When your kid loves diggers, it feels like a no-brainer to pick up a remote control construction toy. However, there are so many options it’s difficult to know which ones are worth your money and which ones are worth a miss.
We used our own experience and a plethora of reviews to help us choose RC construction toys of every kind for a wide range of age groups.
- Control range of 328 feet
- Strong alloy hook for heavy weights
- Folding boom for easier storage
- Bright LED headlights
- Strong tire grip for hill climbs
- Speedy, motor-powered truck bed
- Simple two-button control system
- Auto shut-off to save batteries
- Won’t mark walls
- Building & RC fun in one
- Intricate construction for older kids
- LEGO Technic models compatible
- 1:14 Top Race machines compatible
- Realistic sound effects
- Bright LED lights
- 64-page instruction booklet
- Includes details of eight experiments
- 10 different models to build
- Easy to control
- Fun lights & sounds
- Rechargeable batteries included
- Comes with a to-scale pallet
- Constructed from 90% heavy metal
- Can lift items up to 6 lbs
- Easy to drive
- Good size for easy storage
- Highly detailed design
- Fun option for toddlers
- Encourages hand-eye coordination
- Removable construction worker figure
How to Choose the Best RC Construction Toys
Here are the factors we consider when choosing our favorite RC construction toys.
Remote control vehicles are either “toy-grade” or “hobby-grade.” Toy-grade models are lighter, usually made from plastic, and are less likely to stand up to heavy sustained use.
Hobby-grade RC vehicles are usually made of metal, able to lift or move heavier objects, and, generally, last longer.
Simple RC construction vehicles aimed at toddlers will set you back somewhere in the $30-$50 range. This price point will get you something fun, sturdy enough to stand up to a toddler, but not too sophisticated.
For older children, a decent quality RC construction toy costs between $50 and $100. At that price point, you’ll find a machine with enough capabilities to keep things exciting and a build strong enough to minimize the chances of broken toy tears.
Finally, for teens, soon-to-be teens, and adult kids, the best hobby-grade RC construction vehicles are in the $200+ price bracket. Our experience has been that if you’ve got an RC nut in the family and you’re buying them a hobby-grade machine, ask for their input.
For younger children, it’s best to go for the kind of ready-to-run RC construction vehicles that will work straight from the box.
Older children may enjoy machines that require a little assembly. But when you hit the tweens and teens age group, RC vehicle kits or build-your-own sets add an additional level of engagement.
Some kids want dump trucks they can fill with dirt, drive around, and then unload. Meanwhile, other children might be looking for a crane, a forklift, or a bulldozer.
We’ve included examples of a range of RC construction toys, so you’ll have plenty of choices or at least a good starting point.
Runtime and Battery
We have given preference to rechargeable batteries because they reduce the longer-term cost of play and minimize the chance of being left without batteries and the inevitable upset child.
However, it’s also important to consider how long the battery takes to charge and how long you can play with the vehicle before the battery runs flat. A quick charge time is great, but if you only get ten minutes of play from that charge, a longer charge time may be preferable.
If you have an especially enthusiastic construction worker, a rechargeable battery, and a spare to keep charged is the ideal set-up.
A 2.4GHz connection will let you maintain control over a wider distance than a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. Unlike previous generations of RC, those with a 2.4Ghz control can allow multiple vehicles to run in the same area without interference.
Models with more sophisticated app functions tend to be the higher-end build-your-own style machines. They are suitable for the kids who enjoy the “how it works” aspects of RC construction vehicles rather than the “make it do stuff” focused kids.
The very nature of RC construction vehicles means they are more fun if you’re doing something more than driving them around.
Toys that come with accessories such as pallets, beams, or construction materials give an added dimension to play. For younger child-focused machines, though, you can usually find something around the house that will work.
The Best RC Construction Toys of 2022
These are our top ten best RC construction toys for kids.
1. Fistone: RC Truck Crawler Tower Crane
Best RC Crane
The Fistone RC crawler crane has multiple functions with 360-degree platform rotation and a lift arm you can move up and down. There’s also a hook rising and a falling hook in addition to the standard forward, backward, left, and right driving movements.
At 1:14 scale, the body of the model is 7.5 x 16 x 19 inches, and the boom extends to 2 inches. The construction is a mix of plastic and metal, while the tracks are rubber and the “cable” is strong woven cotton.
You’ll have to give the battery an eight-hour charge before your first use. Then, depending on what you do with it, you get between 15-20 minutes of play time from a two to three hour charge. It comes with a USB charging cable but not a plug-block.
Additional batteries are readily available, so if your little construction fiend is a hard worker, you can quickly swap out a charged battery for almost uninterrupted play. This product is ideal for kids ages 7 years and up.
- Control range of 328 feet.
- Strong alloy hook for lifting heavier weights.
- Folding boom for easier storage.
- Reviewers say it doesn’t lift weights as heavy as the manufacturers claim.
2. CatToysOfficial: Massive Mover Dump Truck
Best RC Dump Truck
If shifting dirt is your kid’s passion, and they are 5 years old or under, the official Cat toys machine ticks all of the boxes for fun and durability at a reasonable price point. Made of plastic and steel, it’s a sturdy buy for the enthusiastic hauler but definitely not a hobby-grade build.
The 1:16 scale truck can reach speeds of up to 12mph and will do a decent job of climbing a 45-degree slope. Meanwhile, the 7 x 16 x 7-inch model is big enough for fun but not so imposing it takes up too much room.
You get six wheels with rubber tires and suspension. Plus, the bed of the dump truck will hold and dump up to ten pounds of gravel, dirt, or other kiddie construction materials.
The 2.4GHz controller requires two AA batteries and has a range of roughly 120 feet. The vehicle battery takes approximately one hour to charge fully. And a full charge provides about 30 minutes of non-stop trucking and hauling.
- Bright LED headlights.
- Strong grip on tires for hill climbs.
- Speedy, motor-powered truck bed.
- Only around 30% of the construction is steel.
3. Tomy: John Deere Remote Control Tractor
Best RC Tractor
The John Deere remote control tractor from TOMY is sweet, simple, and ideal for the youngest of construction workers.
Its soft, rounded build is designed for ages 18 months and over with a simple two-button controller that will promote hand-eye coordination without being frustratingly complex.
You need 3 AA batteries for the remote controller and a single 9-volt battery for the tractor itself, which means you’ll need a good stash of batteries in reserve. However, there is an auto shut-off function built into the tractor, which minimizes the wastage.
It’s best to keep the tractor for indoor use, although there’s no reason not to use it outside if you ensure it’s given a good wipe down and dry off after use. You’ll just find that outside, the tractor will struggle on uneven surfaces.
- Simple two-button control system.
- Auto shut-off function to save batteries.
- Won’t mark walls.
- You need lots of batteries.
4. LEGO Technic: Remote-Controlled Volvo L350F
For older kids and teens, the LEGO Technic RC Volvo L350F wheel loader provides the enjoyment of remote control vehicles as well as the fun of building a vehicle of your own.
This LEGO Technic set is an official partnership with Volvo, and in addition to building the L350F wheel loader, you can also build a Volvo A25F articulated hauler. However, to be clear, there are only enough pieces to build one model at a time. You have to deconstruct one to build the other.
The engine is a highly detailed green Volvo-like model with moving pistons and a working fan. Both the truck bed and the bucket are controllable with the remote.
The downside is that it needs a lot of batteries, and this is more of a LEGO kit that happens to be construction-focused rather than a construction toy that happens to be LEGO. Consequently, the model isn’t especially strong and isn’t capable of lifting much.
- Building and RC fun in one.
- Intricate construction ideal for older kids.
- Compatible with other LEGO Technic models and pieces.
- Requires 6 AA batteries and 6 AAA batteries.
5. Top Race: Remote Control Dump Truck
Best for Older Kids
For those 12 years and older, Top Race makes RC machines ideal for your 1:14 scale construction site.
You can run the truck without it being within a direct sightline of the controller, and you can have up to 100 feet between you and the machine before it will lose the connection.
The rechargeable batteries are 7.2V Ni-Cd models. These take about three hours to charge fully, and will give you around 45 minutes of play. Unfortunately, however, some users report as much as an hour while others report as little as 30 minutes. The controller requires 4 AA batteries.
The truck is rated as capable of carrying 22 lbs, but that is a little deceptive. Yes, the dumper will run with 22 lbs in the truck bed, but it will do so slowly. In addition, the tipping bed will not work with the full 22lbs in the back; it will only tip to empty with a maximum of 7 lbs in the back.
- Compatible with other 1:14 scale Top Race machines.
- Realistic sound effects.
- Bright LED lights allow use in low light.
- Can carry way more than it can tip.
6. Thames & Kosmos: Remote Control Machines
The Thames & Kosmos RC construction toy kit combines the fun of building, plenty of remote control fun, and a healthy dose of physics experimentation. It’s designed for kids 6 years and older, but we found the 8-10 year olds got the most out of it.
There are 227 sturdy pieces, some of which are plastic and others rubber. Plus, the box-shaped six-button remote can be used with up to four motors at once on the same model.
The remote itself is an infrared design, which is ideal for short distances such as in the garden. The setup is not the best for long-range outdoor play so you’ll want to avoid flying this in the backcountry where it could go out of range, fly over the horizon, and be lost.
In addition, you’ll need three AA batteries for the remote and two AAA batteries for the motor units that come with the model.
This set is best suited for the curious kids and not the rough and tumble types.
- Comprehensive, full color, 64-page instruction booklet.
- Includes details of eight experiments to try.
- 10 different models to build — perfect for building fiends.
- Short-range remote.
- Not suitable for digging in the dirt.
7. Onadrive Truck RC Excavator
Best RC Excavator
This driving and digging are more of a realistic fully-functional toy with RC status bestowed upon it, than a cool RC construction toy.
This pretty fantastic toy is capable of turning at any angle. It uses its powerful motor and arm to dig sands gravel then transport it to another area.
It is not just for simple drive-about fun, this truck excavator is a good preschooler-friendly choice. If you’re looking for something with a bit more construction-centric action, this will serve its purpose pretty well.
- Easy to control, great for younger kids.
- Realistic lights, sounds, and action.
- Volume control not included.
- Removing of rechargeable batteries is a bit tedious process.
8. Top Race Jumbo Remote Control Forklift
Best RC Forklift
This Top Race forklift isn’t complicated to use, but it does need a little practice and control. So it’s ideal for the older primary age group who have calmed down a little and have the patience to drive more precisely.
You can lift up to six pounds. However, we recommend lifting items where the center of gravity is low and close to the forklift, or you’ll run into tipping issues. Meanwhile, when you attach the trailer, which is available separately, you can pull up to 26 lbs.
There are realistic forklift sounds, headlights, and taillights, and the construction is predominately metal with only limited plastic trim and accessories.
The lifting mechanism has a smooth single-speed action, and the adjustable-for-width forks will reach up to 15 inches into the air.
Charging time is about 90 minutes, and for that, you’ll get about 25 minutes of play.
- Comes with a to-scale pallet.
- Rear hitch in place for a trailer that’s available separately.
- Larger toy that needs plenty of storage space.
9. Top Race: 5 Channel Front Loader
Best RC Bulldozer
While we try to recommend a wide range of manufacturers and toy types, sometimes one company has an edge that results in them popping up more often. That’s the case with Top Race. Their RC construction toys are durable, well thought out, and fun.
So…Top Race wins our stamp of approval for the best RC bulldozer for kids.
You can drive forward, backward, left, and right, and lift the bucket up and down with the simple two-stick control but don’t expect to haul much in the bucket. We managed a few LEGO bricks, but that was about it.
You’ll need three AA batteries for the controller and two AA batteries for the truck. Although you can still play with the bulldozer without batteries, it’s just not as much fun.
With more “plasticity” than other Top Race models, the forklift is 1:36 scale and designed for kids of 3 years and up.
- Easy to drive.
- Good size for easy storage.
- Lightweight and flimsy at 1.3 pounds.
- No lights or sounds to thrill younger kids.
10. Haktoys: RC Bulldozer Truck For Toddlers
Best for Toddlers
Cute, brightly colored, and with a removable driver, the Haktoys RC bulldozer truck is the perfect first RC construction vehicle for toddlers.
Designed for kids 18 months and up, the remote is a fun steering wheel with a pair of buttons. Rather than steering, the wheel is just for show, and the bulldozer truck only moves backwards and forwards, movement that’s controlled by the two buttons.
There are lots of loud, exciting sounds to enjoy. Unfortunately, though, if you are thinking of removing the speaker so you don’t have to listen to the noise, you can’t. The speaker is fiendishly protected by the placement of an unremovable wheel which prevents you from covering the speaker and avoiding a headache.
- Fun option for toddlers.
- Encourages hand-eye coordination.
- Won’t appeal to older kids.
Builders of the Future
Harness your child’s excitement about construction vehicles by choosing one of our best RC construction toys. In addition to enjoying the driving of the vehicles, your child will unconsciously boost their hand-eye coordination and develop a basic understanding of cause and effect.
And you never know, giving your child an RC construction vehicle might kick off a lifetime of construction-focused enjoyment, either at work or in their spare time.