7 Best RC Buggies of 2019

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So, you’re looking for the next radio controlled (RC) buggy. I don’t blame you. It’s a fun packed hobby guaranteed to fuel the needs of any RC adrenaline junky. You don’t need to be at the pro level to enjoy these fast and powerful cars either. That said, it’s better to start with a toy-grade model. Toy cars are an affordable way to develop your skills with high-speed on and off-road racing.

My simple no-nonsense guide has something to interest everyone at any level. You may want to jump to the reviews if you’re already an experienced racer. Stay where you are if not. This short intro can help you to make much better buying decisions. Newbies to the hobby often buy on appearance only. Alas, good looks alone don’t make an RC buggy robust, capable, or worthy of its price tag.

Budget
best-budget-RC-model-buggy
AHAHOO Race Buggy
4.8/5.0
Scale: 1/24 Scale
Drive: Not specified
Has adjustable rubber tires, easy-to-steer, and fast.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-RC-model-buggy
Redcat Shockwave Nitro Buggy
4.6/5.0
Scale: 1/10 Scale
Drive: 4WD
This is an excellent entry-level nitro-powered buggy.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-RC-model-buggy
Team Losi Desert Buggy XL-E
4.7/5.0
Scale: 1/5 Scale
Drive: 4WD
Waterproof electronics, Flip top cage, and amazing 4WD power.
Check Amazon

Things to Consider Before You Buy

Below are eight things to consider before you buy an RC model buggy. We’ll look at each of these points in more detail below the list. Add any of your own wants and needs that you can think of.

  1. Your budget?
  2. RTR/PNP?
  3. 2WD or 4WD RC buggy?
  4. The motor (electric) or engine (gas)?
  5. Batteries, running time, charging times
  6. Operational range
  7. Suspension
  8. Transmitter (RC controller)

A little grasp of the items above can make a positive difference to your buying decisions.










About My RC Buggy Guide

You’re now ready to read my seven RC buggy reviews. I have included inexpensive toys to high-end pro models and everything between the two. There’s something here for beginners to the experienced. These top picks are the result of real user feedback, views of industry experts, and my personal observations. The table below shows these models as they appear on the page.

RC Buggy Comparison Table

Make and ModelScaleDrivePrice
AHAHOO RC Off-Road Race Buggy (Best Budget)1/24 ScaleNot specifiedCheck Price
Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro Buggy (Best Value)1/10 Scale4WDCheck Price
Team Losi Desert Buggy XL-E (Top Pick)1/5 Scale4WDCheck Price
VATOS Radio-Controlled Off-Road Desert Buggy1/16 Scale2WDCheck Price
TOZO C5032 RC CAR Desert Buggy Racer1/12 Scale4WDCheck Price
Exceed RC Electric SunFire Off-Road Buggy1/10 Scale4WDCheck Price
ARRMA Typhon 6S BLX 4WD Speed Buggy1/8 Scale4WDCheck Price

#1 AHAHOO RC 1:24 Off-Road Race Buggy

AHAHOO RC 1:24 Off-Road Race BuggyView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

My first pick is the Best Budget RC off-road racing buggy from AHAHOO. It’s a good-looking model aimed at kids. Parents appreciate the eco-friendly, non-toxic ABS plastic used in the car’s build.

  • Best feature 1: Environmental ABS plastic
  • Best feature 2: Adjustable rubber tires
  • Plus points: Quick (for a toy), 4-wheel suspension, long playing time, easy-to-steer
  • Minus points: Long battery charging time

A favorite feature with this RC 1/24 scale racing buggy is the durable, never-fade paintwork. The adjustable rubber tires are also unique as you can tweak them according to the terrain. This RC Off-Road Race Buggy is a fast and powerful little model too—for a toy. The dual motors make precision steering much easier, and the 4-wheel suspension protects the buggy across rugged terrains.

It might only be a toy-grade RC buggy, but it has full maneuverability. Users can quickly steer it forward, back, left, right, and reverse. The brake control is also impressive. A fully -charged battery keeps any youngster in the race for a good 20 minutes. That’s reasonably long in RC terms.

The Not So Good

There’s not much to fault with this little racing buggy for what it costs. The main disappointment must be the 2.5+ hours to charge the battery. That’s a long time to wait when you’re having fun. Therefore, you may want to factor one or two spare batteries in with the cost.

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Tech Specs
Model Type: Off-Road Race Buggy
Scale: 1:24
Dimensions: 8.27 x 2.75 x 4.53″
Product Weight: 7.76 oz.
Range: 66 ft. (20+ m)
Radio band: 2.4GHz
Battery (model): 3.6V 700mAh Ni-cd
Battery (controller): 2 x 1.5V AAs
Charging time: 2.5 hours
Maximum running time: 20 minutes
The Pros
Cool design RC buggy
Environmental ABS non-toxic plastic construction
Easy-to-steer
Adjustable rubber tires
Fast (for a toy)
4-wheel suspension
Long playing time
The Cons
Long battery charging time

#2 Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro Buggy

Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro BuggyView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The formidable Redcat Racing Shockwave is my Best Value pick. It’s the only liquid fuel RC model in the guide. Skip this review if a 1/10 scale 4WD nitro buggy doesn’t appeal to you.

  • Best feature 1: 2.67cc Nitro Engine
  • Best feature 2: Stability control
  • Plus points: Stunning design, aluminum chassis, oil filled shocks, composite disc brakes
  • Minus points: Pull starter, needs regular maintenance

This model sounds phenomenal and performs at high speeds with impressive control. It doesn’t take long to break the 2.67cc nitro engine in, and once you do you’re off to the races. The way this mini beast performs off-road—in the right hands—is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The stability control almost guarantees a leading position against the competition.

Redcat’s Shockwave racing nitro buggy has a stunning design, but it’s not only aesthetically-pleasing. The model sports a sturdy aluminum chassis, aluminum capped oil filled shocks, and composite disc brakes. It has plenty of run time too, thanks to the generous 75cc fuel tank. And the single-speed transmission lets you concentrate more on the race and less on the controls.

The Shockwave’s Controller (RC)

The Shockwave Nitro Buggy comes with a dedicated 2.4GHz radio transmitter. It has intuitive throttle and steering controls right at your fingertips. It shouldn’t take more than a day to get familiar with the strategically-placed layout. The controller soon feels like a natural extension to the hands. The low battery indicator lets you know when it’s time to bring the Beast back to base. Operating distance is around 150 ft. or 50 yds.

The Not So Good

Some RC nitro buggy enthusiasts love the pull starter on this model. Most people, though, prefer an eclectic start given a choice. It’s just easier, that’s all. Despite the almost-ready-to-run status, the Shockwave—like all nitro cars—needs maintenance. It’s an excellent entry-level nitro buggy, but it still requires a degree of tinkering. Opt for an electric option instead if you’re not a tinkerer.

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Tech Specs
Model Type: Nitro-Powered Race Buggy
Scale: 1:10
Dimensions: 15.75 x 10 x 6.5”
Product Weight: 7 lbs.
Range: 150 ft. (46m)
Radio band: 2.4GHz
Battery (model): 4 x AA (not included)
Battery (controller): 8 x AA (not included)
Charging time: N/A
Maximum running time: Not specified
The Pros
An excellent entry-level nitro-powered buggy
Powerful 2.67cc Nitro Engine
Stability control
Stunning design
Aluminum chassis
Oil filled shocks
Composite disc brakes
User-friendly Controller
Value for money
The Cons
Pull-starter only
Needs regular maintenance and tweaking

#3 Team Losi Desert Buggy XL-E 1:5 4W

Team Losi Desert Buggy XL-E 1:5 4WView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

My Top Pick is the Team Losi 1/5 Scale Electric Desert Buggy. It’s powerful, addictive, and flies, yet still manages to land on all fours. Phew! Let’s take a closer look at why this made the Top Pick.

  • Best feature 1: Amazing 4WD torque power
  • Best feature 2: Dynamite Brushless motor
  • Plus points: Fast, bright LED bar, MAXXIS Creepy Crawler Tires, waterproof electronics
  • Minus points: Price; parts may break

The Team Losi Desert Buggy XL-E is incredibly fast for an electric RC model. The full (unrestricted) throttle lets you take this beauty to over 50 mph—if you can control it. It’s a feature-packed, high-quality model aimed at serious enthusiasts. These are people committed to bettering themselves and their beloved models. Let’s run over some of the remarkable features of this ultimate Desert Buggy.

Pleasing Aesthetics

What we have here is a 1/5 scale RC buggy. It has highly competitive 4WD torque power from a dynamite 800Kv brushless motor. The aesthetic parts include a flip top cage, bright LED light bar, and updated body panels. The driver interior is also impressive compared to much of the competition.

The model boasts fully-waterproof electronics. It has a revised shock package and a new wing and wing mount. Other quality parts include the aluminum center differential, chassis brace plate, and MAXXIS Creepy Crawler Tires. Maxxis tires are famous for their unrivaled off-road handling. The Spektrum AVC (Active Vehicle Control) technology is also worth a mention.

What AVC does is unleash the true power of an RC vehicle. Unlocking the real performance potential without AVC is impossible. That’s not a restriction you have to worry about with this electrical beast.

The Not So Good

Team Losi’s Desert Buggy XL-E is not cheap at around 1000 dollars. It’s not a toy-grade model and not something you want to buy on a whim. You can expect to break some of the stock parts eventually because of the power and aggressive off-road track racing. RC enthusiasts tend to upgrade plastic stock components to stronger metal alternatives as a matter of course.

amazon

Tech Specs
Model Type: Desert Buggy RTR
Scale: 1:5
Dimensions: 37 x 21.4 x 15.6″
Product Weight: 18.9 lbs.
Range: Not specified
Radio band: Spektrum DX2E 2.4GHz
Battery (model): 11.1V 5000mAh 3S or 14.8V 5000mAh 4S 50C LiPo
Battery (controller): 4 x AAs
Charging time: Not specified
Maximum running time: Not specified
The Pros
Amazing 4WD power
Dynamite Brushless motor
Fast 50+ mph top speed
Bright LED bar
MAXXIS Creepy Crawler Tires
Waterproof electronics
Flip top cage
Aluminum center differential
Chassis brace plate
The Cons
High price tag
Some parts can break easily

#4 VATOS Radio-Controlled Off-Road Desert Buggy

VATOS Radio-Controlled Off-Road Desert BuggyView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

This is the VATOS RC 1:16 Scale Desert Buggy. It costs a fraction of the previous pick, but it’s still an excellent entry-level 2WD racing vehicle. It’s a good-looking model too.

  • Best feature 1: Independent suspension system
  • Best feature 2: Incredible trafficability
  • Plus points: Fast, good range, crash-resistant, full function control, hollow rubber tires
  • Minus points: Exaggerated running time, long charging time

Every young racer loves the design of the VATOS RC buggy. More important than looks is the vehicle’s impressive performance. Each wheel has an independent suspension that uses helical springs. The shocks provide efficient damping and a steadier drive than other systems. And the VATOS’ ability to travel across different terrains (trafficability) is impressive for a buggy in its class.

Driving the VATOS Off-Road Desert Buggy

The 9mph (15km/h) top speed is quick enough for a desert buggy aimed at younger enthusiasts. And the 164 ft. (50m) control range gives plenty of distance to enjoy a great race. Part of the fun is to recover from flips, crashes, and collisions, but it’s no fun if the toy breaks up. Well, they’ve built this little buggy with engineering nylon, and that means it can stand up to plenty of punishment.

The driving functions are forward, reverse, left, right, and allow full stunt and drift control. The long-lasting hollow rubber tires also help with grip and include internal shockproof gaskets. There’s plenty to love with this RC off-road desert track buggy, but not everyone’s impressed.

The Not So Good

The two biggest reviewer gripes with this model are the exaggerated running time and long charging times. The guide says 15 minutes on a fully-charged battery. It might do that if you take your time and drive up and down on a smooth surface. Who does that with a racing buggy? I would say 8–10 minutes is more realistic so be sure to invest in one or more spare batteries.

The charging time is also long at 180 minutes (3 hours). That’s even more of a reason to invest in spare batteries. Alas, short running times and long charging times are the bugbear of all RC models, not only this one. The controller takes three AAs, but you must buy those separately.

amazon

Tech Specs
Model Type: Desert Racing Buggy
Scale: 1:16
Dimensions: 11.4 x 5.1 x 7.4”
Product Weight: 2.49 lbs.
Range: 164 ft. (50m)
Radio band: 2.4GHz
Battery (model): 4.8V/500mAh
Battery (controller): 3 x AAs
Charging time: 180 minutes (3+ hrs.)
Maximum running time: 8–10 minutes
The Pros
Wicked design desert racing buggy
Ready-to-run (RTR)
Independent suspension system
Excellent trafficability
Fast top speed for its class
Good operational range
Crash-resistant materials
Full function control
Durable, hollow rubber tires
The Cons
Exaggerated running time
Long charging time

#5 TOZO C5032 RC 1:12 Desert Buggy 4WD Racer

TOZO C5032 RC 1:12 Desert Buggy 4WD RacerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

TOZO’s RC Warhammer Desert Buggy is in a different league than the previous pick on all levels. It’s a capable off-road 4WD performer with a powerful motor and plenty of oomph.

  • Best feature 1: Explosion-proof PVC shell
  • Best feature 2: Fast top speed
  • Plus points: Independent shocks, colored LED lights, long playing time, decent range
  • Minus points: Long charging time

You need a tough buggy if it’s to stand up to highly-competitive racing battles. This robust RC car won’t let you down with its sturdy explosion-proof PVC shell, but that’s not all. The independent shockproof system is effective at preventing vibration damage. The gear components are all metal too, which adds further to the buggy’s resistance.

Power & Control

Expect to reach top speeds of around the 30mph or 48km/hour mark. Experienced users are sure to notice the benefit of the metal stock parts. The metal differential gear and transmission shaft are something else. They provide a much better drift experience compared to plastics. And the bright-colored LED lights guarantee to get the adrenaline pumping during night time races.

The playing time is a decent 20 minutes and the operational range an acceptable 164 ft. (50m). It’s a good idea to buy at least one spare battery to continue the fun.

Points to note: This hobby-grade model is suitable for 12 years and older, or younger under supervision. People who buy this RC buggy usually have experience with other models.

The Not So Good

It can take up to 3-hours to recharge a flat battery. It’s a common problem, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. There are a few other individual gripes from users, but no shared major concerns.

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Tech Specs
Model Type: Desert Buggy
Scale: 1:12
Dimensions: 17 x 8 x 10”
Product Weight: 7.28 lbs.
Range: 164 ft. (50m)
Radio band: 2.4Ghz
Battery (model): 7.4V 1500mA
Battery (controller): 3 x AAAs
Charging time: 180 minutes (3 hrs.)
Maximum running time: 20 minutes
The Pros
Powerful 4WD Desert Buggy
Fast top speed
Explosion proof PVC shell
Shockproof Suspension system
Independent shocks
Colored LED lights
Long playing time
Decent range
The Cons
Long charging time

#6 Exceed RC Electric SunFire 1:10 Off-Road Buggy

Exceed RC Electric SunFire 1:10 Off-Road BuggyView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

Meet the Exceed Fire Blue RC Electric SunFire RTR Off-Road 4WD Buggy. It’s an excellent choice for racers who like to get involved with a model and tweak its performance.

  • Best feature 1: Stock metal parts
  • Best feature 2: Fine tune potential
  • Plus points: Adjustable suspension, powerful motor, fast top speed, knobby tires
  • Minus points: Long charging, average running time

The first thing to point out with this fast racer is the high-quality stock metal parts. Many RC models come with cheaper, much weaker plastic components that break easily. The Exceed RC Electric SunFire has metal geared front and rear differentials, but there’s more. There are an aluminum center driveshaft and solid aluminum shock towers too. That’s a confident start right there.

Racing the SunFire Off-Road RC Buggy

The dual-rate adjustments at the transmitter end let you fine-tune the throttle and steering. Being able to fine tune the model’s power delivery and its steering gives you much better control. The buggy’s reinforced power-train and adjustable suspension systems give this vehicle a definite edge. In the right hands—and with precise tuning—this buggy can navigate any terrain you race it across.

The high power comes from a reliable brushed 540 motor. It’s possible to adjust the camber & toe settings via turnbuckle linkages to match the terrain. The more you fine tune, the better control you get over this aggressive little acer. And the off-road knobby tires stick like the proverbial brown stuff to a blanket, even under the most trying conditions.

The Not So Good

Exceed RC Electric models are popular for good reasons, but they’re not perfect. This one disappoints in two common areas—short running and long charging times. That means buying extra batteries. The running time is a low average at 15 minutes max. The charging time is a painful three hours.

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Tech Specs
Model Type: Off-Road RC Buggy
Scale: 1:10
Dimensions: 15.8 x 9.8 x 6.3”
Product Weight: 2 lbs.
Range: not specified
Radio band: 2.4Ghz Pistol Transmitter
Battery (model): 7.2v 1800mAh Ni-MH
Battery (controller): 4 x AAs
Charging time: 180 minutes (3 hrs.)
Maximum running time: 15 minutes
The Pros
Ready-To-Run (RTR) powerful off-road buggy
540 Brushed Motor
Stock metal parts
Powerful ESC (Electronic Speed Controller)
Aluminum shock towers
High performing front & rear differentials
Lots of fine tune potential
Adjustable suspension
Fast 20mph top speed
Super-grip knobby tires
The Cons
Low average running time
Long charging time

#7 Arrma Typhon 6S BLX 4WD 1:8 Speed Buggy

Arrma Typhon 6S BLX 4WD 1:8 Speed BuggyView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

My final pick is the Arrma Typhon 6S Blx 4WD RC Buggy. It’s a 1:8 scale model with incredible attention to detail. Arrma aims this vehicle at those who know a thing or two about RC racing.

  • Best feature 1: 6S 185 BLX brushless system
  • Best feature 2: Tough yet flexible polycarbonate shell
  • Plus points: RTR, Aggressive design, fast top speed, excellent shocks, easy-to-control
  • Minus points: Few owner reviews, high price tag, extras needed to complete

The company advertises the Typhoon Buggy with a slogan, “Engineered to Bash, Designed to Thrill.” So are they right? Well, whatever the critics say, few can disagree with the sheer power and bash-resistance of this model. It’s easy to handle and can take a real beating. That’s just as well considering its price. The intense power comes from the BLX4074 2050kV brushless motor.

Racing the Typhon 6S BLX 4WD Speed Buggy

You need to pair the engine with a couple of 3S LiPo batteries to get the most out of it. User confidence comes not only from the speed and acceleration but also the crash-resistant build.

Here are some of the high-quality stock components used:

  • 3mm anodized aluminum chassis
  • 3 all-metal geared differentials
  • Beefed up suspension components
  • Steel driveshafts

This is a buggy made to race. The striking pre-painted body shell is a sturdy yet flexible polycarbonate material. It’s expected to recover from crashes and collisions when much of the competition can’t. Expect to reach top speeds of more than 60mph (97km/h) with the right set up. That’s FAST. The running and charging times depend on the batteries and chargers used (not included).

The Not So Good

There are not too many real user reviews to rely on due to the high price of this model. Those who do own one tend to be more than happy with the buggy. But you must buy a few extras to complete the set up despite the highish price tag. These typically include batteries, battery charger, and a LiPo charging bag. You won’t, however, need to replace plastic stock components with tougher metal ones.

The model comes with dBoots Exabyte tires attached to multi split-spoke wheels. It’s not a bad setup, but there are better tires out there. The stock ones tend to struggle on loose gravel and wet grass.

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Tech Specs
Model Type: Speed Buggy
Scale: 1:8
Dimensions: 25.5 x 13.4 x 9”
Product Weight: 7.3 lbs.
Range: Not specified
Radio band: 2.4GHz
Battery (model): Not included (see maker’s recommendations)
Charging time: Depends on battery
Maximum running time: N/A
The Pros
Almost Ready to Run (ARTR)
Sleek, aggressive design buggy
Tough, flexible polycarbonate shell
6S 185 BLX brushless system
Easy-to-control (drive fast)
Incredible top speed performance
Excellent shocks
The Cons
Limited user reviews
High price tag
Extras needed to complete
Stock tires not the best
5/51 rating