Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to our big remote control boat test 2022. Here we present all the remote control boats that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best remote control boat for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a remote-controlled boat.




Summary

  • Remote-controlled boats allow you to have a lot of fun outdoors. You can also buy other remote-controlled items such as tanks, aeroplanes or cars.
  • Basically, a distinction is made between boats with electric motors and petrol engines, whereby the latter are hardly sold any more due to their unwieldiness.
  • We therefore differentiate mainly in design, for example there are submarines, battleships or racing boats.

The Best Remote Control Boat: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a remote-controlled boat

What is an RC boat, how does it work and how do I use it?

The abbreviation RC boat, which comes from the English and means "radio control", describes a model ship controlled by radio control, i.e. a remote-controlled boat.

These toy boats come in a wide variety of designs and models and also differ in terms of propulsion, i.e. by combustion (petrol) or electric (battery) motor.

Sailing ships and even remote-controlled submarines and other curiosities such as racing catamarans as well as attachments such as (underwater) cameras and various measuring devices are becoming increasingly popular - there are no limits to your imagination! Remote-controlled boats are no longer just toys, but much more.

There are, for example:

  • Submarines
  • Pirate ships
  • Inflatable boats
  • Racing boats
  • Fireboats
  • Hovercrafts
  • Fishing boats
  • Container ships
  • Freighters
  • Micro RC boats
  • Yachts
  • Police boats
  • Battleships
  • Harbour tugs
  • RC boats especially for children
  • Racing catamarans
  • Sailing ships

So you see, there are lots of things you can do with a remote-controlled boat: You can steer it, turn it, submerge it (a submarine), take photos and videos with an attached camera, take measurements and organise competitions.

And all this on free waters, whether sweet or salty - with one restriction: the use of toy ships is not allowed in designated nature reserves.

For the sake of simplicity, you can also orientate yourself on "normal" ship traffic: where no other ships are sailing, there is usually a reason for it.

Who are remote-controlled ships suitable for?

The beauty of remote-controlled boats is that they are so incredibly versatile. Consequently, they also appeal to many different people.

In fact, I would argue that there is no one for whom they are not suitable (except very young children, of course - but from the age of about seven, even children can actually drive some models)! So if you're an RC enthusiast - go for it.

For example, nature lovers who want to take pictures from a "duck's-eye view" find themselves together with technology enthusiasts, and couch potatoes who like to play with models find themselves together with boat hobbyists. Likewise, you see more and more anglers attaching the bait to a remote-controlled boat and steering out.

Even small children can steer the boats, but here you should pay attention to the simplicity of the boat and therefore not invest too much in the beginning (see chapter "How much does an RC model boat cost?"). If you are interested in shipping in general, the mini world of remote-controlled model boats is the right place for you!

Remote-controlled boats delight old and young alike, and some models are even capable of taking photos and videos. When using boats that are operated by remote control, however, you should make sure that you are not in a nature reserve. (Image source: pixabay.com / Pexels)

Where are remote-controlled boat models most often used?

Remote-controlled boats are probably most frequently used in the private sector and, as a result, in competitions. The fishing thing (see chapter "For whom are remote-controlled boats suitable?"), for example, does exist, but it is not yet too widespread.

What do I have to keep in mind when it comes to safety with model boats?

In themselves, RC boats are no more dangerous toys than others if they are handled correctly. Nevertheless, you have to be careful not to injure anyone - neither animals nor people or objects - especially with faster boats.

For this reason, it is advisable to operate remote-controlled boats only in clear areas where there is not much going on, i.e. not necessarily near a reed field, on a narrow stream or in a crowded bathing bay. It is also important that each remote-controlled boat has an individual range within which it can be steered - if it drifts too far away, it becomes unmanoeuvrable.

The battery power of the remote control and the boat itself can also have a similar influence, so these should be changed every 20 minutes at the latest.

Apart from that, all you really have to do is concentrate on steering and be considerate, i.e. don't aim at anyone, don't speed up if it's not appropriate, don't sail with noisy boats during the known quiet times and find compromises if someone feels disturbed.

Also important, especially with small children around: Never let yourself be provoked into having to prove something that the boat cannot do!!!

So, once again to summarise ten commandments:

  1. Drive only in well-populated areas
  2. Drive only in sparsely populated areas
  3. Be aware of your surroundings
  4. Slow down when necessary
  5. Be considerate
  6. Never head straight for anyone
  7. Respect the rest periods
  8. Is the battery charged/full of fuel?
  9. Stay within range of the remote control
  10. Do not let yourself be provoked

Do I need a licence to drive an RC model boat?

Normal model boats can be driven by anyone who has purchased them - when buying, however, it is important to pay attention to the age at which the respective model is approved.

There is no restriction for adult boats, but children's RC boats are often divided into age categories. This depends on their top speed, handling and the power of the motor.

Can I tune my RC boat?

Generally yes - if you know how. How easy or difficult it is to dismantle and tune up a remote-controlled boat always depends on the model, the type of construction and the knowledge of the person working on it.

So before you take it apart and know neither backwards nor forwards, better go to your local dealer! It is in no way forbidden. The same applies to repairs, of course.

How much does an RC model boat cost?

Even though the quality of your own boat should of course always come first, the question of price also often plays a role. And since a high price does not always mean good quality, it is certainly important to take a close look at this topic as well:

Generally, you can find remote-controlled boats between 40 euros and infinity. Realistically, the good mid-range boats are in a price range between 80 and 200 euros, although again: the same boat can cost twice as much from different suppliers - so compare beforehand.

The immense differences in price can nevertheless also stem from actual - not necessarily qualitative - differences, such as top speed, hull girth, suitability for children, brand or the fine finishing of various exterior details.

Almost more important than the cost, however, is the quality of the boat purchased, which can also have an impact on possible later repair and supplement costs. It is especially important to pay attention to a long-lasting battery, the remote control, the manoeuvrability and the strength of the material.

Decision: What types of remote-controlled boats are there and which one is right for you?

Electric motors

Let's take a closer look at the most basic difference, the type of motors, the advantages and disadvantages of electric versus internal combustion engines:

Remote-controlled boats with electric motors are therefore much more suitable for beginners, both because of the price and the simplicity of operation. What you decide later is up to you - this decision is also mainly a decision about personal preferences.

Advantages
  • Quiet operation
  • No compulsory handling of fuel
  • Well suited for beginners
  • Price advantageous
Disadvantages
  • Not as high a performance as with the combustion engine
  • Performance dependent on the battery
  • Not as high speeds possible
  • Charging time

Electric motors are now installed in almost all RC boats, while combustion engines are rather rare and are mainly found in the professional sector. They are also sometimes installed as auxiliary motors in actual combustion engines.

Internal combustion engines

What has just been explained for electric motors is exactly the other way round for combustion engines - the most important difference, however, is the handling and control, which is a lot more difficult with combustion engines and therefore rather less suitable for beginners and children, also in terms of the danger of handling fuels. In terms of performance, they are hardly inferior to electric motors.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate remote-controlled boats

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate remote-controlled boats. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective remote control boat.

  • Dimensions
  • Design
  • Volume
  • (only for electric boats) Charge time
  • (only for electric boats) Charge travel time
  • Distance
  • Maximum speed
  • Weight
  • Age recommendation
  • Price

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a boat under these aspects or not.

Dimensions

The dimensions of the RC boat are more important for some, less for others. On the one hand, they influence the design, but also the manoeuvrability and the weight of the boat. There are no "standard dimensions" in this sense for remote-controlled boats.

In the case of particularly small boats, the description "mini" is often included in the purchase description, but even so, you should take a look at the facts and figures of the product beforehand in order to be protected from unwanted surprises.

In itself, the dimensions are a criterion that tends to be on the lower ranks of importance when buying, unless they have a special value for you.

They are related to:

  • Weight
  • Maximum speed
  • Charging time
  • Travel time
  • Design
  • Manoeuvrability

Design

The design of an RC boat is the most striking feature of it and therefore probably one of the most decisive buying criteria. You should therefore be sure of this first before making any further decisions about its equipment.

Of course, it differs primarily by its type of construction, i.e. whether it is a motor, police, sailing or other boat. If you are also interested in large ships, a historical boat such as a battleship is probably suitable for you; if you are interested in speed, speedboats in the form of motorboats are suitable for you; for police enthusiasts, racers and children, police and fire boats are good options.

There are also many other smaller and larger differences in these subcategories. Think about the competitions that may be coming up.

Type of construction Special features
Racing boat Particularly high speed.
Sailing boat Suitable for light winds. For already experienced model drivers.
Battleship Larger historical ship. Also suitable for beginners.
Steamship Larger and somewhat heavier ship. Also suitable for beginners.

Volume

The volume of your boat can be important for you personally, but is also relevant if you are sailing in busy areas or at unusual times.

It is usually not included in the purchase data. In this case, it is best to read user reviews or write to the manufacturer - volume is, of course, always subjective if it is not measured, but if you describe the circumstances of your driving behaviour, they will certainly give you appropriate information.

In the case of particularly loud or unusually quiet boats, this is usually already stated in the user comments.

Charging time (only for electric boats)

The charging time of your electric RC boat has an influence on the journey time that should not be underestimated! Because if you spend unnecessarily more time charging than driving, it's not much fun anymore..

This is usually, or at least should always be, in the most important data. It can vary greatly - anything between 10 and 240 minutes can happen!

So keep your eyes open and, especially in connection with the charging time, also pay attention to the driving time that goes along with it. The number of horsepower and the weight also have a big influence on the charging time.

The battery should always be fully charged to the end, otherwise it will break down more quickly! The indicated charging times should be taken seriously in any case.

It is best to always buy a spare battery so that you can enjoy driving for a long time.

Travel time of the charge (only for electric boats)

The driving time you have available with one battery charge naturally determines the duration of your driving pleasure. With an average of just under ten minutes, this may sound short, but it should also always be seen in relation to the charging time.

As mentioned above, the driving time of the charge also depends to a certain extent on the charging time - but only to a limited extent. In contrast to the latter, it is usually around 10 minutes, with deviations of only around three minutes!

But don't be discouraged by this general sounding journey time. (Optionally, if it really is too much work for you, there are also petrol engines)

Remote distance

How far your boat can move away from the remote control without getting out of control is something you should always keep in mind! It is up to you to decide how great the distance should be, but you should always take a look at this important figure before you buy.

The average distance is 150 metres. That sounds like a lot - and it is! Because besides thinking about the steering, you should always keep a close eye on your boat and its surroundings. So always keep in mind how realistic the distance should be.

So keep in mind:

  • Necessity of a large distance
  • Own capabilities
  • Field of application

Top speed

Maximum speed is the measure of all things for someone who loves speed! For everyone else, it is above all an upper limit.

The fastest RC boat in the world is 418 km/h - that probably doesn't have to be for private recreational use. For the average consumer, the maximum speeds are usually around 25 km/h.

If you search specifically, you will certainly find faster boats, but you should take into account your own skills and the associated restrictions such as the charging time and the price.

And it is often forgotten that the boat rarely runs at top speed - it is usually manoeuvred!

Here you should take a look at:

  • Own skills
  • Own preferences
  • Field of application

Weight

The weight of your RC boat is linked to other factors such as loading time and manoeuvrability, as well as being strongly influenced by the design.

Here, too, there are many different variants - the most common boats range from 50 grams to two kilograms. This mostly depends on the motor, whose performance you should orientate yourself by rather than its weight.

Nevertheless, the weight has an influence on the top speed, manoeuvrability and, as a result, the loading time that should not be underestimated. However, if the overall package of your dream boat fits, it should not fail because of the weight, as it correlates anyway.

Age recommendation

The age recommendation for an individual boat often varies between the suppliers of the product. It indicates for which expected abilities and skills a boat is suitable.

Of course, some children can drive better than some adults - practice makes perfect. However, when purchasing your own boat, the age recommendation should be taken into account, at least for children, as it is also an indicator of the ease of use and safety of the device.

So this is also about steering, speed and weight, and the ease of this decision should definitely be used if it is offered with a boat.

In the case of boats that are particularly difficult to operate, it is even compulsory to adhere to the age recommendation, otherwise legal problems could arise in the event of accidents!

Price

The price range for remote-controlled boats knows no bounds - and yet it is a criterion that is often asked about. Why you shouldn't go by price first and foremost:

Price is definitely a co-deciding factor, but it can include anything from conspicuously cheap to excessively expensive. It varies according to horsepower, elaborate design, popularity and also the supplier. Of course, quality also has an influence on the price - nevertheless: with a mid-range boat, you usually don't only save on exaggerated features, but also not on quality.

Nevertheless, this is only a guideline, because depending on your individual preferences, it can of course turn out to be a lot more expensive. You should still be careful with unusually cheap boats, because they may break down more quickly and there are no spare parts available on the German market.

Facts worth knowing about remote-controlled boats

(How) can I build RC boats myself?

As is generally known, you can do everything yourself - but what about electrified model boats? Here, too, the answer is clear: it's possible. But it varies in difficulty depending on previous knowledge, aid and the type of instruction.

So before you start building your own RC racing boat, you should always consider whether it is worth it for you personally in terms of time, money and fun.

Overall, the costs are not necessarily lower than for a ready-built boat - you can expect to pay at least €150 for a kit without a motor. The motor, on the other hand, can be chosen depending on the power you want it to have, and the cost of the motor will depend on that:

Do you want the boat to be able to sail on still waters or against small currents? And what kind of propulsion system do you want (see chapter "What is an RC boat, how does it work and how do I use it")?

These questions must all be answered thoroughly before you start building the boat. It's also best to get advice from a specialist shop before you buy!

One prerequisite for the success of your own boat plan is, of course, the right tools. Depending on the instructions, however, the requirements and even the types of tools vary. First of all, you have to find your own construction plan (e.g. Helpster).

Of course, you can always change the design of the boat as you wish. The "ingredients" for your boat can usually be bought in any DIY store or directly on the manufacturer's website (see chapter "What types of remote-controlled boats are there and which are right for me?").

You must always pay attention to the quality, that everything is waterproof and not too dense, so that it does not sink in the sum of the weight. So plastic or wood are best suited for this; iron or glass are less good.

If you want to have a complete model so that you can't make a mistake as a beginner, you can also buy ready-made kits that already contain a construction plan and the necessary materials (e.g. MHM-Modellbau).

But be careful: glue, tools and often the electronic components such as the remote control and the motor are not included in the kit - so you have to prepare or buy a little extra, especially if you have special wishes such as a built-in camera. Here you can go all out as far as specials are concerned!

As a small exercise in model building and to see if you enjoy it, you can make a mini RC submarine out of an Ü-egg.

Which is the best remote-controlled ship model?

You can't give a general answer. Of course, there are "better" and "worse" models in terms of quality and price-performance ratio, but it is important to pay attention to this as well as to your own needs when buying: Depending on your personal requirements, it is best to compare individually according to price, horsepower, size or other features that are important to you.

Which is the fastest RC boat model?

The fastest RC boat in the world "H1 Unlimited" actually has 3000 hp! It is powered by helicopter turbines and reaches up to 320 km/h (video) for a long time.

On the other hand, on short distances of up to an eighth of a mile, so-called "drag boats" go even faster - they reach up to 418 km/h!

Which is the largest RC boat model?

Up to what point is an RC boat still an RC boat? Incredibly, there are no fixed dates for this! Apparently, remote-controlled boats can be unlimited in size... If you can prove me wrong, feel free to write to me, I'm curious!Latest inventions: The boat apps

For first exercises with a remote-controlled boat, there are now numerous simulation apps for mobile phones or tablets (e.g. Absolute RC Boat Sim, RC Boat Simulator or Absolute RC Simulator).

However, there are still no apps for direct connection to an RC boat for control purposes, which surprised me a lot (after all, there are now even toothbrush assistance apps!). But maybe that will come in the near future!

Picture source: pixabay.com / harztec

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