The Best RC drift cars are equipped with powerful motors, drift specific tires and feature a low center of gravity, which will prevent them from tipping and will generally give the driver more control. While the design may seem simple enough, you’d be surprised to learn that not every drift car on the market handles the way they’re supposed to. In fact, many tend to easily tip over or lose control when drifting.
Which is why we’ve reviewed dozens of the leading models of RC drift cars and have narrowed it down to the top five models on the market. Each of these cars scored well in a variety of areas including body design, affordability, ease of handling, and motor quality.
Below you’ll find a comprehensive comparison chart for the leading models, which lists important specs regarding size, cost, motor style, and more.
RC Drift Cars Comparison Chart
Best RC Drift Car-HPI Racing Sport 3 Drift Car
This drift car by HPI Racing features a fully sealed drivetrain, brushed motor, and coil over shock absorbers that are designed to provide a smooth ride and improved drifting. The car itself is easy to handle and has a top speed of fifteen miles per hour, making it ideal for beginners. However, its impressive drifting distance is what will make seasoned drivers take a second look.
Top 1/8 Size Model-Exceed RC MadDrift Electric Ready to Run Drift Car
The MadDrift by Exceed RC is a 1/8 size model with a lightweight design that allows it to drift further and drive faster. This car comes equipped with everything you need to get racing, right out of the box, which is a huge selling point for any hobbyist on a tight budget. Additionally, the car’s brushless motor and LiPo battery put a decent amount of power behind the durable, well-built frame.
Most Versatile RC Drift Car-MST MS 01D RTR Electric RC Drift Car
The MS 01D by MST can handle the slick surfaces of an indoor obstacle course and moderately rocky terrain, making it more versatile than most models of RC drift cars on the market. It comes loaded with some great features including the specialized pillow ball suspension system, drift specific tires, a 70A 3000Kv brushless motor, and a dual belt 4WD drivetrain.
Beginner-Friendly-Exceed RC Team Energy 1/10 Scale X10DR Belt Drive Pro Drift Car
The Team Energy RC drift car by Exceed RC is equipped with a dual-belt drivetrain design which offers a smoother ride and an improved drifting distance. The car also features an adjustable suspension system, threaded alloy shocks, and a variety of tower mounting options.
Best Value-Redcat Racing Drift Car
The Redcat Racing drift car has a lot to offer the seasoned RC hobbyist, but may be too challenging for beginners. The 80A brushless motor combined with the oil filled shocks give the EPX the right amount of power needed to handle challenging obstacle courses. The included pistol transmitter is top of the line and features a classic control design that most seasoned hobbyists will be familiar with.
RC Drift Car Buyer’s Guide
The best RC drift cars can easily hug tight corners, glide over challenging terrain, and handle intense obstacle courses with ease. Different from traditional remote control cars in regard to how they handle turns, these RC cars are designed for users of all skill levels but are often sought out by seasoned hobbyists.
A More Powerful Motor
Power doesn’t exactly equal faster speeds, but a drift car isn’t meant to be as fast or faster than a traditional RC. When a drift car is going too fast it can be almost impossible to drift. How fast an RC car is will be determined by the motor’s turn. Low turn motors with less torque will be faster than higher turn motors with more torque.
A drift car motor’s higher torque and slower speed will make it easier to dift so most RC enthusiasts prefer stock motors. More motor turn not only means improved torque, it also results in fewer RPMs and an extended battery life, so you can enjoy a longer runtime. The slower speed also gives the driver more control.
The number of winds a motor has around the armature is just as important as the number of turns it has. Motors with a single wind offer lower RPMs and the most bottom end power. This type of motor is perfect for tracks with plenty of turns.
Motors with two-four turns will feature higher RPMs and high-end power. This makes the car ideal for straight, long tracks, but this isn’t the type of setup designed for RC drifting cars.
One of the many benefits of drifting RCs is as the driver’s handling skills improve the hobbyists can progress to a more powerful model that’s challenging to drift and drive. Additionally, this type of RC car is very upgradable, so you can easily make upgrades to most of the car’s components including a motor that’s more powerful.
If you purchase a drift car that’s ready to roll right out of the box, then you can expect a stock brushed motor. This style of motor is totally fine for the beginner or for pure recreational driving.
But if you’re serious about drifting, then you’ll want to upgrade. A typical stock motor will allow the driver to do a ten to twelve-foot drift, while the more powerful brushless motor is able to produce an impressive twenty-foot drift.
One of the biggest reasons drift drivers covet the brushless motor is the fact that there’s no real maintenance required.
But cars with a brushed motor will require regular maintenance and upkeep. In fact, it’s essential that the brushed motor remain clean and free of grime, dirt, and debris. A clean motor is essential in order to extend the life of the car.
Basically, brushed motors are easier to wire up and they’re definitely more affordable compared to their brushless counterpart. However, the brushed motor’s maintenance needs and the fact that these motors tend to wear out fairly quickly due to their mechanical design and maintenance requirements makes them a poor choice for the serious hobbyist.
The brushless motor is free of mechanical parts. Instead, these motors utilize magnets to turn the rotor, which is why maintenance is not necessary. Brushless motors often use LiPo batteries, which is one of the reasons they’re able to deliver a consistent level of power.
The biggest downside to this style of motor is that they’re much more expensive compared to brushed motors. Additionally, not all RC drift cars can handle this type of motor. If you want a car that’s brushless motor compatible, make sure you do your research before you hit that buy now button.
Belt or Shaft Drive
When setting up a drift car, most drivers prefer models that are belt driven because the motors in these cars are positioned in a manner that allows for a better balance of the chassis. This improved center of gravity allows the driver to easily drift in either direction.
A belt driven setup also means a smoother start since the bet reduces torque and absorbs pressure.
But belt driven designs aren’t without their own drawbacks. They’re actually more fragile compared to shaft drive setups. Unfortunately, dirt, debris, and rocks can easily damage the belt. Additionally, the belt is also prone to stretching out and can easily slip off during a race if the driver fails to routinely inspect the belt and determine whether or not it should be replaced due to too much slack or general wear and tear.
Shaft driven models don’t require as much maintenance since the enclosed drivetrain prevents debris and rocks from damaging the setup.
Shaft driven cars are also said to be more efficient since they immediately release full torque from the get-go. However, with this type of instant power comes torque steer issues.
Torque steer involves too much torque being delivered on heavy acceleration, causing the car to automatically steer to the right or left. This issue is more common with shaft driven drift cars.
Belt-driven models aren’t affected by torque steer for a couple of reasons. First, the drivetrain is aligned with the tires and the motor rotation is in line with the car’s pulleys.
Tires for Drifting
If you’re driving over a slick or polished surface, then most drivers recommend drift specific tires. They’re very easy to control and offer a smoother driving experience. In fact, these tires are so popular they can be found on most stock models of high-end RC cars.
When it comes to the best tires, it’s really more a matter of driver preference, however, it can also depend on surface type and conditions.
Smoother surfaces allow the driver to use softer tires without the fear of the tires burning up quickly. With rougher surfaces, drivers need harder, compound tires.
But higher compound tires require lower RPMs since these tires spin more freely.
When it comes to battery power, you’ll only have a couple of options to choose from:
The car’s setup is what will determine the type of battery to use. NiMH batteries consist of individual cells that are linked together in order to increase the battery’s total voltage. Batteries that offer a higher voltage can make the drift car much faster. However, a more powerful battery will take up more room, which is why upgrading to a higher voltage may not be an option for some models of drift cars. Additionally, a car’s ESC must also be compatible with higher voltage batteries.
LiPo batteries offer a better performance. Just like the NiMH batteries, these batteries are also made up of individual cells. However, NiMH battery cells are only 1.2 volts, while the cells in the LiPo batteries are around 3.7 per cell. Top of the line LiPo batteries come equipped with a balance plug. The plug works to evenly charge every cell.
Ready-Made and RC Drift Kits
You’ll have the choice of purchasing either a car that’s ready to go right out of the box or a drift kit. The ready-made models come with all the parts including the transmitter and batteries, while kits will come with the basics and allow you to purchase upgraded parts and components separately, so you can truly customize your car. Since the kits usually only come with the essentials, they’re a more affordable option, however, they can easily cost twice the price of a ready-made model depending on the type of parts, motor, transmitter, and battery you purchase.
Adjustable Suspension Systems
Most RC enthusiasts love drift cars not just because they’re fun to drive, but because they’re so versatile. When it comes to switching up a car’s suspension, most drift chassis come with suspension systems that are fully adjustable, in addition to adjustable shock and spring setups.
Pricing: Ready-Made Vs. Kits
The price of the drift car will depend on the motor type, tires, design and detail, and of course, whether you decide to buy a ready-made model or a kit. Kits will allow you to slowly upgrade your rig over time, but stock ready-made models are more affordable and are often a much better choice for beginners. If you’re serious about racing, then a kit may be the best option, considering kit RC cars are often more customizable than stock ready-made models.
Yet, there are high-end ready-made models out there that are racing ready. These are the cars equipped with top of the line suspension systems, tires, and powerful motors with just the right amount of torque.