With so many options on the market, choosing the right RC car can be overwhelming for new hobbyists. In this ultimate guide, we will survey the best RC car brands and highlight the strengths of each, whether you’re looking for an affordable starter model for casual bashing, a competitive race car, or a highly detailed trail truck. By considering your budget, interests, and skill level, you can determine which brand is the best fit to maximize your enjoyment of this exciting hobby.

Best RC Car Brands for Beginners

1. Traxxas – Wide range of models at affordable prices, great parts support

Best RC Car Brands: Traxxas

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I understand the importance of finding an affordable, durable model when you’re just dipping your toes into the hobby. That’s why I recommend Traxxas to all newcomers. With over 30 years of innovation under their belt, Traxxas has cemented themselves as the go-to brand for newbies. Their Rustler, Bandit, and Stampede models offer the perfect mix of performance, bashability, and value. Equipped with foolproof TQ radios and Traxxas’ ubiquitous parts support, you can beat these trucks to your heart’s content with full confidence that replacement arms are just one click away!

2. Arrma – Durable low-cost models good for bashing

Best RC Car Brands: ARRMA

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Arrma has captured the attention of the RC world by delivering rugged, aquatic vehicles ready for abuse right out of the box. I’m quite partial to their Typhon buggy, a fast and tough basher perfect for learning the ropes without worrying about expensive repairs. Thanks to smart parts sharing across models, Arrma vehicles feature impressive durability and longevity for the cost. If you want cheap, cheerful, bashable fun, Arrma is a top choice.

3. Redcat Racing – Very affordable ready-to-run models, good starter choice

Best RC Car Brands: Redcat Racing

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If keeping costs low is your top priority, Redcat Racing has revolutionized entry-level RC cars with their wallet-friendly models. Having owned a Lightning EPX myself, I can attest that these trucks deliver good bang for your buck. While performance is modest, Redcats are easy to wrench on and upgrade down the road. If price alone steers your decision, definitely give Redcat a test drive. You’ll be grinning ear to ear without breaking the bank!

Best RC Car Brands for Experts and Enthusiasts

1. Losi – High performance race-ready models, great aftermarket parts

Best RC Car Brands: Losi

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Losi’s reputation in RC circuits is unmatched, thanks to race-ready beasts like the 22S buggy and Baja Rey truck. Out of the box, these vehicles are dialed for blazing laps and holeshot victories. The adjustable suspension and intelligent differentials carve corners like a samurai sword. With a massive aftermarket backing them, you can fine-tune Losi cars until they practically drive themselves. If you’re looking to dominate races, Losi is the clear choice.

2. Team Associated – Legendary name in RC racing, high-end race models

Best RC Car Brands Team Associated

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Speaking of racing legends, Team Associated set the gold standard decades ago and continues to live up to their “Designed to Win” motto. As a long-time Associated fanboy, their meticulous engineering and attention to detail gives me goosebumps. Whether you prefer on-road, off-road, or even touring cars, Associated has a vehicle optimized specifically for that racing discipline. Backed by their unmatched support network, you can trust an Associated car to give you the competitive edge. These cars ooze pedigree.

3. Tekno – Extreme bashers and race trucks, high level of tuning and customization

Best RC Car Brands: Tekno

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When it comes to unbreakable hardcore bashing and racing trucks, Tekno’s mantra is “overbuilt, not overpriced.” As someone who loves customizing my RC builds, I’m obsessed with Tekno for offering the ultimate in tuning and modification flexibility. The EB48 buggy and MT410 truck are created to not just survive abuse, but thrive on it. Their meticulous designs allow for incredible adjustability too. If you desire unmatched durability and the leeway to customize your rig extensively, Tekno is your brand. These beasts define “bash and crash!”

Best RC Car Brands Known for Specific Categories

1. Axial – Scale rock crawlers and trail trucks, highly detailed bodies

Best RC Car Brands: Axial

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As a scale crawling enthusiast, I get giddy over the incredible realism Axial achieves in their trucks. The SCX10 and TRX4 look like they drove straight off the trail into your hand! With working suspension systems and highly detailed bodies, Axial models immerse you in realistic off-road adventures. Crawling over boulders and ruts with an Axial rig never gets old. The sights and sounds transport you to the great outdoors from your living room.

2. Tamiya – Iconic name, excellent scale detail on models

Best RC Car Brands: Tamiya

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When it comes to model realism, no name carries more weight than the iconic Tamiya. Having built my fair share of their kits, the precision and accuracy simply blows my mind. Whether it’s the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 or Ford F-350 High Lift, Tamiya’s scaled replicas are indistinguishable from their real-world counterparts. The sheer intricacy achieved through assembled kits allows for stunning realism. Just be prepared to meticulously assemble hundreds of parts perfectly. The rewarding attention to detail is worth it.

3. HPI Racing – Nitro powered models with realistic performance

Best RC Car Brands: HPI Racing

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If you crave a shot of old-school RC nostalgia, HPI’s nitro fleet will cast you back to a simpler time. Their nitro engines growl, roar, and scream just like real racing powerplants. HPI nails the sights, sounds and smell of combustion RC cars. The Savage Flux with its burly engine and T-bar suspension is a modern classic. If you fancy realistic engine noise and wild power over silence and efficiency, HPI delivers the goods. Just prepare for the headache of maintaining finicky nitro engines. The true-to-life experience is worth the tradeoff for some.

How To Choose the Best RC Car Brands?

1. Budget – Cost of model, batteries, chargers, spare parts

When selecting an RC brand, first consider your budget. The cost of the kit or RTR model is just the beginning. Factor in extras like batteries, chargers, tools, and replacement parts. Compare brands on the price of models as well as parts support.

2. Skill level – Beginner, intermediate, expert?

Determine your skill level and look for models suited for that experience range. As a beginner, look for durable ready-to-run cars from Traxxas or Arrma. Intermediates seeking a racing challenge can step up to Losi or Team Associated. Experts will appreciate the tuning potential of Tekno.

3. Interests – Bashing, racing, crawling? Realism/scale?

Identify how you want to drive – bashing around, organized racing, or scaling obstacles? Do you prioritize realism in scale models? Match your brand to your interests. Losi for racing, Axial for crawling, Tamiya for realism. This ensures the model will match your specific RC goals.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best RC Car Brands

1. What is the best RC car brand for beginners?

For beginners, top recommendations are Traxxas, Arrma, and Redcat. Traxxas has the widest range of models, great parts support, and robust electronics. Arrma offers very durable and fast models perfect for bashing. Redcat has affordable ready-to-run cars that are easy to work on.

2. Which brand makes the fastest RC cars?

For outright speed, Traxxas and Arrma have models that can exceed 70+ mph out of the box. With modifications and upgrades Losi, Team Associated, and Tekno RC cars can also achieve insane speeds above 100+ mph.

3. What is the best brand for RC racing?

For dedicated racing, the top brands are Losi and Team Associated. Both companies have decades of racing experience and make optimized vehicles for every RC racing class. Expect superior cornering and acceleration.

4. What is the most realistic RC car brand?

For realism and scale detail, Axial and Tamiya stand out above other brands. Axial makes highly customizable crawlers that look and drive like real trail trucks. Tamiya’s intricate scale model kits recreate real-life vehicles down to every last detail.

5. What RC brand is best for bashing?

Arrma and Redcat have very affordable models built specifically for bashing, with durable parts that can take abuse and keep going. Traxxas and Tekno trucks are also great for bashing with an abundance of replacement parts available.

6. What are the best RC brands to modify and customize?

Tekno and Losi cars are designed to be tuned and customized with a huge array of aftermarket parts. Brands like Traxxas and Arrma also allow for modifications and upgrades as your skills improve.

Final Thoughts

When selecting an RC car brand, first consider your budget and skill level. Beginners should look to affordable and durable ready-to-run models from trusted brands like Traxxas, Arrma and Redcat. Intermediate hobbyists seeking racing challenges will appreciate performance leaders Losi and Team Associated. Experts wanting maximum tuning potential should choose Tekno. If realism is a priority, Axial and Tamiya offer exceptionally detailed scale models. For bashing fun, Arrma and Redcat RTRs fit the bill. Racing enthusiasts need the competitive pedigree of Losi and Team Associated. By matching your experience level and interests with the right brand strengths, you can find the perfect RC car to maximize your enjoyment in the hobby.

Enjoyed this guide of the Best RC Car Brands? Then be sure to check out our other guides.