The Ultimate Guide to Buying an Affordable Radio Controlled Car

Like if this guide is helpful
The Ultimate Guide to Buying an Affordable Radio Controlled Car

When coming to buy a radio controlled car, make sure to consider what sort of model is needed and also where to make a purchase from. eBay has a whole host of various brand new and second-hand cars available from a range of sellers which can be bought either via an online auction or through the ‘buy it now’ format.

This guide will look at buying radio controlled cars at the lower end of the market which are within the price range of most consumers.

Types of Radio Controlled Cars

The first thing to consider is which type of radio controlled car to buy in terms of what level it is, where it will be used at and also how it is powered.

Versions of cars will generally vary between toy-grade and hobby-grade cars, where toy-grade are at the lesser end of the market and will generally be available for a more affordable price. These are the models that are readily available in children’s toy shops that can be found for around £150 and lower.

Hobby-grade are more advanced models and are suited to radio controlled vehicle enthusiasts who like to regularly use their car and also have the option of making improvements to it. More capabilities and a high all-round performance come with hobby-grade radio controlled vehicles.

Lower grade radio controlled cars found in toy shops are more than likely electronically powered by motors and batteries. There are also fuel-powered engines that control other models – usually run by nitro or gas engines.

There is also the choice of either off-road or on-road radio controlled cars, which are designed for use on differing surfaces. On-road models are suited for smoother surfaces and are designed with speed and appearance in mind. Off-road cars have a more stable and taller suspension along with wider tyres.

Electronically Powered Radio Controlled Cars

For more affordable radio controlled cars, it is likely that they will be electronically powered. Below is a table detailing some of the pros and cons of buying one of these toy models:

Advantages of Toy-Grade Radio Controlled Cars

  • They are a lot more affordable to buy than more advanced models. Prices are generally lower than hobby-grade cars and by looking on eBay it may be possible to find some great deals from second-hand sellers who are looking to offload their cars. It will be rare to find an electric toy radio controlled car for over £300.
  • Due to their smaller motor, they are quieter when being operated.
  • They can be driven much easier and with less skill than more advanced models.
  • Although they cannot reach the top speeds of fuel powered vehicles, some models do have quick acceleration off the mark.
  • They can also be used indoors as they don’t exert fumes.

Disadvantages of Toy-Grade Radio Controlled Cars

  •  Most mechanical car users want to experience the thrill of driving their vehicle as fast as possible; some toy versions don’t allow these really top speeds to be reached. Most versions will have a maximum speed of 10-15mph.
  • As they run on batteries, their lifespan is finite unless new batteries are inserted or the old ones are recharged.
  • They are almost impossible to repair or upgrade due to their specific configuration; i.e. being built with a non-standard motor and single electronic circuit board which cannot usually be replaced. If damage occurs then a brand new radio controlled car will need to be purchased in most cases.
  • The suspension system is low quality or non-existent, making them unsuitable for rougher terrains.

Characteristics of Affordable Radio-Controlled Cars


When searching for an affordable radio-controlled car, the size of the vehicle will be scaled in respect to the real sized version. Scaling will range between figures of 1:8 for larger models down to 1:64 for much smaller versions.  Remember, the scaling is in relation to the vehicle it is modelled on; a 1:8 jeep will be bigger than a 1:8 sports car for example.


Radio-controlled cars will come in the form of real vehicles such as Mini’s,, Ferrari’s and BMW’s. Drivers will want to feel as if they are in control of the real thing so this aspect gives a bit more realism to the whole experience. They come with injection moulded car bodies that resemble proper car models and also are produced in range of different colours to suit the buyer’s preference.

Radio Equipment

Affordable radio controlled cars will come with a radio equipment in the form of a transmitter and a receiver that controls the car. An item called a servo should also come with the purchase of the car which is a type of motor used to control the vehicles mechanism.


Batteries are the main power source for more affordable radio control cars instead of the more expensive fuel powered motors. They are needed for the car itself and also the transmitter used to control it. AA batteries are the format used in the vast majority of vehicles. Buying an electric car means that its run time is not infinite and replacement batteries or a charger will be required to keep it going.

Buying a Radio Controlled Car Online

When coming to make a purchase online, it is advisable to check on different websites to find out the different reviews and experiences that others have had with buying radio controlled vehicles. These people are more likely vent their grievances about their miniature cars on these types of review sites if there is anything wrong with the product. Salespeople on the high street or specialist gaming outlets online will probably not offer an objective evaluation of their remote controlled cars;; their emphasis is based more around pushing a sale and not the suitability of the product for the customer.

When a more insightful view into the different types of radio controlled cars has been found and a more objective decision can made about making a purchase, then first check out eBay to try and find the best deal possible. There are plenty of radio controlled cars within the site’s online marketplace to satisfy the U.K market from a wide variety of sellers. The next section will give some basic tips about using eBay in the most secure way possible.

Tips for Buying an Affordable Radio Controlled Car on eBay

Although it is possible to make up to 100 purchases of items up to the value of £500 (easily enough for a toy-grade model) as a guest on eBay, it is advisable to register properly with the site to receive the full benefits of using the site.

Once registered, look for the desired product by using the search bar at the top of the home page. Typing in “radio controlled cars” will bring up all the different listings of them on the results page.

Using the advanced search method or sorting the results by a certain preference can narrow down the listings even further and make it easier to concentrate on finding the most suitable models.

Another easy way of streamlining the results after typing in “radio controlled cars&” is to use the preference bar on the left hand side. Such aspects as the price, brand and condition can be configured to which type car is needed.

Knowing what the going rate is of radio controlled vehicles provides a great advantage for shoppers, both electronic and fuel powered. Check out the prices of brand new radio controlled cars from other sites and have an average figure in your head of what to spend. Consider the alternative of buying a second-hand model or using the auction facility to try and outbid other potential customers.

Read the item’s description thoroughly, including details of the accepted payment method and delivery information. This way no confusion can arise if the radio controlled car arrives and it isn’t of an acceptable standard.

If the product does turn up not in the condition as noted in the description, then this is the seller’s responsibility and not yours. Use the advice in eBay’s resolution centre to sort out any dilemmas that may occur.

To further prevent the chances this happening, then check out the seller’s eBay history and their feedback rating in particular. This way an objective judgment can be made if they are a trustworthy seller. Using Paypal is the recommended way of paying for an item on eBay but other methods are available also.


Radio control cars are an enjoyable pastime for children and adults alike and can be used for leisure purposes as well as in serious competition with each other. More affordable models will come with electrical powered cars which are often classed as toy-grade.

However, it may be possible to more efficient and powerful nitro fuelled radio control cars at more affordable prices, especially if looking on auction websites such as eBay. Review all the different radio control cars on the market from various outlets and then check eBay to see if a model can be found at a reduced price.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides