Best RC Boats: Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

Since the early 20th-century, radio-controlled boats, or RC boats, have been a popular hobby for people of all walks of life. Since these inventions have only become more popular and cutting-edge over time, shopping for the right one can be a challenge—especially if you’re a beginner.

Whether you want something that’s simple and easy-to-use or the best RC boat that can crush the competition in a high-speed race, we’ve got plenty of recommendations for you.

Considerations For Buying an RC Boat

Before you pick out your purchase, it’s important to identify what you’re looking for. These are a few factors you should take into consideration.

Location 

The location that you’ll be taking your RC boat on might matter more than you think. Different types of RC boats work better for different bodies of water. For instance, if you’re planning to take your RC boat out in the ocean, a large lake, or a river, you should consider purchasing something with a little bit of power. A more powerful RC boat can navigate choppy conditions or weather better while something simpler might work best in a pond or creek.

Fuel Type

Like a car, the type of fuel your boat runs on can vary. Generally, more powerful boats run on electric power and are great for beginners to learn with. Other types of fuel include nitro and gas.

Larger, two-cycle RC boats typically use gas, but this fuel type can be a little high-maintenance for some people. While nitro fuel can provide your boat with the extra power or boost of speed that it needs, this fuel is also the most expensive to stock up on.

Radio Control Unit

When you’re looking at different radio control units, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the special features. Generally, your best bet is to find a unit that allows you maximum control but is still user-friendly.

If you can, it’s a good idea to make sure the controller is waterproof too. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time around water, the last thing you want is a controller that stops working because you accidentally dropped it once.

Hull Type

Similar to a real-life boat, the type of hull on your RC boat can play a large role in how it handles in the water. Most RC boats contain one of three different hulls: flat-bottom, hydroplane, or monohull.

Airboats or hovercrafts use a flat-bottom hull and typically don’t rely on an RC unit. Using a pocket of air, these RC boats will propel themselves forward.

Hydroplanes, however, can help reduce the drag on your boat and increase your speed. If you’re looking to enter your boat in a race or competition, this might be the right option.

A monohull is probably the most common type of hull with RC boats, and they vary greatly when it comes to how they handle or how fast they are.

Best RC Boat Under $100

For RC boats that you can pick up for under $100, here’s what we’ve got:

Altair AA Wave RC Boat

One common problem that a lot of people with RC boats is capsizing. A lot of boats will flip over the minute they encounter rough waters, but that isn’t too much of a concern with the Altair AA Wave RC Boat. With anti-capsizing technology, this boat doesn’t flip as easily, and should even flip back over if it does overturn.

As long as you’ve got the remote controller in your hands, you can navigate this RC boat up to nearly four hundred feet away. The specialized controller also helps prevent radio interference from people who might be operating similar RC boats in the same waters.

Pros:

  • Uses an anti-capsize system
  • Operates up to 390 feet away
  • Can reach speeds up to 18 mph
  • Less radio interference from other controllers
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Takes a few hours to completely recharge after use
  • You can’t use it in saltwater
  • Doesn’t always immediately flip back over when it capsizes

KINGBOT DeXop Remote Control RC Boat

If you like to experiment with the speed on your boat, the KINGBOT DeXop Remote Control RC Boat might be the right choice for you. With two different throttle modes, you can easily switch between the two when you have the boat out in the water.

One perk of this boat is that it comes with a low-battery alarm. Rather than just dying in the middle of the water, the controller will alert you that the boat is nearing low-battery and will die soon.

Since it’s waterproof, you shouldn’t have to worry if a little bit of water gets in the boat or if it capsizes in the water.

Pros:

  • Only needs 45 minutes to charge
  • Comes with two throttle modes
  • Includes a low-battery alert
  • Waterproof
  • The transmitter allows you to read the voltage volume

Cons:

  • You need to take the battery out after you finished playing to avoid permanent damage
  • Generally doesn’t work as well in saltwater
  • You’ll need to purchase the transmitter batteries separately

Best RC Boat Under $50

For under $50, you’ve still got plenty of high-quality RC boats to pick from:

INTEY Double-Layer RC Boat

When it comes to fast turns and quick maneuverability, the INTEY Double-Layer RC Boat is all about easy handling. With enough practice, you should be able to use this boat to create shapes or even write your name.

The material of the hull includes industrial material so that there shouldn’t be as much dragging when you put it in the water. Depending on how far you want the boat to go, the remote control allows you to navigate it even from 150 meters away.

Pros:

  • Comes with capsize recovery
  • The cooling system stops the motor from overheating
  • Includes a spare propellor
  • Two-way rudder navigation system
  • Comes with double waterproof protection

Cons:

  • Not as lightweight
  • Might only run for 7-8 minutes
  • Works better in calm waters

FILBAKE 2020 Upgraded RC Boat

If there’s one thing that can affect the lifespan of a boat, it’s constant capsizing. This is especially true if the RC boat you purchase isn’t fully waterproof, and it’s still wet while you’re charging it. Luckily, the FILBAKE 2020 Upgraded RC Boat takes specific measures to help ensure that it doesn’t capsize and resists strong wind gusts.

If you aren’t sure how long the battery is going to last, there is a low-battery alarm that will alert you when it’s going to die soon so you can power off the boat.

Pros:

  • Resists high winds and choppy waters
  • Doesn’t capsize as easily in the water
  • Includes waterproof protection
  • Comes with gift packaging, rechargeable battery, and a USB charging cable
  • You get worry-free customer service for 90 days after purchase

Cons:

  • Might not be as durable as some options
  • Won’t work well in saltwater
  • Needs a couple of hours to completely recharge

Best RC Boat in Class

Here’s what we consider to be the best RC boat in its class:

Pro Boat Sprintjet Self-Righting RC Boat

When it comes to speed, the Pro Boat Sprintjet might be small, but it’s capable of creating some waves. While it probably wouldn’t work great in choppy waters like the ocean or sea, there’s nothing wrong with taking it out on the lake or pond.

The self-righting hull allows the boat more stability so that it’s less likely to capsize as often. While some RC boats only operate for six or seven minutes, it’s possible to get up to twelve minutes of continuous runtime from the Sprintjet if you’ve completely charged it beforehand.

Another perk is that there are no extra add-ons or batteries that you need to run this product. Everything you need to operate it should come in the box when you purchase it. The battery is also rechargeable, so you shouldn’t need to replace them on a regular basis.

Pros:

  • Longer runtime than some other choices
  • Self-righting hull prevents it from capsizing too much
  • Faster than some other picks
  • Radio technology should stop radio interference from similar boats
  • Works well in a pool, pond, or lake

Cons:

  • Probably wouldn’t work too well in choppy waters
  • Wouldn’t operate too well in saltwater

Conclusion

Each of these RC boats has its own advantages and disadvantages, but when it comes to picking the best RC boat out of the bunch, we’ve got to go with the INTEY Double-Layer Boat. Not only does it provide a double-layer of waterproof protection to extend its lifespan, but it also has superior handling to some other options.

However, everyone has their own needs, and depending on what you’re looking for, one of these other RC boat recommendations might work just as well.