Right folks, I've gotten back into RC cars in a big way this year (over 20 articles on RC cars!) and after all I've reviewed and modified I thought I'd list my favourite value for money RC cars for 2020. As a scientist in real life I can say this list is thoroughly unscientific and if you got me on a different day the order may be different but I'll at least share with you why I just what I did and in which order so you can see what things are important to your decision. Roughly speaking I'll cover off the key areas that make budget RC cars so much fun - speed, battery life, handling, durability and ability to customise/mod.
WL Toys K989
This WL Toys K989 is difficult to compare directly to the others because of its much smaller size but follows the WL toys mantra of oversized brushed motors and reasonable quality at a very low price. For $50-60 you get a genuine radio controlled car that is small enough to run in size yet retains the full hobby grade suite - proportional speed control and steering with discrete componentry, full ball bearing set and fully independent suspension.
Quick disclaimer: this model was actually released in 2018 but it continues to have an absolute cult following with a massive range of upgrade parts including full brushless systems and community backing to go with it. It doesn't appear higher only the list because it is limited to small areas with smooth surface because of its extremely small size.
Bottom line: this is the micro basher to get if you have only a small area to play but beware, it's a lot faster than it looks! Get it for $51 ready to run with code BGAFF10OFF
LC Racing EMB-MT
Without a shadow of a doubt, the LC Racing EMB-MT is the best RC car in this list. It is better designed, is made from better materials, is more reliable and more durable that anything else here. So why is it only at number 4? Well, it is a lot more expensive - about double the price of most anything else at around $200-220. If you do have the money to spend on a small scale RC car this or the other LC racing cars in buggy, truggy, short course truck or even desert buggy come highly recommended. Have a look at my review and comparison of the EMB-MT here for more details. Bottom line: If you don't mind spending the money this is probably the best small-scale RC car you can get. Get it for $211 Ready to Run with Code BGAFF10OFF.
WL Toys 144001
I'll bet the 144001 tragics like myself are surprised to see the WL Toys 144001 feature at number 3 but hear me out. First of all the 144001 was really released end of 2019 but this car has become so iconic it simply must be included.
The strength of the 144001 lies not in the fact that it is a car that draws heavy inspiration from the excellent LC racing range (as above) but that the price to performance ratio they have hit is second to none. This means even more importantly that a large range of aftermarket parts and an equally large modding community has mean that the options to customise this car are almost endless. Take for example:
WL Toys 124019 / 124018
This is the newest from WL Toys and I have written a preview article about it here. The 124019 is identical to the 144001 above but it features a longer wheelbase and so has more room to fit a larger capacity battery as stock. Rather than repeating all of the reasoning that was mentioned with the 144001 I will just mention why I now prefer the 124019 to the 144001:
SG1602 (same as SG 1601 and HBX 16889)
First of all I'm not trying to be a cop-put by choosing a 3-way tie for 1st place here, each of these are genuinely identical except for the look and tyre style (truggy / monster truck).
I ummed and ahhed about this one for a while but there are a number of key areas I believe this little 1/16 scale truck simply excels at:
Bottom line this is perhaps the cheapest brushless RC car you can get and against all odds it is actually really good, especially if you just want to bash out of the box. Get it for $108 Ready to Run with Code BGAFF10OFF.
Thanks for reading, if you found this article useful please feel free to like or share, the facebook links below directly link/like this article. I don't believe in asking for money by patreon nor by paypal but if you do wish to help me, the affiliated links in these articles help me buy the bits and services I need to produce this type of content. If you are looking for RC cars, quads or parts check out my coupons and discounts page which I keep updated with only the RC cars, parts and quads I like at a proper discount