Best Kids’ Ride-On Cars of 2022

Best Kids’ Ride-On Cars of 2022

Staff, Courtesy of John Deere Everyone’s excited about electric cars nowadays—but as far as the

Staff, Courtesy of John Deere

Everyone’s excited about electric cars nowadays—but as far as the preteen set is concerned, the rest of us are late to the party. Battery-powered ride-on cars have been a hit with kids for a couple of decades now, and they’re only getting better with age. Whether it’s a Barbie-branded Power Wheels ride-on for young children or an electric drift kart for the more daring set, it’s safe to say that most children have at least a passing interest in steering a powered vehicle around the driveway—or the neighborhood. If your kid is ready to take to the open road this spring, start shopping now for the ultimate ride-on machine. Here’s what to look for in a kids’ electric car.

The Expert: As an automotive journalist—my work has appeared in Haggerty Classic Cars, Road and Track, Car and Driver, and others—and one of the first to performance test the original Tesla Roadster, I have more than a decade of experience with adult-size electric cars. I’m also a parent who has bought quite a few different motorized vehicles for my child over the past twelve years, from electric scooters and ride-on cars to two-stroke competition go-karts.

What To Consider

Speed and Age Limit: Just like kids, these ride-on electric cars come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. While it can be tempting to get something a child can “grow into,” there are serious safety risks involved with putting your kid on something they can’t easily control. It’s best to follow the manufacturer recommendations for age and weight. It’s also better to get a car that is too slow, which will only lead to some mild frustration, rather than one that is too fast. The slowest electric car on our list doesn’t exceed 1 mph; the fastest tops out at 9 mph. Some cars offer multiple speeds, such as those with parental controls or that offer a reverse function.

Types of Ride-On Electric Cars: Kids’ ride-ons come in four flavors. “Side-by-side” cars, or SxS, have two seats in parallel. “ATV” (also called “four-trak”) ride-ons have the rider straddling a center seating position with a foot on either side of the body. “UTV” are single-seat, upright-seating variants of side-by-sides. Motorcycles are what you’d expect, but most toddler-oriented “motorcycles” have two permanently affixed balance wheels to keep the machine upright.

Batteries and Power: The majority of these vehicles are powered by rechargeable six- or 12-volt batteries that require some skill and tools to replace if they fail. The length of time they will run on a single charge varies widely, and over time all of them will lose some power. While the traditional Power Wheels and similar ride-on toys use an automotive-style lead-acid or AGM battery similar to what you’d find under the hood of a standard car, some newer designs use advanced lithium-ion batteries that are smaller, lighter, and more powerful, but require more effort to replace. If you’re looking to get only a year or two of use out of your new toy, however, you probably won’t have to think too much about this.

Extra Features to Look For: Some of these ride-ons offer parental control of speed. A few offer a full-fledged remote control feature, using a video-game-style remote. Is this really necessary for low-speed electric cars? It depends on your child’s needs—and, more forthrightly, your needs. As with the adult-sized cars they emulate, today’s ride-ons are increasingly likely to have modern features like Bluetooth, USB, or AUX ports to play music. Others have flashing lights, working doors, seatbelts, or horns. Want something more unusual? One of the vehicles in our test has a removable Frisbee; another has twin water cannons.

How We Selected

As a parent with experience buying, using, and maintaining ride-on electric kids’ cars, I looked for simple, fun machines from established manufacturers with a track record of safety and low recall counts. Ride-on cars come in a wide variety of features, price, and speed, so I have included both high-value and high-feature examples. When in doubt, I gave the nod to the vehicle that just looked more fun than its competition; isn’t that what toys are all about? In a few cases, I selected a product from a new manufacturer based on consumer experiences and published reviews.

Best for Young Adventurers

Power Wheels BBQ Fun Jeep Wrangler

Power Wheels


Key Specs

  • Speed: Up to 5 mph
  • Capacity: Two riders
  • Recommended Age: 3 to 7

Power Wheels all but invented this kind of toy, and the company continues to define the segment. The BBQ Jeep provides what parents have come to expect from a traditional side-by-side seating electric car and adds a few unique features. A Jeep-branded Frisbee mounts on the hood; remove it on a whim for a quick game. Out back there’s a play barbeque set complete with pretend food for the big game. Aimed at younger children, this is a low-speed choice that will liven up the dullest afternoon.

Interested in a less outdoorsy-looking option? Power Wheels offers the same capabilities for a few dollars more in the Disney Princess Jeep Wrangler, or the Disney Frozen Jeep Wrangler, which does not claim any additional ability to handle wintry cul-de-sacs.

  • Low speed
  • Simple operation
  • A few extra toys
  • Low speed (if your child wants to go fast)
  • High price

Best Indoor Choice

Broage Kids Electric Ride-On Bumper Car



Key Specs

  • Speed: 0.75 mph
  • Capacity: One rider
  • Recommended Age: 3 to 8, but best suited for toddlers

The Broage Bumper Car is a very different kind of ride-on car; it’s designed to be bumped into other Broages. To keep things safe, this is a very slow vehicle that is ringed by a rubber impact structure. It should be reasonably safe to use indoors and would be a good choice for children who are tentative about a traditional ride-on. A parental remote keeps everything in check, and a safety belt keeps would-be bumper-car battlers from falling out.

  • Remote control
  • High safety
  • Indoor-compatible
  • Comes in six colors

Best Ride-On Truck

Dakott GMC Sierra Denali HD Ride-On Truck



Key Specs

  • Speed: 2.5/5 mph, parent-controlled
  • Capacity: Two riders
  • Recommended Age: 3 to 8

Truck-crazy parents know that GMC’s Sierra Denali HD is designed to win the tow-rig bragging battle, and this miniature version seems poised to do the same in driveways across the country. Like the full-sized, three-ton vehicle it resembles, this truck is fully loaded with features: a horn, the ability to play MP3 tracks via a USB slot, external lights, and a two-speed gearbox. Unlike the real thing, this Denali lets parents control it via a remote app. It even has seatbelts!

  • Parent-controllable speed
  • Plenty of bells and whistles
  • Big money for a big truck
  • May be harder to find parts for than a Power Wheels

Best for Young ATV Riders

Power Wheels Barbie Pink Racing ATV

Power Wheels


$226.09 (13% off)

Key Specs

  • Speed: 6 mph (3 in reverse)
  • Capacity: One rider
  • Recommended Age: 3 to 7

Some kids would rather have an ATV ride-on, in which the rider straddles a “gas tank” motorcycle-style, than a side-by-side style electric car. For those kids, Power Wheels offers the Barbie Racing ATV, which carries a single rider but can go a little faster than the side-by-side models, at a full 6 mph. It can also reverse at 3 mph. It certainly looks the part; if you’re a four-trak rider whose kids want a piece of the action, this ATV is a stellar choice.

Not so hot on the Barbie color scheme? Power Wheels offers the “Hot Wheels Racing ATV” with the same package for a few dollars more.

  • Straddle riding position
  • Two speeds forward and one reverse
  • Can’t carry a passenger
  • Requires a little more skill to operate than side-by-sides

Best for Tesla Owners and Fans

Modern-Depo MX Truck Ride-On Car



Key Specs

  • Speed: Up to 3.1 mph, three speeds, parent-selectable
  • Capacity: One rider
  • Recommended Age: 3 to 5

Tesla’s groundbreaking “Cybertruck” won’t be available for years—unless you’re a three-year-old, in which case you can drive one now. Like the real thing, this has futuristic features, including a remote control so parents can drive the vehicle themselves while their children ride. Available in five color schemes, including a police-livery variant, the MX Truck has two motors (like the better Teslas!) and can play music via your Bluetooth-paired device.

  • Full parental remote control
  • Multiple speeds
  • Flashy lights and sound
  • Single riders only
  • Low maximum speed

Best Thrill Ride

Razor Crazy Cart Shift Go Kart

Key Specs

  • Speed: 2.5/8 mph, switch-selectable
  • Capacity: One rider
  • Recommended Age: 6 and up (120-lb. weight limit)

Razor’s Crazy Cart line, already popular with kids and teens, gets some extra sophistication with the Shift model. It can reach speeds of 8 mph and “drift” at will. In fact, it will also “drift” when you don’t plan for it to, thanks to the rear swivel casters. This is meant for bold children who aren’t afraid to ride on the proverbial edge and shouldn’t be given to toddlers or kids who aren’t willing to take a couple spins and spills in the learning process.

Want even more drama? The $650 Crazy Cart reaches 12mph, while the $900 Crazy Cart XL is aimed at teens and can drift at 14mph.

  • Tremendous fun
  • Outrageous drifts
  • Parent-selectable speed
  • Not for small children or first-timers

Best for Country Kids

John Deere Gator

John Deere


Key Specs

  • Speed: 2.5 mph, forward and reverse
  • Capacity: One rider
  • Recommended Age: 3 and up (75-lb. weight limit)

John Deere’s Gator is a common sight everywhere from hobby farms to major agriculture—and now it can be part of your child’s life, as well. This ride-on Gator bears an uncanny resemblance to the original, right down to the classic green-and-yellow color scheme and long-travel suspension. It also features something you can’t get on the full-sized Deere at any price: twin water bazookas! Does that make it a “technical,” like the trucks seen in the Middle East? Hard to say—but with the MP3 input jack, you can play “Ride of The Valkryies” as often as you like. A six-volt battery and an exceptionally low overall weight of 38 pounds means this is well-suited for younger children.

  • Looks cool
  • Twin water cannons
  • Light enough for an adult to lift and move
  • No remote-control capabilities
  • Seats one
  • Low speed

Best for Old-School, Off-Road Thrills

Razor Dune Buggy

Key Specs

  • Speed: Variable, up to 9 mph
  • Capacity: One rider
  • Recommended Age: 8 and up (120-lb. weight limit)

Parents may feel a wave of nostalgia looking at the Razor Dune Buggy; it’s similar to the lawnmower-engine-powered specials that were common in California and elsewhere 50 years ago. This one’s electric, and capable of 9 mph on light off-road trails. The padded bucket seat has a safety belt. There’s also a rear disc brake, a rare feature on a kid’s electric car and one that can also be used for slides and spins. A thumb trigger controls the variable speed. While this Razor won’t conquer actual dunes, it should scoot over the occasional lawn with ease.

  • Fast
  • Terrain-capable
  • Variable speed

Best for Toddlers

Kid Trax Fix and Ride Electric Quad

Key Specs

  • Speed: 1.5 mph
  • Capacity: One rider
  • Recommended Age: 1.5 to 2.5 (44-lb. weight limit)

Kid Trax offers several low-speed, low-seat-height ride-ons for toddlers. We’re partial to the “Fix and Ride,” a hot-rod-looking contraption with removable “engine parts.” But there’s also a “Dinosaur Quad” with a straddle-ride form factor, and two “motorcycles” with permanent balancing wheels. A simple push button brings your toddler up to speed, which in this case is a low speed. These should be compatible with indoor use in most environments, but they obviously won’t be capable of climbing major hills outdoors.

  • Low price
  • Explicitly designed for toddlers
  • Multiple models and styles
  • Low power
  • Won’t handle heavy or sizeable children

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