The 10 Best RC Boats

Updated August 24, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best RC Boats
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Just because it'll be a few more years before you can afford that yacht you've had your eye on doesn't mean you can't get out on the water in some kind of style today. With one of these remote controlled boats, you'll find yourself in thrilling, breakneck races as easily as you might gently cruise around the pond, all depending on what kind of RC model floats your boat (groan). When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rc boat on Amazon.

10. Germany Bismarck Military Battleship

With the Second World War now reasonably far behind us, it probably isn't treasonous to own an exact 1:360 replica of the Germany Bismarck Military Battleship. Just don't go launching an all-out attack on the first Allied boat you find motoring around your lake.
  • comes factory preassembled
  • easily reaches 10 mph
  • short operating range
Brand Unknown
Model BHT3827, HT-3827, HT382
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Radio Ranger II Fishing

The Radio Ranger II Fishing is built for use on larger bodies of water where you might want to send the ship out across a distance, as its radio frequency reaches up to 400 feet. Its detachable fishing rig can actually snare fish.
  • illustrated instruction manual
  • integrates with full-size rods
  • no reverse function
Brand Fish Fun Co.
Model Radio Ranger
Weight 10 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. UDI Venom

The UDI Venom features a remote with intuitively placed controls, as well as an instruction manual that teaches you how to make special maneuvers. It offers up to three hours of drive time but, unfortunately, it's hard to correct when it capsizes.
  • up to 15-mph speeds
  • quickly responds to commands
  • flips over in unstable waters
Brand UDI RC
Model UDI001-O
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Pro Boat Blackjack Catamaran 24

The Pro Boat Blackjack Catamaran 24 offers 30-mph speeds without a sacrifice in stability thanks to its offset rudder. Its deceptively small size will amaze the unknowing enthusiast, as it isn't common for boats this tiny to go so blazingly fast.
  • waterproof electronic components
  • sticks to the water well
  • 5-minutes battery life at full power
Brand Pro Boat
Model PRB08007
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. GordVE Red

The upper rim of the hull on the GordVE Red is protected by a thick, black bumper designed to absorb impacts, whether they be from stationary objects or other boats. An aerodynamic spoiler and anchor decal augment its sleek build.
  • speeds up to 20 kph
  • sharp turning radius
  • limited 50-meter range
Brand GordVE
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Traxxas Spartan

The Traxxas Spartan is capable of hitting over 50 MPH using optional LiPo batteries, but don't expect such speeds to come without an expense. Equipped with a Velineon 540XL brushless motor, this model is clearly intended for serious enthusiasts.
  • heavy-duty 12-gauge wiring
  • all-metal drive controls
  • easy to steer at top velocity
Brand Traxxas
Model 57076-4 RED
Weight 10.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

4. SZJJX Shuang Ma Electric

The SZJJX Shuang Ma Electric boasts an anti-interference controller that can stay connected to your vessel even if there are a lot of other boats under command across similar frequencies. A brass contact on the propeller keeps the motor from running out of water.
  • 100-meter range
  • automatic 180-degree flipping
  • no wall charger included
Model pending
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

3. Traxxas DCB M41 Brushless Catamaran

The high-performance propeller on the Traxxas DCB M41 Brushless Catamaran is designed to get the hull of the vessel on plane quickly without succumbing to cavitation. As far as the paint job goes, well, it's possible that the engineer lost a bet.
  • runs at up to 50 mph
  • automatic steering corrections
  • solid drive and control mountings
Brand Traxxas
Model 57046-4
Weight 10.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

2. Blexy Electric Speed

The dual hatch design of the Blexy Electric Speed adds an extra layer of waterproofing to the hull and motor housing, so little bumps and bangs along the way are less likely to flood the engine room. This model has a self-righting mechanism that keeps it from capsizing.
  • data feedback on remote
  • charges in just 2 hours
  • weighs under one kilogram
Brand Blexy
Model pending
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. KingPow Tempo H100

The deep blue KingPow Tempo H100 is a large racer, so you can always spot it on the water, and you can drive it far afield with its 150-meter-range remote. It can reach speeds of 30 kilometers per hour, and it has an easy trigger operation.
  • made from impact-resistant materials
  • anti-tilt modular design hull
  • controller has an lcd screen
Brand KingPow
Model pending
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

A Brief History Of Radio Control

Radio control is an old technology that has been around since the 1898 when Nikola Tesla designed the first ever radio controlled boat and demonstrated it to a stunned crowd at Madison Square Garden. Not long after that in 1903, Lonardo Torres Quevedo built the first RC apparatus at the Paris Academy of Science, the Telekino. He used electromagnetic waves to remotely control a robot, running it through a serious of commands. WWII prompted further development of the technology when Archibald Low created a radio controlled aerial drone plane for the Royal Flying Corps in 1917, which was to be used as a guided bomb.

Later on in 1937, William and Walter Good constructed the first RC airplane, "Big Guff". They pioneered the vacuum tube-based control system and paved the way for hobby RC crafts. Starting in the late 1940s, a number of other RC designs emerged and the RC craft hobby market was born.

The initial focus of early RC controlled vehicles was on boats and airplanes, but 1967 saw the beginning of RC hobby car racing and then in 1968, Dr. Dieter Schulter built the first RC helicopter. RC hobby technology continued to develop into the 1970s when integrated circuits allowed for the production of smaller and cheaper electronic control systems, helping RC crafts gain mass popularity.

Radio remote control systems continued to miniaturize and become more affordable well into the 1990s, and by the 2000s RC became commonplace for even the smallest and cheapest of toys. Nowadays, RC is so advanced that it is being used for interplanetary exploration vehicles like the Mars rovers.

Types Of RC Boats

There are 6 main types of RC boats you will find for commercial sale, and most of the powered types can be found in gas, nitro, or electric-powered models. Fun sport boats are by far the most common and the most popular among casual hobbyists. In the past, gas-powered RC sport boats were faster, but with recent advancements in lithium polymer batteries and brushless motors, electric-powered models can be just as fast these days.

High-end electric hobby quality sport boats start at around 20 MPH with some capable of speeds over 40 MPH right out of the box, and reaching over 60 MPH with some modifications. At the toy grade level, RC sport boats often top out at 15 MPH.

RC sailboats are wind-powered, like their larger brethren. In addition to using radio waves to control steering, they also utilize it to adjust the position of, or trim, the sails. Both RC sailboats and RC sport boats are available in racing models, with the racing of RC sailboats being governed by the International Sailing Federation, which is the same organization that governs full-sized crewed sailboats.

There are also RC scale boats, which are exact replicas of full-size boats and, as the name implies, built to scale of their larger counterparts. They range from miniature models small enough to fit into the palm of your hand to large, trailer-transported models. While it is categorized as a different type of RC boat, scale model tug boats are similar to other scale model RC boats, but these generally often include a scale drive system.

An interesting offshoot of RC boats is the competitive combat boat. These are built like real warships and designed to fire some kind of projectile at opposing ships in the hopes of damaging or even sinking them. These models are often simplified as they tend to need repairs on a regular basis.

Choosing The Right RC Boat

Deciding which type of RC boat is the best choice is a personal endeavor, and depends entirely on where and how you want to use it. If you are buying one as a gift for a child or to use periodically on the weekends when you take your kids to the park, a toy-grade sport boat is usually a good choice. They are easy to control and can be found in nearly every price range.

On the other hand, if you enjoy speed, plan on using your RC boat regularly and are willing to spend a little more for something that really flies over the water, you might want to look at hobby-grade RC boats or RC sport racing boats. Mechanically inclined people who enjoy working on engines, might prefer gas-powered models as they have working combustion engines that may be easy for them to maintain and modify.

If you are in pursuit of a more leisurely repast, an RC sailboat is probably your best bet. They require the least amount of maintenance and can be the most fulfilling in terms of boat-handling skills. As with full-sized sailboats, they require you take things like wind direction and speed and water currents into account. They can also be great practice for people looking to improve their real life sailing skills, as they can help you gain a deeper understanding of the best sailing techniques and tacking approaches.

If you are a military buff, then you'll probably have the most fun with an RC combat boat, you may just want to look into RC combat boat clubs in your area first, as a combat boat with no opponents might get boring pretty quickly.

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Last updated on August 24, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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