best servo for 18 buggy

Best Servo for 1/8 Buggy: Time For An Upgrade?

Hello RC enthusiasts. We’re all gathered here today to witness something that’ll boost your buggy’s performance, probably.

Enough with the jokes. The stock servo of your 1/8 buggy is trash. No offense to the manufacturers, but I think they leave that in there because they know people will upgrade anyway.

So, how do you do it? How do you make your RC steering performance get that boost? Easy! Add a new servo. Now, I know it’s hard to find a decent one. But I think you can get the best servo for 1/8 buggy if you go through the page. 

That’s because we took our time to go through 20 different servos to pick the top five. And now we’re about to give you brief reviews on each of them.

We even added a cool little buyer’s guide towards the end of the page. And if you have any questions, we have a section for that too. So let’s get on with things without further ado. 

Comparison Table

Image

Product

Torque

Type

Price

Savox SC-1256TG Digital Servo

222.2/277.7 oz-in (@4.8/6.0V)

Digital

Hitec RCD HS-7950TH Digital Servo

347/403/486 oz-in (@4.8/6.0/7.4V)

Digital

Savox 15/208 Waterproof Standard Digital Servo

208 oz-in @6.0V

Digital

Powerhobby 729MBL Brushless Servo

500/565 oz-in (@7.4/8.4V)

Digital

JX Servo DC5821LV Servo

582.02/768.97 oz-in (@4.8/6.0V)

Digital

Savox SC-1256TG Digital Servo

Specifications:

Product Overview

The first on the list is from Savox. While we had a couple of gripes about this one, it still managed to finish on top. So, let’s get to the bottom of this. 

Let’s start by talking about the build quality. It’s way better than “meh.” I mean, since we got our hands on two different units, we tried to dismantle one of them.

And trust me, it took us some time to dismantle it. It wasn’t that easy to break into. So if you want to access the internals for some reason, take help from someone who’s strong.

It’s like any other servo you might see in the market. The design is the same as the others since it’s a dual ball-bearing model.

But things start to look better when it comes to the performance. First off, the torque is great. We didn’t expect it to be that good. I know, it’s an expensive servo. But it’s not even the costliest one on the list. We’ll get to that one in a bit.

You might be asking if the installation was easy. Well, it was moderate, to say the least. But the servo fit right in place of the stock one that we had installed.

We placed it in the position and plugged it in. Then we had to test it out before actually putting it on the road.

So, how’s the response time? Well, the response seemed to be immediate when we looked at it. Then we had to slow the footage down to check latency. Yes, we’re not going to lie about it. The latency in slow-motion was obvious. 

But in reality, I think the response time went up compared to the stock model. This one even has higher torque, so that’s a plus point too.

There was a particular issue that kept on bugging me till the end. It was the lack of a horn in the box. Now, I know most of you already would have the stock horn with you at the time of the replacement.

But if you’re making the customers pay so much for a servo, at least have the decency to include a horn with it. Okay, enough with the ranting. 

We checked out the water resistance of this thing. Things seem to be safe from moisture after our tests. So this one gets points for that too. 

All in all, this one almost ticks all the boxes. And the value you get isn’t so bad. So it ended up beating the others on the list.

Pros

  • Decent speed improvement
  • Good torque considering the standards
  • Great build quality
  • Above-average water resistance
  • Improved response time  

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • Doesn’t come with a horn

Hitec RCD HS-7950TH Digital Servo

Specifications:

Product Overview

Next up, we have another digital servo. This time it’s from Hitec. Now we don’t approve of the price at all. It could absolutely have been cheaper. But since it still managed to secure a podium finish, let’s get to the details. 

This one comes with a black shell. It’s another one of those servos that you might like. And our biggest gripe about this is the price, as we’ve said already.

The outer layers are solid metal. And the best part is that the outer part acts as a heatsink. So the entire shell actually helps to dissipate heat. We tried this for prolonged periods to put it to the limits.

And the results were satisfactory. I won’t lie, we liked this a lot. The temperatures didn’t get too hot on our 1/8 buggy. So, we’re confident that yours won’t suffer from heating issues as well. 

When it comes to the response time, the improvement was quite apparent, especially since the stock one didn’t offer much, to begin with. In terms of performance, this one went neck and neck with the Savox one on top.

We’d say the only reason that this one came in second place is the price. We’ll be brutally honest. The price makes this look like a rip-off at first glance. But we’re not going to say that it’s not worth it.

The unique build with the outer shell that also acts as a heatsink is a neat touch. Props to Hitec for this one. 

We put this to the extreme tests, and the whole thing passed. Overall, this was a decent choice. Although we think that the first one is better overall, this could be the longer-term solution.

But then again, some of you enthusiasts always try to look for newer upgrades. So we think you might want to upgrade again after getting this one. 

It’s decent but not affordable. You have to spend a lot of money on it. But if you absolutely want that hardcore durability, you can spend the money.

Pros

  • Has a decent upgrade in response time
  • Comes with a good build quality with titanium gears
  • Allows a powerful upgrade to the torque
  • The body acts as a heatsink
  • Performs well under load

Cons

  • Too expensive
  • A couple of units may be faulty

Savox 15/208 Waterproof Standard Digital Servo

Specifications:

Product Overview

Here’s another one from Savox in third place. Just like the first two, this is another digital servo. They tried to include the term “waterproof” in the description, but we’ll see about that. 

After seeing the price tags of the previous two, this one will seem like a breeze. Don’t fret, this still isn’t the most affordable choice. But the price tags of the previous two make this look super cheap.

I bet you’re wondering whether you even get half of the performance of the others from this one. It’s a normal way to think. But don’t worry, we would not have placed it so high on the list if this was bad.

It does claim that it’s waterproof, so let’s start with that. We tested this one out on a couple of puddles. You might have wanted us to test this under severe conditions.

But let’s be real, you’re not going to put this in a bucket. But if your buggy does accidentally fall into a waterbody, I think the servo is the last thing to worry about.

The waterproofing might be a long stretch. I think this is water-resistant to some extent. It won’t get damaged by some random splashes. And that’s the important part most of the time. 

What we will admit is that it’s not the fastest in the world. While it performs better than the stock servo, you might not get the best performance out of it.

Don’t get me wrong. The response time does improve. We had to check it with slow-motion footage to find the latency. And since the latency could only be seen on the slow-motion footage, I think that’s a positive thing.

We only got to test this unit out for three months. But in these three months, we brought the buggy to its limits. I think that little guy deserves a break.

In summary, this thing is the more affordable version of the other two that we just reviewed. It cuts a few corners to cut the cost. But I think they manage to offer decent value nevertheless. 

Pros

  • Has decent water resistance
  • Has a durable build quality
  • Comes with a great response time
  • Has an improved torque
  • Provides improved control

Cons

  • It might get hot at times
  • The speed could have been better

Powerhobby 729MBL Brushless Servo

Specifications:

Product Overview

Coming in at fourth place, we have this brushless servo from Powerhobby. The looks try to prove that this thing is heavy-duty. But our extended review might give you a broader idea.

One good thing that we appreciate about this one is that there are other models of this. They’re similar, and you can check all of them out. But this particular one had our trust after careful testing.

The installation process was a breeze. It took us less than five minutes to get this thing onto our 1/8 buggy. So it shouldn’t be too hard for you guys too.

After testing this one out for a couple of months, we think this one is just above average. It surely puts up a fight against the previous one. But the higher price tag makes this one come second to it. 

I mean you have to pay twice the amount for a similar performance. And we can’t justify that at all. 

But another good thing about this is that it’s good for 1/10 scale trucks too. We tried it on a model RC, and it seemed to fit that as well. So if you have another smaller RC buggy, you can swap this into that vehicle if you want. No pressure.

Although no moisture managed to get into the device during our testing, I don’t think you should submerge this thing. Since it’s not rated officially, it’s better to keep the whole thing dry.

Then again, a couple of random splashes shouldn’t bother it too much. We did see a significant improvement in performance due to the high torque numbers. I’m not sure if this one manages to hit those maximum numbers. But the performance was pretty good.

We were a little disappointed with the speed, though. It wasn’t the best. I mean, it’s not as bad as the stock version, but it’s slower than the others that we reviewed. 

Overall, this is an improvement over the stock servo. But it’s not the very best out there. Both this and the one before this seem like settling for mediocrity. But that’s honestly what some people want, and that’s okay. 

Pros

  • Has a decent build quality
  • Comes with a highly improved torque
  • Good speed enhancement 
  • A lot of available options
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • On the pricier side
  • Might seem slow

JX Servo DC5821LV Servo

Specifications:

Product Overview

Finally, we have a product from JX Servo. This one barely managed to get into the top five. And I’ll say it was able to do it because the others were below average. 

The best part about this is the price. You get so much value from it that the others seem obsolete. I’m not hyping this up for no reason. After testing this one out for three months, it gave satisfactory results.

And if you’re on a tight budget, satisfactory results are good results. I mean, if you’re looking for an upgrade only because the stock one failed, this is probably the cheapest way to do things. 

Sometimes the stock servos fail too soon. You might be one of the unlucky guys because of this. But JX Servo probably has you covered.

It does claim to be waterproof. And we did try the buggy out in small puddles. But the claim might not hold too true if you submerge this thing underwater. So it’s better not to try this out in different water bodies.

We even tried this out with our 1/10 version model. And this did not disappoint.

Honestly, if you’re looking for a solid choice that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, this is it. The torque is decent, and the speed is just enough. We even saw a better response time than the stock one. So that’s all you need, right?

Overall, this is the most down-to-earth choice. If you’re super tight on budget, grab this one. It might not last you a long time, but it’s decent. 

Pros

  • Has a water-resistant outer shell
  • Durable metal covering 
  • Good versatility
  • Great speed for the price
  • Affordable choice

Cons

  • The torque could have been better
  • A couple of units might be faulty

Buying Guide

Before jumping to conclusions, you need to look at a few factors. I believe this would give you a better idea about which things matter when you’re buying a servo for your 1/8 buggy.

Make Sure That It’s Fast

Here’s a neat rule of thumb. Your RC needs a faster servo. Listen, the servos that come with the RC from the manufacturers aren’t that special. Maybe a couple of them might actually be good. But the speed of steering that you get from a third-party servo is pretty good.

These servos have slight differences too. You can’t just barge in and pick any one. Pick a servo that has decent steering speed. If the gears spin fast, you probably got yourself a good deal.

Protection from Water Damage

Another thing to look out for is the level of water resistance. Not all servos will come with water resistance mechanisms. And there are actually some servos that bring the bare minimum protection.

If you’re confident that you won’t take your buggy to any wet spots, then you can skip this. That’s because the truly water-resistant ones are a bit on the expensive side.

But if you know that you need the feature, it’s better to have it. 

Get The Correct Size

Another important thing that you have to think about is the size. There are different sizes of servos for RC buggies. The servo for a small 1/10 scale RC vehicle might not fit inside a 1/8 scale RC model.

That’s why you should always look at the recommended servo size before buying. If your 1/8 buggy needs a standard size, you pick that one up. But some of them might require a low-profile servo too. You never know. That’s why it’s best to refer to the owner’s manual.

FAQs

Question: Will the servo fit my 1/10 scale buggy too?

Answer: It’s not uncommon for some of these servos to fit different models. But not all of them will fit a 1/10 scale model. You should look for servos dedicated to those particular models in that case.

Question: Can the upgrade make my buggy faster?

Answer: Not really. The servo will help to make the steering faster. And if the response time and latency go down, you feel more connected to the vehicle you’re controlling. 

Question: Can I submerge my buggy with a digital servo installed?

Answer: Stick to the roads if you can. Not all servos are water-resistant, let alone waterproof. But a little random splash shouldn’t be too concerning. I still don’t think submerging it is a good idea. 

Conclusion

That’s about it on our part. We tried to include every bit of info that we could get our hands on in the reviews.

All the servos that we featured here today have their quirks and features. And there might be a particular choice that you might prefer. 

Just make sure you don’t blow your budget on a servo. The correct servo will make a significant difference to the performance of your RC buggy. But you have to expect realistic improvements. It’s still an RC, not a full-sized buggy.

But if you’ve gone through the page, you can pick the best servo for 1/8 buggy from here. 

Till then, stay safe and keep on racing!

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