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RC Buying Guide

Radio Control (RC) Buying Guide

RC Hobbies is a popular hobby that involves driving, racing or flying radio controlled (RC) products. These can be products such as RC cars, RC trucks, RC boats, RC Quadcopters / drones, etc. RC hobbyists are attracted to this hobby for some of the following reasons:

  • It is a hobby you can do outdoors 
  • It is a hobby that spans all ages -- from children to seniors
  • It is a hobby you can enjoy on your own, but also one that you can enjoy with your friends, spouse or partner, children, teens and grandchildren. You can also enter competitions and join clubs and compete/race with other hobbyists
  • It is a great hobby to get your kids/ teens involved with, as it gets them away from the TV, PC, Game box, texting and gets them outside doing something they enjoy. It is also great for parent/child/teen bonding as you race together, and repair or upgrade RC products together
  • Most types of RC hobbies are easy to learn, but also provide ongoing challenges in improving and broadening your skills,
  • It is a hobby you can do in both urban and rural environments

The goal of this guide is to help you make an informed decision as to what kind of hobby-class RC product may best fit your needs and budget. It will also assist you if you are purchasing a RC product for someone special in your life.

The first thing you need to do (if you have not done so already) is to determine what category of RC products you are interested in. Radio Control Hobbies now encompasses a wide range of different products and categories. The main categories of RC products include:

  • RC Cars  ( on- road racing or RC drift cars)
  • RC Buggies
  • RC Trucks
  • RC Rock Crawlers
  • RC Boats and Sailboats
  • RC Airplanes and Jets
  • RC Quadcopters and Drones
  • RC Helicopters

The first four categories of products above are usually the best choice for your first RC product, unless you or the person you are buying for has a strong interest in one of the other categories. They have the advantage of being easy to learn, and being a product you can use almost anywhere.

While each category of RC products will provide plenty of challenge and opportunity to refine your skills, some categories are easier to learn that others.  If we rank the RC product categories from easiest to learn to most difficult, they would roughly be as follows:

  1. RC cars, buggies, trucks, and rock crawlers
  2. RC Boats and Sailboats
  3. RC Quadcopters and Drones
  4. RC Airplanes
  5. RC helicopters ( Series 250 and above class helicopters)

One of the other important aspects to understand is size . Sizes are most often refered to as scale, which is a rough approximation of what fraction of a real size vehicle it represents  -- so a 1/10 scale car is roughly 1/10 the size of a real car.   Scales generally range from 1/24 ( quite small) to 1/5 scale ( fairly large). some examples of actual RC vehicle dimensions are:

  • 1/16 scale  9.5"- 14" long (25-35cm)
  • 1/10 scale   14"-16"  long (36-40cm)
  • 1/8 scale     19" - 25" long (49-65 cm)

The most popular size is 1/10 scale, followed by 1/8 scale

Once you have decided what category of RC Hobbies you are interested in, then you will also need to consider some of the following factors:

  • What is your budget
  • Where do you want to use your RC Product ( on–road or off-road, park, club, etc.) Some products can be used virtually anywhere, while others can only be used in specific areas.
  • How difficult is it to learn to operate the RC product
  • Are you or the person you are purchasing this for mechanically challenged?
  • What scale (or size) of product do you want ?– for instance, RC vehicles come in scales from 1/24 scale ( smallest) to 1/5 scale (largest)
  • Age of the user?
  • Do you want an electric (brushed or brushless) or a nitro gas powered RC Product?
  • Is this a hobby you want to do with your son, daughter, spouse?

We will provide additional information on some of the above question in other sections of this guide.

When purchasing an RC product or comparing RC products, it is important to understand if the product is RTR ( ready-to-run), and what else you may need to be able to use the product. Some products may be sold without the radio gear, or without the main battery, which makes them appear less expensive, however you will need these components to be able to use the product and therefore it is important that you look at the total cost when comparing prices.  

More detailed Information can be found in the following sections of this guide



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