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6 Best Hobby Grade RC Excavators

These RC Excavators are hardly toys. Fully metal and hobby grade, these remote control excavators are for serious construction equipment fans!

Miniaturized versions of excavators have fascinated construction enthusiasts for years, and so far, the fully hydraulic metal machines are considered as close to the real thing as most replicas can get. If you’re looking into RC excavators with less plastic and more durable metal frames, we welcome you to keep reading.

We’ve put together a compilation of some of the best models, all of which you can find available online. Just like buying a remote control car, reading reviews are incredibly important before you buy one. Is it your first time looking into RC excavators and you’re not quite sure where to start? Well, how about a quick introduction before we discuss some of our favorite models?

Article Summary and What Our Team Found

The article discusses the fascination enthusiasts have with miniaturized versions of excavators. These RC excavators are designed to closely resemble their real-life counterparts, especially those that are fully hydraulic and made of metal. The article provides a comprehensive list of the top 6 RC excavators based on reviews and customer feedback from 2023.

Here are the top 6 RC excavators from the article:

  1. Huina 1580 All Metal Remote Control Excavator
  2. Kolegend 22 Channel RC Excavator
  3. Double E Volvo RC Excavator
  4. LAEGENDARY Hobby Grade RC Excavator
  5. Diecast Masters Cat Hydraulic Excavator
  6. Top Race Hobby Grade Remote Control Excavator

Who Remote Control Excavators Are Really Made For

Anyone who enjoys RC excavators has a history of fascination with construction and heavy machinery. These are the hobbyists and enthusiasts who like making machinery do things that a real-life excavator would do (to an appropriate scale, of course).

RC excavators are generally made for people of all ages, although the more sophisticated designs are operable by older individuals. Larger, more complex models may be geared towards adults with a greater interest in the hobby, while smaller, simpler models are suited for children or beginners.

Another group of people with a keen interest in RC excavators are learners. They are the educators who teach their students about construction equipment in a hands-on way. They could also be people in the mining or construction industries who want to practice operating heavy machinery safely before trying on the real thing.

How Hydraulic Excavators Work

Have you ever wondered what it means for an excavator to be hydraulic? Based on how the machine is able to move its parts, it can be either a cable or a hydraulic excavator.

The former uses steel cables to pull on the main components of the machine like the arm or the bucket. A hydraulic excavator has a system of cylinders, pumps and fluid that an operator controls to facilitate the movement of parts using levers.

Our top picks for the best RC excavators are not full-size, but most are replicas of existing hydraulic excavators that you would see at a construction site. Here are our top 6 recommendations.

Our Top 6 Models Based on 2023 Reviews and Customer Feedback

RC excavators have become a popular choice for construction hobbyists and enthusiasts who are captivated by the intricate details and functionalities these miniaturized machines offer.

Mirroring their real-life counterparts, these RC models provide a hands-on experience. From their build quality to their hydraulic capabilities, these models are a testament to engineering and design.

Here are the top 6 RC excavators that have garnered significant attention in the community:

1. Huina 1580 All Metal Remote Control Excavator

As the first selection on our list, the Huina 1580 RC excavator is a strong entry. Weighing in at just 13 lbs, this 1/14th scale model is powerful enough to load 110 lbs with a motor power of 200 lbs. 

When I first laid eyes on the Huina RC Excavator, I was instantly reminded of the real-life construction sites I’d seen. The attention to detail, the robust build, and the smooth controls made it feel like I was operating a genuine excavator, just on a smaller scale. I’ve spent hours playing with it, and each time, it feels like a new experience. This is not just a toy; it’s a masterpiece for those who appreciate the intricacies of construction machinery.

Jason Thompson

Considering how much it can support, it makes sense that it has a zinc alloy body, arm and tracks. It also comes with large and replaceable metal arm components. So not only does it scoop with a bucket, but it also drills with a hammer and holds items with a gripper.

Key Points from Other Customers:

  • Quality: High-grade all-metal construction, closely mimicking real-life excavators.
  • Performance: Powerful and agile, capable of digging effectively in various terrains.
  • Controller: Almost rivals a PS4 controller in terms of quality and responsiveness.
  • Accessories: Comes with a range of accessories, including CAT decals and a spare motherboard.
  • Value for Money: Some users felt it’s a bit pricey, but most believe it offers good value given its capabilities and build quality.

The metal parts give it wonderful stability when navigating rough terrain, and enough grip in more malleable dirt. As perhaps the least relatively flexible entry on our list, its body is only able to rotate 360 degrees.

Its arm can bend to 180 degrees, and with 50 meters of control distance and separate motors in its arm and shovel, it remains fairly flexible in its ability to dig. Enthusiasts will love its dedication to realism thanks to its real-looking smoke. It’s also equipped with lights and sound, for the extra touch of authenticity.

You can get a good 40 to 45 minutes of playtime per session thanks to its rechargeable battery capacity of 2000 mAh. And the Huina Toys company has a reputation for building quality construction replicas.

2. Kolegend 22 Channel RC Excavator 

The Kolegend RC Excavator joins our lineup as the lightest entry in weight. At just 3 lbs, this 1/14 scale model is still made for decent stability with a mixture of alloy steel in its frame and double rubber track design.

“I got the Kolegend RC Excavator for my son, and it’s been a game-changer. The controls are incredibly realistic, and the performance on different terrains is impressive. It’s not just a toy; it’s an experience that brings the construction site right to our backyard.”

Megan Foster

That means it moves fairly well on most terrain. It beats the Huina 1580 before it at flexibility with 680 degrees of body rotation and a control distance of 130 meters. You get even more powerful flexibility from the three separate motors on its arms, allowing people of all ages to truly experience the fun in construction.

Key Points from Other Customers:

  • Quality: Sturdy construction with a realistic design.
  • Performance: Excels on various terrains including grass, sand, and gravel.
  • Controls: Mimics real excavator controls, offering an authentic experience.
  • Battery: Comes with rechargeable batteries, though some users recommend charging before first use.
  • Value for Money: Most users felt it offers excellent value for its price, especially given its capabilities.

Its 1200 mAh capacity battery means that you only get about 30 minutes of playing time from each session. With a rechargeable battery, however, this really isn’t much of an issue. It, unfortunately, does not come with extra replacements, so the range of activity is limited.

3. DOUBLE E Volvo RC Excavator

We included the Double E Volvo RC Excavator in our lineup for the most budget-conscious of excavator enthusiasts. One of its most attractive features is its price, but you can rest assured that with it, you still get value for your money.

“I gifted the DOUBLE E Volvo RC Excavator to my grandson, and it’s been a hit! The interchangeable attachments add variety, and its performance on different surfaces is commendable. It’s more than just a toy; it’s a mini construction adventure.”

Linda Martinez

At just 5 lbs, this 1/16th scale model is a 3 in 1 setup as it comes with a replaceable metal shovel, drill and grab bucket. Double E is a company that has deep experience making a wide range of remote control toys. For its price though, it is not fully metal but its body and arms are made with equally durable ABS material.

Its thick rubber track makes it capable of comfortably treading most kinds of terrain as well. At a capacity of 800 mAh, its battery offers the shortest amount of playtime out of all the models in our lineup, usually 15 to 20 minutes.

Key Points from Other Customers:

  • Quality: Durable construction with realistic design elements.
  • Performance: Effective on various surfaces, including grass and sand.
  • Attachments: Comes with multiple interchangeable attachments, enhancing play value.
  • Battery: Long-lasting battery life, though some users recommend cleaning the toy before charging.
  • Controls: Realistic controls that mimic actual excavator operations.

What it lacks in battery capacity, it makes up for with great flexibility and strength; its cab has a maximum of 660 degrees of rotation, and it’s got three separate motors on its arm for more digging power. Perhaps the coolest thing about this model is that it is built to resemble the real Volvo EC160E Hydraulic Excavator, making it as close to the real thing as a replica has gotten yet!

4. LAEGENDARY Hobby Grade RC Excavator 

For hobbyists with a little more money to spend, the LAEGENDARY RC Excavator is a great addition to the model collection. Like Traxxas and other RC brands, the LAEGENDARY brand got it’s start making offroad remote control cars first. So you can be sure their take on an RC excavator is just as fun and durable.

“I was amazed by the LAEGENDARY RC Excavator’s authentic design and powerful performance. It’s not just a toy; it’s a mini construction marvel that keeps me engaged for hours.”

Robert Wallace

At 8 lbs, this heavier extractor comes with a bucket, drill, timer grab and steel mill that are all metal. That means powerful digging, steady grasping and sturdy carrying for all the replaceable head parts.

Key Points from Other Customers:

  • Quality: High-quality construction with attention to detail.
  • Performance: Powerful and functional, though some users mentioned challenges in certain terrains.
  • Design: Authentic design that closely resembles real-life construction vehicles.
  • Battery: Satisfactory battery life, allowing for extended play sessions.
  • Value for Money: Most users felt it offers good value, though some compared it to other brands.

With 3 independent motors on its digging arm, you really get a wide range of control features. Along with its 680 cab rotation and 360 track rotation, it stands as one of the most flexible entries on this list.

Controlling it is easy with the 22-channel transmitter and independent track pads just for steering. You only get about a half hour of playtime per session with its rechargeable 1200 mAh battery, but you can rest assured that it will be a solid 30 minutes of stable and satisfying digging, shoveling and lifting on all kinds of terrain.

What’s more, the team at LAEGENDARY offer buyers US-based customer support and well as tons of replacement parts and tools in case of any issues you have down the line.

5. Diecast Masters Cat Hydraulic Excavator 

For a lot of us, growing up, the Caterpillar excavator was among the first brands we ever witnessed in action. As far as replicas go, this 1/20 scale CAT 330D L Hydraulic Excavator is one of the most accurately designed models in existence.

“I’ve always been a fan of Caterpillar machinery, and the Diecast Masters RC Excavator did not disappoint. The level of detail and functionality is top-notch, making it feel like I’m operating the real thing. It’s a fantastic addition to my collection.”

Derek Hamilton

Made by Diecast Masters to mimic its real hydraulic excavator counterpart, it even has genuine Caterpillar yellow paint that is only available to the licensees of Caterpillar Inc. The dedication to realism does not stop there, because it also has 360-degree rotation on its axis which, like the original, allows for authentic swing, track, bucket, boom and stick movements.

Its metal components are made of top-quality diecast metal, and its frame is designed for the closest stability and flexibility to the genuine article. It is the most expensive entry on this list, and the lack of replaceable components may very well work against its popularity. 

Key Points from Other Customers:

  • Quality: Premium build with a focus on authenticity and durability.
  • Design: 1:20 scale model that captures the essence of the real-life CAT 330D L excavator.
  • Functionality: Fully functional radio controls that offer a realistic operating experience.
  • Brand: Diecast Masters is known for its commitment to quality and realism in its RC models.

However, hobbyists looking for a replica of the real-life CAT 330D L Hydraulic Excavator will marvel at the detailing that went into its design.

6. Toprace Hobby Grade Remote Control Excavator

The final entry on our list is also the heaviest, at 20 lbs and 1/14th the scale. That speaks to the sheer amount of metal components that went into its design. Its body, tracks, arms and enhancements are all made of strong metal alloy, making it perhaps the most stable RC excavator on this list.

“I recently got the Toprace V4 RC Excavator, and it’s been a blast! The metal construction gives it a solid feel, and the digging power is impressive. It’s not just a child’s toy! Even as an adult, I find it captivating and fun to operate.”

Jason Mitchell

The Toprace Hobby RC Excavator is the pinnacle of strength, with the ability to carry up to 110 lbs and a digging power of 1.1 lbs per cubic inch. Toprace is a great company with a passion for building well-designed RCs.

Key Points from Other Customers:

  • Quality: Sturdy die-cast metal construction, ensuring durability and longevity.
  • Performance: Powerful digging capabilities, especially in softer terrains.
  • Design: Realistic design with functional lights, sound, and smoke features.
  • Battery Life: Extended play sessions reported by users, with some getting over an hour of runtime.
  • Controls: Responsive and intuitive, though there’s a learning curve for some users.

It does not skimp on flexibility, since it is made to have an infinitely rotating workbench. With its 2000 mAh battery, you’re guaranteed to get a solid 45 minutes of run time per session.

What’s more, its 23-channel remote is the only entry here with a small screen to display all the modes that it is set to. You get an alloy grab head and drill head as replaceable components, meaning there’s so much more you can do with it besides just shoveling some dirt. For lovers of all things construction and mining, this model will not disappoint.

What You Need to Know about Remote Control Excavators

Do you recall the first time you witnessed an excavator at work? Remember thinking how cool it must be to be able to alter the landscape so drastically?

This fascination probably came again when you saw a remote-controlled miniature excavator. Seeing it, you marveled at the possibility of working machinery without the danger or expense of operating a full-sized excavator. 

That’s precisely what RC excavators are; miniature versions of real excavators that you control remotely using a transmitter. They are made with durable materials such as metal and plastic and are operated with electric motors or hydraulic systems.

Depending on the manufacturers and specific models, RC excavator sizes can range from a few inches to several feet long. No matter the make, all RC excavators are designed to mimic the movements and functionality of a full-sized excavator, such as digging, scooping, and lifting.

Why Are Metal Frames on Excavators Important?

They increase stability

An RC excavator is already a miniaturized version of a larger model, so chances that it could be less stable due to its light weight are high. A metal frame adds to this weight, allowing for more balanced movement through various kinds of terrain.

They make the unit more durable

Metal is generally more sturdy than plastic, so the chances of breakage are much lower. A stronger metal frame is also a secure protective casing upon which the rest of the RC excavator components can rest, safe from damage from impact with other hard surfaces.

A point for realism

From an aesthetic standpoint, a metal frame is closer in function and appearance to the real thing than a plastic alternative. This adds to the overall enjoyment for enthusiasts and hobbyists, as the machine more closely mimics a full-size excavator.

Our #1 Choice if You Are Ready to Buy Your First RC Excavator

We did our best to compile a list of some of the best RC excavators on the market. Depending on your preferences as you tinker with your machine, any of these picks will give you a bang for your buck. If we were to make one recommendation, however, it would be the LAEGENDARY RC Excavator.

We feel that it checks all the boxes in simulating the construction experience. It is sufficiently weighted, so it is acceptably stable. All of its important functional components are made of metal, so you can be certain of the durability of its parts. And with the ability to add more replaceable enhancements, you can enjoy digging, shoveling and lifting and carrying.

What’s more, it is reasonably priced at $200 for all that it offers the average RC excavator enthusiast. With it, we believe you will enjoy simulating the experience of operating heavy machinery. Don’t take our word for it, over 400 positive reviewers on its amazon page agree.

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RC Metal Excavator
Average rating:  
 3 reviews
 by Amanda Rallins
Kolegend RC Excavator is a blast

The first time I tried it, I was floored by how realistic the controls felt. Whether it's sand, grass, or gravel, this little beast conquers all terrains. Every time I play with it, I feel like I'm on an actual construction site. Absolute game-changer!

 by Rick Hammond
Hobby grade RC excavator

The name says it all - LAEGENDARY! This RC Excavator is the king of my RC collection. The design, the power, the feel - it's like having a mini construction site in my living room. Every time I operate it, I'm amazed by its capabilities. It's not just a toy; it's an experience!

 by Clarence Hill
Love the Huina 1580

: "Wow! The Huina 1580 took me straight back to my childhood days, playing in the sandbox. The all-metal build feels so real, and the attention to detail is just mind-blowing. Operating it, I felt like a kid again, but with a much cooler toy. If you've ever dreamt of operating heavy machinery, this is your chance to live that dream in your backyard!

By Mike Tippitz

Mike is the Founder and CEO of The Toyz. He has a passion for anything with a remote and a control including cars, trucks, drones, planes, boats and more. When he's not writing about RC toys, you can find him traveling, exercising, or playing with his 7 year old Labrador Retriever named Zip.