To­tal Con­trol

Bud­get Ra­dio Con­trol Trans­mit­ter Buyer’s Guide

RC Car Action - - CONTENTS -

Bud­get Ra­dio Con­trol Trans­mit­ter Buyer’s Guide

Text by James York

Images by Jerry Tsai and the Man­u­fac­tur­ers

Whether you’re a sea­soned pro or brand new to the hobby, get­ting set up with the right gear is a vi­tal step in or­der to fully en­joy the ra­dio con­trol pas­time. Pair­ing up your fa­vorite car, truck or other ve­hi­cle with a ra­dio con­trol trans­mit­ter you can count on is one of the most im­por­tant things to get right. But don’t think that do­ing it right means that you need to go broke do­ing it.

Buy­ing the right gear doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if you know what you’re look­ing for. Although top-of-the-line bigticket items that come with all the bells and whis­tles that you might never need are tempt­ing to buy, drain­ing your bank ac­count can be painful as well.

It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand what your re­al­is­tic needs are be­fore shop­ping. If you’re just

get­ting into the ra­dio con­trol world, a bud­get trans­mit­ter is a cost ef­fec­tive way to learn about the hobby with­out be­ing over­whelmed with too many set­tings that you prob­a­bly won’t touch when you’re just start­ing out. If you’re al­ready a die-hard enthusiast that has a dis­play case full of cars and trucks, you may want a cou­ple of bud­get ra­dios for friends and fam­ily to use.

For sur­face ve­hi­cles, the base ra­dio con­troller you need will be a 2-chan­nel trans­mit­ter.

Each chan­nel con­trols one func­tion. So for a car or truck, one chan­nel con­trols its throt­tle and the sec­ond, the steer­ing. Many mod­ern ve­hi­cles have more func­tions such as lights or gear se­lec­tion that will re­quire trans­mit­ters with more chan­nels.

For the pur­pose of this guide, we asked top ra­dio con­trol trans­mit­ter com­pa­nies for their pis­tol type ra­dio con­trol trans­mit­ters that fea­ture 2 or 3-chan­nel ca­pa­bil­ity. Some of the ra­dios are upgrad­able with add-ons that al­low you to in­ter­face the con­troller via Blue­tooth for added teleme­try features, if that in­ter­ests you keep that in mind when you’re look­ing at this guide. There are also mod­els that come with a re­ceiver or two, which is a nice bonus of­fer­ing. With­out fur­ther ado, let’s take a look at the se­lec­tion. Which one will you choose?

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