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Radio Controller

Radio Controllers - Airtronics, Sanwa, Futaba

"Selecting the right radio control transmitter, receiver and servos will help you with car control and increase your enjoyment."

Radio Controller

Photo: Futaba 3PM (left), Airtronics / Sanwa MT-4 (center) and Futaba T2PHKA (right).

In my opinion, currently the best value controller is the Sanwa MT-4. In the USA, Sanwa is known as Airtronics. Here are reasons why:

  • No glitching or signal loss
  • Very high speed response between controller and reciever
  • Lightweight at 474 grams (with 5-cell nicad battery pack)
  • Throttle trigger position can be mechanically adjusted forwards, backwards, rotate to the left or right
  • Easy to adjust settings via a thumb roller and big lcd screen
  • Very nice feel on your hands
  • Telemetry (e.g. monitor engine temp or car speed)
  • Transmitter can use 4-AA, 5-cell nicad, 2cell life or 2s Lipo (7.4v) packs
  • Best value at around $197 USD

I love the Airtronics MT4. I bought one just days before the 2011 Tamiya Asia Cup finals in Singapore, where 115 drivers from 8 countries compete for a chance to win a ticket to Japan to race in the Tamiya World Championship. I finished 2nd in the Formula One class, a very difficult rc car to drive. But the Airtronics / Sanwa MT-4 gave me a great feel and control over the car. Much better than my old Futaba 3PM controller.

A beginner would benefit greatly from a good controller. Ability to adjust steering, throttle and brake sensitivity will give you better control over your r/c car. Yes it is twice the cost of a cheap controller, but think about the cost of a damaged runaway car because the cheap controller loses signal.

And if money is no object, and you desire the best radio controller for racing, there is the Sanwa M11x and the Futaba 4PKS. These have ultra fast response and lots of programmable settings on the transmitter.

Best Radio Controllers

Photo: Futaba 4PKS (left) versus the Sanwa M11x (right).

The Sanwa M11x is around USD $300 and the Futaba 4PKS around USD $450. The Sanwa M11x is not only cheaper, but some racers say it is faster than the Futaba. The best rc touring car racers use the Sanwa M11x radio control system.

A good radio controller is one of the first hop ups you should buy for your remote control car or truck. It is a good investment and will help you enjoy the hobby even more.

Visit the hobby shop page for a list of stores where you can buy radio controllers online.

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