Who says RC cars are just for kids? There’s a whole world of RC cars made for hobbyists and car enthusiasts to enjoy at any age. Drifting cars are a branch of remote control cars meant to mimic the sliding and spinning movements of real drifters. If you want to get into the hobby, you’ll want the best RC drift car for beginners. Unfortunately, finding that perfect car isn’t always straightforward!
You can’t just walk into a store and buy the first RC car you see. Drifting RC cars have a few specific characteristics that set them apart and make them ideal for this particular use. Normal cars won’t work the same way, so you have to look for a car that’s built to drift. In general, they’re likely to have similar features and designs to faster hobby RC cars, but there’s a fairly distinct difference in quality and price between beginner cars and pricier hobby cars.
If you’re looking for a beginner RC drifting car, you likely want something that gives you a good idea of the basics without taking too much of an investment up front. After looking into it and reading what the enthusiasts and serious hobby drivers prefer, we’ve compiled our recommendations here to help you make the best choice possible.
What to Look for in an RC Drift Car
A few specific features set RC drift cars apart. For a beginner drift car, pay special attention to these features:
Tire Material: Unlike regular RC cars that will be driving on a variety of different surface terrains, drifting cars only need to be good for surfaces that are appropriate for the activity. For most, this means thin carpeting or cement. Solid plastic tires are the recommended basics for new RC drifters. Avoid rubber tires, because they tend to have too much grip for a good drift.
Adjustable Design: If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t want to try a lot of complex modifications right now. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t want to change it up in the future. RC drift car enthusiasts have tutorials for DIY modifications to improve basic cars. Get a chassis design that allows for some customizations and adjustments so you can make your car the best it can be.
Realism: For many hobbyists, the look of the car is really important. Even if you’re just getting a beginner car, try to look for one that has a little more realism in its design. Look for a car that’s modeled after an existing car brand for a more lifelike RC car.
RC Car Scale: RC cars come in many different sizes. The size of a car is determined by its scale when compared to an actual car. The standard size for RC drifting cars is between 1:10 and 1:16. At this size, you’ll still get the realism you want along with more space for the motor and other components.
The larger the number on the right, the smaller the car is. For a beginner car, you may want to go as small as 1:24 or 1:26 to open up your options, but keep in mind that these are smaller cars than those typically used for drifting.
Battery Power + Charger: The larger the battery, the longer you’ll be able to run your RC car. A 1800mAh NiMH battery is standard on a lot of these kinds of cars. You’ll get decent run time from this battery, but it’s a little small. If you stick with the standard battery, you may want to buy replacements to switch out for a longer driving session. Or, get a bigger battery.
Along with your battery, you’ll get a charger. Some chargers work faster than others. If this is a concern for you, look into getting something that works a bit faster. Having extra batteries will allow you to continue driving while you charge the empty batteries.
Drive Setup: You can get a rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive RC car. With an all-wheel drive, you can split the power evenly or opt to overbalance the front or back. For beginners, a rear-wheel drive or 50/50 are both good choices.
8 Best RC Drift Cars for Beginners
1. NQD RC Car Electric Racing Drift Car
This is a 1:14 scale RC car designed for beginner drifters. The standard racecar top is a bright blue, with a black and red cover also included in the kit. Another set with a white and red top can also be selected.
In this set, you get the full chassis, two different tops, a battery, battery charger, remote control, and a 9V battery for the remote. You can set this up and use it right out of the box without having to purchase anything else. The battery charger plugs into a USB connection. Each car top is made from a combination of plastic and metal.
With this car, you can reach top speeds of around 25kph. It’s equipped with a set of professional drifting rubber tires, which are interchangeable if you need to replace them. You’re able to drift on many different hard surfaces. Since the remote has a range of up to 50m, you have a lot of freedom to move around your preferred drift track.
The engine for the NQD drift car is a 4-wheel drive during forward motion and 2-wheel drive in reverse. With the rubber tires, you’ll get good drip on most surfaces, but with plastic drift tires you may spin out a bit while starting.
2. Jada Toys Fast & Furious Brian’s Nissan Skyline GT-R
For a fun entrance into the world of RC drifting, this car is modeled after a Nissan Skyline driven in the Fast & Furious movies. It’s silver with blue decals and a spoiler. The top is removable and can be replaced with other tops that fit on the chassis.
In this set, you get the car chassis, Fast & Furious top, an extra set of tires, remote control, chargeable battery, USB battery charger, and a battery for the remote. The extra tires are rifting tires, which are the same as the tires already attached to the car. This RC car is built at a 1:10 scale, which is the normal size for most RC drifting cars.
With the drifting tires, the car won’t have as good of grip, but the plastic tires do well for drifting on a variety of smoother surfaces like cement or smoother carpet. You can buy replacement tires if yours wear out over time.
The pistol grip remote control gives you good handling and control. With the built-in turbo button, you can send the car moving quickly around the track. If your remote runs out of batteries, you can replace them with any standard AAs. The included car battery has a USB charger, so you can plug it in almost anywhere.
3. Drift RC Cars Electric Off-Road Vehicle with 0.3MP FPV Camera
To add an extra element to your drifting game, this RC car includes a small camera mounted on top for awesome recorded video footage of your driving. The car body is black and red, with sticker decals and red rims on the wheels.
When you want to extract the video footage from the camera, there is an included cable to connect the camera to a USB port. You can download it to any USB compatible device. The included battery charger is also USB compatible. As far as specs, the camera is 0.3MP, producing good quality footage and pictures as you drive. It’s also wi-fi compatible for uploads and control.
A double battery pack comes standard with the car, helping you run it for even longer on each charge. It’s helpful to have the extra battery because the camera also draws from the same battery for recording. The battery pack is a 6V Nicd battery. With the included USB charger, you can charge the pack fully in about 3 hours. For the driving remote, you need 2 AA batteries, which are not included.
This car is a little smaller than some RC drifting cars at 1:18 scale. It stills has many of the realism features that add to the overall look, but it’s not as large as a typical RC drifter. For speed, it has a maximum of around 15kph, and it can be controlled at a distance of about 35m.
4. Maisto R/C Monster Drift Assorted colors
This little RC drifter is 7 inches long, which makes it a nice small drift car option to start out with. It comes in either blue and orange with white graffiti designs or red and black with sticker decals. Each design comes with a transmitting controller operating at a different frequency.
There are no batteries included with this drifting car. You need to get your own AAA batteries for both the controller and the car itself. Four AAAs are needed for the RC car and two for the controller. You can use rechargeable AAAs, but you will need to buy them and their charger on your own for this option.
As a drifting RC car, this model comes standard with 4 plastic drifting wheels. It’s meant for mainly smooth, flat surfaces. This car doesn’t run well on hard, rough terrain because the wheels don’t have enough grip strength.
On this car, you’ll get a full 4wd setup that helps you practice your drifting more easily. Despite its small size, it drives fast enough to let you get in some good moves. The throttle allows for full forward movement and reverse.
5. Redcat Racing EPX Drift Car
For a more intense beginners experience, the Redcat Racing drifter is a solid option with some customization choices. It comes in a blue rally car body style or a red luxury car style. Both colors are metallic and made from a sturdy metal material.
In this set, you get a 2000mah rechargeable battery, the battery charger, car chassis, removable car top, and the controller. For this car, the controller takes 4 AA batteries, which are not included in the standard kit.
This is a well-designed car with many extra features to make it handle better and drive more smoothly. It has aluminum capped oil-filled shocks for great handling and turning, independent suspension that can be changed and adjusted as you wish, and an electric 27T brushed motor. All the internal components connected to the chassis can be changed out or modified as you desire.
With this RC car, you’ll get a good beginner car that’s closer to what true hobbyists would use. It’s a good choice for anyone who may want to branch into upgrading and modifying their car, or for someone who wants to go faster than the average RC car. Top speeds without tuning are around 25mph. This is a 4wd car with proportional steering that can be adjusted manually.
6. GPTOYS RC Cars 18km/h Drift High Speed Remote Control Car
This car from GP Toys is a stylish, powerful little drifter made to a small 1:26 scale size. Despite being small, it has a lot of built-in realism details and a strong motor and steering. The standard design is a black car with green and yellow details.
The set comes with a complete chassis, top cover, remote controller, 400mah battery, and a battery charger. The controller needs 4 AA batteries, which are not included in the standard kit. You can purchase your own battery packs for the car to use it longer between charges or replace a dead battery. The included charger takes a little less than 2 hours to charge the battery pack.
You’ll be able to reach speeds up to 18kph with this little RC drifter. It has 4wd and built-in suspension on all 4 wheels. This allows it to turn more easily and gives a smoother driving experience, even on slightly rough surfaces.
Standard tires on this car are durable plastic drifting tires. They’re thick and sturdy, making them useful for a larger variety of surfaces, not just smooth indoor flooring. To improve durability, the chassis is made from metal instead of plastic. Because of the strong signal transmitter, you can control the car from up to 80 meters away.
7. Exceed RC Electric DriftStar RTR Drift Car
Built with an incredibly realistic yellow racecar body cover, this 1:10 scale car from Exceed RC is a great beginner hobby quality car. It’s got a lot of customizable parts and a great base to work with so you can upgrade, repair, or adjust as you go on using it.
The set comes with the chassis, top, remote controller, 1800mah battery, and the battery charger. For the controller, you will need to purchase the batteries separately. Running it under normal circumstances, you can get about 15 minutes of intense driving time on each full battery charge. Batteries are replaceable and extra batteries can be purchased separately.
This car goes about 30mph at top speed. With the stock drifting tires, the main focus is on handling and moves, which it does well. Wheels can be replaced with any standard 1:10 scale wheels, using rubber or plastic tires. All the tires are glued down to the wheels themselves, so you need to replace the entire wheel for new tire sets.
You can open up the car and make some modifications at your leisure. The front/rear differentials are fully adjustable, allowing for more precise steering that fits your driving style better. With built-in suspensions, speed controls, and removeable parts, this car is great for tinkering and using as-is.
8. Haiboxing Scale Remote Control Car 4WD
Designed for a mix of fast driving and drifting, this RC from Haiboxing has a blue, white, and orange body color with black details. It’s made to a 1:18 scale with some realistic features on the plastic top. The top can be removed from the chassis and replaced with any compatibly sized tops.
This is a 4wd RC car with two speed settings: slow speed or high speed. It can reach a maximum of around 36kph with the standard setup. Handling is also variable, with differential steering and a built-in stabilizer to help with sharp turns or tight loops.
In this set, you’ll get a 650mah lithium battery along with a USB charging cable for it. The remote controller needs its own separate 1.5V AA batteries. It’s a strong remote with a range of around 80 meters indoors or outdoors. You’ll need to allow batteries to stay connected for around 2 for a full charge. Fully charged batteries last for 15 – 20 minutes of constant use, depending on the speed.
To improve the durability of this car, the motor parts, steering, and handling are made to be waterproof. It’s not a submersible car, but it can get a bit wet or drive on wet surfaces without the water ruining the interior components.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
RC drifting cars can be a lot of fun, both for an aspiring hobbyist and for those looking to get a little bit more from their car toys. It’s easy enough to find a beginner drift RC car, then you can start learning how to control it. The only consideration you need to make beyond the main features are a few little points of convenience that might matter for your specific situation.
The power of the remote transmitter won’t be a problem for everyone, but a weak transmitter with a short range could be a problem for outdoor use or competitions. Another issue you’ll run into is mixing signals. Both of these problems are solved if you just make sure the car has a 2.4Ghz remote transmitter. These operate on multiple channels to avoid command confusion and have long range.
Customizable bodies, lifelike features, and convenient design will make your experience better, but they’re often not deal breakers. Some car bodies have cutout spaces where you can add air intake holes for cooling, LED lights, spoilers, etc. Cars with more lifelike features may have functional or semi-functional side mirrors, working lights, and other fun features like a real car. Convenience is all about button locations, required tools, battery and charger design, and similar elements.
These are things to pay attention to if you’re looking for the best experience possible, but you may have to add a little more to your budget if you want the best of the best. For something without all the bells and whistles, you’ll still get a great beginner experience and you’ll have the chance to test it out before you make an investment into a more difficult, custom RC drifting car.
If you’re looking for a basic RC drifting car that’s got everything you need in a simple, ready to drive package, something like Brian’s Nissan Skyline GT-R is a good option. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a little closer to a high-end hobby car, the Redcat Racing EPX Drift Car is a solid choice.
I hope this helped you find the best RC drift cars, happy drifting!
Last update on 2020-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API