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?
Well, I will share what I have learned and which hovercraft options I’ve found work the best.
Best RC Hovercraft Options
Below, you will find a carefully curated list of the best RC hovercraft models available this year.
1. The LiteHawk Ranger
- 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 first-person mode from up to 75 feet away
- Usually costs around $80; prices may vary depending on the seller
- You can virtually drive the hovercraft from the cockpit.
- The controller can attach to your smartphone.
- They offer tons of support for the Ranger.
- 10 minutes is not very much time to play with this RC hovercraft.
- The batteries don’t last long.
2. SYMA 2.4GHz Q11 Amphibious RC Boats
- Comes with a 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 the water surface.
- One of the cheapest working hovercraft models on the market.
- It operates fairly well on smooth surfaces.
- Has a decent amount of playtime with the default battery.
- Pretty slow.
- The battery charger has no indicator for when the charge is complete.
3. Happinet R/C HoverCraft “HOVER SHARK”
- 9.6V NiMH battery, the 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 the seller and local availability
- This hovercraft offers one of the fastest charge times on the market.
- The remote allows for control from quite some distance.
- Localization has some problems.
- The instructions are in Japanese.
When it comes to deciding what the best hovercraft 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.