Adults, as well as kids, loves radio controlled trucks. Believe it or not, they can range all the way up in price to $2,000 and even higher, for a specialized one. But that doesn’t mean they’re out of your price range: here are some great radio controlled trucks that won’t break the bank—they’re all under $150.
Traxxas is the top of the line r/c truck you can buy. A well respected company, they’ve been making radio control vehicles since 1986.
Their slogan is “The Fastest Name is Radio Control,” a claim that many customers agree with. And the best news is that there are even a few that cost less than $150.
One of their most popular models is the LaTrax Teton monster truck, 1/18 scale, which was released in early 2014. It comes fully assembled and ready to run. On a purely aesthetic level, it comes in four colors, royal blue, navy blue, red, and orange and the chassis is made of molded composite nylon, which looks very sleek.
But if you look past the appearance, the Teton, like all the other Traxxas r/c trucks, is a serious machine. It is one of the best rc cars out there.It has a four-wheel drive, a steel center drive shaft and a brushed motor that reportedly reaches up to twenty-five miles per hour. (Many experienced at r/c trucks recommend brushed motors for beginners. Although brushless are technically better, faster, and more powerful, it’s good to learn on a brushed motor and later, after you’ve mastered it, trade up to a brushless motor.)
The second affordable Traxxas on this list is the LaTrax SST, also 1/18 scale. Introduced a bit after the Teton, at the end of 2014, it is very similar to the Teton in many ways, but the SST’s body is a bit shorter,14mm narrower and also 4mm lower. Like the Teton, the SST’s chassis is made of molded composite nylon, which comes in the same variety of colors as the Teton.
The manufacturer rates this model at a skill level of 1, which adds to its appeal for beginners. Among the reviews on Amazon.com are: “Not smoking fast but is fast and controllable for a beginner, which I feel this is aimed directly at,” and “…when the beginner is done the pros can still toy with it just fine, and the price is just excellent all around.” Sounds like this is perfect for a beginner, in terms of both power and price. It also features a waterproof power system for all weather driving and a two-amp DC peak detecting charger.
Except for the minor size differences, these are technically the same. The major differences are the way they look; which one you choose would be a matter of personal preference.
What’s more, Traxxas has an excellent reputation for customer service: they have a customer service line that is accessible Monday through Friday 8:30AM to 9:00PM for questions regarding the trucks themselves or any warranty concerns.
The Redcat Racing Electric Volcano EPX Truck is a bit different. At 1/10 scale, it is a bit bigger than the Traxxas r/c trucks, and not quite as fast, with its top speed reported to be 20 mph. Like the others, the motor is brushed, and the specs on this say it is equipped with a 27T brushed 540 electric motor, with heat sink, and forward/reverse ESC.
The reviews on Amazon call this vehicle durable and one reviewer states, “It has been flipped, cartwheeled, crashed, spun and rolled over more times than I can count. The body is scraped up but still intact” and another Redcat reviewer calls it, “(The) Best buy for the money.” RCHobbiesarefun.com says this, “Overall, this is a well-made, fast, and reliable RC truck.” Not exactly an overwhelming review, but isn’t that really what it’s all about?
However, Redcat’s customer service reputation is abysmal. There are many examples available online of people complaining about their lack of satisfaction with the item and the service and the company’s unwillingness to help. This is not something we often think about when buying something new, but it is something we should consider.
The bargain of the group is the FMTStore Remote Control Brushed Electric RC Car. It is 1/12 scale, so smaller than the Traxxas models, but a bit bigger than the Redcat. It has a four-wheel independent suspension system and an independent metal differential.
A down side to this is that its battery only lasts about ten minutes before having to be charged again, but the difference in price makes this almost seem expected. This was beginning to look like a good choice at about half the price of the Traxxas vehicles, that is, until I checked the reviews: 57% of the reviews are 1 star reviews.
The reviews cite things like lack of durability (“After two days, the front end broke”), lack of efficiency (“The throttle sticks on this and it will keep going and wreck”) and this blunt review of the vehicle in general which reads, “Crappy.” Unfortunately, the old adage “You get what you pay for” seems especially appropriate here.
I searched for a website or warranty information and was unable to find either. Despite the price, this does not look like a very good buy in the long run.
Of the four, the best buy would clearly be one of the Traxxas models. Their reviews are good, but, more importantly, their reputation for customer service is laudable. If you are looking to buy a relatively inexpensive r/c truck or if you are a beginner, either the Traxxas SST or the Traxxas Teton may just be the r/c truck for you.