Best Remote Control Cars: RC cars for kids and adults

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Whether you’re a parent, that uncle or aunt, or you just want to relive your youth, a remote control car is a brilliant gift for a birthday or Christmas.

If you’re buying a remote control (RC) car for a toddler, child or adult, then check out our pick of the best remote control cars for each age group.

We’ve tested remote control cars costing between £15 and £165, from big toy retailers such as Smyths, Argos and Hamleys, as well as specialist RC shops including Modelsport and RC Geeks. 

Find out how each car compares in terms of top speed, run time, durability, ease of use, and how our testers – aged from three years old to 60 – rated each car after driving it on a variety of surfaces.

Best remote control cars for kids

The cars we recommend for kids are fast enough to be brilliant fun, but not so quick that durability or safety becomes an issue. All of the RC cars we recommend also have an adjustable speed dial, which allows a parent to reduce the speed as they see fit. 

Each of our top picks was adored by three kids aged 6-12 in our panel, and the three parents on standby loved them, and the prices, too. 

Only logged in Which? members can view the best RC cars for kids below. If you’re not a member, you’ll only see an alphabetised list of the cars we tested. 

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Date tested: July 2022, pricing and availability last checked: 7 December 2023. We are not able to check every retailer and cheaper prices may be available

The remote control cars for kids we tested

All of the kids remote control cars we tested are listed in alphabetical order below.

Only logged in Which? members can view the best RC cars for kids below. If you’re not a member, you’ll only see an alphabetised list of the cars we tested. 

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BlackZon Slyder

Available from Wheelspin Models (£64); RC Geeks (£66.95, out of stock)

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Bezgar 7 Hobbyist Grade

Bezgar 7 RC car

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FTX Tracer Monster Truck

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FTX Tracer Truggy

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GoStock Remote Control Car

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Ralleyz 1:10 4 Wheel Drive Rock Crawler

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Ralleyz Monster Offroader 6WD Cross Country

Available from Hamleys (£100); Next (£100)

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RCG Racing Wind Speed Buggy

Available from RC Geeks (£59.99, out of stock)

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Rock Crawler Monster 1:12 Radio Controlled Truck

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SZJJX RC Remote Control Truck

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Trojan Buggy

Available from NitroTek (£89.99)

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Best remote control cars for adults

In this category, the five cars we tested were much faster and heavier than the cars that are suitable for kids. 

They’re fun to drive, but they’re also much more likely to break because of the higher crash forces. And they’re so fast and substantial that they could cause damage to a child, or property, if in less experienced hands. 

Only logged in Which? members can view the best RC cars for adults below. If you’re not a member, you’ll only see an alphabetised list of the cars we tested. 

Join Which? now to get instant access to our test results and Best Buy recommendations below. 

Date tested: July 2022, pricing and availability last checked: 7 December 2023. We are not able to check every retailer and cheaper prices may be available

The remote control cars for adults we tested

All the adults remote control cars we tested are listed in alphabetical order below.

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Maverick Phantom XT

Available from RC Geeks (£131)

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WLTOYS A979 4WD

WLtoys RC car

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WLTOYS 124017

Wltoys 124017

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WLTOYS 124019

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WLTOYS 144001

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Best remote control cars for toddlers

Remote control cars for the youngest members of our families tend to have simple forward and backward controls, and obviously don’t go as fast as RC cars designed for older kids.

The best RC car for this age group is easy to drive, very durable and packed with interactive features that will keep a toddler entertained for hours

Only logged in Which? members can view the full results of our testing below.

Join Which? now to get instant access to our test results and Best Buy recommendations.

Date tested: July 2022, pricing and availability last checked: 7 December 2023. We are not able to check every retailer and cheaper prices may be available

The remote control cars for toddlers we tested

All the toddlers remote control cars we tested are listed in alphabetical order below.

Only logged in Which? members can see the best RC cars for toddlers. 

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Barbie Remote Controlled Car

Barbie RC car

Available from Smyths Toys (£29.99); Argos (£29.99)

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John Lewis My First Remote Control Police Car

John Lewis My First RC Car

Available from John Lewis (£25, out of stock online)

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Disney Cars 3 Lightning McQueen

Lightning McQueen RC Car

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Tippi My First RC Car

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Girl playing with RC car

How we tested remote control cars

We picked remote control cars sold at major toy retailers such as Argos, Smyths and Hamleys, as well as RC cars that are popular on specialist RC car and model websites, as well as RC cars from Amazon. We paid for all the cars we tested.

We recruited a mixed aged and mixed gender testing panel to assess each remote control car on how much fun it is to drive and determine which age group the car is suitable for. The panel included two mums, three dads and children aged four, six, 10 and 11.

As well as testing each car for how fun it is to drive, we also conducted durability, build quality, ease of use and top speed tests to inform our review. 

Speed

We attached a GPS tracker to the top of each car and measured its top speed on flat tarmac. The quickest car reached a speed of 36mph, whereas others trundled along at less than 5mph.

Durability

Each car was driven into a kerb five times at top speed. It was also stepped on. 

Fun

For this test each of our panel members drove the cars on gravel, long grass, short grass and tarmac. Each was then rated for how much fun it was to drive on each surface. 

We also threw in a doughnuts test on the tarmac. 

Ease of use

Not all cars are as easy to use as others, and if you’re buying for a young child you’ll want one they can operate independently of you. So we rated each car for how easy it is to turn on and off and synch up with the controller, as well as how easy it is to access and recharge the battery. 

Quality of the controller

There was quite a difference in the quality of each controller, with some feeling cheap and plasticky, and others comfortable in the hand. 

Battery life

Finally, we measured how long each battery lasted with the car being constantly driven. 

How much do you need to spend to get a good remote control car?

You can spend from £30 to £500 for a remote control car. 

We chose to test those costing less than £150 and found that if you’re buying one as a gift for a child, there are some brilliant options around £50. 

If you shop in the right place, there are a lot of good options in between £55 and £80.

But based on our testing we’d recommend avoiding the main toy retailers such as Argos, Smyths Toys and Hamleys. 

Many of the cars we tested from these retailers were expensive and they underwhelmed our testing panel. Instead look at specialist websites which offer hobbyist grade cars.

The cars we recommend for kids and adults also have easily available spares that you can buy and fit yourself. Good news if you have a high speed collision that leads to damage.

What age are remote control cars suitable for?

A remote control car can be an exciting gift for any age, if you buy the right one.

We tested some cars we think are too fast for very young children, and in the wrong hands could potentially cause injury or damage. 

Our reviews will tell you what our mixed age testing panel of adults and children made of each car and what age group the car is suitable for – toddlers, children or adults. 

Five things to look out for when buying a remote control car

1. Watch the speed

There’s no getting around this. The faster the car, the more fun our testers had driving it. But if you’re buying for a child there is such a thing as a RC car that’s too quick. Some of the cars we tested go faster than 30mph, which is good fun for an adult or teenager, but dangerous for younger children.

2. Broaden your shop

We weren’t impressed with the remote control cars offered by some major toy retailers, some of which cost more than £80 and are underwhelming. But if you shop in the right places, you can get a brilliant car that will delight all ages from as little as £56.

3. Make space

The remote control cars we recommend are quite fast. Their speeds range from 17mph up to 33mph. As a result you’ll need a decent amount of space to play with them, for example a park or large garden.

4. Avoid the beach

During testing we took some of the remote control cars to a beach to see how they drive on sand. While this was lots of fun, it’s also a really quick way to cause lasting damage to your RC car. Sand gets everywhere in the car, including inside the wheels, the motors and in the suspension. If you want your remote control car to last a long time, we wouldn’t recommend a trip to the beach. 

5. Don’t sweat breakages

All of the RC cars for children and adults we recommend have easily available parts and spares that you can buy online. So if you need a new shell, wheel, or even suspension, you can cheaply source new parts. 

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