Toys that kids can ride on or in have always been popular from the days of wooden rocking horses all the way to today’s more advanced, high-tech electric cars for kids. Over the past decade, the market for powered ride on toys has exploded with new styles, technology, features, gadgets, and…price, of course. This explosion in options is great for kids, but makes it increasingly difficult for parents to determine what electric car is best for their child.
To help you sort through all the chaos we have developed our ‘Ultimate Guide to Electric Cars For Kids’. The guide is broken down into the major factors to consider when buying an electric car for your child or children. Hopefully, the guide will assist you with choosing the best option for your family.
Electric Cars For Kids – Age Guidelines
The first factor to consider is the age of your child in comparison to the age guidelines provided by the manufacturer. There are electric cars for kids for virtually all age groups, from toddlers to teenagers, and choosing the appropriate toy for your child’s age is extremely important. These toys are age rated not only so the child will get enjoyment out of the toy but also for safety reasons.
We have broken down the age guidelines into 5 groups and provided some information and examples on what to expect for each age group. Keep in mind there is overlap between these groups. Children develop at different rates both cognitively and physically so it is important to consider other factors including your child’s motor skills, height, weight, and the location and terrain where the electric car will be used.
Birth To 24 Months
Young kids under 2 years old do have options for electric cars. Kids this young are small, light, and are just developing motor skills. With that in mind, most electric cars for kids this age are small, light-weight, and usually only have one speed. Another feature to look for with this age group is easy push-button operation. One of the great things about ride on toys for kids this age is they help them develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination as well as balance. Children this young are able to focus on just using their fingers to control the car while developing a sense of motion and movement external to their own bodies.
A great example is the Power Wheels Lil’ Quad pictured here. This ATV styled electric car is perfect for a young child with a top speed of only 2 MPH. Since it also has push-button operation it’s a great option for a toddler and is also low to the ground to allow easy on an off access. The Lil’ Quad is also available in multiple versions for both boys and girls and we have a selection available through our association with Amazon, you can view them all here.
2 To 4 Years
As your child grows and develops more hand-eye coordination and motor skills, it may be time to step up into the next group of electric cars for slightly older kids. The selection for this age group is very large and offers cars with multiple different styles and sizes. The speeds for the cars also increases as the age guidelines increase as well. Kids in this age group can see cars with speeds up to around 6 MPH.
It’s in this age group that the style of the car and the additional features start to become more important. Many of these toys start to include things like working radios with MP3 players, realistic engine sounds, and foot pedal operation.
Another distinguishing factor for electric cars for kids in this age group is the terrain on which the vehicles can be used. Generally speaking, the toys for the kids up to 2 years old are to be used indoors, on carpet, or perhaps outside on pavement, but with the larger cars in this age group, some are designed to be used outside on grass, gravel, or even in the dirt and mud.
Another step up in this age group is the inclusion of multiple-person electric cars for kids. The cars have increased in size and some have multiple seats for passengers and friends. This is great fun for kids but also requires some additional safety precautions like the inclusion of seat belts and recommended equipment like helmets for the driver and passengers.
5 to 7 Years
The 5 to 7-year-old age group has a great deal of overlap with the top end of the 2 to 4-year-old group, but at the higher end of the group, there are some marked differences in available options and designs. In this age group the electric cars start go faster and more styles are available, like 3-wheeled motorcycles and dune buggies.
The electric cars for kids in this age group start to look like real vehicles. Most of these models are exact scale replicas of the actual car. The Dodge Viper SRT Convertible by Kid Trax is a great example. It has a higher max speed of 6 MPH and has realistic styling and features real engine sound, electric horn, FM radio, and MP3 input. It also has authentic chrome clad wheels, chrome exhaust tip, and Viper snake eyes and fangs LED running lights. What child wouldn’t love to race around the driveway in their very own Viper!
This age group is a difficult one because kids start gravitating out of the ‘toy’ car versions and as they get older, may get interested in things like go-karts and buggies. If your child is at the higher end of this age group, you may want to look at the next age group for the faster, more advanced options.
8 to 13 Years
Older kids can still enjoy electric cars, but they tend to want more power and speed. Some kids may move into gas-powered vehicles like small ATV’s and dirt bikes, but for those looking for a transitional product, there are many electric cars for kids in this age group. The transition from plastic toy cars to sporty machines occurs in this age group and the majority of the vehicles available are either ATV’s or go-carts. The power sources also tend to increase with these larger vehicles and they are made out of more durable materials like aluminum and steel and many feature multiple gear transmissions, disk braking systems, and active suspension systems.
A prime example is the Dirt Quad Electric 4 Wheeler by Razor. The Dirt Quad is basically a miniature sized electric four-wheeler perfect for young kids learning how to ride. It features twist-grip throttle for acceleration just like real ATV’s as well as active rear suspension and a variable-speed electric chain driven motor. With 13 inch tires, a tubular steel geometric frame, and a 250 watt engine, it can support riders up to 120 pounds and provide enough power to climb hills and go over rough terrain.
14 Years +
By the time kids reach their early teens, most start thinking about driving real cars, not electric toys, but there are some fun options for kids in this age group. Most of the electric cars for kids this age are go-karts and small vehicles that allow them to do ‘tricks’ or compete with their friends in races. These types of electric cars or carts tend to support higher weight classes, up to 160 pounds in some cases, and can provide higher power and speeds.
One of the most popular types of electric kart is the Ground Force Drifter by Razor. The Ground Force Drifter features a chain driven motor with a top speed of 12 MPH. As a drifter, it has features that allow it to slide or ‘drift’ around corners like super slick rear tires, a rear hand brake, thumb controlled acceleration, and a race-tuned chassis. It’s constructed with sturdy steel frame and a full battery charge can allow it to run for 40 minutes continuously.
This is just one example of numerous go-kart types of electric cars for kids that are too old for the plastic toy car models for younger kids but still want to have fun racing around the driveway or yard in a kart all their own.
Kids Ridez has a wide selection of electric cars for kids in all age groups through our association with Amazon. Check them all out here:
Electric Cars For Kids – Styles
As with any vehicle, there are many different styles and cars for kids are no different. There are cars, trucks, SUVs, ATVs, go-karts, and others to choose from. There are also those models that are unique and don’t necessarily fit into any specific category based on how they look and their features.
The car is one of the most popular styles for electric cars for kids, especially for smaller kids, because they are low to the ground and there are many different makes and models to choose from. There are also different kinds of cars including replicas of luxury models like the Mercedes-Benz SLK pictured here, which is currently on sale at over $200 off the MSRP.
If you really like Mercedes, check out our post featuring the best Mercedes Benz ride-on cars for kids.
The cars are also more popular for smaller and younger kids because they tend to be a little bit safer. They have a much lower center of gravity than some of the larger trucks and SUV types which makes them less likely to rollover onto the driver.
Trucks & SUVs
If you are interested specifically in Jeeps and Jeep-styled ride-on cars, check out our post ‘Jeeps For Kids’ for much more information specifically about these toys.
As with the general motor vehicle industry, the truck and SUV segment of electric ride-on toys is very popular because of the diversity available in the products. There are numerous trucks available representing all the major models of Fords, Chevrolets, Dodges, Toyotas, and others. The SUVs and crossover types of vehicles are also available as well.
The truck and SUV products tend to be larger than the cars and they typically seat more than one person which makes them great fun for kids and their siblings and friends. One important factor to consider about a truck or SUV is the rollover potential because they tend to be higher than the cars. While most models are well designed to avoid rollovers, be sure to check out the width in comparison to the vehicles height. Every manufacturer measures the width to height ratio different, but keeping to around a 1.5 to 1 width/height ratio will assure a lower risk of a potential rollover.
Adults love their ATVs and power toys and it’s no wonder kids love them too. The ATV style of electric ride on toy is perhaps the most versatile of all the styles available. It’s also the only style that is available for all age groups, from kids under 2 years old all the way up to kids in their early teens.
For younger kids, there are many models available that are small and have hand-operated controls like the previously mentioned Lil’ Quad models from Power Wheels. They are also available in many popular ‘character’ models including Dora The Explorer, Toy Story, and others.
For older kids, the models become more realistic and gravitate towards replicas of popular ATVs from real manufacturers like Polaris, Kawasaki, and Yamaha. The best thing about these models is the realistic styling, features, and handling. Some models are exact replicas of real ATVs that are just smaller, lighter, and electric-powered instead of gas-powered and are fantastic for teaching kids how to ride ATVs safely before graduating to larger, adult-sized machines.
Motorcycles have always been cool and it’s no different for kids. When it comes to the electric toy version though, there are 3 different options to consider depending on the age of the child. First, there are the three-wheeled versions like the Power Wheels Harley Davidson. These types of motorcycle-styled electric cars for kids this age are similar to the ATVs and cars previously mentioned; however, like the ATVs, the motorcycle styles are available for older kids as well.
The second type of motorcycle style is the two-wheeled version with training wheels. This is very similar to regular bikes for younger kids, but many are styled like real motorcycles but still have training wheels so kids can ride them safely and they can help with balance and help kids learn to ride. A great example is the Honda CBR 1000RR Sport Motorcycle by Kid Trax which features a realistic look and style along with 2.5 MPH maximum speed which is slow enough for kids to learn how to ride a power bike without much danger.
Finally, just like the ATVs, there are models of electric cars for kids in the motorcycle style that are designed to be smaller versions of real motorcycles or dirt bikes. These bikes are designed to be entry-level or beginner bikes to introduce kids to both motorcycle and dirt bike riding. A prime example is the MX350 Dirt Rocket by Razor. This bike is a true motocross bike that has a max speed of 12 MPH and an electric motor, but functions very similar to a gas-powered motocross bike.
It is very important to note that these types of electric-powered bikes, while not nearly as powerful or as fast as their gas-powered counterparts, are still capable of causing injury if not used properly or without the proper safety riding apparel. If you consider purchasing one of these bikes for your child make certain to also purchase the right riding gear like helmets, guards, and pads to protect the rider from injury.
Farm & Construction Equipment
Electric cars for kids are not limited to just motor vehicles, they are also available in farm and heavy equipment models. Many of these types also have the added fun of working auxiliary items likes trailers and loaders.
Some of the most popular are the tractor models that are available with accessories like the John Deere Ground Force Tractor from Peg Perego. This toy features 2 forward speeds of 2.25 MPH and 4.5 MPH with an optional high gear lockout to restrict the upper speed for the safety of younger riders. It also has a reverse gear and comes with a trailer that can be towed behind the tractor so they can carry along their essentials. It also has nice, large wheels that are great for outside on grass, gravel, and dirt.
Along the lines of farm tractors, there are also construction equipment models available too. Peg Perego also offers the John Deere Power Loader that is similar to the Ground Force Tractor, but features a large, electric operated front-end bucket for loading and dumping anything from sand and small rocks to toys and stuffed animals.
Dune Buggies & Go Karts
When it comes to electric cars and ride-on toys for kids, the dune buggy and go carts are like crosses between ATVs and cars. The smaller versions, typically made of plastic, for younger kids are typically classified as dune buggies, like the Dune Racer from Power Wheels. This little dune buggy has 2 speeds, a power-lock braking system, and an open cockpit that is very similar to full-size dune buggies. This particular model also comes in different colors like red for boys and pink for girls.
True go karts are usually for older kids and, like ATVs and motorcycles, there are a variety of electric models available to suit all different purposes. To find an electric go-kart to suit your needs you must consider the power source as the most important option. These go karts are made of heavier materials and because they are for older kids, they have to drive heavier loads. Perhaps the most interesting option for this model is the 24V Solar Powered Electric Go Kart from Scooters Code Green. What makes this go-kart unique is the solar panel that is built into the wing that provides continuous power during operation. The model also comes with a battery pack for quick charging. The solar wing works much like an alternator on a motor vehicle and keeps a charge in the battery during operation which can extend the single use time on this model up to 2 hours, which is a long time for this type of go-kart.
Unique & Uncategorized
The final style of electric cars for kids is the unique or otherwise uncategorized type. This is, of course, a catch-all category for those toys that just don’t fit into the standard categories.
There are a number of these unique models available including golf carts, trains, and boats. One of the most popular is the Thomas The Train Tank Engine from Power Wheels. Thomas The Train is a very popular character so it makes sense that there would be an electric-powered ride on toy available, but a train is not a common model for electric cars for kids. This particular model is actually designed similar to the ATV models for young kids with a low maximum speed of 2.5 MPH and a low weight limit. It also has hand controls for operation instead of the foot operated controls as seen on some of the models for older kids. This is just one example of the many different unique models that are available so if you are looking for something a little out of the norm, rest assured you will probably be able to find it.
Electric Cars For Kids – Brands
Deciding on which ride-on toy to purchase for your child can be heavily influenced by the brand of the product. As with most toys, there are many manufacturers from all over the world so it is important to consider where the toy is coming from to ensure you are getting a quality product. Here at Kids Ridez, we have products from many manufacturers and have highlighted information on the three top brands below.
Beyond a doubt, the number one brand for electric cars for kids is Power Wheels. Power Wheels is a brand of the Fisher-Price toy company which is a part of the Mattel corporation. Power Wheels produces a very diverse lineup of powered ride-on toys covering all styles and age groups. They also have a very strong association with different franchises and other brands which allows them to provide many more options for licensing. For example, because Power Wheels has these cross-branded associations, they can provide products like the Dora The Explorer Lil’ Quad, The Barbie Ford Mustang, The Disney/Pixar Cars 2 Lighning McQueen Ride-On car, and others featuring many different characters, movies, TV shows, and real vehicles.
The Power Wheels brand is also highly recognized as one of the highest quality brands of electric cars for kids. Their products are consistently rated very high and the majority of their products receive between 4 and 5 stars on Amazon. When you buy a Power Wheels product, you can be certain you are getting a high quality product.
Peg Perego is an Italian based baby products manufacturer and they have both electric and pedal ride-on toys for kids. While the selection from Peg Perego is limited, they are one of the few that feature different kinds of vehicles like farm and construction equipment, XUVs, and real-life ATVs. They also have some cross-branded associations with brands like John Deere, Case IH, and Polaris.
Peg Perego products are also very high quality and highly rated. They are on the more expensive side as well, though the quality and realism is worth the extra cost. Check out all of our Peg Perego products here.
While Power Wheels and Peg Perego dominate the market for electric cars for kids, another player is ZH Toys from Shenzhen Zhehua Technology, an Asian based toy company. While ZH is lessor known, they do produce many quality ride-on toys and they have one feature that others do not. They have many exclusive licensing deals with luxury car manufacturers. So, if you are looking for a BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Lamborghini, or other high-end luxury or exotic sports car for you child, ZH most likely has it.
Electric Cars For Kids – Power Supplies
All electric cars for kids are powered by some type of rechargeable battery. The vast majority of these batteries are either 6-Volt or 12-Volt. The power supply has a huge impact on two features of the toy. First, it will affect the speed of the car and, second, it will affect how long the toy can be used between charges.
Batteries do no last forever, but fortunately, most of the major brands sell additional batteries and chargers for their ride-on toys. Typically, you must get the correct battery for the brand of toy you have because each manufacturer’s connection terminals are different. There are some generic batteries available that may cost less, but for a few extra dollars, it is usually better in this case to get the name-brand. If you check carefully, you can usually find pretty good deals on battery/charger combo kits, like this one for Power Wheels vehicles from Amazon. When selecting a replacement battery, be sure to check part numbers to make sure it is a true exact replacement. Amazon will list the replacement part numbers directly in the product description area for most of them.
Electric Cars For Kids – Safety
The final section of the guide is all about safety. Electric cars for kids have a wide range of available speeds, designs, and weight limits that affect who can drive them and how they can be driven. Safety comes down to three factors: choosing the correct vehicle for your child’s age and abilities, proper driving, and safety equipment.
Choosing The Correct Ride-On Toy
The beginning part of this guide showed examples of electric cars for kids and how to choose the correct one based on your child’s age, weight, and taste, but the final decision factor should come down to whether the vehicle you choose is safe for your child. As previously stated, the age restrictions listed by the manufacturers are just guidelines, not absolutes. You have the ultimate say on what vehicle is the correct one for your child. The biggest mistake that can be made is selecting a toy that is too much for your child. This can put the child at risk of injury. It’s best to error on the side of caution and get a smaller or slower electric car rather than get one that is too powerful and fast.
Once you’ve chosen the best toy for your child, it is equally important to teach your child how to drive the vehicle properly. One of the leading causes of injury from these toys is driving on the wrong surface. Most electric cars for kids are designed to be driven on a specific type of surface like carpet, pavement, or level grass. Driving on the wrong type of surface can cause the driver to lose control of the car and crash or rollover and cause injury. The worst possible combination is a child that is too young or small driving a car that is too fast on the wrong surface.
Some of the toys for older kids are quite powerful and are similar to real vehicles, especially the ATVs and Go Karts/Buggies. With these toys, it’s also a good idea to have the kids take safety courses, if they are available in your area. There are many different kinds of ATV/Motorcycle courses available to teach young drivers the correct way to ride. There are also many different kinds of books available to help teach kids how to operate riding vehicles.
Safety equipment can be a little difficult to find for these toys. There is not much to choose from specifically for this group of toys; however, as with most safety gear, you can crossover from other areas and use the same equipment. For younger kids, you can use the same gear as most kids use when first learning to ride a bike. Helmets, knee pads, and elbow guards are all good ideas. For older kids looking to ride on the larger go karts and dune buggies, it’s recommended to use motocross safety gear. This is higher quality and a little more heavy-duty equipment made for dirt bike and ATV riders.
Electric Cars For Kids – More Information
Our guide to electric cars for kids is just a starting point for researching which ride-on toy is best for your child. Along with our guide, we also have our blog which provides detailed articles about all sorts of battery-powered cars for kids and other ride-on toys. If you are shopping for an electric car for your child, we offer a large selection of products through our association with Amazon and you can shop our store using the links in the black navigation bar above. If you have any question or comments, feel free to comment below, or you can contact Kids Ridez through our online contact form here.
Electric cars for kids are very popular ride-on toys, but they are not the only ride-on toys that we focus on here at Kids Ridez. We also have our comprehensive guide to kids scooters and we will be publishing our guide to kids bikes in the future.