If you are looking for an RC truck, you want to get the best. But how do you find the best, or at least the best for you?
One thing you don’t want to do is spend your money on a poorly made knock off of some kind that will break the first time you try to put it through its paces. So, what do you need to look for when you want to buy a new RC truck?
First off, you need to figure out what you want. Are you looking for a rock crawler, or a mudder, or a general basher? Do you want it to be powered by an electric or nitro motor? Is this for a kid or an adult, an experienced RC enthusiast or a beginner? Are you on a tight budget or do you want to spend up to 1000 dollars (or even more) on your truck?
These are all questions that will help you determine what the best truck is for you, but who really has time to learn all about this stuff just to try to decide what they want to buy?
Figuring Out What Is Best For You
This can all be a real pain to figure out. Believe me, I know.
I can help make it easier for you though. Ever since I got my first truck when I was a little kid, I have loved playing with and learning about RC trucks. Now, I want to put that love to work for you.
I have supplemented my own personal knowledge by researching new developments in the RC world, and checking out the latest reviews. Through this, I have learned which trucks are providing good value for money, and which ones are falling short.
Over time I want to develop a list of the best trucks for various pursuits. From rock crawling to massive mudding and from serious racing to general bashing, I will do my best to identify the best truck for your needs.
To start off, here is a list of five great trucks. More than likely, one of these will fit your needs very well.
Best RC Truggy: Traxxas Rustler XL5
I’m a fan of the Traxxas Rustler XL5, it provides a lot bang for the buck. This beast is a favorite truck for RC beginners and veterans alike. Why is it so popular? Well, it has a lot going for it.
Featuring a robust Titan twelve-turn modified 550 motor with an internal cooling fan, Revo-spec slipper clutch (Torque-Control) and Electronic Speed Control (XL-5), the Traxxas Rustler offers lightning-fast acceleration, dirt-roosting torque and huge jumps. Designed for aggressive driving fun, off-road action, complete throttle and power-sliding, it is possibly the best RC truggy on the market, and it offers some real horsepower. It is waterproof, so it can take on mud, puddles and even snow at top speeds of 35 mph through the optional twenty-eight-tooth pinion gear.
Thanks to its seven-cell 8.4V Battery, the Rustler’s speed is significantly boosted to new heights. The Traxxas Rustler boasts a lightweight horizontal bead that attaches the tire to the truck’s rim even under strong RPM. It also comes with standard performance-designed foam inserts and 23-tooth pinion gear perfect for off-road or all-around action.
The Rustler has a charging time of 45 minutes and longer run time with its Traxxas 3000 Battery that’s two times the capacity of conventional batteries. It is equipped with a high-torque steering servo, pre-glued step-in tires on mirror-chrome wheels measuring 2.2 inches, flexible ultra shocks with exclusive X-Ring technology, fiber-composite chassis and white shock springs (powder coated). It also comes with a high-current connector, telescoping drive shafts (U-Joint) and ProGraphix painted body graphics.
The Traxxas Rustler has a rugged design, but it’s very simple to operate. Perfect for the younger generation to experience how it is like to repair and maintain RCs, the Traxxas Rustler can easily be upgraded to gain speeds over 70 mph. The only downside of the RC truck is its battery. While it lasts long enough, the charging time can be an issue for those who want to use their truck right away. Users can buy another charger and battery to solve this concern. Heavy off road use and tall grass will also be hard on the engine, but that’s what makes the truck run well on the street. If you’re running it off road or in grass, you can adjust the gearing or put in spacers to avoid damaging your truck.
The Traxxas Rustler beats the competition with smoother control, more power, better performance and grip, making it among the fastest ready-to-race RC electric trucks available today. It’s a proven favorite with a designed aimed at rugged fun that you’ll never find in other trucks. Right out of the box, the Traxxas Rustler is easy to get going. All you need to do is to charge the battery, and you are off and running with one of the best RC trucks available.
A Good Option For The Kids: Maisto Rock Crawler
Designed to roll over everything in its way, the Maisto Rock Crawler features low gearing, over sized rubber tires, two powerful motors and articulate suspensions to let you experience rugged off-road action. The Rock Crawler boasts both rear and front suspension and is 12.5” long. Its tri-channel transmitter allows three people to play simultaneously with other radio control vehicles from Maisto, so it’s a good RC truck for kids who are looking for something fun to try with their friends.
The Maisto Rock Crawler has a reliable 3-link suspension design that keeps everything on the vehicle lined up accurately regardless of how much the ground makes it twist. Twin motors make the Rock Crawler a true 4-wheel drive. The truck is available in 3 different colors, but each one has their own built-in tri-band control. Thus, even if you get two trucks of the same color, there won’t be any problem running them at the same time as you don’t have to worry about any radio interference.
The truck runs on six AA batteries and the transmitter requires two AAA batteries. Maintaining traction and scaling obstacles is not a problem with the Rock Crawler. If you get stuck, it’s possible to remove the truck from its position without having to physically move it by hand. Steering is also never a problem with the Rock Crawler. The truck did not get the name “crawler” for nothing. The Maisto Rock Crawler runs as advertised and provides hours of rugged fun. It’s the perfect option for those looking to get a great gift for their kid!
On flat terrain, the Rock Crawler is quite slow, but it’s actually not a big problem. When you run your truck on rough terrain, you have to fight obstacles deliberately and carefully. You also want the vehicle to be geared low enough in order to get the torque needed to overcome tall rocks. That’s what the Rock Crawler can provide!
The features of Maisto Rock Crawler might be limited, but its performance is great. It handles rough terrains in such a way that only very few radio control vehicles out there could ever efficiently do. Overall, this is a great option if you need a good beast of a truck, but don’t have much to spend. It won’t give you the performance of the higher dollar machines; but it is a great value for the money spent, and is a good option for kids (because they have a tendency to destroy things sometimes).
Best RC Crawler: RedCat Rockslide Super Crawler
Defy the laws of gravity with the Redcat Racing Rockslide Electric Super Crawler! Featuring two high-torque motors (electric brushed), crawler specific ESC, rear and front multi-link suspension, multi-select four-wheel steering and rear and front transmission, this truck is ready to run and give you lots of rugged fun.
It’s one of the best RC rock crawlers available with its crawler specific controller that knows when to use the brakes to prevent the Rockslide from rolling while tackling steep inclines. With a simple touch of a button, you can access 4 steering modes. Choose from 4-wheel crab steering, 4-wheel steering, front wheel steering and rear wheel steering. This, on-the-fly, steering allows you to maneuver your way through various obstacles with ease. The Super Crawler comes with a 6v 2500mAh battery and charger for receiver.
Thanks to its heavy bead-lock rims, the tires stay firmly mounted while you navigate the hardest obstacle courses. You don’t even have to worry about adjusting tread patterns. It’s easy with the Super Crawler’s bead-lock rims. Ball bearings, powerful rock crawling tires, a three channel radio (2.4GHz) and 8 oil filled shocks (aluminum capped) make the Redcat Racing Rockslide Electric Super Crawler more than prepared to take on the most challenging courses.
After a quick programming of the transmitter, it’s ready to crawl up right away. The 4-wheel steering is a great feature particularly with the truck’s long wheelbase and large turning radius. The stock tires work great and are perfect on grass, pavements and carpets. It is also backed by a warranty, so you can get a replacement if you encounter a problem with your truck.
If you’re into competition crawling, the wheelbase of the Rockslide is quite long for this purpose. Also, if you want it to last longer, getting a better battery pack is recommended. The Rockslide is great for those who are looking into RC rock crawling or just to experience some rugged entertainment with it. Keep in mind, however, that the truck is a crawler. It’s designed to climb and not to race. Tightening things after a few crawls is also recommended to keep things durable.
Overall, the Redcat Racing Rockslide Electric Super Crawler offers great value for your money. It is a great for you if you are looking for a capable radio control vehicle with a good warranty and aftermarket support. The Rockslide is also reasonably priced, making it a great investment for anyone looking forward to owning a RC rock crawler.
Here’s a great video of this beast in action:
Best RC Monster Truck: Traxxas Summit TQi
Change from high to low gear and lock the differentials right from the transmitter! With the Traxxas Summit TQi, you don’t need to install locking parts or stop the action just to change gears. Take on any terrain in high range for dirt-slinging speed. When the ground becomes technical, change it into low range for powerful climbing torque. The T-Lock switch can be used to lock the front differential and achieve the ultimate climbing traction. If you need more grip, all you need to do is to trigger the rear T-Lock differential for complete 4WD power.
Featuring the Titan 775, the biggest electric monster truck motor in the market, the Traxxas Summit TQi boasts a fan-cooled armature for great off-road adventure and additional steep covering around the can for the highest magnetic field strength. This leads to more torque to beat any climb and take on any trail. It has 3 drive profiles, low-voltage detection, LiPo battery packs, unique high-current battery connectors and thermal shutdown protection.
The electronic speed control allows for throttle control and a durable powerhouse can accommodate up to 16.8V to give the Summit ultimate torque. Even if the trail is covered in snow, muddy or wet, it’s not a problem, making Traxxas Summit TQi the best RC mud truck for you. Its waterproof electronics allow the Summit to operate in various conditions. The Summit TQi also features the most sophisticated ready-to-race radio system in the world. Automatic model recognition remembers your settings. All you need to do is to switch the best RC electric truck on and drive. There’s no model memory or naming settings needed. Power up the truck and the transmitter and the settings for it will be dialed right away.
The transmitter is also completely adjustable. Throttle end points and steering can be set accurately. You can program the Multi-Function knob to control Throttle Sensitivity, Braking Percentage, Steering Percentage, Throttle Trim or Steering Sensitivity. The truck’s ergonomic case design also offers great driving comfort throughout the day and the exclusive internal antenna gives it a stylish, modern look.
Just like other RCs, the Summit TQi also needs a few upgrades. A rear chassis brace would be nice to reduce the chances of breaking the truck’s back in a hard landing. Overall, this RC truck is a great investment for your money if you’re looking for something durable that can take on hard challenges with great ease.
This is a very thorough video review of the Summit, discussing its capabilities as well as its flaws, and the reviewers final opinion (hint: he loves it):
Best Nitro Truck: Traxxas Jato
Brutally fast is the only way to describe the Traxxas Jato 3.3! It features telemetry sensors, powerful TRX 3.3 racing engine, rear and front sway bars for better stability, TQi 2.4GHz radio system, asphalt-hugging performance tires, aggressive body graphics, mandatory wheelie bar and 2Amp fast charger. Boasting face-distorting top speed and extreme acceleration, the Traxxas Jato 3.3 is the best nitro RC truck you can find in the market today. Its top speeds can reach over 65 MPH. This is possibly the best RC truck out there, it is a power-packed vehicle that will give you the kind of rugged fun other RCs can never provide!
The Jato’s 2-speed muscle power beats any conventional purpose-built on-road vehicles. Its suspension is flexible enough to deal with the challenges of real-world pavement. Jumps, expansion joints and rocks are never a problem for the superb suspension travel of Jato. The vehicle’s flexible sway bars and large sticky Anaconda 2.8-inch treads allow Jato to offer firm, streetwise reflexes. The best thing about it is that the Jato 3.3 doesn’t even need a mirror-smooth race course to perform well! When the road ends, the vehicle keeps going. The race-truck heritage of the Jato provides it with a strong off-road capacity. If you’re really serious at the dirt course, simply changing the tires and the racing engine belts will let you beat your competitors with ease.
The car’s TQi 2.4GHz radio system is the most sophisticated, ready-to-race and feature-packed radio system available today. It can connect wirelessly to the newest Traxxas Link app for the best control. The radio system can also be linked to the Traxxas Link Wireless Module to open amazing features like access to exciting TQi telemetry and tuning tools through an HD graphical interface and on the spot Bluetooth connectivity.
You can also ask your friends to remotely observe real-time telemetry while you mash the throttle. Adjustments can be made remotely by your co-driver while you focus on driving. There’s no other radio system that can do what the TQi 2.4GHz offers. The capacity and power of the Traxxas Link and TQi expand your fun into whole new levels.
The Jato 3.3 is very easy to break in even for beginner drivers. However, the vehicle’s tires are not really good on dirt and grass due to its power, this can be overcome with after-market tires. If you’re looking for something fast and durable, the Traxxas Jato is a great option. Overall, the Jato 3.3 is an excellent vehicle. It is backed by a warranty and good customer service. If you have problems, just call the company and your concerns will be addressed.
I hope this list helped you make a decision on what was the best RC truck for you. Check back often, as I plan to build a list of great trucks to fill a variety of needs.