Who Makes The Best Nitro RC Car? (Our Top 4 Picks)

There aren’t many nitro RC options out there these days. But nitro isn’t dead yet, there’ll probably always be some people that will support it. So which brand of nitro RC is the best?

Traxxas makes the best nitro RC cars because they have over 30 years of experience with them. Traxxas has seven nitro RC options, all of which are 1/10 scale cars. From the Rustler w/TSM to the T-Maxx 3.3, Traxxas has the very best nitro RC options for you.

Who Makes The Best Nitro RC Car?
Nitro RC car on grass

Redcat racing also has a nitro RC called the Volcano S30, which has an outstanding performance with speed and strength. But that’s their only nitro powered RC at the moment.

There are some other brands that make nitro RCs, but they aren’t as good as Traxxas. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best nitro RC cars.

In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

  1. Best Overall Nitro RC Car: Traxxas Rustler w/TSM 1/10 – Solid and reliable design with powerful acceleration makes this a great first nitro RC pick for new drivers.
  2. Best Nitro Monster Truck: Traxxas T-Maxx 3.3 – Durable design for rough terrain along with a powerful engine provides an exciting nitro monster truck experience.
  3. Best Nitro Short Course Racing Truck: Traxxas Slayer Pro 1/10 – Stable control and realistic design with a fast TRX 3.3 Engine makes this a top choice for nitro RC racing.
  4. Best High Performance Nitro RC Car: HPI Racing 1/8 4WD – Impressive 4WD capability and durable construction with a nitro G3.0 engine delivers incredible high-speed nitro performance.

1. Traxxas Rustler w/TSM 1/10 – Best Overall Pick

Last update on 2024-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Rustler is one of the first nitro RCs, so the design is solid and reliable. It’s rated to go over 50mph and definitely delivers on that.

You could upgrade the exhaust to a CVEC pipe for a better sound and performance later on if you want to, but it’s not needed.

Speaking of nitro RC cars, have you ever wondered if you should get an brushless RC instead? Then check out this guide to learn more: RC Nitro or Brushless: Which One To Choose?

Another add on you can purchase is a pull-start system. By doing so, you’ll decrease the weight of the RC by eliminating the EZ start system. This applies to all the Traxxas vehicles below. The EZ start system is convenient, but there are people who would rather have the weight of the car reduced and not worry about charging the wand up.


Dimensions:17.25” x 12.5” x 6”
Weight:5 pounds

Pros And Cons:

Solid and reliable designMay require upgrade for enhanced performance
High speedDoesn’t come with a pull start system by default
Powerful acceleration, thanks to TRX 2.5 racing engine
Advanced radio system
Fast charging

Key Features

  • Powerful acceleration and speeds of 50+mph.
  • Low-profile body for great aerodynamics and rolling resistance.
  • TRX 2.5 racing engine.
  • Includes TQi 2.4GHz radio system.
  • 2-amp DC Peak Detecting Fast Charger for minimal charging times.

For more information, check out the Traxxas Rustler w/TSM here on Amazon.

By the way, have you ever wondered how fast a nitro RC car can go? Check out the guide to learn more.

2. Traxxas T-Maxx 3.3 1/10 – Best Nitro Monster Truck

Last update on 2024-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The T-Maxx is the top-selling nitro monster truck on the market for good reason. The T-Maxx 3.3 engine is powerful enough to get over almost any obstacle with ease. Don’t worry too much about breaking this car while taking massive jumps, as it has heavy-duty chassis braces, extended chassis, and a transmission skid plate. It’s built to take some hard hits.

With the size of this monster truck being so huge, it’s not as fast as the Slash or Rustler, but it’s only about 5mph away from them. But if you’ve ever driven a monster truck before, you’ll know that they’re not built to be the fastest RCs available. They’re built to take jumps and fly over other obstacles with ease.

The T-Maxx 3.3 has 6.3″ tall all-terrain tires to make off-roading on long grass and rough terrain easy and extremely fun.


Dimensions:21.2” x 16.5” x 10.9”
Weight:10 pounds

Pros And Cons:

4WD drivetrain handles rough terrain wellExpensive than other similar RC cars
Durable design and solid build quality
Excellent traction from large all terrain tires
Auto-shifting transmission system for optimal performance
Powerful 3.3 engine provides the required speed and torque

While we’re talking about Nitro RC cars, it’s also essential to know how long the nitro rc engine will last. It will help you know what to expect from your nitro RC car and the importance of maintaining it properly for longevity.

Key Features

  • Telemetry sensors to monitor RPM, speed, temperature, and battery voltage.
  • High-torque digital servo.
  • The front and rear differentials can be fine tuned.
  • Auto-shifting two-speed transmission for extreme power and speed.
  • TQi 2.4GHz transmitter with wireless module and receiver.

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3. Traxxas Slayer Pro 1/10 – Best Nitro Short Course Racing Truck

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The Traxxas Slayer Pro 4×4 is a 1/10-scale Nitro Short Course Race Truck that really stands out. Its TRX 3.3 Engine is powerful and fast. The EZ-Start system makes it easy to get going, great for all kinds of racers.

This truck has Traxxas Stability Management (TSM). It helps keep the truck stable and easy to control, even on slippery surfaces or sharp turns. The TQi 2.4GHz radio system keeps the truck connected and responsive, even at a distance.

The shocks on the truck are tough and help it handle bumps and jumps smoothly. It also has high-torque, waterproof steering and throttle servos. This means strong and responsive control. Plus, they’re waterproof, so you can drive in wet conditions without worry.

The wheels look good and are practical. They have a solid grip and keep the truck stable on different surfaces. The truck’s design isn’t just for show. It’s shaped to go fast and adds to the real racing truck feel.

One thing to remember is that this truck runs on nitro fuel. You’ll need to keep it fueled, and it’s louder than electric models. Nitro engines also need more care and tuning.

In short, the Traxxas Slayer Pro 4×4 is a strong and fast racing truck. It’s built for those who enjoy the hands-on experience of nitro RC racing. It’s easy to control, fun to drive, and looks like a real race truck.


Dimensions:26.5” x 13” x 9.25”
Weight:12.6 pounds

Pros and Cons:

Durable shocks for a smooth rideCould be louder than electric models
Waterproof servos for all-weather racing
Realistic, aerodynamic design
Stable control with Traxxas Stability Management
Powerful TRX 3.3 Engine for fast speeds

Key Features:

  • TRX 3.3 engine ensures fast speed and performance
  • PTFE coated superior suspension system
  • TQi 2.4 GHz transmitter ensures precise and responsive control
  • Solid grip wheels with waterproof parts

4. HPI Racing 1/8 4WD – Best High Performance Nitro RC Car

Last update on 2024-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The HPI Racing WR8 Nitro is a pre-assembled 1/8th scale rally car, making it a great pick if you’re eager to get racing without the hassle of building from scratch. 

The RC car’s aluminum chassis along with its special weight balance system contributes to its stability and handling, especially noticeable during high-speed maneuvers.

One of the highlights is its full-time 4WD system. This means excellent control on various terrains, whether you’re cruising across a smooth track or tackling rougher grounds. The efficient and tough shaft drivetrain only adds to this robustness, ensuring that the car can withstand some intense racing.

The front skid plate, along with a durable foam bumper, gives the car an edge in durability. It’s paired with composite chassis braces, enhancing the overall driving feel and responsiveness. 

Maintenance is also made easier with quick access to critical points. The car features dual bellcrank steering and a cam type servo saver, enhancing steering response and reliability.

The water-resistant steering and throttle servos are practical features, allowing you to race in various conditions without worry.


Dimensions:190.94” x 89.37” x 1.57”
Weight:11 pounds

Pros and Cons:

Durable constructionNot ideal for rough terrain with large obstacles
4WD capability
High performance engine
Adjustable suspension
Water resistant components

Key Features:

  • Nitro G3.0 High Output engine for high-speed performance.
  • 4WD system for superior control and handling.
  • Water resistant parts and accessories
  • Aluminum chassis and special weight balance for better control

Advantages of Nitro RC Cars

  • You can run a nitro RC all day if you have enough fuel to do so.
  • Nitro RC cars sound exhilarating for most people. As you drive the car, you can hear the power you’re feeding as you speed up.
  • Many people like the smell of the burnt fuel as it escapes the exhaust.
  • You have the opportunity to learn a few basic concepts of how combustion engines work.
  • Nitro RCs are more water resistant compared to electric RC cars.

Check out my article: Can a nitro RC car run on gas?

Disadvantages of Nitro RC Cars

  • The fuel is expensive compared to charging batteries, especially if you run the RC all day.
  • It costs more to maintain a nitro RC because the engine is far more complicated than an electrical motor.
  • Racing indoors isn’t ideal and, in most cases, not allowed because of the exhaust fumes it lets off.
  • It’s more difficult to repair a nitro RC and there’s more room for error because there are more things that can go wrong, like mixing the fuel incorrectly.
  • Nitro RC cars are very loud and other people who aren’t having fun in the area will complain.
  • It can be difficult to find nitro fuel in your area, whereas batteries are always widely available.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning about the complete cost breakdown of maintaining nitro RC cars, check out this guide: Is RC Racing Expensive?


Traxxas makes the best nitro RC cars. Redcat Racing also makes a good nitro RC, but Traxxas has more experience and far more options available. Traxxas nitro RC cars outperform all other brands that make nitro RC cars.


What’s The Difference Between Nitro RC Cars And Electric RC Cars?

Nitro RC Cars use a nitro fuel mixture, have a realistic engine sound, and require more maintenance. They offer a more authentic driving experience but are relatively more complex to operate.

On the other hand, electric RC cars are powered by rechargeable batteries, they’re quieter, easier to maintain, and simpler to operate. They’re great for beginners and are often faster than Nitro RC cars.

How Long Does A Nitro RC Car Run On A Full Tank?

A nitro RC car typically runs for about 10-20 minutes on a full tank, depending on the size of the tank, the engine’s fuel efficiency, and how you drive it. Keep in mind that driving style and terrain can significantly affect run time.

What Maintenance Do Nitro RC Cars Require?

Nitro RC cars require regular maintenance, including:

  • After each use, cleaning the car to remove dirt and debris.
  • Regularly checking and adjusting the engine’s tuning.
  • Using after-run oil to protect the engine.
  • Checking for leaks and ensuring the fuel lines are clear.
  • Regularly checking and tightening loose screws and replacing worn-out parts.

Can Beginners Use Nitro RC Cars?

Yes, beginners can use nitro RC cars, but they are generally recommended for those with some experience in RC vehicles due to their complexity and maintenance requirements. Beginners should start with a basic model and gradually learn about tuning and maintenance.

Paul Good

This awesome hobby has something for everyone, whether you like to build your RC from scratch and keep modifying till you've got it to just how you want it, to track racing. You might be out with a boat, or perfecting your skills with a plane. Are you taking some cool pics with your drone? I'm sure my site will help you on your journey.

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