Best Ride-On Toys of 2018

Grant Morgan ·
Managing Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We researched and evaluated 10 kids ride-on toys to find the safest, longest-lasting and most adaptable powered toy cars available. We found the Fisher-Price Power Wheels Jeep to be the best overall ride-on toy because of its ability to drive on both grass and hard surfaces and stop safely, as well as its parent-adjustable speed settings of either 2.5 mph or 5 mph, giving this vehicle a longer play lifespan than most. It also has seats for two children and can hold a maximum combined weight of 130 pounds. 

Best Overall
Fisher-Price Power Wheels Jeep
The Fisher-Price Power Wheels Jeep’s adjustability and strength makes it possible to grow with your child. Its maneuverability on grass and pavement allows for more adventures.
View on Amazon
Best Value
Mini Cooper Ride On
The Mini Cooper ride-on toy is a single-seat vehicle that gives your kid a fun ride for the best price. It features working lights, a horn and motor sounds.
View on Amazon
Best for Toddlers
Power Wheels Harley Rocker
The Power Wheels Harley Rocker is a safe, fun ride for your child. It’s easy to climb onto without help, maxes out at 2 mph and has built-in footrests.
View on Walmart
Best Overall
The Fisher-Price Power Wheels Jeep is a great way for your kids to have adventures in your own yard or driveway. Unlike many other ride-on toys, the Power Wheels Jeep can drive on both grass and hard surfaces, although it struggles on inclines like any model would.
One important feature that sets this Jeep apart from the rest is the option it gives parents to change the speed from 2.5 mph to 5 mph. This makes it possible for the Power Wheels Jeep to “grow” with your child as they get older and want to go faster. This also ensures that your child’s speed is regulated as they are starting to learn how to drive it. This two-seater can hold two children with a combined maximum weight of 130 pounds, making it possible for your child to take a sibling or friend along for the ride. There isn’t much storage area behind the seats – just enough to collect water if you leave the Jeep out in the rain or snow. The initial charging of the battery can take anywhere from 18 to 30 hours. Fortunately, the battery charging time after this will be significantly lower and the 12-volt battery will power the toy for up to three hours.
Pros
  • Seats two kids
  • Usable on grass and pavement
  • Speed adjustable by adults
Cons
  • Long initial battery charge time
  • Assembly required
  • Hard acceleration can be challenging for younger children
$318.25Amazon
Read the full review
Best Value
The Mini Cooper battery-powered ride-on toy is a fun, single-seat vehicle that comes with working lights and a transparent windshield.
This kids car is modeled after the real Mini Cooper body style and requires assembly, with most adults reporting an average time of half an hour to put it together. Your child can cruise their Mini Cooper on a hard surface, such as sidewalks or driveways, at 2.5 mph – in forward or reverse. While the Mini Cooper isn’t the best ride-on toy we evaluated, it is a great value because of its price, features and age range. Unfortunately, it cannot drive on grass or gravel very well, but the rechargeable 6-volt battery lets your child drive for one to two hours between charges. Battery charging time may vary depending on your child’s usage, but it can take up to 24 hours to fully charge if completely drained. The Mini Cooper kids ride-on toy is recommended for children ages 3 to 7, but because of the single-bucket-seat design, larger kids will find it harder to enjoy as they grow. Fortunately, the Mini Cooper has a weight limit up to 77 pounds, giving it an above-average lifespan.
Pros
  • Working lights and sounds
  • Runs for up to two hours
  • Weight capacity up to 77 pounds
Cons
  • Full charge can take from 8-12 hours
  • Not recommended for children younger than 3 years old
  • Battery only has a six-month warranty
$209.99Amazon
Read the full review
Best for Toddlers
The Fisher-Price Power Wheels Harley Rocker is perfect for the beginning driver, especially toddlers. Thanks to its smaller size, younger children can climb onto this ride-on toy easily and start their driving adventures by stepping on the foot pedal to go.
The motorbike stops immediately when the child takes their foot off the pedal. The built-in footrests also help keep your child’s feet safe from dragging and getting caught. One of the best features of the Harley Rocker is that it can only reach a maximum speed of 2 mph. This is a safer speed than many other battery-powered ride-on toys, making it a good choice for toddlers. Of course, parents should always supervise and help their child as they learn how to control any ride-on toy. This vehicle comes with a 6-volt rechargeable battery that is stored under the seat, and the initial charge can take up to 18 hours. The Power Wheels Harley Rocker is recommended for children 18 months to 4 years of age, and because it has a wide and stable three-wheel low-rider base, it is one of the safest ride-on toys for toddlers.
Pros
  • Easy for toddlers to get on/off
  • Slower speed safer for toddlers
  • Three wheels for stability
Cons
  • No lights or sounds
  • No reverse
  • Not built for children over 3 years old
$99.00Walmart
Read the full review
The Power Wheels Ford F-150 ride-on toy is an affordable, powerful kid’s truck that can hold two children with a combined weight of 130 pounds.
This vehicle has three different speeds - 2.5 MPH and 5 MPH, and in reverse at 2.5 MPH. This is a great option for parents to keep their new drivers safer at lower speeds until they get more experienced. One of the best features of this ride-on toy truck is the working truck bed and tailgate. Your kids can take along their favorite toys, or some snacks as they head out on their next adventure. Another safety feature is the Power Lock Brakes that forces the truck to come to a complete stop when your child takes their foot off the gas pedal.
Pros
  • The Ford F-150 is an affordable ride-on toy.
Cons
  • The initial battery charge takes a full day.
$189.99Amazon
Read the full review
The Power Wheels Ford Mustang is a great kids sports car with realistic detailing like chrome wheel caps, fake air vents and a pretend radio that plays real radio tunes.
The Ford Mustang has Power Lock brakes and parents can select between the 2.5-MPH and 5-MPH operating speeds, which are some great safety feature for beginning drivers. The 12-volt battery gives the Power Wheels Ford Mustang enough power to accommodate children up to 30 pounds in weight to enjoy driving on grass and pavement. Assembly is required, unless you have it assembled by the store you purchase it from and can take an hour or more.
Pros
  • The 12-volt battery provides enough power for children up to 30 pounds.
Cons
  • Assembly takes an hour or more.
$399.99Amazon
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

Top Ten Reviews has evaluated and reviewed ride-on toys for more than five years. Each time we’ve worked on this site, our reviewers have carefully researched the latest models and brands, including contacting manufacturers, scouring the internet for information, and reading consumer reviews to gain insight and opinions. Their research comparisons led them to evaluate what makes the best battery-powered ride-on toys the best. We’ve found that the best powered toy cars have excellent safety features, such as stability and immediate stopping when a child steps off the accelerator. We’ve also found that the difference between battery life is just as important and can determine how often a child uses and enjoys their vehicle.

Our reviewers at Top Ten Reviews dove into online communities and toy sites such as Amazon and Fisher-Price to see what actual owners said about their purchases and experiences. This helped us get a start on evaluating what features mattered to parents who care about their child’s safety and enjoyment. Researching this way also provided us with some tough questions to ask manufacturers about their products and they gave us good insight, for the most part, when contacted. We found that while most ride-on toys are extremely similar, there are some differences that can make it worth spending extra to ensure the vehicle lasts more than a summer. To get more insights, we spoke with a sales employee who has been working with these toys for the past 5 and a half years. We also reached out to Fisher-Price and asked them about their PowerWheels products but they didn't respond to us in time for publication.

How We Evaluated

We researched 10 ride-on toys online and visited local stores to find out what features makes the best power wheels toy. We also spoke to children and parents who own battery-powered ride-on toys to see what they liked and disliked the most about these children’s vehicles.

How Much Do Ride-on Toys Cost?

You'll find that prices vary greatly from one ride-on toy to another. If you're trying to purchase one on a budget, you might want to consider getting a motorcycle, like the Harley Rocker which sells for under $100 on Amazon. The downside to these motorcycles is that they can only carry one child at a time. The larger ride-on toys that allow two or more riders, like the Ford Mustang, will cost between $150 and $400. They might also include fun extras like cup holders and a working radio. Just like with adult vehicles, it is common for fancier car brands to cost more.

Things to Consider

Kids ride-on cars may all offer the same driving experience, but there are several things you should know about them when you plan to buy one. As you are deciding on which vehicle to buy for your child, you should pay special attention to the following criteria:

Safety & Speed

To make sure your child is safe and fits comfortably in the vehicle, be sure you look at the weight and height limits before making a purchase. Some vehicles come with a locking mechanism so parents can control how fast their child goes. This is an especially nice feature for younger children who might veer into others or go too fast. You can find ride-on vehicles for every age between toddler and adult.

The age range indicated on the box will coincide with how fast the vehicle can go. Typically, vehicles designed for one-year-olds, like the Kawasaki Lil' Quad, only go 2 mph. Kid cars like the Wild Thing, designed for 3 to 10-year-olds, tend to go between 2.5 and 6 mph. If you're looking for something for teenagers or adventurous adults, you might be interested in the Razor Crazy Kart XL, which goes up to 12 mph and holds up to 240 lbs.

Design
Most children's ride-on vehicles are designed to be miniature replicas of "grown-up" vehicles such as a Ford Mustang, Jeep or Hummer. A toy vehicle's ability to imitate an adult driving experience for your child will make all the difference. How the vehicle looks, all the way down to the decals you can use, is indicative of its quality. The toy store employee we spoke to told us that the more inexpensive models tend to be made of cheap plastic and break easily. She told us it is better to go for one of the more standard brands like Power Wheels, "you pay more, but you pay for quality." She further told us to avoid KidTrax vehicles, one of the least expensive options, as these tend to break easily either during use or during shipping because of poor design and cheap plastics. While 12-volt batteries are typically larger so you can fit two or more riders.

Battery
Kids cars are powered by electric batteries, which means the strength and size of the battery will influence the vehicle's speed and power. The size of a ride-on vehicle's battery is largely indicative of its battery life and the speeds it can reach. 6-volt batteries typically allow a vehicle to travel at around 2.5 mph for just over an hour and can usually only fit one rider at a time. A 12-volt battery will allow your child to drive for upward of three hours at speeds of 5 mph and can usually fit two or more riders. Look for models that charge quickly, possibly allowing your child to enjoy their ride more than once a day. The batteries are usually stored under the hood or under the seat of the car.

The toy sales employee told us that she had seen many people purchase the wrong type of battery only to have to come back in and exchange it later. So, make sure you purchase the correct one from the get go to save you from inconveniencing yourself. She further warned us that you need to follow the battery charging instructions to the letter as deviating from the directions can result in your battery only holding a 10 to 30-minute charge for the rest of its life. Having to go out and buy a brand-new battery right after you've purchased the vehicle is frustrating to say the least. Especially when they cost about $70 to replace.

If you're a grandparent who wants to purchase one of these vehicles for family get-togethers, you might want to invest in an extra battery so you can switch them out and allow your grandchildren to play for a longer period of time. Batteries and charging cables can typically be purchased on Amazon or at Walmart or Batteries Plus's brick and mortar stores.

Warranty
Some children's ride-on cars come with longer than the standard one-year warranty. Pay attention to the warranty length, as it will help counterbalance additional future expenses. It isn't uncommon for parts within the motor or battery to fail. In these cases, the cost of replacing those parts can be quite expensive, especially if you have to pay to replace them yourself. When you open the box containing your vehicle, you should also check to make sure that none of the plastic is damaged or broken off as this sometimes happens in shipping, especially with the generic models.

Souped Up Kid Cars for Adult Riders
Even when we become adults and can drive our own vehicles something about these little cars still makes us want to ride. The problem is that they are too small and don't go fast enough for our grown-up needs. You can find plenty of blogs and online videos that both teach you how to swap out the motors in your kid cars for more powerful ones and that teach you how to make riding space for adults. But if you're wanting to test your creations against others, you should check out the Power Racing Series. The company's website can help you look up the racing rules and sign up your own Frankenstein-kid-car for races. The site also claims that it can help you create a souped-up kids car for only $500. The Power Racing Series takes place in various cities and are lighthearted, family-friendly events that provide lots of fun. When you're there, you can swap tips and get advice from other race goers.

More Gift Guides for Kids: