handed installation of the shell.
With a Titan 12T motor, this stadium truck can rip along with the best of them! Pickup the XL-5 edition in Red or Blue on our webstore and we recommend picking up a EZ-Peak plus fast charger for ease of charging.
The upgrade to our favourite 1/8th buggy, the Arrma Typhon Mega, this 3S powered car really knows how to shift! A little over 50cm long, this model can hit nearly 50mph with the right battery and pinon gear fitted.
You can buy it on our webstore but, as ever, remember to pick up a suitable battery (in this case with an EC5 connector) and charger to get this model moving.
From here on up you can expect the highest quality RC models on the market, highly capable or monstrously powerful cars and trucks from the best brands. Note again, all of these models will require batteries and chargers.
This brushless powered VXL edition of the Rustler packs an incredible punch and can clear 60mph+ with the correct gearing and a 3S LiPo!
Traxxas’ TRX-4 Land Rover Defender was our car-of-the-year back in 2017 and it is still rare to find such a detailed yet robust body on a complete and highly capable chassis, ready-to-run right out of the box. Its the sort of model that you are happy to keep on a shelf for display when you aren’t scaling roots in a muddy forest or rocky defences at the seaside. To give you a small insight into the feature set, it includes remotely lockable differentials, huge ground clearance thanks to portal axles, metal-gear servos and waterproof electronics. There is now even an optional tank track set if you find yourself regularly driving on loose sand or snow!
While it is listed as a crawler, its twin-speed remotely switchable transmission means you can kick it up a gear when in open terrain and the transmitter even includes a cruise control feature! Our original review is one of our most read articles and the subsequent brushless conversion coverage and light bar install have proved just as popular. You can pickup the Defender in grey, red or limited edition yellow over on our webstore, and don’t forget the battery and charger!
Also of note, released later on the same TRX-4 chassis, the Mercedes G Wagon 4×4 G500 has also proved popular and is available with a black or blue body. Learn more and see it in action in our review article.
At this price point things start getting fast, we are talking a genuine 60mph fast! Arrma’s 6S powered buggy is most definitely not for children. Its 150A ESC feeds that 2050Kv brushless motor pushing the 4WD buggy across grass/dirt/gravel with incredible pace. Built tough with oversize adjustable oil-filled dampers the truck can take the abuse a high speed rollover brings, something we found out first hand!
We were stunned by the power output of these electronics when we tested the manufacturers top speed claims in this article in the sister short course truck layout. You can pickup the Typhon from our webstore where combo deals are available to guide you through the battery and charger requirements for it.
HPI's Savage has some real pedigree as anyone who has followed the hobby will know and this latest model certainly lives up to the name. This model is so powerful that it can perform standing backflips! That twin-vertical plate chassis, twin-clamp motor mounts, twin battery boxes, 17mm hex hubs, thick webbed suspension arms, the list of features is seemingly endless.
Grab a Savage from our webstore but note that a couple of 3S batteries are required to get the most out of it.
Arrma suggest the Kraton is monster tough, offering monster speed and monster fun and we would wholeheartedly agree. At this price point manufacturers can pick and choose components for extreme performance, from the 19kg steel-geared steering servo to the rubber shielded bearings, sleeved drive cups and heavy duty suspension arms, pretty much everything on this model follows that ethos.
With the Firma 2050Kv motor being fed by a 150A ESC over 60mph is possible with the included pinion gear and the right 6S battery! It is available in red or blue on our webstore, but budget for a powerful 4S or 6S cell to hit those high speeds!
This monstrous 8S powered beast has firmly held onto the crown as ‘King of RC Trucks’ for a couple of years now and its not hard to see why. At 78cm long, 54cm wide it weighs 8.6kg before you even put any batteries into it! Yet with two 4S batteries onboard and the optional pinion fitted it will wheelie its way to 50mph. Its all-metal shaft driven 4WD transmission is the very definition of bulletproof and shod with a square set of huge 14.5cm diameter tyres it is ready to take on anything you can throw at it.
We became slightly obsessed with hydroplaning the truck earlier this year and upgraded the already over-the-top X-Maxx till it could reliably drive on water. If you are planning on investing, we recommend reading our review first to understand what you are getting yourself into. Traxxas’ X-Maxx is available with a red, green or bright orange body. You will also need a charger and two 4S batteries to make it sing, and the most cost effective way to purchase them is currently this twin 6700mAh pack.
It is worth mentioning for any ‘serious’ RC gift recipients, we do sell chassis kits. These builds are pretty niche these days and require a whole host of supporting components, thus are only suitable for seasoned hobbyists. We offer a limited selection of what we consider to be the best kits and can also supply the electronics needed to get them running.
If this is your first kit, then the Stampede is the place to start. The model was designed around the included electronics so there are no fitment issues or incompatibilities, you are free to follow the instructions and enjoy a trouble free build. Building it yourself provides intimate knowledge of the model, essential for keeping on top of maintenance and repairing any future crash damage.
The kit is 95% complete, so you will still need to source paint for the body, glue for the tyres and tools to screw it all together. You can pick up the Stampede on our webstore here.
High performance, highly focused models tend to be offered in kit form only. This allows seasoned builders to carefully select their electronics that fit their specific usage, whilst also configuring the car to their requirements whilst building it. Arrma's limitless is a classic example, a model designed to crack 100mph with the right powertrain, but one that will only reward those who put the time, effort and research into it.
As mentioned this kit will need the full selection of electronics to get it running, including transmitter/receiver, steering servo, electronic speed controller, motor, two batteries, a charger, tools and more. It is available from our webstore here.
Everyone's favourite crawler is also available as a chassis kit! This build is 'not for the faint hearted' as the comparatively light assembly manual will attest to. The TRX-4 features remotely locking diffs and a twin speed gearbox that require three servos to operate which alone take it a step above nearly every other kit we have in stock!
This kit ships with a load of the bespoke electronics needed to get it driving but you will need a compatible body, battery and charger to get it running. You can pick it up here.
If you are unfamiliar with RC toys it can be difficult to visualise how large they are. For guidance most of our models are ‘scale‘ models, labelled with a fraction such as 1/8, 1/10, 1/18, 1/32, but what does this mean? In simple terms it is the size ratio compared to the ‘real-life’ full size vehicle.
For example the HPI Racing Ford Mustang classified as a 1/10th scale model (although it is on the long side) and measures 431mm, 127mm tall and 200mm wide. This is approximately 10% of the size of the actual production car which (according to Wikipedia) measures 4784mm long, 1381mm tall and 1916mm wide.
As you can see from our example, in practice there is some variation. This is a product of manufacturers taking artistic license to adjust the design due to limitations of their chassis, or pre-existing elements such as wheels and tyres, to produce a design that just ‘looks right‘. To avoid confusion, wherever possible we include the dimensions of the model in our listing.
Its important to note that all of the models you see on this page are electric, powered by batteries. Whilst some include a battery for the model (and indeed some for the transmitter too) many do not. Further to this, some of the high-end models do not include a charger for the model battery either. Please take note of the ‘in the box’ section on our product listings to avoid disappointment on Christmas morning!
For the majority of the cars that include a battery, it will arrive at a ‘storage‘ level of charge, requiring a full charge before first use. Consider charging the model up a few days before wrapping and handing over the present to cover this off.
The batteries and chargers section of our webstore will have all the supporting products you need to get your RC car running. If you need assistance in selecting the correct parts to match your model, feel free to drop us a message.
Note that many model batteries are user removable (often without tools) allowing them to be ejected for charging, or replaced for batteries with larger capacity/higher burst rate for increased performance. Power systems can appear full of jargon and proprietary standards, so to address this we’ve put together this article to help beginners understand the basics, plus this article on to guide you through the more difficult elements of charging.
Finally, here at RC Geeks, we’re often asked how fast a specific car will go. We’ve written this short article to help you understand the variables which will contribute to an RC cars top speed, and hopefully give you some idea how fast your RC car can go.
Accidents can occur, so its good to know that we have your back. Should the worst occur and you damage your model, we can provide the parts you need to get back on the track; Simply use our simple spares finder to find them.
Take your car further with our selection of RC equipment and RC accessories. We sell thousands of batteries every year and are on hand to help you find the right battery and charger for your model. Should you want to get more distance out of your model, we sell uprated transmitter and receivers. Many of these models are ripe for modification and we stock a wide range of parts such as wheels & tyres, bodyshells, motors & ESC's and more to hop-up your car. Check the ‘hop ups’ section of a model for items that are suitable and feel free to contact our engineers to confirm compatibility.
The majority of the products here qualify for free next day delivery. Gifting something so specialised can be complicated so feel free to drop us a message if you require buying guidance
We are proud of our car selection and are happy to stand behind it. Whilst there are many cheaper models available on the high-street and in catalogue shops, we prefer to provide cars of a quality that we are confident to support.