What could be more fun than heading outdoors and enjoying a day on a lake? There’s one thing that could totally step up the fun factor: An RC boat!
Remote control, or RC boats, provide hours of entertainment as they whizz along the water, make tight turns and do impressive tricks. Enjoying running yours on your own, or get a few friends together and enjoy an RC boat racing challenge; either way, you will be sure to have tons of fun.
Finding the best remote control boat isn’t as easy as you might think, though. There are tons of options available, which can make it difficult to choose the best RC boat for your specific interests and needs. To help guide you on your quest, we have done some extensive research and used our findings to assemble this handy buyer’s guide. We think that with the information presented in this guide, you will be able to find an RC boat that is just perfect for you.
Types of RC Boats
There are six main types of RC boats:
- RC sport boats
- RC scale boats
- RC sailboats
- RC racing power boats
- RC combat boats
- RC tugboats
RC Sport Boats
The most common type of RC boat is the sports boat. The standard speed of these boats usually starts at about 20 mps and increases from there. Some of the fastest RC sports boats can be as fast or faster than internal combustion engines, with some reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hours.
Scale RC Boats
Scale RC boats are replicas of full sized boats; in other words, they are to scale of the full sized version of a boat. Scale RC boats can be so compact that they can fit in your hand, or they can be large enough to require a trailer to transport them. Typically, RC scale boats are smaller versions of a prototype and are built with plans and photos of a larger version.
Standard sailboats are powered by the wind. RC sailboats use both wind power and the power of a remote control to operate. The remote control operates both the main and job sails, and also changes the position of the rudder, thus controlling the power of the boat.
RC Power Boats
RC power boats usually feature a fast electric or an internal combustion engine, though some are steam powered.
RC Combat Boats
RC combat boats are replicas of warships, which are usually propelled by gas. These RC boats can fire projectiles at opposing ships with the goal of sinking or damaging them. Most models are simplified to facilitate repair.
RC tugboats are scale models of tug boats that are usually built to include scale drive systems. This type of RC boat uses standard propellers and rudders to operate.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing an RC Boat
There are several factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when shopping for an RC boat. These factors should include the price, your use and the size of the boat, among other things. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to find the best RC boat for your specific needs.
Where do you intend to use your RC boat? Will you be using it on a large lake with plenty of space, or will you be using it on a more compact pond that has limited space? DO you plan on racing it, or will you be sailing it for pure recreational fun?
Size of the Boat
The size of the boat is another factor that you are going to want to consider. Where you will be using the boat should be considered when you are determining what size you should purchase, as should how you plan on using the boat.
You definitely want to consider how easy the boat is to handle. A lot of people think that a smaller boat is easier to handle; however, this is not always true. There are a lot of factors that will impact the maneuverability of the boat, including the type of gears, the power of the motor and other operational components.
How powerful do you want the boat to be? The more powerful the motor is, the faster the boat will go. Typically, if you are going to be racing your RC boat, you are going to want to have a more powerful engine.
You also want to take into consideration the battery life of your remote control boat, as well as the type of batteries the boat uses. Rechargeable batteries are an excellent choice, as you won’t have to worry about constantly buying new ones.
Ease of Assembly
Assembly of an RC boat can be a time consuming process, which you may wish to avoid. If you don’t want to spend hours trying to assemble your boat and getting frustrated, look for a boat that requires less assembly, or one that is ready to use right of the box. This will allow you to enjoy using your RC boat much sooner without having to worry about painstaking assembly.
You should also make sure that the RC boat that you are thinking about buying comes with all of the accessories that you want or need, such as the transmitter, extra propellers and a stand to place the boat on when you aren’t using it.
Electric or Gas
RC boats can be operated by either gasoline or electricity. A gas powered RC boat will need to be cleaned and maintained and the oil will need to be changed regularly; however, despite this extra maintenance, a gas powered boat does tend to run faster. An electric remote control boat only requires batteries to operate, which means that it needs less maintenance; however, you do need to make sure that your batteries are charged up in order for the boat to work, an electric boats usually don’t operate as quickly as gas powered boats.
The appearance of the boat is another factor that you want to consider. Though it won’t impact the performance of the boat, you do want to make sure that you choose an RC boat that you enjoy looking at. RC boats come in a wide range of colors and can feature a variety of stencils and other decorative elements that will enhance their look.
Price is another important factor to take into consideration when buying an RC boat. These boats can vary significantly in price, with less expensive models costing around $20 to $30, and more expensive, higher end models costing upwards of $150 or more.
RC Boat Features
RC boats can be outfitted with a variety of features. These features are intended to make your experience while using the boat more enjoyable; however, the more features your remote control boat offers, the more expensive it will likely be.
It’s not unusual for a remote control boat to capsize, and when it does, it can be difficult to turn back offer. A capsize recovery feature will allow you to easily flip the boat back over while it is still in the water if it does capsize.
Four Way Positioning
An RC boat that has a four way positioning will be able to move forward and backward, as well as left and right, which gives you much more flexibility when it comes to operating your boat.
Safety features are also important. Look for an RC boat that offers safety features so that you can ensure that you and anyone else who may be operating or, or who may be within close proximity to it while it is being operated, will be as safe as possible.
If you want to protect your investment and ensure your satisfaction, look for an RC boat that comes with a warranty. Should you be unhappy with your boat or should something happen to it during the life of the warranty, you will be financially protected and could potentially have it replaced or have your money refunded (do look at the terms of the warranty to be sure of what it actually covers.)
Best RC Boat Brands
There are several companies that manufacture remote control boats. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which brand is the best. To help you weed through all of the available options, we have done the leg work for you, comparing the different reviews, the ratings and even testing out models from different manufacturers ourselves. After conducting our in-depth assessment, we have concluded that the following remote control boats are the best of the best.
Atomik is one of the top name brands in the remote control boat industry. This company specializes in producing RC boats that are on the smaller side, making them a good option if you don’t want to go the large scale route. Their RC boats are outfitted with a range of exceptional features and boast aesthetically pleasing appearances. We also like that this company offers RC boats that can suit all budgets.
Traxxas is known for producing durable, high quality and super fast vehicles, boats and aircrafts that are capable of handing the roughest conditions. Their RC boats operate at incredibly high speeds and they boast some of the most cutting edge features and advanced designs. Though they are a bit on the pricey end, these RC boats are truly worth the expense.
What we really like about UDI RC boats is that they offer some of the most advanced features that remote control boats can offer, but without the high price tag. We really enjoyed how easy the UDI RC boats were to use, and the fast speeds that they could reach. We also liked the variety of designs that they have to offer.
Babrit is known for producing some of the highest quality RC boats that feature the most advanced designs and use are comprised of the most cutting edge technologies available. Babrit RC boats are easy to use, are available in a variety of styles and are capable of going at high speeds. We enjoyed how much fun the Babrit RC boats were to use.