A remote control car can be a wonderful toy for children of all ages. Often called RC cars, these miniature vehicles are controlled with a remote, hence the name. There are a variety of options to consider when buying an RC car.
Type of Vehicle
There are many different types of remote control vehicles to choose from, but most fall into one of three categories: cars, trucks, or buggies. While all are typically referred to as RC “cars”, there are some differences between these three types of RC vehicle.
Cars are the fastest RC vehicles. Some RC cars can go up to an astonishing 100 mph. Remote control cars are usually best when used on a smooth surface, such as a paved road. They handle turns well, so you can speed around any obstacle.
Trucks are best for off-road action. RC trucks can handle rougher terrain than RC cars. They’re great for outdoor use, and some models are even water-resistant.
Buggies are the best of both worlds. A remote control buggy can be used for on-road or off-road racing. They aren’t as fast as RC cars, and an RC buggy can’t climb rocky terrain like an RC truck, but they’re great all-purpose vehicles.
When choosing a remote control car, it’s important to consider your price range. If you’re shopping for a younger child, it might be best to start with a cheaper model (just in case it breaks). Older children and adolescents may prefer the speed and durability of a high-end RC car.
The most basic models of RC car start between $10 and $35. Remote control cars at the lower end of this range can be great for very young children are at a higher risk of breaking their new toy. These toy cars tend to have simple controls and few added features. They may not go as fast or be able to handle rough terrain like a more expensive model. However, most young children won’t notice or care about this and will get plenty of enjoyment out of a cheaper RC car.
More advanced models range between $100 and $150. A car in this price range will likely have more features, like 4 wheel-drive and higher speeds. These cars are often more durable as well. At this price point, you’ll find cars that go fast and do some neat things, but are simple to operate. This, combined with the relatively low price, make RC cars in this moderate price range ideal toys for older kids.
If you’re really looking to spend big bucks on an RC car, there are some models that cost far more than $150. When you get into this high price range, you’ll find cars with all kinds of incredible features. However, remote control cars over $150 are typically meant for racing and need to be carefully maintained, so high-end RC cars aren’t best for young kids.
There are two main options when it comes to the power source of your RC car: electric or nitro fuel.
Electric cars are powered by rechargeable battery packs. It’s easy to get started with electric RC cars. You just charge up the battery pack, put it in the car, and go! Electric-powered models are usually cheaper than nitro fuel alternatives, but they’re often slower and less powerful, too.
RC cars that run on nitro fuel are loud, fast, and powerful. However, they are also expensive. Nitro-fuel cars are geared towards serious enthusiasts, and require a bit of maintenance. Not to mention you’ll have to buy gas and oil for these RC cars. The added costs of maintenance, oil, and fuel make nitro-fuel RC cars a less attractive option if you’re shopping for a younger child. Older children and adolescents are sure to love the noise and power of a nitro-fueled RC car, but it’s important to keep in mind the extra work involved.
The remote controller is what you’ll use to control the movements of your car. Using a radio transmitter, the controller “talks” to a receiver on the car. RC cars typically come with either stick controls or a pistol grip control. Stick controls look a little like a controller for a video-game console, with two sticks that you’ll control with your thumbs. These are fairly easy for kids to learn to use, especially those familiar with Xbox or PlayStation controls.A pistol grip controller features a throttle that looks like the trigger of a gun. When pulled, the trigger makes the car go forward. Pulling the trigger back further makes it go faster. To steer the car, you use your other hand to spin a small wheel, much like the steering wheel of a real car. Pistol grip controllers allow for more precise control over the car, but have a bit more of a learning curve.
Finally, you’ll have to decide how big you want your RC car to be. The scale of an RC car tells you how big it is in relation to a real, full-size car. Typically, RC cars come in sizes ranging from 1/16 to 1/5. The most common sizes are 1/16, 1/10, 1/8, or 1/5. Larger models are more expensive, but often have more replaceable parts and can be repaired more easily. When choosing a size, you’ll want to consider where you’ll be storing and driving your RC car, as well as how much you’re willing to spend.