After comparing and carefully handpicking 10 of the best RC crawlers available on the market, we have found Axial SCX10 III to be the best rock crawler for most users.
We have spent 9 hours reviewing, testing, and collecting feedback to bring you this unbiased review to help you make the right purchase decision.
In this top 10 review, we took into account factors that might influence your buying decisions, such as crawling capability, fun factor, battery life, toughness and build quality.
At the same time, it is important to note that each rock crawler is made for slightly different purposes, so keep reading to find out which unit works best for you and your needs.
- Motor: Dynamite 35T brushed
- Servo: Spektrum S614 15kg
- ESC: Spektrum 40A
- Motor: VM-1 35T brushed
- Servo: VS-1 Metal Gear 14.5kg
- ESC: Hobbywing 1060 60A
Table of Contents
Best Replica/Authentic - Traxxas TRX-4
The Traxxas TRX-4 Scale and Trail Crawler is a new design that features a couple of innovative features to improve versatility and add some more toughness.
It features a durable steel ladder frame chassis that provides excellent rigidity and strength, allowing it to handle challenging terrains.
The crawler comes equipped with an adjustable multi-link suspension system that offers impressive articulation and wheel travel.
The Traxxas TRX-4 utilizes remotely lockable differentials, providing improved traction and crawling capability. It also features a two-speed transmission that allows for high-speed driving and low-speed crawling.
One of the standout features of the Traxxas TRX-4 is its portal axles that tackle steep inclines and challenging obstacles with ease. These axles provide increased ground clearance while maintaining proper gear ratio and torque delivery to the wheels.
Traxxas has designed the TRX-4 to be waterproof, allowing it to traverse through wet or muddy conditions without damaging the electronics allowing you so much more ways to enjoy it.
Lastly, you get the Titan 550 brushed electric motor, a waterproof electronic speed controller (ESC), and a high-torque steering servo. These components provide ample power and precise control for challenging crawling situations.
|Portal axles with remotely lockable differentials|
|Realistic and authentic looks|
|Strong and durable build|
|More expensive than comparable rock crawlers|
|Steering angle could have been better|
Biggest Rock Crawler - Axial SCX6
Axial has expanded the SCX6 lineup with an exciting 1/6 scale version of the insanely popular Honcho.
Whether you’re a fan of the original SCX10 Honcho, a rock crawling enthusiast, a large-scale aficionado, or all of the above, the Axial SCX6 Honcho 4WD RTR is sure to impress and please.
It’s the biggest, baddest RC rock crawler we have ever reviewed and tested!
The SCX6 is engineered for extreme durability and performance, as shown by its AR90 axles with metal ring and pinion gears and front offset pumpkin.
For optimal handling, the chassis has a three-link front and rear multi-link suspension setup, and metal links are used at all suspension points.
The transmission offers high and low gears out of the box, with a Spektrum™ S614 metal gear high-torque steering servo included and installed for the two-speed linkage.
Molded from a high traction compound with an aggressive tread pattern, the massive, 7″ tall, officially licensed Falken Wildpeak M/T tires provide excellent grip and ground clearance over dirt, rocks, and all other off-road surfaces. They’re mounted on officially licensed Black Rhino Primm beadlock wheels for easy removal and replacement without gluing.
Featuring quite impressive electronics, you get a Spektrum DX3™ radio, with DSMR® technology, Firma™ Crawler 120A Smart Sensored-Brushless ESC, which comes ready with the telemetry Spektrum Smart technology.
Measuring over 2-1/2 feet long and topped off with a modernized Honcho body, the Axial SCX6 Honcho 4WD RTR is the rig that will take your rock crawling and climbing adventures to an exciting new, absolutely biggest level.
|Metal gear 2-speed transmission|
|ESC with telemetry data|
|2-Year limited warranty|
|Amazing crawling abilities|
|Gear shifting is not smooth|
|Underpowered steering servo|
Best Overall - Axial SCX10 III
The Axial SCX10 III is a highly regarded and feature-rich RC rock crawler that has gained popularity among RC rock crawling enthusiasts over the last years and has established itself as quite a benchmark.
Since the original SCX10 through to SCX10 III, Axial has continually enhanced and improved the model to please a diverse range of RC enthusiasts with better performance and aesthetics.
This time around, the company fixed most of the RC hobbyist complaints from the previous version.
The rock crawler is built on a steel C-channel frame chassis, which provides excellent rigidity and durability. It features an innovative AR45 portal axle design that increases ground clearance while maintaining proper gear reduction for improved torque delivery.
You also get a new LCXU single-speed transmission with a full set of ball bearings and all-metal gears. However, if you wanted to get more speed (~40% more) out of your truck you would need to go for the optional two-speed transmission, which can be purchased separately. The stock transmission, though, has a low gear ratio which delivers excellent torque for precise and controlled crawling.
The suspension system represents an adjustable multi-link setup with coil-over oil-filled shocks that could be fine-tuned to your preferences. It provides impressive articulation and allows for precise tuning to suit different terrains and driving preferences.
SCX10 III comes in different bodies (Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet K10, etc) and different versions, but all are very realistic and have highly detailed body designs that look amazing. In addition, some can even be customized further. You also get licensed Falken Wildpeak or Nitto Trail Grappler (based on the version) tires, which both perform and look amazing.
Portal axles, combined with locked differentials, enhance traction and crawling ability, allowing the vehicle to navigate over challenging obstacles with ease.
All base versions of SCX10 III come with a brushed motor, however, a high-torque brushless motor can be installed optionally for an additional cost. The electronics and the speed controller (ESC) are waterproof.
While many trail trucks either prioritize aesthetics over performance or vice versa, the Axial Racing SCX10 III excels in both aspects. It effortlessly combines impressive performance capabilities with visually appealing design, making it one of the top choices among RTR trail crawler trucks. Yes, SCX10 III is an investment and it is not cheap, but it is a worthwhile decision that offers excellent value for your money long term.
|Great crawling performance|
|Great looking and performing tires|
|Tough and reliable transmission|
|AR45 portal axles with increased ground clearance|
|Lots of upgrade parts are available|
|On the expensive side|
|Not fast out of the box|
Best Mini Crawler For Indoors - Axial SCX24
The Axial SCX24 is a compact and portable micro-scale RC crawler made for indoor and small-scale outdoor crawling adventures.
The chassis of the SCX24 is a ladder-frame design, which gives strength and stability while maintaining a low center of gravity.
It is equipped with solid front and rear axles, giving the little crawler added reliability and protection from damage.
The suspension system features coil-over shocks with limited articulation to tackle more challenging obstacles effectively.
Considering its small size, the SCX24 delivers impressive crawling performance. It features a permanent 4-wheel drive system with proportional steering that provides good traction and maneuverability. The tires are soft and grippy, allowing for excellent grip on various surfaces. The low gearing ratio ensures precise control and slow crawling speeds, ideal for navigating challenging terrains.
It features multiple detailed and realistic scale body designs, resembling popular off-road vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, and Chevrolet C10. The body features some great details, including authentic decals and bright LEDs in the front bumper, which look amazing in the dark.
Despite its small size, the SCX24 captures the essence of its larger counterparts and comfortably enjoys the pedestal of the best 1/24 RC crawler shootout. It is extremely beginner friendly and probably one of the best ways to get into the RC crawling hobby.
|Amazing for indoors|
|Authentic and realistic looks|
|Compact and portable|
|Low-gearing 4-wheel drive system|
|Lacking power at times|
Most Capable Crawler - Axial UTB10 Capra
The UTB10 Capra is a very special crawler with a unique and innovative design that combines elements of a rock buggy and a traditional rock crawler.
It predominantly focuses on trailing and rock crawling abilities, pushing the limits with advanced features such as four wheel crab steering and others.
The chassis is built with a durable tubular Unlimited Buggy frame design which is very light and rigid.
In addition, all suspension pivots and links are constructed using corrosion-resistant stainless steel, ensuring precise and long-lasting suspension connection points.
This extremely capable rock crawler comes with portal axles, which provide increased ground clearance and improve the vehicle’s crawling capabilities. The Capra is also equipped with front and rear solid axles and a three-link suspension system that offers great articulation and stability on challenging terrains helping wheels to stay in contact with the ground for maximum traction.
The four-wheel steering is a game changer reducing the turn radius, improving maneuverability, and allowing the rock crawler to manage the most challenging obstacles with the tightest space available. It is worth noting that steering modes (front & rear wheel steering) are individually controlled via the third channel button on your transceiver and is able to street up to 50%.
All of the above features and precise engineering, enable Capra to deliver exceptional crawling performance unmatched in the 1/10 scale rock crawler’s category.
The Capra comes with a powerful brushless electric motor and a reliable electronic speed controller (ESC). This power system delivers ample torque and speed to tackle steep inclines and challenging obstacles with ease. It also features a two-speed transmission for both high-speed driving and low-speed crawling options.
All combined, Axial UTB10 Capra is the best RC rock crawler as fart as the crawling capability is concerned. If crawling performance is your key priority, there is nothing better in the 1/10 scale out there.
|Unparalleled rock-crawling capability & realism|
|Low-gearing 4-wheel drive system|
|LED light bar and headlights|
|Tranciever with battery power level|
|Wiring is not neat|
|Limited aftermarket support|
Best Budget - Redcat Racing Everest 10
The Redcat Racing Everest 10 is an affordable entry-level rock crawler that is worth anyone’s time engaging in the RC rock crawler hobby.
The chassis features robust and durable construction with a ladder frame chassis design with lots of parts made of metal and strong aluminum.
In addition, the Everest 10 comes equipped with a basic, but must-have set of features for any decent rock crawler such as a four-link suspension system, solid axles, aluminum-capped oil-filled shocks, a very impressive chassis flex and adjustable suspension links.
You do not get locking differentials to keep the crawler in the budget price range, hence the four-wheel drive system is permanently enabled, which is fine when rock crawling, but not so much when driving around.
The Redcat Racing Everest 10 offers outstanding crawling performance, especially considering its price range. Its four-wheel drive system delivers sufficient traction, while the high torque brushed electric motor provides ample power for overcoming obstacles. The included brushed ESC and 3000mAh NiMH battery pack offers decent runtime for extended crawling sessions.
The chassis provides around 9 cm clearance and the body manages to flex to crazy angles. Supported by the big-size, aggressive true beadlock wheels, which most of the time will find traction with the ground – you have the best RC rock crawler in the budget segment.
|A very affordable crawler|
|Exceptional flex & crawling performance|
|Fully RTR (including battery pack and charger)|
|Many performance parts are available|
|Some plastic parts are not that durable|
Best 6 Wheel Crawler - Traxxas TRX-6
With TRX-6, Traxxas has brilliantly captured the essence of the Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6×6, a vehicle renowned for its boldness and off-road prowess.
In fact, this rock crawler is unique as there is nothing quite like it on the market ever since the Axial SCX10 II UMG10 was discontinued.
It comes with six drive wheels, three T-Lock™ remote-locking differentials, portal axles, and a high/low transmission, which make it an extremely capable and versatile crawler, despite the perceived bulkiness and excessive length.
Some of the smart features available on the remote are cruise control and separately lockable front and rear diffs. Once those diffs are locked, TRX-6 is truly unstoppable, demonstrating new levels of rock-crawling ability we’ve not seen before.
The advantage provided by the additional axle is extremely underrated, in our view. As the truck navigates uneven and stepped terrains, the two extra tires at the rear come into action, propelling the vehicle forward. The TRX-6 boasts an impressive approach angle of 60° and a departure angle of 55°, enabling it to conquer vertical walls when approached at a slight angle. The narrow body of the TRX-6 allows for entertaining cross articulation, showcasing a remarkable range of movement between the front and rear wheels.
On the outside, you get an impeccably detailed body adorned with striking LED lighting, both at the front and rear. You actually get a whole bunch of them – headlights and running lights, lights on the front spoiler, orange side markers, red tail lights, and corner markers on the bonnet. In addition, the LED lights are not only decorative but highly functional putting the light beams right on the road in front of the truck, just like real cars do.
Traxxas TRX-6 crawler is one of those RC rock crawlers that will cater to everyone, regardless of age, who appreciates the thrill of mastering control and navigating off-road paths without rolling over or getting stuck. However, the price point may pose a significant obstacle, especially knowing that a 4×4 alternative on the TRX-4 chassis can be obtained for almost half of the price.
|6×6 grip crawling capability|
|Remotely operatable diff locks|
|Best LED lights on RTR we’ve seen|
|Integrated cruise control|
|Detailed and authentic design|
|Weak steering servo|
Best Rock Racer - Losi Super Rock Rey V2
The Losi Super Rock Rey V2 is an upgraded version of the original and popular 1/6 scale RC rock racer that offers impressive performance and time-tested durability.
The rock buggy features a scale-like trophy truck body design that closely resembles full-size off-road rock racing vehicles and has a functional spare tire at he back.
The chassis incorporates a realistic roll cage for authenticity and added protection.
It is made from composite materials and comes with an aluminum rear axle carrier and trailing arm front suspension which adds rigidness.
The chassis is made of a 4mm, hard-anodized aluminum plate with the same thickness upper deck.
One of the notable features of the Super Rock Rey V2 is its independent front and rear suspension system, which utilizes long-travel shocks and giant sway bars. It not only manages to mimic the realistic movement and handling of the full-scale desert truck, but it also manages to efficiently absorb large whoops and bumps.
The rock racer is equipped with a powerful Spektrum Firma 750kv 4-pole brushless motor and 160A Smart ESC that is capable of propelling the car to 50 miles per hour and more. To achieve those results, you would need 8S LiPo batteries, which this setup can efficiently support.
The four-wheel drive system with locked differentials ensures excellent traction and maneuverability supported by oversized tires mounted on robust beadlock wheels. The large diameter and aggressive tread pattern contribute to the vehicle’s capability to handle rocky terrains.
Overall, the Losi Super Rock Rey V2 is a powerful and capable RC rock racer that combines impressive performance with a realistic trophy truck design. Its exceptional suspension system, high-speed mode, and durable construction make it a top choice for enthusiasts seeking the most epic rock racing experience there is. In addition, you can take this truck to stadium racing as it can handle that fun being partly multifunctional, however if you want to have a purpose build truck – check our best short course truck review for great SC trucks.
|Epic rock racing experience|
|Spektrum Firma 750kv brushless motor|
|Full-bodied roll cage|
|Can do 50+ mph|
|High price point|
|Hard logistics due to size|
Best Mid Range - Enduro Gatekeeper
Element RC is mainly known for trailer trucks, but this time around, they are coming out with a rock crawler, rock racer, and trailer truck hybrid.
The Enduro Gatekeeper uses the Enduro platform, which was successfully used and tested by Element RC on their trailer trucks, but adds an updated Gatekeeper Suspension package (GKSTM)!
The upgrade comprises rear trailing arms that strategically shift the shocks forward, enabling enhanced shock tuning capabilities and improved weight distribution.
The independent front suspension is expected in RC trucks and other RC cars, and Enduro Gatekeer did not prepare any surprises.
The trailing arms work harmoniously with a rear anti-roll bar, ensuring a stable and consistent suspension performance during challenging rock crawling sessions. At the same time, it sacrifices flex, making it a bit less grippy on super rocky terrain.
Additionally, the chassis features a securely fastened adjustable aluminum track bar mount, which eliminates flex and provides the Enduro GK with more dependable and responsive steering.
As for the power and torque distribution, the Stealth X showcases a unique capability to customize the rear drive ratio independently from the front drive, offering three distinct levels of adjustment. The stock configuration provides a front-end overdrive of 5.7% (included with the kit), while option 1 offers a balanced one-to-one drive ratio between the front and rear (available separately). Option 2, however, incorporates an overdrive of 11.83% for the front end (included with the kit) for that extra punch of performance.
A welcome improvement, compared to other caged bodies, is how accessible internal components have become. With the inclusion of a removable hinged body mount, the entire body effortlessly swings forward, granting easy access to the complete chassis and electronics. This convenient feature makes working on the chassis a hassle-free experience, whether you find yourself out on the trail or in the comfort of your garage.
|Stealth X transmission with overdrive|
|Can be used as a trailer truck and rock racer|
|Easily removable body|
|Bent links to increase clearance|
|Slightly excessive roll|
|No portal axles|
Most Features/Advanced - Vanquish VS4-10
Following its initial launch in 2018, the VS4-10 has established itself as a top-tier premium crawler truck, utilizing high-quality CNC aluminum materials and commanding a premium price point.
As a result, it was inaccessible for many RC enthusiasts. However, with the latest version of the truck – VS4-10 Phoenix, it has shifted as the Phoenix has become the feature-rich and the most cost-effective iteration of the VS4-10 ever released.
The VS4-10, like most Vanquicsh RC cars, stands out with its exceptional attention to detail, scale realism, and high-quality craftsmanship.
It features a highly detailed and realistic body design, which is still unparalleled in the RC world. The body shells are made with precision and offer customization options.
The chassis of the VS4-10 is built using a combination of aluminum and steel components, balancing between optimal weight distribution and durability. It utilizes a multi-link suspension system with aluminum shocks and adjustable suspension links, allowing for excellent articulation and fine-tuning to suit different terrains and driving preferences.
The most exceptional feature of VS4-10, which we’ve not seen anywhere else, is the advanced VFD Twin transmission with all metal gears. The truck is ready to be equipped for fully functioning Dig and Selectable overdrive (i.e. OD) integrated into one compact package. Once installed, it allows you to switch between 6%, 35% OD modes or even go from 4WD to 2WD, which delivers a next-level crawling performance adjustable from your transceiver radio system.
The 2-speed transmission allows for both maximum speed fun and low-speed crawling ensuring a smooth power delivery and efficient torque transfer to all wheels.
Lastly, the truck is so versatile and customizable, that we feel most RC enthusiasts will find a number of great applications for it. It comes with so many optional modifications and performance parts that you can almost make your own, unique version of what the best RC rock crawler should be. Also, its remarkably flexible platform allows it to be both – a highly capable and versatile crawler as well as a trailer truck, without making compromises.
|Authentic and realistic scale looks|
|Sidehilling performance is amazing|
|Flexible platform with lots of mods|
|Rock crawler and trailer in one|
|Optional Dig setup|
|Complex setup, assembly|
|Does not fit a bigger motor|
How To Choose the Best RC Rock Crawler - Buying Guide
Choosing one of the best RC rock crawlers for yourself requires consideration of several factors to ensure you select the right model that suits your preferences and needs. Here are some key points to keep in mind when choosing an RC truck rock crawling.
Determine whether you plan to use your RC rock crawler for casual crawling, rock crawling competitions, or a combination of both. If you’re primarily interested in casual crawling, a more affordable and versatile option may be suitable. On the other hand, if you’re aiming for competitive events, you may want to prioritize features like advanced suspension, high-traction tires, and customizable settings.
The scale of an RC rock crawler refers to its size relative to the real-life vehicle it replicates. Larger scales, such as 1/10 or 1/8, often provide more stability and realistic driving experiences. Smaller RC car scales like 1/24 are ideal for indoor crawling or for those with limited space.
Consider the type of terrain you’ll be driving your rock crawler on. If you have access to rocky terrains, look for crawlers with good ground clearance, strong suspension, and grippy tires. For muddy conditions, models with aggressive tread patterns and waterproof electronics may be preferable. If you plan to drive on a variety of terrains, seek a versatile crawler with adjustable suspension and tire options.
Suspension and Articulation
The best rock crawler must have an advanced suspension system and articulation to improve its off-road capabilities. Look for models with adjustable suspension settings, long-travel shocks, and multi-link suspension setups. Higher articulation allows the wheels to maintain contact with uneven surfaces, enhancing traction and maneuverability.
RC rock crawlers typically come with electric (battery-powered) or nitro (fuel-powered) options. Electric crawlers are popular due to their ease of use, quieter operation, and lower maintenance requirements. Nitro crawlers provide more top speed and power but require more maintenance, tuning, and are noisier.
Brushed motors are the standard choice for entry-level and budget-friendly crawlers. They offer sufficient power for most crawling situations and are suitable for beginners. Brushless motors, while more expensive, provide increased power, efficiency, and durability, making them a preferred choice for advanced users or competitive crawling.
If you anticipate driving your crawler in wet conditions or encountering water, choosing a model with waterproof electronics is crucial. This feature protects the motor, ESC (Electronic Speed Controller), and receiver from water damage, allowing you to confidently navigate through puddles or streams.
All RTR (ready-to-run) come with a radio system in the box, but they vary in quality and RC car transmitter range. Check if you need an additional radio system, since you may already have one from your previous ready to run model, but if you do, make sure you get a quality one.
Look for a crawler with a robust construction and durable components that can withstand the rigors of rock crawling. Models with metal gears, steel frames, and high-quality drivetrain components tend to be more durable and reliable.
Consider the availability of aftermarket parts and upgrade options for the crawler you choose. Having the ability to customize and improve your crawler over time can enhance its performance and keep the hobby exciting. Moreover, customized crawlers are always fun as you get to build something unique.
Set a budget based on your preferences and the features you desire. Determine how much you’re willing to invest and balance it with the quality and performance you expect from your rock crawler. Keep in mind that higher-priced models often offer more advanced features and durability.
Reviews and Recommendations
Before making a final decision, research and read reviews from reputable sources to gain insights into the performance, durability, and user experiences of a different RC vehicle. Seek recommendations from experienced RC enthusiasts or join online forums to gather additional advice and insights.
An RC rock crawler is a type of remote-controlled vehicle specifically designed for slow-speed off-road crawling. Unlike other RC vehicles that prioritize top speed, RC crawlers are built to navigate challenging terrains, conquer obstacles, provide a realistic scale crawling experience and deliver some great off road fun. RC rock crawling is about precision, patience, a slow driving style, and pushing the limits of focus and concentration.
The scale of an RC rock crawler refers to its size relative to the real-life vehicle it represents. The choice of scale depends on personal preference and available space for driving and storage. Larger scales like 1/6, 1/10 or 1/8 generally offer more stability and realistic driving experiences, while smaller scales like 1/24 are suitable for indoor crawling or limited space.
RC crawlers are designed to handle various types of off-road terrains. They excel in rocky surfaces, dirt trails, mud, sand, and even indoor crawling courses. Their specialized features, such as adjustable suspension, high ground clearance, and grippy foam filled tires, allow them to tackle uneven and challenging terrains with ease.
Key features to consider in an RC rock crawler include adjustable suspension, high ground clearance, four-wheel drive, locked differentials, realistic body design, waterproofing, LED lighting, and programmable controllers. These features enhance crawling performance, durability, and overall user experience.
Yes, RC crawlers can be suitable for beginners. Their slower speeds, forgiving nature, and ability to handle different terrains make them great entry point for newcomers to the hobby. Starting with a beginner-friendly model allows beginners to learn basic control and gain experience before progressing to more advanced crawlers.
Regular maintenance for an RC rock crawler includes cleaning after each use, lubricating moving parts, checking and replacing vehicle battery pack, inspecting the drivetrain for wear, and storing the vehicle properly. Following manufacturer guidelines and performing routine maintenance tasks ensures longevity and optimal performance.
Yes, RC crawlers can be upgraded and modified. There is a wide range of aftermarket parts and accessories available to customize and enhance the performance of RC crawlers. Upgrades can include better motors, improved suspension components, advanced electronics, and upgraded tires, among others. Modifying a crawler allows enthusiasts to tailor it to their specific preferences and performance goals.
To improve crawling performance, consider adjusting the suspension settings, selecting appropriate tires for specific terrains, optimizing weight distribution, and fine-tuning throttle control. Experimenting with different setups and practicing different crawling techniques can also enhance the performance and mastery of the vehicle.
While RC crawlers are primarily designed for slow-speed crawling, there are specific events or competitions dedicated to crawling that provide opportunities for friendly competitions. However, it's important to note that remote control crawlers are not typically built for high-speed racing and may not perform optimally in racing environments focused on speed.
There are various online forums, social media groups, local remote control clubs, and organized events dedicated to a remote-controlled car crawling run by RC fans and enthusiasts. These platforms provide opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, seek advice, and participate in group activities. Engaging with RC crawling communities can enhance enjoyment and helps you learn the hobby.
The appropriate age for kids to start playing with remote controlled cars can vary depending on the child's development, coordination, and maturity level. Generally, children around the age of 6 or 7 can begin to enjoy basic remote controlled vehicles designed for younger kids. These models typically have simplified controls and are more durable to withstand rough play.
RC rock crawlers are designed for slow and precise crawling rather than high speeds. The typical speed of an RC rock crawler is relatively slow compared to other types of RC vehicles. On average, most RC rock crawlers have a top speed ranging from 2 to 8 miles per hour (3 to 13 kilometers per hour). On the other hand, some RC rock crawlers, like Traxxas TRX-4 can do up to 25 kilometers per hour.