They also have smaller scales as well such as 1:32 (approximately 5"-6" long) which are very popular for home race tracks, 1:43 (3.5"-4" long), and HO scale -- the smallest at about 2"-2.5" long. In addition to approximate length, other sizes within each scale include specific wheel widths and wheelbase lengths (length between front and rear axles). For a more detailed look at slot car size and scales see these resources:
- Model Car and Slot Car Scales
About.com Miniatures breaks slot car scales down into three main groups: competition, home racing, and children's slot cars, describing the scales found in each group.
- The Different Sizes and Styles of Cars
At SlotCars.com you'll find a detailed description of Drag, HO, 1:32, and 1:24 scale cars used in competition slot racing.
Size of Track Space
The amount of space plays a big part in getting into slot cars for home use because some slot car tracks can get up to around 30'-40' long by 10'-15' wide. The type of layout and how many lanes you will have may dictate the best scale of slot car for you. With limited space you'll get more track length at the smaller 1:32 and HO scales. According to About.com Miniatures Guide Lesley Shepherd, "In 1:32 scale a track with a length of 37 feet will take up 8 ft x 16 ft of space."
If you don't have that much space to build your own or just want to have an all-in-one kit, AFX makes some pretty neat kits. These are usually two lanes and come with two slot cars and two pistol-style controllers to race around the the track. They also have instruction on how to build different layouts with all the included pieces. If you choose to get an all-in-one kit like what AFX has to offer they also have additional pieces that can be purchased if you decide that you want a more elaborate style of layout.
Home Play vs. Home Racing vs. Competition Racing
While I personally like the 1:24 scale, for home play and racing you may prefer something smaller. 1:24 scale slot cars are normally found these days in slot car clubs and on racing tracks out in the open. This is due to the fact that they are so big and the 1:24 scale tracks take up a lot of space. Now the 1:32 scale is normally the biggest one you would find marketed to children but it's also common for adult slot racing. Perhaps one of the best known slot car sizes is the HO scale. The size originated in the world of toy and model trains. It's a popular slot car size for the home because it is so small. You can pack a lot more track into a small space.
The bottomline is that there is no best slot car scale. If you want to get involved in organized race events, check out hobby shops and slot racing organizations in your area to find out what scale is most popular, most prevalent.