An RC radio transmitter is a device that lets you control your RC car or RC aircraft wirelessly. These devices are used to remotely send and receive instructions between the radio transmitter and the radio-controlled device.
RC radio transmitters are widely used in different industries, scientific research and military organizations.
If you’re looking to get hold of one, the following include the top 10 best RC radio transmitters you can consider today.
Our Top 10 Picks
1. FrSky Taranis X9D Plus
The FrSky Taranis X9D plus sets the industry standards when it comes to powerful, flexible and fully featured radio transmitter.
The transmitter employs ACCST technology, which is best known with FrSky transmitter models. The technology ensures that the transmitter is able to utilize the entire 2.4 GHz band to maintain a solid rock connection with the receiver.
The X9D plus is essentially more advanced and comes with Haptic Vibration alerts, voice speech outputs, and a dual colour LCD backlit screen with 2 colour combinations to select from. Moreover, it comes installed with OPENTX open source software and boasts 16 channels with a faster baud rate and low latency.
One amazing feature with the X9D plus is its full telemetry capabilities combined with the RSSI alarms that lets you know when there’s a signal reception problem before a disaster strikes.
In terms of design, the receiver features a fusion of traditional radio design with a fantastic ergonomic case with two twist-knobs, 8-programmable switches, and smooth operating gimbals.
The transmitter is made to be compatible with FrSky (X, D, and L) series receivers and the V8-II series receiver.
- Full telemetry RSSI alarms lets you know when there’s a signal reception problem
- 16 channels that can be expanded to 32 with an external XJT module
- Real-time data logging
- Large LCD screen
- You can select 3 different modes
- The LCD screen is prone to scratches
2. Futaba 6J 6-Channel S-FHSS
If you looking for a radio transmitter that offers value and a myriad of features then the Futaba 6J is what you are looking for.
With a super-fast response speed and a frame rate of 6.8ms, the Futaba 6J radio transmitter operates at a frequency bandwidth of 2.4 GHz and works on S-FHSS and FHSS protocols. The transmitter supports pitch and throttle for air planes as well as four swash-plate options for helicopter pilots.
What’s more, the receiver supports four control modes and comes with a 15 model memory that lets you save different aircraft settings. There’s also a rotary knob that lets you fine tune hover pitch or switch to a fully proportional 6th channel.
Compared to most transmitters in its class, the Futaba 6J has an uncluttered faceplate that lets you access all the controls with ease. Its design is also balanced to offer a better grip and ensure that there’s even weight distribution when it’s set down or worn on the neck.
Other features include an LCD display, throttle cut button, low-battery warnings, range check mode, a bi-directional menu navigation, and a built in antenna to prevent accidental breakage. There are so many features to explore with this transmitter that make it worth the price tag.
- Air plane and helicopter options
- Throttle cut button
- Uncluttered faceplate for easy operation
- Comfortable grip and nicely balanced physical transmitter
- 15-model memory to save your settings
- Tiny LCD screen that lacks backlighting
3. GoolRC Flysky FS-i6
The Flysky FS-i6 is yet another radio transmitter by GoolRC that offers unsurpassed capabilities.
With only 6 channels, this entry level telemetry operates at a frequency bandwidth of 2.4 GHz and employs the AFHDS (Automatic Frequency Hopping Digital System) technology to transmit radio signals.
It features an ultra-slim case design that clinches comfortably in your hands hence minimizing fatigue during long flights. Its programming is simple to use and the digital trims give this RC radio transmitter a modern feel and look.
The transmitter has an antenna that does not need reinforcement and is compact enough such that you can loop it around your neck using a neck strap or pack it in a back pack together with all your gear and go hiking with it.
Other features include a backlit LCD display, 20-model memory, trainer port, and a 3-position switch for changing flight modes along with two adjustable knobs among other features.
- Very affordable
- Compact design makes it easy to carry
- Simple programming makes it easy to use
- Backlit LCD display screen
- Ideal for beginners
- Only 6 channels can limit what you want to fly
4. Spektrum DX6 DSMX
The Spektrum DX6 brims with features that you can only get from high end RC radio transmitters.
With a frequency bandwidth of 2.4 GHz, this remarkably affordable RC radio transmitter boasts a whopping 250 model memory. This enormous memory means that you do not have to keep changing models between your transmitter and SD card.
The receiver is equipped with a full-range AR610 receiver that pulls together the precision and speed of DSMX control with an amplified antenna. This enables the receiver to pick signals with incredible clarity even in noisy environments.
In addition to the amplified antenna, the DX6 RC comes with an impressive list programming features for airplane, heli, and sailplanes. Furthermore, 3 tail types, four wing types, and five flights modes. All these functions are effortlessly operated on an intuitive SimpleScroll programming interface.
Other important features worth noting include the programmable voice alerts, the wireless trainer link, and the built-in telemetry feature that lets you know real-time data on functions like airspeed, battery voltage, signal quality, etc. You can use the voice alert system to alert you when specific telemetry values are exceeded or attained.
- Very affordable
- Programming for airplanes, helicopters and sailplanes
- Comes with programmable voice alerts
- 250 model memory
- Built-in telemetry feature gives real time data
- Possible limitation of the 6 channel
- The AA alkaline batteries drain very fast
5. Spektrum DX6e DSMX DSM2
Just like the DX6, the Spektrum DX6e combines the simplicity of a basic radio and the versatility of a programmable RC transmitter to give a feature rich and budget friendly flying companion.
With an operating bandwidth of 2.4 GHZ, the DX6e can fly almost any RC airplane, heli, drone, multi-rotor, or sailplane giving pilots the much needed control to fly pre-programmed set-ups.
The model is also equipped with a full range AR610 receiver that seamlessly integrates with DSMX technology and the Spektrum Air Wave software to give you clear signals.
What’s more, it features a patent-pending gimbal design for adjusting the gimbal spring configuration and a built-in telemetry feature that lets you get real time data on things like signal quality and battery voltage.
You’ll also love the 250 model memory and the wireless trainer link that lets you share model set ups with any Spektrum user.
- 250 model memory
- Built in telemetry
- Simple to use
- Programming for airplanes, helicopters and sailplanes
- Ability to share set ups with other users
- Drains the AA alkaline batteries quite fast
6. Radiolink AT10 II
Radiolink AT10 II is another RC transmitter that has met quite a good response among its users.
With a super-fast response rate of 3ms, the AT10 II operates at a bandwidth of 2.4 GHz. This allows the transmitter to receive stable and faster signals synchronously in its 12 channels thanks to its high-gain transmitter antenna that has a maximum control distance of 4km.
Along with the receiver, there is an R12DS receiver that allows you to control a racing drone at different distance ranges and a configurable multiple alarm feature that shows when there’s extended engine voltage and low transmitter voltage on the backlit colour LCD screen.
The coloured LCD screen is also well placed for easy configuration and real-time data telemetry monitoring. The unit also features an ergonomic design for easy handling and comes with numerous control switches.
You can also upgrade the device’s firmware via USB to ensure that it maintains its full functionality at all time. The anti-polarity connection feature also protects your transmitter from getting damaged if plugged wrongly.
- Super-fast response rate
- Coloured LCD screen
- Ergonomic design for easy handling and control
- Firmware update
- Anti-polarity connection
- Flimsy joysticks
7. FrSky Upgraded Taranis Q X7S
The FrSky QX7S is another great RC radio transmitter in the Taranis’s series of radio transmitters.
This new upgraded version is feature rich compared to the original QX7. Just like most Tarani transmitters, the QX7 runs on the OpenTX open source software, which means you can share files with other models such as the X9D plus.
It features six upgraded switches and ball bearing hall sensors along with a wireless trainer function. The QX7 also makes it easy to monitor sensor data since it’s compatible with FrSky iOS and Android apps.
Just like X9D plus, the QX7 features a compact design and adds the haptic vibration system which is common with FrSky radios. The system acts as an alternative feedback system to sound and voice alerts.
Best of them all, the transmitter can support up to 32 channels and allows real-time data logging. It also has a micro-SD card slot for unrestricted memory options along with a USB port for firmware updates.
- Slightly angled switches for better ergonomics
- Rubber front offers a comfortable grip
- Real time flight data logging
- You can share files
- Compatible with FrSky apps
- You have to unplug the battery to charge it
8. Tactic TTX403
The TTX403 is a great entry level RC radio transmitter that offers added versatility that you might expect.
The TTX403 is ideal for flying Fly-zone and Great Plane aircrafts and uses an advanced 2.4GHz spectrum technology to ensure error-free and uninterrupted flying.
The TTX403 can be configured to function as a 3 or 4 channel transmitter. If you are a beginner, using the 3-channel configuration can help you to better full airplane directional control with one hand and use the other for throttle control.
To power the TTX403, five AA batteries are required. You can use 1.2V NiCd (Nickel-Cadmium) batteries, Non-rechargeable 1.5V alkaline batteries or NiMH (Nickel –metal hydride) batteries. Keep in mind that the cells should not be mixed.
The RC is compatible with all mini-sized and micro TX-R airplanes. It includes features such as Elevon and V-Tail mixing functions, electronic speed controls, servo reversing, and power LED and low battery alarm.
- Compact design
- Ergonomic case
- Compatible with all mini-sized and micro TX-R airplanes.
- Can serve as a low-cost alternative to SLT transmitters
9. Radiolink RC4GS
If you are looking for radio transmitter that’s compact and offers the latest technology at a decent price tag, then the Radiolink RC4GS is what you need.
The transmitter is built to fit into all types of driving environments thanks to the faster response time that takes the 4 channels to respond in a record 12ms.
Unlike analogue transmitter that have little turning knobs that can cause you lose control, this transmitter comes with a digital computing system that lets you set your trim settings ensuring that everything is working just as you anticipate.
The FHSS algorithm used by the RC4GS together with the 16 channels pseudo-random sequence frequency hopping helps ensure superb multipath interference. This means that multiple players cannot interfere with each other.
Another great feature is the built-in gyro sensitivity setting that can be adjusted to help prevent you from spinning out. Moreover there’s a 4-channel mixing function and an ABS and failsafe protection function that prevents you from locking up when taking sharp corners.
More features include an anti-polarity protection technology, USB firmware upgrade, and superb ergonomics design for player comfort.
- Superb multipath interference
- Built-in gyro sensitivity setting
- ABS and failsafe protection feature
- Superb ergonomics for comfort
- USB firmware upgrade
- The plastic construction and the buttons do not have a high-end feel
10. Flysky FS-GT5 6CH
The Flysky FS-GT5 is another compact and user-friendly RC radio transmitter that offers great functionality.
This new release by Flysky comes with an FS-BS6 receiver and features the AFHDS 2A protocol. The AFHDS system offers unrivalled protection against interference while ensuring minimal power usage and reliable receiver sensitivity.
Apart from that, the radio comes with a frequency bandwidth of 2.4 GHz and offers 6 channels. The channels ensure that it’s compatible with RC cars and boats.
It also comes with a 4-crawl mode and an in-built failsafe function that guarantees the user’s safety and that of others. When the failsafe is active, all channels are set to a pre-set value until the signal is regained or power is removed.
What’s more, the FS-GT5 comes with an ABS function to help in achieving the best cornering and breaking effect; and an in-built gyroscope stabilization system that prevents from spinning.
- The AFHDS system for protection against interference
- Great ergonomic handle
- Properly placed controls
- ABS function for excellent cornering
- Comes with gyroscope stabilization system
- Signal issues have been reported
How to pick the best RC radio transmitter
Buying an RC transmitter for your car, drone, airplane, or helicopter can be confusing especially if you do not know what features you should consider first. But don’t worry, because we have got you covered.
Below are some factors you must consider when looking for an RC radio transmitter.
Consider the budget that you want to operate with. Besides you do not want to spend a lot of money on an RC radio that you will just use to fly an RC airplane or RC car. Most RC radio transmitters cost under $200 but make sure you check the various attributes that come with the cost. You might get a good and dependable one at below $100.
A BNF product lacks a transmitter but includes everything else that you need. For example you can get an RC aircraft with a receiver but lacking a transmitter. If this is the case, your transmitter choice must be compatible with that particular model.
Sometimes you may want to drive your RC car or airplane for hour. This means that you’ll need an RC radio transmitter that is lightweight and with a comfortable grip in your hands. You might as well consider one with customizable ergonomics.
Consider the number of channels that your transmitter has. The more the channels, the more options you get when flying your drone or driving. For example, you can use one channel to accelerate while the other one to steer, reverse, or control lights. However, the more the channels, the pricier the transmitter.
A huge model memory means that you do not have to use a different transmitter for every RC car or airplane you want to operate. With a huge model memory you can store numerous model profiles for different RC cars or planes. For instance, with a 20 model memory, you can store up to 20 different profiles.
Telemetry functions let you monitor things like airspeed, battery voltage, temperature or signal problems.
Frequently asked Questions
What is an RC transmitter and how does it work?
An RC transmitter is an electronic device that control an RC plane or RC vehicle remotely. It contains an inbuilt antenna that sends signals and commands to the receiver via a frequency.
What is RC telemetry?
Telemetry is a technology that allows you to get real-time data on various parameters such as battery voltage, motor rpm, temperature and many more.
What does 4 channel RC mean?
This means that there are four channels on the transmitter that control the actions of the RC car or RC plane. For example, channel 1 would control steering, channel 2 would control acceleration, channel 3 would control braking, and channel 4 would control sounds.
What does the abbreviation TX mean?
The abbreviation “TX” denotes the word transmitter.
If you were wondering which RC radio transmitter is best for you, then there you have it. Remember that RC transmitters offer you full control of your RC car or RC plane, and you’ll want to get the best RC transmitter that does the job satisfactorily.
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