Remote-controlled boats for kids can be hit or sink. We’ve rounded up the best 13 RC boats on the market, so you can select a winner while avoiding the duffs.

You’ll find a model for every age and experience level. If you’re lucky and ask nicely, you may get a few turns around the pond or lake as well.

How to Pick the Best RC Boat for Kids

Remote-controlled (or more accurately, “radio-controlled”) boats, yachts, military ships, and submarines are a lot of fun. The vessels are quick, agile, and require coordination and skill. If you’re in the market for an RC vessel for yourself or your youngster, here are the features we feel are most important to consider when purchasing one.

1. Recommended Age

Nearly every radio-controlled water vessel recommends a minimum age of 14 years. Taking their recommendations to heart would be wise. A child, a few years younger, may desperately want to be one of the big kids and sail to her heart’s content. It won’t be much fun for her, however, if she is unable to control the boat going 50 mph 100 yards away. Don’t worry, she’ll have something to look forward to in a few years.

2. Battery

There are several different batteries that power RC boats. One set will be for the boat itself; the second will power the radio controller. Sometimes one or both will be shipped together with the vessel. In other cases, you will need to buy them separately. Why not include the batteries with every RC vessel? Because you have choices in types and strengths of batteries that will go a long way in determining the maximum speed. For an older teen, faster may be better. For a beginner, you may want to provide a speed governor until they get some practice.

3. Radio Control Distance

There is a variation in distances over which a radio controller can guide an RC water vessel. All radio-controlled vessels use a 24GHz channel, usually with four separate controls such as forward/reverse, etc. If a second vessel is used, one of the channels must be manually configured to use the 47GHz channel. These two are the channels the FCC reserves for radio-controlled toys.

4. Top Speed

Speed is another of the features of the boats that you have within your control. You can use larger batteries but be careful they don’t burn out the engine. Here is a complete overview of alterations you can make to your fast RC boat from Instructables.com. Be careful what you wish for; one step at a time makes for happier outings at the lake.

5. Dimensions

Some of the boats are tiny and flit quickly along the water’s surface. Others are behemoths. Just take a moment to consider the size of the boat along with the size of its eventual sailor.

6. Weight

Weight has a lot to do with the physics of speed. A heavier boat is also a bit harder to control. If this purchase is for an inexperienced RC sailor, smaller, lighter, and less powerful will make the lessons easier and more fun.

A red RC boat floats on the water.

The Winners

These 13 high-speed radio-controlled boats are the best in our opinion. Read through each review to find the toy best suited to your little sailor. 

#1

Best Overall

This is a fast, radio-controlled boat, that can speed along water at 20 mph or even faster. Can you see problems on the horizon? The Emergency Stop selection will keep your boat from disaster time and again. There are restrictions on what type of water the Force1 H102 RC Boats will operate in without trouble. These include pools, lakes, and, with proper care, in outdoor or indoor pools with liners. The boat cannot be used in salt water. The boat has a self-righting capability to keep the racing uninterrupted.

Recommended Ages: 14 +
Battery: Rechargeable RC boat battery
Radio Control Distance: 120 m.
Top Speed: 20 + MPH
Dimensions: 12.2 x 27.7 x 36.3 inches
Weight: 2.25 pounds

#2

Upgrade Choice

The Pro Boat Stealthwake Deep-V is a real beauty both in the water an on land. It sports a water-cooled 550 -sized motor and a 23-inch deep-vee design that screams power. Just to show it off when it’s out of the water, the boat comes packaged with a stand. Electronics are waterproofed for fresh-water racing and glitch-proof radio control. 

Recommended Ages: 14 +
Battery: 7.2V 2size400mAh NiMH Dynamite battery and charger included; 2 Lithium Ion batteries
Radio Control Distance: NL
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 32.8 x 9.8 x 7.8 inches
Weight: 6.24 pounds

#3

Best Budget Buy

The Toch Bumper Vehicle are made for families. Two cars in the package mean an automatic and very quick challenge to a game of bumper cars. One of the cars is red and the other green. The head-to-head game ends when one seated driver figurine is knocked off his seat. There are even built-in sound effects to build race time excitement. The radio controllers are set to different frequencies (40KHz and 27Khz) so that one driver can’t interfere with his or her opponent.

Recommended Ages: 8 +
Battery: 2 Lithium ion batteries x 2 for controllers
Radio Control Distance: 49.2 feet
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 15.8 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches
Weight: 2.92 pounds

#4

Here’s a quick boat to tool around the pool, just be very careful of any swimmers and, of course, the pool’s concrete edges. The easy-to-use controls and the unique anti-flip design make this boat easy for kids and challenging for adults. The design is streamlined and effectively reduces drag, giving the boat even more speed with less effort. The HighSound1:16 Racing RC Boat is waterproof in all fresh water. It is not meant for use in salt water. HighSound includes two sets of rechargeable batteries to run the boat which effectively doubles play time. The four-channel radio controller gives right, left, forward, and backward control.

Recommended Ages: 6 +
Battery: 2 sets of rechargeable 3.7V / 600mAh Li-ion (included); 2 AA (not included)
Radio Control Distance: 90 yards
Top Speed: 18 MPH
Dimensions: 11.6 x 4.3 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 1.66 pounds

#5

The USA Toyz UDI001 Venom RC Boat has a water-cooled single-prop motor in an anti-tilt ABS plastic hull. The speed is peppy at 15+ mph and a bonus battery pack to extend sailing time. The boat is easy to steer because of its simple controls and a rudder that auto-corrects yaw. With a waterproof hull, anti-tilt design, and a capsize recovery feature, even novice boaters will quickly become competent racers. This boat is designed for fresh-water bodies only.

Recommended Ages: 14 +
Battery: 2 Lithium ion batteries
Radio Control Distance: 100 yards
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 26 x 12 x 35 inches
Weight: 2.25 pounds

#6

The TR-800 RC Speed Boat has a high-power brushless motor and an efficient water-cooling system. The split-cat hull design gives the boat both stability and maneuverability. You’ll be able to tear through wild water without capsizing. Comes with its own stand for a place of pride display. This TR-900 is sleek, fast, and beautiful for use in any freshwater body. 

Recommended Ages: 8 +
Battery: 4.8V 650mAh Battery; 2 Lithium ion batteries
Radio Control Distance: 200 + feet
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 15.3 x 10.3 x 5.2 inches
Weight: 2.07 pounds

#7

The Feilun FT012 RC Racing Boat is easy to operate and has a handy flip-over recovery option. The charging time is 3 hours for a rather minimal 6-minute use time. The electronic speed controller has an electron speed regulator and a servo-controller. The system protects against over-current, over-voltage, low voltage, motor block, and more. After the first use, you must clean the water in the cabin to prevent damage. 

Recommended Ages: 14 +
Battery: 6×1.5V” AA battery (not included).11.1v Li-lon-cadmium batteries 1800mAh (included) for the car
Radio Control Distance: 100 – 150 meters
Top Speed: 45 kph
Dimensions: 21.2 x 8.5 x 7.5 inches
Weight: 3.75 pounds

#8

The Free to Fly Amphibious RC Car-Boat can go nearly anywhere with ease, whether on land, wetlands, water, grass, snow, or the beach. A rubberized ring on the bottom of the vehicle protects the inner workings from water and is an excellent way to drain water after play. The RC Car Boat is a double-sided stunt car as well. It goes forward, backward, turn right and left, 360-degree tumbling, rotating, and more. The vehicle uses a double set of rechargeable batteries for extended play time.

Recommended Ages: 8 +
Battery: 2 x 6V/700mAh rechargeable batteries; 2 Lithium ion batteries for controller
Radio Control Distance: 60 m. on land; 30 m. on water
Top Speed: 16 kph
Dimensions: 9.1 x 8.7 x 4.3 inches
Weight: 2.9 pounds

#9

For those sailors who enjoy all things military, the Tipmant Military RC Naval Ship is a ship with a mission. What makes it an excellent toy for kids is that the boat begins sailing when it hits the water and stops when it’s removed to dry land. Controls enable the ship to move forward/backward, and right/left turn.

Recommended Ages: 8 +
Battery: 2.4 V / 100 mAh Lithium Battery (included); 4 x AA Batteries for controller (not included)
Radio Control Distance: 10 – 15 m.
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 5.9 x 2.2 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 1.6 ounces

#10

The Kid Galaxy Amphibious RC Truck are amphibious vehicles, 4 x 4s and speedboats, that morph, of course. They can dig through dirt and mud, power through sand and grass, and speed along sidewalks. If you want more than one, you only need to adjust the radio-controller’s frequencies. Skid steering is easy by pushing both levers forward. Push both back to go backward. Push one forward to turn. This toy is listed for children 3 years and older. The top speed of 15 mph may be too challenging for one so young. 

Recommended Ages: 3 +
Battery: One 9-volt and 3 AA (not included)
Radio Control Distance:
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.5 x 4.5 inches
Weight: 1.87 pounds

#11

The Dacawin RC Shark is a small and lightweight water toy. It is another model that turns on when in contact with water and automatically turns off when lifted out. The Shark Toy comes equipped with a plastic tail that wiggles in the water just like the real thing. The product is shipped from China, so standard shipping takes 10 to 25 days; expedited shipping arrives in 3 to 5 days. 

 

Recommended Ages: 14 +
Battery: 1500mAh 7.4V
Radio Control Distance: 500 m. without interference
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.5 x 4.5 inches
Weight: 1.87 pounds

#12

Driving a sub is a bit different than sailing a boat or even a whale. How do you know when the boat is ready to run beneath the waves? When you put it into the water, the submarine’s lights come on to show the way. Don’t think the charge is complete? Put the Jujuism Mini RC Submarine in the water, and you’ll soon know. If water enters the sub, two drain plugs make quick work of drying. 

Recommended Ages: 14 +
Battery: 1 Nonstandard Battery required.
Radio Control Distance: 5 m.
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 4.9 x 1.4 x 1.8 inches
Weight: 9.1 ounces

#13

The ANTAPRCIS Race Boat Toy goes up to 25km/hr in ponds or lakes by using its single-propeller motor. It’s also agile, performing 180-degree flips and moving in every possible direction. There are fine-tuning buttons for greater control, and the boat has yaw correction, a water-cooling system, capsize recovery, and a natural pairing. There is even a low-battery alert that lets you rescue the boat before you must swim to retrieve it. 

Recommended Ages: 14 +
Battery: 2 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
Radio Control Distance: 150 m.
Top Speed: 15 MPH
Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 2.1 pounds

FAQs: All you need to know

Q If I have two teens, 15 and 17, will buying one RC boat be enough? 

AUnless you have two of the world’s most unusual teenagers, it would probably be in everyone’s best interest to purchase a kit that includes two separate vessels. Otherwise, you can buy two boats that may be completely different from each other so they can race or not. Don’t forget to change the radio channel of one of the controllers so they will only be able to control their own vessel.

Q I’m not sure I will be able to do a lot of the work recommended for modifications. Where should I go for help? 

AMany cities and even smaller towns have hobby shops. These stores have personnel who are very familiar with modifying many types of radio-controlled and remote-controlled vehicles. You can usually depend on them to help you avoid making a mistake by doing too much to your vessel. If you don’t have access, there are many websites and YouTube channels that demonstrate how easy it is to modify your RC.

Q Can we use our RC boat in salt water? 

AAll the manufacturers in our review specifically warn against using the vessels in anything but fresh water. However, with that in mind, there are ways that it can work. Traxxas Boats will show you how to keep your vessel safe and in one piece if you prefer salt to fresh water. Remember, this is at your own risk. 

 

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for RC Car lovers

Teens want to do things for themselves. That attitude is perfect for a radio-controlled hobby like sailing electric vessels. Rather than games or décor ideas, here are steps to learn RC sailing the best way. Building their own vessel and learning to sail it will prepare them for a more expensive professional model. 

Build it yourself: An RC model boat hull

BuildingModelBoats.com has directions and plans for constructing a unique model boat hull

Build your own radio controller

Discover exactly how a radio controller works from BuildingModelBoats.com by building your own.

rc-controls-vintage

Build your own RC boat propulsion system

You’ve got the hull, you have a controller, and now you’re ready to choose and install the best propulsion system for your new boat.

Painting your RC boat hull

Now that you have the basic boat, it’s time to put your own spin on the finish. RC Boatwill show you how in easy-to-follow steps.

DIY RC boat

Learn all about sailing and piloting your RC boat

Now that you have an RC boat, either DIY or purchased, it’s time to learn to steer and sail. RCBoatGuide.com has excellent instructions for upping your sail game . 

rc boat diy

Quick Decision

Force1 H102 RC Boats – Best Overall
The Self-Righting High-Speed Boat has a self-righting and emergency stop features that make this RC speed boat up to the top of our list.

Pro Boat Stealthwake Deep-V – Upgrade Choice
Pro Boat Stealthwake sports a water-cooled 550-sized motor and a 23-inch deep-vee design. When combined with waterproofing of even the electronics, its position is secured as our Upgrade Choice.

Toch Bumper Vehicle – Best Budget Buy
The Pop-up Combat Motor Car offers head-to-head excitement for two racers to compete in the same field. This makes it a great choice for families and best friends.

A yellow RC Submarine glides under the water.

The Best RC Submarines

Take it underwater with the best RC submarines for kids. We’ve rounded up the best in this RC Sub Guide.

Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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