When it comes to radio controlled vehicles, hovercraft can be some of the most fun. RC hovercraft use fans to hover a little bit above smooth surfaces, including water. That's right — even a cheap RC hovercraft will allow the pilot to use them on water. The amphibious abilities granted by this type of remote control vehicle are bound to impress any kid and even RC-minded adults.
Yet if you're looking to buy one, things can get a bit confusing. There aren't many trustworthy models out there as with other types of RC vehicles, and the internet is rife with bad actors looking to make a quick buck. Often, people will buy a cheap RC hovercraft, give it a cool, expensive-sounding name, and then try to resell it for double the price on a hobby website, or sites like eBay and Craigslist. With that in mind, how can you be sure you are getting your money's worth? We will answer that question and many more.
Frequently Asked Questions About RC Hovercraft
Whether buying a hovercraft for yourself or others, you're bound to have questions. We'll break down exactly what an RC hovercraft is, what you should look for, and how much you should expect to spend. After that, we'll discuss some of the best RC hovercraft models of 2019.
[amazon box=”B07DF9SBLN,B07KWWVRD1,B06XD7CTYH,B07DF9SBLN” template=”table”]
What is an RC hovercraft?
An RC hovercraft is any remote-control vehicle that uses a cushion of air for movement. Typically, a hovercraft has a flexible skirt that helps contain the cushion of air, created by downward-facing fans, beneath the vehicle. Then, fans elsewhere on the hovercraft (usually positioned at the rear) help to move and steer it.
When it comes to steering, either the steering fans themselves move, or a rudder positioned behind the fan allows for directional control. Hovercraft can operate on land or water, and generally perform best on smooth surfaces. Unscrupulous sellers mislead buyers with boats that claim to be hovercraft but cannot operate on land. And, hovercraft that don't produce enough thrust to hover above water are not worth the money.
What should I look for?
When it comes to RC hovercraft, there are several key features you should look out for when shopping. First, make sure that the controlling device has a decent range. Perhaps more than any other type of radio controlled device, it's important that watercraft don't go out of range — if they do, they're a pain to get back. Second, look at how much time you can play with the hovercraft before it needs charging again. Larger, higher-quality vehicles typically have larger batteries and an extended playtime. It's important to balance your budget with quality.
Next, beware of cheaply constructed hovercraft masquerading as top of the line. If you're able, read product reviews and see if other users have had problems with general durability issues or poor construction. That's a major red flag. If there are no user reviews to go from and you don't know of anyone who has purchased it before, closely examine product photos before making your purchase to gauge how well made it is to the best of your ability.
If you pick a hovercraft that is not on the list below, you should also see if you can find it on a manufacturer page rather than a third party seller (unless you're buying in person, which is another story entirely). That's because many cheap radio controlled vehicles end up renamed and sold at a significant markup elsewhere. Checking out the price that others are charging, and the manufacturer's suggested retail price if possible, is always a good idea.
How much should I expect to spend?
The average RC hovercraft is not going to break the bank. There are decent options for as little as $50 (USD), and the upper cap on the casual market is about $200. Hovercraft that are over that price point usually cross from toy to hobbyist territory, require significant construction at home, and are often customized to some degree.
Where can I find an RC hovercraft?
Hovercraft are one of the rarer forms of radio-controlled models. Unlike cars, trucks, and boats, you won't find dozens of versions crowding the shelves of toy aisles in the average department store. While you can find them here and there, it's best to head to a hobbyist or specialty shop and ask. Of course, you can also purchase plenty of different options on the internet.
How We Reviewed
To ensure the highest possible quality on our reviews, we've taken significant steps to bring the best information to you. We've extensively reviewed manufacturer information, consumer reviews, and applied personal experience to best advise you on how to find the best RC hovercraft of 2019.
Here Are the Best RC Hovercraft Options of 2018
Below, you will find a carefully curated list of the best RC hovercraft models available this year.
[amazon link=”B07DF9SBLN” title=”The LiteHawk Ranger”/]
(4.8 out of 5 stars)
- Comes with a 9.6V NiMH battery and USB charger, extra batteries are available via the manufacturer website
- 2.4 GHz radio signal allows for the use of multiple RCs in the same area without interference
- Has about 10 minutes of use on a full charge; takes four hours to charge
- Uses powerful fans to steer and move
- The intuitive controller can attach to your smartphone
- Comes with a smartphone app that allows you to see and steer in the first-person mode from up to 75 feet away
- Usually costs around $80; prices may vary depending on the seller
[amazon link=”B07KWWVRD1″ title=”RISHIL WORLD Zhi LUN 6653 27MHZ Radio Control Rc Amphibious Hovercraft Boat
(3.5 out of 5 stars)
- Comes with 9.6V 800mAh Battery as well as a 9v battery for the remote
- Four channel 27MHz remote allows for controlling several RCs in the same area with little interference
- Takes four hours to charge and lasts about 15 minutes
- Has a futuristic design that kids love
- Only works on flat surfaces, moves slowly in water
- Easy-to-reach battery
- Max speed: 20 km/h on the ground and 5km/h above water surface.
[amazon link=”B06XD7CTYH” title=”Happinet “Hover Shark”/”/]
(3.2 out of 5 stars)
- 9.6V NiMH battery, same as the LiteHawk Ranger
- Uses 2.4GHz multi-channel radio control, allowing you to use the Hover Shark from 120 feet away with no interference
- Charges in as little as two hours and allows 15 minutes of play
- Works best on flat surfaces
- Sleek, smooth design that is sure to impress
- Intended for older kids
- Available for around $100 depending on seller and local availability
[amazon link=”B07DF9SBLN” title=”The LiteHawk Ranger”/]
NO PICTURE AVAILABLE
- 9.6v NiCd battery, plus a rechargeable 9v for the remote
- Uses 27MHz radio control with up to four channels to lessen interference from other radio-controlled devices
- Charges in two hours and lasts for 7-8 minutes
- Has a fantastic skirt design which allows for travel on most smooth surfaces — even ice
- Aerodynamic, sleek design
- This hovercraft is pretty fast, traveling at speeds of up to 10 mph
- Costs $50-100
When it comes to deciding what the best hovercraft of 2019 is, you don't have to look far. Of all the options we've reviewed, the LiteHawk Ranger stands far above the rest. With a fantastic controller that even attaches to your phone, and taking advantage of modern technology to allow you to drive in first-person, the Ranger easily beats out all of the competition. If you're looking to get an RC hovercraft for a child in your life, or maybe just looking to get into the hobby, it's hard to go wrong with this product.