High-end radio controlled (RC) cars, aimed at adult hobbyists, can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. But for kids who want a little car of their own to drive, you don’t have to drop that much. Here are some of the best RC cars under 100 dollars that your kid will love to drive.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Jeypod Imden Remote Control Car

Upgrade Choice

HBX 1:18 Scale All Terrain RC Car

Best Budget Buy

Fisca Remote Control Stunt Car

How to Pick the Best RC Cars Under 100 Bucks

1. Recommended Age

While RC cars aren’t usually that difficult to operate, they do require a certain level of technical competence and reflexes to use properly and have fun with. The recommended age can help you decide if your kid is ready for a particular car. Even toddlers can enjoy the right car, if you don’t mind a lot of crashing!

2. Type of vehicle

RC cars come in a few basic types. Race or touring cars are meant for level and more or less smooth surfaces, and can accelerate to (relatively) high speeds. Monster trucks and offroad cars tend to be slow, but have big grippy tires and strong suspensions, and are intended to be driven over rough terrain. Buggies are a midpoint between race cars and offroad cars, mixing fast speed with some off-roading abilities. Rock crawlers are the slowest, but have even bigger tires and high-powered motors to take on the largest obstacles. The fun with rock crawlers is in seeing what you can manage to get them up and over.

3. Scale

RC cars are modeled on real vehicles. The scale measures how large the vehicle is compared to its real-life equivalent. The higher the ratio, the smaller the toy is. For instance, a 1:12-scale car is one-twelfth the size of the real car. Scales can go as high as 1:72 or more. The most common scales are 1:8 or 1:10, but most cars aimed at kids are smaller than that, usually in the range of 1:12 to 1:20.

4. Top speed

RC race or touring cars can move surprisingly fast, especially ones that incorporate nitro fuel systems. Of course, since we’re talking about kids’ toys here, you probably don’t want a car that goes too fast unless you’re really sure your kid can control it. Most kid-oriented cars can manage 10-15 mph, which is plenty fast enough to keep a kid excited. Serious race vehicles can get up to 70 mph or even more! Trucks and crawlers are slower because they emphasize power at the expense of speed.

5. Control range

This measures how far the car can get away from the controller. A big control range is both a plus and a minus. It means you don’t have to constantly chase after the car while playing with it, but it also means a longer walk if the car gets stuck and you have to free it. A big control range also increases the chance of radio interference with other cars, although many models offer selectable radio frequencies so you can use multiple cars without interference. If you plan to get more than one car, be sure to check for how they handle control frequencies.

6. Battery requirements / life

RC cars tend to eat batteries. Having a rechargeable battery pack is usually a plus, but it does mean enforced downtime while you wait for the pack to charge up again.

The Winners

#1

Jeypod Imden Remote Control Car

Best Overall

This zippy little buggy, Jeypod Imden Remote Control Car can get up to a good speed on any level or level-ish surface, including grass, dirt, or pavement. It strikes a perfect balance between being fast enough to be fun, while not being so fast that it’s impossible to control.

While it’s not as much of an offroad vehicle as the monster trucks above, the suspension can handle some bumping, and the front crash bar helps keep the car body and electronics safer in collisions. If you want a vehicle that can handle a wider variety of driving conditions without sacrificing speed, this is one of the best RC cars under 100 dollars. The fact that this car also comes with two rechargeable battery packs is another plus for our Editor’s Choice.

Recommended age: 8+
Type of vehicle: Buggy
Scale: 1:22
Top speed: 12 mph
Control range: 160 feet
Battery requirements / life: Rechargeable, 30 mins. life / 90 mins. charge; 2 AA for controller (which are, amazingly enough, included)

#2

HBX 1:18 Scale All Terrain RC Car

uPGRADE CHOICE

With a top speed of 30 MPH, the HBX 1:18 Scale All Terrain RC Car can keep up with real cars, and can win you a lot of RC races. It’s not much of an off-roader, but the wide, chunky tires and four-wheel drive can handle grass or sand easily enough. At this speed and price point, this is not a car for a little kid who enjoys just ramming into walls, but it can be a lot of fun for an older kid who’s more into RC driving. That’s why we call this our Upgrade Choice.

Recommended age: 8-12
Type of vehicle: Buggy
Scale: 1:24
Top speed: 30 mph
Control range: 300 feet
Battery requirements / life: Rechargeable, approx 1 hour. There’s a holder for an extra battery pack (sold separately) on the bottom of the car.

#3

Fisca Remote Control Stunt Car

Best Budget Buy

This flipping, bouncing, flying vehicle, Fisca Remote Control Stunt Car is just sheer fun to steer. Even an inexperienced kid can pick up the controller and, with a little practice, navigate it over almost any kind of terrain, and it’s durable enough to survive crashes and falls easily. With more practice, your kid will be able to pull off stunts like having the car spin in a high-speed circle, bounce up and off a wall, or flip 180 degrees at speed. We call this our Best Budget Buy based on the amount of fun your kid will get out of this car compared to its price point.

Recommended age: 6+
Type of vehicle: Tumbler/rock crawler
Scale: Not based on a real vehicle (6.3” long)
Top speed: 5 mph
Control range: Not provided
Battery requirements / life: Rechargeable battery, 15-20 mins. playing time, 2 hrs. recharge time

#4

Double E Large Scale RC Car

This big, tough truck should please monster truck fans and any other kid who likes running their cars over rough terrain. While the Double E Large Scale RC Car is not capable of any kind of blazing speed, it can handle uneven and broken ground easily. It comes with front and rear motors and heavy-duty tires, so it can find purchase on almost any surface, and a four-spring shock absorber to help keep the cab and interior electronics safe from jolting. The detailed large-scale body includes working front headlights, which the other monster trucks described here lack. . We call this our Best 4×4 Monster Truck for its realistic look and ground-crunching ability.

Recommended age: 8+
Type of vehicle: Monster truck
Scale: 1:12
Top speed: Not provided
Control range: 260 feet
Battery requirements / life: 3 AA for controller, rechargeable pack for car (duration not provided)

#5

Maisto R/C Rock Crawler Vehicle

The Maisto R/C Rock Crawler Vehicle is very similar to the previous entry in terms of the suspension, dual motors, and tires that make it a powerful rock-climber. It’s also about half the price, but please note that this one doesn’t have rechargeable batteries. Whichever one is the better value depends on how much use you think your kid is going to get out of this toy. Also see the Hapinic truck below for another option if you think battery costs might be a problem.

Battery issues aside, this is a slow but solidly built vehicle with a multi-part suspension that keeps it stable even on the roughest ground, and even an inexperienced young driver can have fun seeing just what this car can do. One disadvantage, however, is that this truck has a much shorter control range than either of the other monster trucks on this list. That means you’ll have to stay closer to the vehicle, although it may not be an issue if you have a small yard or other driving area.

Recommended age: 8-15
Type of vehicle: Monster truck
Scale: Not provided (12.5” long)
Top speed: 5 mph
Control range: 50 feet
Battery requirements / life: 2 AAA for controller, 6 AA for vehicle (not included, of course!)

#6

Hapinic Rock Through RC Car

Another entry in the monster truck category, the Hapinic Rock Through RC Car is a bit smaller (10” long), but shares many of the features of the Maisto and Double E trucks, including slow speed combined with the ability to handle well on even tough ground. However, this one also has an advantage for penny-pinching parents: not only does it come with a rechargeable battery pack, it comes with TWO battery packs. So your kid can play with one while the other charges, maximizing play time while minimizing battery costs.

Recommended age: 6+
Type of vehicle: Monster truck
Scale: 1:18
Top speed: 3 mph
Control range: 250 feet
Battery requirements / life: Rechargeable, 30 mins. life / 60 mins. charge; 3 AA for controller (not included)

#7

Quin Feng RC Lamborghini Aventador

On the other hand, some people just prefer sports cars to monster trucks. If your kid is one of those, he or she will love this model of one of the most famous supercars, accurate down to the Lamborghini badge. The Quin Feng RC Lamborghini Aventador handles easily and includes headlights and taillights that light up as appropriate as the car moves in forward and reverse.

Be warned, though, this car looks faster than it actually is; the 10-mph top speed won’t set any tracks on fire, but it should be fast enough to keep a smaller kid happy. And it’s not an off-roader either; it requires a relatively smooth, hard surface to drive on (wood, stone, or tile indoors, pavement outdoors).

Recommended age: 8+
Type of vehicle: Sports car
Scale: 1:18
Top speed: 10 mph
Control range: 100 feet
Battery requirements / life: 4 AA batteries for car, 2 AA batteries for controller (not included)

#8

Kidirace RC L.A. Police Cruiser

Got a kid who’s got fantasies of blue shirts and badges? The Kidirace Remote Control L.A. Police Cruiser is the car for them. The simple controls are designed with smaller children in mind, and the car also features realistic police lights, sirens, and engine, gear, and horn noises that you need for a really good car chase. It also plugs directly into the wall or a USB port and charges quickly, making it easy for your kid to get out there and start catching speeders and scofflaws.

Recommended age: 3-12
Type of vehicle: Police car
Scale: 1:16
Top speed: 10 mph
Control range: Not provided
Battery requirements / life: Built-in rechargeable battery, 30 minutes drive time; 2 AA batteries for controller (included)

#9

Aokisi RC Wall Climbing Car

As a parent, you get used to saying things that no one has ever said before. Like “Get your car off the ceiling!” Yes, the Aokisi RC Wall Climbing Car can actually run up walls and even upside-down, thanks to a built-in vacuum that helps it to cling to smooth surfaces. And yes, you can switch off wall mode if you’d rather not have to deal with cars in unexpected places. We call this our Best Stunt RC Under $100 for the novelty value alone, but even if you stay off the walls, it’s still a fast and fun-to-drive little car.

Recommended age: 8+
Type of vehicle: Sports car
Scale: Not provided (9.6” long)
Top speed: Not provided
Control range: 4-5 feet
Battery requirements / life: Rechargeable battery, 10-15 mins. drive time, 1 hour recharge; 3 AAA batteries for controller

FAQs: All you need to know

Q What are the benefits of playing with RC cars for kids?

A You mean besides fun? RC cars are a great way to build hand-eye coordination for kids that is not just another video game. They’re also a good way to get your kids out of the house for a while. They can be a useful social icebreaker, whether through racing or taking turns with the controller. Finally, RC cars can be an introduction to how real cars work, as well as basic mechanics and engineering — especially if you use a kit car (see below).

Q Should I buy a premade RC car or a kit?

A Most of the cars on this list are premade, and for good reason: premade cars are cheaper and fast to play with. Just unbox, charge the batteries, and go. For a young kid, or one with only a casual interest in RC driving, a premade makes sense. But kits, while more expensive, have their advantages as well. Kit vehicles generally have higher-quality components and better performance. And while it does take work to put together, assembling a kit can be a fun activity for you and your kid to share. Note also that kit-built vehicles are easier to customize and, if necessary, repair. Repairs can be a big factor for RC cars that are used on rough terrain or ones that frequently crash and/or fall. Premade vehicles are generally not designed to be taken apart, which means they can be very difficult to repair if you’re not mechanically inclined.
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Q Should I look for a two-wheel or four-wheel drive car?

A That depends on what you plan to use the car for. Two-wheel drive cars are mechanically simpler and more reliable, and tend to be lighter and faster, not to mention cheaper! But they can be difficult to manage on anything rougher than a sidewalk because if either of the drive wheels loses traction, the car will lose control. Four-wheel drive cars are slower and include more mechanical parts to potentially break down, but the extra power and traction offered by having four drive wheels makes them the best offroad vehicles and rock crawlers.

Q What are “brushed” and “brushless” motors?

A Electric motors come in two basic varieties. Brushed motors use wire “brushes” to convert electricity into movement. These are cheaper, but not quite as powerful as brushless motors, and they wear out faster because of constant friction against the brushes. Brushless motors work more efficiently with less friction, meaning more power and a longer life, but with a higher cost as well. Most kid RC cars will use brushed motors to save costs, and for a beginning driver, the difference isn’t really big enough to worry about.

Q What is RC nitro fuel?

A Some RC cars (although none of the ones on the list) come with engines that are powered by a mix of methanol, oil, and nitromethane, rather than battery power. While these engines are more powerful compared to brushed electric motors, they’re also pricier, louder, and require more maintenance. And just like real gas-powered cars, they require a steady supply of fuel, which means further expense. Nitro engines aren’t kid stuff — they’re best left to serious RC fans.

Q My kid really enjoys RC cars. How do I help him or her learn more?

A The best way is to get in touch with a RC club. Most clubs are only too eager to accept new members! You can search online or ask around at hobby stores that sell RC cars to find out if there are any clubs or events in your area. This page is also a useful resource for both beginners and experienced RC drivers, including tips, reviews, and information on RC events.

Quick Decision

Jeypod Imden Remote Control Car – Best Overall
Quick, agile, and a pleasure to drive.

HBX 1:18 Scale All Terrain RC Car – Upgrade Choice
Being able to drive up walls is a memorable trick.

Fisca Remote Control Stunt Car – Best Budget Buy
For those times when nothing but blinding speed will do.

RC Car for toddler

Best all-terrain rc cars

All-terrain RC vehicles let kids explore rocks, grass and slopes, so we’ve taken a look at the top all-terrain RC cars for your easy pick.
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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