How do you choose the best RC with the multitude of choices out there?

With all the options available for beginner RC cars what do you choose?  Do you go for nitro, electric, on road, off road, 2 wheel drive, 4 wheel drive, buggies, truggies, rock crawlers or any other RC car for that matter.  And don’t forget you also have these options to consider which scale is best for you? Are you going to practice and race at a race track or bash in your back yard or park?

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What do you choose?  How much money do you have to spend?  Which one is best for you?  RTR or kit? I know what it feels like, I went through this when I first got into RC back in the day.  Don’t forget to get your FREE Ebook “The Beginners Guide to Buying and Racing RC Cars”


This article will help you choose between the best beginner RC cars that are perfect for you.

  • Continue reading and you will grasp the different categories of beginner RC cars their benefits and drawbacks
  • You’ll understand if, racing or bashing in your backyard or local park is right for you
  • You will learn what the positive and negative attributes are, between nitro and electric cars
  • The perks between on-road or off-road and which is best for you


Listen, after you have read this article you will be able to pinpoint which of the beginner RC cars is perfect just for you. So let’s get started:

Nitro or Electric beginning RC cars?

Basically “electric” means that your RC car will be powered by a rechargeable battery and “nitro” RC cars will be powered with fuel.  Make no mistake this is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself when deciding which RC car is best for you.

Here is how it works: Nitro power is for you if you like the sound of a loud engine roaring down the street and exhaust fumes filling the air while running your RC car.  You will be able to run your RC longer than electric cars.  This means when your fuel runs out you simply refuel and continue running your RC

Electric powered RC cars are for you if you prefer a lower maintenance RC car that is also capable of running indoors.  When your battery dies you simply recharge it.  Plus, electric powered RC cars are cleaner and easier to run and maintain.  The electric motors that are used to run electric powered RC cars don’t need tuning like nitro engines, furthermore, they hardly need any maintenance.

Simply put, electric RC cars cost less money to run, in the long term, and most of the time the purchase price is lower compared to nitro RC cars.

Electric on road 10 scale RC car
Electric on road 10 scale RC car



Scale, how big do you want to go, or not.

Here is how it works, scale refers to the size of the RC car, it ranges from 1/27 up to 1/5 but remember the smaller the second part of the number (fraction) the larger the RC car.  For example, 1/18 means that the RC cars is 18 times smaller than the real life counter part.  By far, the most popular scales of beginner RC cars are 1/10 and 1/8.  They are of a great purchasing value and are practical to carry around and work on.

The smaller scale (1/18, 1/24, 1/27 etc) RC cars are really small which make them light and easy to carry around yet, kind of hard to work on because of all their small parts.

If you have the space and don’t mind hauling the extra weight, 1/5 scale 4 wheel drive RC cars are good candidates for beginner RC cars.  They run on regular gas not nitro making their engines easy to tune.  And there is more, you can run a 1/5 car for almost 45 minutes on less than 1 liter of gas.

Check out the Team Losi Desert Buggy XL on Amazon.  Its durable aluminum chassis will hold up on off road use, a powerful gasoline engine with that will allow you to run the buggy for over 40 minutes, all terrain tires for fun everywhere, dual adjustable disk brakes for quick response stopping power and oil filled coil over shocks for superior handling.


Ready to Run (RTR) or Kit

Hands down beginner RC cars are RTR’s.  The reason?  They are mostly 95% preassembled so you can enjoy your new RC car as fast as possible.  All you have to do is charge or place the batteries, fuel up (if a nitro RC) are you are ready to have fun.

RC car kits are usually competition RC cars that do NOT include Radio transmitter & receiver, engine, exhaust, batteries, motors, esc among other things.  The purpose of a kit is for you to build the RC car from the ground up and buy all of the other components needed based on your personal preference.


On-road vs. off-road

Let’s, face it you can run off-road RC cars on virtually all terrain.  Grass, gravel, dirt, a local park, you back yard, and tons of other places.  That is why I recommend off-road, for beginner RC cars, you can run them virtually anywhere even on-road if you just switch tires.  Off-road cars are more durable than on-road RC cars and they will “forgive” your beginner mistakes.

If you have access to an empty parking lot or an on-road RC track then on-road RC cars are a good option especially if you really want an on-road RC car.  If you plan to race on-road RC cars you will defiantly need access to a race track.

8th scalr8th scale nitro buggy nitro buggy
8th scalr8th scale nitro buggy nitro buggy


Have you decided yet?

As you’ve seen beginner RC cars include:

Good performance beginner RC cars  are Buggies and Truggies.  Working at a local RC race I witnessed firsthand how much abuse and “hard driving” Buggies and Truggies could withstand.  Off-road RC cars are built to handle tough terrain and conditions making them very durable but remember electric RC are a better choice.

Rock Crawlers make good beginner RC cars. Contrary to Buggies and Truggies these rock crawling monsters are designed to go over boulders, rocks, climb steep hills at slow, controlled and precise speed.  Rock crawlers are almost exclusively electric powered to allow you precise control of your beginner RC car throttle. Obviously, if you want something between Buggies/Truggies and Crawlers electric Monster trucks are for you.

If there is no way you can do without the roar and exhaust fumes of an engine I suggest you invest in 1/5 scale 4 wheel drive RC and the good news is that you don’t have to constantly tune your engine because of the absence of nitro.

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