You want to enjoy a new hobby, you saw these speedy remote control runners running over the rubble or between the dunes on your beach and you want one of these for yourself or your children. However, how do you decide which is the right RC car for you?
There are 7 questions you should answer to narrow down your search.
1. Who is it for?
Simplest comes first, of course. Is it a toy for your child or is it sophisticated technology for you? The differences between them are in durability, power/speed, size, remote control range, complexity, and of course price. As a clear differentiation, the toy versions are usually powered by standard household AA batteries and come in a scale of 1:32 to 1:16, while the adult version comes in a size up to 1:5 powered by much strongest power source.
2. What is the power source?
There are three options to choose between a Gasoline Remote Control Car, a Nitro Remote Control Car or an Electric Remote Control Car.
These three power sources create differences in cost, power accessibility, maintenance, and power output.
Your remote control petrol car runs on a mix of regular unleaded petrol and 2-stroke oil which will generate considerably more power. You can buy your fuel at the gas station next door and thus keep your fuel cost low. Add to that its low fuel consumption and low maintenance requirements. Gas-powered RC cars are typically larger than their electric and nitro counterparts and often come in 1:5 scale. On downsizing, you often have a higher initial cost for these types of cars.
The Nitro RC Car runs on nitromethane, a fuel that is expensive and only available in specialized stores. Fuel often leaves a residue on the chassis of your remote control racer and therefore requires high maintenance. You will also see higher fuel consumption than with the gasoline machine. So why buy these Nitro remote control cars? Because the material is powerful. These are usually the fastest racers on the block, their size is normally in the range of 1:16 to 1:8, rarely larger. This makes the race a lot of fun. They also tend to be priced lower than their gasoline counterparts.
Lastly, the electric remote control car is powered by a powerful rechargeable Li-Po battery pack. These cars are normally the next step from a children’s toy to an adult hobby. They are usually cheaper than the gas version, but are usually not as powerful or aggressive. While they have strong acceleration early on, in the long run they tend to have trouble competing with the other two engines. Due to their clean energy source, they require less maintenance and can be operated indoors. They are usually the smaller version and can also come in the full-size versions of the gas and nitro racers, but with much less power.
3. Ready to race or kit?
Do you just want to race or is part of your excitement the thrill of building your own machine? Most RC cars come as “Ready to Race” versions where you don’t have to do much more than take them out of the box.
However, there are many models where you can assemble the car yourself and thus influence the appearance and performance of this car. You can go from a simple assembly as your everyday model kit to buying individual components of your car separately to improve its power and performance during operations.
4. Where do you want to run your remote control car?
The next question, respectively, the next set of questions is, what do you want to do with your remote control car? Is it a racer, is it indoor or outdoor (indoors of course, electric version only), do you want to be on or off road? Do you want to drive it or is it more of a collector’s item that you want to display? Are you looking for a fantasy model or a real live replica?
5. What type/model of car should it be?
If you passed the previous questions, you already have a pretty good idea of what you want. Still, the choice of models is very wide and the first 4 questions somewhat limit your choice from this point and vice versa. However once you are at this point you will want to select between Buggies, Truggies, Trucks/monster trucks, Crawlers and their real life replicas of Ferraris, Fords, Minis etc.
6. What price are you willing to pay for a good RC Car?
We established what was supposed to be, we arrived at a very critical question, a question that we might as well ask at the beginning of our search. What is the value of fun, what is our budget for a nice and good remote control car? This factor has already been discussed to some extent in the other points and we know that a children’s toy car is much cheaper than the adult version. The larger the model, the more it usually costs and among the motorizations, the electric one is usually the cheapest. Also the speed can determine the price. So, in the end, we will have to see what is the best combination that we can get for the budget that we allocate to this hobby of ours. Always keeping in mind that there are follow-up costs to consider for spare parts, fuel, maintenance, etc. The price of our toy versions with a range of 5 m and a speed of 5 km/h will be maybe 10$, the high-end gasoline remote control car could cost us 3.4 or 500$ or even more. As with everything, there is often no upper limit to what you can buy.
7. Where do you want to buy your RC racer?
Last but not least, where do I want to buy, today you have the options of going to your “Have it all Toy Store”, your specialist RC car dealer or the Internet. As with all products, these options vary in service, product knowledge, price, selection of available products, and after-sales service.
Advice can certainly be given. Do not buy a used RC because if you are a beginner.
Now, do you have a clearer idea about your new toy?