Electric VS Gas Powered RC Cars

Electric VS Gas Powered RC Cars

In the world of radio control, there are two very distinct opponents.

In the one corner stands Electric RCs and in the other, Nitro powered RCs.

The electric cars bring with them sustainability and affordability, as well as being reliable and easier to maintain. On the other hand, gas-powered engines defend themselves with rip-roaring speeds and genuine racing authenticity.

Both types of engines have their own strengths and weaknesses, but who will be the victor and who will ultimately face defeat?

Let’s break things down and see whether Electric or Gas-powered RCs come out on top.

Electric/Battery Powered Cars

Electric RC cars use batteries to power their motors. They are generally less expensive than RCs with gas powered engines and don’t have as many complicated parts that can wear down and break over time.

The batteries that electric cars use can either be Li-Po or Ni-MH cell batteries and can usually be switched out and upgraded for added speed and performance.

Li-Po cell batteries are the more common of the two and don’t cost as much as Ni-MH batteries.

Ni-MH batteries are stronger and pack the added punch that is needed to reach even higher speeds without upgrading to a faster RC.


  • Less parts means less maintenance.
  • Electricity isn’t very expensive.
  • Great for hobbyist of all ages.


  • Electric cars have shorter run times.
  • Batteries gradually lose their charge and need to be replaced.

Gas/Nitro Powered Cars

Gas or Nitro RC cars use a liquid fuel to power their motors. They have small 2-stroke engines that typically operate somewhere in between 25,000 Rpm and 37,000 Rpm, although depending on the type of model it can exceed 50,000 Rpm.

Nitro engines use glow plugs, which are used to ignite the fuel in the engine and move the piston. While similar, glow plugs are not to be confused with a regular spark plugs.

Glow plugs have platinum elements that stay red hot even once the current has been removed, while spark plugs must create a new spark every time the piston makes contact with the plug. But are gas powered rc cars the best rc cars?


  • Can be refueled as many times as you want.
  • Realistic engine sounds.
  • Faster acceleration and can reach higher speeds.


  • Fuel must be purchased and can get expensive.
  • Requires regular upkeep and maintenance work.
  • Complex design means more parts that can break.
  • Glow plugs burn out over time.
  • Nitro exhaust has a slightly offensive odor.
  • Best suited for older hobbyist and adults.

And the Winner Is…

In my opinion, electric or battery powered cars are the clear winner. Overall, they are less expensive to purchase, you can simply recharge your batteries instead of going out to purchase nitro and they generally require less maintenance and upkeep than their counterparts.

Ultimately, the winner depends entirely on what race style you’re into and how invested you are into the hobby. But for this RC fanatic…

The champion is the Electric RC car!

Where do you stand on the debate between Electric VS Gas engines?

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