Reasons to buy an RC drift car
There are a huge number of reasons to buy an RC drift car! RC drift cars can be the basis of a relaxing and fun hobby to take your mind off of work. Especially for car enthusiasts and model builders, the customizability of model cars can be a ton of fun and turn racing drift cars into a project that keeps you busy on and off the track. For the same reasons, an RC drift car is a great gift for friends, family, and coworkers – especially if you already know they enjoy cars or racing. RC drift cars can also be a fun hobby to enjoy with your kids, since many children tremendously enjoy playing with remote-controlled cars. If you are on the lookout for a great present for an RC-enthusiast or for your kids, also add an RC helicopter and an RC buggy to your list of ideas.
Features to consider when choosing an RC drift car
There are a huge number of features that differentiate RC drift cars from one another, since everything from the motor, to the body, to the remote controller itself has to be designed from scratch for each car. This section will help you understand what features to look for and what they mean when choosing an RC drift car.
The vast majority of RC drift cars on the market today come with a 2.4 GHz radio transmitter, a robust system that can be used in the presence of other 2.4 GHz transmitters without interference – which is important if you plan to play with your drift car in the presence of other cars.
The range of these transmitters can vary depending on the length of the antenna in the controller and in the car itself – cars like the one made by Exceed boast an extended range of up to 80 meters, although this may not be necessary if you are operating the car primarily on a small, enclosed track. Note that the transmitter typically requires AA or AAA batteries that are not included when you purchase a car.
When thinking about the radio system, it is also important to look at the controller itself. Is it easy to hold in your hands and are all the controls easy to access with your thumbs? Having a controller that is easy to use can make a big difference in your ability to drive your car – split-second movements of the controller can make or break a drift.
When it comes to RC drift cars, faster is typically considered better – and more fun! The speed of drift cars varies significantly between models and depends on everything from the motor to the drive system to the aerodynamics of the car body to the wheels and driving surface. Cars such as the one made by Exceed can reach moderate speeds of 15 mph, while cars like the one from Redcat Racing can whip by at a higher speed of up to 23 mph.
Depending on the car, it is also possible to modify some of the components, such as the wheels, to reduce the weight of the car or decrease rolling resistance to improve the top speed.
The motors found on RC cars can be divided into brushed and brushless motors. A brushed motor uses traditional DC power and uses a piece of material to deliver a current to the motor. These types of motors are typically less expensive than brushless motors, but also produce more noise and cannot produce as much acceleration when drifting. However, they are easier to control during a drift, which, combined with the more modest price, makes them best for newcomers to RC drift cars.
Brushless motors, on the other hand, don’t contact the motor directly and don’t wear out over time like a brushed motor, but are also significantly more expensive upfront. These motors can provide a huge amount of acceleration through a drift as well, which makes them harder to control and better for experienced RC drift car controllers.
The scale of the car is also an important consideration when choosing an RC drift car. Model scales of 1:10 are most common, but cars scaled 1:12 also exist – like the FSTgo drift car – as well as cars scaled 1:8. Larger car scales will require more power to drive the car, which means these cars typically have larger motors inside, and require larger tracks to operate safely. Smaller cars are typically preferred by beginners since they are easier to control – they have less momentum around tight turns and drifts – and can be operated on the small tracks you are likely to have at your local hobby shop.
The drive system is one of the most important parts of an RC drift car. A 4-wheel drive system is like that found on the cars from Redcat Racing and Exceed is much preferred to a 2-wheel drive system when operating your car off-road, but is generally considered to be overkill if you are planning to use your car primarily on pavement. Although using all four wheels can be helpful for providing extra control and getting unstuck from dirt, it does not make a difference when using the car primarily for drifting.
One of the major limitations of nearly every RC drift car on the market today is use time. The batteries within drift cars are purposely small to reduce weight, so that the cars can accelerate faster and reach higher top speeds. However, this also means that most cars can only operate for 10-20 minutes before the battery is exhausted. It is generally a good idea to buy a spare battery for your car, so that you can make the most of a trip to the local track, and you’d also benefit from bringing a USB charger for in between drift runs.
The weight of RC cars depends on everything from the model scale, to the construction of the motor and body, to the weight of the wheels themselves. More weight means more momentum once the car is going – which can then be carried into the drift to create more spin – but also that the car will accelerate more slowly and require more track run-out to get up to drift speed.
The dimensions of RC drift cars are directly related to the models’ scale – 1:8 cars are significantly larger in size than 1:10 or 1:12 cars. The length of RC cars is typically measured in millimeters. For reference, 1:10 scale cars are typically around 360 millimeters in length, or about 14 inches, with a 260-millimeter (11-inch) wheelbase. Again, be sure to consider whether you will be using your drift car primarily on an indoor track, and whether that track is large enough to accommodate the dimensions of your chosen drift car.
The material of the car body affects the weight and aerodynamics, which in turn can have a huge effect on acceleration. The car construction is of course also important for durability, which makes it a very significant consideration. Cars like the one from Redcat Racing are designed with a vinyl polycarbonate body to reduce weight, although this material is also less burly than the aluminum used in heavier and more durable cars.
Also be sure to keep an eye out for a padded foam bumper on the front of the car – such as is found on the cars from Exceed – which can help protect against frontal impacts.
RC drift cars are not wildly expensive, but they are an investment with a lot of moving electronic and mechanical parts, that can break suddenly and without warning. Having a solid warranty from a trusted manufacturer can provided a significant amount of peace of mind when choosing a drift car. Unfortunately, solid warranty policies are hard to find among RC drift car manufacturers and all of the cars included in our list of top picks require you to contact the manufacturer directly in case of any issues.