10 Best RC Buggies: A 2017 Review and Guide

So, you want to bash, right? Why of course you do. What better way is there to spend a Saturday afternoon than jumping over sticks and rocks and diving through mud puddles?

What’s that?

You want an excellent buggy  that will handle anything you dish out, including track driving and off road bashing?

We got you covered. If you’re in the market for the best RC buggy, we list some out there on the market that are at an affordable price point, and fun to drive.

That way you can search out a buggy with the features you desire, without leaving your budget as flattened as that dirt mound you want to fly over.

Comparison of the Best RC Buggies

 LOSI 8IGHT-E DHK OPTIMUS XLREDCAT RACING EPX PRODHK HOBBY OPTIMUS LOSI MINI 8IGHT-TLOSI DESERT BUGGY XL DHK OPTIMUS GP REDCAT RACING RAMPAGE DUNE RUNNER V3 LOSI K&N DBXLREDCAT RACING RAMPAGE XB
Packaging
More InfoViewViewViewViewViewViewViewViewViewView
Scale1:81:81:101:81:141:51:81:51:51:8
Gas or ElectricElectricElectricElectricElectricElectricGasGasGasGasGas
2WD or 4 WD4WD4WD4WD4WD4WD4WD4WD4 WD4WD4WD
SourceHobbytronHobbytronAmazonHobbytronHobbytronHobbytronHobbytronHobbytronHobbytronAmazon

(Scroll to the right to see more buggies)

Content:

  1. What is an RC buggy
  2. RC buggy history
  3. Why should I get a buggy?
  4. Differences between buggies and truggies
  5. 2WD vs. 4WD
  6. A note on scale
  7. RC buggy words to know
  8. Best RC buggies reviewed

1. What is an RC buggy?

RC buggies, at their core, are remote-controlled dune buggies, designed especially for off-road racing. This means they can handle most kinds of rough terrain without difficulty. Within this broad definition, however, there are many variations, depending on your manufacturer and model.

2. RC buggy History

Off-road buggies have had an interesting history. In 1977, Shunsaku Tamiya, the president of Tamiya and one of the foremost makers of RC cars at the time, read a magazine which mentioned an off-road race in Anaheim, California. He was instantly bitten by the inspiration bug.

After he went to see a similar race in Baha, California, he returned to Japan with his head full of ideas and tasked designer Fumito Taki to recreate the buggies he had seen. Fumito took the challenge, and soon after, Shunsaku showed his new off-road creations to a cheering crowd at a hobby show in Houston, Texas.

In 1979, the Rough Rider was released, becoming the first truly off-road RC vehicle. That’s when the hobby of off-road buggy racing was born. For the first time ever, you could drive an RC vehicle on something that wasn’t asphalt or pavement.

3. Why Should I Get a Buggy?

There are several classes of RC vehicles.

On one end of the scale, you have the scaled-down sports car replicas. These are great for racing indoors or on smooth pavement.

On the other end, you have the extreme monster trucks that can literally climb over almost anything you can dish out. In the middle of the scales are buggies.

Buggies are a step up from the sports car replicas. They can drive fairly well on smooth surfaces. However, they are durable enough to handle off road driving as well and will handle grass and gravel that a sports car replica can’t touch.

Buggies are built lower to the ground than your classic car. This gives them more stability and a lower center of gravity, making them much more stable. This lower center of gravity also gives them a more balanced feel. A buggy can handle much more nimbly than a car without tipping.

4. Differences between Buggies and Truggies

So if you were like me as a beginner, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between buggies and truggies.

Buggies are a really cool type of vehicle that looks very similar to F1 racing cars. These cars are flatter than normal RC cars, which makes them really agile. Unlike some RC cars, buggies can perform well on terrain such as grass and some shallow water, if the electronics are  electronics are waterproofed. However, they usually cannot handle huge hills or dirt mounds or land jumps that are particularly gnarly.

As the name implies, a truggy is a cross between a truck and a buggy. It has bigger wheels than a buggy, and also has longer driveshafts, axles, chassis, etc. In other words, it’s smaller than a truck, but larger than a buggy.

Though buggies are good, there are certain terrains they just can’t handle. For people who want the driving experience of a buggy but in a more durable form, truggies might be the answer.  Buggies may stall out in certain conditions, such as snow for example, that a truggy will plow right through.

Down below are some pros and cons of each vehicle.

Buggies

Pros:

Very nimble
Can handle tough terrain such as grass and gravel
Lighter than truggies

Cons:

Smaller wheels than truggies, which makes it tough to drive on certain terrain
A bit more challenging to drive (but in the long run will make you a better driver)


Truggies

Pros:

Easier to drive,and can handle terrain much better
Tougher than buggies
Generally more well-rounded

Cons:

Heavier than buggies
Not as fast


5. 2WD Vs. 4WD

Just like cars, both real and RC, buggies have two types of drive train, two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. These are often abbreviated to 2WD and 4WD respectively. If you are a beginner to RC buggies, you might be wondering what the difference is.

2WD stands for two-wheel drive. This means that only two wheels are used to power the buggy. 4WD then stands for four-wheel-drive. Using this system, power is diverted from the transmission to the front and rear axles, therefore making sure each wheel spins at the same speed.

Beginners in the hobby generally start out on two-wheel-drive buggies. The reason for this is that they are cheaper to buy and to maintain once you have them. Also, they are a bit slower than the 4WD buggies. This prevents pieces from breaking as easily. Some technique is required to keep them moving forward, but it’s easy to pick up with practice.

4WD buggies on the other hand are faster. However, the trade-off is that they are more complex and expensive both to buy and to maintain. The driving style is also more aggressive which can be both a positive and a negative, depending on what type of track you plan on racing on.

6. A Note on Scale

There are many sizes of RC buggy. The size of a buggy is called a scale. The larger the number of scale, the smaller the buggy is. For example, a 1/16 scale buggy is smaller than a 1/8 scale buggy, which is in turn smaller than a 1/5 scale. Before you pick the scale of your buggy, it’s important to pick the track you’ll be racing on. Check with the track to see what scale of buggies they allow, and which ones are forbidden.

It is also a good idea to check your terrain. If you are going to be heading over large dirt mounds, for instance, it might be wise to choose a buggy that can handle those kinds of hills without flipping over backward.

 7. RC Buggy Words To Know

When looking at RC buggies, it can seem as if the whole world has turned into alphabet soup. There are so many abbreviations! How can you ever tell what they all mean? Never fear, we’re here to help!

ARR/RTR – No, this phrase has nothing to do with pirates, no matter how awesome that would be. Instead, ARR stands for “Almost ready to run” and RTR stands for ready to run. These types of buggy are more expensive. The trade-off is that the car comes assembled or mostly assembled. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to build your own RC buggy from a kit, then this is a good option. However, since you didn’t build it yourself, you miss out on the familiarity that building your own buggy can provide during repair time.

CG – This abbreviation stands for center of gravity. The center of gravity of a buggy is the point on the chassis at which that buggy balances when all components are installed. CG is a three-dimensional measure. That means that there is both vertical and horizontal CG. Ideally you want the center of gravity on a buggy to be as low as possible as higher centers of gravity may make the vehicle tip.

Compound Tires – Compound is the rubber material of the tires. The softer the compound, the more traction your buggy has. However, this softer compound means the tires wear down faster.

Dogbone – It may sound like food for Rover or Fluffy should never be part of an RC buggy. However, that isn’t the case. A dog bone is the shaft used to transfer power from the transmission’s outdrive to the drive axle. It looks like a dog bone due to the role pins at each end.

 Electronic Speed Control (ESC) – The ESC has replaced the mechanical speed controls of olden times. They are more efficient. They are also much lighter. This light weight improves the performance of your electric RC buggies.

MA – Not your grandmother, but Milliamp power. The higher the Milliamp value, the more charge your buggy’s batteries will hold. Receiver batteries are generally in the 500-600 MA range, while RC car and buggy batteries are in the 1000,1100 MA range.

Receiver – The part of an RC buggy, or any RC vehicle for that matter, that takes signals from the transmitter and translates them into electrical impulses that then travel to the motor and wheels.

Transmitter – The transmitter is the remote for your RC buggy. You use the transmitter to send signals of what you want to do to the receiver. Without a transmitter and receiver, your buggy will not move.

So, now that we have gotten the jargon out of the way, you should find it far easier to understand other RC enthusiasts when they’re talking about buggies.

8. Best RC Buggies Reviewed

Electric

Losi 8IGHT-E 1:8 4WD 2.4GHz Brushless RTR Electric RC Buggy with AVC

Losi’s 8ight platform has long been the top of the pack when it comes to RC buggies. They have consistently leveled the competition. They have also left the confines of the race track and become the domain of backyard bashing, and now they have gotten even better.

This iteration of the 8ight platform features AVC, Active Vehicle Control. Using this technology, you can drive with insane speed and precision, all without having to assemble or paint any components. This buggy comes equipped with everything you will need to blow your competition out of the water.

The motor on this buggy is the 1800 KV Dynamite brushless motor. This motor provides tons of power to overcome any obstacle you may find yourself facing as well as 16mm large-bore shocks. These shocks will provide superior handling and absorb all the brutality of your buggy’s landing.

The ESC for this buggy is a 130A 4s, and the chassis is made of durable aluminum. You won’t have to worry about snapping the chassis on this one.

Speaking of being durable, the electronics on the 8ight are waterproof. Feel free to blast through snow, mud and rain to your heart’s content. This buggy is ready to take anything you can dish out, and still be ready to do it all again.

Key Points

  • Has Active Vehicle Control (AVC)
  • 1800 KV Dynamite brushless motor
  • Waterproof

DHK Optimus XL 1:8 4WD RTR Brushless Electric RC Buggy

If you want a buggy that will really blast, the Optimus XL might be the perfect buggy for you. When DHK built this buggy, they had backyard bashers in mind.

This beast can drive at speeds over fifty miles an hour so you’d better have a huge backyard if you want to release this bad boy. This is definitely a buggy you’ll want to take to the track or even to an empty parking lot.

Speed isn’t the only awesome thing about this buggy. The Optimus Xl is four-wheel drive, meaning that it can climb over any hill or obstacle. It also features a 2.4GHZ transmitter. You can feel free to race with your friends without frequency interference.

If durability is what you want, this buggy has you covered. It features oil-filled metal shocks on metal shock towers. All of this is bolted to a top plate, for a buggy that is strong enough to take whatever your bash session has to offer.

There is only one small possible downside to this buggy. It requires two 2S LiPo batteries. These, unfortunately are sold separately. However, most experienced bashers should have at least a couple of them lying around.

This buggy is ready to run, and to be more than you could imagine in your wildest dreams. Just charge the batteries and you’re ready to bash.

Key Points

  • Can go 50+ mph
  • 4WD
  • Requires two 2S LiPo batteries

Redcat Racing Brushless Electric Tornado EPX PRO Buggy

Another high-end buggy you need to check out is the Redcat Racing Tornado EPX. This buggy is smaller than some of the ones on this list, but do not let its dimensions fool you. Despite the small size, this buggy lacks a lot of power.

Along with the 3300KV brushless motor, this tornado comes with a speed regulator. This makes it perfect for driving both on and off the track. This little buggy can handle anything from concrete to grass and dirt clods.

Another benefit to this buggy is that it is four-wheel-drive. This means that each wheel is powered independently, making this buggy able to climb like a mountain goat.

For all those squirrelly landings, the buggy features oil-filled aluminum shocks. This way, you won’t wind up flipping your buggy or having it go careening everywhere. You also don’t risk as many parts breakages with a good set of shocks.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides to the Tornado. Firstly, the chassis is made of plastic. This is not as durable as some of the other chassises featured in this list. There is more possibility that this type of chassis will crack on a bad landing.

Another downside for some people is that there is only one speed. You cannot vary the speed depending on what terrain you are driving on. This buggy will hit every single obstacle at the same constant speed, and there is no way to adjust what that speed is before you hit the track.

Key Points

  • 3300 KV brushless motor
  • 4 WD
  • Chassis is made from plastic

DHK Hobby Optimus 1:8 4WD Brushless RTR Electric RC Buggy

If you have ever shopped around for 1/8-scale buggies, you will know just how expensive they can be. Most of the affordable ones don’t even include a charger or batteries.

If you can find an affordable buggy, chances are that it will have only the basic features, and not allow you as a driver to make any adjustments. The DHK Hobby Optimus 1:8 4WD Brushless RTR Electric RC Buggy is not that vehicle.

This buggy is packed with features. Everything you will need to be ready to run. It even includes the batteries and charger.

The Optimus comes with an easy-to-understand manual. This manual clearly illustrates tuning options for the buggy and the parts lists. There is even documentation with wiring diagrams to allow you to custom-tune your vehicle.

The drive train on this vehicle lays down the power in a way that is easy for new drivers to understand. Steel dog bones send power to the medium rubber tires. These tires are perfect for most any terrain including grass and gravel. Braking and suspension are also amazing, though braking might require a bit of tuning from the configuration available just out of the box.

The only things you need to get this buggy up and running are eight AA batteries for the transmitter. Literally everything else you need is included. The only downside is that local parts support might be a bit scarce depending on where you are.

Key Points

  • Great suspension and brakes
  • A bit of tuning required
  • 8 AA batteries needed

Losi Mini 8ight-T 1:14 AVC 4WD RTR Brushless Electric RC Truggy

The next “buggy” on our list is actually a truggy. The Losi Mini 8ight-T 1:14 AVC 4WD RTR Brushless Electric RC Truggy is another member of the Losi family, and a smaller model in the 8ight range.

Though this is a 1/14th scale truggy, you can rest assured that it will thrash with the big boys and keep coming back for more.

This truggy features a Dynamite 4500KV brushless motor and a waterproof ESC. This means that you can bash through snow, mud and rain without difficulty. The Dynamite motor also requires very little maintenance.

To help manage the motor’s  massive amount of power, it also comes with AVC (Active Vehicle Control) in the receiver.

The mini 8ight features a four-wheel-drive drive train and aluminum chassis. Each wheel is powered for extra climbing power and to get you out of sticky situations with ease. The aluminum chassis and quality build assure durability. This little beast will be bashing for years toc ome.

The transmitter for this buggy is a Spectrum 2.4GHz. This transmitter features an increased range of interference-free driving, as 2.4GHZ technology hops to whatever frequency is available without interfering with anyone else who may happen to be racing or bashing nearby.

The shocks on this beast are aluminum, oil-filled coil-over shocks. They feature threaded collars and bodies for easy adjustment and fine-tuning. Tailor your suspension performance to your preferences with ease, and prepare to bash. This ready-to-run electric truggy is ready almost out of the box. All you have to do is charge the batteries and you’re ready to experience the thrills of the Mini 8Ight.

Key Points

  • 4500KV brushless motor
  • Active Vehicle Control (AVC)
  • Waterproof ESC

Nitro/Gas

Losi Desert Buggy XL 1:5 4WD 2.4GHz RTR Nitro RC

Imagine driving a 1/5 scale buggy through the desert. The wind is blowing up clouds of sand, and your monster just keeps on plowing through the dunes like they aren’t even there. If this is your idea of fun, then the Losi Desert Buggy has you covered.

This buggy has a four-wheel drive drive train for superb climbing ability and power to go anywhere you go. If the desert isn’t your speed, take this bad boy off-road in the country, or even on a local race track. Get ready to plow through sticks, dirt, rocks, sand, mud, snow and anything else you can think of.

The heart of this buggy is its superb 23-CC gasoline-powered engine. Power up the engine by pulling the starter, just like your lawn mower. However, this bad boy is no lawn mower. It will reach speeds of up to 30 MPH without looking back.

The buggy also features rugged construction, allowing it to withstand any crash or wipeout you have. It includes a rigid injection-molded aluminum roll cage built on a 5-Mm aluminum chassis that will resist bending and folding. There are also sealed differentials, dual-disc brakes and an integrated servo-saver. All the power this big, bold buggy packs is why it makes it onto the best RC buggy list.

Key Points

  • 4WD
  • 30+ MPH
  • 23-CC gasoline-powered engine

DHK Optimus GP 1:8 Nitro 4WD RTR Buggy

Would you like a 1/8-scale buggy at a great price that still has all the features of buggies two or three times as expensive? That’s what you get with the Optimus GP1 buggy from DHK.

This buggy features a 3.5CC pull-start engine. This engine is easy to start and a breeze to tune.

Along with the engine, this buggy includes an aluminum clutch system that ensures trouble-free operation.

The fuel tank on this beast is an oversized 1500CC tank. You will not have to be refilling your car nearly as often as you would have to with other tanks in this size class.

The chassis on the Optimus is very durable. It is made of aluminum, with upper chassis braces to prevent folding of the chassis in a crash. This is a feature that most buggies in this class lack.

If you prefer bashing over straight-out racing, the Optimus GP features aluminum coil-over shocks, completely adjustable turn buckles, oil-filled differentials and aluminum clutch shoes make this buggy an excellent basher.

Everything you need to run the Optimus is included right out of the box, with of course the exception of the gas, oil, gas can and charger. But when you provide those, this car will be ready to make the competition eat a cloud of dust.

Key Points

  • 3.5CC pull-start engine
  • Aluminum chassis with upper chassis braces
  • 1500CC fuel tank

Redcat Racing Rampage Dune Runner V3 1:5 Gas RTR RC Buggy

The Rampage Dune-runner buggy from Redcat Racing is a beautiful 1/5-scale powerhouse. With its two-stroke 30-CC engine, this buggy was born to blast.

To help get maximum horse power, Team Redcat also added a tuned exhaust pipe and high-flow intake. These features allow your engine to get enough air for maximum horse power.

The Ravage is also extremely durable. It features aluminum-bodied oil-filled coil-over shocks, metal gears and an aluminum chassis. This bad boy isn’t likely to bend or fold like the competition would.

This buggy uses regular 91+ octane gas. However, you must mix that with a 1/25 ratio of two-stroke engine oil, just like you would with your lawn mower. Gas, oil, and a battery charger for the included receiver battery pack are not included. However, most of those things are found rather easily at your local hardware store and wherever lawn mower gas is sold.

There is one downside to this buggy. The motor and motor components do require frequent maintenance to keep them running properly, just like the engine in your car. To this end, be prepared to shell out money for parts and components.

Key Points

  • 30-CC engine
  • Needs consistent maintenance
  • Has an added tuned exhaust pipe and high-flow intake

Losi K&N DBXL 1:5 4WD 2.4GHz RTR RC Gas Buggy

Do you like to bash off road? Do you like climbing over sand, sticks, dirt mounds and other obstacles? Are you looking for a 1/5 scale nitro buggy that’ll make your competition stand up and take notice?

If so, try the Losi K&N DBXL 1:5 4WD 2.4GHz RTR RC Gas Buggy on for size.

This buggy features a K&N body on the outside, and a K&N air filter inside. This filter will help your two-stroke engine live up to its full potential. The 750 CC fuel tank will ensure that you have forty minutes of relentless bashing on a full tank.

This buggy also features an injection-molded roll cage that protects the chassis from damage if your buggy should crash. However, if you want to remove this roll cage, you can do so by removing only ten body clips. It’s a really painless process.

If you want to change the default wheel and tire combinations, you can do so with ease. This buggy uses standard 24MM hex sizes for tire and wheel replacement, taking all the guesswork out of the operation. No longer will you have to search tirelessly for wheels that will fit your wheel mounts.

The desert buggy also comes with almost everything you’ll need to run straight out of the box. The only things not included are the gas, oil, gas can and battery charger for the receiver batteries. Prepare for a buggy that will be durable and reliable for years to come.

Key Points

  • 750 CC fuel tank
  • Has an injection-molded roll cage
  • 4WD

Redcat Racing Rampage XB 1:5 Gas RTR RC Buggy

The Ravage from Redcat Racing is an off road basher’s dream.

It has all the features found in high-end buggies and then combines that with a 30CC, gas-powered, two-stroke engine for massive shredding on any terrain.

The buggy features a single-speed Vertex transmission. This transmission helps you manage the power of the incredible engine.

The fuel tank on this buggy is 500CC. Because the engine is gasoline-powered, there’s no need to fool with expensive batteries and chargers to power the car (though the receiver does need batteries).

Simply fill the tank with a mix of regular gas and two-stroke oil as you would with your weed whacker and you’re ready to ride.

The chassis on this beast is 4MM aluminum for durability. The brakes are dual-disc, and the shocks are aluminum-bodied and oil-filled.

This buggy is also 1/5 scale, which makes it an impressive sight to behold on any bash track or parking lot.

To help with all your bashing fun, this buggy also features knobby off road tires to grip whatever surface you’re bashing on and a four-wheel-drive drive train. Furthermore, this buggy is waterproof. Snow, mud, wet grass and standing water are no match for this bad boy. Put the batteries in the transmitter and prepare to pump up your bashing experience.

Key Points

  • single-speed Vertex transmission
  • 500 CC fuel tank
  • 4MM aluminum chassis

Now that you have the list of the top ten best RC buggies on the market, you can really race and bash, but that isn’t even the best part of all! You can race and bash… without having to shell out a G-note just for the car alone, so what are you waiting for? The tracks, dirt lots and the off road places where you bash are calling you. Time to get up and hit the road.

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