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General Buying Decisions

Nitro or Electric? Page 1 of 4

Nitro engine and electric motor


This article pertains to hobby-level RCs only. If you're in the market for a toy-class RC, electric power is your only choice; fuel-driven setups are not offered for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the flammability and even potential explosiveness of the fuel itself. We'll also focus on land vehicles, as the debate between nitro & electric power is very hard-fought and longstanding in this space. With air and water craft, it's basically a given that when you're starting out, you go electric. As you gain experience, you can start to investigate nitro-powered alternatives based on interest and personal preferences, and you'll pretty much always be among friends with other hobbyists. Meanwhile, back on land, the car & truck world stands bitterly divided.

Noted for effect: When talking about normal internal combustion (flammable fuel) powered RCs, avoid using the word "gas." These vehicles are not powered by gasoline (petrol), the stuff used in real cars. Instead, their fuel is comprised of a percentage highly explosive nitromethane dissolved in methanol (methyl alcohol) and a generous quantity of lubricating oil. Only certain very large-scale RCs use actual gasoline.

Continued: Nitro RCs >