Today, anyone can enjoy a remote-controlled car, but true RC hobbyists develop excellent RC skills and collect vehicles as part of the enjoyment and not just as a way to drive them.
The first and most important skill of an RC hobbyist is finding and acquiring the best RC cars but as a beginner to the hobby or buying an RC car for a beginner it can be a little bit difficult.
Deciding which RC car is good for beginners ultimately comes down to if you plan on staying in the hobby for a long time or not.
If you plan on using RC cars for a long time to come then buying a more durable model such as those from Traxxas is a great option. If you are unsure if you will be using the RC car in a couple of weeks or months then buying a cheaper off brand is a better option.
Don’t feel bad about going the generic route if that is what you choose either as those cars will often still be really fast and there is no point in spending hundreds of dollars on an RC car if you aren’t sure if you will still be interested in the hobby in a few months.
There’s quite a lot of tech and engineering that goes into an RC car and that is true whether it is a cheaper model or a hobbyist one (such as those from Traxxas, Losi, etc.) Many universities even require senior mechanical engineering students to design and build RC cars as part of their coursework. Making an RC car is obviously totally different from racing, and like anything, there is always a learning curve.
Anyone can operate an RC car, but it requires patience, skills and dedication to step up to a hobby-grade RC though, DIY RC models take a lot of time and know-how to master.
Newbies to RC racing need an entry-level car as buying a hobbyist vehicle often doesn’t make sense.
In this article, we will cover some of the best RC cars for beginners. Two things that are important when looking for an RC car for beginners is that they are ready to run (RTR) as well as electric (battery powered).
As a beginner you won’t want to purchase an RC car that isn’t ready to run as assembly and other knowledge will be required. You will also want to avoid nitro RC cars for your first RC vehicle since those are more difficult to take care of and keep running properly.
Ready-To-Run RC Cars for Beginners
A Ready-to-Run commonly labeled (RTR) RC car offers everything you need to get started on your Rc journey. Although some models don’t come with everything as you sometimes have to get a few components from your local hobby store RTR vehicles don’t have this issue.
Accessing the missing components is easy for an experienced RC hobbyist, but the local store guide comes in handy.
If you purchase an RTR that has everything then you are ready to start driving it immediately which is great for beginners. It is also helpful to not have to mess with buying a bunch of items from a hobby store right after buying a new RC car too! Be sure and read the box or description if buying online and see if you have to buy a battery or other item before being able to race.
With RTR vehicles you can use them right from the box, and there shouldn’t be anything else that you have to do to put the car together. The only thing that you might need to do is charge up the battery prior to racing but some models even come with the battery fully charged (depending on the type of battery).
Whether or not you choose an RC car that is designed as for beginners you will want to look for an RTR vehicle over a kit.
Electric RC car for Beginners
There are several types of RC cars, one of them being an electric motor RC car that runs off a battery pack. For the beginners, an electric RC car comes in handy as it’s safer and easier to maintain than other RC cars such as nitro models. A battery powered RC car also requires less prep time and assembly than a nitro powered car and is much cleaner.
The main difference between nitro and electric RC vehicles is how they are powers. An electric RC vehicle uses a rechargeable battery pack to get power while a nitro RC uses nitro fuel instead similar to a traditional vehicle.
A nitro vehicle sounds and acts a lot like a normal vehicle which in turn means the fuel, upkeep, etc. can be considerably more difficult than on a battery powered RC car which is why I recommend beginners only get battery powered models.
Other RC Features for Beginners
Beyond getting an electric RTR RC car, there are other features to consider for a beginners RC car.
No matter the level of ability that someone has, the price of the vehicle always plays a crucial role.
How much are you willing to spend?
Where will you use the RC?
How do you intend to use your RC?
What models do you like?
All of these questions and more will determine how much you will or should spend on your first RC car. There are many different models that you can consider from a sedan, race car, monster truck, buggy, drifting car, and many others as well.
Durability is critical for a beginners RC car as you don’t want to buy an RC car that will break after a few bumps however you also don’t want to spend a fortune getting the most durable one on the market. Finding the right balance between the price and the durability is very important but I always lean towards cheaper for a beginner model as you can easily upgrade to a nicer more durable one later.
There are a variety of different RC cars for off- and on-road racing so knowing how and where you plan on using your RC vehicle is important to think about before ever buying a model. Some cars are designed for indoor use look and others for rough outdoor terrain so you need to know which one you want.
Which type of beginner RC car is for you?
Below I listed some specific RC manufacturers and cars with a brief description and features that make the RC cars beginner-friendly. Each of these manufacturers and have a variety of models and often have some for beginners and more advanced users as well.
For younger and new drivers this a perfect pick. While not all of their models are ready to run many of them are and they also have many electrical models that come fully assembled.
Some amazing features that different Traxxas models come with include GTR shocks-hard anodized and PTFE-coated aluminum and thus deliver track-ready suspension for outdoor bashing. They also come in clear polycarbonate bodies that are easy to paint any color and can reach high speeds of over 60 mph.
The speed of their models is made possible by the brushless motor (or cheaper optioned will have brushed motors) and the rigid chassis designed for a low center of gravity. Their RC cars are very stable and can even maintain high speeds around corners.
Traxxas RC cars are typically suitable for beginners looking to reach high speeds right from the start with an optimized smooth performance coupled with refined control capabilities.
You can learn more about the different Traxxas models that are currently available on the market by clicking here.
Losi Micro-T Stadium Truck
One factor that influences any newbies looking to purchase excellent RC vehicles is cost. No one wants to spend hundreds of dollars only to find out the RC car isn’t as good as described, or they aren’t all that into hobby-grade RC after all.
The best car for novice racers should be relatively cheap and the tiny Losi Micro-T Stadium Truck fits that bill.
The vehicle is still a ton of fun to drive, plus its small size means it can operate in places where other high grade RCs can’t. It is great for both indoors and outdoors, and when buying be sure and get the waterproof version and not an earlier model.
You can learn more about this model on Losi’s website.
The Redcat Racing Shredder XTE
This car is a favorite among RC racers.
It’s an RTR model with both forward and reverse transmission and it’s designed with an aluminum capped oil filled shock and a 2.4 GHz radio controller, but you’ll need to buy batteries separately for this model.
This RC car is excellent for newbies and offers RC enthusiasts of all skill levels an opportunity to go big without an inflated price. However, it is quite heavy and weighs in at 15.2 pounds which means it has thicker tires and more massive shocks than other models. .
The incredible thing about this car is the electronics are waterproof so you can maintain control in any weather. It also has an out of box brushless motor that can reach up to 40mph! As you advance you can also upgrade most of the components such as motor, batteries and other parts for more fun and speed while racing or bashing.
You can read many more reviews about this model on Amazon by clicking here.
Ready to race!
Those are just a few picks for novice racers but there are certainly many other options that you can choose from. Ultimately only you can decide whether you want to buy a higher quality vehicle for your first RC car or if a cheaper generic (such as these) will be better for you.
Top racers say RC racing is a great hobby that allows them an outlet for stress and fueling their urge for competition without risking injury.
No matter which car you pick, your car should be within your budget, be ready to run (RTR), and be battery powered as well.