Typically, 4WD cars are more expensive but deliver better handling in low grip conditions. However, 2WD vehicles generally are more durable, easier to maintain (as they have less moving parts) and have a longer run time.
Go electric unless you want a 1/5 scale car (in which case, petrol is a viable option). Nitro cars have too many cons that outway their pros unless you're a true nitro enthusiast.
Read our Electric, Nitro or Petrol - Which RC Car Should I Buy? blog post for more information.
This is referring to the motor type. In short, brushless motors are superior to brushed motors in every way apart from cost.Brushless motors:
If you want to go fast and you can afford a bit extra, go brushless when you purchase the car as to upgrade a brushed car to brushless can be expensive.
The top speed of each model is listed in the description. However, this is roughly what you should expect.
Tip: if you're looking to buy your first RC car, it's common to buy an intermediate level RC car first and limit the speed through Traxxas' training mode (limits power to 50%) or getting these throttle limiters (available for most HSP RC cars).
Here are a few things that you should think about when buying an RC car for someone else.
Tip: Unless they've specifically asked or expressed interest in on-road RC cars, off-road vehicles are a safer bet as they are more versatile as they can drive on the road and off-road.
Some RC cars are classified as dangerous goods because they include a LiPo battery. You can tell an RC car is dangerous goods if it has a warning note like this one:
If you need your RC car sent by express post ensure it doesn't have this warning and you select the option during checkout.
We recommend also getting the AC power supply for this model as otherwise you're limited to charging from a 12v cigarette lighter port (commonly found in automotive cars).
Note: There's no need to get a throttle limiter as Traxxas models have a training mode which limits the power to 50%.
Don't like either of the options above? No worries, there's heaps more to choose from. For more recommendations and information read our best RC cars for a beginner blog post.
RC cars put up with a lot of jumps, roll-overs, crashes and sometimes even abuse without a problem. However, regardless of how strong the RC car is, it's a matter of when it will break, not if it will break. That's why parts support is essential - we stock parts for all the cars we sell so you can purchase your RC car with confidence that we'll have your back when you crash into that tree that came out of nowhere!
The answer to this question is very subjective as it's difficult to measure the 'durability' of an RC car.
Electric: Most electric RC cars are waterproof* - just double check in the description of the RC car you're looking at.
Fuel powered: As all fuel powered engines need air to operate there's no truly 'waterproof' fuel powered RC cars, however, there's some that have waterproof electronics which essentially makes the car 'splash proof' - never submerge a fuel powered RC car.
*Note: if you drive in water (especially salt water) make sure you clean it thouroughly. Driving in wet conditions will increase the wear and tear on components such as bearings, tyres (they can fill up with water and overload your electrics and damage the foam inserts) and various metal parts. Even if your car's electronics are waterproof, it's best to stay away from water.