Which Is the Top Best RC Rock Crawler for Your Money?
2017’s Reviews of the Best Rc Rock Crawler
Trying to find the best RC rock crawler for your money, experience, and expectations? These RC rock crawler reviews will be helpful.
RC rock crawling enthusiasts would agree that nothing compares to the thrill of watching your truck tackling the roughest terrains with ease. But still, the question remains: which is the best RC rock crawler on the market?
RC rock crawling has become one of the most popular sports. With that said, it’s natural that there are many options out there.
To help you choose, we checked out several products and put together the best RC rock crawler reviews.
Does my experience count, you ask? Are there special features among rock crawlers, you wonder! Our answer is yes to both questions. Everything matters when you want to buy an RC rock crawler – even if it rains a lot in your location!
The price is also crucial. Most of these little beasts don’t come cheap enough for every pocket. Those designed as toys are cheaper. Hobby grade rock crawlers cost more. But the price tag changes among brands and models as well and goes hand in hand with each product’s features.
Hence, it’s vital to study the features, what to look for, and what your choices are among the best RC rock crawler products for the money you are about to spend. Then you should evaluate what’s available and choose based on your experience – some RC rock crawlers are ideal for beginners! So let us get started.
What Is the RC Rock Crawler?
The RC rock crawler is one type of remote controlled vehicle. Unlike their race counterparts, RC rock crawlers are slow. Speed is not the objective here. Rock crawlers are designed to do what their name implies: climb rocks.
So let us be clear here. There are substantial differences between RC vehicles. So if you are a beginner in rock crawling, don’t make the mistake of picking just any remote controlled vehicle. Before you go ahead and read our RC rock crawler reviews, take a look of the main distinctions among RC vehicles:
- RC cars are made for on-road racing. So they are not built to climb rocks but to increase speed to win in a competition.
- RC trucks are perfect for off-road racing. They are heavily built to race in all terrains and feature big wheels.
- A combination of cars and a whisper of trucks make up the RC buggies or truggies. They lack the durability of the trucks but this compensates with their ability to speed up.
- RC monster trucks are really tall featuring huge tires. They are not too speedy, but very powerful.
RC rock crawlers are not meant to race. They are built to move to any terrain whether it is mud, rocks, sand, cliffs, snow, and streams – you name it.
So if speed is not what you are looking for, but want an RC vehicle to overcome all terrain challenges, it’s time to buy the best RC rock crawler you can get your hands on.
Differences between RC Rock Crawlers
- Regular RC rock crawlers are not meant for competition. They are slow and ideal for climbing the harshest terrains.
- Trail rigs are vehicles, which can climb but are mainly designed to cruise in terrains RC cars wouldn’t dare to go.
- Rock racing vehicles combine off-road speed and climbing elements and are built for competition.
Main RC Rock Crawler Features
- Power: the best RC rock crawler will have good power to climb rocks and allow you to keep control of your vehicle. So its gears are important. There are two gears: the spur and the pinion with the former being the larger one. The two gears must have a difference in terms of size to enhance power. The higher the gear ratio formed by the size difference, the greater the power and the lower the speed. Exactly what you expect from your RC rock crawler.
- Traction: A combination of narrow rims and tires allows better traction, which is important with RC rock crawling. The tires must be relatively soft with deep treads. And it’s also vital to make sure the rim and tire are well glued or bead-locked together to withstand the rock crawling stress. A locking differential is often the best solution for good traction.
- High Clearance: that’s perhaps the most important feature of RC rock crawlers. You don’t want the RC rock crawler chassis getting in contact with the rocks, but neither to see your truck tipping over. So there is a need for perfect balance when it comes to clearance. And so the best RC rock crawler would have a low and stable center of gravity that will help it climb without losing its balance and tipping over.
- Suspension: your RC rock crawler will turn and twist as it is climbing and so a soft suspension is a must. With the right suspension system, the vehicle will remain stable as the tires will remain in contact with the terrain and bumps will smooth out. Which are the main components of suspensions?
A. Springs: they provide torque to keep the vehicle from bumping in the terrain.
B. Pistons: they are found in the springs and keep the rock crawler from bouncing.
C. Shocks: they absorb bumps and jolts.
- Steering: there are 2WD and 4WD RC vehicles. When it comes to rock crawlers, they are usually 4WD. What’s the difference between the two?
A. 2WD means that only the two wheels of the vehicle are powered. These ones are better for on-road RC cars. Although they hardly need maintenance and are very durable, it’s more difficult to drive them – especially on rugged terrains.
B. 4WD means that all four wheels of the truck are powered. They are ideal for off-road vehicles, like rock crawlers. But since they consist of more parts, they need more maintenance.
4 wheel steering is important to rock crawlers because it enables all four wheels to move in the same direction. Why is this important for your rock crawler? It enables you to maneuver it easier and also allows better traction.
Tip: Wondering how to make RC rock crawler tires sticky? You can use simple green, which is a cleaning product, and mix it in equal portions with water. It will soften the tires and help them stick better. Alternatively, you can spray the tires with WD40 before you go out there. Make sure to wipe the excess and give it some time. It will work fine on dry rocks.
- Electric vs. Nitro RC rock crawlers: what you choose has to do with your experience and requirements. These are the main differences.
- Off-Road vs. On-Road: RC rock crawlers can run on any surface. From your kitchen tile floor to pavements and grass, they will be fun on any ground. But they are mainly constructed to crawl on rocks. And so the most popular ones are off-road vehicles.
- Scale: this refers to the size of your RC rock crawler. You don’t want it big enough to be difficult to carry it around, but neither small one to lose it from sight. An average scale is 1/10 and 1/8.
- An electric RC crawler is the best choice for beginners. The vehicle runs on rechargeable batteries, which last for approximately 10 minutes. So if you go out for a few hours, bring along some extra batteries. And that’s the downside of it, but it compensates by making no noise. Electric powered remote controlled off-road vehicles can speed about 10 to 50mph. For on-road vehicles, the speed is estimated from 15 to 100mph.
- With a nitro RC rock crawler, you enjoy higher speeds. Your off-road crawler will go 20-60mph. On-road vehicles will speed from 25 to 80 mph. And for those who don’t know, nitro is a gasoline type. Maneuvering nitro powered crawlers will remind you of your real crawling car. The downside of this choice is that the vehicle will make noise.
- Kit vs. Ready to Run (RTR): the difference between the two is simple. With kits, you have to assemble your own crawler. And so an RC rock crawler kit is ideal for enthusiasts who also have the zeal to build up their own trucks. It’s time consuming and so not the best idea for all. But on the other hand, assembling the kit enhances your anticipation and allows you to learn each one of its parts – in case the truck will need some repairs in the future. But if you don’t want to test your patience or simply don’t have the time for that, get a ready to run RC rock crawler.
- Motor: they are brushed or brushless. Let us explain the differences:
a. Brushed motors have one positive and one negative brush that transfer power to the vehicle’s motor. The advantage of this option is that brushed motors are not expensive. But they are not very efficient or long lasting.
b. Brushless motors don’t need a commutator. They hardly need any maintenance, are fast, and very efficient. But their downside is their cost. Their cost compensates with their long lasting. If you decide to get such motors, prefer sensored as opposed to sensorless ones since there are extra wires, which ensure better control and smooth running.
What to Take into Account before You Buy an RC Rock Crawler
- Beginner or Not: Maneuvering an RC rock crawler is harder than you think. So it makes a difference to your final choice whether you are experienced or not. If you are looking for an RC crawler for beginners, prefer a Ready to Run (RTR) electric RC crawler. If you have experience, you can enjoy the independence a nitro RC rock crawler provides – that is if you don’t mind the noise. And if you have patience and time, why not get a kit to make it on your own!
- Your Budget: there are some inexpensive rock crawlers on the market and they are perfect for beginners in the sport. But keep in mind that most products are kind of pricey depending on whether they are electric or nitro powered and RTR or an RC rock crawler kit. Toys are not expensive at all. Hobby grade rock crawlers cost more.
- Plan to Race? If so, it’s better to turn to a different RC vehicle. The purpose of having a rock crawler is to enjoy it on rocky terrains and maneuver it with steady speed and control.
Which Are the Most Popular RC Rock Crawler Brands?
Axial, Vaterra, Vatos, Metakoo, GPToys, Redcat, Exceed, Losi, Tamiya, Traxxas, and Maisto are some of the most popular RC rock crawler brands on the market. What’s important is to evaluate the features of the product to assess the durability and hence to get the best RC rock crawler possible.
#1. Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Rock Crawler with Waterproof Electronics, 2.4Ghz Radio Control (1/10 Scale)
It might not be the cheapest RC rock crawler, but it’s definitely stylish! It comes out in red and blue.
So you have two choices. It’s a mean 4X4 that can crawl at any terrain. Under the RC rock crawler chassis, there is a 4W drive powered with a brushed motor.
This is an electric RC crawler and has a 7.2v 2000mAh NiMh battery. The charger is included in the pack but not the batteries.
It features aluminum capped oil filled shocks to absorb impact as it crawls on the rockiest terrains. On top of this, you get bead-lock tires, which ensure your crawler withstands terrain stress.
That’s an upgrade from the previous RS-10 model. And it gets better! Since you are mostly interested in its performance, this crawler is a real beast. It climbs effortlessly and it’s RTR. Hence, it’s ideal for beginners.
With its impressive looks and even more impressive low price, this RC crawler makes the perfect gift for kids. It’s also a great option for beginners, who want to try out how they like the sport.
It’s really powerful since it has dual motors. What’s also great about it is its low gear. What this means is that it will climb over rocks with ease. So it’s ideal for some off-road rocky action!
Its good performance is enhanced by its articulated front and rear suspension. What this means is that the wheels move independently.
It’s ranked in the toy category but it can be upgraded to the hobby grade. What bothers us is that it’s not waterproof. But it runs on most terrains and has TPE tires for extra grip. It’s 12.5” long. The batteries are not included.
#3. GPTOYS RC Cars S912 LUCTAN 33MPH 1/12 Scale Electric Monster Hobby Truck With Waterproof Electronics, Remote Control Off Road Red / Truggy Toys
This RC rock crawler is the updated version of S911. Due to its brushed 390 motor, it’s a very powerful vehicle while its price is relatively friendly.
So what you get is a product with the most powerful motor and also very speedy performance (33+ mph) in its category and still pay an average price. Another great feature is its durability to either snow or rain.
In other words, it’s waterproof and still stable on watery environments – it has a better in skid resistance. What also helps is its tires. They are soft to provide enhanced grip. So the truck can run easily to wet or dry terrains.
The advantages of this product don’t stop here. Get ready for superb control due to its S-truck 4-wheel suspension technology. It works with batteries, which last about ten minutes when they are fully charged. Control distance? 328 ft or 100 meters.
This is one of the best RC rock crawler products if you want a good balance between quality and money paid. It’s one of the most inexpensive crawlers on the market and still powerful enough.
It has two brushed motors and features a dual mode technology, which makes it an excellent 4 wheel drive option for rock crawling.
It has a good clearance and so it can climb over obstacles as tall as the vehicle is. Wheel independence is enhanced due to its articulating front and rear suspension.
One of its greatest features is its large control range of 170 feet. With its 2.4GHz radio, it will enable you and 19 more players to drive your vehicles nearby without interferences.
Another good thing about this vehicle is its soft tires, which allow you to run it on any terrain and still have stability.
Its unique feature is its hill braking mode – you can also use the normal mode. When you engage the hill braking mode, the vehicle stops automatically when you remove your hand from the throttle. As for color options, you can get a blue or red one.
We keep the surprise feature for last. Its body can be removed easily and so you can customize it with a new 1/12 scale body as you please. Isn’t that awesome!
#5. Vatos RC Cars Off Road High Speed 4WD 45km/h 1:22 Scale 50M Remote Control 2.4GHz Electric Vehicle Buggy RC Trucks with LED Night Vision VL-BG1511A-B – Get in black or silver
Since one of the features defining the best RC rock crawler is durability, this product gets many credits. And that’s because its shell is made of explosion proof PVC and won’t break during a collision.
In its category, it increases high speed and you still keep good control due to its excellent suspension system.
Another superb feature is that its battery can run for 30 minutes and is USB rechargeable. And it’s the ideal product for those who want to go out at night since it comes with two LED headlights.
As an overall, it performs great also due to its differential gear. There is no noise and there is great stability even at high speeds.
Its tires are made of rubber and have a shock proof gasket, which allows better grip even when the truck speeds.
And Our Verdict is…
Taking into consideration that a rock crawler is not meant to speed up but to drive over obstacles and on rugged terrains, the winner of our RC rock crawler reviews is the Vatos electric jeep.
All products have pros and cons. It depends on what you are looking for and the price you pay. The most important drawback with this truck is that it cannot be controlled from a great distance.
Other than that, we loved its extra features (the headlights are really cool) and its PVC quality shell. And what’s essential when you are out in the field is to enjoy the ride and go back home with the RC rock crawler intact.
But since your expectations from an RC rock crawler might be different than mine, be sure to check that your future truck will have the right suspension system, a good clearance, powerful motors, and soft tires.
Whether a toy or hobby grade, the rock crawler must be an excellent value for the money you pay as a consumer. So happy shopping and an even happier driving experience with the best RC rock crawler for you.