Whatever your preference in remotely controlled craft, be it cars, boats, planes or helicopters, after a while you will discover that the standard RC units that ship with the model is somewhat limited in their functionality. To get the best out of your model’s capabilities, acquiring the best RC transmitter you can find is a worthwhile investment as it will not only greatly improve the model’s performance but also your pleasure.
Nowadays, with the ever-increasing popularity of flying quadcopters, airplanes, helicopters and gliders, most RC transmitters are designed with flying craft in mind and, for this reason, the units I have tested belong to the flight category although some are also well-suited to surface models and boats.
Buying Considerations for a RC Transmitters
One of the biggest advantages of a quality RC transmitter is the ability to program the device for many different models. A good RC transmitter allows you to switch between different craft or vehicles while using the same control unit and also to hand-tailor different performance options to your own individual preferences.
Before making your first purchase there are a few things you should check.
- Number of Channels. Four channels are sufficient for flying purposes but most modern RC transmitters will have a minimum of six radio channels, and this is the most popular choice for beginners. Six channels are perfectly adequate for most models but seven or eight is better. The reason is quite simple. Models are constantly evolving and becoming more complex and some craft already needs more than six channels to operate to their maximum capability.
- Model Memory. As the RC transmitter will be storing settings for multiple models, memory is extremely important. Instead of having twenty different RC units for twenty different models, every program must be stored in one RC transmitter and that requires significant amounts of memory. Most modern transmitters will store up to twenty model programs and profiles but if your collection is growing this may soon not be enough. Another good reason to buy the best RC transmitter you can afford!
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Suitable for model airplanes and helicopters, the Spektrum DX-8 not only performs well but looks great and is extremely comfortable to hold in the hands. With eight radio channels, the Spektrum DX-8 can handle all your flying requirements with ease and it can store up to thirty individual programs for different flying models.
The DX-8 uses 2.4GHz technology which gives the strongest signals over a greater range than some other transmitters and this, in turn, leads to better control over your craft at a greater distance. Something that is always to be applauded!
Another great advantage of the Spektrum DX-8 RC transmitter is the fact that, although it has many expert-level program functions, it also simple for a beginner to use. Couple these great features with a sharp and fast screen display and there is no reason to look beyond the Spektrum DX-8 for a top of the range RC transmitter.
Futaba have long been associated with quality RC transmitters but the 4YF comes with 2.4GHz technology making it a great product at a reasonable price. The new technology eliminates radio signal interference which has been, and still is, a problem with other systems.
As the 4YF only has four radio channels, it is fine for novice airplane flyers and it can store up to thirty model memories and also works well with surface models such as cars and trucks.
For a relatively small cost, the Futaba 4YF is an excellent beginner’s RC transmitter and worth considering for those who are just starting flying or who’s preference is for land vehicles or boats.
For price, functionality and simplicity of use, the GoolRC Flysky FS-i6 is hard to beat. Six radio channels easily handle all the requirements for flying planes or gliders and the FS-i6 can also be used for model helicopters. Perhaps, the amount of memory for storing different model profiles could be bigger but, at twenty, there is more than enough to be getting on with.
As is becoming the industry standard, the FS-i6 uses 2.4GHz signals which eliminate interfering signals and give a very stable performance.
Programming in a profile for helicopters is a little tricky at first but, with a little practice, can be soon mastered. That little quibble aside, the GoolRC Flysky FS-i6 is worth an honorable mention in any list of the best RC transmitters.