5 Best Cheap RC Cars in 2024

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RChobby Lab Profile Picture Ted Dulles
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward

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Christmas is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your family and friends. If you have a RC car enthusiast in your life, you may be wondering what are some of the best cheap RC cars to get them this holiday season.

As an RC car expert and avid hobbyist, I’ve had the chance to test out many different models throughout the past year. Based on my hands-on experience, I’ve rounded up my picks for the top 5 cheap RC cars that make great Christmas gifts for 2023.

When compiling this list, I looked at factors like price, performance, durability, and overall value for money. My goal was to find RC cars that are affordable but still provide an awesome RC experience right out of the box.

All of the models mentioned here cost less than $200, with some coming in under $100. That makes them budget-friendly options compared to higher-end hobby grade models. However, don’t let the cheap price tags fool you – these little RC rockets still pack a punch!

Without further ado, let’s jump right into the list!

5. HBX 2996A 1/10 Scale Monster Truck

Kicking things off at number five is the HBX 2996A, an impressive 1/10 scale monster truck that’s ready to bash right out of the box. Despite its low price point, this truck comes loaded with features you’d expect to see on models costing twice as much.

Some of the highlights of the 2996A include:

  • Durable plastic chassis and body
  • Oil-filled shock absorbers
  • All-terrain monster truck tires
  • Brushless motor providing good speed and acceleration
  • Full proportional controls with 2.4GHz radio system
  • 11.1V 1600mAh LiPo battery and charger included

This truck is slightly smaller than a true 1/10 scale, coming in at around 1/12 size. But don’t let its smaller stature fool you – it still handles impressively well off-road.

The 2996A is equipped with an aggressive tread pattern on all four tires, giving it tons of grip for climbing over rocks and ruts. The oil-filled shocks and suspension tuning also allow the truck to soak up bumps and jumps with ease.

Speed-wise, I was able to hit around 30+ mph on a flat surface with the included battery. Acceleration and handling are both solid thanks to the brushed motor and 4WD drivetrain. For a mini monster truck under $150, it’s hard to beat the performance you get with the 2996A.

The only downside is that the tiny integrated battery pack limits your run times to about 10 minutes per charge. I would have liked to see a bigger battery compartment suitable for larger capacity LiPo packs.

However, if you’re looking for a tough, trail-ready basher that won’t break the bank, the HBX 2996A is easily one of the best options out there. It’s an excellent value for the price and makes a great gift for RC enthusiasts young and old.

Check Price on Amazon

4. Wltoys 12428 & 12410 1/12 Scale RC Buggies

The number four spots on this gift guide are occupied by the WLtoys 12428 and 12410 buggies. At first glance, these two models look nearly identical aside from different paint jobs on the bodies. But under the hood, there are a few differences that are worth pointing out.

The 12428 comes equipped with a brushless motor, while the 12410 has a brushed motor. This gives the 12428 a slight edge in terms of speed and acceleration. However, both deliver strong performance for the price.

Here’s a quick rundown of the features on these 1/12 scale bashers:

  • Durable plastic chassis, shock towers, and bodies
  • Oil-filled, adjustable coil-over shocks
  • All-terrain racing tires with foam inserts
  • 2.4GHz pistol grip radio system
  • 11.1V 1500mAh LiPo battery and charger included

These little buggies are tons of fun to drive whether blasting through the backyard or at a local parking lot track. They have a very stable feel at high speeds thanks to the low center of gravity chassis and weight distribution.

The 12428 brushless model can hit around 35+ mph on 2S LiPo, while the 12410 maxes out around 30 mph. However, the brushed motor has a bit more low-end punch from a dead stop.

Both buggies handle bumps and jumps well thanks to the adjustable shocks. They can be tuned to suit different track surfaces. The foam filled tires also provide good traction on a variety of terrains.

My only complaint is the odd, proprietary battery pack shape. But the connector can be easily changed to use standard LiPo packs. Overall, the 12428 and 12410 are two of the best bang-for-buck RC buggies around. They make fun and affordable gifts guaranteed to bring hours of excitement this holiday season.

12428 Price Check

12410 Price Check

3. Jeap RC Mini Infraction/Delta/Buggy

The Jeap RC brand made a splash this year with the release of several scales models inspired by other popular RC cars. The Infraction and Delta seen here mimic the looks of the Arrma Infraction and Team Associated RC10 buggy.

Don’t let their small size fool you though – these micro machines pack a punch! Here are some of the features that make the Jeap models a blast:

  • Detailed scale polycarbonate bodies
  • Oil-filled adjustable coilover shocks
  • Sticky rubber racing tires
  • Powerful brushless motors
  • 2.4GHz control with gyro for stability
  • High-speed metal gear transmission
  • 11.1V 1500mAh LiPo battery included

These 1/14 scale Jeap buggies reach speeds over 40 mph on 3S LiPo batteries! Their small size lets them scream around backyard circuits and tight indoor tracks. The powerful brushless systems provide punchy acceleration for impressive wheelies and jumps.

Despite their micro size, the Jeap RCs include nice upgrades like oil-filled shocks and adjustable camber links. This allows dialing in the handling for different conditions. The foam-filled tires and gyro stabilization also make them easy to control at full throttle.

Considering their performance, build quality, and inclusion of a LiPo battery, the Jeap mini racers provide exceptional value at under $120. I’ve had a blast testing them out this year, and they continue to impress me with their speed and durability. If you know someone looking for an affordable backyard basher, the Jeap models deliver big-time thrills in a micro package.

See Price on Amazon

2. Ralo Amd12 1/12 Scale Desert Buggy

In the number two spot, we have the Ralo Amd12 – a 1/12 scale desert buggy that punches far above its price tag. With beastly speed and head-turning looks, this little buggy is big on fun.

Under the hood, the Amd12 is powered by a sensational brushless system that can rocket it to over 50mph on 3S LiPo. The combination of speed, acceleration, and durability make this one amazing basher.

Some other nice features include:

  • Low-profile desert racing styled body
  • Coilover oil-filled shocks
  • Sticky treaded rear tires, ribbed front tires
  • Center and front differential for stability at speed
  • Waterproof ESC and servo
  • 2.4GHz radio with pistol-grip transmitter

The Amd12 handles incredibly well at high speed thanks to the solid rear axle and proper weight distribution. The treaded tires offer good side bite for tearing around dirt trails and tracks. Jumps and bumps are absorbed smoothly by the soft suspension.

When testing the Amd12, I was seriously impressed with its overall speed and handling. The punchy brushless motor easily lofts the front wheels under heavy throttle. It almost feels like you’re driving a miniature trophy truck!

For around $160, you’d be hard pressed to find another RC car that provides this level of performance and fun. The Amd12 is built tough enough to withstand dozens of high-speed runs. Spare parts and hop-up accessories are also available directly from Ralo.

If you need a gift for an RC fanatic looking for their next adrenaline fix, the Amd12 is sure to leave them grinning from ear to ear. It’s an excellent value that looks and performs like a premium RC model.

See it on Amazon

1. MJX Bugs 3 Mini Truggy & Rock Racer

Occupying the top spots on this Christmas gift guide are the MJX Bugs 3 Mini Truggy and Rock Racer. These newcomers from MJX deliver outrageous backyard bashability at wallet-friendly prices.

They may be pint-sized, but make no mistake – these are performance-packed machines. Some of the features that make them so much fun include:

  • Officially licensed Chevy Colorado and Jeep Wrangler SC bodies
  • Waterproof electronics
  • Low-profile tires with foam inserts
  • Oil-filled adjustable coilover shocks
  • Beefy dogbone style drive shafts
  • 2.4GHz radio system with pistol-grip transmitter

The highlight is definitely the powerful brushless systems that let these mini bashers hit 40+ mph on 2S and 50+ mph on 3S LiPo batteries. They have tons of acceleration for wheelies, jumps, and all kinds of stunts.

Despite their small size, the MJX models handle very well at speed thanks to the low center of gravity design. The foam tires provide good grip on multiple surfaces, though they’re best suited to hard packed dirt or pavement.

Everything from the drivetrain to the shocks is built to take the abuse of high-speed bashing. MJX has packed some serious value into these trucks with their quality components and electronics.

Priced at around $130-$150 including the battery, the MJX Bugs 3 Mini RCs are quite possibly the best bang-for-buck bashers on the market. Their crazy speed and toughness make them the perfect gift for RC enthusiasts of all skill levels.

So there you have it – my top picks for the 5 best cheap RC cars for Christmas 2023. Each one on this list brings impressive performance and value to make gift shopping easy.

All of these models can provide hours of fun either by yourself or with family and friends. Their durable designs allow even new RC drivers to get in on the action without breaking the bank.

Be sure to closely look at each option to find the one that best matches the interests of the person you’re shopping for. And remember – more power is always a good thing when it comes to RC cars!

What To Look For When Buying a Cheap RC Car

Since RC cars come in such a wide range of prices and designs, it can be tricky to find good cheap models for beginners or those on a budget.

To make things easier, here are some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for an affordable, entry-level RC car:

Type of Car

RC cars come in all different shapes and styles, so first think about which excites the person you’re buying for. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Truggy – Part truck, part buggy. Great all-around bashers.
  • Buggy – Low-slung, fast racers. Built for speed and jumps.
  • Monster Truck – Big tired, high ground clearance. For off-road adventures.
  • Short Course – Realistic trucks with scale looks. Iconic style.
  • Drift Car – Rear-wheel drive performance machines. Powerslide all day.

Consider not only the look, but also the recommended use to match it with the drivers’ experience level and interests.

Scale Size

RC cars come in different scale sizes, with 1/10 scale being the most common for entry-level models. Larger scales like 1/8 are faster but more expensive. Micro scales under 1/10 are more affordable but best for younger drivers.

1/10 scale – Ideal beginner size. Good balance of speed and handling.

1/16, 1/18, 1/24 scales – Better for younger kids or small areas. Lower speeds.

1/8 scale – Larger and faster. For experienced RC enthusiasts.

Construction Materials

More metal parts = more durability. Look for metal main chassis, shocks, drive shafts, and gears if possible. Plastic chassis are fine for bashers but may be more prone to breaking.

Also inspect the shocks – oil filled are better than plain springs. Foam filled rubber tires provide better grip than pure plastic.


Brushless motors offer better efficiency, power, and faster speeds than brushed motors. But they can also be more expensive.

2.4GHz radios are recommended for interference-free control compared to older AM/FM radios.

Waterproof electronics allow driving through puddles, mud, and wet grass. A nice bonus for maximum fun.

Speed & Run Times

Faster isn’t always better, especially for new RC drivers. Look for a top speed rating of 10-30+ mph for newer hobbyists. Speed demons can look for 40+ mph models.

Run time is determined by battery capacity. Smaller vehicles may only run 10-15 minutes on a charge. Larger models can run 20+ minutes. Extra batteries extend run times.

Reviews & Brand Trust

It’s always a good idea to read reviews and get advice from other owners. This will reveal more about real-world use and durability.

Stick with known brands like those featured on this list. Avoid super cheap generic RC cars which often lack support and parts availability.


Set a firm budget and look for the best specs you can afford. Prioritize good reviews and reputable brands over maximizing speed or scale size.

Remember, you get what you pay for. But as this list shows, there are great models available for under $200 if you look in the right places.


What’s the best cheap RC car for a beginner?

For first time RC drivers, I recommend the HBX 2996A. It’s super durable, easy to control, and can handle basic off-road driving and small jumps right out of the box. The tacky monster truck tires provide great traction. It’s also a proper 1/10 scale size.

What’s the fastest RC car under $200?

The speed king on this list is the Ralo Amd12 which can hit over 50mph on 3S LiPo batteries. Just beware it’s easy to get in trouble at high speeds without proper driving experience. The safer choice for most beginners is the HBX 2996A.

What’s the runtime for these cheap RC cars?

The tiny included LiPo battery packs only provide 5-15 minutes of runtime. I recommend buying 1-2 extra batteries to double or triple the run time for extended driving sessions. Look for 2000-3000mAh capacity LiPo packs.

Should I get brushed or brushless motor?

Brushless is better for higher speeds and more efficiency. But brushed motors have more low-end torque punch and can be easier for new RC drivers to control at full throttle. Both types work well for bashing and racing.

Is it easy to find spare parts and upgrades?

All the popular hobby brands on this list have replacement parts readily available online. Look for “Hop-ups” or “Option Parts” sections on brand websites. Common upgrades are bigger batteries, Metal CVD drive shafts, aluminum shock caps, bearing kits, and steering link sets.

Wrap Up

That wraps up my picks for the top 5 cheap RC cars for Christmas 2023. Owning a radio controlled vehicle is such an exhilarating hobby, and these budget-friendly models allow almost anyone to get in on the action.

The RC cars featured in this guide provide a thrilling experience right out of the box, while also being durable enough to handle the inevitable crashes and tumbles. Beginners and experienced drivers alike will have a blast putting these machines through their paces.

So check out the options in this list, and find the perfect model to drop in someone’s gift box this holiday season. Just be prepared for big smiles, shouts of joy, and pleas of “let’s race!” once they unwrap their new RC. The excitement starts Christmas morning, and continues every time they pull the trigger on their new speedy machine!

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re shopping for a novice RC enthusiast or a seasoned pro, I hope this guide has provided helpful recommendations for picking out the perfect gift. RC cars deliver hours of high-speed fun for drivers of all ages.

Just be ready for some action-packed days ahead as your gift recipient takes their new set of wheels for a spin! With the models mentioned here, you can’t go wrong bringing home affordable performance and excitement this Christmas.

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Written By Ted Dulles

I'm Ted Dulles, an avid RC hobbyist extraordinaire! My passion for the world of remote-controlled (RC) models ignited in 2018. Just a year later, fueled by this passion, I took a bold step and opened my own RC shop in California. I have a deep fascination with all kinds of RC models – be it cars, planes, or boats. I'm always eager to take on new challenges and absolutely love the thrill and excitement that come with this hobby.

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