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Fastest RC Boats on a Budget - Gas vs. Electric

Posted 2011-10-11

“Fastest RC Boats on a Budget - Gas vs. Electric”

  If you want to try out the fun of a remote controlled boats, there are a ton of different models. But the biggest question to answer upfront is whether you want to purchase a gas RC boat or an electric RC boat. High Wind Remote Control BoatFirst, the obvious difference between these two kinds of RC boats is where they get their power. Gas operated RC boats burn fuel to run while electric RC boats use electricity from batteries to run. There are pros and cons to both of these options. First, the pros to buying an RC boat that’s powered by gas; many serious hobbyists prefer gas RC boats, saying that the speeds attainable by gas-powered boats exceed speeds by fast electric RC boats. The gas engine in an RC boat is a gasoline-powered 2-cyle engine, similar to the engines found in small lawn care tools like leaf blowers. RC boats with gas engines are usually much larger and go in much bigger RC boats.   ThunderCat 31 RTR with .32 Marine Engine & RadioFuel, of course, isn’t cheap, so gas rc boats are more expensive to run than electric radio control boats.   Also, there are sometimes local laws against running gas boats in some bodies of water, so make yourself aware of those rules before buying a gas powered remote control boats.   The biggest advantages to electric RC boats are that the motors are significantly smaller than gas-powered versions, so smaller boats like those favored by children and recreational RC boat captains often run on electric. Along with the motor to boat size ratio, also consider that electric RC boats usually run longer per usage than gas powered RC boats, because the charge from the batteries lasts longer than the fuel required to run the boat. You don’t have any expensive fuel to buy—just plug in your charger and you’re ready to head out to the water! Now, a word about types of electric engines in RC boats. If you want to buy an electric RC boat and you’re new to RC boating, a basic model is a good place to start. However, the single most important way to prevent premature wear on the motor of an rc boat is by buying a brushless electric motor. Blackjack 26 Brushless Catamaran RTRA brushless motor uses electronic commutation systems rather than mechanical commutators and brushes. This means that the engine is more easily sealed off and contained and less likely to overheat—an important trait when you’re going to be putting it in the water! RC boat models with brushless motors also have more torque per weight, which means that your boat can run faster and longer in the water than a boat with a brushed motor. Brushless motors also offer increased reliability, reduced noise, and longer lifetime.   Lastly, brushless motors, because they use magnets to commute energy, have reduced electromagnetic interference. This is especially important when using radio-controlled devices like RC boats. Serious hobbyists who compete in RC boat races will benefit from the superior technology of brushless motor RC boats. However, for the casual hobbyist or the beginning RC boater, the inexpensive and accessible electric RC boat is a great place to start, and it’s not necessary to spring for the brushless motor.   Century Twin Motor Racer RC BoatA Ready to Run (RTR) boat like the Double Horse Century Twin Motor Racer is within anyone’s budget and offers the excitement and speed of a more expensive boat for a fraction of the cost. At 30 inches long, this RC electric boat has a realistic boat design and two 380 motors and propellers and can be charged by a wall charger. It runs at speeds of 15 to 20 miles per hour and is ideal for the beginning rc boater.   For young beginners, NQD’s Mini High Speed Mosquito Boat provides a lot of bang for just a little buck. It runs an admirable 6.5 miles per hour and has a brushed motor and maneuvers well in the water. For the beginning RC boater even as young as five, this RC boat is a cheap way to get a handle on remote controlled boats.   For the more serious rc boating enthusiast, a brushless motor model is probably worth the investment because brushless motors 1) last longer, 2) are more efficient, and 3) are easier to maintain because they are able to be more air tightly contained than brushed models.   These advantages come with a cost, however, usually a significant increase in price, from well under $100 to double that. For the money, the serious boating enthusiast can push a boat like the Pro Boat Formula FASTech Brushless Deep-V to speeds topping 30 mph! The beautifully designed boat keeps its brushless motor completely dry, preserving the engine’s power and condition.   For some experienced RC boat collectors and racers who started out with electric boats, the appeal of gas boats is just too strong, so they decide to try out the increasingly popular nitro powered RC boats. Popular for some time in Asia, nitro powered RC boats are usually even faster than gas powered RC boats. Some nitro boats can run close to 50 mph, setting them apart on the lake or ocean.   ShockWave 36 RTR w/T-DriveThe Pro Boat ShockWave 36 with T-Drive measures over three feet in length and has a specialized cooling system that uses water so that the engine doesn’t overheat. Nitro powered rc boats are best left to more experienced rc boaters. Nitro gas is very expensive and rc boats burn through it fast, so even serious hobbyists often stick with gas boats or electric boats most of the time. Whatever type of RC boat you choose, keep in mind how you’re going to use it. Are you actually going to be racing it, or is this just for fun on your own? Do you have experience with precision radio controlling or is this a new skill for you? And how much are you willing to spend, over time, maintaining your boat and powering your RC boat? Beginners typically will get the most bang for their buck purchasing a lower-end model electric RC boat to start, then upgrading to gas RC boats for extra speed. Finally, if the lure of extreme speed is too much to resist, look into a nitro powered RC speedboat for insane speeds and showy performance.    
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