My daughter is left handed and she also loves to drive R/C cars with dad and her brother. To make sure she has a good experience, she needs the appropriate tool – a proper left handed RC transmitter. I’ve seen several lefties use standard right-handed transmitters. They hold the grip in their right hand to work the trigger, and the steering wheel faces away, so they reach around the front to work the steering with their left hand.
My left-handed daughter instinctively did just this with a normal transmitter (Tx). Even at only 5 years old, her brain told her to steer with her dominant hand. While it works for many, it’s unfortunate. Left-handed transmitters are not widely available for people entering the hobby, so they try to make it work with a right-handed Tx. By the time they can afford a model that can be converted to left-handed, they’ve already gotten used to contorting themselves, so what should seem natural feels strange.
There are a few convertible left/right transmitters out there – some more affordable than others. Hopefully this list is a good place to start looking. If I’m missing anything that is widely available (even through eBay or other used markets), comment below. Let’s give lefties the experience they should have right from the start!
Recommending a $500 transmitter to someone starting in RC would be bonkers. However, if you are left handed and know you love RC – check out the Hitec Lynx 4S. It is an oft-overlooked transmitter that looks great and has great features including flexible wheel position and ultra-low latency (for almost half the cost of its competitors).
- Ikonnik Et4Ds – $40
- Radiopost TS401 – $100
- Flysky FS-NB4 – $180
- Hitec Lynx 4S – $250
- Graupner 8-XN – $290
- Spektrum DX6R – $400
- Graupner 8-XE – $420
- Sanwa/Airtronics M12 and M12S – $530
Many of these radios were at the time “high-end” but are currently discontinued so they’re only available used, but for mid-range prices.
- Arrma ATX-300
- Graupner X-4S
- Spektrum DX3R Pro
- Spektrum DX4R Pro
- Futaba 4PK
- Futaba 4PX
- (Older) Sanwa/Airtronics M11
The Ugly Truth
For my daughter I bought an Arrma ATX-300 off of eBay. They frequently show up there and you can usually get one with a receiver (Rx) for around $50. You will likely need to reserve judgement about it’s looks – it is quite possibly the ugliest radio ever made:
For $50 I can put it in my kids hands and not worry about it. Since it’s so ugly, I worry even less 🙂 The killer feature is you just hold a button on top to release the wheel angle, and you can flip the wheel all the way around to the other side.
So it doesn’t look great, but it works fantastic and it’s not huge and heavy. My 5 year-old can work it perfectly.
I myself have a Spektrum DX3R Pro – I made sure when I bought it second hand that it included all the parts to switch to left-handed mode. If my daughter ever gets serious, I’m ready and willing to pass the DX3R Pro down to her.
Literally the day after I posted this RC Sparks Studio released a video of the new (set to release in October 2018) Flysky FS-NB4 “ambidextrous” surface radio. Looks interesting for sure!
Update 2: I got an NB-4 and it’s great – highly recommended.
David Rector says
Here’s the weird thing… in a manual transmission car in the USA, people tend to steer with their left hand and shift with their right. They also control the throttle with their right foot. In fact, most small airplanes have a panel-mounted throttle control knob that is on the right of the yoke and all pilots learn to fly with their left hand while controlling the throttle with their right hand. The typical RC transmitter is just all wrong in my opinion and my first instinct as a right-handed person who has driven manual transmission cars and also flown airplanes was to control the throttle with my right hand and steer with my left.
Even when I’m in a car and holding a drink, the drink is in my right hand while I steer with the left.
I too want to get one of these left-hander transmitters just to be a proper right-handed user wh steers a real car and a toy car with my left hand 🙂
Interesting idea! I’ve been steering RC cars with my right so long that it’s a brain-bender when I use my daughter’s truck in left hand mode. I like the challenge it presents
Do you guys remember X-Mods? The transmitters had the option to mount the steering wheel on either side. As David said, it felt much more natural for me to have the steering on the left. It wasn’t until I recently got a Traxxas that I realized how awkward it feels on the right.
XMODS! I had a friend who worked at Radio Shack and was into these. I don’t remember how the controller swapped over to the left, but I wish it was an option on today’s remotes.
Well said. Meanwhile, it’s easy to mouse with your left hand: don’t change the buttons, as that just puts the most-used button back under the weakest finger.