Ride-On Toys (Cars, bikes, wagons, foot-powered, pedal power, motorized, bikes, scooters). Kids today are spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of ride-on toys that are available on the market.
Once upon a time, wheel-barrows were used to push children around, while they played outside. These were the earliest types of ride-on toys. But things have changed a lot today. There are many options ranging foot-powered to electric-powered ride-on toys.
The one characteristic that all ride-on toys have in common is that children are able to use them, usually as a driver or passenger. The most common types of ride-on toys are manually powered, either by a parent or the child. Some models are pushed from behind, while others are pulled from the front or pedaled by the young driver (such as a toy wagon or a scooter).
Another type of ride-on toy uses a track to create a loop or pathway. The child can push the toy manually or it may have a low-powered electric motor. The Power Wheels train is an example of a tracked ride-on.
Some ride-on toys move using a different kind of manual propulsion. A set of revolving handles (pedals) could spin the toy’s wheels, while others depend on centrifugal force generated by wiggling or leaning from side to side.
Battery-powered ride-on toys, although expensive, are very popular with kids. The passenger can steer and stop the car, while a low-speed electric motor provides the forward (or backward) momentum.
Ride on Toys: Buying Guide
There’s a wide range of ride-on-kids available nowadays – battery ride on toys, pedal ride on toys, ride on cars, tractors, quads, motorbikes and jeeps, dumping trucks, ride-on excavators, airplanes, trains and even boats.
Ride-on toys are loads of fun for kids so these make great gifts for young children. You can choose from a wide range of riding toys based on the age levels of your little one.
Wiggle Cars (Plasmacar)
Another favorite with kids, especially for the earlier days. These manual toys have a simple operation, though most kids love to propel it ahead using their feet (pushing it against the floor). These can be easily used inside homes. Read more on Wiggle Cars
Kids Police / Patrol Ride-on Cars & Motorbikes
Kids love to play cops and these cars / bikes will help them catch all the robbers in the neighborhood. These battery powered cars and bikes look like the real thing, with lights, engine sound and sound effects.
Read more on Police motorcycles for kids
Kids Ride-on Motorbikes
Kids ride-on motor cycles have become popular in the last few years. These look like the real deal, and also produce that similar engine thumping sound. Available in cool designs and safe to ride, thanks to the low height and speed. Read more on Ride-on Motorbikes.
Kids Ride-on Trains
Kids riding trains are available as manually operated, battery-operated and ones that come with tracks. These are also fun to play with; the battery powered trains have lights, produce engine sound, etc. Read more on Riding trains for kids
Kids Electric Cars and Rides
Electric cars, trucks and other rides for kids are becoming popular, and its common nowadays to see these kids outdoor toys in the neighborhood. Read reviews of top rated electric cars and trucks in details. Read more on Electric Ride-on Cars
Kick Scooters for Kids and Tweens
Leading kick scooters on the market reviewed. Find detailed and in-depth reviews of these top kids outdoor toys. Read more on Kick Scooters.
Kids go-Karts are great for some outdoor fun. These are are slightly faster than the other types. You get electric as well as pedal operated (slightly slower) go-karts for kids. Read more on Go-Karts.
Big Wheels for Kids
A big wheel is a popular type of kids tricycle where the front wheel is significantly larger than the two wheels in the rear. It gives a child the feeling of riding a Harley Davidson. Read more on Big Wheels.
Balance Bikes for Kids
Balance bikes, strider bikes, no-pedal bikes or running bikes – top outdoor toys that help children experience fun as well as freedom. Best balance bike reviews here.
Kids Ride-on Forklifts
Kids Ride-on Forklifts feature real functional arm fork and a removable tray for actually moving toy boxes. These ride-ons enable kids to enjoy the fun of engineering equipment. Read more on Ride-on Forklifts.
Kids Tricycles (Pedal & Push)
Kids trikes are quite versatile now and can be used in a variety of ways, including as a stroller. Some modes also convert into independent bikes. Read more on Kids Tricycles.
Ride-on Pony (Horse), Unicorn
Checkout these exciting ride-on horses that can trot or gallop or go in reverse. You get manual as well as battery-operated ride-ons. Read more on Ride-on Pony/Horses.
You can also checkout the best bouncing animal ride-on toys.
Lot of parents now prefer to get toys for their kids that help in the physical and mental development of their child. One such type of toy that are in great demand is “Ride-on toys”. Ride-on toys for toddlers are available in a variety of designs and types.
Besides, buying age-appropriate toys, there are other factors that you should consider before buying a ride-on.
Top Reasons Why Kids Love Ride on Toys
As Kids grow up, they love to play with toys/rides that gives them a feeling of motion. They are instinctively drawn towards push toys and self-propelled ride on toys which can take them from one place to another.
Kids love all kinds of vehicles and most of them want to imitate their parents, the way they drive their car or ride their bike. Kids and sharp, and they observe how cars start, the various gadgets and lights, the sound it makes, and would love to drive them.
I often take my little one for a drive in the car, within our gated community, with him seated on my lap in the drivers seat. Of course, we drive very very slowly, but he just loves it. It was almost a ritual that we followed every evening for almost 6 months. My son loves to go for a drive, be it cars or bikes. And that is why he loves ride-on toys.
We have owned several ride-on cars in the last few years, and so I know quite a bit about them.
The first ride-on toy we bought was the Plasmacar, which is a manual ride-on toy. It goes ahead just by moving the steering wheel, but my little ones preferred to use the feet to propel ahead as it moved the toy at a much faster pace, and they loved it. The kids mostly used it at home, where the rooms had smoother wooden surface (no carpet) which was the reason these toys moved so smoothly.
We bought the Plasmacar for the younger one, but soon the elder one (three years older) would fight with him for the wiggle car, so we decided to get one more of these. And the two kids happily rode the toys within the house. These toys can get a bit nosy, depending on how rough the surface is.
On one of his birthdays, the younger one received a trike (tricycle) as a gift, it had two supporting wheels at the back which prevented the cycle from toppling over.
Those supporting wheels were removable, which is a nice thing because one the child grows up, the ride-on toy can be used as a regular bicycle. We would often take it outdoors, and my son loved riding it, but not because it was fast (in fact it moved much slower) but because he would see the bigger boys riding the cycle and he wanted to emulate them.
I also bought a helmet for him, because there are several concrete portions, and on at least one occasion, the cycle tripped because of uneven surface. Although he was not heart, from that time onwards, I made it a point to make him wear a helmet every-time he sat on the trike.
One of my neighbors 3 year old son bought an electric car (battery powered) and he would often come to the park in the evening (the park is just 2 mins away from where we live). I always wanted to buy an electric car for my sons, but I thought would first show them what it looks like, to get their feedback.
On seeing that electric-car, my elder one was not too excited as he felt it moved very slowly. And even though it had lights and sounds, they were barely audible or visible (may be the battery was down at that moment).
Nevertheless, I decided to postpone getting an electric-car. But I must admit that a few months later, I went to tan exhibition which displayed several kids toys, and they had some impressive electric cars and bikes. They looked awesome, had great designs, the lights and sounds were fantastic, looked like real sports cars/bikes. So yes, I may consider buying one of these in the future.
Coming back to tricycles (the one that I bought for my little one), while they are good toys, I am more impressed with the Balance bikes.
A balanced bike is a 2- wheeler bike that kids can ride by pushing it ahead using their legs. The advantage of a balanced bike is that after a few days your little one will learn to balance on the bike (with both feet in the air), and so should be able to ride a real bicycle pretty easily.
A tricycle, even though good, doesn’t really teach the child to balance. For kids who are 18 months and above, I would say go get a balance bike. the only disadvantage is that the parent/caretaker will have to walk at a much faster pace to keep up with the little one.
Also, make sure your child is wearing a helmet.
So is a tricycle of no use? Of course it is. You get trikes with a taller handle behind, which the parent can hold and push (and also maneuver). These are perfect for smaller kids (around 18 months or so) who are too small to pedal on their own.
Besides, not every parent/caretaker may be comfortable with their child using a balance bike (for fear of the child falling down, or because they themselves cannot walk quite fast), in which case a tricycle is a good option. Also, you get versatile trikes nowadays that cam be used as a stroller, trike and a regular bicycle (all-in-one products); depending on the age of your child, you may use one of the options.
Ride on Toys (Motorcycles & cars) Enhance Fine Motor Skills in Kids
Children like to explore new things as they grow up. When they are able to walk and when they see others running, they also want to run.
Once they start moving, they want to climb, they want to move faster, and anything that gives them this experience is entertaining for them. And ride-on toys are definitely those toys that kids find entertaining.
Because certain riding toys may not be as safe as few others, it is up to the parent’s to choose a suitable riding toy for their kids.
If your child has out-grown his little 3 wheeler and is looking for a more challenging ride on toy, you may consider buying a battery-operated motorcycle.
These bikes are very realistic looking, create rumbling sound, and are actually mini version of real bikes. That is why kids find them so appealing.
These include a start button, a horn button, working headlights and taillights, and can even drive up to 3 miles per hour. These can even go in reverse. These are suitable for ages 2-6 and are safer than a bicycle due to thicker wheels to support balance, and a wider base for seating which will allow your child to feel more secure while riding around. Girls can choose pink-colored shiny ride-on toys.
- Because these come with so many features, these riding toys provide great opportunity for the little ones to learn balance and coordination.
- These stimulate your child’s imagination while they go zipping around the yard, or down the street.
- These ride on toys will increase your child’s motor skills, balance and coordination, and provide hours of entertainment!
Types of Ride-on Toys
Lets take a look at the different types of ride on toys available for children.
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.
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.
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.
Specialty vehiclesOther 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, specialty vehicles tend to cost more than other ride-on cars.
Sleds And Wagons
These type of ride-on toy can be easily be carried by an older sibling. Siblings can even share their ride with each other by taking turns in riding or pulling/pushing the sled or wagon.
Foot Powered Toys
Children who are not ready to use a pedal can push these toys. They can move in the direction the want by pushing themselves on the toy with their feet. They can either be open, the child straddles the toy, or closed the feet of the child positioned insides the toy at the bottom.
These toys are powered by pedals; steering and pushing pedals require more coordination. The ones designed for toddlers (tricycles) usually come with handle-bar for adults so they can push the ride-on toy around while the little one is seated. You get pedal-powered cars and go-karts for older kids. You also get pedal-powered bikes, where adult supervision is recommended.
Battery-powered ride-on toys are available nowadays. Available for Toddlers as well as older kids. Older kids can go for those with higher speeds but should be informed of the hazards of riding near obstacles.
Scooter And Bicycles
Available in various sizes for children. Toddlers should start using training wheels in order to minimize experiencing falls. With this, they should also wear the right safety gear. Scooters may either be motorized or foot-powered.
These stay in one place while rocking back and forth. This may include rocking animals, vehicles and many others that come with rocker bases. Children can also use their legs to push in a rocking motion. Suited for toddlers.
Factors to Consider: How To Choose a Great Ride-on Toy
Below are a few qualities that all of the best ride-on toys for the money have in common. Use this guide when making a selection and please read it before you make your purchase.
Here are the things to consider before buying a ride-on car:
When it comes to kids, you should always factor in safety, especially with ride-on toys as there’s a small risk of falling, colliding with obstacles and tipping over. So make sure you consider this aspect.
Simple toys lack brakes but they are slow and can be stopped by kids on their own. You get battery powered ride-on-toys as well. The battery should ideally be concealed to prevent the kid from accessing it.
For some ride-ons, your child may have to wear protective clothing.
If indoors, look for sharp edges at home and take care of it.
If you have stairs inside, consider setting up a safety gate, depending on how old is your child
If outdoors, make sure the kids are using protective gear, such as helmet (or gloves)
If you have two kids and if the elder one loves to ride these at home (such as the Plasmacar Ride on Toy), tell him/her to be careful not to ram it on to the little one or ride over his/her toes. These can hurt the toes of adults as well (if propelled with force), which in case of diabetics can be really bad.
In general, adult supervision is recommended when kids are playing with these toys, especially when kids are dealing with rides with training wheels, tricycles, and other pedal-powered toys. Adult supervision is required to avoid accidents and to make kids aware of possible dangers. its also recommended that kids wear protective gear (helmets, gloves, pads) for some rides.
Manual or Electric
The simpler ride-on toys are mostly propelled through pedaling and pushing. You also get battery-powered toys that can be maneuvered using the steering wheel.
Don’t fancy the electric ones? You can always opt for classic toys for your little one. The timeless, classic toys such as the rocking horse are still a hit with toddlers.
Appropriate Age, Size, Weight Limit
There’s a wide range of options available in this category. Choose a toy that will be appropriate to your kid (keeping in mind the age and weight).
Do check if the ride-on toy is appropriate for your child. Some ride-on-toys are applicable to toddlers while others are not. Its recommended that kids are supervised by an adult whenever they are playing.
24 months and below
Rides with low height is suitable at this age. You also get electronic ride on toy for this age group that moves at a slow pace (2 mph) and produces music.
2 to 4 years
At this age, children have fairly developed motor skills to be able to use pedals and steering a wheel. Electronic ride on toys are available for this age group (moves around 6 mph) that can be used indoors, or even on grass.
5 to 7 years
These kids have better skills and wish to go faster Electronic ride on toys for this age group look like the real one. ATV and Go-cart are two options available for this age group (can be driven on concrete pavements outdoors). Use your judgment to decide if your child is ready for such a toy.
7 and Up
ATVs, Go Carts, and small scooters are more apt for this age group. These are battery powered and doesn’t go too fast (concern for most parents). No fumes are released as these are battery-operated.
The age-appropriateness and weight capacity is usually mentioned in the specs of the toy, and it not difficult to guess either if its suitable.
Test for balance
Choose a toy with a low center of gravity and whose wheels are wide apart so that it offers more stability and balance (You don’t want your child to tip over). It should also be spacious enough for the child to ride it comfortably.
Individual Interest and Needs (Boys vs Girls)
Boys are more fond of battery powered cars while girls love prams, rocking toys. so, you will need to buy a ride on toy based on what your kids love doing or playing with.
Style with Sturdiness/ Balance
There are various styles of Ride-on Toys. Pick up something that your kid will love.
- Push Pull Ride on Toys
- Pedal Powered Ride on Toys
- 3-wheeler / 4-wheeler
- Battery/Electricity Powered Ride-ons
When looking at the various styles do consider the safety aspects as well, including the size of the toy. Use your best judgment when choosing a ride-on-toy (especially in the case of electric ride-ons).
Kids Will Outgrow These Toys
Some will get useless after some time. That happens with almost all the toys; kids outgrow them. But at least in the case of these toys, your kids will easily be able to enjoy them for a few months.
And if you have one more (younger) child, you can store them for use later (these are durable and last several years.)
There are some who suggest that you should buy a model for the long term, so that you can save money. However, I don’t think so.
Let them have some fun while they’re growing up; if they have outgrown a toy, get another one. You can give away the older one (to someone who needs it) or keep it for the younger one.
Best Battery-Powered Ride-on Toys
Kids love speed and a ride on cars excite kids as it allows them to sit on the car and propel themselves along with the car. There are several variants out there, the top ones include features that make them almost like a real car (minus the speed of course).
Below is an interactive comparison chart to help you find the best ‘car for kid’ for the money in 2018.
Top Kids Cars Overall in 2019 Comparison Chart
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Weight: 45 pounds
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Weight: 52 pounds
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Weight: 45 pounds
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Weight: 22 pounds
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Weight: 25.9 pounds
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Weight: 40 pounds
Best Ride on Push Car For The Money
Below we offer our top picks for the best kids cars across multiple price points. These are selected by our editors and field staff based on the performance and overall value of each. Whether you are looking to spend $200, $400 or $1500, this list can help you know what the best values are.
Best Ride on Push Car on a Tight Budget: Step2 Whisper Ride II Ride On Push Car
Step2 Whisper Ride On Push Car features a child seat belt, movable steering wheel with a honking horn. Easy-Fold handle for easy transport and setup, which parents will appreciate. Cup holders accommodates a snack and drink for your little one.
- Feels Sturdy
- Is spacious
- Value for money
- Hard wheels make noise
Funtoyworld is a family-managed website with me (Ben), and my wife doing most of the work. We are proud parents of two wonderful kids and love reviewing toys. We have a firm but friendly “democratic parenting” style and offer several practical suggestions backed by extensive research. Our own experience with raising two children prompted us to share our knowledge. Read more.