These are the Best RC Cars Under $100 for 2017

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Quality doesn’t always have to come at a hefty price. It’s the same when you go looking for an efficient RC car to break into the hobby. It can take a while to find an RC that gets the blood pumping, but I went ahead and did all the work for you.

If you’ve been itching to delve into the RC hobby, and get into some rock crawling, racing, bashing, or off-road action, you’ll love this lineup. We’ve got some of the best machines on the market, each of which won’t run you more than $100! Keep reading to see the detailed reviews of our picks for the best RC Car Under $100.

HOSIM 1/12th Scale Buggy

Hosim RC Truck

Specifications

  • Size: 12.6 x 10.2 x 5.5 inches
  • Top Speed: 35 miles per hour+
  • Chassis: 2 wheel drive (2WD)
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz

If you’re going to enter the realm of the RC, you’ll want something that gives you a great impression through a solid driving experience. The HOSIM is equipped to do just that.

Impressive Motor

The vehicle is 2WD, blessed with an aggressive GP brush 90 motor guaranteed to give you more power than you’d expect from a truck wearing its price tag.

This truck is shipped with a 2.4GHZ radio system with a range of 100 meters or more. It also comes with the Li-ion 9.6v 800mAh battery (with charger included).

With this setup, you can achieve as much as 33 MPH.

Charger Disclaimer

Users should ensure that the charger is properly connected. I’ve seen one complaint from a user that claims their truck caught fire, and while they didn’t explain, I’m willing to bet it has something to with improperly connecting that charger.

S-Truck Suspension

The S-Truck Suspension makes for superior handling. Not only do you look cool hitting the road with this thing, but you can also feel in control.

Not only does this truck come out the box ready to run, but what you have here is essentially a hobby grade truck at a toy’s price. It boasts rubber tires with sponge insert and has rear wheel drive with ball bearing.

You’ll love the impressive (and huge) soft compound RC off road tread, and the aluminum front shock tower is something enthusiasts will appreciate.

No Overheating, No Overcharging

On top of that, the circuit board was designed to protect against overheating. The battery is low voltage and equipped with a device made specifically to protect against overcharging.

Company goes the Extra Mile

Even with more expensive products truck parts are going to fall off or break if you bash it around a lot. Where the HOSIM is different is with the customer service of the manufacturer. They go the extra mile to make sure everything is replaced. Not to mention they do it for FREE.

Real Interchangeable Parts

The HOSIM is great off the road and on sand, and that’s all good, but things do get better.

This truck is made of real interchangeable components, and it packs enough speed to pull off donuts and slides. If you’re a pro and know your way around RCs, loose dirt can provide a great time.

There’s a lot of speed here, and the truck boasts a decent size. The fact that it’s inexpensive makes the HOSIM no less than a Godsend for true RC lovers.

Wheels protect the Chassis

Let’s talk about the truck’s wide stance. It makes it great for making those sharp turns. Not to mention when it does crash the wheels actually feel the impact first as opposed to the chassis. This is because the front and rear wheels protrude (slightly) in the front of the frame and the back as well.

The fact that most things it crashes into it won’t phase it makes the HOSIM great for beginners who are just getting a feel of things.

I’m sure just about anyone would have a blast with this thing, but the HOSIM truck isn’t without its faults.

Negatives

  • The battery that comes with the car in some instances last 4 – 5 charges before kicking the bucket. I’d recommend getting separate a battery even if yours doesn’t turn out to be fatally ill. The battery is guaranteed to give you about 15 mins of runtime even on a good day. Charging is relatively fast, but if you like immersing yourself in your RC experience, it might just be best to have two batteries and more runtime with less downtime.
  • Also, the car is pretty fast, but traction can be a problem on wet surfaces. That’s something to keep in mind.
  • The remote control feels really plastic, and the range is pretty limited, especially when you consider the speed of the vehicle. It kind of defeats the purpose. On the bright side if you’re a pro or what I’d call an RC whisperer you can always tweak some wires and get the result you want. If you’re NOT a pro, I’d just recommend you live with it as is.
  • Lastly, the on and off switch is located inside the battery compartment. I get that they want to protect the switch from dirt, BUT you have to practically perform surgery on the machine to get to the switch.

Users will find the product well packaged and it doesn’t take the better half of a decade to show up at your house. By the way, the parts list in the owners’ manual is beyond useful — you’ll love it!

The Bright Side

  • The material used to make the body is rather thin, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the HOSIM is a well-built vehicle capable of impressive speed.
  • It also has great battery life depending on how you look at it. If you know what you’re in for with an electric vehicle, especially one putting out all this power, then, of course, you’ll expect to get nothing much longer than 13 minutes out this toy.
  • It has universal parts, so that’s a big plus for convenience. Also, consider the responsive throttle and steering for added confidence when you’re out there putting this RC to the test.
  • The range of the transmitter is a mixed bag, some people LOVE the range, others are a bit disappointed, but no one’s tearing their hair out about it. Safe to say, the range is at the very least decent.
  • I’ve seen users claim to have tested the range at 200ft, but it’s advertised to work at 100ft. Do what you will with that input.
  • The HOSIM is versatile when it comes to running on various surfaces, whether off-road or on sand. The one thing I can’t vouch for right now is the snow.

This is one powerful RC right here. In fact probably too powerful to be bashing around inside the house. And like most hobby grade cars you can mod this baby with no problems!

Maisto RC Rock Crawler

Maisto RC Rock Crawler

Specifications

  • Size: 12.5 x 7 x 8 inches
  • Chassis: 4 wheel drive (4WD)
  • Frequency: A, B, C

The Maisto RC rock crawler isn’t one of my favorite on this list, but that’s only when it comes to looks. Regarding performance, it’s pretty much right up there with the other machines I’ve mentioned.

What have you got here?

Thoughtful Design

Two motors incorporated in one of the best machines you can get for under $100 bucks. You also have low gearing for great off road driving, so if you like hopping off the rocks and into rugged trails, then Maisto might be your new best friend.

Conquer the rocks with confidence thanks to the articulated front and rear suspension.

This machine is much more than a toy for the kind of efficiency this truck offers, and the price blows pricier and not as capable machines out the water. Or in this case — off the rocks.

Tri-Channel Transmitter

The Maisto Rock Crawler comes with a Tri-Channel Transmitter, so up to three people can interact with their vehicles simultaneously. Don’t worry about frequencies — they come with two chips and are fairly easy to change.

You’ll need 6 AA for vehicle and 3 AAA for the transmitter, and yes you guessed it — none of which are included.

On the bright side, the TPE tires are great for ultra grip. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.

What about the range on the controller?

One thing you might want is a bit more range between controller and car. And you won’t be winning any races with this thing, but I mean it’s meant for rock crawling not trail blazing or competing. Besides, you can always chase the cat around the house.

Good on MOST Surfaces

This vehicle SHOULD be good on all surfaces. Feel free to do your own additional research. The Maisto Rock Crawler packs a highly geared 130 size motor; the torque is sweet and more than enough considering the truck’s size.

More Speed, or More Torque?

If you feel like experimenting, you can consider switching to 9.6v NiMH or 7.4v LiPo. Keep in mind the 9.6 won’t give as much as runtime as lipo, but you get a bit more speed to play with.

Torque is what matters here, though, not speed so think about that when making your decision.

The Maisto turns well on flat surfaces but not so much on the carpet. It won’t climb stairs but sending it down them can be pretty fun.

Let’s talk Multi-link Suspension

This RC is unique in that there aren’t a lot of toys you’ll see with fully articulated multi-link suspension.

Case in point — lift one tire and then observe that you can lift it 3 and a half inches high before it lifts another tire. You can tell some thought went into the Maisto mechanically. Note that many toy RCs only boasts suspensions for their pretty looks. But not the Maisto. These shocks actually come with coil overs and rest assured they do what they should when the truck needs them most.

It’s a great truck to start out with, especially for anyone on a budget.

Negatives

  • We won’t go telling you this product is flawless. The steering may put you off a bit. In some cases when you turn the wheels, they’ll turn a bit. Another time they’ll turn so much it’s as if they’ve got their own plans. But since what you want this truck to do is climb over stuff, I doubt you’ll be losing sleep over this.
  • Controller may or may not be great depending on what you’re into. But the truck is solid so it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Would you want a great controller with an okay, or a great truck with an okay controller?

Yeah, thought so.

The Bright Side

  • Really durable vehicle
  • Fully articulated multi-link suspension
  • Realistic aesthetics and performance
  • Vehicle works great on MOST surfaces
  • Ships with Tri-Channel Transmitter

The Maisto Rock Crawler is built well enough to help beginners decide if they want to get into the hobby. If you had a blast with this toy, then it’s probably about time you stepped up to hobby-grade.

SXJJX RC Car

SXJJX RC Car Photo

Specifications

  • Size: 11.02 x 6.3 x 5.9 inches
  • Chassis: 4 wheel drive (4WD)
  • Frequency: 2.4GHz

Looking for a vehicle that’s perfectly sized, and looks durable and plays the part?

Look no further.

Speaking of aesthetics, you’ll love the flames on the chassis of the SXJJX. Overall this baby is easy on the eyes. Not to mention it runs well on grass.

All Inclusive Package

The transmitter runs off 3 AAA batteries which (by some divine miracle) are included in the package. Talk about a breath of fresh air, usually, with electric buggies; you have to hunt these things down.

With the battery that comes with the vehicle, you can get about 20 minutes runtime — which really isn’t bad. As for charging time, that might fall somewhere between 2 – 3 hours. I’ve seen folks claim ONE HOUR — but don’t get your hopes up.

The vehicle is easy to control so your kids can have a blast with it.

The SXJJX drives easily on sand, grass and over curbs. Press trigger to move forward or backward, and use the wheel on the controller to maneuver unit. The car is shipped with a rechargeable battery, and you get the charger as well. You basically get the whole deal with this package.

The one thing you don’t get is Phillip’s screwdriver to put the batteries in the remote and then the car.

What’s up with the Speed?

When it comes to the speed, you might appreciate how the vehicle doesn’t try to outrun you. So the speed is nice for its purpose.

This RC doesn’t get stuck on anything whether rocks or boards — long as there’s traction you won’t have to worry about that.

Made of Good Stuff

Whenever you hit the rocks or ramps, you’ll find that the SXJJX made of the good stuff. Once you don’t overdo it, this thing can take a beating. It’s even more impressive when you consider the price.

Not only is it easy to get into but the wheels have great quality — rubber, fluffy and soft. They are a bit smaller than you might expect but they get the job done. Besides the size of the wheels compliment the aesthetics.

Pros

  • Great introduction to the hobby
  • RC is made of great material
  • Wheels are small but that compliments the vehicle design-wise
  • This crawler doesn’t get stuck easily

The RC rock is lightweight so take it with you anywhere and go all out. And with regards to the controls, it turns very easily, so you don’t have to sprain something when operating the remote.

Danchee Trail Hunter

Danchee Trail Hunter Photo

Specifications

  • Size: 14 x 9.2 x 6.5 inches
  • Chassis: 4 wheel drive (4WD)
  • Frequency: 2.4GHz

Blessed with two motors and dual mode technology the Danchee Trail makes for a great rock crawling experience.

This vehicle boasts such impressive features; it’ll have you looking at the price tag over and over. If this isn’t value for your money, I don’t know what is.

A 4WD RC with fully articulating front and rear suspension. It ships with a 2.4GHZ hobby grade remote control, allowing up to 20 players to drive vehicles nearby with no interference.

You’ll need to source 6AA batteries for the Trail Hunter and 4AA for the transmitter.

A rounded performer, the Trail Hunter, offers precise steering and throttle control. But it does get a bit more interesting than that.

Hill Braking Mode

Hill braking mode adds a unique quality to the machine. When activated it automatically applies braking whenever the throttle is released. This helps maintain control at low speeds on steep hills and taking on technical trail sections.

Not Much Speed

The Trial Hunter (with AA batteries) has a top speed of only 5MPH. But you can achieve 7MPH with the optional NiMH rechargeable battery pack. I would stress again (like I did about a previous rock crawler) that this is a rock crawler, not a race truck. If you’re looking for a machine to win you some races — just be patient we’ll get to them soon.

The articulating suspension of the Danchee Trail Hunter allows you to crawl over obstacles of all sizes. You can head out for your favorite trails or tackle rock climbing with assured confidence.

Pros

  • Unique hill braking mode
  • Great articulation
  • High value for your money

The Trail Hunter is fit for just about any terrain. I can’t vouch for snow, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it can handle it. It handles just about anything else in its path from rocks to grass, pavements, and dirt and it handles them well.

HPI Baja Q32

HPI Baja Q32 Photo

Specifications

  • Size: 1.9 x 1.3 x 2.2 inches
  • Chassis: 2 wheel drive (2WD)
  • Frequency: 2.4 GHz

The Baja Q32 lives up to the saying astonishingly well. Small enough to fit in your palm, this thing also packs enough power to startle RC users and bystanders.

The Baja is a 2WD buggy, clad in a composite chassis. Included in the package is a TF60 transmitter with a built-in battery.

Discussing the Foam Tires

This baby sits on foam tires so, in other words, it might slide a lot on tile and hardwood floors. Take this toy for a spin on asphalt and or pavements however, and you’re in for the time of your life.

The driveway is a good bet. But a 10′ x 10′ area makes a great course for this buggy due to its size.

Steering the Baja Q32

The Baja steers great (under most circumstances), and HPI sells replacement parts (what parts are available will take some queries on your end).

With regards to steering, some users experience issues, especially due to the Baja Q32’s great speed. But not a lot of people find themselves having this problem. If you do, the product may be defective.

While the Baja is great for indoors, it might be best to avoid thick carpets. And do not, I repeat do not drive this in dirt. Your buggy will die, and it’s going to break your heart.

Not big in the Suspension Department

There isn’t a lot of suspension system, so stick to solid surfaces while driving — driveways, wood floors, etc. This little guy doesn’t get along with big bumps and judging by his size you can hardly hold that against him.

Sing Buggy, Sing

There are some users who experience a high pitch squeal problem. But in most cases, there’s a simple enough solution. If you find yourself in the same boat, try checking to see if the throttle trim needs to be moved just a little. This SHOULD reduce the annoying squeal, or get rid of it altogether.

Too Much Power?

You may find that the car is way overpowered for the foam tires they bestowed upon it. And on wood floors, it’s a bit challenging to see all that power in action. On the bright side, the car’s easy to carry around and you can have a blast with it if you ever have some free time on your hands.

Charging Time and Runtime

The Baja takes somewhere between 20 – 30 minutes to charge, which isn’t a long time. But considering you get 10 – 15 minutes of runtime on a full charge, it wouldn’t hurt to have extra batteries — just to have less downtime. Note: The 10 – 15 minutes runtime is indoors, that time may vary depending on location.

Waterproof?

I know some people might want be itching to know if the car is waterproof. I really can’t say. But if you want my ‘unlicensed’ and ‘professional’ advice — don’t even try it.

Negatives

  • If there’s one thing that might grind your gears about the Baja Q32, it might be the internal battery. Not being able to switch it out can be something of a pain. And, by the way getting decals on this thing can be a grueling process!

The Bright Side

  • You’ve got a fantastically fast and fun little buggy for a price as small as its frame
  • You can have all the fun in the world in just a 10×10 area
  • Charge time is pretty low
  • There are replacement parts readily available

Tozo Sommon Swift

Tozo Sommon Swift Photo

Specifications

  • Size: 8.3 x 6.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Chassis: 4 wheel drive (4WD)
  • Frequency: 2.4GHz

Last on the list is the Tozo Sommon Swift. Another small vehicle that displays ABOVE average performance, and exceeds expectations.

The Sommon Swift comes with 2.4GHZ radio technology, so anti-interference is a given. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

More Speed than you need

With a top speed of 45km/h and shockproof suspension, you’re in for a real treat with this RC. Impressively built, the Swift flaunts metal gear parts. What’s more, the explosion proof PVC shell, and Hi-Q rubber wheels makes the Swift one mean machine.

Conquer just about any surface from grass to sand land, just to be sure not to hit anything when pushing the speed to the limit. Remember this thing goes at an astonishing 28 miles per hour.

The Sommon Swift is made of 100% harmless plastic and electronic elements and weighs around 0.71 pounds.

Charge time, Runtime

You can get anywhere between 30 – 40 minutes play time out this monster while charging will run you about 100 – 150 minutes. And the remote has a nice range of about 100 meters.

Pistol Remote

The pistol design remote may or may not tickle your fancy. You can press the trigger for going forward or backward, and work the wheel for steering — the usual deal.

Too Much Speed After all?

This car is so fast, though, that I’d suggest that you put steering drive at the lowest setting humanly possible. This is to prevent it from flipping over when the wheels turn too much.

It’s okay; you can thank me later.

Manual is a Godsend

I need to take a moment to talk about the manual that comes with this unit. No, I’m not overselling this thing, the manual is actually worthy of a shout out. It’s very in-depth and easy to understand. This is essentially the RC bible.

Another reason I’m pointing this out is that you need to read the instructions carefully. Why is that? Because things like turning on the transmitter before turning on the car can be mandatory to you having a positive experience with the vehicle.

That brings me to the negative…

Negative

  • I understand that it’s important to read manuals. But most times people just want to get to the fun part. Your initial impressions relying heavily on the manual can be a bit of a downer. But hey, the manual is magical, so this is really just nitpicking.

The Bright Side

  • Effective shock spring absorbers
  • Solid range on transmitter
  • You get the best features of a $300 car — writ small
  • For its size, the Swift is filled with really high-quality parts
  • Easy to tune

Conclusion

Well, what do you think? Did I delve into the RC world and find you some of the best and most economical vehicles you can ask for or what? Just about any one of these units is a steal. But it all comes down to what you’re looking for. Go ahead, and take your pick, and start hitting those rocks and blazing those trails!

3 Comments These are the Best RC Cars Under $100 for 2017

  1. Nuhu Ogbori

    Hello I would also like to know, what they mean by 1:8, 1:12 etc, i know it refers to the size but i bought a road buster from china i think it was 1:12 scale, which i believe is the normal size for RC.

    then i would like you to explain how i can recognize RCs that their remotes would not interfere with other RCs especially when i need to race a lot of them.

    then prices are expensive but would not mind to have a more robust list of RCs under $100.00.

    Then how do i easily get parts for RCs.

    I am in Nigeria,

    Thank Nuhu.

    Reply
  2. hikayamasan353

    Must be quite very great article. I remember back when I was a kid, I used to receive toy grade RC cars and was trying them outside, but well, they either were getting damaged, or if not – I was very, very bored of the low speed of them. Our family was low-income and we couldn’t afford, obtain and even know about hobby-grade RC stuff. That was just the only thing we knew about. If my parents would get known about hobby grade RC, they would just get overwhelmed, accept the fact that these are not toys, and prevent me from even thinking about getting one. But usually all the toy vs hobby grade RC dichotomy is simply getting out of hand. It uses the comparison of a scale model with primitive electronics and 27 MHz, and 1:8 nitro that can be clocked over 200 km/h even with the gentle push of a trigger on a radio, given the digital proportional control. Even with toy-grades, it was just hyper expensive for us. My family had to work very hard and we even had to give up on dinners sometimes.

    These cars surely must be something to try. Especially with my 7 years old little brother. I’ve been seeing videos and reading forum posts about kids trying their hobby grade RCs with parental supervision. Family hobby is indeed something very great.

    Reply

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