A radio-control (RC) car is something that immediately takes people back to their childhoods. There’s no doubt that kids love RC cars, but many adults find them to be a lot of fun, too. Of course, these toys have come a long way from days gone by.
Today, one of the top RC car brands is Traxxas. Their customers include hobbyists, RC competitors, and people who just want to play with their cars for fun. Since they can get a bit expensive, this guide will walk you through the top five Traxxas RC cars for under $200.
At the end of the review, be sure to check out the buyer’s guide for extra tips on what to look for. If you’re going to be spending a couple of hundred bucks, you want to make sure you’re getting a decent product, right? With the right knowledge, you can spend less time feeling confused about the latest and greatest technologies and more time enjoying your new RC car.
Comparison Chart for Top 5 Traxxas RC Cars and Trucks
Stampede Monster Truck – Best for Beginners
The Stampede is a classic Traxxas monster truck that will make a solid impression. One of the first things you’ll notice about this truck is that it’s tall.
The ground clearance is four inches, which makes it easy to jump over all kinds of obstacles. It’s got a composite nylon chassis and hulking 2.8” tires.
Overall, the electric-powered Stampede is a solid choice for beginners. The truck is waterproof for added peace of mind, and the one-button setup and Training Mode makes it easy to start driving right away. One big drawback is that the battery and charger are sold separately, which will cost another $70 or so on top of the $160 for the car.
Rustler Stadium Truck – Fun for Beginners and Experienced Hobbyists
The Traxxas Rustler is a sleek stadium truck that will please beginners and pros alike. It features hobby-grade construction and materials such as a brushless-ready transmission for added strength and quieter controls.
Moreover, the Bellcrank steering is great for tight turns and more accurate handling, and it increases cornering stability, too.
This sleek truck can hit a top speed of 35 miles per hour. Its internal components and XL-5 electronic speed control have waterproof parts that enable it to explore more environments in all kinds of weather. A cooling fan keeps temperatures down and allows for longer run time, too. While its stamina will depend on the type of battery you choose, you’re looking at about 30 minutes.
LaTrax Teton – Performance Technology on a Budget
This Teton monster truck is lightweight, but will deliver mighty power and performance for its size. It features all-metal gears, height-adjustable body mounts, and a fiber-composite chassis.
There are also front and rear bumpers with good impact absorption, so you can feel confident about putting this truck through its paces.
Moreover, the simple and efficient battery access allows you to quickly switch packs in and out, so the fun never ends. Thermal shut-down protection ensures that you don’t end up with an overheated, out-of-commission RC vehicle. A less expensive choice, this is a good option for those who are new to RC cars or want something durable without the financial commitment.
The smooth, fully-independent suspension on each wheel along with the four-wheel drive, gives this truck strong climbing capabilities. In other words, uphill terrain isn’t a big problem. Besides that, the LaTrax Teton is great for off-road racing and comes with easy-to-use proportional electronic speed control.
Traxxas Bandit – Best Traxxas Racing Buggy
Traxxas Bandit has a sleek, race-ready design that you’ll notice the minute you take it out of the package. The polycarbonate body can take quite a beating, and the chassis is lightweight but sturdy.
The electronics are firmly screwed into the chassis to keep dirt and water out. With its trim body and attractive look, this is a traditional racing buggy outfitted with modern technology.
The Bandit can get up to 35 miles per hour, but you can also equip it with some upgraded gear to get it going 60+ miles per hour. The XL-5 electronic speed control and waterproof electronics make for worry-free driving. A great feature is the white powder-coated shock springs, which are race-tuned, long-lasting, and more responsive. Other performance-enhancing components include the 2.2” Alias ribbed tires and internal cooling fan in the motor. The buggy is compatible with LiPo and NiMH batteries.
Traxxas Slash – Best All-Terrain Traxxas
Traxxas Slash was inspired by the Traxxas Off-Road Championship. It will tear through grass, dirt, and just about any other surface, you can think of.
Straight out of the package, you’ll see that the quality is great and the design is sleek and attractive. The Slash features replica painted bodies with officially-licensed #25 Mark Jenkins and #47 Mike Jenkins graphics.
The Slash comes with four-wheel drive and waterproof electronics enabling you to take it just about anywhere. The XL-2.5 electronic speed control has low voltage detection while an integrated cooling fan prolongs the life of the motor.
The Revo-Spec technology gives the truck suspension that is more often found on larger vehicles. It makes for a responsive ride and better performance on large jumps and hills. Plus the all-terrain 2.2” front and rear tires provide superior traction. Those sophisticated rubber compounds get a better grip on dirt, concrete, and more.
With great acceleration that reaches 30 miles per hour or more, this is one of the best all-terrain Traxxas trucks out there. It has lots of upgrade options to make the easy handling on jumps and turns even better. Also, you’re sure to appreciate the lower center of gravity for a more balanced weight distribution. One drawback is that it reverses quickly, so it would be easier to manage if it slowed down while backing up.
Below are some tips and hints for buying a new RC car or truck, whether it’s from Traxxas or another RC brand.
Best Traxxas RC Cars Under $200 – Buyers Guide
The Technology Behind These RC Cars
Traxxas has solidified itself as a leader in RC cars and trucks. Here is the definitive technology behind their success.
- Electronic Speed Control
One thing that RC experts will know about is the battle between electric power and nitro power. On the one hand, nitro will boost your car like never before, but it will also require more upkeep and maintenance.
For its part, an electric car is way easier to handle and won’t pose as many maintenance and repair risks. Sure, you won’t get that same speed, but it’s not like these cars are going at a snail’s pace either. Electric is also a great choice if you’re buying an RC car for your kids. They don’t want to deal with the technical details involved with nitro, and you probably don’t either.
- Rock-Solid Chassis Construction
The Traxxas brand has become synonymous with durable body construction on all of their vehicles. The chassis is usually made of fiber-composite or composite nylon, which is sturdy enough to support the internal workings of these models.
All-metal gear differentials give the wheels more precision and control so you can handle the car with ease. Responsive suspension and oil-filled shocks allow for a smoother ride and top-notch performance on or off the road.
The electronic speed control and receiver box are securely screwed into the chassis to prevent slippage or moisture leakage. The high-torque steering servo is o-ring sealed so it can continue to provide dependable power.
- Waterproof Electronics
Traxxas models are especially durable and reliable because of their waterproof electronics. Fully protected from dirt and moisture, you can have fun driving your car or truck in mud, snow, water, and more.
The battery compartments in the chassis are expertly-secured and screwed in tight to keep moisture and debris out. This prolongs the battery life and ensures that you don’t have to stop the fun because of a little water.
Other waterproof electronic components include the electronic speed control, high-torque digital steering servo, and receiver box.
- All-Terrain Use
The brand started with off-road RC cars but developed its line-up to include on-road models as well. Depending on the Traxxas model you choose, you’ll see a certain wheel, but they’re all rugged enough to push the boundaries.
For example, the Rustler 4×4’s Aggressive Talon EXT tires provide stellar traction on dirt, grass, and more. The Bandit’s Alias ribbed tires are made for extreme off-road terrain, and the LaTrax Teton tires have soft, compound grip traction for concrete, gravel, rocks, and more.
- 2.4GHz Radio System
All Traxxas models have this radio system, which makes for responsive and reliable RC cars, even at longer distances. It eliminates the need to manage multiple frequencies, and the system can handle long-range controlling, too. Plus, you can race multiple cars next to each other without dealing with radio signal interference. It is distraction-free driving at its finest.
Traxxas’ new take on traditional buggies combines the high-tech advancements of the company with the look and design everyone loves. Lightweight with speedy acceleration, these buggies are primed to make daring jumps and sharp turns.
- Stadium Trucks
The stadium trucks combine a rugged look and feel with smooth, professional performance. Boasting power, speed, and precision handling, these trucks are made for off-road racing. They sit low to the ground and have stellar, responsive suspension.
- Monster Trucks
Who doesn’t love a good monster truck? The ones from Traxxas may have high ground clearance, but they’re all about getting down and dirty. They’ll tear through off-road terrain with their thick tires and respond to bumps and hills with their springy shock system.
Things to Consider
From budget to quality and more, there are some key things to remember when shopping for an RC truck.
- What Are You Using the Car for?
Think about the purpose of your purchase. Are you buying the car for your kids? Is it a cool adult toy that you want to develop into a hobby? Do you want to race other RC enthusiasts?
The reason for your purchase will help you determine what kind of model to look for. Say you’re considering an RC car for your child’s birthday. In that case, you wouldn’t go for the latest and greatest model. You can choose something less expensive that is still reliable and lots of fun.
The same principle applies if you’re buying it for yourself, but you’re new to the RC world. There’s no need to spend lavishly on a hot new model when you’re just getting your bearings. Something like these under-$200 trucks will do the trick.
On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned RC racer, then you probably have your eyes on something a bit more advanced, and that’s fine, too!
Price is a huge factor when shopping around for an RC car. There are lots of high-end models out there, and all of their bells and whistles make them quite enticing. If you’re new to this hobby, then you will probably want to start small.
That isn’t to say that you want to go for the least expensive RC truck out there. Quite the contrary! A dirt-cheap model will only put a sour taste in your mouth and turn you off from a hobby that could become a passion.
Those inexpensive cars tend to skimp on quality, meaning a very short battery life and parts that fall off or wear out after just a couple of runs. With all of the money that you’ll spend replacing parts, you could have just purchased a higher-quality car, to begin with.
This review included five great Traxxas cars for under $200, which is more than doable when starting a new hobby. Plus, Traxxas has a rock-solid reputation and decades of experience in the RC world. Any RC hobbyist will know about Traxxas.
In summary, when thinking about your budget, remember that you’re paying for quality parts that won’t crap out on you after a few hours.
- Road-Ready Cars and Trucks
You may have noticed that all of the cars in our review came pre-assembled. Some other models will come in pieces, and you’ll have to spend the time assembling the vehicle properly so you can enjoy it.
If you’ve got an engineering mind, then that might sound fun to you. However, most people would rather open up the box, take out the car, and get going. Keep that in mind when you’re shopping around.
- Batteries and Charger Included?
There are so many times when a newbie or parent is buying an RC car for their child only to find out later that the batteries and the charger weren’t included. It can be a huge bummer when kids want to play with their new toys on their birthdays or during the holidays, but they can’t because you didn’t check for “batteries included.” In short, always check!
- Get to Know the Brand
Of course, Traxxas isn’t the only radio-controlled car brand out there. Other popular options include HPI Racing, Losi, and Team Associated. While Traxxas is known for its commitment to quality and professional construction, you may want to try another brand.
The Traxxas brand doesn’t just have buggies, stadium trucks, and monsters. They have expanded their lineup to include boats and drones as well. They’re a company of firsts, with the first self-righting monster truck, the first ready-to-run RC, the first auto-shifting, two-speed transmission, and more.
All of their models come fully assembled so customers can get right into the action. While this review covered five top models under $200, there is plenty more where that came from. Be sure to check out what else they have to offer.
RC vehicles, in general, remain as popular as ever. Enthusiasts and hobbyists enjoy national championship tournaments and new developments with virtual reality. It’s safe to say that the RC world isn’t slowing down.