Best RC Rock Crawlers of 2021

Updated
Find the best rock crawler for your budget.

Our family has enjoyed RC vehicles in general, and rock crawlers in particular, for many years. I’m excited to share some of this knowledge with you. And don’t worry, there’ll be no technical speak or long explanations.

I’ll only share what you need to make an informed decision about the best RC rock crawlers for your needs.

Our Top Picks

We love honesty! Mom Loves Best earns a commission through the following hand-picked links at no extra cost to you.
Image
Model
Compare the Best
Features
Product Image of the Axial SCX24 2019 Jeep Wrangler JLU CRC RC Crawler 4WD Truck RTR with LED Lights,...
Best Mini RC Rock Crawler
Axial Jeep Wrangler RC Crawler
  • Water-resistant
  • Quick to learn controls
  • Has LED lights
Product Image of the DANCHEE RidgeRock - 4WD Electric Rock Crawler - 1/10 scale - RTR
Best for Beginners
Danchee RidgeRock 4WD Rock Crawler
  • Adjustable components
  • Comprehensive instructions
  • Simple to master
Product Image of the DEERC DE45 RC Cars Remote Control Car 1:14 Off Road Monster Truck,Metal Shell...
Best RC Truck Rock Crawler
DEE RC 1:14 Rock Crawler
  • LED headlights
  • Scratch-resistant body panels
  • 45-degree climb capability
Best Classic RC Rock Crawler
Axial Wraith Spawn RC Rock Crawler
  • Higher-end 1:10 scale
  • Waterproof construction
  • 24 GHz controller
Product Image of the Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Rock Crawler with Waterproof Electronics,...
Best Mid-Range RC Rock Crawler
Redcat Racing Everest-10 Rock Crawler
  • High ground clearance
  • Waterproof casings
  • Highly adjustable
Product Image of the LEGO Technic 4x4 X treme Off Roader 42099 Building Kit (958 Pieces)
Most Versatile RC Rock Crawler
LEGO Technic 4x4 Extreme Off-Roader
  • Lots of play value
  • Precise control
  • Compatible with other lego
Product Image of the Axial SCX10 II UMG10 6x6 RC Rock Crawler RTR with 2.4Ghz Radio System (Battery...
Best 6x6 RC Rock Crawler
Axial UMG10 6x6 RC Rock Crawler
  • LED lights included
  • Atypical design
  • Includes functional spare-tire
Product Image of the 1:10 Scale Large RC Cars 48+ kmh Speed - Boys Remote Control Car 4x4 Off Road...
Best High-Speed RC Rock Crawler
Legendary 1:10 Scale RC Rock Crawler
  • Two-speed modes
  • Fireproof battery bag
  • Replacement parts available
Product Image of the Click N’ Play Remote Control Car 4WD Off Road Rock Crawler Vehicle 2.4 GHz,...
Best Budget RC Rock Crawler
Click N’ Play RC Rock Crawler
  • Slow & easily controlled
  • All-weather vehicle
  • Highly affordable
Product Image of the SZJJX RC Cars Off-Road Remote Control Car Trucks Vehicle 2.4Ghz 4WD Powerful 1:...
Best 4WD RC Rock Crawler
Buggy-Style RC Rock Crawler
  • Buggy-style vehicle
  • Lightweight at 2 lbs
  • 2.4GHz controller

How Fast Is An RC Rock Crawler?

Rather than going fast or driving on flat surfaces, rock crawlers are meant to move more slowly to navigate bumps, barriers, and other obstacles. Most RC rock crawlers have a slower speed than standard RC vehicles.

You may come across crawlers with potential speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Regularly driving an RC rock crawler at full speed over a flat carpeted floor can damage them.

What is the Maximum Speed of an RC Car for a Child?

For children and beginners, a rock crawler with a top speed in the 7 miles per hour range is best. Much faster and they can be difficult and frustrating to control over obstacles.

At What Age Can Kids Start Playing With RC Cars?

Under adult supervision, kids can start playing with age-appropriate RC cars as soon as they have the hand-eye coordination to do so. Without supervision, you should adhere to the age guidelines listed by each manufacturer.

How To Choose the Best RC Rock Crawler

To choose the best RC rock crawler for your family, ask yourself the following:

Age-appropriate

The younger your child is, the more important it is to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended age range.

Once your child is older than 7 or 8, their maturity and the amount of experience they have with RC vehicles are more important than their age in years.

Child Patience

These vehicles are designed to be driven over obstacles. This requires more patience and control than you need with a regular RC vehicle. If your child is more interested in driving fast, then consider if a rock crawler is appropriate.

Other Considerations

  • Look at how much time it takes to recharge the batteries, and how much run time it has on a single charge.
  • What type of controller does the vehicle have? Most are either pistol grip or stick controllers, although app controller vehicles are becoming more popular.

The Best RC Rock Crawlers of 2021

Here are what we consider to be the best RC rock crawlers for kids.

1. Axial Jeep Wrangler RC Crawler

Best Mini RC Rock Crawler

This officially licensed Jeep Wrangler RC rock crawler from Axial is everything you look for in a larger vehicle but in a small, well-formed package.

The chassis has c-channel steel frame rails with bracing. The motor mount is also made from steel, keeping flex to a minimum and minimizing the potential of damage to the gears.

A jumper on the receiver allows you to choose one of two brake options — either brake or instant reverse. The controller lets you choose between a low, medium, and high-speed setting.

The Axial has KMC XD Machete wheels that are molded in black and feature an impressive level of detail. Consequently, this little Jeep can take on rocky terrain, sand, and grass, as well as being an excellent indoor option.

It is also water-resistant so you don’t have to worry about a drop of rain, or a splash through a shallow puddle, although a good soaking is to be avoided.

There’s no option to switch between four- and two-wheel drive. You have permanent 4WD, but it does have 4-link rear suspension. Extra links are included should you want to adjust the length of your wheelbase.

Everything you need to get started is in the box, including batteries for the remote.

PROS:
  • Two-year warranty.
  • Easy to use.
  • Quick to learn controls.
  • LED lights.
CONS:
  • LiPo battery charging requires close supervision.

Additional Specs

Age Range 12 years and older
Top Speed 6 miles her hour
Controller Pistol grip, requires 4 AA batteries
Battery Li-Po
Transmitter Range 165 feet

2. Danchee RidgeRock 4WD Rock Crawler

Best RC Rock Crawler For Beginners

Part-way between hobby-grade and toy, the Danchee RidgeRock is an excellent entry-level RC rock crawler for beginners. There are plenty of adjustable components so your child will not grow out of it quickly as they become more experienced.

This model has just over 3 inches of ground clearance which makes it capable of navigating a wide range of obstacles. You can easily swap steering modes between front-wheel-steering, rear-wheel-steering, four-wheel-steering, or four-wheel-crab-steering.

The batteries take approximately five hours to fully charge if you are using the USB charger included with the crawler and connecting it to a computer, battery bank, or USB outlet plug. If you plug the cable into your smartphone charger adapter, you’ll cut the charging time to about three and one-half hours.

A full charge will provide between 45 minutes and an hour run-time, depending on how fast you are driving. If you are looking for a longer run time it is easy to upgrade the batteries.

The RidgeRock comes with a rechargeable battery pack for the vehicle, a USB charging cable, and a pistol-grip style remote. The battery bay is large enough for you to upgrade the batteries at a later date if you wish.

The remote requires three AA batteries which are not included.

PROS:
  • High quality for the price.
  • Comprehensive instructions.
  • Grows with experience.
  • Simple to master.
CONS:
  • Not waterproof.

Additional Specs

Age Range 9 years and older
Top Speed Approximately 8 miles per hour
Controller Pistol grip, requires 3 AA batteries
Battery Li-Ion
Transmitter Range Approximately 170 feet

3. DEE RC 1:14 Rock Crawler

Best RC Truck Rock Crawler

The DEE RC rock crawler is a reasonably well-built example of a toy-grade remote control vehicle that is suitable for younger kids. It is sturdy enough to take some rough and tumble play, but doesn’t cost so much that you don’t want to let the kids play with it.

Chunky rubber tires, big wheels, and shock absorbers make this rock crawler capable of tackling uneven surfaces with up to a 45-degree angle. The metal, scratch-resistant body panels mean it will maintain a like-new appearance even after the occasional rollover.

The controller is a 2.4 GHz model, so you can run more than one truck in the same area without encountering interference. The smaller-than-average remote is suitable for the hands of smaller children.

However, the controller is smaller than most because there’s no speed control. You turn the vehicle on and it builds up to a top speed of approximately 4 miles per hour and stays there until you hit the brake. This can be frustrating when navigating some obstacles.

PROS:
  • LED headlights.
  • Remote comfortable for small hands.
  • It has a 45-degree climb capability.
CONS:
  • No speed control.
  • Not water-resistant.

Additional Specs

Age Range 8 years and older
Top Speed 4 miles per hours
Controller Pistol grip, requires 3 AA batteries
Battery Li-Ion
Transmitter Range 165 feet

4. Axial Wraith Spawn RC Rock Crawler

Best Classic RC Rock Crawler

The Wraith Spawn is a higher-end 1:10 scale rock crawler that is best suited for those who know they will love having a rock crawler. It is not the kind of vehicle you buy on the off-chance your child might like one.

At 24.5 inches long, 12 inches high, and 14 inches wide, the Wraith Spawn is capable of tackling more difficult terrain than its smaller relatives. Meanwhile, the 12-spoke beadthread wheels come dressed in licensed miniature Ripsaw 2.2 tires for superior grip.

Designed to rip through the toughest, wettest trails, the receiver box has multiple silicone seals and is rated as waterproof. That means finishing up at the end of the day covered in mud is nothing to worry about.

However, this rock crawler does not come with a battery pack. Although it does give you the option to choose between LiPo and nickel-metal hydride batteries, it is an additional expense to take into account.

PROS:
  • Large scale.
  • Highly capable.
  • 2.4 GHz controller.
CONS:
  • Battery not included.
  • Less affordable than some options.

Additional Specs

Age Range 14 years and older
Top Speed 10 miles per hour
Controller Pistol grip, requires 4 AA batteries
Battery LiPo or NiMh
Transmitter Range 350 feet

5. Redcat Racing Everest-10 Rock Crawler

Best Mid-Range RC Rock Crawler

The Everest-10 has a single motor mounted in the center of the chassis. It utilizes telescopic drive shafts to deliver power to the front and the rear axles, allowing the suspension to articulate at the same time.

Two aluminum beadlock rings hold the big, aggressively chunky tires firmly in place on the wheels. This negates the need to use glue to hold the tires in place.

A Ni-Mh battery is included in the box. This battery pack will provide you with between 30 and 60 minutes of run time, depending on whether you are driving across a flat surface or moving slowly and carefully over uneven terrain.

The speed regulator allows you to maintain exceptional control over your speed. That is critical for rock crawling, and the high torque motor provides a level of crawling power unparalleled in other RC vehicles in this price range.

All of the important electronics are protected by waterproof casings so fording the occasional creek or stream while navigating your obstacles is not an issue.

When not rock crawling, the Everest-10 moves at a steady walking pace, but you won’t see much in the way of speed, and the turning circle is huge. This isn’t a problem outside, but if you drive it indoors expect to do some extensive forward and reverse maneuvers.

PROS:
  • High ground clearance.
  • Licensed Addictive Desert Designs accessories.
  • Highly adjustable.
CONS:
  • Wide turning radius.
  • Flimsy bodyshell.

Additional Specs

Age Range 12 years and older
Top Speed 7 miles per hour
Controller Pistol grip, requires 4 AA batteries
Battery Ni-Mh
Transmitter Range 150 feet

6. LEGO Technic 4 x 4 Extreme Off-Roader

Most Versatile RC Rock Crawler

You don’t have to be a fan of LEGO to enjoy building and driving their RC Technic 4×4 but it helps.

This model benefits from realistic sound effects, high rise suspension, and big wheels encased in chunky tires. It’s powered by three motors for precise control.

Don’t let the 224 pages of building instructions put you off. Labeled as a set for 11 years and older, this build requires some patience but is not overly taxing.

Controlling the vehicle via the smart device app takes a little practice if you are already used to a regular stick or pistol grip control. However, this is not a case of difficulty, just of overcoming established habits. If you don’t have any experience, you can be up and running in moments.

The innovative use of an app to control this rock crawler provides additional benefits, including the ability to get real-time data such as a speed and tilt log. There is also the ability to control the vehicle with your fingertip, a bonus for those who struggle with multiple inputs.

Finally, there are in-app challenges to complete, and doing so wins you a variety of achievement badges. This is a great option for keeping your kids interested beyond the initial novelty period.

PROS:
  • Lots of play value.
  • Precise control.
  • Compatible with other LEGO.
CONS:
  • Self-build.
  • Limited crash resilience.

Additional Specs

Age Range 11 years and older
Top Speed 10 miles per hour
Controller App, smart device not included
Battery 6 AA batteries
Transmitter Range 165 feet

7. Axial UMG10 6x6 RC Rock Crawler

Best 6 x 6 RC Rock Crawler

For fans of hardcore, off-road military vehicles who want to carry their obsession over into their RC hobby, there is the Axial UMG10 6×6 RC rock crawler.

While traditional rock crawlers are designed to replicate their highly articulated full-size cousins, the Axial UMG is made to take on the rigors of traversing rocky, off-road areas in much the same way a Unimog might.

The wheels on the UMG are an injection molded, three-piece, bead-lock design, encased in symmetrically patterned, big block tires. These tires are capable of carrying the truck across loose gravel, mud, sand, and snow, as well as running smoothly on a variety of road surfaces.

There’s even a functional spare-tire mounted in the two-part truck bed.

High pinioned gears allow for superior driveshaft angles and increased gear surface while larger load bearings provide reduced flex and a strengthened drive chain.

Remove the two clips under the cab and you can raise the hinged body for easy access to the battery compartment, or for maintenance and upgrades. Meanwhile, the cab itself has an authentic-looking, military-style double crew cab.

PROS:
  • LED lights included.
  • Atypical design.
  • Unique-looking vehicle.
CONS:
  • Battery and charger not included.
  • High price tag.

Additional Specs

Age Range 12 years and older
Top Speed 10 miles per hour
Controller Pistol grip, requires 4 AA batteries
Battery Not included
Transmitter Range 150 feet+

8. Legendary 1:10 Scale RC Rock Crawler

Best High-Speed RC Rock Crawler

A large proportion of the marketing for this 1:10 scale rock crawler from Legendary appears to be focused on its speed. That’s odd, because you do not choose a rock crawler for its speed.

However, the controller for the Legendary does have a function for you to switch between high speed and low-speed modes. This allows beginners or those who want to tackle crawling courses to go slow.

The truck can tackle slopes of up to 45 degrees, and the oil-filled shocks and foam-filled tires react well to “off-road” terrain.

If you choose to use the high-speed mode, beware. Running a truck like this at a high speed for a sustained period is likely to burn out the gears or other engine parts. Full speed also increases your risk of crashing and your truck sustaining other types of damage.

If you do encounter breakages, Legendary has an extensive line of replacement parts for sale. That almost makes it feel like they tout their high speed knowing that driving the vehicle too fast will cause damage, requiring the purchase of new parts.

PROS:
  • Two-speed modes.
  • Fireproof battery bag.
  • Replacement parts are available for purchase.
CONS:
  • Li-Po batteries.
  • Short run-time.

Additional Specs

Age Range 10 years and older, if supervised, 12 years and older if unsupervised
Top Speed 30 miles per hour
Controller Pistol grip
Battery 2 x Li-Po batteries
Transmitter Range 250 feet

9. Click N’ Play RC Rock Crawler

Best Budget RC Rock Crawler

Like most things, as you go down the price range for RC rock crawlers, you get less for your money. However, not everyone wants or is able to spend a lot of money on a toy. That’s especially true if it is not guaranteed to hold your child’s interest for long.

That’s where the Click N’ Play RC rock crawler comes in. The tires are big and chunky, it has a decent level of ground clearance, and there is some suspension. It also has a look that appeals to kids.

Some people complain that this model is slow, but then rock crawlers are supposed to be and that is a big plus for the Click N’ Play. In addition, it doesn’t lose traction on wet grass or small gravel, and it is capable of coping with rocks roughly half the height of a standard soda can.

The downside? The quality is what you would expect from a more affordable, mass-produced RC toy. This model does not stand up well when it meets a wall at top speed, and falls from more than 18 inches may be enough to render it inoperable.

PROS:
  • Highly affordable.
  • Slow and easily controlled.
  • It’s an all-weather vehicle.
CONS:
  • Small.
  • Not especially sturdy.

Additional Specs

Age Range 8 years and older
Top Speed 6.2 mph
Controller Pistol grip, requires 3 AA batteries
Battery 4 AA batteries for the car
Transmitter Range Up to 75 feet

10. Buggy-Style RC Rock Crawler

Best 4WD RC Rock Crawler

With the provision that you can’t expect a top tier RC car for a bottom tier price, this buggy-style rock crawler is a good option if you want to run more than one in the same area.

The controller is a 2.4GHz model that allows you to play with multiple models at the same time, without the signals interfering with each other. This is an important consideration if you have more than one child who would like an RC vehicle.

The rock crawler itself weighs about two pounds and is predominately plastic, with metal springs in the suspension. The battery pack has to be removed for charging, and several owners have had issues with either the battery compartment door breaking or the screws stripping.

The battery packs take approximately three hours to charge. A full charge gives roughly 20 minutes of play. There are two battery packs included, so if you have both fully charged before you begin, you’ll get maybe 40 minutes of use at any one time.

Listed as water-resistant, you’ll be okay running the crawler through a shallow puddle, or getting caught in some light rain. But it is by no means waterproof.

PROS:
  • Affordable.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Fun for younger kids.
CONS:
  • Fragile battery cover.
  • Short run-time.

Additional Specs

Age Range 8 years and older
Top Speed 9 miles per hour
Controller Pistol grip, requires 3 AA batteries
Battery Ni-Cd
Transmitter Range 200 feet

Rc Rock Crawler Comparison Chart

Product Best Age Range Top Speed Controller Battery Transmitter Range
Axial Jeep Wrangler RC Crawler Mini 12+ years 6 mph Pistol grip, requires 4 AA batteries Li-Po 165 feet
Danchee RidgeRock 4WD Rock Crawler Beginners 9+ years 8 mph Pistol grip, requires 3 AA batteries Li-Ion 170 feet
DEE RC 1:14 Rock Crawler Truck 8+ years 4 mph Pistol grip, requires 3 AA batteries Li-Ion 165 feet
Axial Wraith Spawn RC Rock Crawler Classic 14+ years 10 mph Pistol grip, requires 4 AA batteries LiPo or NiMh 350 feet
Redcat Racing Everest-10 Rock Crawler Mid-Range 12+ years 7 mph Pistol grip, requires 4 AA batteries Ni-Mh 150 feet
LEGO Technic 4×4 Extreme Off-Roader Versatile 11+ years 10 mph App, smart device not included 6 AA batteries 165 feet
Axial UMG10 6×6 RC Rock Crawler 6×6 12+ years 10 mph Pistol grip, requires 4 AA batteries N/A 150 feet+
Legendary 1:10 Scale RC Rock Crawler High-Speed 10+ years 30 mph Pistol grip 2 x Li-Po batteries 250 feet
Click N’ Play RC Rock Crawler Budget Pick 8+ years 6.2 mph Pistol grip, requires 3 AA batteries 4 AA batteries 75 feet
Buggy-Style RC Rock Crawler 4WD 8+ years 9 mph Pistol grip, requires 3 AA batteries Ni-Cd 200 feet

RC Rock Crawlers FAQs

These are the three questions I hear the most often, from those who are new to the world of RC rock crawlers.

What Are Turns in an RC Motor?

The turns in an RC motor refer to the number of times the wire is wrapped inside the motor. A higher number of turns means there is more resistance. This makes the motor slower.

So, when you are looking at turns, more turns means a slower motor. A 5.5T motor is faster than a 7.5T motor.

What Batteries Are Best Suited for an RC Car for Kids?

RC vehicles that run on regular AA or AAA batteries are fine for kids, but they will run out quickly and you’ll spend a fortune replacing them.

The better quality RC rock crawlers for kids, usually have one of the following types of batteries:

  • Li-Ion: Lithium-ion battery.
  • Ni-Cd: Nickel-cadmium battery.
  • LiPo: Lithium-ion polymer battery.

Without going into too much detail, LiPo batteries are, arguably, the best for RC vehicles but they can be unsafe if overcharged. If you are prepared to monitor the battery handling, changing, and charging process yourself then LiPo batteries are excellent.

If you can’t guarantee that a responsible adult will be taking charge of the battery management, then Li-ion or NiCD batteries are best for your child’s RC vehicle.

What is an RC Car Transmitter Range?

The transmitter range is the furthest distance your vehicle and controller can be apart and still work together. If your car goes beyond the transmitter range, you will no longer be able to control it.

Depending on the car, once it goes out of transmitter range it will either stop or keep going until it hits something or the battery runs out.


Less Speed More Skill

RC rock crawlers provide a more technical option for those who enjoy RC vehicles but are not too interested in racing.

One of the biggest advantages is that you can build your own crawler courses with household items. You don’t need much room to enjoy the experience of navigating the obstacles.

While high-end hobby-grade vehicles can be extremely expensive, there are plenty of affordable options on the market to give your child a feel for the hobby without breaking the bank.

Headshot of patricia

About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.
Brother and sister playing a board game

Best Board Games for 5-Year-Olds of 2021

Five year olds playing with educational toys

25 Best Educational Toys for 5-Year-Olds (2021 Review)

Dad playing toys with 7 month old baby

15 Best Toys for 7-Month-Old Babies (2021 Reviews)

Lego worlds

Best LEGO Games of 2021

Stages of Play

The 6 Stages of How Kids Learn to Play

Happy mom and daughters play with lego sets

Best Girls LEGO Sets of 2021

Leave a Comment