Today, we’re checking out the best electric RC cars which are currently available on the market! As most of you know, electric RC cars take up the vast majority of the market. In translation, that must mean they are far superior to their nitro and petrol-powered counterparts. Well, in essence, they are – if not for much simpler maintenance then surely for far greater part availability and price tags.

When talking about the best electric RC cars out there, the first couple of brands that pop to mind are Traxxas, ARRMA and Redcat Racing. All three of these brands are available on Amazon. Sure there are several other notable competitors, but they’re either only available through retail stores or through direct purchases off their websites. Either way, as far as availability and shipping simplicity/speed goes, the following five electric RC cars are the ones you should aim for:

ImageNameTop speedSizeBatteryPrice
5. RR XBE PRO40mph1/10OptionalSee best offer
4. ARRMA Notorious40mph1/8OptionalSee best offer
3. RR Volcano35mph1/10OptionalSee best offer
2. ARRMA Kraton 8S55mph1/8OptionalSee best offer
1. Traxxas X-MAXX55mph1/6OptionalSee best offer

 

5. Redcat Racing Blackout XBE Pro

Redcat-Racing-Blackout-XBE-Pro_web

Let’s start off with a model that goes for around $250ish. At the time of writing, it was available for $240 on amazon, which is sort of the price you can expect on the low end. However, keep in mind that this package isn’t meant for beginners. While it does include the required transmitter and one battery, the power of this bad boy is way above beginners’ skill levels. After all, we are talking about the best electric cars out there, so go figure…

Sick Looks

When it comes to the looks, it doesn’t get any better than Blackout XBE Pro. This electric buggy is a 1/10 model featuring two canopy choices (red and blue), each capable of sweeping you off your feet. Ground clearance isn’t as high as on monster trucks, but the massive wheels get more aesthetical points, rounding off an already sleek, aggressive-looking design. Those big wheels not only look good but come in handy too. They’re the reason Blackout XBE Pro can run on all sort of terrain.

Great Value for Money

As mentioned above, you’ll have to splash out roughly $240 for this little bugger. For that price, you’re getting not just the car but a battery and the dedicated Redcat Racing transmitter too. Overall, we’re looking at great value for money here. Not just because of the packaging, mind you, but because of the sheer quality of the hardware. We’re talking about a 540 3800Kv brushless motor, 45A ESC, hexfly steering servo, adjustable shocks, suspensions and waterproof electronics. At this price point, it doesn’t get much better than this!

 

 

4. ARRMA Notorious 1/8

ARRMA-Notorious-1_8_web

Here’s a slightly bigger, 1/8 MODEL. This time around, we’re not looking at a buggy but a fully-fledged monster truck with massive ground clearance, huge wheels, and a giant spoiler running the show in the back end. Overall, ARRMA Notorious is a potent model coming in at roughly $500 to $600. No worries, its hardware is definitely capable of justifying the price tag!

Marvelous Hardware

ARRMA Notorious has four-wheel drive, just like the Blackout XBE Pro. It runs on the well-known BLX4074 2050Kv brushless motor that’s no slouch when it comes to explosive torque or high top speeds. The controlling portion of the electronics falls in hands of the potent BLX185 ESC which supports 6S LiPo batteries. On top of all that, Notorious also sports ADS-15M waterproof metal-geared servo which ought to help make your life easier in tricky situations.

Best of all – it comes with Spektrum’s STX2 Radio featuring the standard SRX200 receiver. It’s the ultimate long-range combination that’ll provide you with lag-free controls on massive distances. The only thing you need to get this thing up and running are quality LiPo batteries. As mentioned above, the provided ESC is capable of running 6S so get that combo up ASAP!

Great for Virtually Everything

By looking at the hardware list above, it takes no genius to realize what a powerhouse ARRMA Notorious 1/8 electric RC monster truck is! It’s going to excel in everything you throw at it, including demanding, off-road terrain packed with obstacles of all heights. This thing is powerful, there’s no doubt about that, and its power is not to be taken for granted. In other words, Notorious is not for kids! It’s for adults – teenagers at best, so make sure it’s in the right hands!

 

 

3. Redcat Racing Volcano EPX Pro

Redcat-Racing-Volcano-EPX-Pro_web

Here’s another Redcat Racing model. This time around, we’ll be checking out the Volcano EPX Pro. At the moment, it goes for roughly the same amount of money like the aforementioned Blackout XBE Pro, but sports a different set of hardware and a much different chassis.

Superb Monster Truck

First of all, you need to understand that we’re talking about a surprisingly good monster truck here. Not only does it have massive clearance but also huge wheels. These wheels are half the story here, as they allow this bad boy to overcome all sorts of obstacles, big and small.

This 4WD monster truck sports oil-filled shocks, front and rear gear differentials, sturdy bearings, and fully adjustable suspensions. The looks and terrain dampening of this bugger are great, but wait till you hear about the platform it’s running on…

Affordable AIO Package

This thing runs on 3300Kv brushless RC5540 electric motor coupled together with a massive (and waterproof) 60A ESC.  The servo is waterproof too, which means an added level of security and splash resistance during runs on wet, muddy terrains.

Last but not least, Redcat Racing has gone out of their way yet again, showcasing a full all in one package with a LiPo battery (2S 3500mAh 15C LiPo) as well as its charger, and dedicated transmitter. In other words, their Volcano EPX Pro makes for a great first-time electric RC car… or should I say monster truck. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

2. ARRMA Kraton 8S

ARRMA-Kraton-8S_web

People often refer to ARRMA Kraton 6S as the poor man’s Traxxas XMAXX: However, with the arrival of the bigger, (arguably) better ARRMA Kraton 8S, is now finally the time to dethrone Traxxas’ best-ever electric RC car model? Let’s see…

Undisputed Performance

Let’s start off by stating that ARRMA Kraton is not a kids toy. This thing is dangerous! Not only is it massive (1/5 model), but it’s also more powerful than all aforementioned models. This thing can cause serious injuries and property damage, so make sure you (or whoever will be operating this thing) are fully aware of that.

Hardware-wise, we’re looking at Spektrum’s waterproof S905 steering servo featuring metal gears. On top of that, this thing packs the impressive 160A waterproof electric speed controller, in charge of synchronizing your commands, the battery’s voltage, and the motor’s performance. It’s a smooth ride all along, no worries, all thanks to a powerful 32-bit microprocessor and a hefty Spektrum 4685 1250Kv brushless motor. This thing can go beyond 55mph, which is absolutely ridiculous for an electric RC car of this size.

Too Similar to Traxxas XMAXX

There’s one thing that bothers me with the 8S version of ARRMA Kraton – it’s looks just like its direct competitor, Traxxas XMAXX: I get the folks over at ARRMA wanted the consumers to know who they’re targeting with this 8S version, but perhaps there’s just too much similarities. Luckily, we’re not just looking at the 6S model with a bigger chassis and wheels.

Most parts have been made from scratch and it really shows – ARMA Kraton 8S belongs to the best electric RC cars out there, that’s for sure. Perhaps it’s even better than Traxxas XMAXX, in certain departments, of course.

 

 

1. Traxxas XMAXX

traxxas-xmaxx_web

Yeah, as if there were any doubts as far as the king of all-electric RC cars goes. Traxxas XMASS is a giant machine. Just like ARRMA’s 8S Kraton, this thing is not to be taken for granted. It sports immense power and can be too much to control for even highly experienced users. But, if you know your way around the RC cars’ hobby, then you’ll definitely like what this bugger has to offer!

Traxxas’ Perfection

First off, let’s go through its hardware really fast! Starting off with the motors, we have a 1275Kv sensorless brushless motor that’s operating through the new VXL 8S ESC. All other parts are outright premium too, including oil-filled GTX shocks, waterproof steering servo, and extra rigid chassis. Best of all, it’s easy to repair too with tons of tutorials, guides and even the smallest parts available on both Amazon and Traxxas official website.

The Ultimate Off-road Beast

Even though people primarily buy these suckers because of their off-road capabilities, Traxxas XMAXX does equally well both on and off the road. That’s because of its massive oil-filled shocks, smooth steering servo, sturdy chassis and pretty impressive ground clearance. It’s the choice of RC enthusiasts worldwide and that alone means a great deal. It’s gorgeous, powerful, and easy to repair… what more could you want from an electric RC car?

 

 

Types of Electric Motors

There are two types of motors powering electric RC cars. Brushed motors, as their name suggests, use a brush (typically made of copper, graphite or silver) that convert electricity into motion. Brushless motors, on the other hand, are much more complex, featuring windings on the stator instead of the rotor, which is coated with magnets.

Both of these types of motors are still used across the RC spectrum. You can find out more about their pros and cons right down below:

Brushed-Motors-vs-Brushless-Motors

Brushless

Pros

  • Much longer lifespan than brushed motors
  • Significantly smaller and lighter too
  • They perform better in terms of weight/power ratio
  • Provide more value for money in the long run

Cons

  • When it comes to the price, brushless motors are rather expensive
  • They require electric speed controllers (ESCs)
  • More difficult to control the low-end speeds
  • Difficult to master for off-road use

 

Brushed

Pros

  • Fairly simple and reliable
  • Possess more power for tight, low-speed driving on rough terrain
  • Much cheaper than their brushless counterparts
  • Highly configurable voltage-wise

Cons

  • Lower speed range than brushless motors
  • Lesser power efficiency
  • Much shorter life span
  • Require maintenance and periodic repairs

 

Which batteries are the best?

Generally speaking, there are four main types of batteries used in electric RC cars. Each of them has their own unique characteristics, different use cases, and different pros and cons. They are as follows.

different types of batteries

Alkaline

Alkaline batteries are your typical AA or AAA batteries. They cannot be recharged which makes them environmentally unfriendly. Most commonly, Alkaline batteries are used for powering transmitters.

NiCd

Nickel Cadmium batteries are rechargeable. They used to be very popular but are now deemed as environmentally unfriendly and commonly avoided across numerous industries. On top of that, they are prone to the so-called memory effect.

NiMH

Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are robust and can be recharged numerous times. They are easy to maintain and quite durable, enjoying longer life spans than most other battery types.

LiPo

Lithium Polymer batteries have numerous characteristics that set them apart from other battery types and make them the ultimate choice for best electric RC cars. They are insanely popular across the entire RC genre because of their superb energy density and consistent (but powerful) discharge. They do have their downsides – primarily shorter lifespan and higher volatility.

 

What About the Best Brands?

When it comes to the best LiPo batteries’ brand out there, I honestly can’t recommend anything other than SMC Racing. They have a wide variety of options available and really pack the strongest punch. On top of that, they’re also very reliable and often recommended across numerous Reddit posts and forums dedicated to the best electric RC cars. You really can’t go wrong with them!

The only downside is the fact that they’re not available on Amazon. They’re only available for direct order. That’s actually a positive side too since that’s the way they’re managing to keep their prices extremely competitive. Real talk here, they are the best price/performance ratio available out there, and I have to recommend them!

 

Pay attention to the capacity!

The next thing we’re going to talk about here is the battery capacity. The more capacity there is, the heavier the battery is going to be. The heavier the battery, the bigger the carload/mass, the more the motor has to work. The car will be much more sluggish and you could even risk burning out internal hardware if you go with a way too big battery.

It’s for the best to just stick to the manufacturer’s specified capacity. Usually, this information is available on the manual or the pamphlet that comes with the package. If you want to test out your luck, you can try upping the capacity in 5% incrementations with different battery brands. Or, better yet, you can search around on various electric RC cars forums to see the experiences of others using batteries with higher/lower capacities. That’s probably your best bet if you want a

off-road-rc-trucks

 

Are these electric RC cars suitable for first-time users?

Even though there’s nothing stopping beginners from trying out the aforementioned models, I’d suggest sticking to less powerful models until the adequate experience is obtained. You see, some of these bad boys are well beyond the skill level of a beginner, God forbid a first-time user. They’re tricky to control, have way too much torque, and could be a potential danger to other people (and their property) if handled by a beginner.

So yeah, while a beginner could control them, be it for a short period of time, I suggest a far less powerful build for a first-time model. It’s merely a safety precaution, is all!