Remote control cars for children

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remote control car makes a brilliant gift for a child, but it can be tricky to know if it’s going to be a one-hit wonder or a much-loved toy.

Choosing the right kids’ remote control car means looking for something that’s robust enough to withstand a lot of bashing and crashing – but there are other factors to consider, too.

If you’re buying for a young child, look for a toy remote control car that’s easy to operate – with bigger buttons, fewer functions, and a manageable speed. This age group is more likely to be wowed by flashing lights and fun sound effects, and too much speed can mean they’re unable to control the car.

Older children can use a more advanced system for remote control of their car. And a car that’s advanced enough for adults to enjoy alongside them means twice the fun.

This is also when you can start looking for a remote control car with some serious speed, although a speed limiter – which lets you dial top speeds down a notch when you want to – can stop your remote control car constantly skidding out of control while children are still learning how to use it.

What type remote control car do you need?

Remote control cars are far more advanced than the wire-connected versions. Now, the name RC car can mean any car that’s remotely operated via a handheld controller or transmitter – whether that’s remote-controlled, radio-controlled, or app-controlled via your phone.

Many remote control cars can be taken out of the box and used immediately, making them a great gift idea. You can also build your own kits to keep older kids busy and get more value for their money. Make sure you check to make sure the option you select has a rechargeable power source. If not, you’re going to want to stock up on plenty of batteries.

These are the best

BlackZon Slyder Monster Truck

BlackZon

If your little one is looking for a great all-rounder and wants to impress siblings with stunts, they can’t go far wrong with the BlackZon Slyder. This remote control monster truck is ridiculously robust, and designed to withstand every bump, crash and tumble that kids – and grown-ups – throw at it. Variable speed control on the transmitter is a great feature that children will love. Because when it’s at top speed, it is really very fast.

This tiny vehicle can travel on any terrain, including gravel, grass, and through water or mud. It’s ready to go out of the box, and there’s a little LED light kit included, which you can fit if you want to spot your truck in the dark. What’s brilliant about this one is the rechargeable battery, which lasts well and is replaceable for around £14.99. This is one of those gifts you can legitimately claim you’re buying for your child, when you’re actually buying it for yourself.

Playmobil Porsche Mission E

Amazon

Our seven-year-old tester loved zipping her little Playmobil figures around in this remote-control Porsche, which comes with one man – who was quickly replaced by a Playmobil lady in a swimming costume. She particularly liked the little plug-in EV charging column that comes with it, although in reality you’ll need seven AAA batteries.

The car itself is easy to assemble, and our tester quickly got to grips with the handheld unit to control the car’s speed, lights, and steering. The recommended age for this car is 5+. It has a range of 10m. It’s also quite fast on hard floors but slower on carpet. Overall we love this as a way to encourage role-play for young children, and – like all Playmobil products – it feels like it’s built to last.

LEGO Technic 42109 App Controlled Top Gear Rally Car

John Lewis

LEGO sets are brilliant fun to build, but it’s often difficult to know what to do with them once they’re finished. This LEGO TechnicThe app-controlled vehicle is a different beast. Once you’ve spent hours assembling all 463 tiny pieces that make up the rally car model, you can whiz it around using the free LEGO Technic CONTROL+ App.

To do that you’ll need six AA batteries for the Bluetooth-controlled Smart Hub, then you can steer, tilt and brake from within the app. There are challenges and you can track how fast you go. This was the slowest remote-controlled car we tested. That said, it’s a beautifully designed set with detailed instructions that made it a joy to build over several days. It’s a great choice for LEGO enthusiasts and RC car lovers.

Monster Jam Official MegalodonSTORM

Amazon

Whether or not you’ve experienced a Monster Jam stadium event in real life, this remote control replica of the Megalodon truck is a whole lot of fun. In true Monster Jam style, it’s as rough and ready as they come, and able to tackle pretty much any terrain, in all weathers. It can climb over rocks, speed up ramps, and skit across paddling pool and other puddle surfaces.

We particularly like the fact the car itself is rechargeable via USB, although you’ll need batteries for the handheld remote control. It’s got some serious speed, too, which is another reason this is best suited to outdoor use somewhere with plenty of space – unless you want it to be constantly bashing into your ankles.

Tamiya Grasshopper RC Model Kit # 58346

Amazon

If you owned a Tamiya remote control car as a kid, you’ll be pleased to know the brand still has a huge following – and they’ve re-released some of their classic models from the 1980s. The Grasshopper, which was first introduced in 1984, has been a huge hit. This lightweight, build-your-own buggy kit is a great introduction to Tamiya model making, or a bit of nostalgia if you’ve been here before.

As with all Tamiya RC cars, the model kit only includes the car itself, and you’ll need to buy all the other essentials – that’s a radio system, Electronic Speed Controller, battery, and charger – separately. These components can be used on many Tamiya models so it’s a fun part of the hobby. It’s an expensive hobby no doubt, but a brilliant way to introduce an older child or teenager to the joy of making something pretty incredible from scratch.

BRIO Remote Control Race Car

Amazon

It’s not easy to find a remote control car that can withstand a toddler, but BRIO’s classic RC race car is a brilliant option for tiny tots aged 2+. The simple shape and bright primary colours are immediately appealing to young children, but it’s the sturdy structure and clever design that really sets it apart.

The antenna is hidden in the car’s body so there are no fiddly or small parts to remove. That means your little one doesn’t need to point the circular remote control unit at the car to get it moving. The buttons are easy to use even for small fingers because they are large. To prevent accidental falls, you can also use the RC unit either on the floor or handheld. Just don’t forget to stock up on batteries to prevent any meltdowns – you’ll need seven AAs for this one.

VTech Riot the T-Rex

Vtech

Nobody said that a remote-controlled car had to be. Just a car, right? It’s no secret that children love toys that can be transformed into other toys. So VTech’s Switch & Go Dinos are just the ticket for younger children – these remote-controlled dinosaurs take on a second life as race cars or robots, which means you get two toys for the price of one.

Riot, the T.Rex, transforms automatically into a dinosaur when you press the switch on your remote control. The LCD screen is backlit and switches between racing drivers and dino eyes. This one is suitable for children 3-8 years of age. Little dinosaur lovers will love the sound effects and facts about dinosaurs. Just stock up on decent batteries – you’ll need six AA at a time – and thank your lucky stars there’s an adjustable volume function.

Verdict

The is our best all-rounder. BlackZon Slyder Monster Truck, which can tackle all terrains, perform stunts and withstand a battering, all at a very reasonable price – and with a rechargeable battery to boot. Children younger than 5 years old will love to play with remote control cars indoors. Playmobil’s Porsche Mission EIt was a big success, and you can even put a human in it.

Remote control cars for children

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