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How to Choose a Battery for Your RC Car

Out of all the components that goes into an RC car, the battery is perhaps the most important one. It not only has a say in how heavy the RC car will be or how long it can last, but it even has an impact on the speed.

More importantly, what’s the best value price for an RC car battery? How much should you pay? How much power should your car get?

With all of these questions in mind, let’s dive into all you need to know about choosing a battery for an RC car.

Choosing a Priority for Your RC Car

RC car batteries tend to emphasize one of three different areas: endurance, performance and recharge capabilities.

Endurance refers to a longer battery life while in use. This is an area best selected by adamant RC car racers who like to compete in multiple races, or longer treks that go on and on. For this aspect, you’ll want to choose a battery that has a higher mAh rating.

Performance ultimately refers to the RC car’s power. It has an impact on both the acceleration and the top speed of the car. This feature is best emphasized by RC car owners who compete in smaller, shorter races or those who enjoy using their RC car for tricks and other daredevil aspects.

Recharge-ability refers to how long it takes to recharge the battery to its max capacity. It can also have an impact on how many times the battery can be recharged before it dies, ultimately affecting its total lifespan.

Choosing a Battery Type for Your RC Car

While several RC battery car types exist, there are really only two kinds you need to worry about: NiMH and LiPo batteries.

NiMH stands for nickel metal hydride. These are popular batteries that come in most standard or beginner RC car sets these days. They offer solid endurance and recharge-ability but aren’t best suited for high performance.

LiPo stands for lithium-ion polymer. These are essentially a better version of NiMH batteries, though they are considerably more expensive. Not only do they offer better performance and endurance than NiMH thanks to their higher mAH rating (milliampere per hour) but they are also lighter in weight.

The only con of LiPo batteries is that they are more fragile. This means they aren’t ideal for more hardcore circumstances like all-terrain or off-road races.

Make Sure the Battery is the Right Size for your RC Car

While selecting based off power and performance sounds fun, you have to be careful to not go overboard when selecting a battery. Every battery you own needs to first and foremost be compatible with the RC car you plan on using it with, all the way down to the dimensions.

Take stock of the RC car you have. Whatever battery space your RC car has, you have to make sure the new battery is as perfect a fit as possible.

An RC car battery that is too small risks coming loose during usage. Depending on how fast your RC car can go, you can end up flinging out the battery at 30mph which could potentially damage it irreparably.

If the RC car battery is too large for the slot, this could cause a battery wire to become pinched and damaged, which is essentially the same thing as breaking the battery unit itself. Not to mention that a battery that’s too big could also be too heavy, which could ruin the speed or acceleration modification you were aiming for in the first place.

Your RC Car Battery Must Have Compatible Voltage

One of the most important things to always keep in mind when getting a new RC car battery is to check for compatible voltage. Much like with size dimensions, you cannot pick something that is too small or too large.

Too small of a voltage will have your car barely running at all. It will always work as if the battery is almost empty.

Conversely, too high a voltage could cause an energy spike of sorts that damages the battery and potentially damages the car forever.

While higher voltages do mean higher speeds, do not attempt to put a 30V battery in a 12v RC car as tempting as it might be.

Choosing the Right RC Car Battery Charger

Assuming your new battery doesn’t come with its own charger, you will have to select a battery charger to properly pair it up with.

The connector of the charger will of course need to be compatible with the battery you select. Also keep in mind that LiPo batteries and NiMH batteries do indeed require different battery chargers.

You’re more than welcome to select a more rapid-charging unit but keep in mind that faster chargers are more expensive.

An easy way to check compatibility between the battery and the charger is to compare the C rating. The C rating stands for the battery’s charge and discharge rate. If your battery C rating is 2C, get a charger that is also 2C; if your RC car battery has a rating of 30C, aim to get a charger that is 30C as well.

Final Thoughts

Choosing an RC car battery can often be a harder decision than choosing the RC car itself. This is because battery technology moves very slowly, so there’s still a lot of specific and technical information that hasn’t yet been streamlined into one new revolutionary unit, as is the case with some other kinds of technology.

As long as you keep your RC car’s dimensions in mind and select a battery that has the right balance of size, weight, voltage and mAh, you should be giving yourself access to a phenomenal new upgrade that will level up your RC car racing game for good.

Then, you’ll have a faster RC car that you can have more fun with and that will hopefully last you longer than the model you might currently have. Good luck on your RC car racing!

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