You want to enjoy a new hobby, you saw these lightning fast remote-controlled racers speeding over the rubble or between the dunes at your beach and want one of these for yourself or for your kids. However, how to decide what is the right RC car for you?
There are 7 questions you should actually answer to narrow down your search.
1. For whom is it?
The most simple comes first, of course. Is it a toy for your child or is it a sophisticated piece of technology for you. The differences between them are in durability, power/speed, size, reach of the remote, complexity and of course price. As a clear differentiation, the toy versions are usually powered by your standard household AA batteries and come in a scale of 1:32 to 1:16, whilst the grown up version comes in a size of up to 1:5 powered by a much stronger energy source.
2. What is the power source?
There are three options to choose from a Petrol Remote Control Car, a Nitro Remote Control Car or an Electric Remote Control Car.
These three power sources create differences in cost, accessibility of power, maintenance and power output.
Your Petrol Remote Control Car runs on a mix of regular unleaded petrol and 2-stroke oil will create a considerable higher amount of power. You can buy its fuel in the gas station next to you and therefore keep the fuel cost low. Adding to that point are their low fuel consumption and low maintenance requirements. Petrol powered RC Cars are usually larger than their nitro and electric counterparts and come often in the scale of 1:5. On the downsize you have often your larger initial cost for these type of cars.
The Nitro RC Car is powered by Nitromethane, a fuel, which is expensive and only available in specialty stores. The fuel leaves often a residue on the chassis of your remote-controlled racer and therefore requires high maintenance. Furthermore you will see a higher fuel consumption that with the petrol run machine. So than, why to buy these Nitro remote control cars? Because the stuff is powerful. These are usually the fastest racers on the block, their size is normally it the range of 1:16 to 1:8, seldom bigger. This makes a lot of fun to race. Also they are usually lower in price than their petrol counterparts.
Finally, the Electric driven Remote Control Car, runs on a powerful rechargeable Li-Po Battery pack. These Cars are normally the next step from child’s toy to adult’s hobby. They are usually cheaper than the fuel powered version but normally not so powerful and aggressive. Whilst they have a strong from the start acceleration, in the long run they have usually problems to compete with the other two engines. Due to their clean power source, they require the least of maintenance and can be operated indoors. They are usually the smallest version and but can also come in the large size versions of petrol and nitro fueled racers but with much less power.
3. Ready to Race or Kit?
Do you only want to race or is a part of your excitement coming from the thrill of building your own machine. Most of the RC cars coming as “Ready to Race” versions where you have to do not much more than getting them out of the box.
However, there are a lot of models where you can actually put the car together by yourself and therefore influence look and performance of this car. You can go from simple assembly like your everyday model kit to really buy single components of your car separately to upgrade its power and performance during operations.
4. Where you want to run your Remote Control Car?
The next question, respectively the next set of question is, what do you want to do with your remote-controlled car? Is it a racer, is it for indoor or outdoor (indoors of course only the electric version), do you want to be on or off-road. Do you want to drive it or is it more a collector’s item which you want to put on display? Are you looking for a fantasy model or a real live replica?
5. What type/model of Car should it be?
I you got through the above questions, you have already a pretty clear idea of what you want. Still the choice of models is very large and the first 4 questions are to some extend limiting your choice of this point and the other way around. Nevertheless, once you are at this point, you want to select between Buggies, Truggies, Trucks/monster trucks, Crawlers and your real life replicas of Ferraris, Fords, Minis, etc.
6. What price are you willing to pay for a good Remote Controlled Car?
We established what car it supposed to be, we come to a very critical question, a question we might put also at the beginning of our search. What’s the fun worth, what is our budget for a nice and good Remote Controlled Car? This factor has been discussed to some degree already in the other points and we know that a kids toy car is for sure much cheaper than the adults version. The larger the model the more it usually cost and among the engines the electric one is usually the cheapest. Also speed can determine the price. So at the end, we will have to see, what is the best combination we can get for the budget, we allocated to this hobby of ours. Keeping always in mind, that there are follow-up cost to consider for spare-parts, fuel, maintenance, etc. The price for our toy versions with 5 m reach 5 kph speed will be maybe 10$, the high-end Petrol Remote Control Car might cost us 3,4 or 500 $ or even more. As in everything, there is often no upper limit for what you can buy.
7. Where you want to buy your RC racer?
Last but not least, where do I want to buy, today you have the options to go to your “Have it all Toy-shop”, your specialty RC Car dealer or the Internet. As with all products these options vary in service, product knowledge, price, selection of available products and after sales service.
Certainly one advice can be given. Don’t buy a used RC car if you are a beginner.