In this guide we’ll look at the best nitro gas powered RC cars and trucks.
We’ve compared performance, features, speed and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Are The Best Nitro RC Cars & Trucks?
More Detailed Nitro RC Car & Truck Reviews
First up we’ve got the reliable Traxxas brand, and their Jato 3.3 Stadium Truck. This model is in 1/10 scale and 2WD. It has an exceptionally powerful motor which can bring this truck to 60mph in just 4.2 seconds.
With a top speed of 65mph, this stadium truck is built for speed. It’s equipped with telemetry sensors and TSM stability control to prevent you from losing control around fast corners, while the front and rear sway bars also add to the stability.
This truck performs brilliantly on all surfaces and comes equipped with a Bluetooth module to collect data as you drive. It arrives ready to run and has a simple push-button electric start.
Finally, it comes in a choice of 4 awesome colors and is a serious contender for one of the best nitro powered RCs around.
Another by Traxxas and it’s the turn of the Nitro Slash 2WD racing truck in a 1/10 scale. This racing truck reaches speeds of up to 50mph and boasts some serious power. Despite the speeds, it’s stable to drive, equipped with TSM stability control.
This model also comes with a Bluetooth module to turn your smartphone into a tuning tool. The robust design stops breakages and saves you money long-term, while the aluminum chassis helps to draw heat away from the engine to keep it going for longer.
This model arrives ready to run and replacement parts are easy to purchase if needed. While not quite as speedy as the Jato 3.3, the Nitro Slash is still a seriously powerful nitro RC.
The Team Losi 8IGHT Nitro Buggy is another great model. It has a 4mm T-6 aluminum chassis for extra stability, and a wicked design that the kids will love.
This model has a Dynamite .21 nitro engine with a pull start, it has adjustable oil filled shocks and waterproof metal-gear servos. It’s the perfect starter vehicle if you want to become a serious nitro buggy racer, with power straight out the box.
However, if this isn’t enough – this vehicle is easy to upgrade. There’s a range of 8IGHT parts available to increase the performance, so once you’ve mastered the basics, try upgrading it for a new challenge.
Another nitro buggy, this one by HPI Racing who have produced this incredible speed machine. This HPI Racing Trophy 4.6 buggy has a strong and reliable F3.5 engine and thick aluminum shock towers to help durability.
It’s perfect for off-road racing in all weathers, equipped with waterproof servos and a waterproof receiver. It’s ⅛ scale making it a fantastic size for those wanting a little more excitement.
Whether you want to bash away other vehicles or trying your hand at some stunts, this little buggy should be right by your side.
At 1/10 scale this Traxxas T-Maxx 3.3 is a fantastic mini monster truck. The TRX 3.3 engine delivers huge amount of power and the model is 4WD meaning it can easily conquer any terrain.
Enjoy speeds of up to 45mph with this monster truck, safe in the knowledge that the TSM stability will keep you in control round those tighter corners.
This model arrives ready to run and is available in 4 awesome colors. It includes everything you need to get going, and is built for durability – with a heavy duty chassis, transmission skid plate and all-terrain tires.
The next best nitro fueled RC is by another firm favourite, Redcat Racing. This 1/10 scale buggy packs a whole load of power, so isn’t suitable for beginners. It’s perfect for bashing around your home or performs equally well at competitions and races.
The 4WD makes this buggy ideal for some off-road adventures, while the aluminum capped shocks and composite disc brakes keep it performing for longer.
This Redcat Racing Shockwave Nitro Buggy arrives almost ready to run, you just need nitro fuel and a glow plug igniter. It has an awesome design and is a great price for what you get.
Another well loved brand and it’s Exceed with their MadBeast Monster Truck. This model is in an enormous ⅛ scale and is a true beast, both on and off road.
It arrives fully assembled and ready to get going. The level .28 engine provides massive amounts of power and the polished aluminum chassis keeps it sturdy and stable, as well as looking awesome.
This monster truck is built to last. The interior is well-built, with the from and back bumpers protecting it from impact. Meanwhile, the colossal tires keep this truck stable no matter what the terrain.
The Traxxas Revo 3.3 monster truck comes in a choice of 4 awesome colors and has a seriously impressive design. It’s wider and taller than other Traxxas models thanks to the new Geode wheels and 6.3” sized tires. It has dual digital waterproof servos for all weather fun.
This monster truck is seriously heavy duty and durable. The reverse transmissioning lets you backup at just the press of a button and the OptiDrive technology gives you safe engagement everytime. The TSM prevents loss of control.
The award winning 3.3 Racing Engine is what makes the Revo one to watch. It’s immensely powerful and speedy, arriving ready to run in a 1/10 scale.
Another by Traxxas and it’s the turn of the Slayer Pro Racing Truck. This 4WD model is in a 1/10 scale and available in four awesome colors. It has a powerful TRX 3.3 racing engine and 1-speed transmission to help it reach incredible speeds of 50mph, with extreme acceleration.
Despite the speeds, the Slayer is durable and easy to control. It’s designed to cruise effortlessly over both smaller and larger bumps in the terrain,
Like most Traxxas products, this model has TSM stability management to keep the power contained while maintaining that adrenaline thrill. It comes equipped with a battery and charger, arriving ready to run straight out the box.
Next up, we’ve got the Traxxas T-Maxx Classic monster truck. This model is in a 1/10 scale and 4WD. It has a powerful TRX 2.5 racing engine with tuned exhaust systems.
This truck has won a whole host of awards including Truck of the Year and Best Nitro Truck. It boasts a muscular body, aggressive graphics and a low profile for optimum control. The tires are great quality, and this truck performs brilliantly on any terrain.
Finally, this model has a fully enclosed automatic transmission which features two forward speeds and two reverse speeds. This allows for great acceleration and a fast top speed of around 40mph.
The Redcat Racing Volcano S30 is a great budget truck with an impressive design; available in two colors. It’s 4WD and 1/10 scale, with a single speed transmission. This means it doesn’t have reverse but with this much power, you won’t even miss it.
The engine has a fun pull start, and a great top speed. It’s faster and more powerful than other Volcano options, but the 2.5mm aluminum chassis is sturdy enough to take those sharper corners on.
This model arrives ready to run and is a fantastic quality. It’s easy to pick up replacement parts from Redcat Racing and their customer service is exceptional.
Back to Exceed now and it’s the turn of the Forza Off Road Buggy which offers incredible value and comes in a 1/10 scale.
The design is awesome with bright green and blue on the body, while the lightweight aluminum chassis provides great performance and durability. This buggy is specifically designed for off road driving. The new .18 engine provides reliable and consistent power, and it’s also a great model for beginners, with top speeds around 30mph.
Finally, this buggy has a differential system design which provides quick access to the front or rear differential with just a few screws. This makes it easy to maintain and replace any parts.
The Exceed RC Rally Monster is another fantastic budget rally car and arrives totally ready to run. This 1/10 nitro powered car is 4WD to tackle any terrain, and it has a lightweight aluminum chassis for great durability.
This model is stable to drive with lightweight suspension arms which reduce the overall weight of the car. This allows for greater speeds while maintaining good balance. With a new .18 engine, this model delivers fantastic power, greater torque and good cooling.
With 2-speed transmission for good acceleration and a top end speed of around 30mph, this Rally Monster is perfect for some high speed adrenaline thrills no matter what your experience.
The Redcat Racing Monsoon XTR is another great nitro RC, with an awesome design and a great size – available in a ⅛ scale.
This model is 4WD with single speed transmission. It’s recommended for those with experience with nitro vehicles due to the high speeds, but the body is durable and lightweight.
The Monsoon XTR arrives almost ready to run with just a few tweaks needed. The base is huge and the car runs smoothly and speedily.
Onto a total beast now and it’s the Redcat Racing Rampage XT which is in a whopping ⅕ scale and in a choice of either blue or red. This gas-powered model has a 2-stroke engine and a large 500cc fuel tank capacity.
This truck is 4WD and seriously fun to use. It comes with everything included to get going including a powerful battery and charger. While this truck isn’t really suitable for beginners, it’s fantastic for those with more experience.
With waterproof electronics, this truck is great for all weather fun and it arrives totally ready to run. This model reaches speeds of up to 35mph, but it’s easy to upgrade if you want a new challenge.
The Redcat Racing Hurricane XTR Buggy is another speed demon, available in a ⅛ scale and an awesome design. This model has a .28 nitro engine with a pull start.
With a 4WD, this buggy is designed for a range of terrains and is a great choice for those starting out in racing. It’s good for beginners but equally provides a whole load of fun for experienced drivers. The body is durable enough to take a bashing, while the top speed of 40mph gives that thrill.
This model arrives ready to run and can be easily upgraded if you fancy adding to the fun and getting a little more competitive. Smooth, easy to drive and exceptionally fun.
Finally, we’ve got the Redcat Racing Tornado S30 Buggy that, like most Redcat Racing products, offers incredible value for money.
This nitro vehicle has a .16 nitro engine with a pull start. It’s in a 1/10 scale and has a lightweight aluminum alloy chassis.
The best thing about this buggy is its versatility. It’s speedy and sturdy whether you drive on the track, off road or just have a bash around the living room. It arrives ready to run and is a seriously fun little model.
Nitro RC Car Buyer’s Guide
While electric RC vehicles suit most children or beginners down to the ground, buying a nitro RC for a beginner is a little more tricky. Most nitro vehicles are advertised as not for beginners to use, and should only be purchased when you have more experience. They are faster and harder to control than the majority of electric RCs.
However, buying an electric RC with the possibility of breaking it, only to spend a huge amount more on a nitro vehicle a short while later seems illogical.
If you simply don’t have the option to buy your child or beginner an electric vehicle to get into the swing of first, look for a nitro vehicle without a massively powerful engine. Fast and furious cars powered by nitro fuel can often reach speeds of 80+mph which is dangerous in the wrong hands.
If you’re a beginner, sacrifice the speed for something that’s big, bulky and suits any terrain. It’ll be more durable than the low-profile cars, and won’t go fast enough to do too much damage.
Despite the lack of speed, large monster trucks or off-road buggies can still pack a huge amount of power. Be very careful and, start off slow – ideally with someone there with you who knows what they’re doing.
Safety features to help you control your vehicle are readily available – Traxxas are usually the best for these – and while these can add to the price tag, they are a valuable add on.
What To Expect At Different Price Points
When buying a nitro RC car, remember that the price advertised is usually a lot less than what you pay. While the vehicle may be advertised as ready to run, you’ll likely need to buy a few other things to get it going such as batteries or nitro fuel, and you will need to replace any parts that break. For this reason, nitro RCs often end up costing people a lot more than they think.
The most expensive RC vehicles can be upwards of $600. These are by reputable brands, and will boast powerful engines, high speeds and durable bodies. They are deal for racing and usually come equipped with state of the art tires and a lightweight body.
The cheapest nitro RC vehicles can be under $200. These will have less power and may be from lesser well known brands. They won’t be as powerful or as speedy, and the body may be more fragile. With RCs, you generally get what you pay for. If you pay very little initially you may find that you spend more replacing parts further down the line.
The design you go for will depend on what you want to do with your vehicle. If you fancy some off-road fun and want to tackle tricky terrain, an off-road buggy or monster truck is for you. These should have thick, durable tires and a strong body.
If you’re after speed, something low profile and lightweight is best. On road cars have become more popular now than off road buggies and are great for smooth surfaces. However, these can spin in wet weather so if you’re spending a lot of money, ensure you buy something that’s durable and you have enough experience to control your RC.
RC vehicles come in a range of colors and designs within their vehicle category, so I’d recommend finding your favourite brand and just picking the color and design you love. If you are creating your nitro RC from a build-your-own kit then you can paint it however you like – look online for some inspiration.
Unlike electric RCs, nitro vehicles rely on fuel to make them run. Their engines are complex and require a lot of maintenance – and they can make a serious noise once you get going.
The size of the engine will directly impact the power your RC has. If you are a beginner or purchasing an RC for a child, go for one with a slightly smaller engine.
The body of your RC will be made from either plastic or metal. Nitro powered RC chassis are usually made of lightweight aluminum. This is due to the excessive heat produced, and it’s also great for speed.
Nitro cars generally come with the car, transmitter and glow plug. You’ll often need to supply your own batteries and occasionally your own glow plug. You will certainly need to supply your own nitro fuel.
It’s very likely that your RC vehicle will break eventually – whether that’s due to a collision or standard wear and tear. Most reputable brands will sell spare parts separately. I’d recommend buying a seperate set of tires straight away.
Many brands, especially Traxxas, offer safety features with their RC. Traxxas Stability Management (TSM) allows you greater control over your vehicle on uneven or slippery surfaces like loose dirt, wet concrete, or ice and snow. This means you can still experience those great speeds without worry of losing control.
Fail safe devices can also prevent your RC from going out of control. This will set the servo in a pre-set position in case of interference – such as someone else using the same frequency. While these are not 100% reliable, they are still a great add on and work well if your battery is charged.
Number of Channels
Most radio systems are 2-channel units. These are generally good value although you may have to purchase batteries separately. The first channel is for steering, and the second for throttle. Some RCs have 3 channels, the third channel allowing your RC to reverse.
RC tanks may have 6 or more channels to control the turret movement and sound systems, but for just a standard nitro RC car or truck, 2 or 3 channels is ideal.
Once you’ve mastered your RC, you might want to upgrade certain parts in order to get a bit more speed or power. Most RC vehicles are easy to upgrade and parts needed can be bought from your manufacturer.
Electric cars are often used for beginners as they are cheaper, easier to maintain and less powerful. They have a good acceleration and can still get to some great speeds, but they lack the power of nitro RCs, making them easier to control. They are also a lot quieter and in general, less aggressive.
Nitro cars on the other hand are loved for their fun factor. They have long run times and boast immense power, often too much for beginners to handle. Driving a nitro RC well takes time and experience, but once you master the basics they will give you a seriously fun drive. They have an awesome engine sound, are expensive and require a lot of maintenance – but there’s no simply contest when it comes to power.
A nitro car can provide hours of fun, but when it comes to RCs, it’s not a case of one size fits all. Finding out what suits your ability and preferences is the best way to get the most from the hobby, and many RC enthusiasts find they spend a lot more than they budgeted for. Be realistic about what you want to do, as well as your ability, and you’ll be a skillful RC driver in no time!