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6 October 2021

Best remote control cars

A remote control car makes a great birthday or Christmas gift, but make sure you don't waste your money on a poor one that will soon break or leave your child underwhelmed.
Matthew Knight

Whether you're a parent, that uncle or aunt, or just want to relive your youth, a remote control car is a brilliant gift for birthdays or Christmas.

We tested 12 remote control (RC) cars, costing between £30 and £90, from big toy retailers such as Smyths, Argos and Hamleys, as well as specialist RC shops including Modelsport and RC geeks.

If you're buying a remote control car you'll need to carefully consider its top speed, how robust it is, and how much fun it is to drive on a variety of surfaces before you can pick one that's right for you.

Find out how each car compares in terms of top speed, runtime, durability, ease of use, and how our panel aged three to 60 rated each after driving it on a variety of surfaces.


Looking to splash out on a gift? See our guide to the best electric scooters.


Prices and availability last checked 22 September. 

Best remote control cars

BlackZon Slayer MT

Cheapest price: £63.99 at Wheelspinmodels.co.uk. Also available at Wonderlandmodels and Sussex Model Centre.

The BlackZon Slayer monster truck promises to be a great introductory car for a youngster to try out a new hobby. It's four-wheel drive and claims to be able to drive on any type of terrain. 

We loved the adjustable speed dial on this remote control car, but how fun is it to drive on grass, gravel and sand and how fast does it go?

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

FTX Tracer 1/16 RTR Truggy

Cheapest price: £53.99 at Modelsport. Also available at RCGeeks.

The FTX Tracer Truggy has a slightly lower ground clearance than some of the other remote control cars in our test, but it's still claimed to be suitable for off-road terrain. 

How did the ground clearance effect this RC car's stability? And does it stand up to repeated bashing into a kerb? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

GoStock Remote Control Car

Cheapest price: £66.99 available at Amazon

Available from Amazon and with rave reviews, the GoStock Remote Control Car claims to reach speeds of almost 24 miles an hour. 

It didn't reach that speed in our tests, but that doesn't necessarily matter if it's fun to drive on all surfaces and durable enough to survive our tests.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our results.

Ralleyz 1:10 4 Wheel Drive Rock Crawler

Cheapest price: £70 available at Hamleys.

Hamleys is the shop of many childhood dreams, but does this Ralleyz four-wheel drive car live up to the hype? 

Hamleys says it's suitable for children aged from five upwards and can be driven over almost any terrain. Find out what our panel of adults and children made of it. 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Ralleyz Monster Offroader 6WD Cross Country

Cheapest price: £89 available at Hamleys.

The Ralleyz Monster Offroader is the most expensive remote control car in our selection, and it has an impressive six-wheel drive. 

But do these extra wheels give it the grip and power it needs to climb over all kinds of obstacles? And how much fun is it to drive? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

RCG Racing Wind Speed 1/14 Buggy RTR Yellow

Cheapest price: £59.99 available at RCGeeks.

The Racing Wing Speed 1/14 Buggy promises to be able to drive on grass, dirt and gravel. 

It has some rave reviews online, but how much fun did our panel find it to drive, is it stable in the corners, and how fast does it go compared to the competition? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Remote Control 1:14 New Bright Baja Buggy

Cheapest price: £29.99 at Smyths Toys

Exclusive to Smyths Toys, you can charge this remote control car directly with a USB cable so you don't have to do the fiddly job of connecting and disconnecting the battery each time you want to charge it. 

Read our review to find out how much fun this remote control car is to drive and whether our mixed age panel recommend buying it.

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Rock Crawler Monster 1:12 Radio Controlled Truck

Cheapest price: £40 available at Argos

Sold only at Argos, this RC car has a button on the controller that raises and lowers the suspension depending on the terrain you're on. 

Find out if this just a gimmick or if it really improves performance, and how fast this car can go compared to the competition. 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

Rock Crawler 1:8 MEGA-SIZE RC Monster Truck

Cheapest price: £79.99 available at Hameed Direct.

Promising a whopping 30-minute runtime and extreme robustness, this large Rock Crawler monster truck could be a tempting choice for adults and kids alike. 

Read our review to find out the top speed, whether it can drive well on all kinds of surfaces and whether it's fun to drive. 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

SZJJX RC Remote Control Truck

Cheapest price: £36.98 available at Amazon

The cheapest car we tested, this compact remote control car has stellar reviews on Amazon, but we know they can't always be trusted. 

We looked at whether it's robust enough to deal with young kids playing with it, how easy it is to drive and whether it's stable on various types of terrain. 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

WLTOYS 124019

Cheapest price: £83.33 available at Banggood.

This remote control car from Wltoys has a following online, and singles itself out in this line-up by claiming a whopping top speed of 37mph. 

Is it really that fast? And how much fun did our panel have driving this car? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

WLTOYS 144001

Cheapest price: £74.48 available at Banggood.

Similar to the other Wltoys car in our test, this little RC car has a claimed top speed of 37mph. 

It promises to be fun to drive and rapid on a variety of surfaces. But how much fun did our panel find it to use, is it suitable for all ages, and how durable is it at these high speeds? 

Log in now or join Which? to unlock our test results.

How much do you need to spend to get a good remote control car?

You can spend from £30 to £500 for a remote control car. 

We chose to test those costing less than £100 and found that if you're buying one as a gift for a child, there are some brilliant options around £50. 

If you shop in the right place, there are a lot of great options in between £55 and £80.

But based on our testing we'd recommend avoiding the main toy retailers such as Argos, Smyths Toys and Hamleys. 

Many of the cars we tested from these retailers were expensive and underwhelmed our testing panel. Instead look at specialist websites which offer hobbyist grade cars.

What age are remote control cars suitable for?

A remote control car can be a great gift for any age, if you buy the right one.

We tested some cars we think are too fast for very young children, and in the wrong hands could potentially cause injury or damage. 

Our reviews will tell you what our mixed age panel of adults and children made of each car and what age group the car is suitable for. 

Four things to look out for when buying a remote control car

1. Fast is fun

There's no getting around this. The faster the car the more fun the whole panel had driving it. But if you're buying for a child there is such a thing as too quick. Some of the cars we tested go faster than 30mph, which is great fun for an adult or a teenager, but dangerous for younger children.

2. Beware of the major toy retailers

We weren't impressed with the remote control cars they offered, some of which cost more than £80 and are underwhelming. But if you shop in the right places, you can get a brilliant car that will delight all ages from as little as £55.

3. Where to play with an remote control car?

The remote control cars we recommend are quite fast. Their speeds range from 17mph up to 33mph. As a result you'll need a decent amount of space to play with them, for example a park or large back garden.

4. The beach

During testing we took all the remote control cars to a beach to see how they drive on sand. While this was great fun, it's also a really quick way to cause lasting damage to your RC car. Sand gets everywhere in the cars, including inside the wheels, the motors and in the suspension. If you want your remote control car to last a long time, we wouldn't recommend a trip to the beach. 

How we tested remote control cars

We recruited a mixed aged and mixed gender panel to assess each remote control car on how much fun it is to drive and determine which age group the car is suitable for. The panel included two mums, two dads, a grandad, two three year olds, a five year old and a six year old. 

As well as testing each car for how fun it is to drive, we also conducted durability, build quality, ease of use and top speed tests to inform our review. 

Speed

We attached a GPS tracker to the top of each car and measured its top speed on flat tarmac. The quickest car reached a speed of 33mph, whereas others trundled along at 5mph.

Durability

Each car was driven at top speed into a kerb five times. 

Fun

For this test each of our panel members drove the cars on gravel, long grass, short grass, tarmac and on sand. Each was then rated for how much fun it was to drive on each surface. 

We also threw in a doughnuts test on the tarmac. 

Ease of use

Not all cars are as easy to use as others, and if you're buying for a young child you'll want one they can operate independently of you. So we rated each car for how easy it is to turn on and off and synch up with the controller, as well as how easy it is to access and recharge the battery. 

Quality of the controller

There was quite a difference in the quality of each controller, with some feeling cheap and plasticky, and others comfortable in the hand. 

Battery life

Finally, we measured how long each battery lasted with the car being constantly driven. 

How we chose remote control cars to test

We picked remote control cars sold at major toy retailers such as Argos, Smyths and Hamleys, as well as RC cars that are popular on specialist RC car and model websites, as well as RC cars from Amazon. 

All the cars we bought cost less than £100. 

We paid for all the cars we tested.