Ready-to-Run or a Kit?

“I’m new to RC.  Should I start with something Ready-to-Run or a kit?” I’ve had this same question asked about a hundred times here at The RCNetwork and I usually give the same similar answers……”well, it depends.”

Ready-to-Run (RTR)

Until 1986, the term “Ready-to-Run” (RTR) didn’t exist, since Traxxas coined the phrase with its bright colored already assembled remote controlled vehicles. Acceptance was slow, but the RC giant kept at it and convinced the hard-core hobbyist that the item coming out of the box was very similar in performance as the one they just spent hours building and painting.


The term “Kit” always related to a box of parts that may or may not include everything to build what was shown on the box. Kits needed patience, a keen eye to follow directions (sometimes poorly written/translated) and sometimes help from someone not looking at that same part for an hour trying to figure out why the round peg didn’t fit in the square hole. Today, many RC manufacturers offer not only RTR’s but also Kit forms of the same vehicle. Here’s traditionally  what comes in a Kit vs RTR:

1. Will need assembly 1. Ready to Run
2. Will need all electronics 2. Electronics installed (may need batteries)
3. Will need to be painted (body) 3. Paint color has been chosen for you
4. May need wheels/tires 4. Wheels and tires are already glued/mounted
5. May need fluids (shock, diff, grease, glue and paint) 5. Fluids already installed and tested
6. May include upgrade items not offered on RTR version 6. Will not include upgrade items to compensate for electronics
7. Step by step schematic drawings of assembly 7. Typically 2-3 pages of blown up drawings

RTR or Kit

Now back to the question: “RTR or Kit?” RTR’s give that instant gratification (well, depending on how long that wall charger takes) of being able to run that $$$ item on the first day. Kits take a few days depending on part gathering to get up and running to your liking. RTR’s typically have the price offset by the cost of electronics, assembly, and the finished body. Where the Kit version ramps up the included upgrades on day one.

rc_kit_photo_finishedAs an example, the Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck RTR has a MSRP of $449 and includes everything on day one expect for a battery for the vehicle and AA’s for the remote. The Kit version of the same vehicle has a MSRP $100 less at $349, but includes about $100+ in upgraded items for that truck. Outfitting that truck with the right or even inexpensive electronics can up the price quite a bit, not to mention the time and know-how on assembling the vehicle.

So which one should you do?  RTR’s will get you going on day one, but Kit’s will gain you tremendous knowledge of the vehicle and the understanding of how it operates. The choice is yours, but either way, get out there and RC!  Tell me in the comments below why you bought an RTR or a KIT.

One Comment:

  1. An rtr is a great way to get into the hobby or back into the hobby, after many years out of rc i bought an rtr sc10 and i upgraded it, fixed it etc, i knew the truck back to front. I then bought the kit version of the sc10 and it was easy to put together as i had pulled apart and fixed my rtr allready. Now i mostly buy kits as you get better value for money 😆

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