The Ultimate RC Car Buying Guide For Beginners

Have you ever had the opportunity to control an RC car? – Remote-controlled cars are loads of fun for people of all ages. These cars and trucks come in a wide variety of models and sizes, and the options available to make them faster and better are almost endless.

Whether you want to buy an RC car for simple, backyard fun, or if you’re interested in getting into RC racing against other RC enthusiasts, you may find that you have no idea how or where to begin your shopping journey.

How can you choose the best RC car for your needs? What is the best remote control car on the market? What size car should you choose? What features do you need and which of them are just fun extras?

If you’re asking yourself these questions before making a big purchase, then you came to the right place. This informative post will answer those questions and more. When you’re finished, you’ll be excited to make an informed decision so you can get out there and start driving your new remote-controlled car or truck right away.

Read on for many helpful tips for buying RC cars for beginners.

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What Are Your Hopes And Dreams?

Before you even begin your quest for the perfect RC car for you, you must ask yourself a number of questions to narrow the field. First, what are your plans for this vehicle? Is it for an adult, a teen, or a child?

Will you be driving it mostly on your own property, or do you plan to take it to an RC track or course?

Which Is More Important To You – Speed Or Durability?

Do you think you’ll be driving or racing your car or truck on a road or off-road? Do you want a vehicle that is “ready-to-run” right out of the box, or are you looking for a buildable model that you can customize yourself from top to bottom?

What about the size? Do you have limited space at home and do you therefore want something small, or do you want something large that is easily visible from quite a distance?

Also, ask yourself how much money you want to spend. RC cars are more affordable than ever before and there are vehicles for every budget, but high-end, top-quality cars and trucks can cost hundreds of dollars.

All of the above questions are important to consider when shopping for an RC car or truck. You may not even know the answers to all of these questions for yourself quite yet, but giving yourself time to consider each one will make your shopping adventure much easier in the long run.

Size And Scale

One of the first decisions that you’ll have to make when shopping for an RC car or truck is about size and scale. Remote-controlled cars and trucks come in many different sizes.

The size you choose is primarily due to personal preference. However, the most common and competitive size for racing is 1:10 scale vehicles. This size means that the vehicle is one-tenth the size that it would be if it was a real car or truck.

As the second number of the scale ratio increases, so does the size of the RC car or truck. As that number gets smaller, so does the vehicle.

Therefore, a 1:24 scale RC car is very small. Many people assume that smaller cars are for people who are new to driving RC cars, but that’s not the case at all. Some drivers simply enjoy the smaller cars; they can be quite fast, and they’re great if you’re working with limited space or want a car to drive around your living room.

On the other hand, RC cars and trucks come in larger sizes than 1:10 as well. Some manufacturers offer vehicles in 1:6 scale which are huge when parked next to smaller options. They can be several feet in length. The larger cars and trucks can be a lot of fun, too, and can make their way through challenging courses and can climb over surprisingly large objects.

Most RC car and truck enthusiasts end up owning vehicles at a number of different scales. Some like to switch it up depending on the situation or terrain; others eventually find a scale they like best and stick with that one moving forward.

The size you choose is up to you and will depend on your desires, interests, and personal taste.

Types Of Motors

When you begin shopping for an RC car or truck, you’ll notice that they are advertised with different types of motors. The two main types are brushed and brushless. The differences between the two are a little technical, but you should make an effort to understand them. To understand it, you must know a little bit about how motors work.

Both of these types of motors use the vehicle’s battery power to energize the coiled wire inside the motor. When this occurs, an electromagnetic field is created; this causes internal magnets to spin which turns the output shaft and this is what makes the car go.

The only difference between brushed and brushless motors is the way that the wire and magnets are arranged. In a brushed motor, the magnets are still, and brushes made of copper alloy transfer the battery power to the coiled wire. In the process, there is some friction that causes heat, wear and tear, and limited overall efficiency.

On the other hand, brushless motors are a bit different. In these motors, the magnets themselves move and they therefore deliver power to the wire more directly. There is very little friction in these types of motors and this helps them last longer and run smoother. As a result, cars with brushless motors almost always run better and faster.

As you might imagine, RC cars and trucks with brushless motors are a bit more expensive than vehicles with brushed motors. However, this increase in cost is well worth it. This is a decision that will guide you to a vehicle that accelerates fast and that lasts you for many years to come.

Nitro-Powered Vehicles

There’s a third option to consider as well. Once you’ve gained some experience in the world of RC cars and trucks, you might consider a trick that runs on “nitro” instead of electric power. They run on internal combustion engines just like lawnmowers and motorbikes.

These vehicles are closer to gas-powered vehicles than most RC cars and trucks, but they don’t run on standard gasoline. Instead, they are fueled by a mixture of alcohol, nitromethane, and oil.

Nitro vehicles are a lot of fun, but they offer their own unique set of challenges. These RC cars and trucks require a great deal of ongoing maintenance. Further, their performance can be affected by temperature, humidity, and air pressure so they need fine-tuning to operate well. Nitro-powered vehicles are for more advanced RC car enthusiasts, but they are worth considering down the road.


The motor runs the vehicle, but your RC car or truck isn’t going anywhere without a battery to get that motor running.

When it comes to RC vehicle batteries, there are a lot of things to think about, so your best bet is to purchase an RC car with a battery already included. If you need a backup battery or if that battery degrades, buy the same battery again.

The type and power of the battery are obviously important, but just as important is the size of the battery and its connector plug. You may buy a battery that is rated for the same level of power as the one you have already, and then find out that the one you purchased doesn’t fit into your vehicle’s battery slot. Or, you might buy one that fits, but that won’t plug into your car.

The cheapest batteries you’ll find for RC cars and trucks are nickel-metal hydride (NiMh). These can last quite a while but all batteries stop holding a charge after a while. More and more RC drivers and manufacturers today are turning towards lithium polymer (LiPo) battery instead because hold more energy and are longer-lasting, but they are also a bit more expensive. The type of replacement batteries you choose is often based mostly on one’s budget.

Two Wheel Drive vs Four Wheel Drive

Most RC cars are made in 4WD because most drivers want them to be able to tackle a wide range of terrains with ease. If you want a car that can go up and down hills and that turns on a dime, then a 4WD vehicle will be great for you.

However, there are plenty of 2WD RC cars and trucks out there that are also great. They’re a bit lighter than their 4WD counterparts and, as a result, they are sometimes a bit faster. They’re also often more inexpensive.

But, 2WD vehicles don’t handle as well and they don’t brake as fast. Almost every driver will prefer a 4WD vehicle; they are worth the extra money.

Types Of Vehicles

Even with all of the above information under your belt, there is surely a part of you that wants to choose and buy the RC car or truck that looks the coolest. That’s where knowing the differences between the different types of vehicles comes in. Once you know about motors, scale, and batteries, selecting the RC car or truck that really speaks to you is the next logical step.

On-Road Vehicles

On-road vehicles are, as the name implies, designed for driving on the road. Some RC enthusiasts love these because of how fast they can travel and how quickly they can zip around corners. This Drift Racing Truck is a perfect example of one of these.

However, you’ll need to have a lot of paved space available to you – like a big empty parking lot – to really get the most out of these. You don’t want to drive these cars off-road, either – they’ll become damaged pretty fast.


Most RC cars are made for off-roading and one of the most popular styles for doing so is the buggy. Chances are that when you imagine an RC car in your head, you’re likely thinking about a buggy. These cars are very fast because they are lightweight.

Buggies have wide, powerful tires in the back to propel them forward and smaller tires in the front to keep the weight down. However, because of this, these cars can have a difficult time scaling obstacles. Buggies perform best at high speeds on hard-packed, dirt tracks, but they aren’t the best option for off-road adventuring.

Stadium Trucks

Stadium trucks were developed for people who love the speed of buggies but who wish to have an easier time getting over bumps, obstacles, and areas with some mud. They also work well on the road. These vehicles have a shape that is similar to buggies, but they have wide tires in both the front and the back. They can handle some rough terrain but they still handle well at higher speeds.

Short Course Trucks

Many RC vehicle enthusiasts love short course trucks. They look great and they have a wide wheel-base which gives them the opportunity to perform well on any terrain. These are great starter vehicles for beginners because they are easy to drive, they have a lot of power, and they are impressive both on and off-road. They can also take quite a beating which is a bonus when you’re first learning to drive.

Monster Trucks

If you love life-size monster trucks, then you’ll love to drive an RC version of one. These trucks have huge tires, a high chassis, and durable suspension. They can take on all dirt, gravel, mud, pavement, and more.

Trail Trucks

On the other hand, if you love driving 4×4 vehicles over rocks and up the sides of mountains, then a trail truck may be perfect for you. Trail trucks don’t go very fast, but they are built to adventure up and over anything that stands in their way, just like off-road 4×4 trucks do. These trucks are also designed to replicate the look and feel of their real-life counterparts, so you may be able to find a trail truck that matches the full-size car you drive yourself.

An RC Car Or Truck Will Change Your Life

Welcome to the work of RC cars and trucks. Once you dive into this exciting hobby, your life will never be the same again. All of the above factors are wise to consider when choosing the right RC vehicle for you but don’t spend too long making your decision. The most important thing is that you get out there and start driving right away.

Chances are that you’ll buy many more vehicles once you get hooked on this hobby so your first car or truck is simply the first of many. Go buy your first RC car or truck today!

RC cars and trucks will entertain you for countless hours. If you want to read more great posts about entertaining things, check out the Entertainment section of our site.

If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.

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