RC boats can provide you and your little ones with a lot of fun. They make the perfect travel buddies when you’re visiting your local lake or camping near one. Just pack them up with all your stuff, charge up a couple of batteries and they are good to go.
You won’t believe it when you see that spark in your kids’ eyes once these buggers start raising waves. They’re magical, I’ll tell you that… But if you want a good one I am afraid you will have to splash out a decent amount of money. Sure, you can make do with a cheap RC boat under $200. Heck, even certain RC boats under $100 will do just fine… But if you want something awesome that’s bound to amaze your kids with swiftness and sharp turns, then I’m afraid you’re looking at $200 and above. Still, it’s a small price to pay for all those awesome weekends you’ll get to have with your little ones.
As with every other hobby, getting into RC boats can be tricky if you don’t possess a certain degree of knowledge. There are lots of models available and I don’t have to be the one to tell you they don’t always provide the best value for money. But, you can consider yourself lucky since I’ve taken the time and came up with a list of the best 5 RC boats available for less than $300. Brushed or brushless – there’s everything mixed here, ranging from slightly over $100 all the way to $300. So, without any hesitation let’s dig straight into the first one!
Table: 5 Best RC Boats Under $300
|5. Feilun FT012||28mph||100m||10min||See best offer|
|4. Pro Boat Blackjack||30mph*||300m||12min*||See best offer|
|3. Costzon Volantex||35mph*||400m||10min*||See best offer|
|2. Pro Boat Shockwave||25mph*||300m||12min*||See best offer|
|1. Traxxas Blast||20mph||400m||20min||See best offer|
NOTE – * marks performance with custom batteries
5. Feilun FT012
I decided to start the business off with Feilun FT012 which is a great entry-level RC boat. It can be found for slightly over $100 which makes it the perfect accommodation for beginners. Despite its lowly price tag, it needs to be said that we are talking about a powerful vehicle here. It can achieve great speeds for its price point and sports an intuitive transmitter. But, enough praise at the very beginning… Let’s dig deeper into the topic and see what’s Feilun FT012 all about!
If you don’t like getting wet while playing with your RC boat then Feilun FT012 is going to be the perfect one for you. Why? Well, obviously, it comes with the well known Capsize Recovery feature (also known as Self Rightening) which allows the vehicle to flip itself back up in case of a capsize. Furthermore, this is an 18-inch model with a water cooling system that can help extend its lifespan. Maintenance is still required, so make sure you don’t forget about that!
Feilun FT012 sports brilliant specification that will leave you speechless. At this price point, you really cannot get a better performing RC boat than this one. It’s a fact. So, starting off with the specs, this boatie can reach up to 28mph (45km/h) thanks to its potent brushless motor alongside a 3S 1800mAh 25C LiPo battery. Needless to say, this is an excellent combination and something I’d like to see more in the entry-level market section. Furthermore, you can expect up to 10 minutes of runtime and more than 100 meters of operating range. You cannot expect anything more than that from a $100 18-inch RC boat.
4. Pro Boat Blackjack V3 24″
The jump from an 18-inch to 24-inch model is much bigger than most of you think. It’s a completely different experience as well as a completely different control feeling. Words simply cannot describe that – you must try it out for yourself in order to understand… And there is no better way of doing just that than with Pro Boat BlackJack V3. There are several version available but, obviously, we will be focusing on the 24-inch one. As a matter of fact, if you are feeling generous today, heck you can even go for the 29-inch version. It’s quite costly, I know… but the price is definitely worth it. Still, I’ve opted for the 24-inch since it fits into our budget and still provides a top-tier experience. Here’s why…
As far as features go, Pro Boat Blackjack V3 can brag about an offset rudder system and waterproof servo. The former allows exceptional stability and keeps this boatie glued to the water no matter the speed it’s going at. Furthermore, Pro Boat Blackjack V3 also supports a drain plug as well as a single tray that keeps all electronics intact. Nothing else to add or deduct here – kudos to Pro Boat!
Specifications-wise, you are looking at another amazing speedster here. Thanks to its brushless 2000Kv motor (of course, with water cooling onboard), Pro Boat Blackjack V3 can reach top speeds of up to 25mph. Make that 30+ if you change the propeller to something slightly more aggressive and use a 3S LiPo with high C rating. While we’re discussing batteries, you should know that this boatie doesn’t come with one, just like Costzon’s model. Instead, you will have to provide your own 2-3S LiPo. With a 3000mAh 3S I’ve been getting cca 10 minutes of runtime, but variations are to be expected from battery to battery. Operating range is standardly good – 300+ meters is more than you’ll be able to see it.
3. Costzon Volantex Vector 70
Costzon Volantex Vector 70 is a fairly new RC boat that has yet to make a proper mark on the market. Judging by its qualities though, I’m sure that’s only a matter of time. You see, this is a brushless model capable of reaching awesome top speeds. The all-black design is a plus too… and so is the provided transmitter. All in all, Costzon Volantex Vector 70 seems like a great mid-tier model so I don’t see a reason why you should avoid it.
Starting off with the transmitter, this boatie runs on the popular FHSS protocol. As far as the transmitter itself is concerned, it’s sturdy and supports proportion adjustments (7:3 or 5:5). additionally, it provides steering rate adjustments, servo reverse, and smart throttle/steering trims. Basically everything you’d come to expect from an enthusiast-grade transmitter. Needless to say, it functions over 2.4GHz frequency and delivers responsive controls no matter the distance. It weighs around 215 grams (roughly 0.47 lbs) which is considered OK for a 27-inch model. Yes, Costzon Volantex Vector 70 is quite big…
As far as the hardware is concerned, this beauty incorporates 1800Kv brushless motor with water cooling system onboard. Among other things, there’s also 40g waterproof servo as well as 40A brushless (and water cooled) electronic speed controller. Top speed goes up to 55km/h (cca 35 mph) which was expected from such a powerful hardware found inside. Operating range, thanks to FHSS protocol and great tx/rx combo, is nothing short of brilliant – 400 meters.
But how is such great performance available at such a low price tag? Well, as always – there is a catch. You see, Costzon Volantex Vector 70 doesn’t come with a battery. You’ll need to supply your own. I’ve had the best experience with a 3S 2000mAh 35C LiPo so I suggest you go with a similar one.
2. Pro Boat Shockwave
Pro Boat has established itself as one of the leading brands as far as RC boats are concerned. I already featured several Pro Boat models on my lists which is not surprising at all considering their sheer quality. As a matter of fact, 2 of them have made their way onto this one as well, which just goes to show we are talking about a tier A brand here. But why is it placed in the second place then? Well, the top spot is reserved for a brilliant RC boat that’s made by a proven brand and has top-flight characteristics across all departments. Pro Boat Shockwave isn’t far off from it, but it remains in the shadow nevertheless. Let’s see why…
Features-wise, Pro Boat Shockwave sports completely waterproof electronics. With that said, even if there is some water inside your motor after a session, there is nothing to worry about. All electronics, including ESC and servo, are mounted inside a watertight capsule.
As for the design, you are looking at the standard deep-V hull which is proving to be the best option for these mini speedsters. It offers great stability and anti-tilt capability, both of which are of crucial importance for your controlling experience.
Let’s start off with operating range – if you buy Pro Boat Shockwave you don’t even have to worry about it since you’ll lose track of it with your eyes before it runs out of range. With that being said, there’s surely more than 300 meters on this baddie. Additionally, this 26-inch RC boat with deep-V design sports the standard 2000Kv water-cooled brushless motor combined with 30A ESC. On the bright side, this ESC supports LiPo batteries which is something a lot of you will love to hear. On the bad side…
Similarly to 2 models featured above, Pro Boat Shockwave also needs a 2-3S battery in order to run. Of course, if you currently don’t own a single one of those, chances are high you will be looking for a charger as well. Make sure you don’t go for the cheapest one as it could potentially damage your batteries. More expensive LiPo charger means faster charging times and an extra dose of safety… and as always – safety first people!
1. Traxxas Blast
I suppose I should start off by stating that this is the ultimate RC boat that you can get for under $300. It has everything – awesome design, great transmitter, state of the art hardware and a trusted brand behind it. As you can see above, I am referring to Traxxas Blast, a magnificent RC boat that has no competition. It’s true – this boatie is a true champion in every sense of that word. You think I’m wrong? Well then, allow me to prove my opinion within the next couple of paragraphs!
As I’ve stated above, Traxxas is among the best brands in RC boats… as a matter of fact, Traxxas is among the best brands in the entire RC world. From drones, racing cars, trucks and boats – they cover it all. With all that in mind, it’s not that surprising to see state of the art hardware implemented in their mid-tier boat. For instance, Blast features fully waterproof electronics including Nautica ESC, servo, and their patented watertight receiver capsule. All this is required for a fully waterproof propulsion system that ensures your boat is running wild and free at all costs.
Moving forward, this 24-inch RC boat features a deep-V hull design along with aggressive graphics and clean finishing touches. To put it simply, it breathes quality! The same can be said about the provided TQ transmitter with ergonomic design and integrated antenna that doesn’t stick out from the build. If you are like me, then you’ve had a fair share of broken transmitter antennas. Accidents happen… especially when you’re in the hobby for a couple of years and enjoying it like a little kiddo. One trip and your transmitter falls from your hands – broken antenna… This won’t happen with Traxxas TQ so there is no need to worry!
Unfortunately, the stock configuration on Traxxas Blast isn’t capable of living up to its full potential. It is completely understandable though, as we are talking about a boat that costs roughly $250. With all stock parts inside, you can expect this birdie to cruise at slightly over 20mph. Not bad for a 24-inch model. However, the charm of Traxxas RC vehicles is in their upgradability. You see, that Nautica ESC I mentioned earlier accepts 18-turn motors. Get one of those bad boys and pair them up with a more aggressive prop and boom, you’ll be going over 30mph for approximately $300, including the Blast itself.
Another potential downside to some of you – Traxxas Blast doesn’t support LiPo. However, the stock battery doesn’t need an upgrade since it can provide juice for up to 20 minutes. Operating range is awesome too, goes way longer (we’re probably talking more than 300 meters here) than your line of sight on this 24-inch beauty.
Best RC Boats Under $300 FAQ
Brushed vs Brushless – Which is Better?
There are 2 types of electric motors used in RC boats as well as virtually all other types of RC vehicles. They are called brushed and brushless. The nomenclature may be simple but their respective mechanisms are nowhere near it. So, without much further adue let’s check out the main differences between them so you can get a better picture of which one fits your needs better:
Brushed motors are the most common ones that we see housed in RC boats. They are cheaper to manufacture and are generally more adopted by the manufacturers. They possess a commutator shaft alongside an armature, magnet and carbon brushes, hence the name brushed motors. The brushes cause friction by spinning against the commutator which completes an electrical circuit. Unfortunately, the brushes tend to wear out with time making brushed motors not the ideal solution when looking at the grand scheme of things. Furthermore, they are also giving only 60-70% of power efficiency meaning roughly 30% of your battery’s power is lost in the process.
With huge price drops and improvements in this branch of technology, brushless motors are becoming the first choice of many manufacturers. They offer better power efficiency as well as power/weight ratio which makes them a better choice over their brushed counterparts. Additionally, they can handle higher voltage meaning they can achieve faster speeds. Inside of their mechanism, there is a permanent rotating magnet and a static armature. Instead of a brush + commutator combination, brushless motors use an electronic controller. And finally, due to the lack of a brush, brushless motors are much more durable as well and require less maintenance in the long run.
How long does an RC boat last?
If you are careful with your RC boat and you take good care of it (maintenance-wise), any one of these models can last quite a long time. Of course, this depends on whether your model runs on brushed or brushless motors. Additionally, salt water also greatly affects your boat’s lifespan. That’s why, if you plan on using it in seas or oceans, you must rinse them out after each play session in order to keep their insides from rust. Oiling is a good method too and is bound to extend the lifespan of your purchase.[/toggle]
Which of these RC boats offers the best RTR experience?
First I need to clarify what RTR stands for in case there are beginners who are not yet familiar with RC boat’s nomenclature. RTR stands for ready to run and it represents a full package that’s… well… ready to run straight out of the box. As you could see above, 3 out of 5 models featured cannot work straight out of the box. They require batteries which means extra cost for beginners… and extra time spent on purchasing a good battery and its respective charger.
However, if you are a beginner and want something that you can simply unbox, charge and run, then your best option is Traxxas Blast. We are talking about probably the most popular RC vehicles brand out there. If that’s not enough for you, then perhaps consider the fact their Blast RC boat possesses solid stock performance and can be your training platform for DIY projects. Modding this beauty is a piece of cake and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it even more after your first successful upgrade
Which of these RC boats is the fastest one?
If you consider yourself a speed demon and you only want the fastest models available, then perhaps you should be looking at Costzon Volantex Vector 70. It is not an RTR model, I know… but if you’re a speed enthusiast chances are high you already have a couple of high C rated Lipos. If that’s really the case, then I warmly suggest going for this little bugger and pairing it up with a beefy 3S LiPo. You’ll be awarded with speeds over 35mph with a potent battery, no doubt about it.
Which of these RC boats gives the best value for money?
If you get a boner when seeing the words 50% off and you’re only looking for the best possible deals out there… then you must also be looking for the best RC boat your money can buy. If that’s really the case, then I strongly recommend taking a closer look at Feilun FT012. It’s a marvelous little bugger that costs just slightly over $100 but can provide you with an incredible experience. Both beginners and more experienced users will have their way with this one thanks to plenty of upgrades available on this entry-level build.
Whether you’re looking for speedsters, best value for money or RC boats with long runtimes, there is no doubt you don’t have to pay over $300. RC boat hobby might seem like a costly one at first, but in reality, you can get awesome models for just a fraction of the price you’d end up paying for, let’s say, a drone.
With that in mind, I’d like to conclude this article hereby expressing my gratitude to you for sticking to the very end. Hopefully, this article together with that list of 5 best RC boats under $300 will help you make up your mind and get the best possible RC boat that will suit your needs.
All the best,