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Remote controlled cars come in all different shapes and sizes, but one of the most interesting for children is the remote-controlled bus.
Buses take playtime a little further because there is a vocational side to the vehicle, a reason for children to drive them around and makeup stories with their other toys.
Many children will have models that they push around by hand, ferrying passengers between locations. Others may have a push-back bus that periodically seems to run all by itself. The next step up is to try a remote-controlled bus with more interactivity.
Why choose a Remote Controlled bus for your child?
Remote-controlled buses give children the chance to control their toys in a new way. At their most basic, they provide simple actions for forward and backward motion and steering.
Some may have additional sounds and effects for added interest. As they get more complex for older children, you start to get models where you can open the doors, use more interactive features, and have greater control over the acceleration.
There are even model buses that you can convert into RC vehicles as teens or adults, as well as RC, build-your-own buses.
How to choose the best remote controlled bus for your child.
What sort of bus do they want?
There are lots of different buses out there, so it helps to know which kind will appeal to your child the most. School buses are one of the most common designs because of their familiarity with children and their colors.
But, there are also models that mimic vehicles from mass transit systems. Alternatively, you might find some vintage items, such as the London bus below. Take your time to search around because you might find some hidden gems out there.
What can the Remote controller do?
Not all RC controllers are the same, although many brands do appear to share models and features. Some simple remotes will do little more than provide basic motion.
The more advanced the model, the better the steering and acceleration. Toddler-friendly models may focus more on the effects than the accuracy or quality of the motion of the toy. Models with opening doors are also very popular for creative play.
Is it age-appropriate?
Whatever the style or the function of the controls, they have to be age-appropriate. Toddlers can do well with simple remote and cartoon toys that are a lot of fun.
As kids get older you can increase the difficultly in the controls, and with any building elements to the bus itself. The most advanced is the DIY kits. These are either better for teens or for older children with parental supervision.
Is everything included in the box?
Most of these toys should have everything needed for a complete working model with a compatible remote. However, there are kits out there that don’t come with the RC controls.
These models are better for keen enthusiasts that can adapt to an existing system. Also, it is unlikely that the batteries for the remote will be in the box either.
There aren’t that many RC buses out there, but the different models are diverse.
In this guide, I have broken my selections down into different categories. First, I have some remote-controlled school buses. These range from the more straightforward models for pre-teens to complex kits.
Then there are some alternative designs where you can open the doors. This feature makes a big difference in the enjoyment factor for children. Next, there are some more grown-up RC models that could become prized collectibles as kids get older.
Finally, there are two options for toddlers where kids can start learning about kits and RC features through cuter bus toys.
The 11 best Remote Controlled buses around right now.
Remote control school buses.
Let’s start with the school buses, as there are lots of these toys out there at different ends of the price scale. This first option is mid-ranges at just over $40. The shape of the body of the bus is a little oversimplified and flat, but, you still get some nice graphic details along the side and hood.
The ergonomic remote provides simple controls for acceleration, steering, reversing, and for open and closing the door to let the imaginary kids on and off.
There are also various effects with lights and sounds to make this more interactive, such as the taillights, turn signals, and the horn. But, there is also the option to mute the sounds when parents need a break.
For the next model in this school bus category, we have something a bit different from a well-known name. Tamiya is a popular brand for high-end RC build-your-own vehicles. I included them when talking about some of the best RC DIY car kits.
They provide quality models and parts that offer challenges to older children and parents that want something that will last. This one requires a lot of work to put together, with an attractive polycarbonate body in the realistic shape of the school bus.
Then you get the chassis, the 4WD monster truck wheels, and suspension system. The downsides here are the high cost – which is to be expected with Tamiya – and the fact that you need to source the RC elements separately.
The Tamiya school bus monster truck does have its issues, so this alternative version from WOWRC could be a better choice. It is a lot cheaper, which means that it might not last as long or have the same level of quality.
But, you do get a similar approach and the controller is included with it. The system runs on a rechargeable battery, which is a nice change, and lets kids maneuver the truck at speeds up to 12kmph. There are massive wheels for tractions, a decent amount of suspension, and a few sounds to add to the interactive experience.
Essentially, this is the kid-friendly version of the Tamiya and you could upgrade at a later date. But, this is pretty good as it is.
An RC bus with opening doors.
Then there are all of the buses that have nothing to do with school and are more collectible for enthusiasts. This first option takes us back to Fisca, who made the first model in my school bus section. I like this bus because it is so much like a normal model you would see in a mass transit system.
If you have kids that are fascinated by these vehicles, love taking bus rides, or even aspire to drive them, this could be a great choice. The controls are much like those on the school bus. You have full control over acceleration, deceleration, steering, and more with the 6-channel remote.
You can also open the doors, play with the sound effects, and really immerse yourself in the realistic details. For example, there is a voice the warns others when the bus is reversing.
This next option from HMANE is actually very similar in regard to its shape and functionality. The remote control also looks to be the same to me.
The reason I included this one is that I wanted to highlight the Blue version with the brilliant marine graphics on the side, the little route map, and the display upfront with the number and destination of Ocean Park. This all lends itself to creative play on a different level to some of the more generic buses.
Again, you get a lot of the same controls with the lights and sounds and there is an approximate battery life of 25 minutes.
Sticking with this mass transit inner-city theme, we have this model from Modeen. The shape of this model is a bit more blocky and doesn’t have the same attention to detail as some of the others.
This is a shame for the three-figure price tag. But, you can choose between a red and blue model, and there are windshield wipers and wing mirrors.
The remote control looks like a Playstation controller and allows for easy steering, acceleration, and reversing. There is also a control to open the doors to simulate letting the passengers on and off.
While I don’t think that this model has the same sort of visual appeal as some of the more colorful school buses or mass transit buses, it is interesting. This one is more of a coach, something that you might take for long-distance trips across the state.
Or, perhaps kids can imagine it as a tour bus? Either way, you get basic motion and steering controls, some simple lights, and a user-friendly remote.
It is cheap and simple, maybe too much so compared to some of the other models out there. Also, be aware that this one requires a lot of AA batteries.
High-end RC buses for teens and enthusiasts.
If the modern-day coach isn’t your sort of thing, why not go in the opposite direction with something vintage. To be honest, this one might appeal more to adults than kids because of some of the details in the design.
There are vintage posters on the side for places little kids might not have heard of. But, adults familiar with London will appreciate the route of this #52 bus from Noting Hill to Kensington High Street. The metal green bus is strong and well-crafted for years of use.
However, it seems that this one is remote control compatible, rather than ready to go. So, this requires a little more experience and preparation to turn this into the ideal RC bus.
When we say the world bus, how broad are we talking? We might have a different idea on what classifies as a bus, especially when a Volkswagen “bus” can transport a lot of people for long-distance trips.
So, that is why I have added this model for consideration. VW vehicles are always great collectibles and attractive models. This one is a 1:24 scale model of the Samba van.
When users set this up with a compatible RC controller, they can drive it around with basic forward and steering motion. There is no speed control, however.
Fun toddler-friendly remote-controlled buses:
For my last two remote-controlled buses, I have a couple of toys for much younger kids. These models can provide an easy entry into the world of remote control toys.
This first one is especially appealing because it is another build-your-own RC toy. Kids get a series of pieces that they can fit together, like any other kit, as well as child-friendly tools. The finished model is a cute hybrid of a school bus and car.
It isn’t very big, so doesn’t have the realistic dimensions of other toys, but the design is still recognizable. The drill then converts in the RC remote so kids can drive the bus around.
There’s no steering or anything complicated. It is just a simple introduction to this sort of toy.
Finally, I want to end with one of the weirder models. Personally, this meant nothing to me, but perhaps you and your children are more in touch with Korean animation.
There is a series called “Little Bus Tayo”. By the looks of this toy, he’s a pretty cute character like many other anthropomorphized vehicles. The hybridization between bus and police vehicle here adds to the unique feel of this toy.
As this comes straight from Korea, be prepared for Korean instructions. But, there isn’t a lot going on here in the way of controls and features so it is pretty intuitive. There are four buttons and control for the siren, that’s it.
Choosing the best Remote Controlled bus for your child
In short, while remote-controlled buses aren’t the most common option in the RC vehicle market, there are some fun and interesting models out there. Little kids will love the cuter toys and kits.
Older children can live out their dreams of being a bus driver with models with opening doors. Then there are the complex kits for teens. Also, it seems that no matter how old you are, there is still a school bus out there for you.