The 10 Best RC Cars
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in March of 2015. It's hard to categorize these remote control cars as toys when some can fly at over 40 miles per hour (which is faster than your granddad ever goes in his full-size vehicle). So if you find yourself feeling the need for speed, the RC models below will help you get your fix — without ever having to worry about getting pulled over. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best rc car on Amazon.
Off To The Races
This is a measurable human sympathetic response, and the same thing occurs when we see a NASCAR race or watch a NASA rocket launch.
The cars on this list all run on different rechargeable batteries, while other RC vehicles run on oil mixtures not unlike what you might find in a lawnmower.
We satisfy our need for speed in a number of ways. Running satisfies it to some extent, but it requires a transcendence above the limited means of the human body and an exploitation of our mind's ability to use tools and create machines to give us the rush we've come to desire. From the bicycle at is simplest to the 2,193.2 mph-record-holding SR-71 Blackbird, humans search high and low for our fast fix.
One of the great things about the experience of speed is that we can empathize with it. How does that work? Well, if a chef were to pick up a pepper, her brain would, among many other things, emit specific mu waves associated with voluntary motion. The sous chef sees her action, and he, too, emits the same pattern of mu waves, even though his hands are empty.
This is a measurable human sympathetic response, and the same thing occurs when we see a NASCAR race or watch a NASA rocket launch. In the case of these RC cars, our pleasure is only exacerbated by our control over their speed and their handling. Our brains actually experience the cars as though we're driving them.
On a technical level, these cars operate with an array of potential power systems. The cars on this list all run on different rechargeable batteries, while other RC vehicles run on oil mixtures not unlike what you might find in a lawnmower.
The RC itself stands for Radio Controlled, and each of these vehicles comes with a unique radio controller that emits a 2.4 GHz frequency signal across which you convey your intentions to a receiver in the car that's connected both to the engine and the steering system.
Form And Function Both Go Fast
At first glance, even if they are a little bigger than the RC units you might find for a handful of dollars at a toy store, there isn't much about these RC cars that screams their superiority. The price tags on some of them will certainly do that for you, but there are some incredibly good cars on this list for a fraction of the cost of our top-rated RC vehicles.
The range in price is so broad in this category, that it's liable to be the first thing that places you in a certain bracket. What I'd like to do, however, is to talk about these cars as though money were no object, which will give you the most honest appraisal of each racer's appeal.
Ask yourself if you actually want to take this thing out of the box and use it, and, if you do, over what kind of terrain you want to take it.
Disregarding cost for a moment, you can ask yourself what it is you'd really like to do with your RC car. If you're looking to race competitively, even in a friendly fashion, you'll want to figure out the balance between speed and handling that suits your racing style the best.
I remember, playing racing video games growing up in the arcade, I could always beat a kid who raced with the fastest car on the selection screen if I chose a slightly slower model that had much better handling. Even with a straightaway at the end of the course, I'd have gained enough ground on him to box him out completely in the final leg.
There's the potential to treat these cars as collectables, as well, especially the models that are scale replicas of cars you'd see out in the real world. They're often well-equipped for racing on track and terrain, but their manufacturers derive some of their pricing policy from the potential for resale down the line, should you keep it in mint condition.
Ask yourself if you actually want to take this thing out of the box and use it, and, if you do, over what kind of terrain you want to take it. Are you track racing? Are you running a miniature version of a rally race? Once you get a handle on your intention, you can look back over the price options among what's left to you, and make an informed and exciting decision.
A Race Against Time
Although RC boats and other vehicles have been around since Nikola Tesla first demonstrated radio control in 1898, it wasn't until the 1960s that the nuances of radio control would be articulate enough to control an RC car. The problem was that radio signals before then were more or less binary, limiting operators to forward, reverse, left, right, stop, and go, with no touch between anything.
The company followed the success of their first Ferrari replica with a 1:10 scale version of Ferrari's P4.
The development of what's called proportional radio control gave manufacturers the last tool they needed to create an RC car that could actually provide its user with a driving experience.
With this new technology in hand, the earliest RC cars on the market came from an Italian company back in 1966. They were 1:12 scale replicas of the Ferrari 250LM, and by December of that year, they were available as far off as the UK. The company followed the success of their first Ferrari replica with a 1:10 scale version of Ferrari's P4.
The 1970s saw an enormous growth in RC car associations, both for the purposes of racing the cars and of building them from scratch or modifying existing models. Those organizations persist today, even if the popularity of the cars hasn't been able to regain the heights it once reached.
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