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A Guide to Choosing the Best Remote Control Cars in 2017 for Your Kids

The best remote control (RC) cars for kids aren’t just toys that provide them with hours of fun driving, so to speak. They are also educational toys that develop their physical, mental and social skills in ways that will surprise parents.

These can even be used to teach kids science and technology concepts, especially in information and communication technology (ICT), in an enjoyable manner.

While the term “remote controlled” technically refers to devices that are connected to their controllers via wires and the term “radio controlled” refers to devices that are controlled via a radio-frequency link, these terms are usually used interchangeably.

Best RC Cars for Kids - Our Picks

With the following remote control cars designed for children, the cars are actually controlled via a radio-frequency link, the more common technology used in toys of this kind today.

1. 1/24 Scale Lamborghini Veneno Car Radio Remote Control Sport Racing Car by RW

Suitable for: 8 years old and up

Sleek, streamlined and stylish are the words used to describe the Lamborghini Veneno, which had a $4.5 million price tag at the time of its release in 2013. At that price, it’s considered as the world’s priciest production car.

The 1/24 scale of the luxury car can now be yours – or more appropriately, your child's – thanks to RW. The attention to detail also is amazing, with the Veneno’s wonderful styling copied in great detail onto the RC car.

The toy has a 10 mile per hour (mph) maximum speed, a fraction of the Veneno’s speed, but when it’s zooming around your home, it will look like the fastest car ever. The radio transmission of 30 to 40 meters allows your child to play with it without having to run after it all the time.

However, the low ground clearance can be a limitation since it can only be driven on a smooth, flat and even surface with the exception of a carpeted surface.

What's Great About It: We like the faithful reproduction of the Veneno’s exterior appearance, a reason in itself to buy it as part of a toy car collection. The wide transmission radius and fast speed makes it a joy to play with, as well as a great tool for encouraging your kids' love for science and technology. Your kids may not know it, but they’re also improving their hand-eye coordination, role-playing abilities, and creative skills when they are driving this car.

2. 1/14 Scale Ferrari LaFerrari Radio Control Model Car by RASTAR

Suitable for: 8 years old and up

The Ferrari brand is known for its lightning-fast speed, eye-catching red color, and the uber-luxurious features of its cars, so it is no wonder everybody wants to own one.

But since these are such expensive cars, the 1/14 scale LaFerrari RC car will have to do. Just don’t dismiss it easily as the toy truly looks like the real McCoy with its unique butterfly doors, Ferrari colors, and working lights.

The all-independent spring system and functional suspension system makes it a joy to navigate through the ins and outs of your home, as well as in outdoor areas with a smooth and flat surface, like skate parks. The radio controller, shaped like the LaFerrari’s steering wheel, has easy-to-control buttons for driving the toy car.

The toy car’s maximum speed of 10 mph may be negligible in comparison with the 220 mph top speed of the real car, but at its small size, it’s as fast as what your child will need it to be.

The 30 foot maximum remote control distance is a minor negative considering that many of the toys on this list have a longer transmission range. You will still find the car a worthy investment, nonetheless, since your child can get his physical exercise by running after it as it is about to go past its range.

What's Great About It: Car collectors will immediately recognize the toy car as the LaFerrari thanks to its faithful reproduction. This car is also an educational toy since kids learn to exercise greater control over the toy car with regular use.

3. 1/12 Scale Foxx S911 Monster Truck Electric RC Car Offroad 2WD by Hosim

Suitable for: 14 years old and up

Your older kids will want an RC car with more sophisticated features so the Foxx Monster Truck toy car is a perfect fit. The 35 mph top speed demands excellent reflexes to avoid frequent collisions and crashes. The power comes from its GP Brush 390 motor, which has a relatively simple control mechanism for easy maneuvering even in more extreme environments.

Of course, a powerful motor will be of little use when other aspects are deficient. The toy monster truck also has steering servos, rear wheel drive, an S-truck suspension system, and ball bearings, which are features designed to give the user superior control over it. With better control also comes better handling, performance and speed.

What's Great About It: The 100-meter transmission radius makes it ideal for racing purposes, while its powerful motor allows for fast speeds. Even its rubber tires and high profile are designed for racing so older kids will like playing with it on rougher terrain. The monster truck design also distinguishes it from the other RC cars for younger kids and toddlers.

​4. Newer 2.4 Hz Rock Crawler Radio Control Racing Cars by Babrit

Suitable for: 8 years old and up

The off-roader enthusiast will love the Newer Rock Crawler because it can actually handle certain off-road conditions very well. This is possible because it has the right features – full rubber tires designed with deep treads, an independent suspension system on each wheel, and shock-proof technology.

These features ensure that the toy car maintains excellent traction on virtually all types of ground, from smooth pavements to sandy beaches, and offers superior handling to the user.

The powerful electric motor can even tackle very steep inclines, which most RC cars for kids can’t do as well as this. There are obviously limitations to its performance as it’s still an RC car, so proper use is still a must.

What We Like about Its Product: The toy car lives up to its name since it can navigate rocky terrains like a real off-roader, even a monster truck in competitions. Plus, your kids can enjoy it for an hour or so while developing their social skills when taking turns and playing with their friends, as well as physical and mental skills, such as hand-eye coordination and athleticism.

​5. X9 Flying Quadcopter Remote Control Car and Quadcopter Drone

Suitable for: 12 years old and up

The X9 Flying Quadcopter is exactly what it sounds like – it can actually fly like a drone. Your kids can use it over areas where the other RC cars on our list cannot navigate.

The four rotor blades on each side of the Quadcopter lift the entire toy up into the air while the four extension rods support the wheels, thus maintaining stability when in flight. The toy can even perform 360-degree flips while in the air, so there’s always the vicarious thrill of the flight.

But the Quadcopter isn’t just for flying because it can also be used in land mode so beginners can get the hang of it first before operating it in fly mode. The toy car-and-drone also has beginner and expert modes so even older kids, teens and adults can enjoy flying it through the air and racing it on the ground.

What's Great About It: We like that it’s a 2-in-1 toy car so it’s double the fun. The different modes also expand the range of movements and types of terrains that it can be used on, thus providing your kids with more opportunities to expand their capabilities.

​6. My Easy RC Vehicle by Fisher-Price

Suitable for: 3 to 6 years old

Even toddlers and preschoolers can learn to control the My Easy RC Vehicle with a few practice sessions. The F1-styled miniature cars are specifically designed for safe use by younger kids. This is thanks to the absence of sharp edges, small components, and toxic materials.

Even the radio controllers are designed for ease of use since there are only four directional arrows – right and left, forwards and backwards – that can be learned well in 10 minutes or so.

The overall design is just as eye-catching. When you see it, your first thought will be about its adorable shape that your kids will like to play with even without the remote controller, using as a pull-along toy.

What's Great About It: The bright colors immediately attract the eyes, and these colors can also be used in color recognition lessons. The relatively slow speed is also appropriate for your kid's shorter legs, while the remote controller has large buttons for your kids’ fingers to push with ease.

7. HAK101 Invincible Tornado Twister Multifunctional Rechargeable RC Acrobatic Stunt Car by Haktoys

Suitable for: 3 years old and up

The HAK101 is yet another toddler-friendly RC car with fun features. Just as its name implies, it acts like a tornado twister in that even when it’s upside down, it can still be operated like a RC car. But it doesn’t stay upside down for too long as it will also correct itself – turn the right side up – even when it has already overturned.

The LED light effects add to the appeal of the toy car, especially for younger kids who are easily stimulated by its sights and sounds. The 15-minute runtime on a full charge can rain on your kids’ parade a little bit. The batteries have to be recharged for 2 to 3 hours before it is full and can be enjoyed again.

What's Great About It: We like the LED lights, zooming sounds, and stunt actions that make the HAK101 give good value for the money. The multiple stimulations, from both the sights and sounds, enhance your child's cognitive skills and imagination capability. You may even find them imagining it as a police car or an ambulance.

​8. 1/14 Scale 2962A Lamborghini Veneno Gravity Sensor Radio Control Vehicle by Holy Stone

Suitable for: 14 years old and up

Yet another outstanding scale model of the famed Lamborghini Veneno is the 1/14 Scale 2962A by Holy Stone. Such is the faithful representation of the ultra-luxurious, ultra-expensive car that it even has the small details accurately represented. Even teenagers like to imagine that they are behind the wheel of this toy car.

The remote controller has more buttons than the toddler-friendly controllers on our list, so more advanced skills are a must. The 20 mph top speed - which is very slow in comparison with the real Veneno - feels so real and your kids can even run alongside it as exercise. In fact, this is among the fastest car on our list of the best remote control cars for kids.

What's Great About It: The toy car brings the high-end gaming experience to the outdoors, so to speak, thanks to its responsive joystick. Your teen can control the car with just one-hand akin to being on a flight simulator in a game arcade. You will soon find that your teen has greater hand dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

​9. R/C Rock Crawler Extreme Radio Control Vehicle by Maisto

Suitable for: 8 to 15 years old

The term “extreme” has been overused for most consumer products, but the Rock Crawler Extreme lives up to its name. Its powerful performance comes from the combined power of two motors, which allow users to navigate it over smooth and rough areas.

The large tires with wide and deep treads provides excellent traction on sandy, rocky and sometimes even muddy areas, all while lessening the risk of skidding on slippery areas.

The tri-channel transmitter is also a great feature, since as many as three children can play with the Rock Crawler Extreme. This can set them up for a challenging play session that develops their sense of cooperation and competitiveness while improving their hand-eye coordination.

What's Great About It: The sporty design attracts the eyes at first while the sporty performance reinforces the idea that, indeed, it’s a four-wheel drive vehicle in miniature. Older kids will learn to use its various controls in maneuvering it over several types of terrain resulting in improved cognitive functioning, especially in problem solving.

​10. RC Bump ‘n Chuck Bumper Cars by Kid Galaxy

Suitable for: 6 to 12 years old

The Bump ‘n Chuck Bumper Cars allow your kids to relive the experience of riding in bumper cars at the local fair, arcade or theme park. There are two cars in the set with each car having its own remote controller. The cars are also designed like a hovercraft with a large fan motor at its rear, and each car actually has a name – Bump and Chuck.

Unlike many of the toy cars on our list, there’s an objective to the game – to bump the colorful cars against each other so that the other car’s driver is ejected from the seat. Whenever a driver is ejected, the affected car will emit a popping sound that adds another dimension to the game.

This is a competitive game although the toy cars can also be used for other play scenarios, such as racing and obstacle courses.

What's Great About It: We like that the two-car set encourages healthy competition, including the art of sportsmanship, as well as strategic thinking, effective hand-eye coordination, and fast muscle reflexes. Even bored pre-teens will find plenty of fun playing these cars.

​11. Stunt Car Double Sided Remote Control Car by KidiRace

Suitable for: 4 years old and up

The best thing about the KidiRace Double Sided toy car is that it can be operated whether it’s upside down or right side up. The secret is that both sides have wheels so there’s no right and wrong side to it.

Your kids can flip it any which way they want and it will still look like a sleek toy car with the relatively sophisticated features to match.

Aside from the double-sided feature, it also has a 360-degree spinning action so it can zoom in a straight line, spin around on its axis, and then zoom again. The LED lights complement the zooming and spinning actions for a stimulating show.

What's Great About It: The double-sided operation is a novelty for younger kids that can keep them entertained for as long the battery lasts. The combo of lights, zooming sounds, and spinning actions develop their senses, as well as their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

12. 1/72 Scale German Tiger I Panzer Tank with Remote Control by BlueFit

Suitable for: 1 year old and up

Parents who are military history buffs will likely buy the scale model of the German Tiger I Panzer Tank as a gift for their toddlers. The major exterior details of the legendary tank have been re-created in this palm-sized model so it can also be displayed as part of a collection.

But since it’s a toy car for toddlers and younger kids, it also has features designed to keep your kid's attention and encourage their imagination.

These include a 360-degree rotating turret that features a noticeable recoil action as if an actual cannon was shot. The fast speed can be made even faster by flicking on a switch while the monster engine’s rumbling sound mimics the real deal. Just think about it: A toy car that looks like a war tank that even adults will want to play with.

What's Great About It: Kids can use the toy tank as part of their history lessons, as well as imagine themselves operating it in the field. Even war veterans will find the realistic action a great opportunity to remember the lessons of war.

​13. 1/12 Scale F11 High-Speed Off-Road RC Car by Babrit

Suitable for: 12 years old and up

The F11 is known for its lightning-fast speed, especially on the racetrack. This reputation is the basis for the design of the 1/12 scale F11 toy car, which can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.

This isn’t a suitable toy for younger kids as the degree of control needed over it demands more advanced skills, especially in judging distances, maneuvering around obstacles, and adjusting speeds.

Unlike many of the sports toy cars in our list, the F11 has a high ground clearance that allows it to navigate both smooth and rough surfaces albeit only to a certain extent. For example, your teen can drive it over rocky terrain as long as the rocks will not reach the bottom of the car and damage the toy car’s undercarriage.

The wide wheelbase and fully independent suspension system contribute to its optimal maneuverability while its 390 motor ensures its powerful performance.

What's Great About It: The waterproof features make it such a practical all-terrain toy car that can be used even in rainy or snowy conditions. The sporty design looks great too, both when driving it around and when displaying it on a shelf.

​14. My First RC Go Go Baja Buggy by Kid Galaxy

Suitable for: 2 to 15 years old

The beauty of the Baja Buggy lies in its easy-to-control movements. Even your toddler can learn to drive it over smooth surfaces after a few tries on his own, while your older kids will have fun using its steering wheel-shaped radio controller.

The toy car itself has a durable body without sharp edges and small components, thus making it a safe toy to play with, no matter what ages your kids are.

The movements may be simple – forwards and reverse – but it’s exactly what kids will love about this car. Your children can master these basic motions first before progressing to the toy cars with more advanced controls.

What's Great About It: The simplicity of its design contributes to its suitability for toddlers. When they are properly taught to use its controls, they will soon learn the cause-and-effect relationship between moving the controls and seeing the effect it has on the toy car.

​15. RC Cartoon Race Car with Action Figure by Holy Stone

Suitable for: 18 months old and up

For optimal visual and mental stimulation, the Cartoon Race Car is a great choice. The honking sounds and catchy music, flashing headlights, and adorable colors all provide the stimulation that younger children need from their toys.

The forward and reverse movements are also easy to learn, while the left and right motions can only be done when it’s going in reverse, a unique feature.

What's Great About It: The combination of its features not only fosters imagination, but also develops your child's visual, auditory and tactile skills.

How We Picked these Top RC Cars

We had a challenging time picking our top 15 best RC cars for kids mainly because of the sheer number of available designs on the market. Even a simple online search will yield thousands of choices from dozens of well-known toy manufacturers.

We then had to narrow down the list by using the following criteria:

  • Reviews made by the buyers, such as the parents and their kids, on the online sites. We considered the pros and cons of the products to ensure that, indeed, we only included the best in the category. We obviously included only the RC cars with the highest ratings or the best reviews from the buyers.
  • Reputation of the manufacturer since it has an impact on the quality of the materials, design and features of the toy cars. We also looked at their track record in the industry, such as their awards and recognitions, as well as the possibility of recalls of their products, whether these are toy cars or other.
  • Suitability for the age level since there’s no one-size-fits-all category for these products. Each age group will have specific needs and wants in RC cars, particularly in terms of movements such as forward, reverse and spin, speed, and responsiveness to the controls. We chose products with more advanced features for your older kids and teens, while your toddlers and younger kids can enjoy the care that have LED flashing lights, honking horns, and zooming sounds.

We considered each of the toy cars' specific features, including the materials and design. The materials should be strong enough and the construction sturdy enough to withstand the demands of zipping, zooming and spinning over several types of surfaces. This is especially true for the four-wheeled, all-terrain RC cars that older kids are likely to play with on rougher ground.

We must emphasize that your choices from these products are yours to make. You, as the parent, have to make the decision based on your kids’ unique needs in an educational toy – and that’s exactly what RC toys cars are.

A Cost-friendly Alternative: Semi-Truck Toys for Kids

How Remote Control Cars Work

Let’s take a look at the ways that these toys work. Regardless of their overall design, remote controlled cars have two components:

  • The toy car itself is the part that kids get to control. It can come in several shapes, styles and sizes aside from vehicles, such as the Quadcopter. It also contains the receiver for receiving signals from the controller and the motor for its power, i.e. motorized movement.
  • The controller is the part that contains the directional arrows, joysticks, and buttons that make the toy car perform its movements. It can be something as simple as a handheld panel or as complicated as a grip with several buttons, a joystick, and indicator lights. Basically, the more complex the controller, the more varied the movements of the toy car.

Inside the controller is a radio device that sends radio transmissions to the toy car. The latter can pick up these signals on its tuned receiver, which is connected to the control circuitry. In turn, the control circuitry decodes the signals and moves the toy car according to the desired movement.

The time elapsed from the signal transmission to the movement performance happens in nanoseconds. The result is that the player finds that the toy car responds instantaneously to the controller’s commands.

Reasons for Choosing Battery-operated Toy Cars

As previously mentioned, these toy cars come in two types, namely, the electric-powered and the nitro-fueled ones. Between the two, the electric-powered or battery-powered option is the safest for your kids’ use for the following reasons:

  • The batteries require only recharging for use so your kids don’t have to deal with the potentially dangerous chemicals used in nitro-powered RC cars. As soon as the fully charged batteries are inserted into the proper slot, the RC car can be immediately used, even by younger kids without their parents worrying about chemical spills and other dangers.
  • The battery-powered RC cars are quieter and cleaner in the sense that these don’t require exhaust systems, unlike the nitro-fueled counterparts. The exhaustless system means that the toys can be operated inside closed spaces, such as in your home.
  • The powerful motors can rival the power and performance of the nitro-powered RC cars. This is because of the development of both brush and brushless motors in recent years.

In short, battery-operated RC cars are kid-friendly to use. Plus, parents will love that these toys are more affordable and easier to maintain than the nitro-fueled RC cars.

Their disadvantages, such as the lack of constant and steady power to the engine resulting in lower performance than their nitro-powered counterparts, can be overlooked in favor of optimal safety for your little ones.

Emphasis must also be made that these kid-friendly RC cars are powered by electricity, particularly by rechargeable batteries or electric motors.

These are the safest alternatives for kids to play with instead of the fuel-powered models, known as nitro cars, because their fuel consists of a mixture of oil, methanol and nitromethane. The electric cars are considered as the easiest for novices, especially children, to work with since these have safer power sources.

Remote controlled cars also come in two categories, as is the case for real vehicles. First, the on-road cars can only be used on smooth and paved surfaces, such as in driveways and on floors, since these may have a low profile and less robust suspension.

Second, the off-road cars can be used on non-paved terrains because they are designed with wide tires, high profiles and functional suspension.

Keep in mind, nonetheless, that even the best RC cars for kids have their limitations. Be sure to read the instruction manual first before using these toys, thus ensuring their long-term use.

Benefits of Playing with Remote Control Cars

Kids of all ages usually enjoy playing with RC cars because of their entertainment value. But parents know better – their kids are also acquiring physical, mental and social skills that are crucial in their overall development.

First, playing with RC cars can become a family bonding activity when parents and kids play together. Both can take turns playing with the RC cars, compete with each other in races, and bump against each other to dislodge the other driver. Even as the kids and parents pit their skills, they are also forming deeper emotional bonds by encouraging each other.

Second, children learn the value of personal responsibility, especially when they have to maintain and operate their RC cars. Think of these toys as pets, albeit ones that don’t need to be fed and sheltered. The sense of responsibility for maintaining its optimal performance, nonetheless, is similar.

Third, kids are also encouraged to play outdoors since RC cars are best operated in wide open areas, even in the back or front yard. In turn, the benefits of breathing in fresh air and engaging in physical exercise can be theirs to enjoy, especially when they have to run with their playmates in a race to the finish line for their toys.

Fourth, children also develop their physical skills, including the following:

  • Hand-eye coordination since controlling the RC cars over several types of terrain, including maneuvering it around obstacles, requires this skill. Kids have to develop their reaction speed – the speed with which their eyes see the RC car’s movements and their hands perform the right actions on the controller – in order to become better “drivers”.
  • Fine motor skills, which are used during the replacement of the batteries, are developed. Even the action of pushing on the controller’s buttons requires fine motor skills aside from the hand-eye coordination.
  • Gross motor skills since the use of RC cars also demands walking and running. For example, kids can race their RC cars over a smooth driveway and can then run after them.

Fifth, kids also improve on their cognitive skills when playing with RC cars. This is because they have to visually gauge the distance and depth of the running surface and, thus decide on the toy car’s direction.

But that’s not all – they must also ascertain the placement of objects, such as rocks and other RC cars, to decide on the appropriate movement, such as moving forward or backward, and left or right.

The boost in strategic thinking can be translated to everyday life. For example, your pre-teen can decide whether to proceed with climbing over an incline or not partly based on his experience with RC car operation. You will appreciate that he is able to analyze situations in a better manner and, thus make better decisions.

When RC cars are used for educational purposes, such as in a school setting, the benefits are even more wide-ranging in nature. Children who use RC cars in an ICT setting are able to:

  • Use everyday words in describing movement, direction and position
  • Control the toy car according to instructions (i.e. listening to and following instructions is an important life skill)
  • Work as a group, thus promoting teamwork, cooperation and coordination
  • Compete against each other in a fair manner
  • Take turns playing and sharing the toy
  • Differentiate between directions, which is a great skill for toddlers
  • Gain confidence in trying out new things
  • Establish a cause and effect relationship between the controller and the toy car (i.e. pushing the joystick to make the car move forward)

The bottom line: Buying RC cars and letting kids play with them, either on their own or with others, will result in great value for your money and great development for your kids.

Safety Guidelines When Playing with RC Cars

The best remote control cars for kids are designed with safety in operation as the topmost priority, and for a good reason. Younger kids can be injured by small parts, combustible chemicals, and sharp edges, among others. Older kids can also be in harm’s way when they are less informed about the safety measures when using RC cars.

Here then are our top tips in the safe operation of RC cars for kids of all ages:

  • Check that the RC car is, indeed, suitable for the kids who will be using it (i.e. that it is age-appropriate). We provided the “suitable for” section for this purpose since many of the toys can only be used by older kids because of the complex controls, among other reasons.
  • Never play with RC cars on roads, paths and driveways with actual vehicle traffic. The risk of injury for many people is too high to even think about doing otherwise. Emphasis must also be made that drivers of full-sized cars may swerve in order to avoid an incoming RC car or its operator. The risk is so high that, in many jurisdictions, it’s illegal to operate RC cars in certain high-traffic areas.

The best places to operate RC cars are inside homes, within the back and front yard, and in designated public areas in parks and the like. If necessary, be sure to ask permission from the property owners first since too many kids playing – running and shouting, for that matter – can become noisy.

  • Avoid using RC cars in wet environments, especially when your RC car isn’t designed for water resistance. An unsealed toy may deliver an electric shock when it’s handled when wet.
  • Always read the instruction manual before assembling, operating and recharging your RC car. This may not be a stimulating activity, but it’s a must to ensure that, indeed, you are using the toy as recommended by the manufacturer. You should also double-check about the toy car’s power capabilities, range of movements, and radio transmission range, as well as battery recharging and replacement.

Parents must also check that the RC cars are properly maintained. In battery-powered toys, the maintenance measures usually include cleaning the toy cars on a regular basis, recharging the batteries, and perhaps even oiling the moving parts in more complex models.

When kids already have advanced “driving” skills, parents can also allow the inclusion of challenges to the track. You can, for example, use rocks as obstacles, hula-hoops for jumping tricks, and sand pits on the racing track. You may even buy new RC cars to match the advanced skills levels of your kids and compete with them.

Conclusion

The best remote control cars for kids will only be beneficial for kids if and when they actually play with them. Parents may want to encourage their children to play with these toys instead of playing their video games on their mobile devices. Children can be motivated to do so when they see their parents also enjoying these toys.

We hope that our guide was helpful in your own search for the best RC cars for your children, from toddlers to teens.

    Sandra Cobain
     

    Sandra is the head of content for BestForTheKids. When she’s not busy crafting posts & researching about compelling content ideas, she can be spotted playing outdoors with her two adorable children.

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