Whether you’re new to the hobby or you take your driving seriously, everyone wants to hit the road with a nice set of wheels. Rather than have you sift through the RC Car junk all by your lonesome, we went ahead and did a bit of homework for you. This article features our picks for the best RC truck available on the market today.
This is particularly for those looking for a decent sized RC truck that packs power and delivers high quality in most departments. In other words, the best RC truck you can find on the market. If you’re a newbie you don’t have to feel left out. This is an introduction to the RC world that you aren’t going to forget.
Things to Consider
There are some things you’ll have to take into consideration on the path to selecting the truck that suits your needs. What purpose do you need an RC truck for? A bit of bashing, a bit of smashing, some racing — or the whole nine?
Before we get into the specs of the best RC trucks currently available, let’s break down how to determine what kind of RC is best suited for your needs.
Nitro or Electric?
If you’re just getting into the hobby, you’ll find that things might not be quite as straightforward as you initially thought. Hobby or not, RC driving can be a pretty technical activity, especially when it comes to selecting the right vehicle.
For instance, you’ll need to decide whether you want to go with a nitro vehicle or an electric one.
What’s the difference?
Well, to make it simple the nitro vehicles gush way more power — naturally, that makes them faster. To make things not-so-simple, they also require way more maintenance at your own expense and you may or may not be looking forward to all of that.
Nitro cars and trucks provide a great opportunity for you to get to know your vehicle and have some bro time. And the more you understand the vehicle’s inner workings the more confident you’ll feel when you’re out there having the time of your life.
But electric vehicles have their upside too. If you’re not the techiest person in the world (in other words you were born with two left hands), electric cars and trucks are a great way to get started in the hobby. You can have a lot of fun without suffering a splitting headache from trying to get your RC truck to run right.
Of course, how much you intend to spend overall will play a HUGE role in your decision making. But it’s important not to take a price tag at face value.
What do I mean?
An electric RC truck will seem to run you less money than a nitro model. But that’s just at the beginning, as electric RC trucks also come with not-so-impressive battery life. This means you’ll have downtimes and downtimes will lead to you charging when you could be blazing trails.
Your alternative would then be to BUY extra battery packs. See what I mean?
What’s more, after purchasing additional accessories (battery packs among them) you may just end up spending the same as you would on a nitro vehicle.
How do you know how much you may end up spending?
That will come down to the specific model, how often you use the truck and what kind of batteries you use to run that bad boy.
Should you Order your RC Pre-assembled?
Again, this has more to with what you’re looking to get into as opposed to what’s right or wrong. On one hand, if you do order your truck pre-assembled you can jump right into the fun. The most you’d probably have to worry about is charging batteries first.
Unless you’re one of those people who ended up with a defective machine and are terribly in need of a four-leaf clover.
On the other hand, like I mentioned before, getting hands on with your RC truck can help you understand the vehicle in ways that really open your eyes. Who knows? You may view RC driving in a whole new light; a little knowledge always helps to give some perspective.
But this will cost you a bit more time and a lot more headaches. Especially if you came into the hobby practically blindfolded and know as much about RCs as your grandmother does about the Hidden Leaf Village.
Our Picks for the Best RC Truck
That’s enough for the tutorial. Here’s our lineup of the best RC trucks you can find on the market!
If you’re a longtime enthusiast you’ll hardly be surprised to see Traxxas on a list like this. And if you are somehow surprised, you can expect to see this name more than once in this article. I’ll get into the inner-workings of the X-Maxx so you can see why.
The Traxxas X-Maxx is shipped with 2.4Ghz radio system (something a lot of high-end RCs tend to have in common). But there are endless additional features that set the X-Maxx apart from the competition.
The clipless body mounting saves you a bit of time. Removing pins is hardly the end of the world, but the inclusion of the clipless body mounting is a minor convenience that you’ll come to appreciate once you really get into handling your unit.
Traxxas Stability Management
The Traxxas Stability Management allows drivers to have control over just about any terrain. The massive GTX shocks are great for absorbing bumps and assisting you in maintaining control over your monster truck when you hit the road.
Impressive Power Output
Massive power output is guaranteed thanks to the big block brushless motor. And not only is the Traxxas X-Maxx fast but it offers great range, making it arguably best RC truck you’ll find out there. And I don’t care how hard you look.
This unit DOES require two batteries. The manufacturer recommends 5000mAh batteries (at least) and this should give you about 15 mins of runtime. This also depends on gearing, surface and throttle control. The Traxxas X-Maxx will make plenty use of 8400mAh batteries with no problem.
The Self-Righting System
While Traxxas Stability Management makes handling the X-Maxx easier, you can still flip it over depending on how you drive. Naturally, that’s where the self-righting system comes into play. When activated the unit attempts to work its way back onto the tires.
This self-righting system works great a lot of the times. But if you’re not careful it may put some pressure on the drive line. So keep that in mind.
No matter what RC model you’ve driven or flown the X-Maxx matches or surpasses them in terms of performance and overall package.
Easy to Tune
Even with a rugged and well-built chassis, the Traxxas X-Maxx remains easy to tune. So if you’re a beginner getting into the hobby you won’t have too much trouble getting familiar with the unit.
You also get an impressive runtime with the X-Maxx. In fact, you can get close to half hour depending on your setup. What’s more, take on ramps at 30MPH, soar into the air and watch this bad boy land and come back for more.
Some users have issues with differential rings breaking while in action. Good thing is, these are super easy to work on. The body of the Traxxas X-Maxx is thick plastic and more durable than you might expect at first.
If you send the thing through every last chamber of hell, though, it’s bound to crack. The latching system is a great addition but pops off when you bash the unit around.
- Self-righting feature
- Impressive runtime (get up to half hour depending on setup)
- Great latching system
- Body of X-Maxx is impressively resilient
- Has Traxxas Stability Management feature
- Sturdy build, easy to tune
The Bad Stuff
- Vehicle may flip a lot depending on how you handle it
- Self-righting works most times but it isn’t foolproof and it may put pressure on the drive line
- In some cases, differential rings will break (but they’re super easy to replace)
2.Traxxas Slash 4×4
As promised, here’s another champion RC straight out of Traxxas, equipped to make enthusiasts foam at the mouth. This baby is the beast of a brother (Or sister) to the 2WD version.
A brushless motor gives way for decent bursts of power — VXL power to be exact. You can get up to 60MPH out this unit.
The inclusion of low voltage protection and waterproof electronics makes for some nice additions.
The Traxxas Slash 4×4 is blessed with a rigid LCG chassis with adjustable front and rear sway bars. It also has sealed silicone filled center differential. This replaces the installed torque slipper clutch, making it useful for whenever the track conditions favor either feature.
Customize your Truck
You’ll appreciate the hard anodized PTFE coated aluminum GTR shocks with nitride coated shafts. And the clear carbonated body is always ready for your custom paint work.
Power and Endurance
The Traxxas Slash 4×4 has a low center of gravity chassis, wherein the electronics are held as low as possible for better weight distribution. The chassis features seamlessly integrated ribs that form a triangulated structure. This means the Slash 4×4 can better handle the increased pressure brought on by the brushless power.
The Slash 4×4 is one of the best RC trucks not only for its sheer power but also the thought that went into its overall design. Traxxas went ahead and made underneath the chassis smooth enough to prevent drag and snags, giving you an overall smoother driving experience.
The LCG design improves the unit’s ability to maneuver corners, conjure speed and maintain stability no matter where in the world you want to drive this thing.
When it comes to the track, the LCG design allows the Slash 4×4 to utilize velineon power to the fullest, achieving stellar track time, superior traction on surfaces, more impressive launches, and quicker lap times.
The hard anodized shock bodies have 13mm bores, allowing them to hold 70% more oil than standard ultra-shocks.
Also, the shocks are sealed by X-rings to keep dirt out and keep oil in. In other words, you have smooth and consistent damping. The velineon power system is competition-ready, a total Godsend. Fully optimized for smooth driving and high-speed power — not to mention refined control. Users can precisely meter out power at the end of traction.
The Traxxas Slash 4×4 boasts low voltage detection the second you take the unit out the box.
Experience ultimate control with the all new low center gravity (effective for cornering, braking etc.) and the chassis boasts effective shocks allowing users to tackle terrains with confidence.
Let’s have a look at the standout features:
Standout Features of the Traxxas Slash 4×4
- Get the most of the impressive velineon power
- Great low center of gravity for supreme control
- Shocks are sealed by X-rings
- Vehicle has LCG design for improved cornering
3.Traxxas Stampede 4×4
Crafted with the highest quality components this monster truck is designed to give beginners and enthusiasts the time of their lives. Get the most out of the Titan 12 turn modified motor, and conquer just about any terrain.
The Stampede ships with waterproof electronics, enabling it to drive through any weather condition. Included in the package is a 4amp peak detecting DC charger and the XL-5 waterproof electronic speed controller.
Can’t forget the 7 cell NiMH 3000mAh Traxxas iD battery.
Suspension goes a ‘long’ way
One look at this thing, and you know it’s built to withstand any challenge you have in store for it. Long arm suspension helps drivers tackle various surfaces. You’re bound to feel unstoppable with the Stampede 4×4.
Fun for Everyone
While being a thoughtfully crafted unit, the Stampede 4×4 doesn’t alienate anyone. And it’s actually suitable for drivers of any age or skill level.
Run it ALMOST anywhere
More interestingly, the manufacturer was sure to warn users against driving this baby in loose sand. But the Stampede actually does a pretty good job on that surface as well.
Just make sure you remove the shroud that covers the motor and wash it out with WD after every run. Don’t want your unit having any unwanted surprises for you down the line.
Other than that you should be good even on loose sand. Make ramps with shovels and watch this monster bull its way through anything in its path.
With LiPo S batteries you can get up to 30 minutes runtime. That being said, it wouldn’t hurt to consider going the LiPo route once it’s within budget. If you’re a beginner, it would help to read up a bit on how LiPo works to better know your way around this stuff.
Since we’re talking about batteries, we may as well get the big red flag out the way — the additional charger. You only get a car charger, so unless you’re a drifter who is homeless and spends an extensive amount of quality time in the cabin of your car, you might not be excited about that.
Traxxas was nice enough to include a half speed setting, however, so that’s pretty neat if the kids want to take the Stampede 4×4 for a spin. You can always crank this baby back up to full speed when it’s time for you to take the wheel.
Graced with chrome all-star 2.8 wheels and vicious style soft chevron max tires, they don’t just tell you that you can master any terrain with the Stampede 4×4 — they actually mean it!
Let’s have a look at some of its standout features:
Stampede 4×4 Standout Features:
- Tackle any terrain (even loose sand though it’s advertised to not be able to)
- Chrome 2.8 wheels
- Half speed setting makes it a great truck for the kids too
- 30 minutes of runtime depending on your setup
- Get unit in color of your choice
The Bad Stuff
- Bit on the pricey side
- Stampede is a bit top heavy, does tend to flip over if you’re not careful
4.HPI Racing Savage Flux 1/8
Blessed with 2.5GHZ radio technology and GT2 truck body, the Savage Flux is any RC users dream come true. If you’re getting into the hobby to satiate your need for speed, you won’t have to look much further.
Impressive Brushless Power
With one of biggest brushless motors available to mankind (selected for voltage handling), you’ve got all the power in the world in the Savage Flux. With twin 3s liPo batteries and (#4729 or #4731) on road tires you can achieve speeds of 62 MPH.
Top notch Power Delivery
All metal transmission gears ensure that power delivery is seamless. And HPI Racing equipped the Savage Flux with diff bevel gears that’ll last you ages.
The Savage is powered by the flux torque 2200 motor and twin battery packs. Make use of easy plug and go convenience and hit the road.
The Flux Blur electronic speed controller can handle huge amounts of power. Better yet, use up to 16 NiMH cells or 2 liPo batteries, whether 2s or 3s type.
HPI went out their way to equip the Savage Flux with tough option parts so it can better handle the power of the flux torque. On top of that you’ve got a slew of other features that set this unit apart:
Like the steel spur gear, machine cut off differential gears, 2.5mm chassis plates, 3mm 7075 motor plate and dual 8mm billet motor clamps.
Greatness is in the DNA
The Savage Flux is fashioned off the Savage X chassis. Go ahead and juice things up with NiMH batteries from 6 to 8 cell size or dual liPo batteries. The Savage Flux is blessed with tough all metal gear drivetrain (another feature inherited from the Savage X).
You’ll also love that powerful SF-5 metal gear servo. The Savage suspension parts and shock towers are super-efficient, making the Savage Flux one durable RC.
Its lighter weight accommodates for big bore shock absorbers on each corner, making for better control and traction when taking on surfaces.
How to Fix the Rolling Issue
Some users complain that the unit rolls over a bit and it’s true. The Savage Flux is a bit top heavy so that’s to be expected. BUT you can drop the suspension and add a sway bar kit to see huge improvements.
After the changes are implemented, it should roll less and offer more control for turning corners and the works.
6s or 4s?
Running this bad boy on 6s gives you more juice for your money — but that does come at a price, as opposed to if you were to go with 4s.
After a few bashes, your drive gear may suffer. This is due to the power from the 6s. On 4s the drive gear may last longer but this all depends on what you’re trying to get out of your unit.
Don’t shy away from looking at the battery compartment specs and get the best liPos as possible.
When it comes to the Savage Flux, experience, and proper setup are essential. To be blunt, this isn’t the best unit for newbies. But if you’re up to the challenge go for it. Just don’t risk ruining this thing and wasting money and time.
Savage Flux Standout Features:
- Plenty of speed and power can achieve speeds as high as 62MPH
- Huge truck with lightweight that in turn helps with handling
- Inherited some of the best features of the Savage X
- Unit may roll over a bit
- Not the best unit for newbies
5.Arrma AR106005 Kraton 6S BLX
Some might be afraid of getting an 1/8 truck. That’s because users are afraid they’ll suffer more breakages than with smaller models due to extra weight. But with the Arrma Kraton that couldn’t be further from the truth. This thing is tougher than most RCs you’ll ever come across.
It arrives at your door ready to run and does a better job stock than most of your RCs do with upgrades.
Arrma is a powerhouse RC, what’s more, you won’t get a headache working on it. It’s easy to service and maintain and when you hit the road with the Arrma Kraton you’ll feel no less than a champion.
Parts will break like the stock wing mount. But after replacements things should be smooth. If you do find yourself rushing your unit to get patched up super often, you may have a defective product on your hands.
About the Bearings
It would be neat to get a set of sealed bearings with your purchase of this vehicle. Replace the cheap ones in the four wheels — in all, that’s 8 bearings.
Redefining Ready to Run
This thing will stomp out any competition on 4s and 6s even if running on stock parts with no additions or upgrades. Arrama sure as heck went out their way to redefine ‘ready to run’. The Arrma Kraton is ready to run, ready to blaze tracks and is designed to be competition ready from the get-go.
The 4WD system is top of the line, and the suspension is more than efficient. If the Arrma Kraton doesn’t impress, there aren’t many other units I can think of that will.
While some other cars of similar build may roll over a bit, things aren’t the same for the Kraton. This is thanks to its wide wheelbase and that suspension I mentioned earlier is super adjustable.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough when it comes to battery life things get even more interesting. On 4s you can get up to 45 minutes runtime. But if you do choose to go with the 6s — expect runtimes of up to one hour and 20 minutes.
Arrma Kraton Standout Features:
- Super durable (more durable than one would expect considering the scale and weight)
- Great runtime with the right setup
- Doesn’t flip over easily in spite of build thanks to wheelbase
- Runs better than most RCs (STOCK)
6.Redcat Racing Volcano EPX
Redcat Racing delivers yet again with the Volcano EPX. With a brush 27T 540 motor and excellent 4WD experience, they’ve made one of the best RC trucks in the industry and at a price you won’t believe.
Shipped with 2.4GHZ radio system, Redcat Racing has got one heck of a package. You get your model of the Volcano EPX with the charger and battery included, all you have to do is prepare for one of hell of an RC experience.
The Volcano EPX boasts breathtaking high torque servo and a polycarbonate body. The aluminum cap oiled filled shocks help provide drivers with a great all round driving experience.
Waterproof This, Waterproof That
A good deal of the electronics shipped with the Volcano EPX is waterproof — from the ESC (electronic speed controller) to the servo and receiver.
Convenient Forward and Reverse Feature
The Volcano is shaft driven, a powerful 4WD machine with traction for the toughest obstacles on the roughest terrains. The forward and reverse feature is great for when you’re trying to maneuver out of tight spots.
RC lovers will adore this unit’s lightweight plastic chassis, and the 8 aluminum cap filled coil over shocks. The independent suspension offers no less than super-efficient performance. Let’s not forget the soft compound monster truck tires.
Play with Friends
The 2.4GHZ Radio system and (conveniently) waterproof electronics assure users that they’ll have control. Enjoy over 100-yard range and race with up to 10 vehicles at the same time.
The Volcano EPX, especially considering the price, is without a doubt one of the best RC trucks that money can buy. It is a 100 percent hobby grade with replaceable parts.
Age is more than a Number
Keep in mind, though, this product is for people 14 years or older. It’s not exactly the RC you’re going to buy for your 7-year-old.
Volcano EPX Standout Features:
- Great range on radio
- Play with up to 10 vehicles at a time, makes for great fun with friends
- Great low price for high quality
- Waterproof electronics
7.Losi TEN-SCTE 1/10
Losi has done it again, redefining the RC game — this time in the form of the TEN-SCTE (1/10). The SCTE is shipped with Spektrum 2.4GHZ DSMR technology, offering great speed and the ultimate 4WD experience.
The ROAR Champion
Ready to run, this unit is shaft driven with sealed gear differentials and powered by the impressive dynamite 3900kv 4-pole 540 (brushless) motor. Losi’s TEN-SCTE is the 2013 and 14 ROAR National Champion and for good reason.
Great Speed and Efficiency
Blessed with exclusive design and top of the line performance, the TEN-SCTE’s motor can achieve speeds up to 45MPH. Users can get the most out of one of the best and most efficient RC trucks on the market with the 130a ESC (electronic speed controller).
But this unit has more tricks up its sleeve.
Active Vehicle Control
The TEN-SCTE’s slew of impressive features is inclusive of AVC (active vehicle control). A useful feature, but the vehicle handles pretty well without it. When it comes to the test, though, rest assured the AVC will help out with little steering input.
When it comes to turning, the SCTE is just about the best in its class. The unit uses the newer 2.0 SCTE geometry and let’s just say it works well, helping the unit carry speed throughout when maneuvering corners.
The TEN-SCTE also excels in the jumping department. And it’s got great a great suspension system that soaks up landings. What’s more, the center diff makes mid-air correction an asset even on somewhat windy days.
Master any Surface
The unit also handles rough terrains pretty well. Easily one of the best RC trucks when going through rigorous sections, and absorbs bumps (even large ones) without losing its ‘mojo’.
In fact, the TEN-SCTE sports more versatility than you might expect. The unit supposedly isn’t meant to be making gains on pavements — but it handles those surfaces just fine.
That brushless motor takes it through grass with no sweat, even when the grass is a few inches tall.
Let’s Talk Power
On 2s the TEN-SCTE will give you some of the best performance an RC truck can give. But the real show comes on when you power this baby with 3s.
That 3900 540 motor has more power than you need. If I’m going to nitpick at anything, it may be the wheels. They get the job done. But just about anyone may prefer some foam wheels over the hard plastic ones.
The unit is pretty durable. Feel free to bash it around with no fear of breakages.
Some users may not be fond of the new 2.0 battery tray. It isn’t terrible by any means but the previous tray had more surface area.
Stock suspension is out of this world. The unit’s got a great front and rear for bashing. The steering servo, on the other hand, is not all that impressive.
LOSI TEN-SCTE Standout Features:
- Spur is plastic quite running and durable won’t blow it out
- Durable RC
- Powerful 3900 540 motor
- AVC (Active Vehicle Control)
- One of the best RC trucks in the turning department
From the three heavy hitters from Traxxas, the X-Maxx, the Slash 4×4 and the Stampede, to HPI Racing’s Savage Flux — you can’t go wrong with any RC truck in this lineup. It all comes down to the unique features you’re looking for in your own RC.
Whether you’re looking for the most durable, fast or overall efficient unit on the market.
Maybe it’s about time you took your pick and hit the road!