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Explaining the Pros and Cons of Electric and Nitro RC Rock Crawlers

RC rock crawlers are fun, aren’t they? Even if you haven’t bought yours yet, you most likely have watched some videos or heard friends talk about their crawling cars. And then the big questions hits you ‘which is the best RC rock crawler for me?’

With no intention of torturing you much longer, let us add some spice on your current ‘ordeal’. Will you know which RC rock crawler to buy to keep getting a kick out of it after the first enthusiasm settles?


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Time to let you in our little secret. Finding the right one for you will make a difference. And the main distinction between RC rock crawlers is the way they are powered.

So, electric or nitro RC rock crawlers? And if you go for electric ones, should you get brushed or brushless motors? It gets harder and harder, doesn’t it? No worries though!

We are here to explain their features and pinpoint their pros and cons with the intention of making your decision much easier. So, buckle up! Here we go!

Nitro RC Rock Crawlers: What Are They?

What’s confusing here is the key work ‘nitro’. This is a methanol based fuel, which contains nitromethane. Here is how it got its name.

So, when we are talking about nitro RC rock crawlers, we basically talk about RC vehicles running on an engine. Some rock crawlers would also run with petrol, but nitro is much lighter. It’s like choosing diesel or petrol for your real car.

At the end of the day, the main feature of nitro RC rock crawlers is that they resemble your real car since they burn fuel in order to run. But you most likely have already figured that out.

The question is: is this a good or bad thing?

It depends on your expectations. Nitro RC crawlers are perhaps NOT the best choice for beginners. But if you have gone beyond this point and are into car mechanics, these types will be a great challenge. It would be (almost) like taking care of your real vehicle. They need to be fueled and would take some tinkering to perform well.

If you don’t like to get your hands dirty and just want to relax with your new hobby, abandon the idea of getting a nitro RC crawler. But if you are challenged by the experience lying ahead and like the odor & sound of real cars, nitro RC rock crawlers are for you.

With the main nitro RC rock crawler features explained, let’s break down their pros and cons.


  • As long as you add fuel, they will keep running.
  • They offer you the chance to explore the world of mechanics taken that you like to work on engines.
  • They are very powerful and fast.
  • They are more resistant to water than electric ones.
  • They give you the impression that you are driving a real car.


  • They require plenty of work since you must find the right fuel and maintain it frequently.
  • It’s not cheap to keep fueling them.
  • They are rather heavy and might break if they crash.
  • You might like the noise, but you can’t say the same about your neighbors. So, you cannot use it in the house or even in your back yard.
  • They become messy due to possible spills and leaks.
  • You have to break them when you first get them and so you waste some money on fuel.
  • Not all nitro RC crawlers have a reverse.

Electric RC Rock Crawlers Explained

At first glance, there is nothing confusing about electric RC rock crawlers. They come ready to run. You just charge the battery and off you go! It doesn’t get any simpler from that. There is no need to fuel them up. You just have to remember to plug them in so that their battery can charge.

And so their pros and cons are straight forward:


  • Electric RC crawlers don’t make noises or emit fuels and so you can use them inside the house without bothering anyone.
  • They all have a reverse and are easy to operate.
  • They are easy to maintain.
  • They are cheap.
  • They come ready to run.


  • They are not very powerful.
  • Since they run on batteries, you will enjoy them for as long as their battery lasts. Of course, you always have the choice of carrying an extra battery with you.
  • They are rather slow and so boring for those looking for more action.
  • Some motors might get overheated.

Brushed vs. Brushless Motors

And here is the confusing part. There is not one type of electric RC rock crawlers. So if you go to the store seeking a product, the salesman would probably ask you whether you want a brushed or brushless motor. So, let us prep you.

  • Brushed are traditional motors with positive and negative brushes to transfer power to the motor. And although they are cost effective, they might get overheated and bore you since they are slow. Another disadvantage of brushed motors is that they often have ventilation holes and thus are susceptible to water damage and debris built up.
  • On the other hand, brushless motors are the latest technology in the RC car world and much more user-friendly. In contrast to the brushed motors, these ones do not have commutators or brushes, the windings and magnets are reversed, and there is an electronic speed control. The latter keeps the rotor turning and controls the power generated from the battery based on the RC car’s speed and torque created.

Don’t let technical details confuse you, though!

The pros of brushless electric RC crawlers are plenty:

  • They are equally fast as their nitro counterparts reaching approximately 60 to 100 km/hr – but this depends on which model you get too.
  • Their battery and motor last longer.
  • They are noiseless.
  • They don’t get overheated easily and so you can seal to protect them from water and dirt.

Their disadvantage is that they cost more than brushed RC crawlers, but their longevity compensates for that.

A few last points to keep in mind

Before we complete our short journey in the nitro and electric RC rock crawler world explaining their features and pros & cons, let us just add some points to keep in mind.

  • Don’t let prices fool you. Electric RC crawlers might cost less but it won’t be cheap to keep an extra charged battery when you go out.
  • The brushless technology is great but the RC car might be too fast for beginners, especially of young age.
  • And don’t forget that in order to make a choice, you also have to take into consideration whether you will mostly run the RC crawler inside the house or outside. In other words, do you want on-road or off-road RC crawlers?

Now that we have indulged your curiosity about electric and nitro RC rock crawlers but also intrigued you with new questions, we leave you in peace to make up your mind.








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