Best RC Cars For Beginners – RTR vs Kit

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Planning to get an RC car?  Then, you need to decide to get either an RTR or build your own RC car.

When you are shopping for an RC car online, you will find two main types which are RTR and kit. And this may get you thinking about which version to buy.  But when you see the price tag, you will go for the cheaper kit version. However, once you get home and start cracking with the building, you would soon realize that you have no idea how to start with even a user manual just next to you.

Here is a comparison of both types of RCs and hopefully can help you to decide which type suits you more.

First, RTR means Ready To Run (I prefer Ready To Rock), and you will basically get everything to work for the RC such as electronics, batteries, charger, transmitter, and tools while kit version will usually provide the chassis only and let you figure the rest of it, which required more time to fine-tune or simply get it done.

Second, here are some basic difference between RTR and kit:

Main Features
Includes everything to start the hobby Only provide the chassis and needs fine tunes
Usually, have all basic parts Proved the opportunity for using upgrade parts.  You need to spend some extra money.
May not allowed to change any setting on those basic parts Allow suspension/ chassis tuning
Batteries and charger has a longer charging time You need to buy your own batteries and charger
More expensive due to everything is included. In the end, you need to spend extra in addition to the price paid for the kit.
Usually, aim for the beginner’s market Able to understand more about the chassis
Quality is from average to excellent, depends on the price paid for the RTR May need modification on some parts

As you can see, RTR versions are easier to operate but may not get a set of good electronics or doesn’t allow you to change settings on the chassis so you may end up spending more after the purchase. However, you will receive more flexibility from the buy on the kit version since it allows you to be more creative to build your own vehicle.

Fig. 1 A RTR RC truck from one of my collection

What should you consider?

Buying an RC car is similar to buying a real car, you will definitely invest some money in it and it takes away half the price when you trying to sell it. So before buying one of these products, you may consider the follows:


You may want to ask yourself whether you have time to build it or your schedule is too tight to do other extra work, if yes you should consider having an RTR since you will be able to get almost everything for your newly acquired hobby. You may not be able to learn the chassis pretty well since you are not the one who assembled it, so it may take some time to get used to the characteristics of that particular RC car.


There are lots of choices on the market so it will depend on how deep your bank account can go since RTR may look expensive but when you do some research. You will find that some of the finish outcomes from kits are more money-sucking than RTRs. Here’s an example:

Axial RR10 Bomber:

The official price of the RTR version is 399 USD while the kit version cost 359 USD. Let’s split it up then. The price may differ from other brands but I will use Axial products and try to keep it as the same spec of the RTR version.

(In USD) RTR version Kit version
Price 399 359
Tools 20 20
Motor N/A 18
Speed controller N/A 45
Servo N/A 25
Transmitter & receiver N/A 58
Batteries and charger 32+56 32+56
TOTAL 507 613

As we can see from the above table, buying an RTR may save you money from some essential stuff as a newbie into the hobby, yet some manufacturers and distributors like as KYOSHO, HPI and Arrma will provide power bundles that comes with the RTR so you will even save more money.

As for a kit version, manufacturers usually aim for customers that know what they are doing, letting customers decide what to acquire on the vehicle. Upgraded parts are expected so it will definitely increase the cost of your while build.

Do you have the skills /abilities for building an RC kit?

Some RTR vehicles may be attractive to newcomers because of the looks, however, some of them may require some experience to repair or maintain them like the Axial Yeti that I reviewed before. People often get confused about how to fix their cars because not knowing anything about what they are buying and turn up in some advanced chassis that they can’t handle. Yet it is good to start with a simple chassis like a Tamiya TT-02 which is really cheap to build. I have seen many people in the drifting world getting a wrong chassis to start up, causing them to lose interest in the hobby. As some people think Overdose is a premium brand for drifting and they make a good quality product, yet their chassis are harder to tune it right compare to Yokomo and MST chassis

Fig. 2 skill is required to have the shell best fit on the chassis


As people keep asking whether they should get an RTR or a kit to start the hobby with, I would say it really depends on your knowledge on mechanical applications since this hobby requires you to know how to maintain your vehicle. Although people can have some friends do the maintenance for them, it may not be a good attitude.  In fact, maintaining /repairing your own RC cars is an important and fun aspect of this hobby.  So if you are creative enough while having someone providing guidelines, it will be better to purchase an assembly kit. However, if you are keen on the brand having every component ready for you or you are just too lazy to assemble, RTR is the version you may be aiming for.  After getting the right RC car, you are welcome to come to this blog for tips for this hobby.  Hope you enjoy the reading.


Thanks for reading

Writer: Kelvin Wong

Edited by Carlos Santos, your webmaster.




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