Merry Christmas is just around the corner, but you still lack gift ideas? Why not give a remote-controlled toy as a gift? The range of gift options is large and ranges from commercial vehicles for the construction site such as an excavator or dump truck to fast buggies and off-road vehicles for difficult terrain. Those who find land vehicles too boring can choose a mini drone, a helicopter or an airplane.
RC vehicles: fleet of buggies, excavators and crawlers for young and old
The range of land-based RC vehicles means that buyers are spoiled for choice. You can get tiny remote-controlled cars for as little as 10 euros, while larger models start at 30 euros. Here you will find true-to-scale replicas of real cars and fun vehicles. We offer an overview of RC speedsters in the guide to remote-controlled cars: Faster fun from 30 euros.
RC cars with off-road capabilities represent a special category. A distinction must be made here between scale vehicles with off-road optics and a crawler for difficult terrain. You can get an off-road vehicle for less than 50 euros, but real and high-quality off-roaders with climbing properties can only be found at prices above 100 euros. We explain more about this in detail in the article RC in the field: Remote-controlled crawlers, scalers and off-roaders from 25 euros.
An off-road vehicle doesn’t have to be slow. For just under 100 euros you can get monster trucks that can go up to 50 km / h. Despite all-wheel drive, however, off-road capability is not a focus of these vehicles. Another variety are buggies or truggies – a hybrid of truck and buggy. Some of these speedsters manage speeds of up to 70 km / h – but only on firm ground. However, this speed has its pitfalls, which is why only adults should dare to approach this form of toy. We explain more about this in the guide high-speed with RC cars: Fast-paced speedsters from 50 km / h to 200 euros.
Commercial vehicles and construction machinery are a special category. The offer ranges from classic tracked vehicles with shovel excavators to wheel loaders to heavy-duty cranes and dump trucks. The vehicles in the range of less than 30 euros are mostly only suitable as indoor toys. More robust models, with which you can dig well outdoors, start at 50 euros. Real professionals use the full metal model, but apart from one exception, these can only be found in the three-digit range. We show other construction machines in our guide to RC commercial vehicles: Remote-controlled excavators, cranes and tractors from 10 euros.
RC cars for children up to 8 years
If you are looking for a remote-controlled car as a gift for your children, you will find miniature vehicles as well as a range of fun cars and utility vehicles. Some are suitable for children from 2 years of age, such as the Revell Revellino or Bauer BB Junior models. The RC model from Mattel Fisher-Price or the amphibious vehicle from Amewi are approved for children from 3 years of age. The Spin Master Air Hogs vehicles are only for children from 4 years, the Mini-Crawler from Jamara or the Tumbling Flippy from Dicky Toys as well as the models for Mario Kart are suitable from 6 years.
Remote-controlled mini cars are of interest for purely indoor use. Simple models with an analog radio connection can be found for less than 10 euros. We explain more about small cars in our guide to mini-RC cars for your pocket: Tiny models with remote control from 9 euros. Miniature excavators, crane trucks and wheel loaders also ensure fun in the children’s room. Simple RC commercial vehicles of this type are available from 8 euros. In addition to cars, there are also remote-controlled dinosaurs.
Remote-controlled vehicles with a battle function are a special category. The opponents shoot at each other with the companions via infrared. If one of the children lands a hit, the other vehicle will beep and an LED will go out. If all lamps are off, the player has lost. We explain in detail everything to look out for in the guide to RC toys for multiplayer: Cars, drones and the like with a battle function. Two sets are available from 60 euros. Duels with remote-controlled robots from 30 euros are also possible.
Off into the air: remote-controlled helicopters, planes and drones
If you want to make your loved one’s dream of flying come true, you can give away a remote-controlled airplane, a drone or a helicopter. But it’s not quite as simple as with an RC car. If you want to fly it outdoors, you have to pay attention to a few things. As a gift for children, RC airplanes are less suitable because of the higher risk and liability – at least not without an adult.
As aircraft, remote-controlled planes are subject to the Aviation Act. For this, a model owner’s liability is necessary. Airplanes with a take-off weight of up to 2 kilograms are allowed to take off on private property, as long as a distance of at least 1.5 kilometers to airfields or special artillery, military objects or power plants is maintained. We describe what you should pay attention to in the guide to RC airplanes: Remote-controlled planes from 30 euros.
Classic, airworthy RTF models (“Ready to fly”) from Carson or Amewi with a remote control in the 2.4 GHz range are available for as little as 40 euros. Alternatively, there are planes that can be controlled by smartphone, such as the TobyRich models. The spectrum ranges from replicas of a fighter jet to classic high-wing aircraft in the manner of a Cesna. The possible flight duration is on average between 8 and 20 minutes. Amewi already offers fully-fledged models with a length of over 1 meter from 140 euros.
RC helicopters are an alternative to airplanes. These do not need that much space to take off and land. A distinction must be made between inexpensive and lightweight models for indoor use and true-to-original helicopters for the wild. Handy RC helicopters are available for as little as 20 euros. Due to their light weight, these models are only suitable for use in your own four walls – even a slight gust of wind would blow the aircraft away. These models mostly use a coaxial rotor with a stabilizing rod and are therefore relatively easy to control. A helicopter like the Revell Control Interceptor can also be controlled by a child from the age of 8 – however, an adult supervisor is recommended.
Helicopters with main and tail rotors are more demanding to control. Amewi offers corresponding models from 60 euros. Thanks to automatic stabilization via a gyro stabilizer, they make life easier for beginners. The Sky Hunter from Carrera is ready for outdoor use for 150 euros. Only for professionals are pitch helicopters that come very close to the original in terms of operation. With prices above 300 euros, these are likely to blow the budget for a Christmas present anyway. We explain more about this in the guide to RC helicopters: Remote-controlled helicopters for beginners from 20 euros.
Another option as a Christmas present are drones for beginners. While real video drones are not available for less than 400 euros, the inexpensive versions are well suited as toys, primarily for indoor use. For beginners, there are mini drones from 25 euros. Most of these are also suitable for children. We show you what to look out for in the purchase advice: Drones for beginners and children under 100 euros.
Remote-controlled ships: from speedboats to submarines
Aside from aircraft and land vehicles, remote-controlled boats are also a great gift – as long as the ponds are not frozen over yet. If that is already the case, an RC hovercraft is an alternative.
A remote-controlled submarine is a great toy for fans of the film and the series of the same name, “Das Boot”. Like the role models, these are able to dive and swim underwater. We rather advise against inexpensive models around 20 euros. We have had good experiences with the T2M Sub Explorer II for 40 euros, which fills tanks with water for diving. The control is possible down to a depth of 1 meter, the battery lasts about 15 minutes. Further submarines can be found in our guide RC fun for diving: Remote-controlled submarines from 20 euros.
No matter whether on land, water or in the air. RC toys are diverse and don’t have to be expensive. Remote-controlled cars are great gifts for both children and adults. Miniature speedsters with remote control are available for as little as 10 euros, and true-to-scale replicas of real cars can be found from 30 euros. For more than 100 euros, RC vehicles are suitable for overcoming difficult terrain or, depending on the model, for rapid journeys at more than 50 km / h.
With a remote-controlled miniature helicopter, amateur pilots can take off in their own four walls for as little as 20 euros. From 40 euros you can get RC planes for sightseeing flights outdoors. However, prospective recreational pilots should pay attention to legal regulations. For water rats, there are RC motor boats from 20 euros and even a diving trip with a submarine is possible.