Radio control or remote control (RC) submarines are small ships that you can play with beneath the surface of the water.
Because the play isn’t usually visible, the real challenge lies in safely navigating the water and making the submarine re-emerge.
RC submarines are great for kids and adults alike. They allow you to live out your deep-sea exploration fantasies without any of the danger.
In this submarine RC review guide, we will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of popular models. We will also explain how RC submarines work and some common questions around the sport.
So, let’s dive in!
How Do RC Submarines Work?
RC submarines can fully submerge themselves in water and then come back to the surface. They can also move in different directions while they are under and above the water.
The submarines start to descend in the water because they take on some of the liquid. This makes the surface heavier and pushes it under the water. This process also happens on the dive planes, which sit on the surface.
When the submarine needs to rise to the surface again, it will either release gas or use a pump to push water out of its ballast tank. The exact mechanism depends on the model of the RC submarine. The release of the water and the reduced speed allows the submarine to float again and return to the surface.
Best RC Submarines
Now that we know how radio RC submarines work, let’s take a look at the best subs on the market. We will evaluate the pros and cons so you can find your best option.
1. Tipmant Mini RC Submarine – Best Overall
- Type: Military-style submarine
- Weight: 0.1 pounds (91g)
- Size: 5.7 inches (14.5cm)
The Tipmant Mini RC Submarine is a miniature, military-style sub. It’s also our pick for the overall best RC submarine.
The Tipmant model is a micro RC submarine, weighing in at less than 0.1 pounds (91g). Paired with its simple controls, this makes it a great option for young kids who want to play with a submarine toy.
It can run continuously for 25 minutes off just one battery charge. It also only takes 15 minutes to charge the battery, so you can play multiple times a day.
The submarine can move in multiple directions including forward, backward, left, right, dive down, and float to the surface. It has a realistic military design that is perfect for kids who have an interest in the navy.
While the submarine advertises a control distance of up to 16.4 feet (5m), many users have reported that this is inaccurate. Especially in moving waters, you can expect submersion of just a couple of feet with this sub. This makes it a good option for a bathtub or swimming pool.
If you’re looking for a fun and interactive RC submarine that can run for long times, you should consider the Tipmant Mini RC Submarine.
2. N/Y Mini RC Submarine – Best RC Submarine for Kids
- Type: Military-style submarine
- Weight: 10.6 ounces (300g)
- Size: 4.8 inches (12.2cm)
The N/Y Mini RC Submarine is a miniature, military-style submarine. We also chose it as the best RC submarine for kids.
The N/Y sub has an impressive, black, military design. It’s dark enough to blend into dark waters, with the option to illuminate the LED lights if you want additional fun effects. This is extremely engaging for children, especially if they imagine themselves as deep-sea explorers.
The sub can move in many directions, including left and right, up and down, and forwards and backward. It can run for a total of 25 minutes on a 15-minute charge, which is more than enough for a fulfilling play session.
However, the RC submarine can only reach depths of 3 feet (0.9m). It is also difficult to turn the submarine while it is fully submerged because of the rotor design. This makes it a good option for smaller spaces like a bathtub or fish tank.
If you’re looking for a sub that has an impressive and interactive design for kids, you can’t go wrong with the N/Y Mini RC Submarine.
3. GoolRC Mini RC Submarine Boat – Best Mini RC Submarine
- Type: Curved bow submarine
- Weight: 2.3 ounces (66g)
- Size: 4.3 inches (11cm)
The GoolRC Mini RC Submarine Boat has a unique curved boat design. It’s our top choice for the best mini RC submarine.
The GoolRC sub looks different from other RC submarines. It has a unique curved bow design that reduces resistance. This means that the sub can glide through the water with minimal interference.
The sub is so tiny that it can fit in the palm of your hand. It is also incredibly lightweight. This makes it an excellent portable option if you want to try out the sub at locations outside of the home.
It runs off rechargeable batteries that you can charge directly from the remote. This is convenient and makes it an even better option if you want to take it traveling or camping.
Our only criticism is that the sub loses signal after 2 feet (0.6m) of submersion. Therefore, you will need to play with this boat in shallower waters. It’s the best RC submarine for the pool or bathtub, but can’t hack it in the ocean.
If you’re looking for a small and speedy RC submarine that can glide through the water, you should consider the GoolRC Mini RC Submarine Boat.
4. Tnfeeon Remote Control Submarine – Best Large RC Submarine
- Type: Scientific-style submarine
- Weight: 1.6 pounds (726g)
- Size: 12 inches (30.5cm)
The Tnfeeon Remote Control Submarine is a large, scientific-style sub. It’s our pick for the best large RC submarine.
The Tnfeeon is a great option for children who have an interest in science. It comes with the separate parts in a box so you can help your kids to assemble the submarine.
This helps to keep your kid’s mind and hands engaged. Physically assembling the submarine helps them gain a greater appreciation for the toy. It also builds dexterity and problem-solving skills.
The sub includes educational information about how submarines work. This is a great project for kids who love science and toys.
The submarine has fully smooth surfaces that can’t scratch or hurt little hands. The materials are also non-toxic and eco-friendly, so they won’t hurt your kids or the environment. While you should still supervise your child with this RC sub, it won’t pose any problems.
The main disadvantage of the Tnfeeon sub is the price. It is more expensive than the other options in this guide. However, it’s worth it for the educational experience and fun submarine toy.
If you’re looking for a large RC sub that is equal parts fun and educational, you should look into the Tnfeeon Remote Control Submarine.
5. SAMTITY Mini RC Submarine – Best Bathtub RC Submarine
- Type: Scientific-style submarine
- Weight: 8.8 ounces (249g)
- Size: 5.9 inches (15cm)
The SAMTITY Mini RC Submarine has a cute and child-friendly, scientific-style design. It wins the award of the best bathtub RC submarine.
The SAMTITY Mini RC Submarine is the perfect companion for your child’s bathtime. It has a durable but lightweight design that can resist prying fingers, clumsy handling, and other perils of children.
It is also great value for money, with a low price tag, This makes it an even better choice for younger kids who easily break toys. You can control it from up to 13 feet (4m) away, which is more than enough for a standard bathtub.
The submarine has simple controls that allow you to move it left, right, forwards, backward, dive downwards, and return to the surface. Kids will love driving the sub around themselves in the bathtub.
The main disadvantage of the SAMTITY sub is the limited driving time. It can only run continuously for 4 minutes at a time. It has a rechargeable battery that only needs 5 minutes of charging.
However, it is still unsuitable for extended play sessions. Short and sweet is the name of the game with this RC submarine.
If you’re looking for an interactive toy that your young child can safely enjoy in the bathtub, you should look no further than the SAMTITY Mini RC Submarine.
RC Submarine FAQ
How Waterproof Are RC Submarines?
RC submarines are usually fully waterproof. You can fully submerge the ship without damaging its inner workings. You should check the packaging of any submarine that you buy to see if the manufacturer recommends a maximum submersion depth.
While the ship may be waterproof, the radio controller usually is not. You should take care not to drop your controller in any body of water.
Controllers often use lithium batteries, which you should not expose to water. Water can damage the battery, cause corrosion, and even cause it to catch alight.
Therefore, you should maintain a safe distance from the water when you are using an RC submarine controller.
Are RC Submarines Dangerous?
Generally, RC submarines are not dangerous. When you are using the submarine underwater, there is no danger of electrocution.
However, you should avoid using your RC submarine in high traffic areas like a working fishing port. This could pose a danger to other people on boats, or at the very least destroy your model. You should also avoid using it near swimming people, especially young children.
Some RC submarines also include missiles and torpedoes. They are not actual explosives but are propelled from the ship by compressed gas. You should be careful using this feature near other people or animals. It could go wrong and injure someone.
How Deep Do RC Submarines Dive?
Usually, a toy-grade RC submarine can dive a maximum of 5 feet (1.5m). The more professional models might be able to get to a depth of 30 feet (9m).
There are some limiting factors to how deep an RC submarine can dive. The main limiting factor is the radio signal.
RC transmitters use a 2.4Ghz signal to communicate with the submarine. When the ship is underwater, this interferes with the signal. Salty water and chlorine also increase signal interference.
To reach the greatest depths, you should use your RC submarine in still freshwater. This will ensure the strongest signal between the ship and the transmitter.
In conclusion, there are many great options if you’re looking for the best RC submarine for your budget. These toy subs are best suited to the bathtub, pool, or freshwater, where you can get a better radio signal.
There are many factors to consider when buying an RC sub, like its size, price, and overall functionality. The most important thing is that you have fun with your submarine and choose a model that will give you or your kids long-term enjoyment.