Intro Into the RC Hobby: How to Pick the Right RC Vehicle


I recently got in the hobby of RC cars and I’ve been having a blast these past few months. So naturally, I want to educate everyone that’s looking to get into it but is too concerned about getting the right type of RC vehicle, simply because he doesn’t know what to look for. Things like vehicle type, brand, engine type, etc.,can all make or break your experience, and they can all be deciding factors as to whether you stick with the hobby or not. So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Types of RC Vehicles

RC vehicles are divided into 5 different categories. All types have different characteristics, but they don’t need much explanation because it’s pretty straightforward.

  • RC Truck Kits – These are your go-to choice if you’re looking to venture off-roads. While they are completely viable on-roads as well, they’re significantly slower than the other types. RC truck kits are ideal when driving on grass, in the woods, on sand, and rough terrain in general.
  • RC Street Kits – Street cars are what you’d expect them to be – the fastest type on a flat, paved surface. As long as you have a proper surface to drive them on, they’re great. Otherwise, steer away from them.
  • RC Drift Kits – Drift cars are similar to street cars, except they feature slick tyres. The tyres make it easy to slide around turns, yet still accelerate to high speeds. If street RC cars are boring for your preference but you still like speed, then an RC drift car could be your ideal solution. However, beware – drifting is hard!
  • RC Buggy Kits – Buggies are the golden middle between on and off-road RC vehicles. They’re quite fast on the road, but due to the low wheelbase, they’re slower off the beaten trail. If you can’t really decide on whether you’re going to be playing on or off the road, a buggy is your ideal solution.
  • RC Truggy Kits – Similarly to the buggies, truggies are a crossover type but with emphasis on off-road driving. Basically, you get the frame of a buggy and the tyres of a truck. In terms of speed, they’re the second fastest off the road, and third fastest on the road.

Regardless of what type of RC vehicle you decide on, you’ll come across several different brands in every category. The most prominent ones are: TRAXXAS, Exceed, HPI, Tamiya, Losi, and Team Associated. All of these brands make quality RC vehicles, some are more pricier than others, so which one you go for is entirely up to you.

Electric vs Nitro

This is a never-ending discussion among RC hobbyists, and personally, I feel like both are completely valid, as long as you’re getting what you need and want from them. Electric motors are typically the cheaper option, require less maintenance and are ideal for home use. However, they have more limited run times, expensive brushless motors, and you’ll have to recharge the batteries or carry extra. On the other hand, nitro motors are much faster, sound better, and have longer run times. But on the downside, they’re more complex, the model will be more expensive to buy, and you’ll need to constantly buy gas.