What Makes A Good RC Crawler? Must-Have Features & Best Setups

If you’ve ever dreamed of being a real racecar driver, but you’d never dare set foot or tire on a racetrack, there are still ways for you to experience what it’s like to be a racer.

One way to do this is by racing RC cars and getting your need for speed fulfilled in a proxy way.

The best RC crawlers have soft tires with good traction and grip. Waterproof electronics are a must with RC cars, especially when going off-roading through various conditions. They have good suspension, good torque motor and control, and are highly responsive to steering and other controls.

If you want to live life in the fast lane, an RC car might be the right thing for you. There are a few things you should know about RC crawlers before buying your first car.

Must-Have Features

Certain features help make an RC crawler successful. Here is a list to help you understand what those features are:

  • Soft tires with good traction and grip that have a good amount of tread
  • Good suspension with droop (the level a car is able to rise above its natural ride height)
  • Waterproof electronics (this way you can drive your RC car in all conditions and weather)
  • Good torque motor and control
  • Highly responsive to steering
  • Good ground clearance (make sure the car is high enough off the ground to navigate tough terrain)

Best Setups

You’ll want to look for an RC crawler that has all of these features. Of course, this can be difficult due to a lack of the combination of these features or being out of your budget.

The more specific you get about the types of features you would like in your RC crawler, the more expensive it will become.

The most important features to look for are quality tires, or wheels, with good traction and the responsiveness of the car.

The amount of control you have over the car is extremely important. You need to be able to control the car well to avoid damaging it and to make sure you’re able to use it and maximize its abilities.

Things to Look for in a Good RC Crawler

The shape and design of the RC crawler are going to be a big part of what makes it a successful and good-quality RC car.

You’ll want to look for a model that has a wide stance and is low to the ground. That will give you the most control.

However, you still find models that have good control and are higher off the ground. It all depends on the handling of the vehicle and the quality of the wheels.

It’s also important to take into account what the most important aspects and features are for you.

If you’re looking for something that can go really fast, you’ll want to look for different features than you would if you were looking for an RC crawler that can handle difficult terrain.

Beginner’s Guide


Batteries are the power source for most RC cars. The more expensive they are, and the higher quality they are the faster they will likely make your car go.

Batteries for RC cars can range in prices anywhere from $30 or less to over $100. All batteries degrade over time, but even the cheapest ones can be fairly long-lasting.

Most of the cheaper batteries are made out of nickel-metal hydride (NiMh). However, the market for RC cars is quickly moving and changing over to lithium polymer batteries (LiPo).

These LiPo batteries are more expensive, but they are lighter and hold more energy.

The LiPo batteries measure energy or power in milli-amp hours (mAh). Of course, the bigger the number, the better the battery is. However, this number does not tell you how powerful the battery is.

For you to know how powerful the battery is, you need to take a look at the voltage. If the voltage is higher, it will cause the engine to spin faster. This way, you should be able to drive your RC car quicker.

For most beginners, the best idea would be to buy a car that comes with a battery included in the kit. It can be confusing to figure out what all the cell numbers and voltage numbers mean when you’re looking to buy a battery separately.

If you want a spare battery, you should buy the same battery that came with your car that has the same voltage and the same (or higher) C rating.

There shouldn’t be any problem in choosing a battery with a higher C rating. However, if you choose a spare battery with a lower C rating, there could be some issues.

In addition to the batteries themselves, the batteries will also come with different plugs for charging and discharging.

Most chargers will work for popular plugs, but the discharge plug will be tailored to fit your specific car. (The discharge plug is the one you plug into the car to give it the power to run.)

The last point about batteries is that you need to make sure you get the right size battery. It should have the right dimensions so it will fit in the battery hole on the RC car.


RC cars can be incredibly fast nowadays. They used to be small, cheap department store toys that topped out at around 10 mph. The newer models have been built for greater speeds and to withstand a lot rougher terrain than the original designs could ever dream of.

The fastest RC car can reach speeds up to 100+ mph. While the average RC crawler won’t go that fast, most models can go anywhere from 40 to 65 mph. These models are quite common and it’s not too hard to find a model that goes this fast. Thanks to improvements in battery technology and RC car motors, the fastest RC cars are not run by fuel but are electric.

Depending on your budget, you should be able to find an RC car that goes pretty fast. The more you pay, the higher the top speed on your car is likely to be. Of course, other features will factor into the pricing of the car. Though you can have plenty of fun with an RC crawler that isn’t necessarily the fastest of the bunch.


RC crawlers are a scale model of, or a fraction of the size of, the full-sized version of the vehicle. The size of most RC cars is 1/10 of the full-sized vehicle.

This means that all the dimensions of the car (the length, width, and height) are 1/10 of the size of those dimensions on the real vehicle. You can actually find larger-scale models, with some of them being 1/5 of the actual size.

However, the bigger the scale of these models, the more expensive they will be. In addition to being more expensive, they aren’t as common, so finding replacement parts for this size of a model is going to be much more difficult.

For beginners, it is important to note that for almost all RC crawlers, you are going to need spare parts or replacement parts at some point in time.

Power Type: Electric vs. Nitro

There are two main types of power that run RC cars and crawlers. These two types of power are electric (batteries) and nitro.

Nitro RC cars actually use a small version of an internal combustion engine. These types of engines are similar to those used with lawnmowers and motorbikes. With these RC crawlers, you’ll need to actually put fuel into the car instead of just charging a battery.

The fuel is usually a mix of methanol and oil, called nitromethane, although, this exact mix can vary slightly depending on the engine.

In addition to the special attention required for the fuel, the engine will need servicing, maintenance, and upkeep, just like an actual car. If you choose to get an RC car that runs off of nitro, you should be ready to take care of the engine. It would be helpful to have previous experience with taking care of cars.

On top of that, the RC crawlers that run off of nitromethane are usually much louder than their electric counterparts.

Electric RC crawlers are quieter and can actually be faster than the nitro cars now. Most RC cars in the market are electric and it looks like things will continue to head in that direction. The batteries for RC crawlers are usually around $100 or more.

It is, however, much easier to charge these cars rather than take care of the engine in nitro RC crawlers.

Another aspect of electric RC cars that can be advantageous is brushless motors. Basically, this is just talking about the small carbon blocks (brushes) that are in the motors. The brushless motors are faster, but again, this additional feature will increase the price.

Off-Road vs. On-Road:

There are quite a few different types of bodies of RC crawlers. Just like with real cars, each design is best suited for a specific type of terrain. They’re designed to do some different things.

The initial choice you’ll need to make is whether you want an RC crawler that’s built for on-road or off-road adventures. Typically, off-road will be the better choice if you’re wanting to have more freedom in where you drive your RC car.

You’ll be able to drive the car in more places than you would with an RC car designed for being on-road.

Of course, that being said, on-road builds and designs tend to go faster. This is especially true for going around corners and this is because the tires of the on-road RC cars typically have more grip and traction.

The best place for on-road builds of RC cars is large areas of smooth, flat pavement. If you can find an empty parking lot, this would be ideal. In addition to their speed, on-road cars are designed to slide and drift around. An empty parking lot is the perfect place to do this and to practice these tricks.

For good off-road RC crawlers, you’ll want to look for a build and design that has good suspension and hardware built for climbing over rocks, logs, mud, puddles, and any other obstacles you may encounter in your off-roading adventure.

Of course, the more technical off-road crawlers are more focused on being able to go through rough terrain and overcome various obstacles. As a result, they don’t go as fast as on-road RC vehicles because it’s focused on so many other aspects of off-roading.

These types of RC cars (or RC crawlers) are really good for beginners who are worried about going too fast at first. The slower speed can help any new RC car driver get used to the more technical side of RC driving and maneuvering.

Some good off-road RC crawler designs are buggies, monster trucks, stadium trucks, or short course trucks. Many of the parts of off-road RC crawlers are similar. This could be the frame of the car, the type of electric motor, or different aspects of the suspension.

You can identify buggies because the tires, or wheels, won’t be covered by wheel arches. Buggies are a good, all-around design for RC cars. They have a low center of gravity, which helps keep the car securely attached to the pavement, even at high speeds.

Monster trucks and stadium trucks usually have a wide stance and the tires will sit very widely. This helps them not roll over as easily.

The wider the stance of the car, the better balance it has and the less susceptible it is to rolling over. Short course trucks have a cool design and are also low to the ground.

Good Starter RC Crawlers

The best RC crawlers for beginners are going to be those with a really wide stance. This will help keep the driver in control, especially as they are learning to drive the RC crawler and maneuver through difficult obstacles.

It will help the new RC driver learn how to successfully drive and control an RC crawler.

RC crawlers can also have a large range in price. The price will depend on the brand, the build, and the quality of the car.

3 Recommended Starter R/C Crawlers

Click N’ Play Road Rock Crawler

Click N' Play Remote Control Car 4WD Off Road Rock...
  • Off road remote control rock crawler RC car. Lightweight strong anti-collision structure.
  • All-weather 4WD, oversized anti-skid tires and high suspension shocks for maximum durability.

LEGENDARY Off-Road Monster Truck

LAEGENDARY Remote Control Car, Hobby Grade RC Car...
  • BRUSHED MOTOR - The wound wire coils in the engine of this RC car act as a 2-pole electromagnet for...
  • EASY MANEUVERABILITY - The easy-to-use, 2-speed remote control offers a comfortable grip and...

DANCHEE RidgeRock – 4WD Electric Rock Crawler

DANCHEE RidgeRock - 4WD Electric Rock Crawler -...
  • Affordable Rock Crawling Fun: The Danchee Ridgerock offers unbeatable value as a 1/10 scale rock...
  • Versatile Steering Options: Easily switch between front wheel, rear wheel, four-wheel, and crab...

Last update on 2024-05-26 at 15:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!