10 Best RC Cars for Beginners 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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Getting into RC cars can be an exciting but daunting hobby, especially if you’re just starting out. With so many options and features to consider, it’s tough to know where to begin when buying your first RC vehicle. The good news is you don’t have to break the bank to get a high quality, durable and fun to drive beginner RC car.

In this comprehensive guide, we will count down the 10 best cheap RC cars perfect for RC newbies. For each vehicle, we highlight the standout features, pros and cons, and other need-to-know details to help you determine if it’s the right fit.

We focused specifically on ready-to-run (RTR) RC cars that come with everything you need get started driving out of the box. We also emphasized bang-for-your-buck options $150 and under to keep things beginner-budget friendly.

So whether you’re buying for yourself, a gift for a kid or simply looking to get the most from your first RC without huge investment, read on for the full guide to the top inexpensive starter RC cars.

How We Chose the Best Cheap Beginner RC Cars

With the RC market filled with so many low cost options, settling on the 10 best meant making some careful considerations:

Price: As mentioned, we focused on RC vehicles $150 and under in price to accommodate beginner budgets. Models included range from around $60 up to our max $150 limit.

Quality and durability: We emphasized RC cars that deliver a high quality build, good componentry and proven durability – especially important for first time users who will inevitably crash as part of the learning process!

Features: The RC cars featured provide great features for the money, including options between brushed and brushless motors depending on skill level, 2WD and 4WD drivetrains and scale realism or stunt style bodies.

Ease of use: The vehicles we picked are designed for newcomers getting acclimated to RC. Most have simple controls and setup right out of the box. Some also allow you to fine tune speed/power settings as skills progress.

Availability of parts/upgrades: The RCs on our list all have parts widely available online when repairs or upgrades are needed down the road.

Positive reviews and reputation: Our choices earned high marks and praise in actual customer reviews. We also gave extra consideration to RC brands with a solid reputation particularly among beginner hobbyists.

Keeping these standards in mind, let’s get to the vehicles! We’ll count down from #10 to our pick for best overall cheap beginner RC car.

10. UDIRC U29 Ready-to-Run RC Car

Price: $56

If you’re a complete newbie just dipping your toes into RC cars, the UDIRC U29 makes for one of the most affordable starter options out there without skimping too much on component quality.

U29 Key Features and Specs

  • 1/29 scale mini RC car
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • Brushed motor
  • 4 wheel drive capability
  • RC stunt chassis design
  • Water-resistant electronics
  • Top speed of 12+ mph
  • 300mAh LiPo battery and USB charger included

As a palm-sized 1/29 micro RC, the U29 skips intricate scale details to focus on providing a fast, durable and portable entry level basher you can drive anywhere.

With 4WD traction and its anti-interference radio setup, it’s equipped to handle some serious stunts and terrain. The controller gives you trims and dual rates for dialing speed and handling to your skill level too.

For around $60 out the door, the UDIRC U29 is a steal that lets you sample RC thrills without a huge upfront investment. Just be aware the tiny stock battery only provides 5-7 minutes of drive time per charge.

Main Pros

  • Incredible value
  • Fully RTR with 4WD right out of the box
  • Durable for new RC drivers

Main Cons

  • Very short battery life
  • Small scale limits customization

9. Team Losi Mini-T 2.0 Brushed RTR

Price: $129

Team Losi is a huge name in racing style RC cars. With the Mini-T 2.0, they’ve made an excellent ready-to-run mini racer perfect for aspiring RC drivers young and old.

Mini-T 2.0 Key Features and Specs

  • 1/18 scale buggy
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • Reversible brushed motor
  • 4 wheel independent coilover suspension
  • 35+ mph top speed potential
  • 7.2V 1500mAh NiMH battery & charger included
  • Tough composite chassis

Right out of the box, the Mini-T 2.0 engine has muscle with speeds over 30 mph on the stock battery. It’s fast but very drivable thanks to its 4 wheel independent suspension – ideal for absorbing abuse from new drivers.

The waterproof electronics and proven durable chassis also handle crashes and scrapes with ease. An adjustable motor limiter lets parent dial back speed while young novices get the hang of driving too.

With authentic racing looks and performance handling to match, the Losi Mini-T 2.0 makes a cool gift that helps stoke kids’ interests in the RC hobby.

Main Pros

  • Great scale looks from a top brand
  • Built very durable for beginners
  • Independent suspension improves handling

Main Cons

  • NiMH battery has slower charge times
  • Small parts can be fiddly for repairs


Price: $139

For young monster truck enthusiasts, Redcat Racing’s Volcano EPX RTR delivers big 1/10 scale looks ready for backyard bashing straight from the box.

Volcano EPX Key Features and Specs

  • 1/10 scale monster truck
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • Waterproof brushed motor and ESC
  • 4WD drive train
  • Aluminum capped oil filled shocks
  • 20+ mph top speed
  • 7.2V 2000mAh NiMH battery & charger included

The Volcano EPX really nails the monster truck aesthetic with big beefy tires and an awesome colorway options including red, yellow and green. Better still, its durability and performance matches those aggressive good looks.

Waterproof components allow driving through mud and wet conditions – perfect for a truck designed to get down and dirty. With 4WD traction, it also has ample power to climb and crash over obstacles thanks to the brushed motor. Out of the box, it already does 20+ mph too.

For not much over $100, the Volcano EPX is one of the best RC monster truck values going perfect for young driveway bashers. Just pick their favorite colorway and watch their face light up!

Main Pros

  • Awesome scale monster truck looks
  • Waterproof – built for mud/wet driving
  • Quality components given the low price

Main Cons

  • NiMH battery has slower charge times
  • Only includes one battery

7. AOKING Ameba Crossover Truck RTR

Price: $99

The AOKING Ameba mashes up pickup truck style and off-road capability for a scale replica that’s ready to hit rugged terrain right out of the box.

Ameba Crossover Truck Key Features and Specs

  • 1/18 scale crossover
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • 4WD drive train
  • Oil filled coilover shocks
  • Aluminum shock towers
  • 25+ mph top speed potential
  • 7.4V 1500mAh LiPO battery & charger included

Don’t let the pint-sized shell fool you – the Ameba packs some serious speed and durability into its tiny frame. The brushless motor and 2S LiPo battery enable speeds over 25+ mph even on the stock setup. It’s also built to survive inevitable beginner crashes thanks to aluminum shock towers and quality oil-filled shock absorbers.

Considering everything that’s included out of the box, from the Spektrum-style radio to upgrade-ready components, the Ameba provides outrageous value at just under $100. Just make sure to apply all user firmware updates for best performance.

Main Pros

  • Crazy fast for the size and price point
  • Quality components like oil shocks & aluminum parts
  • 4WD grip handles lots of terrain

Main Cons

  • Small scale leads to tiny, fiddly parts
  • Short 5-7 minute battery life

6. WL TOYS 144001 RC Car

Price: $105

The WL TOYS 144001 earns its reputation as one of the best bang-for-buck hobby grade RC cars. For roughly $100, it delivers racing looks and legit performance handling to match.

144001 Key Features and Specs

  • 1/14 scale buggy
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • 5300KV brushless motor
  • 4WD independent suspension
  • Front & rear diff gears
  • 30+ mph top speed
  • 7.4V 1500mAh LiPo battery & charger included

Right off the bat, it’s clear the 144001 borrows DNA from much pricier hobby-grade RC racers. The precisely tuned independent suspension soaks up terrain and allows aggressive cornering and jumping. Combined with 4WD traction from the brushless motor, it sticks and handles incredibly well.

It’s also built for durability with a flexible lexan polycarbonate body that flexes on big crashes. Internally, metal geared differentials prevent wear and tear inside the drivetrain too. Top speed sits around 30 mph on stock battery, but can hit 50+ mph with optional upgrades!

For new RC enthusiasts looking to graduate quickly from toy grade models, the WL Toys 144001 provides an affordable way to step up to legit race-level performance.

Main Pros

  • Legit race performance and tech
  • Durable for new drivers on a budget
  • Huge array of inexpensive hop-up parts

Main Cons

  • Not waterproof electronics
  • Can be almost too fast for true newbies

5. Rovan Baja Buggy RTR Off-Road RC

Price: $139

The Rovan Baja Buggy sets itself apart with scale realism straight from the box – from its desert racing shocks to retro styled wheel rims. But it’s still geared for first-timers with easy controls and adjustable power.

Baja Buggy Key Features and Specs

  • 1/18 scale
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • Reversible brushed motor
  • Proportional throttle and steering
  • Oil shocks and coil springs
  • 20 MPH top speed
  • 7.2V 1500mAh NiMH battery & charger included

The tube chassis and retro Baja racer look is fantastic, but that vintage style also translates into smart design decisions for RC basics. The fixed position battery compartment ensures balanced weight. Coil springs and oil filled shocks then provide great terrain handling too.

It’s also tuned thoughtfully for new hobbyists. The training mode cuts 50% power at the flip of a switch on the pistol-grip transmitter, letting youngsters learn at their own pace. Adjustable dual-rate throttle and steering help you dial in control as well.

If you dig the classic Baja racer aesthetic and want it paired with smart engineering for newcomers, the Rovan Baja Buggy checks both boxes for under $140 RTR.

Main Pros

  • Cool scale details like real shocks & retro rims
  • Training mode cuts power 50% for new drivers
  • Value priced for the features

Main Cons

  • Stock NiMH battery requires long charge times
  • Body tends to show scratches more easily

4. HBX 16889A RTR Drift RC Car

Price: $76

Inexpensive RC drifting can be tricky to find – most options are either Toy Grade with zero tuning options or expensive hobby-grade setups. The HBX 16889A slots nicely in-between, ready for first timers to learn drifty tail slides at a reasonable price.

16889A Drift RC Key Features and Specs

  • 1/16 scale drift chassis
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • Rear wheel drive (RWD)
  • Brushless 3650 motor
  • Top speed of 25mph+
  • 7.4V 1500mAh LiPo & charger included

HBX nailed the value equation with the 16889A. It packs a punchy brushless motor that hits 25+ MPH out of the box – ample speed for learning drift maneuvers. Rubber rear tires provide plenty of side grip to hold nice slides, with the front tires tapering into plastic for less traction up front ideal for initiating drifts.

While not a high-end replica, the chassis styling does resemble popular Japanese drift machines. The included shell is modeled after classic AE86 Corollas that many aspiring drifters adore as well.

For around $75 ready-to-run, it’s an inexpensive way to pickup legitimate drifting habits behind the wheel of an RC car. Just be prepared to pick up a few replacement rear tires as you’ll shred through them learning!

Main Pros

  • Inexpensive introduction to RC drifting skills
  • Brushless power to hold slide angles
  • Cool Toyota AE86 Corolla inspired shell

Main Cons

  • Toy-grade shells and scale detail
  • Rear tires require lots of replacements

3. BEZGAR HM101 1/12 Scale RC Car

Price: $139

The Bezgar HM101 brings flexibility to rally race or drift across surfaces with a quality 1/12 scale chassis featuring 4WD stability and brushed power.

HM101 Key Features and Specs

  • 1/12 scale chassis
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • 4WD rally chassis
  • 3300KV brushed motor
  • Front & rear oil shocks
  • Top speed around 22 MPH
  • 7.2V 2000mAh NiMH battery & charger included

Right away, the HM101 impresses with a durable chassis and quality components like adjustable oil filled shocks. This helps it handle jumps and crashes gracefully – perfect for beginners pushing their skills. The 4WD drivetrain then offers stability which helps immensely drifting on loose surfaces.

It also packs nice scale details like an escudo inspired shell, imitation front lights/grilles and model accents on the sturdy body. Options even exist for swapping shells to mimic different cars like Subarus or Evos.

While quick enough for experienced hobbyists, waterproof electronics and numerous tunable parts make the HM101 a perfect grow-into ride to develop solid driving and maintenance skills.

Main Pros

  • Quality chassis suited to different driving styles
  • Waterproof rated electronics
  • Cool selection of rally car inspired body shells

Main Cons

  • Less scale realism than high-end hobby models
  • Included NiMH battery requires long recharge times

2. MJX Bugs 3 Mini B3M RC Brushless Off-Roader RTR

Price: $130

Modeled after the monster truck stylings of the Traxxas Stampede, the MJX Bugs 3 Mini B3M packs big bashable fun into a more beginner-friendly pint sized RC package.

Bugs 3 Mini (B3M) Key Features and Specs

  • 1/16 scaled monster truck
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • 3545 4600KV brushless motor & 30A ESC
  • Oil filled coilover shocks
  • Full proportional steering and throttle
  • 28+ MPH top speed
  • 7.4V 850mAh LiPo battery & charger included

Don’t be fooled by the small size – the B3M has the DNA of a monster truck bred for bashing and stunts. The brushless motor pumps enough power to hit 30MPH, perfect for big backyard jumps. Landing stability comes courtesy of the oil-filled coilover shocks that tame uneven terrain. An authentic frame, giant tires and detailed bodyshell seal the scale monster truck vibes too.

For around $130 RTR, the MJX Mini B3M sits at a nice intersection between hobby grade power and an unintimidating size for RC newcomers. Just take it slow on the controls until you get accustomed!

Main Pros

  • Legit miniature monster truck looks and power
  • Big speeds and bashability for the size
  • Reasonably priced for the brushless motors

Main Cons

  • Battery life only 6-8 minutes per charge
  • Small scale leads to more fragile parts

1. FTX FTX5570 Outback 2 1/12th Scale RC Car

Price: $140

The award winning FTX Outback 2 beats out a crowded field as the best hobby-grade entry level RC cars under $150. It blends basher toughness with high quality components rarely seen in this beginner price tier.

Outback 2 Key Features and Specs

  • 1/12 scale buggy
  • 2.4GHz radio system
  • 5300KV brushed motor
  • 4WD drivetrain
  • Oil filled aluminum shocks
  • 35+ mph potential speed
  • 7.2V 3000mAh NiMH battery & charger included

Right out of the box, the Outback 2 makes a fantastic first impression courtesy of its bright color schemes and clean futuristic body styling featuring lights and decals. The composite chassis keeps things featherlight while still retaining rigidity and crash protection.

It’s underneath the shell where the Outback 2 truly shines for new RC enthusiasts though. The rear-wheel drive setup features a sealed pinion/spur gear drivetrain that requires next to no maintenance compared to pricier hobby-grade vehicles. Waterproof electronics are perfect for running in wet conditions – or simply survive inevitable beginner crashes with ease.

Perhaps most impressive are the adjustable oil-filled aluminum shocks, a component typically reserved for models double or triple the cost. This translates into smooth terrain handling and better control which newcomers to RC greatly appreciate over the usual bouncier budget designs. An adjustable dual-rate throttle takes things further by letting parents reel-in max power while new drivers get familiar at the controls too.

For those seeking a capable hobby-style rig ready for upgrades but ideal for first-timers out of the box, the FTX Outback 2 checks all the boxes for under $150.

Main Pros

  • Aluminum oil shocks level terrain smoothly
  • Sealed drivetrain requires little maintenance
  • Adjustable throttle perfect for novice practice

Main Cons

  • NiMh battery has slower charge times
  • Body does scratch easier than premium polycarbonate

Key Considerations for Buying Your First RC Car

Beyond our top picks, a few key factors come into play when choosing your debut RC ready-to-run setup as a beginner. They include:

Type of Driving Surface

Consider if you plan primarily pavement racing/driving, rally type all-terrain, crawling slowly over rocks and logs, bashing off road, trying RC drifting maneuvers or venturing through mud and wet conditions. Certain types of chassis, tires and shocks suit specific ground better.

Motor Type

Brushed motors feature simple 2 pole construction that provides decent speeds for newbies and reduced repairs costs. Brushless motors sport more complex multi-pole setups in a rotating can design that translates to faster acceleration and higher top speeds – but require advanced electronics to run properly. Brushless brings a little steeper learning curve but does enable more radical control and maneuvers.

Scale Realism

Some cheap RC cars focus strictly on providing a fun basher driving experience using stunt style toy grade chassis. These feature exaggerated bodyshells modeled after recognizable vehicles but skip intricate vehicle detailing.

For added realism, others mimic the precise scaling, branding, trim levels and styling queues of actual trucks, buggies, rally cars or drift machines found around the world. This does often increase cost but also allows collectors and enthusiasts to mimic the cars they already admire in 1:10 or 1:8 sizes.

Final Thoughts

When starting out in radio control cars, going cheap with a first toy-grade model from the local shop might be tempting. But often these leave beginners quickly disappointed by flimsy chassis, weak plastic parts and an overall lack of realistic handling or customization.

Opting for a hobby quality ready-to-run vehicle under $150 provides far greater value even on starter budgets. You benefit from durable builds, better electronic components, realistic handling and room to grow driving skills for not much more investment. Not to mention they just look a lot cooler sitting on your shelf or ripping across the driveway!

We hope our rundown of the top inexpensive RC cars for novices takes the guesswork out of buying the right intro rig tailored to your needs. Just be sure to drive patiently as you build handling skills, read all included instructions thoroughly and make occasional maintenance checks to keep your first ride kicking for many seasons.

Now charge those batteries and go have fun unleashing your new RC machine! Just be ready to catch the addicting hobby bug once you get a taste.

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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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