7 Best Small RC Boats for Kids and Adults

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Radio controlled boats are as popular today as they’ve ever been, and more affordable. They also have better technology and handling than those of yesteryear. This guide focuses on smaller RC boats and mini-sized vessels. The great thing about smaller models is their broad appeal. Most are easy to use and some can safely cruise in bathtubs and pools as well as ponds and rivers.

Budget
best-budget-small-rc-boat
Geburun High-Speed RC Boat
4.7/5.0
Dimensions: 17.6 x 6.2 x 4.8”
Play Time: 15 minutes
Safety prop, fast top speed, large torque double propellers, decent range.
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Best Value
best-value-small-rc-boat
Udi001 Venom Small RC Boat
4.6/5.0
Dimensions: 4.3 x 15 x 5.5”
Play Time: 15 minutes
Easy to steer, sturdy build, fast, bonus battery, low battery alarm, emergency stop.
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Top Pick
top-value-small-rc-boat
Mini Alligator RC Airboat
4.5/5.0
Dimensions: 18.25 x 7.25 x 7”
Play Time: 15 minutes
Realistic design, powerful motor, easy to steer, large air rudders, magnetic hatch.
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What to Expect from Smaller RC Boats

Smaller RC boats are no different from their larger counterparts in that you get what you pay for. You also need to know what you want from the model. There’s no need to spend more than a few dollars if it’s a simple toy for a toddler. However, consider a few failsafe features if you expect to use it on ponds, rivers, and lakes. The purpose of this guide is to help you make the best decision in any case.

Here are some typical characteristics to look out for on RC boats:

  • Size of the boat (always check the product dimension)
  • Type of RC craft, e.g., speedboat, ship, fishing, yacht, etc.
  • Remote control functions
  • Control range (distance)
  • Battery life or playing time
  • Charging time
  • Anti-flip hull
  • Capsize recovery mode
  • Out of range and low battery alarms

A simple list like this ensures you choose the right model. Not everything will apply to all people. Feel free to modify the above points so that it’s closer to your specific needs and wants.

Realistic Expectations

One of the most common shopping blunders with any RC model is to overlook its size. Product images can easily draw shoppers in, but they don’t represent the true measurements. We know this from the feedback users leave in review sections. They’re surprised at how big or small a product is because they overlooked scale sizes or dimensions. I add the dimensions for each boat in the reviews.

There’s isn’t a maximum size for a small boat because they’re comparisons. For example, a 1/12 scale model of a rowing boat is sure to be much smaller than a 1/12 scale model of a cruise ship. There are no ‘size’ surprises in these reviews providing you check the quick specs table.

Consider the RC boat’s construction. Parents of small children are sure to want a product that uses non-toxic plastics. Check for crash-resistant properties too. Control range shouldn’t be that vital for smaller RC boats. After all, there’s no fun if it goes out of the line of sight (LOS). The playing time (battery life) is something to ponder, as are charging times and the cost of spare batteries.

The Importance of Failsafe Features

Even some of the cheaper RC boats come with failsafe features that can prove invaluable. An anti-tilt hull reduces the risk of capsizing. And capsize recovery modes flip boats back upright if they do overturn. That means no lost boats or wading/swimming out to rescue an upturned model. Out of range warnings and low-battery alarms prevent vessels becoming stranded on larger bodies of water.

About My ‘Small RC Boats’ Guide

There are 7 reviews on this page for small RC boats. I selected these products after revising dozens of models. I also took the opinions of industry experts into consideration along with real user feedback. The final picks cover all types of mini RC boats and price ranges. I’ve highlighted the above features and specs with models that have them. Likewise, I also point out areas where a product may fall short.

The top three reviews show the Best Budget, Best Value, and the Top Pick. The ones under those are by price for convenience, lowest to high. The table below shows the order of these favorite models.

Small RC Boats Comparison Table

Make and ModelDimensionsPlay TimePrice
Geburun Electric High-Speed RC Boat17.6 x 6.2 x 4.8”15 minutesCheck Price
USA Toyz Udi001 Venom Small RC Boat4.3 x 15 x 5.5”15 minutesCheck Price
Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours RTR RC Airboat18.25 x 7.25 x 7”15 minutesCheck Price
Unetox Mini High-Speed RC Racing Boat5.11 x 1.69 x 1.96”7 minutesCheck Price
Tipmant Mini Military RC Aircraft Carrier7 x 3.5 x 3”8 minutesCheck Price
POCO DIVO Vector28 Mini Pool Racing Boat10.88 x 2.85 x 2.2”20 minutesCheck Price
Waterproof RC 4WD Mini Car Boat9 x 8 x 4”15 minuteCheck Price

1. Geburun Electric High-Speed RC Boat | Best Budget

Geburun Electric High-Speed RC BoatView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The Best Budget pick goes to the Geburun Electric High-Speed RC Boat. It’s one of the larger small models here and best suited for outdoor use. It’s fast too and crash-resistant.

  • Best feature 1: Impact-resistant ABS material
  • Best feature 2: Easy, USB charging
  • Plus points: Safety prop, fast top speed, large torque double propellers, decent range
  • Minus points: Slow charging, average playing time

Reasons to Consider the Geburun High-Speedboat

The Geburun RC racing boat uses harmless, high-quality impact-resistant ABS in its build. Another safety feature is that the motor and paddle won’t work until they contact water. This is a powerful toy model for its price category with dual motors and high-torque props. Users can expect speeds of up to 12 mph (20 km/h) in calm weather. The control range is a decent 164 ft. (50 M).

Charging the battery is easy thanks to the boat’s USB port. That sounds logical, but USB charging is not something all RC models offer, so it’s a welcome feature. Charging time is less impressive.

The Not So Good

Battery charging takes up to 3 hours for 15 minutes of playing time. That means extra batteries are essential for anyone who wants uninterrupted fun on the water.

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Tech Specs
Maker’s Recommended Age: 12+ years
Dimensions: 17.6 x 6.2 x 4.8”
Product Weight: 14.1 oz.
Top Speed: 12.4 mph (20 km/h)
Max Range: 164 ft. (50 meters)
Battery: 4.8V 700mAh
Max Running Time: 15 minutes
Charging Time: 3 hours
The Pros
Impact-resistant ABS material
USB charging port
Safety prop (only works underwater)
Large torque double propellers
Fast top speed
Decent control range
The Cons
Average playing time
Slowish charging time

2. USA Toyz Udi001 Venom Small RC Boat | Best Value

USA Toyz Udi001 Venom Small RC BoatView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Best Value small RC boat goes to the popular FORCE1 Power Venom Udi001. Its sleek design and anti-tilt waterproof ABS hull slices through the water with speed and ease.

  • Best feature 1: Anti-tilt ABS hull
  • Best feature 2: Capsize recovery mode
  • Plus points: Easy to steer, sturdy build, fast, bonus battery, low battery alarm, emergency stop
  • Minus points: No out of range alarm, average running time

Reasons to Consider the Small Udi001 Venom Boat

Self-righting boats flip far less than models without anti-tilt hulls, but they can still overturn. It’s why a capsize recovery mode is so vital for those who play on big ponds, lakes, and rivers. This boat has it, so hobbyists can race with confidence. The Udi001 Venom is easy to steer and sports a sturdy built to protect it against knocks and collisions. It’s fast too, reaching speeds up to 15 mph (24 km/h).

Safety features include a low battery alarm and an emergency stop function. Its low-battery warning gives out an audible beep as soon as it reaches its final minute of power. That’s ample time to return the boat. The bonus battery (2 total) effectively doubles the playing time. Always allow a few minutes for the motor to cool down between battery swaps.

The Not So Good

There isn’t an out-of-range warning alarm with the Udi001 Venom. Users must remember to stay within range to prevent the boat disappearing for good. The running time is 15 minutes, so extra batteries are vital to avoid waiting 90 minutes between charges.

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Tech Specs
Maker’s Recommended Age: 14+ years
Dimensions: 4.3 x 15 x 5.5”
Shipping Weight: 2.2 lbs.
Top Speed: 15 mph (24 km/h)
Range: 300 ft. (91 meters)
Battery: 3.7v 600mAh Li-Ion
Max Running Time: 15 minutes
Charging Time: 90 minutes
Controller: 2.4GHz Transmitter
The Pros
Anti-tilt ABS hull
Capsize recovery mode
Easy to steer at the entry-level
Sturdy build
Fast top speed
Bonus battery
Low battery alarm
Emergency stop function
The Cons
No out of range warning
Average running time

3. Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours RC Airboat | Top Pick

Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours RC AirboatView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

My Top Pick is not your typical RC water vessel. Meet the Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours RC Airboat. It’s the biggest of the small boats in this guide and one that has a unique appeal.

  • Best feature 1: Flat-bottom ABS hull
  • Best feature 2: Durable injection-molded cage
  • Plus points: Realistic design, powerful motor, easy to steer, large air rudders, magnetic hatch
  • Minus points: Average playing time, no warning alarm

Reasons to Consider Aquacraft Mini RC Airboat

The best thing about an airboat is its ability to glide across shallow water. That means you can take it to places other RC boats can’t go. A stable flat-bottom ABS hull offers a thrilling experience and a unique type of adventure. The Mini Alligator comes with an injection-molded cage to protect the user. The cage also shields the spinning prop and powerful 380-motor from damage.

Airboats are more agile and easier to steer than speedboats and other vessels in calm weather. And the large twin air rudders mean there are no concerns about underwater obstacles. Another positive is that the battery’s easy to access and quick to swap thanks to the magnetic hatch.

The Not So Good

The playing time is 15 minutes which is standard for this type of RC vessel so consider extra batteries. Charging times with the 12V DC charger can vary depending on the source. The biggest gripe with this otherwise impressive airboat is the absence of alarms. No low-battery or out-of-range signals mean users must be extra vigilant on larger bodies of water like rivers and lakes.

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Tech Specs
Maker’s Recommended Age: 15+ years
Dimensions: 18.25 x 7.25 x 7”
Product Weight: 24.6 oz.
Top Speed: 10+ mph (16 km/h)
Range: Not specified
Battery: 7.2 V 6 cell NiMH
Max Running Time: 15 minutes
Charging Time: Not specified
Controller: Tactic TTX300 Transmitter
The Pros
Flat-bottom ABS hull
Injection-molded cage
Realistic design
Easy to steer
Powerful motor
Large air rudders
Magnetic hatch
The Cons
Average playing time
No warning alarm

4. Unetox Mini High-Speed RC Racing Boat

Unetox Mini High-Speed RC Racing BoatView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The Unetox Mini is a small-scale RC racing boat primarily for kids. It makes an ideal toy for younger children who are not ready for too much oomph on the water.

  • Best feature 1: Easy to operate, 4 channel controller
  • Best feature 2: Self-righting feature
  • Plus points: Small size, solid ABS material, full drive functions, decent range
  • Minus points: No batteries included, no alarms, short playing time, slow

Reasons to Consider Unetox Mini RC Racer

This ABS plastic model really is a mini at just 5.12” (13 cm) long. Its bright orange color catches the attention of young skippers and makes it easy to see on the water. The Unetox Mini is ideal for close range use like pools and small ponds. The remote provides full controls, i.e., forward, backward, left and right turns. There’s even a self-righting feature to flip the tiny craft upright if it capsizes.

The control range is 98 ft. (30 M) which gives young captains plenty of room to play. The makers suggest it’s suitable for those 8 years and older. I think it’s a better choice for younger children under adult supervision. Older kids will soon get bored with the small size and slow speeds (see below).

The Not So Good

The Unetox Mini is a budget-priced toy with limited functions. There aren’t any battery or range alarms which is a shame. That makes it more suitable for toddlers in the pool rather than teens by the lake. The playing time is also short at just 7–8 minutes max.

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Tech Specs
Maker’s Recommended Age: 8+ years
Dimensions: 5.11 x 1.69 x 1.96”
Product Weight: 11.4 oz.
Top Speed: 2.2 mph (3.6km/h)
Range: 98 ft. (30 meters)
Battery: 3 x AA (not included)
Max Running Time: 7 minutes
Controller: 2.4Ghz transmitter
The Pros
4CH controller (transmitter)
Self-righting feature
Small size
Solid ABS material
Full drive functions
Decent range
The Cons
No warning alarms
No batteries included
Short playing time
Slow

5. Tipmant Mini Military RC Aircraft Carrier

Tipmant Mini Military RC Aircraft CarrierView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.2/5

This Tipmant boat is for those who want to move away from the popular speedboats. It’s a military RC aircraft carrier at the budget end that appeals mostly to younger children.

  • Best feature 1: Simple remote control functions
  • Best feature 2: Water detection safety feature
  • Plus points: Ideal for pools and ponds, built-in battery, fast charging time
  • Minus points: Limited appeal, short playing time, no speed setting

Reasons to Consider the Mini Aircraft Carrier

Tipmant’s Mini Military Aircraft Carrier is an affordable toy-grade RC ship for first-timers. It has some nice details to capture the imagination of youngsters. The remote is super easy to use with simple forward, backward, left, and right controls. Worth noting is that some reviewers report the antenna is missing from the remote—it’s not. This small RC ship sails just fine without one.

The safety features are the same as any other radio-controlled boat. That is, no moving parts work until the model detects water. Likewise, the craft automatically stops when it leaves the water. It’s the perfect vessel to use in pools and other small areas. Users can recharge the built-in boat battery via the controller which only takes a few minutes.

The Not So Good

The Mini Military RC Aircraft Carrier is a budget-end toy with limited functions. It’s unlikely to appeal to kids over 8 because of the above. It’s an ideal model for pools but not so suitable for bathtubs as it’s too zippy and there’s no speed setting. Playing time on a single charge is around 8 minutes.

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Tech Specs
Maker’s Recommended Age: 8+ years
Dimensions: 7 x 3.5 x 3”
Product Weight: 2.2 oz.
Range: 50 ft. (15 meters)
Battery: 2.4 V 100mAh Lithium
Max Running Time: 8 minutes
Charging Time: 12 minutes
Controller: 2.4Ghz transmitter
The Pros
Simple control functions
Water detection safety feature
Ideal for pools and bathtubs
Built-in battery
Super-fast charging time
The Cons
Short playing time
Short control range

6. POCO DIVO Vector28 Mini Pool Racing Boat

POCO DIVO Vector28 Mini Pool Racing BoatView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

This is the POCO DIVO 2.4Ghz Vector28 Ready-to-Run (RTR) Pool Racer. It’s a high-speed mini racing boat with an ultra-sleek design and plenty of wave-making oomph.

  • Best feature 1: Ready-to-Run (RTR) speedboat
  • Best feature 2: Rubber sealed hull cover
  • Plus points: Affordable, full function control, fast, decent range, low battery alarm
  • Minus points: No out of range alarm, long charging time

Reasons to Consider the Vector28 Mini Pool Boat

The Vector28 Mini Pool speedboat can sit on the palm of a hand, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for on features. A rubber-sealed hull keeps the water out of this surf-slicing racer as it zips across the waves. Its deep-V design drives as well on lakes and ponds as it does in pools despite the name. A powerful 180A brushed motor propels this affordable toy to a top speed of 20+ mph (32 km/h).

Other attractions are the ease-of-use, full controls, and a decent 300 ft. (91 M) control range. The boat also has a low battery alarm that tells users when it’s time to return to port.

The Not So Good

The Vector28 Mini has an impressive control range for a toy RC boat yet no out-of-range alarm. It also has a decent run time for a model in its class that’s let down by the long 3 hour charging.

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Tech Specs
Maker’s Recommended Age: 14+ years
Dimensions: 10.88 x 2.85 x 2.2”
Product Weight: 6.2 oz.
Top Speed: 20 mph (32 km/h)
Range: 300 ft. (91 meters)
Battery: 7.4V 360mah LiPo
Max Running Time: 20 minutes
Charging Time: 3 hours
Controller: 2.4Ghz transmitter
The Pros
Ready-to-Run (RTR) speedboat
Rubber sealed hull cover
Full function control
Affordable model
Fast on the water
Decent control range
Low battery alarm
The Cons
No out-of-range warning
Long charging time

7. Waterproof Remote Control 4WD Mini Car Boat

Waterproof Remote Control 4WD Mini Car BoatView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

Last on this list is an RC boat—well sort of—with a twist. Meet the waterproof, 4WD mini car boat. It’s a double-sided amphibious model that entertains kids as few toys can.

  • Best feature 1: Drives on land and water
  • Best feature 2: 360° spins & flips
  • Plus points: Fast and powerful, multi-terrain, long range, anti-vibration, non-toxic materials
  • Minus points: Fiddly to charge, long charging time

Why Consider the FREE TO FLY 4WD Mini CarBoat?

The fantastic thing about the Double-Sided 4WD RC Car Boat is its off-road, on-water capabilities. Imagine the fun kids have racing these amphibious robots when they have one each. The boats on this page all have full function controls—for boats. But what they can’t do is perform 360° flips and spins like this fun-loving model. Nor can they turn upside down and keep going.

Experience off-road, multi-terrain capability that’s off the charts. You can take this CarBoat across the grass, sand, on marshy ground, and over water. It’s anti-vibration and crash/abrasion-resistant structure lets users bash with confidence wherever they are. And the non-toxic materials reassure parents that the product is as safe as it is fun.

The Not So Good

The mini car-boat looks fantastic and provides lots of entertainment though it’s not perfect. Running time is average at 15 minutes, but the charging lets it down. You must undo a screw to access the battery each time, which is a design flaw and a hassle. Charging time takes 2+ hours.

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Tech Specs
Maker’s Recommended Age: Parental discretion
Dimensions: 9 x 8 x 4”
Product Weight: 2.41 lbs.
Top Speed: 16 mph (25.7 km/h)
Range: 197 ft. (60 meters)
Battery: 6V 400mAh rechargeable
Max Running Time: 15 minutes
Charging Time: 2+ hours
Controller: 2.4GHz transmitter
The Pros
Drives on land and water
Drives on both sides
Dual motors
360° spins & flips
Fast and powerful
Multi-terrain capable
Long range
Anti-vibration mechanism
Non-toxic ABS material
The Cons
Fiddly to charge
Long charging time
5/51 rating