What are the best mini R/C RTR crawlers under $200?

Top Mini-Crawlers Under $200

Going head-to-head are the 4Runner Mini-Z from Kyosho, the Enduro 24 from Element R/C, the SCX24 from Axial, and last but not least, the Tetra X1 from Panda Hobby. These trucks vary in size, capabilities, scale realism, and price points. So, which one is best for you? Let's find out!

What size are these crawlers?

What scale are these mini crawlers?

  • The Kyosho Mini-Z 4x4 MX-01 is 1/28 scale.
  • The Element RC Enduro24 Sendero is 1/24 scale.
  • The Axial SCX24 Jeep Wrangler JLU is 1/24 scale.
  • The Panda Hobby Tetra X1 is 1/18 scale.

  • Do you need anything to complete the kit and get on the road?

    The Mini-Z will require a total of eight AAA batteries to get it on the trail, four for the chassis and four for the transmitter. The Enduro will also need four AAA batteries for the transmitter. Both the SCX24 and the Tetra have everything included and are ready to go out of the box.

    What kind of crawler batteries do these trucks take, and do they come with batteries?

    The Mini-Z runs off of four AAA batteries, and again these are not included. The Enduro24 includes one LiPo battery, and it is a 1S 540 mAh LiPo. The SCX24 includes one LiPo battery as well, and it's a 2S 350 mAh LiPo. The Tetra X1 has two 2S 500 mAh Li-ion batteries for extra runtime. All but the Mini-Z include USB chargers. The Mini-Z does not have a charger because it runs off of AAA's.

    How long does it take to charger the crawler batteries?

    Charge times vary for each of these kits. The SCX24 takes about 2 hours, the Enduro24 takes about 90 minutes, and the Panda will take around 30 minutes. Charge times are approximates depending on how much stored energy the battery has when put on the charger.

    Pro Tip“Never let a Lithium battery go completely dead.”

    How long will my crawler run?

    Although runtimes vary depending on conditions and how hard you drive, each of these mini crawlers has an approximate runtime of 30 minutes. The Mini-Z will reach nearly an hour of runtime on those AAA batteries.

    What's inside the chassis?

    The Tetra X1 is the only truck in our comparison that includes oil-filled shocks. The rest all have coilover spring shocks and might be a bit bouncy on the trail. Each one has link suspensions, the Mini-Z has a three-link wishbone front and rear, the Enduro24 and Tetra both have a proper four-link front and rear suspension. Lastly, the SCX24 has a three-link wishbone front and a four-link on the rear.

    Panda Hobby Tetra X1 Oil-filled shocks

    Tetra Oil-filled Shocks

    Element RC Enduro24 Coilover Spring Shocks

    Coilover Spring Shocks

    Kyosho Mini-Z 3-Link Wishbone Suspension

    Mini-Z Three-link Wishbone

    Axial SCX24 JLU Jeep Wrangler Suspension

    SCX24 Suspension

    As far as the steering servo layout goes, we have chassis mounted servos (CMS) on the Mini-Z Toyota 4Runner, and Enduro24. For the SCX24 and Tetra X, they have a servo on axle setup. This setup has the servo stationary on the axle pivoting between the chassis rails. Each of these crawlers has center mounted transmissions and motors, except for the Enduro24. The Enduro24 features a forward mounted motor and transmission with a center transfer case.

    Can you upgrade this mini crawlers?

    All of the kits have good upgradability and aftermarket part support, with the exception of the Mini-Z. Unfortunately, there are no parts available for the Mini-Z at this time. On the other hand, the SCX24 has a vast amount of upgraded aftermarket parts to either enhance scale realism or raw crawling performance.

    Do these crawlers come with LED lighting?

    The Mini-Z does not have LEDs, but the front and rear lenses on the body are ready for you to add your own. The Enduro24 has front LEDs in the bumper, and they turn on when you apply power to the vehicle. Their brightness is dictated by how much throttle you give it. The SCX24 also includes two front bumper LEDs, but they stay on all the time.

    Panda Hobby Tetra X1 Front Lights

    Panda Hobby Tetra X1 Rear Lights

    The Tetra X1 has the most robust LED system. (Pictured above in blue.) The Tetra features rear lights that stay on until you apply throttle and backup lights when you apply reverse. It also features front headlights and an LED light bar on the roof. These lights can be controlled with an on/off switch on the transmitter.

    What kind of special features do these crawlers come with?

    To keep the 4Runner body looking realistic, the Mini-Z includes a hidden body fastening system that uses posts that poke through the bottom of the chassis and are secured by wires. The Enduro24 is the only crawler in our comparison to feature a forward motor and transmission setup that looks more accurate and puts more weight over that front axle.

    Kyosho Mini-Z 4x4 Toyota 4Runner Fastening System

    Mini-Z 4x4 Hidden Fastening System

    Element RC Enduro24 Forward Mounted Motor and Transmission

    Enduro24 Forward Mounted Motor/Transmission

    Axial SCX24 JLU Jeep Wrangler Access System

    SCX24 Rear Hinge Access

    High Medium & Low Throttle Switch

    Tetra Throttle Switch

    The SCX24 Jeep Wrangler body is hinged on the rear end secured by only one body clip, making accessing the chassis pretty quick and convenient. In addition, the SCX24 has a low, medium, and high switch on the transmitter so you can adjust the throttle response. The Tetra X1 also features a low, medium, and high throttle switch on the transmitter.

    How responsive are these mini crawlers?

    When it comes to throttle response, we left the switch on the medium setting for the Tetra and the SCX. As we tried to be as smooth and precise on the throttle trigger as possible, the SCX24 ended up with the best throttle response. The Enduro24 came in a close second, with the Tetra X1 and Mini-Z tied in third place.

    Will these crawlers bottom out on the trail?

    The SCX24 and has the most clearance under the axle due in large part to its large diameter tires. Next is the Tetra, and finally, the Enduro24 and Mini-Z come in last with the least clearance.

    Note: Clearance is relative to ride height and tire size and can be adjusted.

    So how did they performed on our mini crawler course.

    Our course started with a 1.5" or a 3.8cm lip to get on the board. Followed by some small river rocks, then a climb up old wood, followed by a spline, designed to snag the skidplate. Then over a little bridge and down. Lastly, a climb up a decal-filled incline that sat at about 44 degrees.

    Kyosho Mini-Z 4x4 Performance Test
    Element RC Enduro24 Sendero Performance Test

    First up is the Mini-Z.
    With a bit of speed, it made it over the lip. For its smaller size, the Mini-Z suspension takes the rocks no problem. No issues over the spline. But we could not make it up the climb.

    Next is the Enduro24.
    Again, a little speed to clear the lip, but it made it up. No issues through the rocks or the spline, but it could not do the climb.

    Axial SCX24 JLU Performance Test
    Panda Hobby Tetra X1 Performance Test

    The SCX24 was next.
    Those big tires quickly got over the lip and had no issues through the rocks. This little crawler had extra clearance over the spline compared to the smaller kits. The truck really wanted to make it up the incline but needed a little help to do it.

    Last but not least the Tetra X1 went beast mode.
    Up and over the lip, no problem. Those oil-filled shocks looked nice and smooth through the rocks, but with a lower clearance, it got hung up on the spline. Ultimately, the Tetra handled the board quite well.

    In Conclusion...

    Kyosho Mini-Z 4x4 with the Toyota 4Runner Body

    The Kyosho Mini-Z 4x4 is all about the scale details and realism built into an amazing body. It is arguably, the most scale mini crawler experience available, and it doesn't come cheap, with a price tag of $199.99. The Mini-Z 4x4 is also a great performing crawler, with smooth response and long, 60-minute runtimes.

    The Mini-Z 4x4 is available in a variety of body styles

    Exceptional body details & realism
    Impressive performance
    No body clips
    Good throttle response

    Runs on "AAA" batteries (not included)
    Most expensive truck at $199.99

    Kyosho Mini-Z 4x4 with Toyota 4Runner Body

    Element RC Enduro24 Sendero

    The Enduro24 is the least expensive truck of the bunch and is all about performance, offering great crawling ability, a forward motor placement, and a smooth ESC response. Upgrading with aftermarket parts and tires will offer even more crawling capabilities to this truck.

    Also available in other body colors and styles.

    Least expensive truck, at $106.99
    Motor forward chassis layout
    Great throttle response
    Great axle clearance
    Great performance
    Includes LED's in bumper

    Small diameter tires limit performance

    Element RC Enduro24 with Blue and Red Body

    Axial SCX24 JLU Jeep Wrangler Body

    The SCX24 is the best performer of this group, offering exceptional performance, smoothness, and ground clearance. The SCX24 price tag is on the higher end, and battery charge times are the longest of the group, but for the best performing out-of-the-box truck, the SCX24 takes the cake.

    The SCX24 is also available in a variety of body styles.

    Exceptional trail performance
    Exceptional throttle response
    Great axle clearance
    Includes LED's in bumper
    Hinged body design
    Tons of upgrades available

    Price of $134.99
    Longest charge time - 2 hours

    Axial SCX24 JLU Jeep Wrangler Body

    Panda Hobby Tetra X1

    The Tetra X1 is probably the best all-around mini crawler and is purely centered around having the most fun. It's not the best performer, and arguably, it's not the most scale realistic body. Still, with two batteries included, the fastest charge time of all the trucks, and the cool LED lighting system, the Tetra X1 will keep driving and offers a lot of value for the driver who doesn't need the best and just wants to have fun.

    The Tetra is also offered in several body styles and colors.

    Oil-filled shocks
    Two Li-ion batteries
    Robust LED lighting system
    Hard plastic body details
    Quickest charge time (30 minutes)
    Best all-round value - $129.99

    Jerky throttle response

    Panda Hobby Tetra X1 with Orange Body

    *Prices subject to change without notice - last updated September 30, 2021
    Note: Performance ratings are for informational purposes only, actual results may vary due to body style, condition, terrain, battery type, and driving style.