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A Guide to Selecting Your First Remote-Controlled Vehicle

RC Vehicle

Purchasing your first remote-controlled Vehicle can be intimidating and frustrating, once you realize the number of options available. A broad scope of articles and buying guides have been written on this matter, and you can always refer to them for knowledge. 

However, if you’re like most newbies, you must be overly excited to get to the track and begin racing or just drive around. For this reason, I’ve compiled this handy guide to selecting your first remote-controlled vehicle, and it will be precisely expedient if you want an RC car ASAP. 

Here is my guide to selecting your first RC vehicle:

Evaluate Your Skills 

While some of us might be new to the RC scene, you could have some experience driving scale vehicles, so you have a few skills you can teach the newbies. On the other hand, you could have zero skills with RC cars, so the RC car you choose should be simple to operate. 

The style and features of your first vehicle should match your skills. For this step, you have to be honest with yourself. 

So, for the completely new beginners mentioned above, your best option would be an RTR (ready-to-run) vehicle. Also, make sure it is labeled starter, newbie, or novice. Typically, these RC cars are pre-assembled and come ready to use straight out of the box. 

Further, they are built for optimal simplicity and effortless handling. They also have features like training mode, low top speeds, which restrict steering and acceleration, and automatic control perfect for novices. 

However, RC vehicle drivers with some skills, like flying RC helicopters or such gadgets, have a few transferable skills. Therefore, you can go for an RC vehicle with entirely proportional controls for braking, steering, and throttle. 

Search for customization-friendly remote-control cars, though be sure to dodge the extremely complex options, better suited for the professionals. Avoid unnecessary add-ons and concentrate on getting an RC car you can drive comfortably. 

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The main agenda is to assess your skills adequately as a beginner. Hence, scale back any advanced-feature trucks and cars until your skills are up to par. 

Consider Terrain, or the Surface You’ll Drive On 

Something else that first-timers tend to overlook is the surface they’ll be driving on. The features and performance of your remote-controlled vehicle should align with the terrain conditions where you’ll be racing or driving. 

For instance, if you will be driving indoors on even and smooth surfaces, a mini or micro-RC vehicle is an excellent first-time choice. 

Such vehicles are light and have low top speeds. Moreover, they are equipped with softer tires. Plus, the suspension system offers great grip on wood, tiles, and carpet. I would advise against driving such RC vehicles outside since they will get damaged fast. 

Nevertheless, powerful buggies and short-course trucks are built explicitly for off-roading and have grasp-friendly tires in tandem with fortified waterproof shocks. Their speed and size make them an unsuitable option for indoor driving. 

I hope by now you understand why it’s vital to weigh in terrain before making a purchase. 

Something else I should point out is the backyard basher. This is a great all-around choice if you intend to spend time driving indoors and outdoors. They are a versatile and robust option that can easily adjust between terrains while doing some light off-roading and traversing bumps with incredible efficiency. 

Think about the spaces you’ll be driving in, and pick a remote-controlled vehicle that can drive smoothly in such conditions. This guarantees it will deliver peak performance every time you’re driving. 

Control Vs. Speed 

As a beginner, you are susceptible to making the mistake of prioritizing power and speed over Control, when choosing your first remote-controlled vehicle. While it’s enticing to brag about your powerful and fast RC vehicle, keep in mind that speed minus the right skills will only result in damage and crashes. 

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Generally, you should go for an RC car with a top speed of 10 to 15 Mph, as a beginner. This is a speed that’s manageable for your skills, and it allows you to master steering control and throttle safely before advancing to faster speeds.

Also, prioritize modifiable speed governors to limit acceleration until you improve your skills. 

Easy navigation and stability should take preeminence over fast speeds at first. Concentrate on buying an RC car with a low COG, balanced chassis, traction-enhancing features including differential gearing, four-wheel drive, and efficient shock absorbers that can maneuver small bumps effortlessly. 

After you have learned how to use your beginner-friendly RC car, you can upgrade the parts including the battery, gears, and motor, or even purchase a new one to increase speed and power gradually. 

Electric Vs. Gas Vehicles 

These are two main categories when it comes to RC vehicle motors: electric and gas options. Each model comes with unique pros & cons, which you have to consider depending on your needs, budget, and skill set. 

Electric RC vehicles are the most common beginner-friendly option because they are more effortless to maintain and use. Batteries deliver instant power with no complex tuning required. Simply charge the battery pack and drive. Nonetheless, realism and sound are restricted without an actual combustion motor. 

Gas or nitro RC cars, on the other hand, operate using special fuel to run the real scale-size engines that produce smoke and sound like real-size engines. They provide a realistic experience, though call for more tuning and maintenance skills. 

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I recommend an electric model as your first remote-controlled vehicle. You needn’t worry about complex pull-starts, muddled exhaust, or tricky adjustments. A rechargeable battery pack is more convenient and affordable. 

You can choose a nitro engine when you have the right skills to use and maintain a more complex motor. 


Scale is the RC car’s vehicle size measured against a full-size car. For instance, a 1/10 vehicle is one-tenth the height, length, and width of the full-sized truck or car it’s based on. 

The most popular scale size car is 1/10, but some are huge at 1/5 scale, and the bigger the size, the more expensive it is. Purchasing a more popular scall usually offers you access to a wide variety of spare parts, and eventually, you will require them. 


Now that you have sorted through the many priority features, and decided which one you need to give precedence, it’s now time to consider the brand. There are numerous remote-control vehicle brands, each promising to offer the best. However, there are a handful of reputable brands, including Bezgar, ARRMA, Traxxas, Redcat, HPI, Axial, ECX, Team Associated, and HPI, just to mention a few. 

When you narrow down the list of brands to two or three, check customer reviews to see what previous buyers have to say. Also, go through RC forums for a broader perspective. You are looking for a model that is easy to use and incredibly durable. 


Choosing the best remote-controlled vehicle is a personal choice, though there are multiple factors to consider before buying. Ensure you know the types of cars available, their range and battery life, performance, price, speed, and other important features. 

After reading this guide, you ought to be adequately prepared and make a wise choice when purchasing. 

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