So you are looking to get into the RC hobby and want to go for RC Cars. What is the best thing to go for as a beginner? In today’s article, we will look at 7 things to consider before purchasing your very first RC car.
People often ask many questions daily, such as;
- what is the best thing to go for? Is it nitro, electric, or petrol?
- Should the RC Car be ready to run, almost ready to run, or kit?
- Brush versus brushless?
- Are LI-PO’s (Lithium battery brand) better than nickel-metal hydride batteries?
- What is the best size or scale of RC Cars to go for?
- Are the spare parts available?
- RC Drifts Cars or RC Trucks?
- Top 5 RC Cars Suitable For Beginners
These are just some of the common questions people ask online. This is why I thought I put together these five things to consider to help some of you buy your very first RC car. It doesn’t matter if you are only looking to get into the RC hobby; this article will help you make an informed decision.
So today, I will answer some of these questions hopefully. We will be looking at the seven things I think you should consider, and hopefully, it will help you own your first RC car.
1. Which is the best Power Source For RC Cars?
So the first thing we’ll look at is whether you should go for electric, petrol or nitro powered RC car? What is the best source of power to go for as a beginner?
Nitro RC Cars
Nitro could be very attractive to those who know nothing about RC cars and are generally easily enticed by the engine sound. If you enjoy engines in general, as well as the sound and feel of a real working engine, nitro RC’s are going to be very attractive to you.
Nitro RC’s are fabulous, don’t get me wrong. But for a beginner, there is a lot more setup and maintenance involved in maintaining a nitro powdered Remote Control RC Car.
You must complete quite a few procedures before use as soon as you get a nitro RC out of the box. The first thing is to break the engine in. Now people have many different ways of doing it.
Many people like to let the car idle for the first tank off wheels off the ground. The second tank runs it around slower, the third tank a little bit faster, and lastly, the full tank full speed. Many people have different ways of doing it. But it would be best if you considered the above procedures to prolong the life of the engine. If you skip this step, the engine is not going to last long as it should.
So you should not go for nitro RC if you are a beginner because they require so much maintenance. There are too many procedures you have to follow, which might get frustrating and confusing for beginners.
I am ruling out the nitro RC engine because you can make things easier if you go for a different power source.
Petrol RC Cars
The next power source is petrol. RC cars with petro engines are easier to use than nitro engines since they don’t require a globe glow igniter. For example, they are a little bit easier to start, and I have always found they are a little bit easier to tune as well.
Overall just a little bit more of a more effortless experience; the engine’s a bit bigger and easier to maintain. But petrol RC cars are costly, and there are some better options available to you.
Now the one thing I would say is if you’re considering petrol-powered RC cars as your very first RC, please reconsider where you are going to be running it. Why you should consider where to run it is because they are huge, heavy and very loud. You wouldn’t want to disturb people in your neighborhood with such a noisy engine.
So would a petrol RC engine be a good fit for you as a beginner? I don’t think so because they are far too expensive, big and too loud. So let’s move to the third power source, which I believe is the best option for a beginner.
Electric RC Cars
The third and last power option for RC cars is the electric RC’s. Electric RC’s have come far in recent years when we consider how much cheaper they are. Electric RC cars have a decent speed and are cost-friendly if you don’t have much cash to throw around.
Electric-powered RC cars come with a brushless system and lithium polymer batteries. You will be able to push some high speeds, which will almost always be quicker than their nitro or petrol counterparts.
There are many excellent cheap ready-to-run electric RC’s these days, making them a perfect choice for beginners. These RC cars are the easiest and painless option when it comes to maintenance.
Okay, we have considered our options, and we have established that electric RC cars are your best option as a beginner.
2. Should you choose a kit, an almost ready to run, or a ready to run RC Car?
If you consider a kit as your first RC, this is not always a bad decision because building a kit can help when it comes to maintenance. You will know exactly how to take things apart and understand what goes where and how to put them back together again.
Now there are, of course, some considerations when it comes to building an RC kit. You will have to supply your own transmitter-receiver ESC motor servo batteries charger plus a lot more. So you should ask yourself if you are ready for such hassle as a beginner.
On the flip side, if you use to build kits or build anything similar, you may get on all right with the kit. But I think there is another easier option than picking out all these components as an RC beginner.
Before moving to the easiest option, there is one other thing we need to talk about, and that is the Almost Ready-To-Run RC cars. Essentially, what you’re getting is a rolling chassis.
Very similar to building a kit, you will have to provide your electronics. Like I mentioned before, your transmitter, receiver, ESC motor, and all the other components as well. But, the only benefit to buying an almost ready-to-run or a rolling chassis is that it is pretty much pre-built. All you need to do is throw your choice of electronics in there, and off you go.
By now, you will be eager to know the easiest option for someone like you who is just starting.
The easiest option by far is to buy a Ready-To-Run RC Car. For example, that which will come with everything you need including in the box. A ready-to-run will come with everything you need in the box. It’s almost always a simple case of charging up the included battery and putting some mayonnaise in the transmitter. Now it’s a worry-free and easy option for you who’s brand new to RC.
I think this is the best option for you as a beginner because they include everything, as I mentioned.
Note: The batteries and chargers that the manufacturers include in the box aren’t always great. The batteries are usually of low capacity. 9 times out of 10; they will include a trickle charger, which takes hours to charge. Even a low-capacity battery can take very long to charge fully.
Nevertheless, this is the easiest option as there’s very little to go wrong. A quick solution is to upgrade the battery and charger. That’s just my opinion. And it doesn’t cost much to do so.
Recently, there is a lot of ready-to-run RC’s out there that have higher capacity batteries along with better chargers. But it’s something to think about before making your purchase.
So we have established that an electric ready to run is more than likely going to be your best option. So what comes next? When buying your first RC car, the third thing to consider is; Do you go for a brushless or brushed model?
3. Brushless Or Brushed Model Remote Control Cars?
Now, this does come down to budget and how much you’re willing to spend. Brushed motors have been around for many years as long as RC cars have been around.
If you went for an electric model, it would almost always be a brush model. You have to remember that brushless is still relatively new in RC’s. And in recent years has only really started to become more affordable to most people.
Brushless power systems and LI-POs, along with chargers, used to be insanely expensive. But as technology has improved, things have become more affordable. I think brushless is starting to take over in the RC world. You no longer have to spend hundreds of dollars on a brushless system.
You can purchase a basic brushless system for well under a hundred dollars these days, making it a very viable option. Brushless systems tend to be more efficient. You can expect to see longer run times, and faster speeds are also achievable. Brushless RC’s are also free to maintain since there’s no brush to worry about wearing out.
Now, if you decide to go for a Brushed RC that’s ready to run, You need to consider your battery choice. LI-PO batteries will be the best way to go if you’re looking to get the best performance out of your brand new brushless RC.
If brushless is far too expensive, let’s not disregard brushed RC’s since they are excellent value for your money. Thus, Brushed RC Cars are an ideal choice for beginners. You shouldn’t concern yourself too much at this stage because you can always do a Brushless conversion if you crave more speed or performance.
now let’s get to the fourth thing to consider when purchasing your
first RC Car.
4. Do you go for a nickel-metal hydride battery or a lithium-polymer battery?
Nickel metal hydride batteries are not that easy to use, although they’ve been around for years. To reuse or store nickel-metal hydride batteries correctly, you have to fully charge them before each use. It even gets more complicated when you want to charge them because you have to fully discharge them before charging.
On the contrary, you don’t need to charge LI-PO batteries fully. It is ideal if you store LI-POs with a 50 to 70 percent charge level. The charging must be through a charger with a balanced charging option.
The best and safest way to charge a LI-PO battery is to use the balance option on your charger. Remember always to store your LI-PO battery safely.
The best way to store a LI-PO battery is to use a safe bag, a metal tin, or a metal case. I prefer a metal case because LI-PO batteries can be volatile, and they are highly flammable.
I am sure you have probably seen or heard so many horror stories about LI-POs catching fire. This is something that can happen almost every time because of incorrect charging. It is also common for the Lipo to get punctured in a big crash.
But I wouldn’t worry too much because it is rare as long as you look after these things carefully. If you take proper precautions with storing and looking after your LI-PO batteries, they will be highly safe.
There’s one thing to know should you go for a Ready-To-Run RC car that features a nickel-metal hydride battery. This is your ability to upgrade to a lipo battery at a later date.
Now, this brings us on to our fifth and final consideration when purchasing your very first Remote Control Car. The last thing is the size of the RC Car.
5. What Scale of Remote Control Car to go for as an absolute beginner?
Scale means the size of the vehicle in comparison to its full-size counterpart. So what is the best scale to go for as a beginner? There’s no honest answer to that question. It does come down to a few things such as;
- Your budget
- The surface you’ll be running
- The style of the RC car
There are different types: short calls trucks, monster trucks, buggies, truggies, and much more. Although the style is a personal preference, you should consider the size of the area you intend to run your RC.
If you’re pretty much running in your backyard or your garden, you might want to consider something a little bit smaller. Otherwise, you can consider any RC you wish to have if you have a bigger space. You really won’t be limited to even the big petrol RC’s down to the micro stuff.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to picking out what size RC to buy. I can’t give you a straight answer because it all depends on you. But in my opinion, you should go for Remote Control Cars with scales between 1:10 to 1:16. Once you get comfortable in running this hobby RCs, you can scale up.
6. Spare parts
You will need spare parts from time to time in maintaining your remote control car. Modern RCs are not quite set and forgotten. Some even require you to assemble and paint them before you buy them. But, the Ready-To-Run is pretty easy to unpack and driving.
Note that these hobby RC cars are pretty fast, so they can easily be damaged. Yes, they are relatively simple designs that cleverly try to distribute the impact energy, but some plastic parts can only do so much. With cars weighing just a few kilograms at 30, 40, or 50 km/h – and faster – the damage potential is excellent.
So, assume that you will be budgeting for the purchase of replacement parts. Additionally, you might also want to upgrade your RC. You can get new bodies and wheels or a revamped suspension. Or you can replace some of the plastic components with metal to increase durability. Before buying, check the availability of parts for the car you want to buy.
7. RC Drift cars or Trucks
Buckle up for body type selection and what to do. Just like the real car market, the RC car market offers a frightening selection. The first decision is whether you want a Drift Car or a Monster truck?
The type of RC car you choose will solely depend on the activity you want to undertake. Although Drift RC cars are not that suitable for beginners, you might prefer drifts if you just want to race. Note that with drifts, you only have certain surfaces you can effectively run your new RC.
On the other hand, Buggies and Trucks can run on any surface. You can run these RCs on rocky terrain, muddy areas, uneven surfaces, etc. In fact, there are no limitations when it comes to enjoying these RCs.
Conclusions and Recommendations
So there you go! Those are the seven things to consider when purchasing your very first RC Car. I hope this article has helped in clearing up some of those questions today. It could be a little bit confusing when you’re just starting in this hobby.
In my opinion, there is no way you can go wrong with an electric Ready-To-Run brushless RC car that comes with LI-PO batteries. In this light, I have included 5 RC Cars that are suitable for beginners. The remote control cars I picked have the following feature;
- Electric power source ✅
- Ready To Run RC ✅
- Brushless ✅
- LI-PO batteries ✅
- Between 1:10 to 1:16 ✅
- Spares Parts Are Easy to Buy Online ✅
5 RC Cars Suitable For Beginners
Below is my 5 top Recommendations on RC Cars for beginners. (Disclaimer!! I might make commissions from the links on these products).
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