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The best RC boat offers hours of outdoor fun for beginners and hobbyists, performing stunts in all types of water and capturing imaginations everywhere. Our evaluation focused on controls, quality of anti-tilt/waterproof construction, range, top speeds, and charge time. We are after only the best toys and games. If you like toys, you need to check out our best RC toys guide.
After 15 hours of research and testing, our #1 best RC boat pick goes to the Force1 Velocity RC Boat. It rips the tide with a list-leading 20+ miles per hour, 120-meter range, and a rugged body and motor construction that keeps it upright and waterproof for long hours of uninterrupted fun.
Award: Top Pick/Fastest & Best Construction
WHY WE LIKE IT: This RC boat is a force of nature, sporting a single-prop motor that delivers 20+ MPHspeeds, 60-90 minute charge time, and an anti-flip, double hatch design for water resistance. This makes it an excellent choice for leisurely sails or competitive racing for players of all levels in different types of water, including calm pools and choppy lakes.
The Force1 Velocity RC Boat’s controller is the most sophisticated (it operates on a 2.4GHz band), sporting a large, easy-to-read LCD screen with trim adjustment, throttle, signal, and power displays more suited for the intermediate to advanced level rider that is looking for total domination. It is not really the best remote control boat for kids though.
A separate capsize recovery button also rights overturned boats, offering convenience over other models needing 2-3 second throttle switch presses. And it’s fairly affordable, falling in the middle of the pack cost wise. Note: this boat is not designed to be used in salt water. Check out the Altair AA 102 Aqua RC Boat as well, which can reach a high speed of up to 20 MPH, has a 2.4GHz radio control system, and can sail across the water for up to 20 minutes. It also has a low battery alarm so you don’t risk getting your boat stranded in the middle of the water.
Award: Honorable Mention/15 MPH Top Speed
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 12-inch long speed runner is a solid workhorse, hitting top speeds of 15 MPH, remote distance of 150 meters, and a 180-degree capsize recovery function with an anti-tilt hull. Along with a no-interference 4-channel 2.4 GHz transmitter, the SHARKOOL is a solid choice as a starter boat or hardcore fans looking to test their racing chops.
Like the Force1 Velocity RC Boat, the SHARKOOL has a double hatch design which helps prevent water from seeping in, reducing top speed times. A built-in cooling system also prevents engine temperatures from overheating, resulting in extended battery life.
Maneuverability with the SHARKOOL is top-notch, with max-throttle-to-max-reverse presses on the throttle stick flipping overturned boats back to position. Our testing saw crisp cuts, straightaways, and turns on a dime with pretty intuitive feeling controls, so a ramp stunt or a straight shot off of a dock would not test its limits. Almost as much fun as the Super Yacht Sub 3.
Award: 15 MPH Top Speed
WHY WE LIKE IT: The zippy SZJJX RC Boat blitzes choppy lakes with top speeds of 15 MPH, remote control distance of 150 meters, two-way rudders for stability, and an automatic capsize recovery function. Combined with 2.4GHz frequency 4-channel transmission, all of these features make it ideal for competition-minded RC fans to race multiple RC boats in off-road-like conditions.
This boat’s remote controller comes with an LCD screen flashing a signal strength progress bar and throttle switch with left and right-hand mode, allowing for greater operator control.
Just as the Quadrofoil brings the joy of the hydrofoil to the masses, this rc boat also pleases. Its charge time of 120-140 minutes and playing time of 7-8 minutes could be improved, nearly double the wait time of the Force1 Velocity RC Boat’s (our #1 pick) 60-90 minute charge time and 10 minutes of action. An additional battery is included for extended play.
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Award: Best Value/Top Speed of 20 MPH
WHY WE LIKE IT: The INTEY H102 hits all the right notes, with a top speed of 20+ MPH, 150 M remote distance, a 2 way navigation rudder for corrective steering, and 180 Flip capability. This results in a smoother ride in calm or choppy waters, albeit a slower recovery time than the Force1 Velocity RC boat (our #1 pick) which uses a button.
Another bonus is its charging time, square in between the Force1 Velocity RC Boat’s 60-90 minutes and the SZJJX RC Boat ’s 120-140 minutes. Like the SHARKOOL, the remote emits an audible alarm when the battery is low or after exceeding the remote control distance. This is a fun toy until you can afford something like the Wider 42 Transformer Yacht, a true big boy toy. Be sure to check out the Pro Boat Blackjack 24-inch Catamaran Brushless RC Boat as well, which can sail up to speeds of 30 MPH and has a powerful brushless motor that doesn’t risk overheating.
Award: Water Detecting Propellers
WHY WE LIKE IT: This boat is a solid choice for speedsters with top speeds of up to 18.6 mph, 150m remote distance, and a capsize recovery function. Like our top picks, SGOTA’s remote range tops out at 150 meters and uses a 2.4GHz frequency with automatic code pairing which allows several boats to race together at the same time.
The SGOTA’s controller is user-friendly, featuring an LCD screen to display signal strength and battery capacity indicators, emitting an audible alert when the battery level is low.
Charge times are about average, with a playing time of 10 minutes and an average 2 hour charge time. Propellers also do not spin without water detection, saving on battery life and adding safety. The best RC toys should be fun, safe and a toy that you can come back to again and again.
Award: Best Budget/Best Beginner
WHY WE LIKE IT: Consider this an entry-level RC boat with lower numbers across the board, including a shorter remote distance up to 50m, a top speed of 6 miles per hour, and an anti-tilt hull. It is the ideal choice for non-competitive beginners looking to learn as it boasts the longest run time on our list of 20 minutes.
The INLAIER’s strongest suit is its 20 minute run time, helped by lower top speeds and its lighter weight over double-hatch RC boats. Construction is basic, comprised of simple plastic, not impact-resistant ABS plastic of the SZJJX and the INTEY RC Boats.
Charge times are about mid-range, taking approximately 90 minutes, with charging status illuminated by a red indicator so you can keep your patience intact. This is a fun foray into boating and water sports.
Poorly constructed or limited range RC boats could result in tons of frustration and an early exit from a pool or lakeside trip. The same goes for the best rc helicopters. Our evaluation criteria looked into top speed, maneuverability controls, signal range and charge times. So with that in mind, we did not include RC boats withoutanti-tilt controls, RC boats that took 120 minutes or more to charge, a remote control range of less than 50-meters, and a top speeds slower than 15 miles per hour (though our last pick is well below that, but with that comes the perfect beginner boat and a 20 minute play time on a single charge).
Saltwater racing is not advised, as it could corrupt or erode your RC boat's electrical components over time.
RC boats use a transmitter that interfaces with your RC boat’s receiver to convert radio signals into electrical control signals, which steer the boat. Both transmitter and receiver must operate on the same frequency.