If you’re an RC driver and you take your driving seriously, you’re going to need a buggy that you can add to your collection and one that suits your style. One that displays solid features and gives you bang for every last buck. Not everyone has $1000 to throw around and get them a decent RC car. But every driver deserves to hit the road (Or dunes) with a quality set of wheels.
If you’re looking to take on the dirt and own it (and not miss out on the rent to do it) — you’re in the right place. We’ve got the most quality RC Buggies lined up right here. We’ll be talking about their standout features, their highs, and their lows.
And we’re going to talk prices.
Here are our picks for the best RC Buggy Under $200 available on the market today. The best part is, none will cost you more than $200!
Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro Buggy
Just getting into nitro RCs? This could be exactly what you need. This 4WD buggy comes ready to run — the 2.4GHZ radio system included.
The Nitro was built to take a thrashing and brave most terrains with off road tires for optimum stability. Not to mention the 2.67cc Vortex engine is easy to tune.
Aesthetics-wise, the Nitro Buggy now comes with additional body styles so that you can customize your buggy to your liking. Don’t just tear up the track, look good while doing it!
As for the nitro fuel mix, it’s probably best to go with 20% nitro fuel. 30% might give you more speed, but that also lessens the fun time, as your buggy will run out of juice much faster.
This RC is also highly upgradeable. You can switch out aluminum parts, engines, transmissions, air filters, etc.
Here’s what You Get in the Box
- 2.4 GHZ Remote
- Assembly Kit
What you’ll need
- 8 AA batteries for the remote and 4 for the car
- Starter Kit
Now let’s get into its standout features:
Impressive Nitro 2.67 Vortex engine
Unit is highly upgradable
Engine is easy to tune
I think if you’re just getting into Nitro RCs, the whole nitro fuel thing might take some getting used to. Also, if you’re not up for maintaining this bad boy, maybe an electric RC would be better for your needs.
Another thing to make a note of. When driving these things, parts are bound to break at some point. Most of the Shockwave Nitro Buggy’s parts are sold online. So Hobby shops probably won’t do you much good where that’s concerned. Luckily because Redcat Racing, Himoto, and Exceed RC make cars with similar parts, some of these parts are interchangeable.
Traxxas 24054 Bandit
If you’re familiar with RCs, there’s no way you’ve never heard of Traxxas. Based in Texas, they’ve continued to create quality product after quality product. Not to mention their customer service isn’t too shabby either.
This unit may have landed the no. 4 spot on this list, but don’t let that fool you. The Bandit is a dream come true for any RC user. With its innovative design and clever engineering, this RC comes ready to run. Traxxas isn’t just giving you a decent RC car at an affordable price. This machine incorporates the latest and best technology to give drivers the ideal racing and bashing experience: the patent-pending Revo, spec torque control, and high performance (2.2) racing tires.
Due to its Titan 12 turn 550 modified motor, this bad boy promises plenty speed — accelerating as fast as 35 mph! The 2.4 Ghz Tq radio combined with the XL-5 ESC (electronic speed controller) offer raw power paired with sublime control.
The Bandit boasts a lightweight but rigid chassis, giving you just enough durability. Ideal for fast cornering on various surfaces, this RC will give you the edge on the competition.
If you’re a newbie, simply program the XL-5 ESC to reduce the power to the motor by 50%. This allows beginners to ease into the experience.
Here’s what comes in the Box
- The Traxxas XL 5 along with the Titan 12 T motor
- A 7 cell 8.4V NiMH hump battery (with iD technology)
- The 4amp DC Peak Detecting Fast Charger
- Waterproof electronic speed controller (XL-5 ESC)
- Radio system (2.4 GHZ)
- Pinion gear
- A quick start guide to help you out
- And some good ole wrenches
As for the specs:
- Length – 413mm
- Height – 178mm
- Wheelbase – 286mm
- Weight — 1360g
Let’s take a look at some of its standout features:
- Ultra-rigid chassis
- (Full) adjustable ultra-shocks
- Goes as fast as 35 mph
- High Cool XL-5 electronic speed controller (ESC)
With modifications, you can take the Bandit from 30 mph all the way to 40!
Impressed? You should be. But this doesn’t mean the Traxxas Bandit is a PERFECT machine. If you’re planning on buying this RC car, here’re a few things you might want to know.
Some users (not many) have had problems with the fuse in the DC charger. Apparently, the fuses go out pretty easily. Also, the DC charger is meant to be used in your car, as opposed to a wall charger. Some people may find this to be a bit annoying. If this doesn’t sound like what you’re going for — you might want to go ahead and get a wall charger.
Also, the stock tires aren’t phenomenal by any means. They might last you longer on dirt. But they might not be the best on pavement.
Redcat Racing Tornado EPX Pro
Please note: As of writing this article, the price of this buggy has increased to slightly over $200. I don’t want to mislead anyone, but if you are still considering getting this buggy, it is worth every penny.
If the chassis of the Tornado EPX Pro seems familiar — that’s probably because it is. I take it you’re acquainted with the Lightning series’ Vortex desert trucks, Volcano monster trucks and touring cars.
The Tornado is a champion in the RC arena — with four-wheel independent suspension, adjustable upper links, and numerous shock mounting points. Suspension adjustments create a world of opportunities with RTR (ready to run) vehicles.
While the tires lack foam inserts, don’t count the Tornado out yet. These tires have sufficient sidewall strength making it able to run on almost any surface.
Redcat ships this bad boy off with a 2000Mah NiMh 6 cell stick pack. You also get an AC slow charger.
It might be best to ditch the batteries that come with the unit and instead, go with a 2S LiPo. Some users have found the default batteries to be unreliable, in that, they’re unable to supply the motor with enough current.
But hey, if you find that the default battery works for you, by all means, stick to it!
Here’s what you get in the Box
- Instruction manual
- Stock charger (with Tamiya connector). Go with another charger if you can. Chances are if you’re into RCs you’ll have another charger laying around somewhere.
- Radio (with battery level sensor). Uses 8 AA batteries. Not to mention…
- One hot buggy!
- Weight – 1360g
- Height — 165mm
- Length — 393 mm
- Wheelbase – 279mm
You’ll have a blast with the Tornado EPX Pro. It offers great speed with solid handling. Let’s list some of its standout features:
- Adjustable wing for added power and superior stability
- Aesthetically impressive (anodized aluminum parts including chassis, shock towers, motor can, etc.)
- Waterproof electronics (I wouldn’t put this to the test if I were you. Through some wet grass maybe, but stay away from puddles).
- Easily switch between 4WD and 2WD by removing the front shafts
I mentioned earlier that you might want to replace the default battery from the jump. It’s a common complaint that the battery doesn’t have enough juice for the motor.
I couldn’t find any other issues with this unit, and it comes at $199, which sounds like a complete steal to me!
Exceed RC Electric SunFire
Exceed RC’s Sunfire is sure to exceed expectations. With a reinforced powertrain, the SunFire can master any terrain. Enjoy dual-rate adjustment with the transmitter, and take command of power delivery and steering control.
The front and rear differentials are metal geared, driven by an aluminum driveshaft. This distributes the power to all four wheels. A brushed 540 motor controls the power department, with a 7.2v 1800mah Ni-Mh battery (inclusive of a charger).
This buggy offers high speeds which may intimidate newbies. There’s no need. This unit is equipped with a high down force wing and knobby that keeps it on the ground no matter what.
This bad boy comes out the box, ready to run. Except for the AA batteries, that will need a bit of charging first. Not that bad, right? Make yourself a sandwich and come back to tear up the road.
Here’s what you get in the Box
- Charger (Try to charge only when the buggy is below 10%. And ensure that you charge it completely. Never do any short charges, especially not with a new charger.)
- Instruction manual
- Length – 400mm
- Width – 200mm
- Height – 160 mm
- Weight – 1410g
- Wheelbase – 275mm
I should also mention that this vehicle is good off-road. Just make sure you watch out for water. This monster is many things, but it’s far from waterproof.
Now for the standout features:
- Unit comes with adjustable front and rear suspensions
- Front and rear differentials for top performance
- The SunFire boasts large aluminum shock towers
- Can’t forget the oil filled adjustable shocks!
Careful not to have TOO much fun! Seriously, if you’re new to the RC game, and looking for a cost effective RC car to win you over, you really can’t lose. The design is simple, the product is ergonomic, and the parts come cheap.
At $109, the SunFire is highly recommended! Just don’t try and drive the Sunfire over sand. Because of its many exposed parts, the sand might interfere with the moving joints over a period of time. If you want to be hardheaded about it, maybe you could use a compressed air cleaner to blow out the sand every time you put the poor buggy through hell.
Arrma Raider Desert Buggy
If you want an RC to own the road and the sky — this is your best bet. The Arrma Raider is a winner for its waterproof speed controller, brushed motor and fast concerning, but jumping is where this bad boy truly shines.
Thanks to its weight, and the low center of gravity, all this RC is missing is a pair of wings.
For a buggy that wasn’t meant for on-road, it sure handles it well. Take the Arrma Raider on or off the road, and tear up the terrain. And that goes for almost ANY terrain. The stock tires can handle any test you put them through.
The Arrma Raider can even handle some grass. You don’t see that too often with smaller vehicles.
Like the Fury, this unit comes with a Tamiya plug. Throw it out, don’t feel bad about it. Go ahead and grab you a Traxxas plug.
The turning is pretty solid — also due (partly) to its weight.
Some may find that the suspension is somewhat soft for bashing. No biggie. After all, it’s damn near optimal for track setting.
You’ll find the vehicle pretty durable. If you’re one of those guys who gets abusive with these things, you’ll probably have a challenge on your hands. I’ve seen test drivers launch this thing into the air and smash it hard on cement. Only to crack the magnet.
Here’s what comes in the Box
- Some L-wrenches
- A 4-way wrench
- A foam battery block
- And a Lexan piece to replace the light on the nose
What you’ll need
- You’ll need to grab 4 AA batteries for the transmitter.
Let’s have a look at these specs:
- Length – 400mm
- Height – 140mm
- Width – 253mm
- Wheelbase – 290mm
In case some of the standout features I stated above missed your notice, I’ll go ahead and list them right here:
- Doesn’t flip easily thanks to low center of gravity
- Jumping capabilities are through the roof
- Its light weight makes it great for taking corners
- They SAY this thing is waterproof, but I don’t know if I would want to risk it. I’d say avoid completing submerging the Arrma Raider in anything. Furthermore, getting your vehicle suited for wet elements will take a bit more work on your part — maintenance, etc.
- Repairing this RC shouldn’t be too hard. Even more inexperienced users find that parts are cheap and relatively easy to install.
- Best of all you’re getting one of the best RC cars on the market for under $200.
While the Arrma Raider offers you a great experience with accelerating and jumping, there’re a few things I should point out. None of these cons were so great that I thought it didn’t deserve to be on this list (obviously). But they still matter enough for me to mention them.
Taking a look under the hood won’t be as smooth a process as you might be hoping for. This is because the body is held on by fasteners as opposed to body pins.
The battery compartment was probably made the way it was so that they could keep the buggy at this size. That’s understandable. However, it makes fitting a standard hard case LiPo inside a bit more difficult than it needed to be.
Finally, seeing as this unit isn’t 4WD, the rear tires get worn out relatively fast. Especially if you’re using LiPo batteries.
So what do you think? Do any of these bad boys sound like your dream RC? Don’t be afraid to take a pick. No choice is a bad one. Some of these RCs are even good for newbies to start out with and you don’t have to go homeless to buy one.