The best kids’ ride-on car
Does your kid have a need for speed or a passion for all things automotive? It's time for your little one to put their pedal to the metal in a kids' ride-on car.
Kids' ride-on cars are mini models of vehicles from quads to Hummers. Young riders get to enjoy options seen in full-size models with fully operational features like adjustable mirrors, honking horns, and flashing lights. Kids' ride-on cars are also equipped with numerous safety features to keep parents happy and kids safe.
To help you find the right kids' ride-on car, we've put together this buying guide. We're including our favorite model, the Peg Perego John Deere Ground Force Tractor with Trailer, which rides just like a tractor so kids can help with yardwork.
Considerations when choosing kids' ride-on cars
Type of ride-on car
Quads: Quad styles are known for their ease of riding and operation. They have a T-shaped handlebar as well as four big chunky wheels. Quads are great for toddlers since they're simple to get off and on.
Motorcycles: Motorcycle styles have two wheels, and children must be able to balance on them to ride. Certain styles have training wheels to help, but they're few and far between. These are more advanced than quads and can go two to three miles per hour.
Car/truck: These styles are the most popular as they resemble or are licensed versions of actual vehicles. They may have adjustable mirrors, armrests, doors that open, and trunks for storage. As they're battery-powered, you need to compare how long it takes them to charge versus their ride time.
Speciality vehicles: Other ride-on vehicles include trains, airplanes, tow trucks, and tractors, just to name a few. They borrow features seen in ride-on cars and trucks and have fully operational plows, ladders, or excavation tools. Since these have more mechanical and power features, speciality vehicles tend to cost more than other ride-on cars.
Batteries can be either six- or 12-volt, which affects the speed. The higher the voltage, the faster the car goes. As far as battery life, expect anywhere between 20 minutes to two hours of ride time. Charge time is something to be aware of as well, considering you need to charge the battery between six and 18 hours before riding.
Ride-on cars vary when it comes to weight limits, and they're important to follow for safety reasons. On average, they peak at around 80 pounds, but there are some ride-on cars for older children that can handle as much as 130 pounds. When it comes to models that seat two children, keep in mind the extra weight requires more power, so the battery drains more quickly.
In addition to weight limit, ride-on cars designate recommended heights for riders. This is to ensure kids can reach the pedals, handlebars, and wheel comfortably so they can safely operate the toy. If your child is taller than the recommended height, they may have difficulty fitting their legs inside car and truck styles.
Ease of operation
It's important to consider the ease of operation to make sure your child is able to use and enjoy all features. Most importantly, they need to know how to operate the forward and reverse function as well as the brake. As long as they master those, they can take their time learning extra features that aren't essential to riding.
Kids's ride-on cars are a pricey investment for a toy, so expect to shell out between $80 and $500 for one. You can find quad-style style cars around $100, but for a more realistic car, you may spend between $240 and $300. For realistic models, particularly two-seaters, prices go up to $500.
Q. Can I use my kids' ride-on car outside?
A. Most kids' ride-on cars are designed for outdoor use. However, some do better on dirt or decks than grass. If your yard is grassy, opt for a model with big tire treads instead of smooth ones for successful riding.
Q. Should my child wear a helmet in a ride-on car?
A. It's common for children to ride without a helmet, though some parents prefer helmet use. Most ride-on cars are designed with anti-rollover and speed control features which greatly reduce the potential of riding-related head injuries.
Kids' ride-on cars we recommend
Best of the best: Peg Perego's John Deere Ground Force Tractor With Trailer
Our take: Realistic John Deere-licensed tractor with big-time wheels to traverse more rugged terrain.
What we like: Top-notch features including FM radio, armrests, automatic brakes, and generous flatbed to carry toys.
What we dislike: Price tag is intimidating, but well worth the price considering all the features.
Best bang for your buck: Rubie's KidTrax Frozen Toddler Ride-On
Our take: Perfect for the young Frozen fan who wants to ride around. Spot-on colors and comfortable seating.
What we like: Operation is simple and it's one of the easier ride-on cars to get on.
What we dislike: Nearly impossible to keep white wheels clean with outdoor use. Not the best for use on grass.
Choice 3: Rollplay's Mini Cooper
Our take: Embraces all the signature features of the loveable Mini Cooper. A favorite among parents for its collection of safety features.
What we like: Fully operational design with honking horn and flashing LED lights. Zippy little car with speed control settings.
What we dislike: Long charge time, so make sure to juice up before play.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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