Getting into Hobby RC Models – Our Tips for Beginners

By Maria Rogerson

May 12, 2020Lifestyle

People that enjoy socialising, playing with their kids and being outside are big on RC vehicles. In fact, this hobby can improve hand-eye coordination and it’s great for people that enjoy competition too. Generally, RC cars, planes, boats and so on, are considered to be kids’ toys and while that is true to some extent, it doesn’t mean that RC models are made just for them. In fact, apart from toy grade RC vehicles, there are also hobby grade vehicles.

RC Models


What Is Hobby Grade RC?

If you want to get an RC model that will last you a long time and perform at a high level then look for for RC hobby models. With hobby RC models, even if a certain part gets damaged or lost, you won’t usually have to get a new model – just a new part. Often times, RC hobby models come with spare parts so you don’t have to search for a new one.

Hobby vs Toy Grade

What sets a toy-grade model apart from hobby grade models is that they can’t be found in a dedicated hobby shop, online or not. Since toy-grade models have limited abilities, they are more affordable which is why parents buy them for their kids. Unlike hobby RC models, toy-grade models have simpler controls but they are more prone to interference from other toys than hobby-grade models.

Kits vs RTR

Kits provide you with everything you need in order to assemble an RC model. This requires some mandatory basic knowledge of the vehicle’s anatomy. Although they are not something to enjoy right away, they can teach you a thing or two about how your RC model works. You also have the option to customise your vehicle and make it look unique.

RTR (Ready-to-run) models are best for people who don’t want to spend time figuring out what goes where. While an RTR model allows you to use it as soon as you get it out of the box (if the batteries are not packed separately) it doesn’t give you the freedom to put additional equipment yourself.

Types of RC Hobby Models?

Types of RC Hobby Models



These RC models are the most commonly found vehicles in an online hobby store, (or any store for that matter) that can run on paved flat surfaces. They are not made to run in tall grass or on gravel as they do not have enough power to do so. That being said, check out the following RC vehicles.


While RC trucks may be slow on a smooth surface, they are the best for off-roading. Be careful when turning though as high speed turns can easily trip them over. Trucks are divided into tow sub categories, monster and short course trucks.

Monster trucks provide the best experience off-road as they have even bigger tires than regular RC trucks and bigger batteries to allow for more torque. Short course trucks can also be ridden on all kinds of terrain including flat roads too. Their wheels are protected by bumpers and they have shorter shocks than buggies. These are great if you are into customising your ride.


As the name suggests these RC models are made to slide around tight corners and still go as fast as a street car. These, of course, are not meant for off-roading as they have slick tires.


Buggies are a mix of off road and on road RC vehicles. They can be used both off road and on road but they are going to be faster on smooth surfaces because of their low wheelbase. These are best when you don’t know exactly what type of RC vehicle you want.


These models are a crossover between a truck and a buggy and are meant to be used off road more than on road. They have the frame of a buggy and the tires of a truck.


RC crawlers are made to be ridden on uneven surfaces like gravel or over biog rocks. They have low speeds but can be used on all kinds of terrains making them even better than trucks when in comes to going over obstacles.

Electric vs Nitro

electric vs nitro


Hobby RC models can be powered by a battery or a special kind of fuel. Nitro hobby vehicles are faster than electric ones but they are also more expensive and also have a bad smell to them. Electric RC vehicles, on the other hand, are cheaper and require less maintenance while providing faster acceleration. Nitro powered RC models are generally faster and have longer run times, but they are more complex. Electric RC vehicles are better if you want a model you can use at home.

Brushed vs Brushless

Electric powered hobby RC models use either brushed or brushless motors. The former are a cheaper option but it requires more maintenance and doesn’t perform as good as the latter. Unlike brushed motors, the brushless ones are completely sealed which makes them last longer. They require little to no maintenance while being way more efficient. Of course, all this comes at a higher cost.