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RC Boat Nitro

First let us look at the difference between a nitro powered rc boat and a gasoline powered rc boat. The term "nitro" is different from "gasoline" or "gas."

Difference Between RC Boat Nitro and Gas

When you are buying a "nitro rc boat", the fuel used is a special hobby blend of nitro / methanol / lubricating oil that is specifically designed for nitro marine type engines.


RC Boat - Nitro Powered CEN Aqua Jet

On the other hand, when you are buying a "gas rc boat" or a "gasoline rc boat", the fuel used is a mix of gasoline and oil. The engine (e.g. Zenoah) is similar to a lawnmower or weedwacker engine.

Which is Better, Nitro RC Boat or Gas RC Boats?

Nitro rc boats are generally faster but the run time is shorter. The nitro fuel is also more expensive than the regular gasoline / oil mixture used by gas boats.

Gas rc boats have much longer run times, but are usually slower and more expensive. However it is cheaper to operate in the long run because gasoline is much cheaper than nitro fuel.

Tip: Models that sell for less than $400 USD are usually nitro powered. Models that sell for over $1,000 USD are usually gasoline powered. I would recommend starting out with the cheaper nitro boats.

3 Factors To Consider About Nitro RC Boats

Speed, noise, and maintenance are important factors to consider. Before buying, make sure you have enough wide open space, as these boats reach 30 miles per hour.

Also consider the noise factor. There are areas where nitro boats are not allowed because of the loud noise. Check with your local city ordinance or village homeowners association.

Finally, nitro boats have engines that require some tuning skills. Unlike electric boats where you simply plug the battery and play, a nitro marine engine has a carburetor, fuel filter, air filter, cooling head, and a tuned pipe. All these must work properly in order for your engine to run. Weather conditions and temperature will also have an effect on engine tuning.

RC Boat Nitro - Popular Models

Once you have made the decision, here are some of the best and popular nitro powered speed boats you can buy online.

CEN uses the term "gas powered" or GP to describe their nitro powered boats. Popular is the 1/10 CEN Grey Thunder and the faster 1/10 CEN Nitro Aqua Jet.

RC Boat Nitro
RC Boat - Nitro Powered CEN Aqua Jet

Megatech has a competitive nitro racing boat called the Wicked Angel. A powerful 1 horsepower nitro engine pushes this speed boat past 35 mph.

Traxxas is the manufacturer of the incredibly popular Traxxas Nitro Vee. This is a nitro boat that has the Return To Shore system. 

RC Boat Nitro Traxxas
RC Boat Nitro Vee ©Traxxas

Should the nitro engine stall or run out of fuel, a backup electric motor will bring your boat safely back to shore. I highly recommend the Traxxas Nitro Vee for those just starting out with nitro power. Side note: rc airplane fuel is recommended since it has more lubrication than rc car fuel.

Buying Tip: Most ready to run nitro boats come complete with the boat, engine, and 2 channel radio control system. Extra items you may need are: 

  • AA sized batteries for the radio control system. 
  • Fuel designed for nitro marine engines.
  • Fuel bottle.
  • Glow plug igniter.

When you buy online, the boat can be air shipped. However, nitro fuel is usually shipped by land. A great gift idea for dad.

Buy popular nitro rc boats from recommended rc hobby shops and online hobby stores.

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More Info About Nitro RC Boats

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