While an RC boat isn’t suited for passengers (except Stuart Little, of course), the best RC boats are still a great way to enjoy a day on the lake. RC boat stands for remote-controlled boat, and these waterproof gadgets can provide endless fun for kids and adults. Even if you don’t have a big lake near you, you can still find ways to enjoy an RC boat. Ponds, rivers, and even swimming pools can provide plenty of fun.
What to Consider Before Buying an RC Boat
Because water is more unpredictable than land, there are some considerations that go into a remote-controlled boat that RC cars don’t have to worry about. Protecting the engine from water is an obvious one, as is ensuring that the remote has sufficient range. After all, if your RC car goes out of range you can run after it and get it. With a boat, it’s not quite so easy. Another factor to consider is the stability of the boat. If your RC car rolls over, you can easily flip it back over. A capsized RC boat, on the other hand, might be a bigger issue. That’s why you want to look out for boats that won’t flip over.
What We Looked for When Choosing the Best RC Boat
With our favorite options, we looked for boats that had everything you need for a day out on the water. All of our picks include rechargeable batteries, and some include two sets of rechargeable batteries. That means you can swap them out and keep on boating. When looking for features on the boats themselves, we looked for options with self-righting counter-weights so that these boats avoid capsizing.
All of the RC boats featured include remote controls. These remotes have different features, such as low-battery and out-of-range warnings to keep you from stranding your boat. The remotes come in different shapes, including pistol-grip style remotes and video game controller-style remotes, so you can choose the one that best suits your preference.
If you’re just getting into remote-controlled boats, we’ve picked out some of our favorite options for beginners that are primed for a day of fun on the water.
1. ALTAIR Tide RC Boat
This boat from Altair is more expensive than comparable options from Force1 and other brands, but it has a key feature that justifies its higher price tag. This boat has a brushless motor, which is a substantial upgrade over standard brushed motors. Brushless motors have reduced friction, allowing for greater control, better efficiency and a longer overall lifespan. A rechargeable battery is included, as well as a pistol-style remote control.
Pros: Reaches fast speeds. Brushless motor. Easy to right if capsized.
Cons: Only one rechargeable battery is included. Shorter battery life than some other options.
2. Force1 Velocity RC Boat
This RC boat from Force1 features an intuitive remote control that kids and adults can easily use. The 120-meter signal range gives you free rein to explore the water, and you can easily right the boat with the push of a button if the boat flips over. A low battery and out-of-range alarm notifies you if you’re about to lose control of your boat, helping ensure you won’t have to swim after it. The boat can travel up to 20 MPH and the battery has a 15-minute run time. The battery is rechargeable as well.
Pros: Low-battery and low-signal indicators help prevent loss of contact. Capsize recovery button rights the boat. Up to 20 MPH. Rechargeable battery.
Cons: Short 15-minute battery life and long recharge time.
3. Altair AA102 RED RC
This boat from Altair is a more affordable alternative to the premium Tide RC boat featured on this list. This zippy boat reaches speeds of up to 30 km/h, which translates to 18 MPH. Unlike the other Altair boat on this list and other boats, this option includes two rechargeable batteries. It comes with a pistol-grip style remote control, with a low-battery and out-of-range warning.
Pros: Anti-capsize design. Range of 100 meters. Includes two rechargeable batteries.
Cons: Some similar options may be more economical.
4. SHARKOOL Remote Control Boats
This remote control boat has a double-hatched battery casing to keep water out, and it also features a low-battery warning that appears on the remote control. Four channels on the 2.4Ghz range help prevent interference from other boats. The boat has a water intake to keep the motor cool.
Pros: Flips itself in the event that the boat capsizes. The boat comes with a spare propeller.
Cons: Not suitable for salt water use.
5. YEZI Remote Control Boat for Pools & Lakes
Unlike the RC boats with a simple video-game remote, this option from Yezi features a trigger-style remote that gives you more precise control over your boat. It has a steering wheel, throttle trigger, steering and throttle reverse. The boat comes with two rechargeable battery and four non-rechargeable batteries, plus the USB charging cable. The boat can reach 20 MPH, and the flip recovery function rights the boat if you capsize.
Pros: Fast speeds. Unique remote offers precise control. Two kinds of batteries included, including two rechargeable batteries.
Cons: More brightly colored options would be easier to see.
6. SYMA Q7 RC Boat
This RC boat from SYMA has a sleek and simple remote control. With only two joysticks and an on/off switch, it’ll be easy to figure out for novice users and children. The boat can be flipped back if it capsizes using the joysticks. Plus, a low-power alert helps prevent getting the boat stranded. Two batteries are included, and while they individually only last less than ten minutes, they only take 45 minutes to charge.
Pros: Two rechargeable batteries included, allowing you to use the boat while the other charges. Low-battery alarm.
Cons: Short battery life.