RC drifting is a fun niche in the RC car world. But, RC drifting is actually quite hard, and hobby grade RC drift cars can cost an arm and a leg. But, you're in luck, because there are many great beginner RC drift cars on the market that can introduce you to RC car drifting without costing too much. It took me a while to get the hang of RC car drifting, but I really enjoy pulling my daily drivers out of the garage and drifting my smaller scale RC drift cars on the slick garage floor. Drifting in the garage is one great way to entertain the kids if it's raining or there is bad weather outside. In this post, we will take a look at the sport of RC drifting and look at beginner RC drift cars that won't break the bank.
Beginner RC Drift Cars Guide For RC Drifting
RC drift cars are much different than bashers or monster trucks. RC drift cars sit low to the ground and have slick drifting tires that are made to spin out and break loose.
When you're drifting RC cars, you want the back end of your car to slide out easily so you can drift around corners. Personally, I have a lot of fun trying to drift around a can or paint bucket in the garage.
According to Horizon Hobby:
To initiate a drift, brake as usual when approaching the curve and steer your RC car toward the apex. Then quickly accelerate faster than normal so your back tires lose their grip. The tail end of your car will start to slide. When it does, counter-steer back to neutral. You’ve just completed the first step in drifting.HH
What To Look For In Beginner RC Drift Cars
Beginner RC drift cars should be:
- Reasonably priced
- Include a battery and charger (always double check)
- Include a transmitter
- Come ready-to-roll (fully assembled)
Pick An Affordable Model For Your First RC Drift Car
If you are shopping for your first RC drift car, look for a car under 200 dollars. RC drifting is a ton of fun, but it may not be for you, and I don't want you to drop a bunch of cash on a car that you will end up selling on Facebook. So, look for a beginner RC drift car that is affordable, but isn't a total piece of junk.
Choose Between Rear-Wheel Drive or a Four-Wheel Drive
You can either get a rear wheel drive or a four-wheel drive RC drift car. There is a long-standing debate on which drivetrain is better. But, many beginner cars are four-wheel drive. So, you need to decide if you want a rear-wheel or four-wheel drive car.
I think four-wheel drive drift RC cars are easier to drift on rougher concrete surfaces because they have a bit more power. The added traction of the four-wheel drivetrain helps keep the car powering through turns on rougher surfaces. On very slick surfaces, you will have to control the throttle while drifting because of the extra power of all four wheels turning.
Find Ready-To-Roll Models Instead Of Kits
Many RC drift cars on the market are kits where you have to source all the parts and put them together yourself. I suggest getting a car that is "ready-to-roll," or preassembled.
Make sure to double-check if the car you pick comes with a battery and charger. Some RC drift cars come with a battery and charger, but many don't.
Generally speaking, if the car is more expensive (hobby grade), it will not come with a battery and charger. That's because people with many RC vehicles already have plenty of batteries and their own digital balance charger.
If you're interested in a kit, we have a post detailing the different ESC and motor combos for RC drift cars.
The Best Beginner RC Drift Cars
In this section, we'll look at a few beginner RC drift cars. the first vehicle on our list is the Redcat Racing EPX Drift Car.
Redcat Racing EPX Drift Car
The Redcat Racing EPX is an affordable entry-level drift car. It is a 1/10 scale car with independent suspension on all four wheels. It comes equipped with adjustable oil-filled shocks so you can tune the suspension to your personal liking. I mentioned before that drift cars need the right tires and this model comes with a set of hard drift tires that will help the backend break lose and slide when you need it to.
This vehicle has a lot of adjustable parts. You can adjust the shocks, raise or lower the ride height, change the toe AND camber angle, and change the position of the shocks on the shock tower. Even though this car is for beginner RC drifters, it still has a TON of adjustable components so you can tinker with how your car handles when drifting.
The adjustability of this vehicle is why I picked this car to start off our list. Its a beast.
The key features of this beginner RC drift car are:
- Comes assembled and ready-to-roll
- Tunable suspension and ride setup.
- The Battery and charger are included (a major bonus!)
- A 2.4GHz radio is included
- The ESC is waterproof
Rraycom HSP Racing 1/10 Scale Drift RC Car
The Rraycom HSP is a four-wheel drive drift car that is powered by a brushed motor. This is a great beginner RC drift car because it meets all of our beginner criteria! This car is:
- Fully assembled and ready-to-run
- Comes with a transmitter that is paired to the receiver at the factory
- A four-wheel drivetrain
- Comes with a battery and charger
- It's affordable (it can be found for about $190.00)
This vehicle has a number of metal parts installed. Metal parts are important in some areas, like suspension and drivetrain components. This car has aluminum shock caps that help keep the shock from breaking loose from the shock tower and all your oil leaking out. I always recommend aluminum shock caps if they are available. It also comes with a metal driveshaft.
The vehicle also has adjustable suspension parts to help you tune the vehicle to your liking. It doesn't have as many adjustments as the Redcat EPX, but you can adjust the shocks, ride height, and drive angle.
There are two different versions of this RC drifter. You can buy the base model or the pro model. The Pro model comes with a brushless motor and a LiPo battery, but the car costs about $100 more. So you have to decide if you want to pay extra money for the upgraded motor and battery. Follow this link to see the pro model on Amazon. All the links below are for the base model that is a bit lower in price.
GoolRC K969 1/28 Micro Drift Car
The GoolRC K969 is the cheapest car on our list. It is a true micro RC drift car and is a 1/28 scale. That would make this car over two times smaller than the 1/10 scale cars on our list. This car would be good to travel with, drive in your garage, or in other tight spaces.
Even though this car is small, it still passes our features checklist. this vehicle comes ready-to-run and comes with the following:
- A transmitter
- 1 battery pack
- 1 charger
- Four-wheel drive
- metal chassis
This little car can reach speeds up to about 15 miles per hour. But remember, drifting isn't about speed. Drifting is about sliding precisely through turns. I still think 15 miles per hour is really fast for a 1/28 scale car.
So, if you are looking for a cheaper entry-level drift car, I recommend giving the GoolRC K969 a try!
Redcat Racing Super Drift Car
Redcat Racing is known for making affordable RC drift cars that with good features. This "supercar" design isn't my favorite personally, but it sits on the same chassis as the EPX model from above. If a "Lambo" style body is what you like, this car is what you should buy.
This vehicle comes equipped with a 19T brushless motor and a 40 amp waterproof electronic speed controller. It is also pre-assembled and ready to run. All you need to do is throw the battery on the charger, plug it in, and learn to drift. It has a four-wheel drivetrain that is good for beginners.
This car also has a bunch of customizable settings on the shocks and wheels.
The highlights of this car are:
- Large 1/10 Scale
- Drift tires included
- Lightweight chassis with an aluminum top plate
- Adjustable shocks
Note: you will need some AA batteries for the receiver. So, don't forget to pick those up when you order the car.
Check out these professional RC drifters in action:
Beginner RC Drift Car FAQs
Do beginner RC drift cars come with a battery?
Most hobby grade RC brands (Traxxas, Losi, Tamiya, and Arrma) do not come with a battery. If the drift RC car you are looking at is a cheaper model, it may come with a battery and charger. Always double check what's in the box to see if you need to purchase a battery and charger separately.
What type of battery do beginner RC drift cars use?
LiPo batteries are the best type of batteries for RC drift cars, but cheaper RC drift cars may come with a NiMH battery. Lipo batteries are preferred because they are lighter, have higher voltage, and last longer than NiMH batteries.
What do I need to start drifting RC cars?
You will need a rear-wheel drive RC drift car, slick drifting tires, a transmitter, a battery, and a charger. You also need a smooth surface to drift on. Smooth concrete or an indoor tile floor are good surfaces for beginners to learn to drift on.
What is the difference between ready-to-roll RC drfit cars and RC drift kits?
Ready-to-roll RC drift cars come fully assembled, the transmitter is paired up with the receiver, and all the parts you need are in the box. All you need to do is charge the battery and start driving. RC drift car kits don't come assembled and may not include all the parts (like motors, ESCs, servos, etc.) you need to get the car rolling. If you are a beginner looking for your first RC drift car, I'd look for a ready-to-roll model.
Conclusion For Beginner RC Drift Cars
RC drifting is becoming more and more popular every year. The cars are modeled after real-life cars and look really cool. Drifting tracks are popping up all over the country and many local groups race on the weekends.
So, if you are about to buy your first RC drift car, make sure the box checks off the following:
- Is rear-wheel drive
- Comes ready-to-roll
- Has drifting tires
Also, make sure the car either comes with a battery and charger OR recommends a battery and charger that is compatible. The last thing you want to do is open up your brand-new shiny drifter and then wait another week for the battery to ship. Total bummer!