Best Remote Control Boats for Kids 2020
Quick and easy fun power boating with these r/c speed boats
When you buy a remote control boat for kids, most of them will be ready to run (RTR) straight out the box. You’ll be getting a plastic hulled craft fitted out with all the equipment needed to control it remotely.
The boats we’ll be covering here are toy grade and not hobby grade boats.They’re all powered by small but powerful electric motors.
Hobbyists tend to use more sophisticated radio control setups, and use gas engines or bigger electric motors in their craft. Their boats can be much larger and heavier. All this means the average hobby grade boat can be a lot more expensive to buy and run, and can involve rather more specialist knowledge to operate, and maintain.
Having said that, rc toy boats are quite impressive, both in terms of how they are put together, and how they perform. Big things really can happen in small packages!
Just for the record, when we talk about RC, r/c, remote control or radio control we are referring to the same thing - controlling a model vehicle - a boat in this case, but it could be a toy car, plane, truck, quadcopter or drone - from a distance away.
With ready to run electric rc boats you don’t have anything to build, but you’ll need to consider a few things to ensure your child gets the most enjoyment from them.
Remote Control (RC) Boat Buyers Guide
Out of the box, your RC boat should be supplied with a ready-assembled hull fitted with motor and hardware, a transmitter/controller, a rechargeable battery pack for the electric motor, and a charger or charging lead. You will need to buy batteries to power the transmitter.
How does the remote control work?
When your boat is on the water it will be controlled by a handset that transmits control signals to the boat. A radio receiver in the boat translates those signals to the boat's steering and speed controls. These are an electronic speed controller (ESP) which regulates electric current to the motor, and a servo which creates physical movement to push and pull a control rod that operates the rudder for steering.
The radio transmitter handset can be configured in a couple of ways. There’s the traditional r/c handset as shown on the left below, and the pistol-grip type shown on the right. They both do the same job, it's just a matter of choice which type you prefer..
Controller supplied with the Mioshor H100
The r/c handset has two control sticks which you operate with your thumbs or thumb and forefinger combined.
One for forward speed control, the other for steering - left and right. There are usually small ‘fine tuning’ controls called trim buttons that help you adjust the setup to get the boat running best.
Controller for the WETECH RC Boat
The pistol-grip type of transmitter-controller uses a trigger for speed control, and a steering wheel type knob for directional control.
Both of these should give proportional control when operating your rc boat.
The trim controls also allow adjustments to get the boat running straight and true.
Speed control and steering should be proportional, and not just full on - as in full left only, full right only, full forward only. Changes in control should be in direct proportion to the amount of movement you apply to the control sticks, trigger or wheel knob.
What is inside the boat?
When you remove the hatch, you'll see the motor and radio installations:
- Electronic Speed Controller (ESP) & Radio Receiver
- Motor , coupling & propshaft
- Battery Compartment
- Servo (creates movement to operate rudder)
- Watercooling tubing to motor (if applicable)
Everything will be in place with nothing further to do, except clip a freshly charged battery pack into its holder, and fit drycell batteries into the transmitter/controller.
Batteries and charging
Rechargeable batteries are used to power the motor. If you run your boat at top whack all the time they will discharge much quicker than if you vary your speed. You need to trade-off between speed and duration.
Charging times are a lot longer than playtime/runtime, so it make sense to take extra fully charged battery packs when you set off for an rc boating session.
Most of the rc boats here use brushed motors, but some of the more powerful and expensive ones use the newer tech brushless types.
Some motors will be watercooled. When the boat starts to move forward, water will be scooped though the inlet beneath the hull, through plastic tubing inside the hull, and metal tubing wrapped around the motor, and will exit at the side of the boat. This keeps a constant flow of cold water cooling the motor to prevent over-heating.
Where to use remote control boats?
The kids RC boats we show here are all designed to be used on freshwater. On lakes and ponds and in pools. They are unsuited to running in the sea.
Apart from the fact they are relatively small, and not designed to contend with the heavy mass of waves, salt water can cause serious corrosion to components if it gets into the boat. Some water will always find a way in, no matter how thorough your waterproofing.
A boat with a watercooled motor will need all the tubing cleaned out and flushed through with fresh water every time it has been used in the sea. The hull interior would need to be lightly cleaned every time, to remove salt residue as well. The prop shaft would need more cleaning and oiling.
Best stick to all the fresh water options. And check before using any inland waterway, that rc boating is permitted. It's a common courtesy if nothing else.
These are old photos of one of my RC model offshore power boats built on an AMPS fiber glass hull. We used a ski boat to 'chase' it in the open sea and control it over several miles - great fun.
Model boating safety
Kids remote control boats are safe and easy to use, but do require some basic commonsense to avoid unnecessary liitle accidents. Important areas to be aware of are the propeller, motor and rechargeable battery pack.
Some rc boats are fitted with a sensor that prevents the motor running until the boat is in the water. This prevents fingers being cut by the prop.
The motor gets hot when run at high speed, and so does a battery when it is discharged quickly. Fingers should be kept away from them when the boat comes in after a run.
Let the boat 'cool down' for 15 minutes or so, before fitting a fresh battery for another run. This will help protect the life of the motor and battery. While you are waiting, wipe water off the deck and hatch so none drips inside the hull when the canopy is removed. Then remove the canopy top to aid cooling.
O.K. Let's get to the boats....
Our Best Remote Control Boats for Kids
Image and text links below will take you to Amazon, where you can check current prices and customer reviews.
Gizmovine T01 Water Ghost RC Boat
The Gizmovine T01 Water Ghost runs with a water-cooled single prop motor. It's a great boat to run on your local pond or lake. It's fitted with self-righting technology, so you don't have to wade out to recover your boat if it flips.
A nice touch is that two rechargeable batteries are supplied as standard - that means longer run-time on the water. You can even buy additional rechargeable battery packs HERE!
The low battery alarm on the transmitter is a useful feature, so you are not left with a dead boat in the middle of a pond.
This is a lovely fastv rc boat, and kids should be able to master it, with some initial adult supervision.
Gizmovine Water Ghost Specifications
Volantex Vector28 795-1 RTR Pool RC Racing Boat
The Volantex Vector 795 is a mini-sized rc speed boat, that is specifically designed for use in a pool.
It is ready-to-run out the box (apart from battery charging, and fitting cells to the transmitter), and comes with all you will need for a good fun session on the water.
It has a durable ABS hull and deck, and is water-proofed to protect the electronics.
You'll get a lot of fun from this high speed little boat.
It's available in red or white and you can buy spare batteries (recommended) HERE!
Cheerwing Venom RC Racing Boat
The Cheerwing Venom is available as an all black hull with orange flashing, or black hull with orange decking - the latter is easier to see at a distance.
It has a capsize recovery feature if the boat flips over, a weak signal alarm, and a low battery alarm, all of which are useful time savers.
The powerful motor is water-cooled for efficient performance and reliable operation.
The boat stand is a good addition as it makes drying-off that bit easier.
At the price (see chart below) it has an impressive performance and is a lot of fun.
However, it only has one battery pack so you are going to need to buy additional ones - you can get them HERE!
The packaging is nice. You can see the boat itself through the acetate window, which creates a great first impression when received as a christmas gift.
Haktoys HAK606 RC Speed Boat
This eye-catching boat is fast, fun and easy to use. It has a high powered motor, which, together with a high-torque steering servo, enables fast, sharp turns. It is capable of a 180-degree capsize recovery.
It boasts a good control range in the 2.4GHz band so several craft can be raced together.
Double hatches create a better seal against the ingress of water.
The LCD display on the radio transmitter has a low battery warning, as well as signal strength indicators.
The HAK606 provides high speed thrills and is a lot of fun.
Force1 Velocity H102 RC Pool & Lake RC Boat
This is a fast power boat with some good features to improve your kid's boating fun. It needs to be placed on the water for the motor to start, which is good safety detail.
Radio signal strength and battery power is shown on the transmitter's LCD display so there is no reason to drive out of range, or to keep racing when the battery is nearly discharged.
Twin hatches are a good design detail to improve waterproofing. And having two batteries is going to keep you running for longer.
Capsize recovery is neat too.
Force1 Velocity is also available in a two-tone green finish.
UDIRC High Speed RC Racing Boat
The UDIRC by Cheerwing is a nice-looking, performance speed boat, with a water-cooled, high-efficiency motor. The streamlined hull has a double-layer waterproof cover, which increases the efficiency of the waterproofing. It has a self-righting hull and will auto-correct yaw to keep the boat stable.
The transmitter emits an audible warning when low power status is reached and when the signal is poor.
There's a lot of high speed running here for your kids to enjoy.
UDIRC RC Racing Boat Specifications
Remote control boats for kids are great fun - Enjoy yours!