RC boats are pure fun, whether you’re sitting on a pier by a lake or lying on a bed by the pool, these “toys” can be anything from amusing to exhilarating.

The first radio-controlled boat ever was built by Nikola Tesla in 1898 and had to be 4 feet long in order to accommodate the huge electronics of the era, but it worked.

Today things have shrunk to a great degree, and the smallest pool boats measure a mere few inches in length and cost way less than they used to.

There is a perfect RC boat for every occasion and this review will guide you through the best remote control boats on the market.

The Top 10 RC Boats right now

1. VolantexRc Vector SR 80

A very fast and agile speedboat from Volantex with a brushless motor and top speed of 44mph. The Vector is almost 26” long which is big but not as much as most of the boat racers in the market.

The big bulbous cabin might look a bit strange in the beginning but this is what gives Vector its self-righting capability, making it impossible to stay capsized.

The brushless motor is meaty and paired with a 4S battery (you have to provide one) it gives Vector excellent performance.

This powerboat cuts through the water like a razor and its high speed is perfectly matched by an impressively sharp turning radius.

The water cooling system is fed by two openings on the rudder and does an excellent job of keeping the motor cool.

It’s a quality RC boat and the price, even though it’s not low, is fair for what you get.

Technical Features:

  • Self-righting
  • Brushless motor & 60A ESC
  • Rudder intake water-cooling system
  • 2.4 GHz Pistol grip transmitter
  • ABS Hull

Pros

  • Fast
  • Impossible to capsize

Cons

  • None

2.Force 1 Velocity H102

This speedboat from Force 1 has very sleek lines with a deep-V hull and an awesome white and blue paint job.

It has a very dynamic design and looks like it’s about to move even while sitting on its stand.

Velocity comes with a great price tag and includes a second 600mAh LiPo battery which is always great to have.

As usual, capsize recovery is possible, saving you from having to go into the water and retrieve the boat in case it flips over.

Velocity’s top speed is 20mph which is great for a 14” boat. The big rudder makes swift direction changes a breeze, working in harmony with the 2.4 GHz transmitter, which is very good, with long-range, smooth sticks, and even an LCD with battery life indicator.

The double hatch does a good job keeping most of the water out, but you may find a few drops every once in a while, so you have to check.

Overall, it is a great RC boat.

Technical Features:

  • Capsize recovery
  • Double hatch
  • Power indicator and range alarm
  • Water-cooled motor
  • 600 mAh Li-Ion battery

Pros

  • Fast and agile
  • Comes with a second battery

Cons

  • Waterproofing could be better

3.Traxxas Spartan

This is a wicked speedboat with the bodywork’s paint scheme inspired by Frank Miller’s comic series “300”. To say that Spartan is big and mean would be an understatement.

Like everything that has Traxxas’ name on, this thing is all about speed.

Squeeze that trigger and the Spartan will whine like a harpy, accelerating instantly to vertigo speeds. Its size provides stability but it’s still light enough to turn tightly, especially at high speeds.

At low speeds, it becomes a little sluggish, losing its edginess, but this is not a boat to cruise around, it screams to be raced.

The beastie brushless 540XL motor can really sing, propelling the boat to incredible speeds, and the heavy-duty VXL-6S electronic speed control compliments it perfectly.

The cooling system is good but if you want to feed the Spartan with 6S LiPo batteries, you will probably have to upgrade it.

There is only a single water line feeding both motor and ESC with cool water, and by the time the water gets into the motor, it’s already hot from the ESC. As for the TQiT pistol grip transmitter, I have nothing than good things to say.

This is a serious powerboat, not a toy you give your kids to play in the pool. It needs space and it needs respect. It sure is expensive, but you pay what you get.

For the price though, I wish Traxxas had included a couple of their 3S batteries to make Spartan ready to run.

Technical Features:

  • Brushless motor
  • TQiT 2.4GHz transmitter
  • Waterproof receiver and steering servo
  • Water-cooling for both motor and ESC
  • Velineon 540 XL brushless motor with VXL-6S ESC

Pros

  • It’s lightning-fast
  • Looks like a beauty
  • Top-quality

Cons

  • Expensive

4.Cheerwing RC Racing Boat

This is a sweet little boat from Cheerwing measuring 13.5 inches from bow to rudder.

The water-cooled brushed motor is strong enough to give it a top speed of 15 mph which should be more than enough for the kind of environment that this boat is made for—pools and small ponds.

The rudder is placed right in the middle, giving equal turning circles to both left and right.

It may give you a little trouble when it’s time to lube that prop axle though. The 2.4GHz pistol-grip transmitter is neat with sound alarms for both low battery and range.

Speaking of the battery, it’s a LiPo 600mAh unit and is good enough for around six minutes of play which is on par with the category’s average.

Overall, a very good little boat at a nice price.

Technical Features:

  • Water-cooled
  • Capsize recovery
  • 600 mAh LiPo battery
  • 2.4 GHz Pistol grip transmitter

Pros

  • Price
  • Maneuverability

Cons

  • The single hatch should be inspected frequently for water leaks

5. USA TOYZ UDI 001

This is a sweet little boat, suitable for lakes and pools alike. The smooth ABS hull cuts through the water with ease, giving the UDI 001 a top speed of 15mph.

USA TOYZ provides a second battery with it, doubling the playtime and fun factor.

The pistol grip transmitter is good with nice feel on the hand, adequate range, and sound alarms for range and battery.

The access to the boat’s motor and the battery is through a single hatch which even though it is sealed will probably need some water-proof tape on top in order to keep the water out.

Other than that, the boat is great and so is its price tag.

Technical Features:

  • Capsize recovery
  • Water-cooled motor
  • 2.4 GHz Trigger grip transmitter
  • Two 600mAh LiPo batteries

Pros

  • Great for pools and small ponds
  • Good Price

Cons

  • Sealing could be better

6. VolantexRC Vector 30

One more boat from Volantex, this being much tamer than the SR 80 and suitable for small bodies of water.

The Vector 30 may be on the small size (a bit less than 12”) but its performance is big with a top speed of 19mph. It is more suitable for adults and teenagers than smaller kids.

The aquadynamic hull is made from ABS and can flip back to its keel in case it capsized.

Like usual, there is a water-cooling system keeping the brushed motor temperature in check.

The single hatch is sealed and the 360 mAh battery (there’s two of them) gives the Vector a good running time.

The transmitter is pistol grip type and the feel of its steering wheel and trigger is just right.

For the price, I would say that Vector doesn’t have much competition.

Technical Features:

  • 2.4 GHz Trigger grip transmitter
  • Two 360mAh LiPo batteries
  • Capsize recovery
  • Water-cooled motor

Pros

  • Price
  • Great top speed

Cons

  • None

7. SZJJX H100

If you’re looking for a low budget RC boat, you can’t go wrong with the SZJJX H100 (what a name!). It’s small, it’s fast, and it’s dirt cheap. What else could you ask for?

The blue and black hull is on the small size and will be at home in swimming pools and lakes.

The rudder is big and placed off-center to the right, giving the H100 excellent maneuverability.

The motor is brushed, as you would expect for this price range, but packs enough power to propel the H100 to 15mph.

Naturally, it’s water-cooled. The stick transmitter is much better than I would expect for the price and even has an LCD.

The batteries (two of them) are Li-Ion with big capacity (600mAh), giving around 6 minutes of playtime.

Technical Features:

  • Water-cooled motor
  • 2.4 GHz transmitter
  • Capsize recovery
  • Two 600mAh Li-Ion batteries
  • Low battery indicator

Pros

  • Price
  • fast and nimble

Cons

  • Water sealing could be better

8. Top Race TR-1200

The TR-1200 is all-black and menacing. It was designed to bridge the huge gap between pool boats and 50mph racing beasts and does it just fine.

It’s suitable for big swimming pools, but it will also shine in lakes where it will reach its top speed of 30mph. Not bad for a boat of this size.

The TR-1200 is powered by a water-cooled brushless motor which in turn is fed by 3S 1800mAh LiPo battery (included).

This combination provides enough power to the well-balanced hull which is very fast and has impressive maneuverability at all speeds.

The pistol grip transmitter makes driving a breeze and has a range of over 300ft. All these characteristics combined with the TR-1200s attractive price make it a top-rated RC boat.

Technical Features:

  • Brushless motor
  • 2.4 GHz transmitter
  • 1800 mAh 3S LiPo battery
  • Flip recovery
  • Ready to run

Pros

  • Good top speed
  • Price
  • Ideal size

Cons

  • None

9. Pro Boat Miss Geico 17

This is a gorgeous powerboat modeled after Miss Geico racing catamaran. With 17 inches of length and bright green color, Pro Boat’s RC looks like the real thing.

The hull is made from ABS and the hatch is held in place with magnets. Like all RC boats of this size, it has to be taped to keep the water out.

Miss Geico looks like it’s ready to fly, but in reality, it won’t. The brushed motor and Ni-MH battery just don’t cut it. The double hull is too big for the motor and the battery is weak.

And it’s such a pity because the rest of the boat is really good.

Of course, you can always upgrade them, but this is not a good solution for a brand new RC boat. On the bright side, the 2.4 GHz radio is excellent and the price not bad.

Technical Features:

  • ABS body
  • Dynamite 380 brushed motor
  • 2.4 GHz Radio technology
  • Breakaway rudder

Pros

  • It’s gorgeous
  • Ready to run

Cons

  • Slow

10. Sharkool H106

A great little pool boat with a smooth hull and a double hatch system. The Sharkool H106 has impressive agility and a top speed of 15mph which is not bad either.

A water-cooling system keeps motor temperatures in check, and in case of capsizing, you can use the motor torque to flip it right back.

The transmitter has 2.4 GHz technology and features an LCD with a battery indicator and a sound warning.

It’s suitable for kids and has a sensor that prevents the propeller from spinning unless the hull is in the water, minimizing this way the chance of someone getting hurt.

The H106 comes in two colors: lime green and bright yellow.

Technical Features:

  • Capsize recovery
  • Double Hatch
  • 370 Water-cooled motor
  • 2.4 GHz Transmitter with LCD screen
  • Two 600mAh LiPo batteries

Pros

  • Very Agile
  • Good Price

Cons

  • None

Best RC Boats for Beginners

1.Goolsky H100

A great little pool boat at the right price. The H100 by Goolsky is swift and agile, ideal for decent sized swimming pools.

The brushed motor can move the ultralight boat pretty quick and the 600mAh Li-Ion battery lasts for almost 10 minutes which is great.

The boat features a propeller safety mechanism, so it’s perfectly safe for kids. The radio transmitter is a standard 2.4 GHz with enough range and an LCD.

The single hatch even though it has a seal, it’s not entirely watertight, so the hull must be inspected frequently for water inside.

The water-cooling system works efficiently allowing the H100 to keep its top speed (12mph) for a prolonged time. Overall, it’s a very nice little boat.

Technical Features:

  • Capsize recovery
  • Water-cooled motor
  • Durable ABS body
  • Low battery indicator
  • 2.4 GHz Transmitter

Pros

  • Great price
  • Quick and agile

Cons

  • Water sealing is so and so

2.Altair Wave

A small RC boat from Altair suitable for beginners and smaller kids. The black and yellow Wave can spin on a dime and accelerate to 18mph which is more than enough for a pool boat.

It features a water contact sensor for safety and comes with a second battery which is always a welcome gift.

The Wave has a 2.4 GHz pistol-grip transmitter with more than 300ft of range and features a double, sealed hatch to keep water outside the boat’s interior.

The motor even though it’s brushed, it’s more than enough to move the Wave at a quick pace. Naturally, it’s water-cooled.

Altair Wave is a very versatile RC boat suitable for lakes and pools alike. It might be a tad more expensive than the competition, but the quality is there.

Technical Features:

  • 2.4 GHz transmitter
  • Capsize recovery
  • Child safe propeller
  • 2 Batteries

Pros

  • Fast
  • Agile
  • Good battery time

Cons

  • A bit expensive

Best RC Boats Under $100

1.HJ 806

This is one of the biggest pool boats in the market and has several distinct characteristics that make it unique in its category.

First of all, in order to move the relatively big hull, the HJ 806 has a big 540 brushed motor and a 1500mAh battery with enough juice to support it.

Another very nice touch is the 4 LED lights around the boat, that look awesome in the night.

The HJ 806 is more stable than most pool boats (size matters), and will even be able to cope with slightly rippled water as well.

The double hatch does a great job at keeping the water out and the 2.4 GHz pistol grip controller works as it should be.

The detachable plastic nose protector is useful, especially in swimming pools.

It’s a great little boat and the price is just right, making it one of the best RC boats for the money.

Technical Features:

  • 540 Brushed motor
  • 1500mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Night lights
  • 2.4 GHz transmitter
  • Auto flip function

Pros

  • Fast and stable
  • Night Lights

Cons

  • None

2.GismoVine T02

One more great RC boat with a price tag way below $100. The T02 is very speedy and agile with a good quality ABS body and the longest battery life in its category.

The double hatch does an excellent job of keeping the water out of the interior and the capsize recovery makes sure that you will never have to get your feet wet to recover it.

The transmitter is a classic 2-channel with sticks, featuring an LCD and an acoustic warning for low battery.

The 600mAh Li-Ion batteries (there are two) give the T02 at least 12 minutes of playtime each, powering a small brushed motor that is perky enough to propel the small hull with ease.

It’s suitable for children and can be used in swimming pools and lakes but not in salty water.

Technical Features:

  • Water-cooled motor
  • Capsize recovery
  • Two 600mAh Li-Ion batteries
  • 2.4 GHz Transmitter

Pros

  • Great range
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • The instruction manual is unclear

Best RC Warships

1.Bismarck RC Battleship 1/360

Bismarck was Germany’s most powerful battleship back in WW2 and this is a radio-controlled model of that ship in 1/360 scale, measuring 28” in length.

The quality is excellent for the price featuring many details including all the turrets and a pretty accurate superstructure with many fine details, giving it a very realistic look.

Like most of the toys in this category, the Bismarck has a high center of gravity and needs a calm surface to sail.

The battery is in a small compartment under the superstructure and is powered on with a small touch switch next to the stern gun turret.

The basic radio transmitter is adequate offering 120ft of range, not bad for this kind of boat.

My only complaint would be the flimsy old-style wire RC antenna which is quite big and intruding. I haven’t seen one of those for a long time.

Technical Features:

  • 1/360 Scale
  • Two-channel radio controller
  • 120ft Range
  • 800mAh Battery

Pros

  • Realistic scale look
  • Great for kids

Cons

  • Old style antenna

2. Smasher Destroyer

This is an RC warship which even though it is loosely modeled after Russian destroyers, it doesn’t resemble a specific ship type.

It’s a good ship with nice quality and fine detail, though the Kamov-31 helicopter on the helipad is definitely out of scale. It’s pretty big, with its length measuring 31 inches.

The Smasher has two motors and two propellers which are also responsible for steering the ship in the lack of a proper rudder.

In practice they work well but don’t expect it to turn on a dime, it’s a warship after all.

Like most of these toys, the Smasher gets unstable in rough water, so it’s not suitable for anything rougher than a swimming pool or a calm pond.

It’s safe for kids and will give them hours of fun though.

Technical Features:

  • 1/275 Scale
  • Two-channel radio controller
  • 120ft Range
  • 800mAh Battery

Pros

  • Great for kids
  • Lots of boat for the price

Cons

  • Not very realistic

Best RC Sailboats

1. Joysway Orion 2 (2019 V2.0 Release)

This is one of Joysaway’s smallest sailboats, and it’s ideal as a trainer for people who’ve never sailed before.

No buzzing motors, no adrenaline rush, this is a different kind of animal and it is Zen. You can only control the rudder and the tension on the sails which in turn controls the angle of the sails. That’s it.

Naturally, a sailboat needs space, so most pools won’t make the cut, you need a pond or a lake. It comes almost fully assembled but you still have to rig it.

Even after assembly, there’s still a learning curve before you’ll be able to sail this like it’s meant to.

But when you do, you will see that there’s nothing more rewarding than sitting relaxed on the side of a lake and tame the winds with a sailboat.

Technical Features:

  • 2-Channel 2.4 GHz transmitter
  • Fiberglass mast and booms
  • Zinc alloy ballast
  • Adjustable rigging

Pros

  • Great for beginners
  • Good price

Cons

  • Hatch covers are prone to falling off and have to be secured carefully

2. Poco Divo Compass RG65

The Compass from Poco Divo is not only affordable but also a very capable sailboat that conforms to RG65 class rules, which means that you can race it.

Of course, it would take some upgrades to do it competitively, but the option is there. Having said that, the Compass is still suitable for beginners who want to get into RC sailing.

The long hull is made from molded ABS which gives the boat durability. The 3kg winch servo manages the sails just fine, and the 2.4 GHz transmitter is functional and has an adequate range.

A minor flaw is the sealing of the boat which needs a little attention, with water drops sometimes finding their way inside the hull.

Technical Features:

  • ABS hull
  • 2.4 GHz Transmitter
  • 3kg Winch servo
  • RG class

Pros

  • Low Price
  • Conforms to RG65 class rules
  • Suitable for Beginners

Cons

  • Water-proofing could be better

Best RC Boats for Lakes

1. Stotoy Gallop

This is the cheapest RC boat with a brushless motor in the market, and this alone is a very good reason to get one.

Brushless motors are way more powerful, efficient, and reliable than the brushed ones that most toy boats have. The company gives a top speed of around 20mph which seems to be about right.

The Gallop is a sharp turner and even though the rudder is offset to the right (which means that it turns sharper to the right than to the left), it’s not a big deal.

The pistol grip transmitter is great, featuring a steering wheel trim and adjustable sensitivity for the throttle.

It’s a gorgeous little boat, but be aware that it needs to be in the water to pair with the controller otherwise it won’t.

Technical Features:

  • Brushless motor
  • 2.4 GHz Pistol grip transmitter
  • Anti-capsize hull
  • Collision bumper

Pros

  • Fast with a sharp turning radius
  • Brushless motor
  • Price

Cons

  • None

2.Blomiky H106

This is a perky little boat from Blomiky, impressively agile and swift. Suitable for swimming pools or even bigger spaces like ponds and lakes, the H106 will thrill you with its ability to perform in small spaces and unfold all its speed rapidly.

To makes things even more attractive Blomiky threw in the package not one or two but three 600mAh batteries to keep you busy for a long time.

The 2.4 GHz stick transmitter is of excellent quality and with enough range to control the H106 in big areas like lakes.

The double hatch system is sealed and does very well in keeping the water out of the boat’s interior. Overall, it’s a great little boat ready to run straight out of the box.

Technical Features:

  • 370 Water-cooled motor
  • 2.4 GHz Transmitter with LCD screen
  • Double Hatch
  • Capsize recovery
  • 3 Batteries

Pros

  • Price
  • Agile

Cons

  • None

Best RC Boats for Pools

1. Intey H105

The H105 is a swift RC boat ideal for lakes. Measuring 17 inches from bow to stern and packing a beefy 390 brushed motor, it can cope with rippled surfaces while the sealed double hatch is more than adequate to prevent water from entering inside.

The deep-v hull is very stable and easy to control, and its turning radius is rather small.

There are two batteries included, 1500mAh each, and their life is around ten minutes; not bad for a boat of this size. The radio controller is a 2-channel 2.4GHz with LCD and battery indicator.

Its range is more than enough even for the biggest lakes.

The H105 comes ready to run out of the box and at a very competitive price.

Technical Features:

  • Double hatch
  • Capsize recovery
  • 2.4GHz with LCD screen
  • 330ft Range
  • Two 1500mAh LiPo batteries

Pros

  • Water tight
  • Price

Cons

  • None

2. FunTech Vector 28

Funtech needs no introduction when it comes to radio-controlled models, and the Vector has all the characteristics that have made the company popular: great performance at a low price.

It may be one of the smallest boats of this review (11” long), but still carries quite a punch.

The water-cooled brushed motor is powerful enough to propel this boat to 18mph, and the oversized rudder gives it unparalleled agility at all speeds.

The pistol-grip transmitter works like a charm and the 360mAh is enough to give the Vector around 15 minutes or running time.

One word of caution, this boat doesn’t have a propeller safety mechanism, meaning that it can spin even outside the water.

It’s not a big deal for adults but it is for kids, so be aware.

Technical Features:

  • Capsize recovery
  • Two batteries
  • Water-cooled
  • 2.4GHz Pistol grip transmitter
  • 300ft Range

Pros

  • Fast
  • Great price

Cons

  • Lack of propeller safety system

Buyer's Guide: How to pick up the best RC Boat for your needs?

What Size RC Boat Should You Get?

The biggest is not always better here. If you plan on using it in your 30ft pool then you’ll be better with something up to 17”.

Small boats are more agile and naturally can be used in more tight places. Bigger boats are usually faster, and throttling a fast RC boat to 30mph in a pool is definitely not a good idea.

The only exception being RC warships which might be huge but move rather slowly. Now, if you intend to go racing at the nearby lake, you surely need a bigger boat. Lots of space equals lots of speed.

Also, lakes many times have rippled or even wavy surfaces and a bigger boat does cope better than a small one in these conditions.

Speed Boats Vs Sailboats

These two are so radically different that choosing one over the other should be easy for most people. Speed boats are fast, thrilling, noisy, and don’t need any particular knowledge or experience to be used.

Sailboats, on the other hand, are relaxing (almost hypnotizing) and quiet, but demand from their skippers to know at least the basics of sailing.

The average price is similar for both types but sailboats have lower running costs in the long run. Sailboats are usually long and high, so they can’t sail in small pools.

Also, their long keel fins go several inches below the water surface and their ballast may hit the bottom of shallow ponds and pools.

Racing Boats Vs Toy Boats

Even though these two categories used to have an abysmal gap between them, in the last few years this gap has been bridged. You can now find small boats with brushless motors and top speeds of up to 30mph.

These are ideal if you want something faster but don’t want to shell out the cash for a racing boat.

Toy boats are easy to use and need very basic maintenance. Racing boats on the other side are usually expensive to very expensive, need much more space and many times cannot recover by themselves after capsizing.

This means that you either have to get wet or use another boat to help you recover them.

Types of Hull

Deep V

This is the most frequently used type of hull by far. The bow in these boats is like a wedge and its shape gradually eases off to the stern.

These hulls are easier to build, have lots of space for electronics and batteries, and their center of gravity is the lowest of all hull types.

They are also very effective in cutting through choppy water.

Their only disadvantage is that because the hull goes deeper into the water it produces more drag.

Catamaran

This is a double hull design with the hulls placed parallelly, creating a gap in the middle of the boat that goes from bow to stern. As the boat gathers speed, this gap compresses the air partly lifting the hulls out of the water and minimizing water drag to a big degree.

Catamarans can reach high top speeds with smaller motors than a deep-v boat, but also come with a few disadvantages: they are not as good with choppy water, have got a higher center of gravity, and are a bit prone to bow lifting with headwinds.

Having said that, it’s a great middle-ground design with balanced characteristics.

Hydroplane

This is a rather extreme design with a flat hull and two sponsons (they’re like floaters) on the sides of the bow. Hydroplanes more fly than actually sail.

The sponsons compress the air in the middle and the flat hull compresses that air and water, even further, causing the hydroplane to plane over the surface instead of cutting through the water with the main advantage being an extremely low drag.

On the downside, they are very edgy and sensitive to control. The center of gravity is well over the water and headwinds can really send a hydroplane flying into the air.

This type of boat offers extreme thrills, but it is better used by experienced pilots.

All of the aforementioned categories have their pros and cons, so choosing comes down to personal preference and needs.

For many of these boat types, there are wonderful clubs and communities that organize meetings and racing events. Playing with RC boats is fun, but racing with friends is always better.

About the author

EdwardSimpson

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