Why 1/10 Scale is the Most Common RC Scale Size
You might not know it if you’ve never visited an actual hobby shop, but remote control cars and trucks come in an enormously wide range of sizes and styles. Some are so small that you can carry them in your pocket and race them across a desk or table. At the opposite extreme, there are also RC cars that measure more than six feet long — not quite as large as a real vehicle, but close!
If there’s one size out of all these options that deserves to be called the standard RC scale size, it’s 1/10 scale RC cars. This is by far the most popular and most common RC scale size. Pretty much any type of vehicle you’d want to drive is available in this size, including 1/10 scale RC cars, 1/10 scale RC trucks, 1/10 scale RC buggies, 1/10 scale RC drag racers, and many others.
How big are 1/10 scale RC cars and 1/10 scale RC trucks?
It may be the standard RC scale size, but what does 1/10 scale actually mean? In the hobby world, scale is a ratio that compares a plastic, diecast, or RC car model to its real-life counterpart. If you’re holding a model of an Indy 500 race car that’s described as 1/10 scale, then you know it’s about one-tenth the size of the real racer.
Typically, 1/10 scale RC cars and 1/10 scale RC trucks measure around 20 inches long and 8 to 15 inches wide. The exact dimensions vary, just like those of the full-size vehicles that RC car and truck models are based on. A 1/10 scale RC monster truck will be bigger than a 1/10 scale RC street car.
A 1/10 scale RC car is certainly large enough to deliver some visual punch. It also provides plenty of room to include realistic details, from trim scheme graphics to working lights and full interiors. At the same time, 1/10 scale RC cars aren’t so big that you’ll have trouble finding places to run them. An empty parking lot can host 1/10 scale RC car drag races. Your own backyard can serve as the location for 1/10 scale RC truck bashing contests.
You can easily put your 1/10 scale RC cars and 1/10 scale RC trucks into the back seat of your full size vehicle, along with your pit gear, and take them to the local park or RC track. If you’re going only a short distance, you can probably even carry them comfortably in a backpack as you hit the trails for some RC rock crawling. That traveling convenience is another reason why 1/10 scale is the most common RC scale size.
Here are some other advantages that have helped to make 1/10 scale the standard RC scale size:
The standard RC scale size offers high performance at a low price.
Toy RC cars sold by department stores are generally very affordable. Big 1/8 scale RC bashers and 1/8 scale RC racers sold in hobby shops can be expensive. The price of high-quality, 1/10 scale RC cars falls somewhere in the middle of these extremes. They won’t break the bank, but they’re also not cheap. You can expect to pay around $150 to $250 dollars for a good entry-level, 1/10 scale, ready-to-run package. A ready-to-run RC car will come with everything or nearly everything you need to start driving right out of the box.
For someone who’s brand new to the radio control hobby, the cost of a standard RC scale size vehicle might initially seem a little high. But the value is clear once you understand what you’re getting for the money. Especially when compared to RC toys, hobby-quality 1/10 scale RC cars and 1/10 scale RC trucks repay your investment by lasting much longer, performing much better, and offering almost unlimited upgrade and customizing possibilities. They don’t break the first time you hit an obstacle. You’ll run them for years.
You can find similar design and manufacturing quality in smaller RC car sizes than 1/10 scale. These are called “mini” or “micro” RC cars, and they’ll normally also have a smaller price tag than 1/10 scale RC cars and 1/10 scale RC trucks. So why aren’t minis the most common RC scale size? Because the 1/10 scale RC cars have significantly more capabilities.
Compared to mini or micro RC cars, 1/10 scale RC cars are easier to drive over a wider range of on-road and off-road racing surfaces. Their larger size allows them to have a wider wheelbase and more ground clearance. Mini RC cars perform best indoors on smooth, well-manicured tracks. If you want to race outdoors on gravel, short grass, or uneven turf, the standard RC scale size is best. There are fewer limits on where you can have fun.
Accessories are easy to find for the standard RC scale size.
When you invest in a high-quality remote control car, you want to be able to keep it performing at its peak. That’s easy to do with 1/10 scale RC cars and 1/10 scale RC trucks. Manufacturers recognize that 1/10 scale is the most common RC scale size and they sell direct replacement parts to repair those 1/10 scale vehicles. They also offer endless options in tires, wheels, and bodies, as well as a wide variety of power system components that are suitable for use in 1/10 scale RC cars.
One-tenth scale is also the perfect size if you want to personalize your RC vehicle’s looks and create a realistic scene to display the car in when you’re not running it. Check out these fun scale accessories suitable for 1/10 scale RC cars from a company named Injora. There are tool boxes, shovels, fire extinguishers, pallets, sandbags, buckets, and more. You’ll really make heads turns with these in the back of your 1/10 scale RC truck or in your garage diorama display! Search “1/10 Scale R/C Car Accessories” on Google for more inspiration and more products like these. You'll be able to find everything from custom 1/10 scale RC car license plates to tiny little 1/10 scale pine tree air fresheners.
The extent to which some hobbyists add imaginative details to their standard RC scale size vehicles is absolutely incredible. Check out the Axialfest Concourse Competition videos on YouTube. The Concourse Competition is held by Axial® at its Axialfest Badlands and Axialfest West RC events each year. Judges award prizes to the RC modelers who use scale detail most creatively. You’ll be astonished by the effort that some owners of the 1/10 scale SCX10 and other Axial RC rigs have put into the scale realism of their RC builds. We guarantee you’ll want to go a little scale crazy yourself!
Meet more fellow hobbyists racing the most common RC scale size.
One of the best things about RC is that it’s a very social hobby. Most hobby shops provide regular opportunities for customers to race their RC cars with each other. Stores will open up their tracks or parking lots on weekends and invite everyone to enjoy some friendly competition.
Most of the other drivers who come to race will be bringing standard RC scale size vehicles. Bring yours, and you’ll quickly make lots of new friends to share the hobby with!