These best RC rock crawler reviews put together five crawlers that can take obstacles like no other. All of these RC machines have the durability, exquisite balance, and user-reparability one likes to see in these gadgets, and they’ll deliver real value for each buck you shell out on them. Best of all, they’re also pretty accessibly designed, so even beginners will be able to deal with them without feeling too overwhelmed.
The Losi B0238T1 is a mini rock crawler constructed on a 1:24 scale. It has an articulated suspension system for support, a 2.4GHz radio system for long-distance control, and Micro AT tires that give it great balance even on the roughest terrain. It is nearly 7 inches in length and comes equipped with coil-over shocks.
- Small and easy to carry around
- Very responsive
- Battery doesn’t give a lot of drive time
At $150, this is actually fairly cheap for its quality, considering how well it takes a bit of bashing and crashing when driving goes awry. It’s not the thing you buy if you want something super-fast, but that’s true of every rock crawler. It does handle most obstacles with the aplomb you’d expect from a bigger crawler, though, which is really what matters. On the whole, it’s a bargain truck that most rock crawler enthusiasts will find more than acceptable and beginners will fall in love with.
Constructed on a 1:10 scale, this electric rock crawler uses a 2.4GHz radio band for control and comes with a high-performance brushed motor. It has 1.9 Ripsaw tires, a 4-link suspension reducing torque-twisting as well as axle steer, and WB8 Wild Boar drive shafts. This “truggy” also features a super-strong steel C-channel ladder frame and aluminum skid plates to go with its plastic bumper and cage.
- Very upgradeable
- Comes with integrated drag break
- Even for aficionados, a great vehicle out of the box (stock parts)
- LED lights in the bumper tend to break quickly
- Electronics in the rig aren’t waterproof
At $350, the Axial Honcho is actually a great and affordable choice if you want to start with the scalers, and it definitely performs well enough to be a serious crawler-of-choice for most people. There are a lot of things to like about it—its upgradeability, its brushed motor, its ESC, its ladder frame, etc. It doesn’t handle wet environments well, though… although then again, it wasn’t meant to.
Despite its upgradeability, you’ll likely find there’s little need to add much to it. It’s a fantastic rig with all the stock pieces, so you might not have to spend anything after the initial $350 to get it to where you’ll really love it. That’s not something you can say about a lot of RTRs, unfortunately.
This rock crawler from Maisto comes with articulated suspension for both its front and rear tires and uses 2 driving motors along with 1 steering motor. The body is vacuum-formed for a single, durable piece that resists impact but manages to stay lightweight. It also uses a tri-channel frequency for the transmitter, so you can play with other RC vehicles while using it.
- Very cheap
- Surprisingly sturdy
- Better at negotiating rough terrain than one would expect
- Transmitter cannot be switched off (although the car can)
- Only has one speed
Let’s get the challenges out of the way first. First of all, this doesn’t use a rechargeable battery pack (although you can definitely buy rechargeable batteries for it) and it only has one speed when running. It also has a transmitter that doesn’t come with its own off switch, which means you have to always take out the batteries from it after you’re done so they don’t drain overnight. Finally, it’s not as good at dealing with big obstacles or turns compared to the pricier and more advanced crawlers on this list.
But it also costs an almost unbelievable $50 and manages to pull out some nice performance, even so. If you consider how well it deals with off-road terrain and compare that to its price, it still comes out quite well. This is a great starter for true beginners and youngsters just getting into rock crawling.
This rock crawler comes with nitride-coated shocks for superior articulation and a MadStone chassis designed to be robust yet lightweight. The motor is situated to help the vehicle keep a low center of gravity and an axle-mounted steering servo gives precision control. It has an RC540 motor and a maximum torque angle of 90 degrees.
- Parts are interchangeable with a lot of others from different makers (like Axial)
- Very easy to tinker with due to simple design
- Stock front and rear diffs tend to strip after a while
This is another of the bargain crawlers at $150 and it’s also among the best ones for beginners. Geared low and capable of producing a surprising amount of torque, it’s a fantastic RTR rig for the RC rock crawler novice eager to try out the experience of using and modifying/repairing his own crawler. It could use better diffs and tires, not to mention a bit more effort in the detailing department, but it’s still a great buy.
This 1:10 scale 4×4 comes equipped with two brushed 70T 380 motors and oil-filled aluminum-body shocks. The performance is upped by an aluminum chassis that stays strong but light and a quartet of aggressive-tread crawling tires. The 2.4GHz remote control also uses a tri-band frequency.
- Great power on the motors
- Comes with real beadlock rims
- Great obstacle-climbing performance
- Comes with rather cheap servos
This is another good beginner’s rock crawler with some nice motors fitted on it. However, it does need better servos than the stock ones. The ones it comes with are just OK out of the box, but put them through some paces and they’re very likely to break. A high-torque servo would do wonders for it. Aside from that, though, it’s not a bad deal at $176. It’s easily upgradeable, moderately easy to keep up, and definitely fun to use on the actual trail.
The best buys here are the Losi and Axial models, both of which will give you a big taste of RC rock crawling fun without forcing you to take on more than you can chew. The Losi will probably be more attractive to those without upgrade intentions, but the Axial is likely the better choice if you’re at all the type who likes to tinker with gadgets.
Of course, if you’re buying the crawler for a very young child, it might be better to go with something even simpler, like the Maesto on the list. It’s cheap, durable, and reasonably good at negotiating tough terrain.