These best RC boat reviews are for you if you’re looking for a good starter RC to see you through weekend trips to the local lake. All of the RC units in this lineup are beginner-friendly yet versatile, and will please both children and their parents with the way they handle. They’re also reasonably well-built, so you won’t have to constantly worry about them pulling a Titanic on you.
This USB-rechargeable electric speedboat reaches 15mph on the water and sports an ABS anti-tilt hull made to withstand repeated use. The motor is a size 370 and the batteries can be charged via wall outlet, too. Finally, it has a self-righting feature in case it does capsize and an alarm for when the batteries start getting low.
- Quite fast
- Comes with 2 batteries
- Auto-righting feature
- Does tend to heat up if used for long periods
- The trim resets each time the controller is turned off
This is a good RC speedboat, especially for those who want the emphasis to be on “speed”. It gets up pretty nice speeds on the water and also handles quite well for something that only costs $78. It even rights itself if it capsizes, although it’s actually so stable that it’s very, very difficult to get it to capsize in the first place. That’s not to say it’s perfect, though. The trim resetting can be a bit of a bother and the fact that it heats up does tend to limit your use, but it’s still a fantastic product despite those things.
This 45×11.8×12.5-centimeter RC boat uses a 4-channel frequency on its controller and receiver, so you can race several of them at the same time without signal interference. The rechargeable battery has a run time of about 15 minutes and can reach speeds of up to 18 mph.
- Very fast
- Pretty good handling
- Controller has pretty good range
- Some units seem to be subpar to others
This could be a fantastic RC boat if not for one issue: imperfect quality control. Some people have found their units slightly on the prone-to-breakage side, although most have found theirs to be well worth the money. Ours was certainly the latter.
If you can get a plum instead of a lemon, this is a really good starter RC boat, especially given it can hit top speeds when you really open it up (and at just $66, too). It has a pretty good stock battery as well, capable of delivering up to 20 or so minutes if you don’t have it on full speed all the time, so you know you’ll be getting some real enjoyment out of it.
This RTR 1:360 scale model ship is a micro-copy of the Bismarck battleships. It has a fully-functioning remote control and comes with a detailed exterior. It also has dual propellers and a top speed of 10 mph.
- Nice detailing considering its price ($53)
- Safety feature prevents the boat from running unless in water
- Decent speed
- No trim adjustment
- Requires seam sealing and water draining before and after use
This is a cool boat to get if you’re into naval history at all (or your kid is, of course). The exterior actually looks much better than you usually expect to get at its price point and the speed isn’t bad either, even if it pales in comparison to what you get from the other RC boats in this lineup. It’s hampered by the lack of trim adjustment (it won’t go perfectly straight all of the time) and the need for careful anti-water maintenance after usage, but it’s still a fantastic starter RC, not least because it really does stick out amidst the usual gaggle of RC speedboats.
This RC boat has a Traxxas’s brushless Velineon power system, giving it the ability to hit 30 mph out of the box. There is an option to kick that up to a tsunami-like 50 mph. It has a 36in-deep V hull, easy trim adjustment, water-cooling and waterproofing for the electronics, and the ability to turn corners on high speed with an optimized rudder design.
- Blisteringly fast out of the box
- Corners beautifully even at top speed
- Gorgeous looks
- Hatch could use a better seal
If what you really want in an RC boat is something that will outrace everything else on the lake, this is what you should get. Traxxas makes some great, high-performance RC cars with its Velineon brushless motors and it demonstrates the same manufacturing competence in the Spartan, with its handsome streamlined design and blistering speed.
One can gripe about the hatch not having a perfect seal, but it’s actually not very prone to letting in water even so. Probably the only thing one can really take issue with in this product is the price—at $540, it’s not a feasible toy for many kids or even adults. But the truth is that the Spartan is worth every penny of its price tag once you take it out onto the water. It’s just a question of whether or not you can afford it.
This RC boat has a molded hull as well as a self-righting hull design. It runs on a water-cooled brushless motor and uses a dual-channel 2.4GHz radio controller.
- Self-righting hull
- Great turns and handling
- Very fast
- The stern drain plug is a headache to remove and replace
- Some models allegedly shipped with smaller ESCs not too suited to the RC boat’s motor
This is a great RC boat at just $250. While it doesn’t have the upgradeability of the Spartan from Traxxas, it still compares pretty nicely to it in terms of out-of-the box max speed. The Barbwire can top out at about 25 mph out of the box, and handles almost as smoothly as the Spartan does. It also has a useful self-righting hull design. Just look out for a super-hot ESC—that might mean that yours was shipped with one of the smaller units, and these tend to burn out fast. Atomik typically replaces them if you report a problem, anyway.
These are all killer RCs, but if you want the best balance of features and overall quality for your dollar, go with the UDIRC. That’s assuming you don’t need a crazy speedster, of course. If you can afford to deal with the slightly higher maintenance and challenges of a far faster brute, then try going with either the Traxxas model or the Atomik model.
Your budget may well decide which one you’ll pick, given the difference in price, but both are pretty good for RC speedboat racing.