RC Car Comparison
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RC Car Buying Guide
Types of RC Cars
There are many different kind of RC cars on the market. You can choose from fancy styles to off road, rugged models. We have listed the most common styles below and have added some information about each style so you can expand your knowledge. There are two basic categories of RC cars: on-road and off-road.
- On-Road – This type of RC car is built to be driven on flat, concrete or paved surfaces. There are many different, very real looking vehicles that fall into the on-road category including race cars, formula one cars, semi trucks, motorcycles, drift, and production cars. If your main goal is speed, on-road RC cars are probably where you’ll find your perfect car.
- Off-Road – This category is filled with many vehicles that can handle running over different types of terrain. Short course trucks, rock crawlers, stadium trucks, monster trucks, buggies, desert trucks and more fill this category. They are built to be rugged and tough and you can drive them almost anywhere. Off road vehicles make great first RC choices because it will be able to handle the abuse that you will inevitably put it through while you are learning.
Now that you have decided on the category of vehicle that you are looking for, we’ve added some additional considerations to think about. These considerations will help ensure that you choose the right RC car for you. Be open to the possibility that even if you think you know what you want, you may change your mind and end up with something totally different than what you thought you were going to get.
There are many different sized RC cars available. The size of an RC vehicle is also called scale. 1/10-scale is the most common and popular. What this means is that the RC vehicle is 1/10 the size of the real vehicle it is a copy of. It is not an exact measurement, but it definitely gives you a good idea of the size. There are some RC cars that are as much as 2-3 feet in length and some as tiny ones that are mini and micro. The best way to remember scale is to remember that the larger the second number is the smaller the RC vehicle is. 1/10 scale is a good starting size because it is not too huge and not too small either. There are many benefits to choosing this popular size.
- It’s a good size to drive almost anywhere
- There is a large selection of vehicles to choose from
- Easy to travel with
- Doesn’t need a lot of storage space
- Can be worked on easily right on your desk or table
- The common size means it will be easier to get help/advice in the event you need it
Types of Power
You have two choices available when it comes to powering your RC car: electric or gas/nitro. There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of power.
- Electric – Electric RC cars are powered with rechargeable batteries. Electric powered RCs make great first RC cars because it is much simpler to get it running and there is much less maintenance involved in keeping it running. Electric cars are quieter as well and are less messy too. With Lithium Polymer battery packs (LiPo) and brushless motors, the performance of electric cars can be outstanding.
- Gas/Nitro – There are two types of internal combustion engines that an RC car can have: nitro or gasoline. Nitro is the type of fuel that is used in a special nitro engine. A gas engine uses the same type of gas that full sized vehicles use. They are good choices for experienced RC enthusiasts and are more common for those who race.
Ready to Run or Ready to Build?
Ready to run is the term used to describe an RC car that comes out of the box fully assembled, the electronics are already in place and the body is painted, trimmed out and the decals are already on. All you need to do is pull it out of the box, install the batteries and you’re ready to run. Make sure to look and see if the vehicle needs any additional equipment to run properly. Some will need a battery pack and charger but they may not come with them automatically.
These are a really good way to get your feet wet in the RC world. There are some terrific companies out there that make top of the line RTR cars, so be sure to do your homework. If you want to do some of the creation work, look for ARRs which means almost ready to run. These models allow the user to paint the, and add some or all of the electronics to the body of the car.
This is the other option that is available in RC cars. A build it yourself RC car is for the serious enthusiast. You will be building the car from the very first part on and will be purchasing the electronic gears separately too. BIY kits will also allow for the user to paint the body and decal it too. You will need to check the kits carefully so you know exactly what you are getting and what needs to be purchased in addition to the kit.
The majority of BIY kits that you would purchase will require you to purchase the receiver and transmitter. You will also need a steering servo, battery, motor, and speed control. Even if you consider yourself not very mechanically adept, BIY kits can be a real rush when you see what you have created. It is the perfect way to understand exactly how your RC vehicle works down to the smallest part.
You will more than likely be able to fix your own RC car if the need arises since you built it to begin with. When looking for BIY kits, look for reputable companies that are known for quality, and that provide exceptional instruction manuals that have clear illustrations that are easy to understand.
RC vehicles have continued to grow in popularity over the years although it is a quiet sort of group that you don’t always readily see. In the past decade trucks and cars have been the fastest growing category in RC. There is usually something for everyone and it is a good hobby for people of all ages.
Whether you are an experienced RC enthusiast or you are just discovering the world of RC cars, you want to get the best quality RC car or truck you can for the budget you have set for yourself. When it comes to RC land vehicles, there are usually 4 main categories of interest: On Road Cars, Stadium Race Trucks, Off Road Buggies, and the ever popular Monster Trucks.
You may find your perfect RC vehicle in one of these main categories or you may decide on something else that strikes your fancy. The information in this guide is designed to help you understand some crucial things about RC cars so you can look at the different kinds that are available and choose the perfect RC car for your preferences and the type of RC activities you want to engage in.
The right knowledge makes the shopping process very enjoyable and you won’t worry about whether you have chosen a good quality RC car because you will know that you have.