Radio controllers (or RC) are basically transmitters that make use of radio signals to remotely control a device. With digital radio signals, it’s possible to communicate an unlimited set of instructions between the radio transmitter and the radio-controlled device.
Radio controllers are widely used by industrial, scientific research and military organizations.
If you’re considering getting an RC radio controller, here’s our selection of the top 10 best RC radio controllers you should consider.
Top 10 Best RC Radio Controllers
1. Spektrum DX8
The Spektrum DX8 is a high-end radio transmitter from Spektrum and includes everything you’ll ever need in a transmitter. With a model memory of 250, means you will rarely, if ever, need to juggle models between transmitter memory and your SD card. In addition to extensive airplane and heli programming, the DX8 has the most impressive sailplane programming features you’ll find in any handheld transmitter. Ten available flight modes, 5 wing types, 3 tail types, 2 swashplate types, flap delay with elevator compensation-it has it all. You even have the ability to adjust individual servo characteristics (end points, travel, center, etc.) for all 8 channels.
The quality of construction is excellent, including the antenna. However, we have found that Futaba models (reviewed later in this list) have better build quality, even the cheapest ones.
- Comfortable, no-slip rubber grips
- User-assigned switch functions
- Easy-to-read backlit screen
- Intuitive SimpleScroll
- Programming interface
- Quite expensive
Spektrum Spektrum DX8e is a powerful 8 channel radio transmitter with support for 4 model types – helicopter, multirotor, airplane and sailplane programming.
- A virtually unlimited model memory that stores up to 250 models
- A built-in telemetry and a multi-rotor flight mode setup
- Ability to perform cross-platform model sharing with other Spektrum transmitters
- High-resolution backlit LCD display
- 7 airplane wing types as well as 6 tail types
- Presence of 4 sailplane wing types and 3 tail types
- 7-point pitch and tail curves for helicopters
- 7-point throttle curves for helicopters and airplanes
- Comes with four AA batteries and two swashplate types.
- 250 model memory
- Helicopter, multirotor, airplane and glider programming
- Integrated telemetry, wireless connection for coaches, common model configurations, easy to use
- Batteries can run out quickly, instructions may not be clear to beginners and there are no drive sports
3. Spektrum DX6
The Spektrum DX6 is an impressive 6 channel RC transmitter for both beginners and professionals. Featuring a built-in telemetry, the DX6 shows real-time information such as model’s battery voltage, signal quality, engine or motor temperature, airspeed, altitude and more.
DX6 offers a plethora of programming features for airplane, sailplane and helicopter model types that are simple to access and use. DX6 is also compatible with other Spektrum aircraft receivers.
The DX6 can also be used in “Buddy Box” mode with other DSM2/DSMX transmitters.
- Compatible with all existing Spektrum aircraft receivers
- Can be adapted to work with other models that require six channels or less
- Spektrum DX6 supports only 6 channels
The Radiolink AT10II is a transmitter/receiver combo that can be used with all types of aircraft model types: FPV Racking Drone, Fixed Wing, Rotary Wing, Glider, Multirotor, Hybrids, Cars and Boats. It comes with 12 channel receivers, and supports signal output from PWM/SBUS ports. The built-in telemetry allows the user to receive crucial information on your model’s systems. It employs the DSSS/FHSS spread spectrum to strengthen and ensure anti-interference.
- Suitable for racing drone, multiple rotors, Quadcopters, RF boats and cars
- USB online upgrade
- Manual is not included. However, it is available for download from Radiolink website
The Flysky FS-i6X 2.4GHz 10-channel model is hard to beat for its price tag. It is well built for a transmitter of its class and is very easy to use, even at the beginner level. The rugged and comfortable design features an easy-to-use menu system with a variety of features. It weighs only 14 ounces, which is ideal if you use the device for a long time.
- Lightweight, easy to hold and handle
- Transparent LCD screen
- Long battery life, simple menu, soft response sticks, reliable
- Switches could be marked more clearly
Flysky FS-i6 is a professional grade transmitter/receiver combo that is compact yet highly functional. If you are looking for an affordable controller, you can’t go wrong with Flysky FS-i6 as it gets the job done without you having to spend a ton of money for similar features. It has 6 channels but you can upgrade it up to 10 channels through a firmware upgrade. Flysky FS-i6 provides an excellent range and is designed for three model types: fixed-wing, glider and helicopter.
- Great for beginner use
- Backlit LCD
- Receiver is included
- Compatible with lot of flight sims
- Easy to bind the receiver to the transmitter
- Long battery life
- Great price
- Plastic feel
7. Futaba 10JA
Futaba 10JA is a 10 channel, fully programmable and telemetry enabled radio transmitter that can be adapted to a host of applications such as airplane, helicopter, glider and multi-rotor programming. It is light weight, easy to handle and comes equipped with 30 model memory. It has a voice synthesis feature that lets you hear telemetry updates through headphones so you can keep your eyes on the sky.
- Special menus for airplane, glider, helicopter and multi-rotor
- Wireless data transfer with other 10J transmitters
- Voice enabled
- 30-model internal memory only
- Requires servos for multi-rotor aircraft
The FrSky 2.4G Taranis Q X7 is a lightweight feature packed reliable radio transmitter that makes use of a Haptic Vibration Feedback System that connects an alternative feedback system with sound and voice alert warnings. It is a 16 channel transmitter with smooth ball bearing gimbals. It is loaded with two knobs and six different switches. It has a microSD slot that provides options for unlimited model memory. It features a USB port that facilitates upgrade and connection to the PC for adjusting settings.
One of the best features of Taranis Q X7 is its telemetry capability and also the strength of its Receiver Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) signal feedback.
The model is equipped with an audio jack output and a trainer port.
- RSSI Alerts (Receiver Signal Strength Indicator)
- Real-time recording of flight data
- Audio outputs, quad ball bearing gimbals, lightweight
- Limited instructions, no battery or charger
9. Futaba 14SGH
The Futaba 14SGH comes with 14-channel 2.4GHz FASSTest technology making it one of the most cutting-edge flight radios on the market. It is compatible with FASSTest, FASST and S-FHSS protocols, which means you can fly with virtually any 2.4GHz Futaba air receiver models. It includes a bidirectional communication system and can receive telemetry data for flight monitoring, alerts and more. The 14SG is a great choice for multirotors, offering all the features and functions pilots demand for First Person View racing.
- Compatible with separately sold Futaba telemetry sensors
- Software can be updated online
- Rubber grips on the sides and back for comfortable holding
- Includes 6V NiMH Battery
- 30-model memory only
10. Flysky FS-GT3B
The Flysky FS-GT3B is a 3-channel digital transmitter and receiver that is compatible with most RC cars and boats. Its operating range is between 2.4-2.48GHz. The remote control can cover a distance of over 900 meters at RF power of less than 20dbm. The transmitter uses AFHDS protocol which ensures real-time data transmission without interfering with other signals.
- Comes with steering and throttle control
- Low power consumption
- LCD screen display
- 10-model internal memory only