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RC Gift Buying Guide for Christmas , Birthdays, etc.

Radio Control (RC) Gift Buying Guide / Ideas  for Christmas, Birthdays, etc.

Radio Control hobby products make great gifts for birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day and other special occasions.  They are gifts that help get your kids and teens get outside and away from the TV and their internet devices.  They are a great gift for hard to buy for dads, husbands, nephews, and boyfriends. They also a great Father –son/daughter  bonding activity as it is a hobby they can do together.

The most common RC products include RC cars, trucks, buggies, rock crawlers, airplanes, boats and Drones, which are controlled and operated by a radio-based controller.  The key things that distinguish a hobby-class RC product from their toy equivalents are:

-    Much better quality

-    They are repairable (and parts are available) versus throw away

-    Much higher performance and capability

-    Up-gradable and customizable

-    More challenging  and more enjoyable

So the next thing to figure out, is what kind of RC product may be best gift.

These considerations include:

  1. Budget?  -- - RC Hobby –class products start around $100 and can run into the $1000s, but you should be able to get good quality products in most areas in the $150 – 400 area, if you are not stuck on a particular brand. If your budget is constrained or you are not sure how enthused they are about RC hobbies, it may be wiser to purchase good quality off-brand product as they are usually significantly lower cost, and represent much better value. These better value products are readily available from internet vendors such as RC Hobbies Outlet

  2. What are they interests? --Has the person you are buying an RC product for, shown interest in any particular area – vehicles such as cars, buggies or trucks, rock crawlers ( these are trucks designed to climb over obstacles and rough terrain) , or in flying airplanes, helicopters or Drones,  or in a RC boat for the local pond or the cottage

  3. What is their age and skills?    If this is for a child under 11, we would recommend an electric 1/10 scale or 1/16 scale vehicle such as a car, buggy, or truck with a brushed motor, or a rock crawler.  These vehicles are not as fast, and are easy to operate.  If the child is 10-12 and they have shown some skill in operating radio control toys, you should also consider a car, buggy or truck with brushless motor technology.  These are considerably faster and will hold the recipients interest for much longer.  If the recipient is older than 12, then we would recommend vehicles  with brushless electric technology, unless they want a drift car or a rock crawler ( brushed motors are fine for these types of vehicles).  For someone over 14, any RC product is generally  OK with the following caveats:

o   Many RC products are also available with nitro gas engines, but these are more suited for someone with a mechanical aptitude ( see article  the pros and cons of nitro gas versus electric). Although nitro gas powered vehicles are not difficult to operate, - if the person is mechanically challenged, it is best to purchase an electric motor powered RC product.

o   If they will want to operate the vehicle on the grass or on a dirt track, purchase a RC 1/10 or 1/8 scale buggy or truck.   RC on –road Cars work best on smooth surfaces, and vehicles smaller than 1/10 scale , may not have enough ground clearance to drive on grass.

o   It will take longer to learn how to fly RC airplanes, Drones , Quadcopters well, and they will need a large open space to learn, perseverance, and require good eye –hand coordination. For RC airplanes, they may need to join a local flying club          

The most popular products have been RC trucks , RC Buggies, RC Drift Cars and RC Rock Crawlers, although all products make great gifts depending on the interests of the recipient. 

If your budget allows, you may also want to consider an extra battery for electric RC products for more play time,  or a Nitro starter kit for Nitro gas powered vehicles.