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Are RC Cars An Expensive Hobby?

Lots and lots of people have found a hobby that they love in RC car racing. Not just children, but also adults are spending more and more time racing with RC cars. They’ve made a hobby out of it and do enjoy racing with their cars. 

More than just doing it for a hobby, many people also race in competitions with their RC cars for prizes or at least bragging rights. 

But the question a lot of new or aspiring hobbyists always ask is; how expensive is the RC car hobby? Is it just as simple as buying an RC car, and that’s it or are there bigger cost implications of owning an RC car and making this a hobby? 

With many different models of RC cars on the market and with all of these cars competing to offer the best quality, you are certainly in for a real challenge of determining whether this hobby is expensive or not. 

How expensive the RC car hobby is depends entirely on what you buy and how much into the hobby you want to get. You can find toy grade RC cars for quite cheap or you can splurge and spend $1,000+ for an RC car! 

The toy-grade models of RC cars can generally be found for under $50 which is certainly much less expensive than hobby grade models. The toy-grade RCs are the more popular ones that you will find in retail stores like Walmart and Target whereas hobby grade cars such as those made by Traxxas (found here) are found only online or at hobby shops. 

Both toy grade and hobby grade RC cars are good options but they are designed with different target markets and people in mind. 

Generally, beginners would go for the toy-grade models, which they are usually more comfortable with and which are usually a lot cheaper. For hobbyists, who have been long in the game, these ones are usually not enough, and they would typically go for the hobby-grade RCs such as those made by Traxxas, Lodi, Redcat, etc.  

Speaking of being expensive, there are a number of factors to keep in mind when it comes to owning an RC car.

The initial cost of the RC

RC toy cars are generally more affordable to buy than the hobby grade RC cars. In addition, when a hobby-grade RC develops problems and needs to have some of its parts replaced, it can be quite difficult. Replacing problematic parts would typically cost a decent amount of money and time and this is even more if you want to customize the parts of your car, such as its motors or tires.  

Repair and maintenance

Maintenance is an inherent part of owning a hobby grade RC car. If you want to make sure that your RC car is always in perfect shape, repairs and maintenance would have to be something that is regularly done when owning an RC car. 

Maintaining the car would include regulating the suspension, adjusting the motor, aligning the chassis, oiling the gears, perfecting the paintwork as well as fixing any existing cracks or dents.


Owning an RC car will cost you not only money but also time. It is important for you to understand how to handle your RC car in particular and know how to assemble all its parts. Doing all of these things can take a lot of time, not to mention the fact that maintenance and care will also take time.

Generally, hobby grade RC cars are more expensive to own and maintain. But, they’re faster and a lot more powerful than toy-grade RC cars so, if you want something that really works. You would have to go for the hobby grade RC cars.

How to get an RC car at an affordable price

Although we’ve already noted that powerful RC cars can be quite expensive, it is possible to get a good one without breaking the bank. If you are on a budget and want to get a good RC car, here are some things you can do:

Go for a used model

The easiest way to get yourself an RC car at an affordable price is by getting one that is already used. Buying a brand new car will certainly be quite a bit more expensive , so save yourself some money by going for a used one. As long as the car is still in a considerably good condition and not worn out, it will serve you well and last for a considerable amount of time. 

Plus, getting a used model is a good idea if you are a beginner. You really don’t want to abuse a brand new RC car and as a beginner you are much more likely to crash it quite regularly. If you join online forums where there are other RC enthusiasts, it’s easy to find a used RC car that you would love. 

You can also often find used RC cars on places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up etc. You will often be able to save 50-75% off the original purchase price by buying a used model that is a few years old. 

Buy around the holiday season 

Almost all business owners offer discounts on products and services during the holiday season, and RC car sellers are not an exception. The period of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the perfect time to consider buying a new RC car. Buying your RC around the holiday season makes it a lot easier to get it at an affordable price because it’s a good time to take advantage of discounts and special deals.

Look for an RC car with a brushed electric motor 

Getting an electric RC car that has a brushed motor is a good way to save a lot of money. Brushless motors are often used in more expensive cars, so if you want it cheap, this isn’t your best option. Brushed motors, on the other hand, are simpler and a lot less expensive than their brushless counterparts. 

Brushed motors are actually slower than their brushless counterparts as well, but for the price, it actually performs quite well.

 If you’re a beginner just coming into the world of RCs, here’s something that will work for you


Generally, owning and racing RCs is quite an expensive hobby but it really depends on which RC car you buy (toy or hobby grade) as well as whether you are careful in your buying process. 

Many good quality RC cars come at really expensive prices with some of these cars even costing up to $1,000 but most good hobby grade cars can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. 

The initial cost is just the beginning however as owning an RC car would require you to carry out regular maintenance and upkeep, which by itself can be quite expensive and there are always upgrades you can choose to do to make your RC car faster and better. 

On another note, there are lots of more affordable options for RC cars that you can choose from too. Going for the toy-grade is a good place to start from, especially if you are on a budget and if you decide you don’t like the hobby you will only be out a small amount of money.