Let’s be honest with ourselves. Those kids that grew up with ride-on electric cars were always the coolest kids around, or at the very least, had the most popular birthday parties on the block. That’s because electric cars for kids are one of the most exciting toys that you can possibly get.
After all, what could be more fun than cruising the sidewalks in your very first set of wheels? Whether it is a mini-Maserati or a little Lamborghini, the newest fleet of electric toy cars offer a surefire way to put a smile on your kids face. They also encourage the imagination and help develop important physical coordination skills.
Today, these toy cars are more affordable than they have ever been, giving more and more children access to crazy amounts of fun. Today we’re walking you through 11 of the best electric cars for kids, breaking it down by safety, speed, and most importantly, style.
The best way to prepare your child for a life on the farm is with this fully-functional John Deere Ground Force Tractor, one of the coolest toys that we have seen in years. It features a detachable trailer so your kid can start hauling crop as soon as you start the “engine”. Or if you’re lucky, they’ll use it to clean up their room. A 2nd-gear lockout feature allows parents to remain in control of the speed of the vehicle, but once you child is old enough you can open up that 2nd gear so they can really start cruising.
Here we have one of the most feature-packed ride on toy cars that money can boy. Not only is it incredibly stylish, but the Contzon Ride On Truck also has such niceties as an MP3 player, LED lights, and fully functional double doors making this one of the more realistic kids cars available. It even has a four wheel spring suspension system, providing for a remarkably smooth ride, even if it is just a few laps around the backyard. Don’t trust your youngster with the keys just yet? Then you will appreciate the remote control function, which allows you to control the fun from a safe distance.
The only problem with getting your child a miniature electric Volkswagen Beetle is that it just might look better than your own car when they are parked side by side in the driveway. Sure, only one of them is going to be allowed on the highway, but as they say, you don’t need to be street legal to have real street cred. All of the best toy electric car features are present here, including a fully functional sounds system and double lockable doors. Parental control mode utilized a 2.4G remote control with three separate speed options.
We know what you’re thinking. You never thought you would be the kind of person to buy your kid a Lamborghini, or maybe you thought that you would simply never be able to. While that might be true of the famous sports car, there is very little in the way of putting your kid behind the wheel of a remarkably authentic 12V version. The real swing-up doors are perhaps the most striking part of the vehicle, but the bright electric orange color is sure to get a few swoons & cheers out of the kindergarten crowd. And just like we’d want in a regular car, it features an AUX in port so that you can cruise to your favorite tunes from any device.
The speed-hungry youngster with a penchant for upper-class style will appreciate this zippy little sports car for its double-speed, rechargeable 12V engine. Their parents, however, are going to appreciate how startlingly affordable this model is in comparison to its competitors. In fact, it is less than half the cost of many of the toys on this list, making it the perfect starter car for your girl or boy. At 2 miles per hour, this certainly isn’t the fastest model in the lineup, but that could be exactly what you need for the slightly younger child who isn’t ready for highway speeds.
One of the biggest fears that parents might have about electric toy cars is that they might be too dangerous for their child. While safety concerns simply come with the territory of parenting, you can rest assured that these are some of the safest electric toys that you can get. This little 12V Mercedes-Benz, for instance, not only features a remote-controlled parental mode, but also is one of the only models on our list to include a working seatbelt and double-lockable door design, so there’s no worry of them falling out while moving. We love the clean white paintjob, though it likely won’t stay clean for long after a few laps around the backyard racetrack.
This licensed Audi TT can go from zero to three in five seconds. While that kind of speed can’t be considered fast nor furious, it is the perfect amount of go for your average kid-on-the-go. This model in particular has some pretty good zip to her, perhaps due to the slightly lighter body style. The auxiliary input allows you to plug in any tunes that you like, but the built-in electronic cruising song is the perfect companion to a guided neighborhood cruise. The remote controlled mode makes it just as fun for parents as it is for kids, while providing an additional level of safety for boys and girls who aren’t quite ready to drive by themselves.
The streets of childhood are long and wonderful, but they certainly don’t last forever. Let your kid cruise them in style in a Maserati GranCabrio, which is perhaps the most elegant looking ride on our list. No doubt a gift like this would be one long remembered, and due to the included parts warranty, it will be long-enjoyed as well. Bright headlights and tail lights are an attractive upgrade, but the real winning point here is a super-smooth 4-wheel suspension that performs as well on the beach boardwalk as it does around your living room.
There are a few things that make this little Ferrari one of the most realistic toy renditions of real-life sports cars. There are the swing-up butterfly doors, sure to woo even the coyest of 3rd graders. An authentic leather seat serves as an indicator of overall quality. And small, chic headlights provide a bright yet subtle note of style to a care that certainly doesn’t need any more of it. One safety feature that we have not discussed yet is the Slow Start mechanism available on most Uenjoy cars. This prevents the toy from accelerating too fast, which could cause your kid to fall backwards or injure their neck. It’s especially important for the Ferrari, which can hit 3.5 mph.
You’ll never find a better deal on a Mercedes Benz than right here, that’s for sure. At just over a hundred bucks this is one of the better deals we’ve seen, making this a great gift option for any kid in your life. It’s one of the only 6V models we looked at, which does cause a slight reduction in top speed capability. But let’s face it … sometimes you don’t want them going too fast anyway. For particularly young children (2-3 years) this little Benz represents the perfect opportunity to step into the world of electric cars without going nuts on speed and cost.
Move aside fancy sports cars. The Dune Racer is here, the top-of-the-line electric toy car from Power Wheels. And unlike the Maseratis or Lamborghinis we looked at above, this beast of a vehicle has big burly tires with remarkable traction. That makes it possible to operate on soft and slippery surfaces, like a wet patch of grass for example. It also reaches a relatively blazing 5 miles per hour, which is perhaps the fastest top speed in its class. The price is a bit higher than most competing toys, but the extra speed and traction is more than worth it if your kid is already shaping up to be the adventurous type.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Shop for Electric Cars for Kids
Even if you could only pick from one of the toy cars on our list, chances are you might get a little flummoxed. Deciding which ride is best for your kid is almost as hard as buying a new car for yourself, but only because of how many options there are.
Just like real-life cars, there are different colors, styles, and extra features that you will need to consider before you make the jump.
In addition, there are important safety aspects that come into play when you are dealing with an electric toy of this size.
Fortunately, we’ve got all the info you need to learn how to choose an electric ride on car.
There isn’t a whole lot of variance in how big these toy cars are. For the most part they are all about two feet wide by four feet long, and somewhere in the vicinity of two feet tall.
However, some vehicles have a single bucket seat for one passenger, while others have a double seat for two passengers. A two-seater car is a good idea for households with more than one child, and of course, any other time that your youngster wants to pick up a friend for a cruise around the neighborhood.
While most of the one-seater ride on cars are fine for children even as young as two years old, you don’t want to put a child that young in one of the bigger rides, such as the Power Wheels Dune Racer.
As usual, it is always best to pay attention to recommended age levels, and beyond this, to pay attention to how well your child fits in the car and if there is any significant danger of them falling out.
The large majority of toy electric cars run on 12 volt power, which is a standard for kids’ toys. Not only is 12V power quite safe compared to other methods such as gasoline or a higher voltage, it is also rechargeable. That means that you can plug the electric car into an outlet overnight and have it totally ready to go come morning, no additional batteries required.
There are a few 6V models on our list, and they are just a bit less common. These are usually on more affordable models that are geared towards a significantly younger kid, around two to three years old.
Being able to recharge the battery is a lot better than having to buy endless supplies of AA’s, but it has its drawbacks as well. Depending on the speed and terrain, some of these batteries can run out of juice before your kid does.
While it is certainly an option to purchase multiple batters and simply swap them out when one goes dead, also consider the possibility that the limited run time might make for a good built-in play clock. In other words, if the battery is dead, it might be time to go inside and start in on that reading homework.
The flip side of a relatively small battery supply is that they can often be charged pretty quickly, about 4 to 5 hours in most circumstances.
Remote Controlled “Parent Mode”
Here is a nifty feature that is available on most, but not all, models of electric toy car. It allows the whole vehicle to be controlled by ratio controller, thus bypassing the on-board driving system and giving power to the parents.
The most obvious benefits from this feature is allowing very young kids to enjoy an electric car even if they aren’t old enough to operate it. It can also be quite useful in public spaces where you don’t want them inadvertently speeding into the road or a busy intersection.
These remote controlled systems usually have an effective range of about 40 feet but can be hindered by obstructions like walls & hills.
Remember, not every electric ride on toy car has this remote controlled compatibility, so be sure to check the product specifications before you make a purchase.
Working Doors vs. Stationary Doors
Depending on what kind of price range you are looking at, you can either get a car with working, opening doors, or one with doors that are sealed shut.
Getting “real” doors adds to the overall realism of the experience, and they have the added benefit of being locked from the outside during operation to help prevent your kid from falling out.
Sealed doors (walls, really) serve to keep the wandering toddler in the seat and not tumble out during operation. It is also quite simply a way to save a significant amount of money, so if you’re looking for a more affordable option, perhaps you can skip the real doors.
By and large, the wheels on these toy electric cars are not inflated with air like real tires are. Instead they are simply made of a hard and dense plastic that can handle simple terrain like carpets, kitchen floors, wood porches, and sidewalks.
Not only does the lack of pressurized air make the toy safer for kids, but it also means that there is virtually no maintenance required to keep the car running at tip top shape.
One of the common complaints that come in about these ride on cars is that the wheels are too smooth to work on grass. It is true that for the most part these toys don’t work very well on grass or wet ground. However, if your kid is five or older they might enjoy the increased traction of the wheels on the Power Wheels Dune Racer, which is specifically designed to work on grass.
Licensed Car Brands & Models
In case you haven’t noticed yet, a lot of the toy cars on our list are modeled directly after real cars. A lot of the time they are modeled after particularly expensive cars, like Lamborghinis and Maseratis.
Other available brands include Volkswagen, John Deere, and Audi, to name only a few. If you are looking for a particular model of electric toy car, then spend some time shopping around. It is likely that you will be able to find just the one that you are looking for.
Additional Safety Features
For anyone still on the fence about buying a ride on car for their kid, here is a brief description of all the available safety features on the most recent fleet of toys:
- Safety Seat Belt – Almost all models include some form of safety belt, but there are some models that do not. This is something you want to have for obvious reasons. While the cars themselves do not generally go fast enough to cause a serious accident, there are plenty of other things that can happen unexpectedly, and a seat belt is the best way to stay safe.
- Slow Start Feature – Although generally seen on Uenjoy products, this is a feature that can be found on probably two thirds of all the electric toy cars on the market. What this does is introduce electric power to the motor quite gradually, so that even if your kid slams on the gas pedal, they won’t be tossed backwards like a rag doll. Instead the car will start to move gradually and softly, greatly reducing chance if injury.
- Double-Sided Locks – The ride on toy cars that have moving doors will generally also have locks on those doors. No, this isn’t so that little Billy can lock his ride up when parked in a bad side of town. It’s actually for parents who want to ensure that the doors of the car stay shut during operation. If a door opens accidentally, the child is at risk of simply tumbling out.
We don’t think this is going to come across as a surprise to anyone, but these toy cars were not intended to go very fast. One day, your child might get taller and will be ready for the coveted go-karts, but until then, they are going to have to settle for something that is a bit more safe, not to mention capable of being chased down in the event of a rogue driver.
The general range in speed capability is between 2 and 5 miles per hour, however there are a lot of factors that will affect just how fast your kid will be able to go. This includes the weight of both the car and the kid, the type of driving surface, and the charge level of the battery.
Cars for Boys vs. Cars for Girls
It might be easy to assume that electric toy cars are more of a boys thing, even when you remember all the bright pink models that are out there designed for girls.
However it is somewhat outdated to think that toys such as these are gendered in this traditional sense. In fact, researchers at Indiana University-Purdue have demonstrated that toy cars, traditionally thought to be a boys’ toy, elicited the highest quality play among girls.
The takeaway? Don’t worry so much about boys vs. girls when it comes to electric toy cars. After all, how many women do you know in real life that are driving pink cars?
So Which Electric Ride On Car Should You Buy For Your Kids?
While the decision making process involved in buying your kid a new electric car can be intimidating, we can at least be grateful that it’s not as bad as the real car buying process. Can you imagine if these things were sold on a big lot, by high-pressure toys salesmen?
Fortunately, most if not all of the process can now be handled from the comfort of your home computer. By now you should have all the tools and information that you need to make a truly informed decision.
In case you’d rather hear it from the quasi-experts, we do have a few suggestions.
For the style-conscious toddler, the Maserati Gran Cabrio is in a class of its own. But for the more adventurous soul we think the Power Wheels Dune Racer is perhaps the most rugged vehicle on the list.
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