Remote Controlled Boats Buying Guide

Remote control boats are amazing fun to play around with. Easy for kids and adults to get into, these speedy little vessels come in all shapes and sizes.

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While you can still buy a simple RC boat or radio boat for an affordable price, there have been some serious advancements made in terms of technology and design.

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Remote and Radio Controlled Boats: A Buyer’s Guide For 2022

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll be looking at the main points you need to remember when shopping for an RC boat. We’ll also consider what features you can get for your money, and we’ll answer a few frequently asked questions along the way, too.

Different Types of RC Boat
Not all remote control boats operate the same way. While they can all be a lot of fun to whizz around lakes with, there may be one or two specific types of boat which suit you best. The main way RC boats can be categorised is into power type – either oil, electric or sail.

RC boats may also be sold under the categories of racing or scale. Racing boats are, as the name suggests, built for speed. Scale boats, however, are more aimed at a market of people who like to take realistic vessels to the water.

Electric Boats

Electric RC boats are great for beginners. Their motors run on batteries and are very quiet to operate. They can also access high speeds very easily, though do be aware that they come fitted with vent holes. These will need cleaning out on a regular basis. Some people prefer not to go for electric RC boats as batteries will need changing regularly, and they may not find these models too reliable.

Oil or Nitro Boats

Oil-based boats are often referred to as ‘nitro’, and are preferred by those pilots who like a more realistic vessel to put out on the water.

They are probably best suited to more experienced users and adults. You’ll need to top up regularly with oil, and they can be quite fiddly to run. However, anyone who likes a bit of tinkering will have a great time.

They can be noisy, however, and the oil or fuel can be quite expensive.

Sail Boats

Sail boats offer you the best of both worlds. They’re quiet, they’re realistic, and they can reach some impressive speeds. However, they are dependent on wind power. They’re great for beginners to play around with, though kids may find racing boats a little more exciting.

Types of Hull
Now we’ve looked at the main types of RC boat, let’s consider their construction. RC boats will be built in various different ways. This is so that they are able to traverse different or specific types of water.

Monoplane Hulls
Monoplane boats are ideal if you’re keen to take your boat out onto choppy waters. They may not be the quickest vessels around, but they are very sturdy and stable. They can also be referred to as V hulls.

Tunnel Hulls
Tunnel hulls are, again, very easy to steer. However, they are by far the slowest of the main types of hull you will find on an RC boat.

Hydroplane Hulls

For maximum speed, you’re going to want to invest in a hydroplane.

They’re great for reaching maximum velocity on flat plains. However, take them anywhere choppier, and they’ll capsize. Also, be aware that they’re not the easiest to turn.

Who’s Using the Boat?

One thing you should really bear in mind while shopping around for RC boats is who is likely to be using your new toy.

Kids will likely find electric and racing boats to be lots of fun to play with. However, some models – such as those powered by oil, and some scale models – may be better suited to hobbyists and adults.

Generally, it is fairly easy for you to spot the core demographic when shopping around. RC boats offering quick, simple launching and control will likely appeal to most kids. Some, however, will like the idea of more intricate ships. Everyone’s tastes will be slightly different!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the more common questions asked by RC boat shoppers – beginners and enthusiasts alike.

How Much Should I Pay for an RC Boat?
Most RC boats are actually very affordable. You’ll likely pay less for boats marketed as toys, likely around £20. More advanced boats and scale models, however, will ask for a little more. Generally expect to pay £50-£100 for beginners, and more for the best models on the market.

Why Should I Buy an RC Boat?
Why not? Sailing an RC boat can be a lot of fun. Depending on the type you buy, you may even find the experience really relaxing. You can enter races, hone your mechanical skills, or even take a scale model out for a quiet paddle at the duck pond. They’re not just built for kids any more!

Where Should I Sail My Boat?
This can depend on your level of expertise, and the type of boat you choose. For the most relaxed, straightforward experiences, you should head to calm ponds and lakes. Once you’re a little more experienced, think about taking your boat down a river for a more aggressive flow.

You may even be able to take boats to public swimming pools. In all cases, you should make sure you are allowed to sail your boat in your chosen body of water. Safety first!

What Else Should I Be Looking for From an AC Boat?
You should always be thinking about durability and power. You need a well-built model which can withstand various waters, and which can be sailed alongside other models. Do also take control into account, too. As a beginner, does your boat offer enough support when steering?


RC boats are a lot of fun. There’s plenty out there to choose from, and many are very affordable. Check out user reviews and start out slow – you never know where the water may take you!


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