Radio-controlled cars provide heaps of fun for people around the world. But cars have too many restrictions for a lot of hobbyists. One of the most frustrating things is what happens when they run onto unfamiliar terrains. They might flip over, get stuck, or break up. The RC crawler is a beast that loves unusual and challenging terrains.

In this guide, we take a look at the best RC crawlers that you can get in 2018.

Budget
Best-budget-RC-Crawler
Maisto R/C Crawler
4.3/5.0
2.9 lbs.
Range 30 ft. (10m)
Articulated suspension, two motors, and all-wheel drive.
Check Amazon
Best Value
Best-value-RC-Crawler
Redcat Everest-10 Crawler
4.7/5.0
8.3 lbs.
Range depends on setup
Powerful electric brushed motor and multi-link suspension.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
Top-value-RC-Crawler
Traxxas TRX-4 Scale
4.6/5.0
10 lbs.
Range depends on setup
2-speed transmission, portal axles, and waterproof electronics.
Check Amazon

Not everyone wants to speed along a smooth track to the finish line. Keep reading if you’d like to climb banks, scale rocks, and navigate otherwise impossible surfaces. The RC rock crawler is a unique type of radio-controlled model. It provides the user with adrenaline-pumping challenges like none other.

How to Choose an RC Rock Crawler

The number of choices of RC crawlers can be overwhelming, especially at the beginner level. Even experienced drivers can become frustrated with all the options and accessories. The good news is that I’ve waded through all the latest products to come up with a shortlist of seven. But what should YOU look out for?

Here are three things to be mindful of before you decide:

  1. Your budget
  2. Age and skill level (some models are not suitable under a certain age)
  3. Needs/wants and expectations (be specific)

There are other factors too.

Well-Informed Buying Decisions

Playtime is short-lived with RC crawlers as with most other radio controlled models. So, battery life (running time) is always something to consider. More important than running time is whether the battery is built-in or removable. Removable types let you swap batteries and continue the fun while the other one charges. You may want to factor charging times in as well.

I recommend folks buy one or two spare batteries with any RC model. Therefore, take the cost of extra batteries into account in your buying decision. I also suggest allowing a cooling down period for a few minutes between battery swaps. There should be a recommended period in the user manual. A little patience in this area saves the motors from overheating and thus prolongs their life.

How to Use this Review Guide

This no-nonsense guide has mini-reviews for seven amazing RC crawlers around this year. I’ve included something at all budget and skill levels. The picks here are the result of my thoughts, the opinions of experts, and real user reviews. You’ll find a table at the end of each review which highlights the main specs, pros, and cons of the product.

There’s a link at the end of each review if you want to find out more about the model and its price. I’ve arranged the ones here in order of price with the least expensive models at the top.

Best RC Crawler Comparison Table

Here are my top RC crawler trucks as they appear on this page. Feel free to jump around.

Make and ModelScaleRunning TimePrice
Maisto R/C Rock Crawler RadioNot specified15-30 minutesCheck Price
Gizmovine RC 4WD High Speed Rock Crawler1/32 scale20+ minutesCheck Price
GPTOYS 4×4 Hobby Grade RC Rock Crawler1/18 scale10 minutesCheck Price
Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Crawler1/10 scale30+ minutesCheck Price
Redcat Racing Rockslide-RS10-XT-24 Crawler1/10 scale20+ minutesCheck Price
Exceed RC RTR Mad Torque Rock Crawler1/8 scale45 minutesCheck Price
Traxxas TRX-4 Scale and Trail Crawler1/10 scaleDepends on batteryCheck Price

1. Maisto RC Rock Crawler Radio

Maisto RC Rock Crawler RadioView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

My first pick is the affordable Maisto R/C Rock Crawler. It’s the perfect toy for backyards and boasts enough features to bring out the adventurous side of any youngster.

  • Best feature 1: Articulated suspension
  • Best feature 2: TPE Tires
  • Plus points: Two motors, low gearing, AWD, decent playing time, tri-channel transmitter
  • Minus points: Slow, wide turn radius, no batteries included

The off-road Maisto RC Rock Crawler has dual motors, sells well, and ranks high among its users. That’s no surprise when you consider what it packs into the deal. There’s low gearing, articulated suspension, and the durable, anti-skid TPE tires. These things combined ensure it crawls rocks and other difficult terrains with ease. You need a little skill, but the rock climbing challenge is half the fun.

The running time is decent for an RC crawler in its class. Expect anywhere between 15–30 minutes depending on batteries (not included) and use. The Maisto R/C Rock Crawler comes with a 3-frequency, tri-channel transmitter. That means three players can partake simultaneously when linking other Maisto RC vehicles. Overall, this is a brilliant choice of rock crawler at the entry level.

The Not So Good

R/C rock crawlers need skill and torque more than speed. Even so, this model is particularly slow. Speed is something to think about if you need to race on the flats sometimes. Another issue is the wide turning radius. That’s only a problem for folks who don’t want to perform too many three-point turns. The final gripe is that you must buy all the batteries separately—truck and controller.

amazon

Tech Specs
Dimensions: 12.5 x 7 x 8”
Product Weight: 2.9 lbs.
Scale: Not specified
Range: 30 ft. (10m)
Battery Type: 6 x AA (car), 2 x AA for the transmitter
Charging time: Depends on the charger
Running time: 15-30 minutes depending on batteries (not included)
The Pros
Great looking model
Affordable
Articulated suspension
Two motors
All-wheel drive
Low gearing
Super-grip TPE Tires
Tri-channel transmitter
Decent running time
The Cons
Not very fast
Wide turning radius
Batteries not included

2. Gizmovine RC 4WD High-Speed Rock Crawler

Gizmovine RC 4WD High-Speed Rock CrawlerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

This beast is the Gizmovine high-speed RC4wd rock crawler with gorgeous over-sized high-grip tires. It also has high strength suspension springs and an eye-catching design that kids love.

  • Best feature 1: Fast top speed
  • Best feature 2: High strength suspension springs
  • Plus points:4WD, long playing time, all-terrain capable, front guard, overheat protection
  • Minus points: Long charging time, not good near water despite claims

At around 12mph, this 4WD puppy is fast for a rock crawler in its class. Expect to get 20+ minutes of fun on a fully-charged battery. The 100m range is nothing to sneeze at either. You can take it onto any terrain and steer it with confidence thanks to the durable build. The car has a decent guard frame to protect the vehicle’s front end from those inevitable crashes.

The Gizmovine 4WD high-speed RC rock crawler is the perfect gift for children eight years and older. Younger kids can also enjoy it under supervision. There’s a nice balanced weight to this model, and it responds well to the controller. It’s one of those “family” toys that everyone can enjoy from the youngest to the oldest.

The Not So Good

The playing time is more than decent for this type of RC car. It’s the charging time that’s not so good. Recharging can take as long as five hours, and that’s double some of the other models in this guide. Make sure you buy a couple of spare batteries if you decide to go with this 4WD Rock Crawler.

I need to mention something about water. A lot of makers—and a few reviewers—claim that these models can run through wet mud and puddles. These are overhyped selling points in my opinion. My advice is to keep this little beast out of puddles and away from splashes or risk damaging it.

amazon

Tech Specs
Dimensions: 11.4 x 7.3 x 4.5”
Product Weight: 3.3 lbs.
Scale: 1:32
Range: 328 ft. (100m)
Battery Type: 9.6V 700mAh
Charging time: 4-5 hours
Running time: 20+ minutes
The Pros
Beautiful design
Fast top speed
High strength suspension
Four-wheel drive (4WD)
Front protection guard
Good on most terrains
Motor overheat protection
Long control range
The Cons
Long charging time
Stay clear of water despite any “splash-resistant” claims

3. GPTOYS 4×4 Hobby Grade RC Rock Crawler

GPTOYS 4x4 Hobby Grade RC Rock CrawlerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

Meet GPTOYS’ 4WD Hobby Racing RC Truck. It’s another radio-controlled model with an eye-catching design. You can expect a super-fast 20+ mph top speed with this puppy, and there’s more.

  • Best feature 1: Powerful brushed 380 motor
  • Best feature 2: PVC shockproof tires
  • Plus points: All-terrain capable, long-distance range, tough front bumper, water-resistant
  • Minus points: Low average playing time, not quite as robust as claims

Want a bit more speed and bling than the previous model? This RC4wdHobby Racing RC Truck could be what you’re looking for. You can reach speeds more than 20mph in ideal conditions. It’s a rugged, capable 1/18 scale model that packs a host of impressive features. The powerful brushed 380 motor gives you all the oomph you need for a vehicle at this level, and up to a 60m distance.

The all-terrain capability of this rock crawler is sure to exceed expectations in most areas. GPTOYS uses tough PVC rubber with durable foam inserts for the tires. The suspension system is independent and uses a helical or coil spring. The spring provides a useful damping effect and thus makes the truck steadier to control. And the anti-shock front reinforcement bumper adds extra crash protection.

Semi-Waterproofing

Another noteworthy feature is the truck’s semi-waterproofing. The claim is that you can operate the vehicle in wet conditions and not have to fear shallow puddles and splashes. It’s nice to know the protection is there. I wouldn’t recommend getting this model wet as part of the fun, though. Stick to driving, turning, drifting, crawling and flipping on dry days on dry courses.

The Not So Good

There are a couple of downsides to GPTOYS’ 4WD Hobby Racing RC Truck. One is the low average running time. You get 10 minutes at best so be sure to invest in extra batteries. The charging time is better with an acceptable 2+ hours.

The final gripe is the truck’s toughness, or its weakness to be more specific. RC rock crawlers are tough, but they’re also destructible. Model parts can and do break at times as par for the course. You can prolong the life of your precious toy if you remain forever mindful of this simple fact.

amazon

Tech Specs
Dimensions: 9.1 x 7 x 6″
Product Weight: 1.95 lbs.
Scale: 1:18
Range: 197 ft. (60m)
Battery Type: 7.4V 650mAH Li-ion
Charging time: 2 hours
Running time: 10 minutes
The Pros
Cool design
Feature-packed model
Powerful brushed 380 motor
Fast top speed for racing
PVC shockproof tires
All-terrain capable
Water-resistant
Long distance range
Tough protective front bumper
The Cons
Low average playing time
Not as tough as claims suggest

4. Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Rock Crawler

Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Rock CrawlerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The Redcat 1/10 scale Racing Everest-10 is an electric rock crawler with waterproof electronics. It’s not a speed demon, but its powerful electric brushed motor provides ample torque for crawling.

  • Best feature 1: Waterproofed electronics
  • Best feature 2: Powerful electric brushed motor
  • Plus points: Multi-link suspension, bead-lock tires, long travel shocks, aluminum chassis
  • Minus points: Slow, plastic servo horns, wide turning radius

The Everest-10 is an awe-inspiring model to watch as it navigates rocks like a futuristic robot. It has waterproof electronics, a powerful brushed motor, and multi-link suspension to boot. The bead-lock tires and long oil-filled travel shocks are other impressive features. They help this crawler to scale rocks and other impossible terrains with the agility of a mountain goat.

It’s easy to see why Redcat’s Everest 10 sells well and ranks so high among users. The online reviews suggest that around 85% of owners recommend this product. It’s a sturdy yet nimble vehicle for its size. This is a Rock Crawler to consider if torque is more important to you than speed.

The Not So Good

The Everest-10 RC Rock Crawler is not for you if you compete with more speed than it offers. Good quality 3S Lipos can help to pick up the pace but not by much. The plastic stock servo horns are the main disappointment here because they break easily. Alas, it’s a common problem with a lot of rock crawlers in this class. I suggest anyone who buys this model upgrades to an aluminum servo horn.

The wide turning radius is the final negative. It’s also a common complaint with crawlers of this type. The good thing about this is that it forces you to perfect your 3-point turns, and that’s not a bad thing.

amazon

Tech Specs
Dimensions: 18.2 x 10.2 x 6.5”
Product Weight: 8.3 lbs.
Scale: 1:10
Range: Not specified
Battery Type: 7.2v 2000mAh NiMh
Charging time: 2+ hours
Running time: 30+ minutes
The Pros
Competent crawler
Waterproofed electronics
Powerful electric brushed motor
Multi-link suspension
Long travel shocks
Aluminum chassis
Bead-lock tires
The Cons
Slow
Plastic servo horns
Wide turning radius

5. Redcat Racing Rockslide-RS10-XT-24 Crawler

Redcat Racing Rockslide-RS10-XT-24 CrawlerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

At #5 is the Redcat Racing Rockslide-RS10-XT-24 Crawler. Watch it climb over the most challenging surfaces with the ease of a long-legged spider. Let’s see what else it offers.

  • Best feature 1: 4-link suspension system
  • Best feature 2: 3-piece bead-Lock wheels
  • Plus points: 4-mode wheel steering, twin-motors-on-axels, aluminum chassis
  • Minus points: Plastic servos that easily break

The Rockslide RS10 XT Crawler sells well despite its higher price. It performs as well as its futuristic appeal and gripping good looks suggest. That’s why it’s among Redcat’s favored line right now.

This ready-to-run (RTR) model comes with a host of impressive features. The tires are the aggressive bead-lock types, held firmly in place by weighted bead-lock rims. Changing tread patterns to suit the terrain is a breeze with this mechanical monster. And the simple touch of a button controls the 4-mode, 4-wheel steering. You can switch steering modes for the following:

  1. Front wheel steering
  2. Rear wheel steering
  3. Four-wheel steering
  4. Four-wheel crab steering

Other Power Features of the Popular Rockslide RS10

Other features worthy of a mention include the twin-motors-on-axels and the aluminum chassis. There’s also front & rear transmission, two electric high-torque brushed motors, and a crawler-specific ESC. When you’re ready to run, this crawler is ready to climb.

The Not So Good

The only real drawback to the RC rock crawler is the plastic servos. Yes, it’s that old chestnut again. It’s not a case of if the servos will break but when. Makers tend to skimp on this one thing for some reason. It’s better to buy upgraded metal servos and fit them right away to save any headaches.

amazon

Tech Specs
Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.8 x 6″
Product Weight: 8.75 lbs.
Scale: 1:10
Range: Not Specified
Battery Type: 7.2v 1800mAh
Charging time: Not specified
Running time: 20+ minutes
The Pros
Great looking model
4-link suspension system
3-piece bead-Lock wheels
4-mode wheel steering
Twin-motors-on-axels
Aluminum chassis
The Cons
Plastic servos easily break

6. Exceed RC RTR Mad Torque Rock Crawler

Exceed RC RTR Mad Torque Rock CrawlerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Exceed RC RTR Mad Torque Rock Crawler has an amazing grip and impressive torque power. It crawls over impossible obstacles thanks to its quality features and dual high-torque 540 motors.

  • Best feature 1: Dual High-torque 540 motors
  • Best feature 2: Center-mounted 3-gear transmission
  • Plus points: Multi-link suspension, complex tire pattern, heavy-duty servo, long playing time
  • Minus points: Plastic steering knuckles, protection needs work

The eye-catching blue paintwork draws attention to this outstanding rock crawler. The Mad Torque R/C Rock Crawler is more than just a good-looking vehicle. It sports an effective center-mounted 3-gear transmission system. This transmission powers all four wheels and provides incredible torque and astounding grip. The super-long shocks have nitride coating and offer a lot of articulation.

The multi-link suspension delivers a smoother crawling experience that makes handling easier. The complex tire patterns improve the user’s control still further. The tires provide the truck with its tremendous grip and better balance. And the heavy-duty servo is better than most of the competition. They’re not as good as upgraded servos, but they’re a vast improvement on some models.

The Not So Good

The Exceed RC RTR Mad Torque Rock Crawler is a capable mid-level crawler, but it’s not perfect. It’s a vehicle made for pounding on the rocks and will eventually break its driveshaft. You might want to think about upgrading to metal steering knuckles as well. The parts and upgrades are not expensive, but they’re not always readily available either. Be sure to check for any spares before you buy.

This is still a smashing RC rock crawler that offers great value despite the typical gripes.

amazon

Tech Specs
Dimensions: 22.8 x 13.9 x 9.2″
Product Weight: 2 lbs.
Scale: 1:8
Range: Not specified
Battery Type: Ni-MH 7.2V 3000mAh
Charging time: Not specified
Running time: 45 minutes
The Pros
Dual High-torque 540 motors
Center-mounted 3-gear transmission
Long playing time
Multi-link suspension
Complex tire pattern
Heavy-duty servo
The Cons
Could use some upgrades

7. Traxxas TRX-4 Scale and Trail Crawler

Traxxas TRX-4 Scale and Trail CrawlerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Last on the list or best RC rock crawlers is the Traxxas TRX-4 Scale and Trail Crawler. Don’t let the detailed Land Rover Defender design put you off. This really is a very capable model.

  • Best feature 1: Rugged & powerful
  • Best feature 2: Waterproof electronics
  • Plus points: Portal axles, extreme off-road ability, remote locking differentials, 2-speed transmission, aluminum shocks, heavy duty steel frame rails
  • Minus points: No battery or charger included, average servos, cost

The Traxxas TRX-4 Scale and Trail Crawler is rugged and powerful, and so it should be at the price. It boasts waterproof electronics and portal axles. The advanced axles give the vehicle its massive ground clearance and prevent any chassis torque twist. Traxxas says their new design offers extreme off-road capability, and they’re right. It’s more impressive than many of the conventional rock crawlers.

Other features include remote locking differentials and a 2-speed transmission. The shocks are tough aluminum, and the heavy-duty steel frame rails provide outstanding torsional rigidity. Also worth a mention are the high-torque metal gear 2075 servo, XL-5 HV speed control, and mini receiver. And the waterproofing gives you more confidence to go places you may not venture with lesser models.

Why Buy the Traxxas TRX-4 Scale/Trail Crawler

This model is a new design with lots of innovative features that I’ve only touched on. The Traxxas TRX-4 Scale & Trail Crawler has the power, the versatility, the build, and capability to run out of the box. It’s reliable, easy to master, offers great performance, and boasts some outstanding characteristics.

The Not So Good

You must buy batteries and a charger separately. That’s a disappointment considering the higher price tag of this model. The main complaint, however, is the average servos. Yes, even stock servos on more expensive models are below par. The good news is that upgraded servos are not expensive. It’s wise to order superior servos at the same time as buying the truck, batteries, and charger.

amazon

Tech Specs
Dimensions: 23.1 x 9.8 x 11.5″
Product Weight: 10 lbs.
Scale: 1:10
Range: Depends on setup; should easily pass the line of sight (LOS)
Battery Type: Not included
Charging time: Depends on battery
Running time: Depends on battery
The Pros
Well detailed Land Rover Defender body
Waterproof electronics
Rugged & powerful
Extreme off-road ability
Portal axles
Remote locking differentials
2-speed transmission
Aluminum shocks
Heavy-duty steel frame rails
The Cons
No battery or charger included
Average servos
Cost