Nitro vs Electric RC car, What’s their difference and pros& cons?

Nitro vs Electric RC car, What’s their difference and pros& cons?

When it comes to appearance, frankly, there is not much debate; they look very similar.

Here are a few detailed analysis of Nitro vs Electric respective pros and cons.

  • Motor and engine


So far, the biggest difference between Electric-powered and nitro RC is their power. The Electric-powered RC is powered by an motor that requires electricity (in the form of a battery pack) as fuel. Nitro RC uses an engine that is fueled by a methanol based fuel containing nitro methane. This nitro-engine and nitro-fuel are RC equivalents for automotive and gasoline engines for your full-size car or truck. Another type of hobby RC has gasoline power, using gasoline instead of nitro fuel. This is a special, larger RC that is not as common as the Electric-powered and nitro RC models.


  1. Electric-powered: brush and brushless motor


There are currently two types of motors in RC: brush and brushless.

Brushed motors are mainly used in toy-grade RC cars. They can also be found on several hobby level models.

The brush motor contains a small contact brush that allows the motor to rotate. They are available in two types: fixed and non-fixed. The fixed brush motor cannot be modified, but the non-fixed brush motor can be adjusted to a certain level.

Brushed motors are limited. It has more friction and produces more heat. These two aspects can significantly affect motor performance.

A better choice is a brushless motor because it is more powerful. That's why most professional players like it now. It's more powerful because it doesn't have any contact brushes.


Brushless motors are still slightly more expensive than brushed motors, but they are becoming more popular in the RC world of hobbies. The appeal of brushless motors is that they provide absolute power to your remote control car. As the name suggests, brushless motors do not have a contact brush and do not require frequent cleaning. Because there is no brush, the friction is smaller and the heat is less, which is the number one killer of motor performance.

Brushless motors can also handle much higher voltages than brushed motors. With high-voltage power supplies, brushless motors can help beginners RC race at extremely fast speeds. The RC with brushless motor currently has the fastest speed record of RC, which is faster than nitro.


  1. Nitro: engine



Unlike motor, nitro engines rely on fuel rather than batteries to operate. The Nitro engine has carburetor, air filter, flywheel, clutch, piston, glow plug (similar to spark plug) and crankshaft, just like full-size petrol-powered cars and trucks. There is also a fuel system that includes a fuel tank and an exhaust.

The head radiator is the main component of the nitro or gas engine and dissipates heat from the engine block. The full-size automatic equivalent is the radiator and water pump, which circulates coolant through the engine block to prevent it from overheating. On the nitro engine, there are ways to adjust the temperature by adjusting the carburetor to reduce or increase the amount of fuel mixed with the air (tilting or enrichment).

The ability to dissipate heat by adjusting the fuel/air mixture to control engine temperature is one of the few advantages of a nitro or small gas engine relative to an engine.


Nitro engine contains more complex components such as air filters, carburetor, clutches, glow plugs, pistons, crankshafts and flywheels. There is also a fuel tank and exhaust to create a complete fuel system.

Unlike motor, nitro engines are more effective at circulating heat. The head radiator is responsible for dissipating the heat of the engine.


  • Body Chassis


  1. Electric-powered cars have two types of chassis: plastic and metal. Toy grade cars typically use plastic materials because they are cheaper and easier to obtain.

Carbon fiber chassis is widely used in hobby-class cars because it provides more strength. They are both lightweight and easy to replace.


  1. Nitro engine emits a lot of heat, so plastic is not suitable for this type of car. A metal chassis is more preferred because it acts as an effective heat sink.



  • Speed performance, durability, maintenance level and ease of use.


  • Nitro RC car



  • Nitro RC is ideal for mid- and advanced users who like to overhaul and adjust their vehicles. It requires the use of fuel and some oil combinations for the engine. Experienced hobbies are very satisfied with the repair of the nitro motor.


2) The loud sound of the Engine. When the car is accelerating on the track and the engine is roaring, you can really feel the excitement and excitement. These cars use fuel like real cars. They also generate exhaust gases and exciting sounds. This is not something you can get from an Electric-powered car.


3) Use fuel-based power to provide longer run times. You can drive for 30 to 45 minutes before refilling. Unlike an Electric-powered remote control car, there is no need to wait for the battery to charge. Filling the fuel takes a few seconds and you are happy to go round again.

One of the main advantages of this remote-controlled vehicle is the realistic driving experience it provides. Most avid racing drivers like this nitro car.

Cons(Nitro vs Electric)



1) One of the nitro-controlled cars we should all consider is the cost of owning a car - the price will get higher and higher over time. You need to buy fuel after the fuel to keep it running.

Well, every quart of nitro fuel is about $20 to $25. For an Electric-powered car, you only need to buy a NiMH or lipoly battery pack, that's it. Although you will have to eventually replace the battery, each battery will last far longer than a quart of nitro fuel.


2) After each match, the Nitro model needs a lot of gentleness, love and care. You need to clean the engine and the internal compartment as it may get dirty.


3) You also need to drain the fuel tank, clean the air filter and add the post fuel to keep it in good condition. Electric-powered cars are cleaner and don't require much time.


4) Some mechanical knowledge is necessary for those who can maintain a nitro car. You also need to know how to maintain your car on a regular basis.

The glow plug needs to be replaced from time to time and the fuel system needs to be checked regularly. Since the engine uses liquid, this car has several "no". One of them is: don't invert the car.


5) It can cause oil leakage and damage your internal system.


6) Most nitro cars are not waterproof. They are sensitive to water, so getting it into a big puddle is a big taboo.



  • Electric-powered RC car



1) Electric-powered RC car is more suitable for beginners. It does not require any major adjustments or time-consuming settings. Those who have just entered this emerging hobby field don't have to worry about not having mechanical skills. You only need to fully charge the battery.


2) Quiet: They aren't as loud as Nitro cars so you can drive them at night or around your local street without disturbing neighbors. The Nitro model may be very loud, let us say that your neighbor may find the engine sound uncomfortable.


3)Less cost in the long run: You can recharge the batteries so you don't have to buy fuel and their basic kits are cheaper than Nitros.


4) Reliability: You only need one servo for steering and the speed control is electronic with no moving parts so it's more reliable.


5)You don't need to adjust carburetor or a glow starter or to pull start


6)They are odorless don't have smell of fuel


7)They have different capacity batteries so you can drive longer without recharge/refuel


8) Maintenance is also quite simple to maintain. If you buy a model from an existing brand, the electrical system will hardly go wrong.

The only repair you may need to do is to break any suspension related components, chassis, gearbox or steering components.

9) No clean up (besides tire shavings)


10) Most Electric-powered cars are classified as waterproof. Therefore, fun is limitless. You can drive it in snow-covered fields or under the rain. You can rely on it to withstand the damp and humid environment.


11) Speed, high specification Electric-powered cars are faster than nitro. The performance of early Electric-powered cars was quite bad compared to nitro cars.

However, today's advanced specifications such as brushless motors and LiPo batteries, such as the higher lipo battery voltage range, help provide longer run times and faster power. Some models of Electric-powered cars can reach 100 mph, just like the fiercely stylish Traxxas XO-1 supercar!



Of course, the Electric-powered car is not perfect. It also has its own shortcomings.

1) They need special chargers for the battery packs.


2) Charging takes longer than refueling. This requires patience, up to 45 minutes or an hour. If you want to enjoy an uninterrupted game, you will need to purchase an extra battery and charge it as a backup.


3) You need stronger/faster more expensive motors/ESC/battery to go as fast as Nitro cars


4)Up Front cost (for a good set up to be competitive) will cost more


5)Lipo batteries require care with use


6)The battery can be very expensive. High-quality LiPo batteriessell for more than $50. But lipo battery capacity is higher and power is more abundant

7)The diagnostic process for electrical problems is much more complicated and repairs can be more expensive than nitro cars.

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