If you are comparing nitro RC cars to electric RC cars, you may notice that they look quite similar although there are in fact several differences between the two. However, if you’re trying to decide which RC car is right for you, it’s important to compare not just the appearance but how the two types of vehicles operate as well.
From the engines to the fuel systems and the maintenance requirements to the speeds, there are quite a few differences between nitro RC cars and electric RC cars, and it’s important to get a full understanding of each type of car before jumping into the RC world.
Choosing the right RC vehicle to meet your needs, your budget and your preferences will guarantee you many years of excitement with your new vehicle.
However, on the other hand, choosing the wrong RC vehicle could mean you are left with nothing more than an overly expensive toy just sitting and collecting dust in your garage.
To provide you with a better understanding of which vehicle will work best with your needs, regardless of whether you are an RC beginner or veteran, here is a comparison between nitro RC cars and electric RC cars:
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1. Nitro cars can reach faster speeds.
In general, nitro cars such as the Traxxas RTR 1/10 Jato 3.3 2WD 2.4GHz are perceived as being a “higher performance” vehicle and can therefore reach faster speeds. However, this gap has been closing to some extent in recent years.
The two kinds of motors found in RC cars, brushless and brushed, affect the speed and performance of the vehicle. While most beginner and toy-grade RC cars feature a brushed motor, brushless motors are becoming widely used and accepted in the world of RC cars as well as in other types of RC vehicles.
A brushless motor such as the one in the Traxxas RTR 1/16 E-Revo VXL 4WD 2.4GHz is more capable of handling higher voltages than brushed, which can give a beginner-grade vehicle a nudge to perform at top speeds. In fact, although nitro cars are generally faster than electric cars, brushless motors can now boast fastester speeds for RC cars, than nitro cars in some cases.
2. Nitro cars are quick to refuel.
As opposed to electric RC models that require time to charge and swap in batteries, nitro cars are a breeze to refill. Also, a full tank of fuel in a nitro RC car will generally provide you with 20 to 25 minutes of driving, depending on the size of the tank and your driving style.
Afterwards, simply take 30 seconds to refill the tank, and you’re on your way once more.
On the other hand, even if you have a high-tech battery charge or a battery pack like the Racer’s Edge 7.2V 5000mAh 6 cell NiMH RC Battery Pack, you will most likely need to wait up to an hour to charge your battery before you can use your electric car again (unless you want to buy a number of these and have them precharged and ready to go on a rotating basis).
Even then, you will most likely be looking at only 10 to 15 minutes of driving time with a fully charged battery.
3. Nitro cars require more maintenance.
The engines in nitro cars like the Traxxas 5407 3.3 TRX Engine, IPS Shaft with Pull Start use fuel rather than batteries to power them. Because they run using this oil- and methanol-based engine, nitro RC cars require more general maintenance and care before and after use than a battery-powered electric RC car does.
After you use a nitro RC car, you must remember to drain its fuel tank, clean and oil its air filter and add oil to the engine. Also, nitro cars are also much more susceptible to wear and tear on the engine than their electric counterparts.
4. Nitro cars aren’t appropriate for indoor use due to excessive noise.
If you are planning on using your RC vehicle indoors, you might want to reconsider nitro RC cars. The speed of nitro RC cars combined with the fumes from the foil and the engine noise limits these cars to only outdoor use.
Also, the noise could irritate those in your neighborhood, so you might need to limit early morning or late night run sessions out of consideration for others.
5. Nitro cars come with risks due to the hazardous nitro fuel.
While nitro cars may be faster and more powerful than electric cars, that perk doesn’t come without risk.
You have to be careful when storing and using the nitro fuel to avoid injury as nitromethanol fuel like the Torco RC Fuel 20% Nitro Car & Truck Gallon is highly poisonous and flammable. Synthetic oil or castor oil is also added into the nitromethane fuel to provide cooling and lubrication, and how much nitromethane is in the fuel is usually 20 percent but may be anywhere between 10 percent and 40 percent.
On the other hand, it’s relatively easy to change out or recharge the batteries for an electric car, although the process of actually charging the vehicle does take longer.
6. Nitro cars aren’t ideal for beginners.
Because the engines in nitro cars need to be tuned to provide optimum performance and maximize the engine life, you will need to have some expertise and experience when using these vehicles.
Also, nitro RC cars are typically harder to control than their electric counterparts. With this high-speed driving often comes a tendency to crash the vehicle more often. If you hit a wall at these high speeds, you can literally destroy your car.
Also, because you will need dexterity to control these cars and you will need to use flammable, poisonous fuel to refill them, nitro RC cars are not a wise investment for young children.
But if you are looking at investing in a nitro powered RC car, consider purchasing a nitro car kit such as the Starter Kit for Nitro Gas RC Cars so that you have everything you need to power your car right away.
What is Best For You?
Nitro RC cars can provide years of enjoyment for the right person.
If you are trying to decide between nitro RC cars and electric RC cars, carefully considered the benefits and drawbacks of each before making your selection to make sure you stand the best chance of owning a car that you will love.
Depending on your experience and budget, one may be better suited for you than the other. Typically, most beginners start with an electric RC car until they get the hang of the vehicle and become accustomed to driving and maintaining the car.
However, as you become used to RC vehicles, you may then want to begin to investigate nitro rc cars as these great vehicles do, particularly for the more experienced user have some advantages over electric powered RC cars.