Toy-Grade VS Hobby-Grade RC Cars – What Are The Differences?
In the RC car world, there are 2 types of cars available: Toy-grade and hobby-grade cars. And they both have their similarities and differences. If you are interested in getting into RC cars, then it is a good idea to know the characteristics of each model so that you are well informed before making a purchase.
The main difference between hobby-grade and toy-grade cars is the overall quality of the car. Hobby-grade cars are sturdier, faster, bigger, and overall they are made with high-quality components that toy-grade models usually do not have.
Toy-grade cars, as their name implies, are much smaller, simpler and cheaper too. This makes them a great choice for beginners looking to get into this hobby. However, this doesn’t mean that all toy grade cars are inferior to hobby-grade models though. They are a particularly great choice for smaller kids.
Choosing between a toy grade and hobby grade model is going to depend on a lot of factors. Below I provide a pros and cons list that goes through both RC car types.
Hobby-Grade Cars Are Much More Fun Than Toy-Grade Cars
When it comes to having fun, then hobby-grade models are the clear winner. They are more fun because of many obvious reasons. The first one is that they can go a lot faster than toy-grade models. No matter if the hobby-grade car is powered by nitro or electricity, it will probably achieve speeds over 30 MPH. Toy-grade models won’t be able to reach that at all.
Another reason why they are so fun is that they can be disassembled and modded. When you buy a hobby car, you are buying a toy to play with but you are buying a personal project that you can tinker with for hours and hours on end. You could mod the engine, change the suspension, and more, stuff that generally can’t be done with the typical toy-grade car.
Toy Cars Are Much Cheaper
One of the pros of toy grade cars is that they are significantly cheaper than a hobby-grade car. A decent toy-grade car can cost you 50 dollars with everything and the charger, while a decent hobby grade is going to run you over 200$ dollars, and then you are probably going to have to buy a new battery or nitro fuel.
Some nitro cars do not come with starter pack so anybody buying one is going to have that extra expense, and when you calculate everything, the fact is that hobby grade cars can be more than 10 times more expensive than a toy grade model.
Toy-Grade Cars Are Better For Kids
A Toy-grade car would make for a good Christmas gift for a small kid. Unless the kid really likes RC cars, buying a hobby-grade model as a first car is often not a good idea for them. The first reason why is the complexity associated with running a hobby-grade model. You need to charge the battery correctly, refill the nitro, and tinker with the carburetor. Aside from that, the typical hobby-grade controller might be a little bit hard for a kid to understand.
Toy-grade cars are much simpler and easier to use. You simply need to stick some AA batteries on them and off you go. Toy-grade models are also a good choice for people who haven’t bought a hobby-grade product yet and want to try a cheaper model first before doing so.
Hobby Grade Cars Have Better Resale Value
Even though hobby-grade models are more expensive than toy-grade models for obvious reasons, they also tend to retain their resale value, especially if taken care of.
This is especially true if you have a model that has a reputation for reliability and dependability, even if mistreated. Those models tend to be made by more expensive brands such as Tamiya, but they are well worth it in the end since they can be sold years later near their initial price.
Hobby Grade Models Require More Maintenance
Obviously, since hobby grade models are inherently more complex than toy grade models, they will also require more upkeep and maintenance, at least if you are looking to maintain its performance in the long run. You might have to spray the engine with WD-40, adjust the servos, and even change the tires occasionally if you want to have your RC car working to its 100%.
This doesn’t happen with toy-grade models. They are much simpler, generally using very basic electric motors, which do not require much upkeep if any at all. The tires tend to be made from a less grippy but more resistant material, and some toy-grade models will use simple AA batteries instead of the pricey LiPos and NiMH batteries used on the typical hobby-grade model.