After checking out the list of best RC boats under $100 we are going to up the price tier today and focus on slightly pricier options. Even though they fall a bit to the more expensive side of the market these are still beginner-friendly models that can be considered as entry-level solutions. While they generally do offer improved performance over their less expensive counterparts, they are still nowhere near the premium models such as Traxxas Spartan.
Table: 5 best rc boats under $200
|5. Feilun FT012||28mph||100m||10min||See best offer|
|4. Pro Boat Stealthwake||20mph||150m||12min||See best offer|
|3. Atomik Barbwire||25mph||150m||10min||See best offer|
|2. Pro Boat Recoil||25mph||150m||10min||See best offer|
|1. FunTech Atomic||35mph||300m||12min||See best offer|
You will have the option of choosing between miniature models all the way to 23-inch monstrosities. Additionally, there are both brushless and brushed RC boats available at this price point. The main difference is power/weight ratio as well as durability… and they both fall heavily in the favor of brushless motors. As far as the fun factor is concerned, you’ll be surprised at what these boaties are able to offer.
Just imagine taking your son to the local lake and busting this thing out of your backpack. The look of amazement is bound to get the best of him. However, believe it or not, for less than $200 you can get fully-fledged speedsters that can go over 45mph. If that’s not impressive then I really don’t know what is…
Despite that, don’t write them off just yet since they tend to provide an easy learning curve for beginners… even more so than cheaper models. They are faster, more precise and have an all-around better performance. Enough with the praise though, let’s jump straight to the actual list of best RC boats under $200 and see what they’re all about!
Top 5 RC Boats under $200
5. Feilun FT012
We are starting our journey off with an 18-inch speedster coming from Feilun. You’ve never heard of them? Well, no worries guys – they are not a very popular manufacturer anyway. Still, their FT012 model is something else. With great performance and solid build quality, it could make its way onto the big scene with proper ease. The only thing lacking is a proper marketing channel and a better quality checking process. Everything else about this little boatie seems awesome.
First things first – features. The most important trait of this little boatie is its specialized water cooling system. It ensures all of its components (but mainly battery and motor) are kept at optimal temperature levels in order to prevent overheating and prolonge the boat’s life. As a matter of fact, it is a very simple method of extending its lifetime… but a good one nonetheless.
Furthermore, Feilun FT012 also sports integrated capsize recovery system which ensures it gets right back on track after being flipped over. This is a feature that every new RC boat (released in the last few years) comes with, so needless to say, it has become an industry standard at this point.
The design is always an important factor but often gets overlooked by potential buyers. As far as it’s concerned, things are looking pretty good for Feilun FT012. It is made out of quality ABS mats and sports 2 sensors that keep it from turning on while out of the water.
Top speed of Feilun FT012 goes to amazing 45km/h (roughly 28mph) which is great. Battery duration isn’t shy, clocking in at roughly 8 to 10 minutes per charge. It is also important to note this boatie runs on serious hardware – 3S 1800mAh 25C LiPo battery and powerful brushless motors. The operating range is pretty good too, going beyond 100 meters with ease.
Lastly, don’t be alarmed by a bunch of bad reviews on Amazon. They are mostly due to people’s negligence when it comes to operating with Lipo batteries. They either overcharge them (which can end up destroying the boat) or don’t charge them up to 100%. The latter usually produces bad performance (low speed and short battery duration) and can result in LiPo dying. The user manual that comes with this little boatie doesn’t make users’ life easier so it is partially the cause of bad reviews as well.
4. Pro Boat Stealthwake
If all you are looking for is a brushed speedster, then Pro Boat Stealthwake should be your number 1 choice. It’s a fairly big RC boat (it’s a 23-inch model if we are to be more precise) which runs on a single brushed motor capable of delivering awesome speeds. Another aspect worth mentioning is its upgradeability, but more on that in the specifications section below. For now, let’s check out this fella’s features and see what does it bring to the table.
As far as features go, many of you will be disheartened after finding out Pro Boat Stealthake doesn’t have a self-rightening mechanism. However, it honestly doesn’t need one as it is near impossible to flip it upside down. That’s all thanks to its deep-V hull design and whiplash-inducing trim scheme, both of which effectively combat flipping over. Plus, even if it does flip over, you’ll be happy to know about its waterproof electronics. So, what I am basically trying to say here is that there’s no need to worry about anything regarding this little bugger.
I already mentioned above that this boatie runs on a single brushed motor. It’s a 550-size brushed beast with high torque. Unfortunately, the stock battery choice is rather bad – 7.2V 2400mAh NiMH Dynamite battery. It can deliver about 10 to 12 minutes of runtime which is not too bad. Obviously, a LiPo battery would be a much better choice (I’m getting roughly 15 minutes of runtime with my 4000mAh 2S Dinogy) but due to price cuts, Pro Boat decided to go with this one. Luckily though, the integrated 60A electronic speed controller supports LiPo’s meaning you are welcome to make an upgrade.
With a good LiPo battery onboard, this boatie can reach top speeds of up to 25mph (cca 40km/h). However, if you plan on using the stock battery, you will be limited to around 20mph (cca 32km/h). Not bad, but investing in a LiPo would grant you longer runtimes and better top speed, so choose wisely. Lastly, the operating range offers the standard 100 to 150 meters so nothing to add or deduct here.
3. Atomik Barbwire
Other than a beautiful design and graphics, there are many additional awesome traits Atomik Barbwire incorporates in its packaging. This 17-inch model features somewhat of a similar design and hardware like the Pro Boat Recoil so it was very difficult to differentiate the two. Both of them offer great performance and that’s what matters the most. For now, we will be focusing on the 3rd placed Atomic Barbwire. Afterward, on the 2nd spot, you will have the chance to learn more about Pro Boat’s 17-inch beast. So, without much further adue, let’s start off by seeing what exactly does this little bugger offer in terms of features.
Honestly, there isn’t too much worth mentioning as far as features are concerned. Don’t be alarmed though – Atomic Barbwire sports a gorgeous yet functional hull design (V shape) with self-rightening capability. RC transmission works over 2.4GHz with the provided transmitter. It’s not too sturdy though but provides a bunch of adjustability and responsive commands. Weight is another positive side of this one – only 0.92 lbs is something I like to see at this price point. So, all things considered, Atomik Barbwire perhaps isn’t embellished with a whole heap of features… but the ones that are there do their job more than appropriately.
Let’s start this section off by saying Atomik Barbwire sports damn fine hardware. It houses a Venom 35C 3S 1500mAh LiPo battery (along with its dedicated 2S-3S charger) capable of charging it up to 25mph (40km/h). This is further helped by a 2950Kv brushless motor with a water cooling system installed for keeping the optimal temperature at all times. Battery duration is nothing special though. You can expect up to 10 minutes, depending on how fast you’re going. The operating range is great – 150 meters is probably the maximum distance at which you can see it… and Atomik Barbwire can go past it with ease.
2. Pro Boat Recoil
If that 23-inch Stealthwake is too big for you, then perhaps Pro Boat Recoil will be more your cup of tea. We are talking about a 17-inch model here with fully waterproof interiors and a self-rightening hull to keep you out of the water at all costs. Furthermore, this best of a boat run on a highly powerful LiPo battery which gives it impressive punchouts. Top speed is not to be taken for granted either… but more on that (and plenty of other stuff) can be read below!
As for the features, Pro Boat Recoil sports failsafe which is of crucial importance for the general safety of your boat. Furthermore, it also sports an anti-tilt hull made out of high-quality ABS. Even if it does tilt, simply push the throttle all the way up and the powerful 2950Kv brushless motor will flip it right back into action. Lastly, the provided 2.4GHz transmitter is good too. It doesn’t feel cheap and the controls it provides you with are actually quite responsive.
As I’ve stated above, this beast of a boat sports a 2950Kv brushless motor running on a 3S LiPo battery. Obviously, this is a winning combination as far as punchouts and speed are concerned… so much that Pro Boat Recoil can go faster than 25mph (40km/h). Despite such a nasty top speed on a 17-inch model, people seem to be looking for possible upgrades. If you ask me, I recommend keeping Pro Boat Recoil in its stock configuration. There really is no need for extra power – it has just enough as it is.
Battery duration is pretty decent, clocking in at around 8 to 10 minutes. The operating range is another good aspect of Pro Boat Recoil. It goes well beyond my visible line of sight so I can’t really tell you an exact number. However, if I have to guess, I’d say we are talking more than 150 meters here, for sure!
1. FunTech Atomic
FunTech Atomic represents, by far, the best value for money in this below $200 market section. This gorgeous black and yellow RC boat delivers unparalleled performance and is bound to amaze both children and… oh, well… older children. Generally speaking, you are looking at a beefy vehicle here with more than an affordable price tag to its name. It is easy to use and has enough power to satisfy both beginners and more demanding users. So, whatever might be the case with you I am sure FunTech 02 is the right RC boat for the task!
This is further proved by a fine set of features. There aren’t too many of them, but those that are implemented are more than appropriate. I am mainly referring to 2 safety features that are guaranteed to extend the life of your RC boat. Low battery alarm and overcharge/discharge battery protection systems are going to come in handy more often than not… trust me on this one!
Specifications-wise, there is no doubt this little bugger will leave you absolutely speechless. It is nicely poised with extremely powerful hardware that doesn’t take NO for an answer. More precisely, we are talking about a potent 3S 2600mAh LiPo battery. It is really heavy but provides enough juice and punch to get this baby to its destination… and get it there fast. Roughly 60km/h fast. That’s around 37 mph for our American readers. As for duration, you’re looking at roughly 10-15 minutes. The range is absolutely brilliant too – you can expect anywhere from 250 to 300 meters of coverage. Needless to say, this should be more than enough to lose Funtech Atomic out of your sight.
FAQ: Best RC Boats under $200
How long will these cheap RC boats under $200 last?
Honestly, they will last a long time as long as you keep good care of them. By that I mean you should avoid having full-speed collisions with concrete, stones or virtually any other type of obstacle that might get in your way. Additionally, you should keep your bearings oiled at all times, ensuring they don’t wear out and cause any problems with performance. Lastly, if you know your way around electronics, you’ll have no problems with changing motors, propellers and even ESCs which will significantly prolong the overall life of your RC boat.
Can I use these RC boats in salt waters?
Even though you can theoretically use them in salt waters (as in, they will work), it is strongly recommended you use them only in clean water. That’s because they possess water cooling systems which are not on good terms with salty water. It can cause malfunction and will definitely shorten the lifespan of your investment.
However, if you don’t have any other choice but to use these little fellas in salt waters, there are certain steps you need to do in order to keep the salt damage to a minimum (and hopefully keep them alive for a bit longer). Here’s what you need to do:
Can these RC boats level themselves after going upside down?
Don’t you just hate it when your RC boat hands upside down? The first thought that many beginners think is that their boats will get destroyed because of this. Of course, this is not the case since their insides are carefully waterproofed ensuring safety while underwater.
The next thing that will bump into the mind of a beginner is this – but now I have to get wet in order to flip it back up… If only there was a way to do it without getting in the water.
There is! The majority of new RC boats, no matter their price tag, come with self-rightening (AKA capsize recovery) systems that ensure you’re all nice and dry while your boat does all the hard work. These systems will use the motor(s) in order to flip themselves back up and be on their way.
Are LiPo batteries dangerous?
It seems as though there is this huge myth surrounding the sheer danger of operating (read charging) LiPo batteries. People are generally frightened by the thought of LiPo batteries exploding, catching on fire and damaging their property. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this line of thoughts – it is logical to be afraid for the safety of your, those around you and your belongings… But is there any real reason to be afraid of LiPos?
Well, honestly… there isn’t! I’ve been using Lipo’s for roughly 5 years and I haven’t had a single issue with a single one. My packs usually last over 200 charge cycles since I take good care of their voltage and keep them charged up at all costs. Plus, I never ever overcharge them or leave them charging unattended. Technically, that’s pretty much all you need to do in order to avoid issues with your LiPo’s.
Which of these RC boats is the longest reaching one?
Even though RC boats and drones have many things in common, the operating range is not one of them. Why is that so? Well, operating range with drones has a much more significant impact than is the case with RC boats. It’s all due to the fact drones are equipped with FPV cameras which annihilate the need of keeping them in your line of sight (even though this is highly illegal in some countries… cough cough USA I’m looking at you cough cough. In that scenario, you are not limited by your eyesight meaning you can get control of your boat well beyond it.
On the other hand, as far as RC boats are concerned, they (in most cases) don’t rely on cameras which means you are limited to your eyesight. Considering their size and all that noise they make, this limitation is actually quite shorter than you’d come to expect. Take me for example, I can see most models for up to 100 meters… 200 if 30+ inch models are on the line. So, what I’m basically saying is that most of these RC boats (yes, even at such a low price point) have longer-than-you-can-use operating range and picking just one seems stupid.
Which of these RC boats is the fastest one?
For those of you who are looking to get the highest speed (with stock configurations) out of your RC boat – FunTech Atomic is the obvious choice. This beauty of a boat runs on a powerful 3S LiPo battery capable of producing quite the punchouts. It turns on a dime and is highly stable. Even if it does flip over, you still have the option to tilt it right back up without getting wet. With speeds up to 60km/h (40mph) there is no other RC boat on this list that comes even remotely close to FunTech Atomic!
Which of these best RC boats under $200 offers the best beginner-friendly experience?
Realistically speaking, each and every one of the above-featured models delivers a smooth learning curve for beginners. However, if you are looking for the most beginner-friendly experience out there, your best choice would be Pro Boat Recoil. Despite its neck-breaking top speed, this little fella offers intuitive and highly responsive controls which are of crucial importance for beginners. Also, it incorporates a self-rightening mechanism for dry sessions. Pro Boat Recoil doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and is easy to fix if something goes bad. So, as far as beginner-friendly boats are concerned, I don’t see why you shouldn’t go for this one…[/toggle]
With the final words regarding the FAQ section coming to an end, I’m afraid there is only the conclusion left to be written. Of course, there won’t be anything major here, just a couple of concluding words. So, I guess here we go…
Thank you guys for reading this article and sticking till the very end. I’m sure you can all agree with me that all 5 above-featured models bring a dash of fresh air into the low-end RC boat market. Each of them is nicely poised with great specifications and driving experience.
Needless to say, this is of crucial importance for hooking beginners to the hobby with the hope they’ll eventually progress to high-end models such as Traxxas Spartan. So, if that’s exactly what you’re planning in the near future, then picking out one of the 5 models portrayed above seems like a no-brainer!
Thank you once again for reading this article… I sincerely hope it shed some light on the topic.
Until next time,
BEST OF LUCK