Main Benefits and Differences of Electric and Nitro RC Cars

Radio control cars or RC cars have been around for several years, and it still remained to be a popular hobby for adults and children alike. However, there are several reasons for this; probably one of the major things about this is that one can customize and make any changes. This means that you can make any radio-controlled car. However, it might be a bit hard for beginners because there are actually two types of RC cars in the market: Nitro RC cars and Electric RC cars. The both of them seem pretty much alike when it comes to appearance, but they indeed offer an entirely different experience.

In this article, we are going to help you understand the difference between the two and how this may affect your hobby experience.


Probably the most significant difference between Nitro and RC cars is how they derive their power. When it comes to electric RC cars, their power comes from an electrical charge. More often than not, this power will come through a battery pack, which can be recharged or replaced. It is also important to note that the battery used in the car is different from the type of batteries used in the controller.

On the other hand, nitro-powered RC cars are powered by an engine that uses a methanol-based fuel with nitromethane mixed in it. The nitro fuel and nitro engine is just the same as gas and automotive engines that are used in a full-sized car or track.

Brush and Brushless Motors?

When it comes to electric RC cars, there are two types of motors that are used, and these are the brush and brushless motors. Brushed motors are typically used in toy-grade radio-controlled cars, but it can also be found in some hobby-level models. This type of engine has a small contact brush that allows the motor to rotate.

On the other hand, a brushless motor generates a more powerful push and can be modified in different ways. In fact, most professional electric RC users often opt for brushless motors just because of this reason. Brushless motors are far more expensive than their brushed counterparts, but they are certainly more popular and can give your electric RC more power.

Nitro Engine

A nitro engine is a lot more complicated because it has a clutch, carburetor, piston, flywheel, air filter, crankshaft, and a glow plug. If you own an actual car, you might be familiar with these parts because it can also be found in the engine of a normal full-sized cars and trucks. The central part of the nitro engine is its head radiator because it is responsible for dissipating the engine block’s heat. This function allows the fuel and air mixture to control the engine’s temperature; that is why it is considered to be one of the significant advantages of the nitro engine compared to its electric counterpart.

Pros of Nitro Powered RC Cars

  • Nitro powered RC cars have faster top speed compared to the standard electric powered RC car.
  • Driving a nitro radio control car is more realistic.
  • Nitro RC cars allow a more customizable experience.
  • They have fuel tanks that can give a longer running time compared to batteries.
  • They produce a sound of a real engine.

Cons of Nitro Powered RC Cars

  • Nitro Powered RC cars need a lot more attention and maintenance.
  • This type of radio control car takes more time to set before you get to use it.
  • It can be quite costly to build a nitro-powered RC car, and it can even cost you more money in the long run because you have to buy fuel.
  • Most nitro-powered cars are not waterproof.
  • You might have to clean and drain the fuel of a nitro-powered RC car after you use them.

Pros of Electric Powered RC Cars

  • Electric powered radio control cars are considered to be the perfect RC cars for beginners.
  • It is easy to set up, you have to put on the batteries, and away you go.
  • It has a quieter engine that will not annoy other people, particularly your neighbor.
  • Most electric-powered radio control cars are affordable, and it requires little maintenance.
  • Most electric-powered RC car models are waterproof.

Cons of Electric Powered RC Cars

  • Electric powered radio controlled cars are slower compared to nitro powered RC cars. It can attain your desired speed if you can make expensive upgrades.
  • More often than not, electric powered RC cars need special chargers as well as battery packs.
  • You might need to change its batteries from time to time, which is why you might want to have stock or back-up batteries if you’re going to use your electric powered RC car for a long time.

Now that you know the difference and benefits of electric and nitro powered radio controlled cars, it is safe to say that you can weigh in your choices. Nevertheless, it still all boils down to your experience, personal preference, and the amount of money you’re willing to spend on your radio-controlled car.