10 Best RC Rock Crawlers

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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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RC rock crawling has exploded in popularity over the last decade. The thrill of precisely navigating a highly capable RC vehicle over challenging terrain is hugely rewarding.

With so many options now available, from ready-to-run (RTR) scale models to high-performance comp rigs, it can be tricky picking out the right rig for your needs.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the 10 best RC rock crawlers available in 2024. We’ll cover everything from affordable entry-level crawlers to sophisticated hobby-grade trucks with an abundance of hop-up potential.

How We Chose Our Selection of Crawlers

Selecting the 10 best RC rock crawlers is no easy task given the sheer variety available. From miniature models you can crawl around the house to 1/10th scale trucks built for outdoor adventure, there’s something for everyone.

To compile this list, we evaluated over 50 different crawlers from more than 20 top RC brands. We assessed each rig on performance, features, upgrade potential, scalability, and value for money.

Our selections cover the full spectrum, from ready-to-run scale models to hardcore comp rigs, and everything in between. Most are 1/10th scale to provide sufficient size for outdoor use, but we’ve also included some 1/8th and 1/18th scale options too.

No matter your skill level or budget, you should find a crawler here that’s right for your needs.

1. Traxxas TRX-4 – Best RC Crawler Overall

RTR Available: Yes

Scale: 1/10

Few crawlers offer the winning blend of performance, quality and usability as the Traxxas TRX-4. This trail truck delivers superb crawling capability via its portal axles and two-speed transmission.

Yet it remains approachable for newcomers and offers expansive upgrade potential for experts. As an established name in RC, don’t be surprised to see the TRX-4 conquer trails at your local RC park.

The TRX-4 has excellent articulation courtesy of its four-link suspension, allowing it to keep traction over uneven terrain. Low range gearing enables slow and steady ascents, while the high range mode offers sufficient speed for trail running.

Out of the box, the sealed differentials and waterproof electronics allow driving through shallow water and muddy conditions. Furthermore, the TRX-4 accepts a huge range of hop-up upgrades, from locking differentials to lift kits and licensed Land Rover Defender bodies.

Traxxas also offers numerous other TRX-4 models, such as the six-wheeled TRX-4 Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6 and TRX-4 Bronco with stunning officially licensed body shells.

Simply put, whether you’re after your first crawler or 50th, the TRX-4 delivers impressive performance and exceptional value for money.


  • Iconic design with excellent crawling ability
  • Easy to drive for beginners but still offers tuning potential for experts
  • Massive range of hop-up upgrades and option parts available
  • Other TRX-4 bodies and variations available including 6×6 models
  • Waterproof – can be driven through shallow water and muddy conditions

Approx. price: $370 RTR

2. Redcat GEN8 – Best Budget RC Rock Crawler

RTR Available: Yes

Scale: 1/10

The Redcat GEN8 demonstrates you don’t need to spend big bucks to get excellent crawling performance. For under $300 RTR, it’s our top pick for those seeking value.

Despite its bargain price tag, it boasts features more commonly found on rigs double the cost. It’s four-wheel drive courtesy of a relatively torquey 550 brushed motor. Gearing is optimized for slow technical crawling while retaining sufficient speed for trail running.

Four oil-filled coilover shocks soak up bumps smoothly, while the 4-link suspension articulates well. A low slung battery tray down the middle helps centralize mass for excellent stability. The waterproof electronics allow driving in wet conditions, and Redcat sells upgrade parts including metal gear sets.

It’s important to note Redcat’s GEN8 is sold through online distributors which helps keep costs down compared to hobby shop brands. You won’t get the local after-sales support but do benefit from significant cost savings.

For those seeking an entry-level crawler capable of hitting backyard trails or the park while avoiding a triple digit price tag, the GEN8 delivers excellent bang for buck.


  • Incredible value RTR package at under $300
  • Impressive features despite low cost – 4WD, 4-link suspension, waterproof
  • Upgrade parts including metal gears and axles available
  • Easy to work on and customize

Approx. price: $280 RTR

3. Element RC Enduro – Best RC Trail Truck

RTR Available: Yes

Scale: 1/10

While technically marketed as a “trail truck”, the Enduro range from Element RC possess excellent crawling abilities matched with versatile driving dynamics and stunning scale looks.

Available in three distinct flavors, Enduro Gatekeeper, Trailwalker and Trailrunner, at their core these trucks all share robust drivetrains, four-link or leaf suspension setups, and smooth throttle control.

We’re particularly fond of the Enduro Gatekeeper. Its straight axle four-link with extended gearing and DIG function make it adept at slow-speed rock crawling. Yet its transmission has sufficient torque for trail running and even some mild bashing over jumps.

The Gatekeeper sits at an excellent price point for its features. And being a hobby grade model, hop-up potential is expansive. You can upgrade the axles, gears, shocks and electronics over time. Not to mention slap on some tasty looking scale accessories like light bars.

For the trail truck fan seeking a rig that can put in the work at the rocks while also hitting the trails at pace, the capable and cool-looking Gatekeeper deserves your attention.


  • Three distinct model variants available
  • Tuned transmission suits both crawling and faster driving
  • Optional DIG function for front axle dragging
  • Robust design – can take some abuse
  • Great looking scale styling

Approx. price: $350 RTR

4. Axial SCX10 III – Most Popular RC Rock Crawler

RTR Available: Yes

Scale: 1/10

In many ways, the SCX10 III remains the RC crawling benchmark, benefiting from over a decade of ongoing development since the original SCX10. A cornerstone in many enthusiasts collections, this hugely popular design just keeps getting better.

This latest third iteration looks incredible with stunning attention to scale detail. A cool RMS Titanic 1912 body comes standard, featuring a multi-piece plastic frame with molded in rivets and wood paneling. Underneath lies a tough ladder frame chassis.

Axial has retained the key ingredients crawled enthusiasts know and love. Proven portal axles provide extra ground clearance, while the AR44 axle housings are near bulletproof. The 3-speed transmission and dig function provide excellent slow speed control for technical sections.

Despite criticism of being dated in areas, there’s no denying this iconic crawler remains hugely capable. And with literally thousands of aftermarket hop-ups out there, you’ll always find ways to develop your rig. The SCX10 III deserves a spot in any serious RC garage.


  • Immense part support – upgrades galore
  • Iconic scale crawler design
  • Features dig unit, 3-speed transmission and portal axles
  • Detailed scale Titanic body as standard
  • Robust AR44 axle design

Approx. price: $500 RTR

5. Carisma SCX24 – Best Micro Scale Crawler

RTR Available: Yes

Scale: 1/24

The SCX24 from Carisma offers big crawling adventures in a tiny package. At just 1/24 scale, it fits easily in the palm of your hand yet possesses impressive articulation and gradient climbing ability.

Despite its micro size, there’s nothing toy grade here. Its tiny portal axles, 4-link suspension and 4WD drivetrain mirror that of larger hobby-grade crawlers. So while only around 4 inches long, it’ll climb obstacles larger than itself.

This mini machine proves crawling isn’t just limited to big backyards and adventure parks. The SCX24 is perfect for small spaces like a desk, bookshelf or living room. Take it camping or stash it in a backpack for adventures wherever you roam.

Carisma offers several SCX24 variants too including a cool 1989 Suzuki Jimny body or this slick looking 1967 Chevrolet C10 pickup. There are tons of micro hop-up parts to customize it over time. No matter their size or experience, RC fans young and old will love this palm-sized trail conquering truck.


  • Incredibly fun palm-sized RC crawler
  • Big feature set despite 1/24 scale – portal axles, 4WD, 4-link suspension
  • Can climb obstacles many times its size
  • Take it anywhere – camping, workplace, bedroom etc
  • Different body variants and hop-up parts available

Approx. price: $130 RTR

6. Vaterra Ascender – Best Looking RC Trail Truck

RTR Available: Yes

Scale: 1/10

While ultimately designed as a backwoods trail runner, we couldn’t ignore how dang good the Vaterra Ascender K10 Blazer looks fresh out of the box. This sweet retro truck captures the iconic styling of the 1981 full-size K5 perfectly.

From its chunky tires to classic red and white two-tone livery, Tow Jam front grille and detailed Chevrolet badging, this 1/10 truck oozes old school charm. Pop off the fiberglass composite body shell and you’ll even find a highly detailed interior cabin and rolling chassis underneath.

Make no mistake though, the Vaterra is no shelf queen, despite its attention-grabbing looks. It’s designed to hit rugged trails hard courtesy of its geared 4WD drivetrain, stout steel ladder chassis and adjustable aluminum shocks. An included 2,300kV power system has sufficient poke for trail running.

The vintage styling means this trailblazer certainly looks at home trundling over rocks. And with a curb weight under 6 pounds, it’s easy to throw in a backpack and hit your local state park or forest trail. If you lust after the iconic looks of off-roaders gone past, the Vaterra Ascender deserves your attention.


  • Incredible scale detail and styling – looks just like a Blazer K5
  • Durable composite body and detailed interior cabin
  • Includes geared 4WD system and 2,300kV power system
  • Weighs under 6 pounds for hitting rugged trails
  • Superb value RTR package

Approx. price: $340 RTR

7. Axial SCX6 – Best 1/6 Scale RC Rock Crawler

RTR Available: No – kit only

Scale: 1/6

For experienced RC crawler builders seeking maximum performance, the SCX6 platform offers incredible tuning potential within a burly 1/6 scale truck. Everything here is hopped-up over typical 1/10 crawlers – heavier metal chassis, beefier axles, larger tires and more.

With double the wheelbase, wider track and a heftier curb weight exceeding 12 pounds, the SCX6 chews up tough terrain. Yet savvy gearing keeps low speed crawl ratios plentiful. AR60 steel axles provide immense durability and strength while supporting 1.9 tires on Method Race Wheel beadlocks.

This kit isn’t for beginners, but rewards experienced builders willing to invest $900 for immense customization potential. Hop-up options are almost endless – you can build a high speed desert racer, comp crawler or luxury SUV if you desire!

Sure, running costs prove higher over its smaller 1/10 siblings given the sheer size of components. But for builders seeking next-level performance that looks incredible pounding trails, the SCX6 satisfies big time.


  • Incredible tuning and customization potential
  • Huge 1/6 scale doubles chassis size over typical 1/10 models
  • Beefy components used including AR60 axles and 1.9 wheels/tires
  • 12.3 pounds ready-to-run weight – tackles anything!
  • Build whatever you want – crawler, desert truck, street SUV etc.

Approx. price: $900 kit only

8. RC4WD Trail Finder 2 RTR – Most Realistic Looking RC Trail Truck

RTR Available: Yes

Scale: 1/10

The hand-assembled RTR Trail Finder 2 from RC4WD sets new standards for scale realism and detailing in ready-to-run form. From its weathered steel body to tiny cabin accessories, RC4WD has crafted its finest SCX10 based rig yet.

Unlike toy-like models, opening the TF2’s doors reveals a complete interior featuring a detailed dashboard, steering wheel, roll cage and seats. The drop bed houses tools like shovels, hi-lift jacks and gas cans secured via bungee cords.

Underneath its Redcat RC Proline-licensed 1981 K5 Blazer G+ body lies heavy duty components ready for the trails. Beefy steel links, Warn scale winch and officially licensed Eaton locks populate the tough chassis. Even the stock battery tray looks just like a spare tire when viewed from behind.

Its geared transmission, flexible leaf suspension and included 2,300KV power system make it adept off-road or battling your local skate park. Of course, hop-up potential remains plentiful for those seeking more.

If you desire a highly realistic, performance focused SCX10 based rig straight from the box, the Trail Finder 2 RTR delivers impressive attention to detail rarely matched at this price point. Your trail comrades will surely drool over this truck built for adventure.


  • Unrivaled attention to scale detail for RTR model
  • Complete interior cabin with accessories
  • Beefy off-road spec components used including steel links
  • Great performance – handles trails and skate parks with ease
  • Drool worthy modified K5 Blazer steel body

Approx. price: $500 RTR

9. VersaCrane 3D Printed Crawler – Most Customizable RC Crawler

RTR Available: No – kit only

Scale: 1/10

The innovative VersaCrane completely reimagines traditional crawler design through a modular 3D printed chassis and body system. This unique brick-based format delivers new levels of customization by interchanging components to create your dream rig.

Everything centers around a compact geared crawler drivetrain module called the VersaCore, which houses the electronics, driveline and suspension components in a neat single brick. Sandwich the VersaCore between whatever custom printed body panels and chassis components you like.

All parts mount securely together via brick connections without any tools needed for assembly or tear down. Change ride height by adding chassis blocks or swap from pickup truck, to 4 door hardtop to 6-wheeler easily. The only limit is your imagination!

VersaCrane offers a midrange Trail Scout model for around $500 featuring the VersaCore module and a printed body and chassis. But many builders opt to self-source parts too.

If you own or have access to a 3D printer, the VersaCrane platform offers new levels of customization and innovation rarely found in RC builds. Construct exactly the truck you desire quickly thanks to its genius 3D printed brick system.


  • Fully modular 3D printable system
  • Customize and change setup infinitely through printed bricks
  • Quick to build/modify – no tools required
  • Buy VersaCore module only or complete kit
  • Unique and innovative design

Approx. price: $500+ depending on configuration

10. Team Corally Dementor 1/8 4WD – Best High Performance Competition Crawler

RTR Available: No – kit only

Scale: 1/8

Sharing more in common with dedicated 1:1 rock racers, the Dementor from Team Corally stretches crawling performance to new extremes. This hand-built pro-spec chassis excels at high-speed rock course navigation where perfection is required.

Almost everything here is turned up to eleven – beefy 8x8x3mm 7075 aluminum chassis rails, huge 195mm adjustable coilover shocks, geared transmission and 3150kv 8S power system to name a few choice components.

With only a front locker as standard, the mid-mounted transmission feeds torque intelligently with limited wheel spin thanks to the Titanium alloy CVDs. Beefy prop shafts generate ample yank while the perfectly tuned throttle profile allows feathering inputs. Steering response proves sublimely accurate also.

Priced north of $1600 as a kit, this thoroughbred racer isn’t for the faint hearted or wallet. But for expert comp crawlers desiring the ultimate precision tool bred from years of development, the Dementor warrants serious consideration.


  • Pure performance crawler built for comps
  • Beautifully engineered – geared transmission, 8S power, Ti CVDs
  • Balanced: chassis weight:power for responsive agile handling
  • Tuned for high speed rock course driving
  • Expert level kit that demands experienced assembly

Approx. price: $1600+ kit only

What To Consider When Buying an RC Rock Crawler

With so many RC crawlers available, it’s crucial you select the right rig tailored to your needs and ability. Let’s take a look at key factors to keep in mind.

Kit vs Ready-To-Run Models

The most significant decision is whether you want a pre-built Ready-To-Run (RTR) model or a Kit requiring assembly.

RTR crawlers come fully assembled, tested, and with a radio system included. Simply add batteries for the truck and transmitter and you’re crawling. Redcat, Element, and Carisma specialize in well-priced RTR rigs. Traxxas also offers RTR configurations for their TRX-4 crawler.

RTRs allow getting driving straight away without any building skills required. They also provide official parts support and after sales assistance. However, their upgradability can prove limited over kit-based designs.

Crawler kits require full assembly and additional components like motors, radio gear and paint. Brands like Axial, Vanquish and Team Corally focus on kit-based crawlers. Kits prove more common with higher-end hobby-grade crawlers given their inherent tune-ability.

The benefit of kits lies with their immense customization and upgrade potential compared to RTR designs. Although they demand advanced modeling skills and additional expenditures on parts. If you desire the very best performing crawler tailored to your needs, a quality kit makes smart money.

Ultimately deciding between RTR and kit depends on your ability, patience and budget. RTR suits newcomers, while kits reward those seeking ultimate customized performance.


1/10 scale crawlers dominate the hobby given their blend of sufficient size for outdoor use together with reasonable pricing. Models like the SCX10 III from Axial or TRX-4 from Traxxas reside here.

Larger 1/8 models such as the Redcat Everest Gen7 exist too. But the sheer physical size and increased part costs often make them prohibitive to most hobbyists.

For indoor use or a child’s first crawler, 1/18 and 1/24 mini crawlers like the Carisma SCX24 offer big fun in a tiny affordable package. Just don’t expect to tackle larger outdoor trails!

Features & Performance

Assessing crawler features and likely performance proves crucial before buying. Let’s explore key areas.

Suspension flex determines how well all four tires maintain contact with surfaces for optimal traction. Four-link or leaf spring suspension delivers excellent articulation and gradient climbing capabilities.

Low-end power tuning – a finely tuned brushless system or high torque geared brushed motor allows precise low-speed throttle input for technical crawling sections. Crawler-specific ESC programming delivers a smooth progressive throttle response.

Off-road protection – waterproof electronics allow running in wet muddy conditions without damage while robust parts like sealed gearboxes reduce trail breakages.

Drivetrain tuning – options like DIG units for front axle dragging, remote locking differentials and multi-speed transmissions expand slow speed tuning and control for tough obstacles.

Hop-up potential – most hobby-grade crawlers allow upgrading parts like metal gears, premium shocks and tuning items for increased performance over stock setups.

Assessing these areas will help narrow down choices catered to your crawling needs. Scale realism retains importance for some, while outright performance proves crucial for others. Analyze accordingly.


With crawlers starting below $100 for mini scales, up to over $2000 for elite competitive race machines, it’s crucial to set expenditure expectations early.

As a rule, sub $300 models make good starter crawlers but sacrifice expandability. $300-$800 provides well-rounded rigs for beginners and experts alike. Beyond $800 lie sophisticated kits and turnkey comp models, but also require advanced skills.

Be realistic here – there’s little merit opting for a hyper-expensive expert level crawler as your very first! Determine your experience and performance needs first, then allocate budget accordingly for maximum enjoyment.


We hope you’ve enjoyed our picks for the best RC rock crawlers in 2023. From the incredible value Redcat GEN8, to mini crawling adventures with the Carisma SCX24 or next-level realism via the RC4WD Trail Finder 2 RTR, there should be a rig here to capture your imagination whatever the size or budget!

Whichever model grabs your interest, waste no time getting it muddy on the trails. Just be sure to share some action photos in the comments! Check back for more RC car guides here on the website soon.

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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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