Driving and racing nitro RC cars are an absolute blast! The sound, smell, and engine tuning all make this type of car so much fun. The best part about nitro RC cars and trucks is that you don’t have to wait for batteries to charge. Fill up with nitro, start the engine, and drive!
Although nitro engines are more complex than cars with an electric motor, we believe nitro cars are worth it for beginners. You get to learn about engines, tuning your setup, and maintenance. Buildings, testing, and maintaining your RC cars are half the fun!
If you’re looking to upgrade from an electric car or shopping for your first beginner nitro RC car, this post will help you find the nitro RC car or truck that is right for you!
What are Nitro RC Cars?
A nitro RC car runs on nitro fuel. It has a nitro-powered motor with components such as:
- A piston
- fuel tank
- Air and fuel filters
- A crankcase
- Engine carburetor
- Glow Plug
This RC vehicle motor is more like a full-size truck or car. There are more components and parts inside a nitro engine than in an electric motor. One major bonus for nitro engines is that they are much faster than their electric cousins. If you are looking for a high-performance machine and want to learn about RC engines, a nitro car is a way to go.
What is the best Nitro RC car for beginners?
There are many different RC car and truck brands to choose from. Our picks below are major brands that build the best RC cars. Nitro RC cars and truck prices start at 350 dollars, and you can get an excellent beginner nitro RC car for this price point. Our list below goes up in pricing as we move from vehicle to vehicle. If you are looking for a higher-end model, check out the last two options on the list. One RC car is ready to roll, and the other is a kit you build from scratch.
Exceed RC Forza 1/10 Scale Buggy
The Exceed Forza is a fully assembled (ready-to-run) RC buggy perfect for beginners. Most dealers are selling this car for around 275 dollars. It comes with electronics, servos, a 2.4 GHz transmitter and a receiver.
You do need to purchase the following to get this car rolling:
- 20%-25% nitro fuel
- Glog plug igniter
- 4 AA batteries for the transmitter
- 4 AA batteries for the receiver
This car has a .18 nitro engine, 2.5mm aluminum alloy chassis, and easy front and rear differential system access.
Traxxas Nitro Rustler 1/10 RTR Stadium Truck
This truck is a high-performance two-wheel-drive stadium truck. This car has a top speed of 50 miles per hour! Most online stores sell this car for around 350 dollars.
The Traxxas Nitro Rustler comes equipped with:
- TRX 2.5 racing engine
- Fiber-composite aluminum chassis
- TQi 2.4 GHz radio system
- Traxxas stability management
- 2.8-inch tires
- Bolted on rear wing
- Low-profile body with custom paint
- Plus so much more!
We like this truck because it is easy to start. It is equipped with the “EZ-Start” electric starting system and has “Smart Start™” technology. The EZ-Start starter is a handheld device that you plug into the truck’s starting port, push the button, and fire the engine up.
According to Traxxas’ website, “Smart Start™ technology automatically diagnoses potential problems with status LEDs and even alerts you when a glow plug has failed.”
Kyosho Inferno NEO 3.0 Type-3 ReadySet 1/8 Off-Road Buggy
The Kyosho Inferno is a two-wheel racing buggy. This car is ready to run and comes pre-assembled. You should be able to find this car for around 350 dollars.
The Kyosho Inferno NEO 3.0 Type-3comes equipped with:
- KE21SP engine and pull starter
- Big Bore Shocks
- 2.4GHz Syncro KT-231P+ radio transmitter
- KC Cross Tires
- KS-5031-09MW high torque servos
- Adjustable rear wing
- Hex wrenches, 4-way cross wrench, and 17mm wheel wrench
The Inferno series is Kyosho’s flagship model, and the NEO 3.0 Type-3 is an excellent entry-level nitro RC vehicle. It has many pro-level features at an entry-level price point. This model is comparable to the Traxxas Nitro Rustler. But, the electronics and starting system are slightly different between the two models.
Losi 8IGHT Nitro 1/8 4WD RTR Buggy
The Losi ready-to-run 1/8 scale nitro buggy is built on the 8ight platform. It comes with a Dynamite® .21 nitro engine that has a pull start. This model is a step up from the last three cars on the list. You can find this model for about 475 dollars.
In the box, you will find:
- The 4WD RTR nitro buggy
- A Spektrum three-channel SLT transmitter
- 1600mAh battery pack for the receiver
- 4-way wrench
- 6061-T6 aluminum chassis (4mm)
- Metal geared transmission
- Sealed differential
Like our other picks, this buggy comes ready to roll! You will have to buy a glow plug, nitro fuel, and a charger for the receiver battery. One thing to note about this buggy is the four-wheel drive train. This will perform better on dirt than the two-wheel drive buggies. This feature does drive the price up a bit, but you get a much meaner machine!
KIT BUILD – Team Associated RC8T3.2 Team 1/8 4WD KIT
The Team Associated RC8T3.2 is a 1/8 scale nitro buggy kit. This RC car kit is for someone that wants to build their first nitro rc from start to finish. This is one of the most advanced nitro vehicles on our list, but its still suitable for your first nitro car. Most dealers are selling the base kit for about 500 dollars. You will need to source many other parts yourself
To complete this kit you will need the following:
- 1:8 scale tires
- 1:8 scale wheels
- .21 class engine with rear exhaust
- radio transmitter and receiver
- servos for throttle and steering
- fuel and fuel bottle
- starter box
As you can see, this build will be much more involved. You could end up spending around 1000 dollars to get this car rolling.
However, building this car will teach you everything you need know about working on your car. Its not a bad idea for beginners to try and build a car from scratch. Parts wear out or break, and even the best nitro RC cars need maintenance.
Beginner RC nitro car Conclusion
I think all RC enthusiasts want to add a nitro-powered vehicle to their collection. Nitro engines are more complex and take more maintenance. But, the speed nitro-powered vehicles produce is amazing! You can take a quick pit stop, fill up with nitro fuel and get back on the track in minutes.
If you are experienced with electric cars and want to upgrade to nitro, any of these options above will be an excellent option for your collection. If you don’t own any RC vehicle, check out some of the ready-to-roll options above. You will quickly become an RC car fanatic!