Ride-on toys are perfect for those little ones who are too old for rattles and teething toys but aren’t quite old enough to play with G.I. Joe’s and Barbie Dolls. I’ve just recently learned this the hard way. With my two two-year-old grandchildren and another one that’s ten months old, I’ve been having a heck of a time trying to decide what to get them as birthday and holiday presents. I get tired of buying them clothing all the time. That’s no fun for them . . . even if they do look adorable. That’s where this article can help.
Ride-on toys for babies, toddlers, and young kids are great for many reasons. Whether you choose a bike, trike, car, tractor, train, or other type of toys, the best ride-ons will develop both leg muscles and motor skills in your little ones. They will also have stable, wide tires and be sturdy enough to hold a child weighing approximately 50 pounds. Some even have options like cup holders, storage compartments, or FM radio. I will say, the ride-on toys on this list are geared more toward the nine-month to three-year-old age groups because I am using it as research for my own grandchildren. It’s a win-win situation for all involved.
So, from here you can carry on reading or jump straight to our number #1 Amazon pick here.
Table of Contents
- What Should I Look for in a Riding Toy?
- Here’s How I’ve Determined the Best Riding Toys
- Our Top Picks for the Best Riding Toys in 2021
- #1: VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train (Best Value)
- #2: Peg Perego Lionel Lines Train 6V Ride-On (Best Premium)
- #3: Ancaixin Baby Balance Bikes (Best Baby Balance Bike)
- #4: JOYIN Unicorn Bouncy Horse Plush Kids Ride On Toy (Best Low Cost)
- #5: Little People Fisher-Price Music Parade Ride-On (Best Musical Ride On)
- #6: TOMY John Deere Sit N Scoot Activity Tractor (Best With Push Walker)
- #7: Little Tikes 4-in-1 Ride-On (Best with Pedals)
- #8: Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike (Best Trike)
- Safety Tips
- Verdict: Your Best Riding Toys for Toddlers
What Should I Look for in a Riding Toy?
When looking for a riding toy, I’ve considered a few things to help both myself and you to easily get through the tedious process that comes with buying toys.
Criteria #1: Make sure it’s age-appropriate.
As I’ve already mentioned, most of the ride-on toys on this list are for the little ones in your life. These aren’t for kids older than five years old. When looking at riding toys, find one that fits your child’s age and size.
Criteria #2: Does it have a good wheelbase?
The best ride-on toys for young kids will have a good, wide wheelbase to ensure they don’t fall over sideways.
Criteria #3: How many wheels does the ride-on toy have?
This is important if your kid is a bit older and you’re looking to transition them from a ride-on with four wheels to that of a trike, or one with three wheels.
Criteria #4: Does the ride-on toy have additional functions and features?
Look for a riding toy that has additional functions and features. For example, one that comes with learning or teaching functions. That way your child will learn while they play. Also, some riding toys serve more than one function. They can be used as a push car, a pull-behind, or a ride-on.
Criteria #5: What are the product reviews?
Reading the reviews will give you a better idea of the quality of the product. As a parent, I tend to be brutally honest when leaving a review, whether good or bad. I’ve come to notice other reviewers seem to do the same. While everyone isn’t going to have the same experience, it’s worth the few extra minutes to do some research and find out if there were any problems with the product and how the manufacturer resolved the issue.
Here’s How I’ve Determined the Best Riding Toys
I’ve compared the features to the prices of these ride-on toys as well as their reviews. It’s important to me that I find the best for your child as well as for my grandchildren.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our top picks of the best riding toys of 2021.
Our Top Picks for the Best Riding Toys in 2021
#1: VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train (Best Value)
Recommended age: 12 months to 3 years old
If you’re looking for the best ride-on toy for toddlers that is also an all-in-one toy, this is it. Whether your little one is crawling, beginning to walk, or a pro-walker, this VTech toy won’t disappoint. They’ll have so much fun playing, that they won’t even notice they’re learning.
Grows With Your Child
The VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train truly grows with your little one. Use it as a floor toy or a ride-on. It can even transform into a push walker for those babies learning to walk, or they can pull the toy wagon filled with toys.
A Great Learning Toy
A great learning toy, this ride-on car comes with 10 activities. Your child will have so much fun learning with a storybook, clock, and gears to play with. The double-sided alphabet blocks will help to build fine motor skills as well as introduce your little one to letters, numbers, colors, and much more.
So Many Fun Features
The toy train counts the blocks when they’re dropped down the chute. The walkie-talkie is fun for imaginative play, while the counting toys play more than 100 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases.
There are 3 AA batteries already included with the toy for demo purposes, but you’ll want to quickly purchase more as these won’t last very long.
The reviews for this product are great. The user experience is awesome. Children love playing with these toys and parents love that it grows with their little ones. It’s definitely a great buy.
#2: Peg Perego Lionel Lines Train 6V Ride-On (Best Premium)
Recommended age: 12 months to 3 years old
Peg Perego has a great reputation in the ride-on toys world. One of the best ride-on for kids, the Peg Perego Lionel Lines Train 6V Ride-On is no exception. Whether you use this toy with tracks or without, your kids are going to love pretending to be the train’s conductor in your living room.
Push Button Start
The push-button start makes it easy for kids of any age to get this train going.
This comes with a 6-volt battery that can reach speeds of up to 1.5 miles per hour. So, it goes fast enough that your little one will get a kick out of it, but slow enough that you don’t have to be worried.
Includes Track Pieces
The train also comes with 12 track pieces. Your kids can get the feel of riding their train on the track. Don’t want to use the track pieces? No problem. The train will run just fine without them on carpeted or hardwood floors.
Realistic Train Sounds
Your little conductor is going to love the realistic train sounds and noises.
This is an exceptional ride-on toy. It’s a bit pricy but well worth the cost. Your kids are going to absolutely love playing with this real-life train set.
#3: Ancaixin Baby Balance Bikes (Best Baby Balance Bike)
Recommended age: 10 to 36 months
When you hear the words “balance bikes,” you might first think of the balance bikes made for older kids who are learning to ride bicycles without training wheels. Well, Ancaixin makes balance bikes for toddlers as well. This ride-on toy is designed to help your child learn to balance and walk.
Excellent for Learning to Walk
This is great for babies learning to walk. Your little one can easily and comfortably sit on the balance bike seat while learning to use their feet to get them moving. There’s also no steering wheel to worry about, just a stationary handlebar so you don’t have to worry about them turning themselves over.
This ride-on toy couldn’t be easier to assemble. It takes less than five minutes and no tools are required. I think I just heard a collective sigh of relief on this one.
The Ancaixin Baby Balance Bikes are made of carbon steel frames with a supportive soft seat. The fully enclosed wheels ensure the safety of your baby’s feet. It also has 135-degree steering to help prevent your baby from falling sideways.
While parents and grandparents love the easy assembly, kids and grandkids love scooting around on their balance bike. It’s the perfect first balance bike for little kids.
#4: JOYIN Unicorn Bouncy Horse Plush Kids Ride On Toy (Best Low Cost)
Recommended age: 18 months and up
If you’re looking to go the least expensive route for a ride-on toy for your baby or toddler, consider the JOYIN Unicorn Bouncy Horse Plush Kids Ride On Toy. Just because it costs less than the others on this list, doesn’t mean it’ll be any less fun for your toddler.
This inflatable ride-on toy provides hours of fun. Your toddler will love the look of this unicorn, with its plush cover and colorful mane and tail.
The unicorn provides children with learning opportunities with shape recognition, sports, and life skills all while they’re bouncing on their ride-on toy.
It also not only strengthens kids’ muscles, but it promotes brain development while learning to maintain balance.
The JOYIN Unicorn Bouncy Horse Plush Kids Ride On Toy is made of premium, non-toxic, quality materials. It’s been safety-test approved and meets US toy standards. The legs are sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about your child falling off.
Consumers say this is a cute and sturdy ride-on toy. Children love bouncing on their unicorns. It’s a great value and perfect for toddlers.
#5: Little People Fisher-Price Music Parade Ride-On (Best Musical Ride On)
Recommended age: 12 months to 3 years old
Just like the Peg Perego brands, Fisher-Price has long been a top contender in baby and toddler toys and also makes some of the best ride-on toys for toddlers. Your child is all but guaranteed hours of fun and happiness with the Little People Fisher-Price Music Parade Ride-On toy.
So Much Music
Your child is going to enjoy the 5 different marching tunes of this best ride-on for kids. They can even use the keyboard to compose their own. Who knows? You may have the next Mozart on your hands.
Includes Instrument Sounds
While your child is playing with the keyboard, they can also explore other sounds from a trumpet, saxophone, tuba, and drums. With all these buttons and ride-on features, your little one will also be improving valuable motor skills.
Under Seat Storage
There’s under-seat storage space in this car for your child’s favorite toys. The colorful graphics make it pleasing to look at, and the wide wheels offer plenty of stability for your little one. A handlebar is used instead of a steering wheel, which aids in ensuring your toddler doesn’t topple over sideways.
Similar to the VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train, the Little People Fisher-Price Music Parade Ride-On also requires batteries. It takes three AA batteries that are, luckily, included, so you don’t have to make an emergency run to the nearest drug store. But it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have an extra few batteries on hand just in case.
These ride-on toys are a huge hit with children everywhere. They get a kick out of all the sounds and music coming from this toy.
#6: TOMY John Deere Sit N Scoot Activity Tractor (Best With Push Walker)
Recommended age: 12 months to 5 years old
TOMY has come up with a John Deere Sit ‘N Scoot Activity Tractor. This is perfect for those children who love their farm animals and want their own ride-on toy tractor.
The three-in-one design is similar to the VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train because there are multiple ways to use it. Toddlers can use it as a push walker, a ride-on, or be pushed by an adult on this one.
Thankfully, there are volume settings for the sounds on this best ride-on for toddlers. Now I know I hear a collective “Hallelujah” from parents and grandparents everywhere.
Educational Play Area
The seat flips out to reveal an educational activity playset area for your little ones to play with the included farm animals. They’re going to have so much fun pretending to be a farmer with their tractor and farm animals.
Horn Plays Song
The horn button on the steering wheel plays “Old McDonald” for even more fun.
Parents and kids alike love the TOMY John Deere Sit ‘N Scoot Activity Tractor. The kids enjoy being their very own farmers while mom and dad love the fact they can control the volume if needed.
#7: Little Tikes 4-in-1 Ride-On (Best with Pedals)
Recommended age: 9 months to 3 years old
Maybe your child is almost ready for a tricycle . . . but isn’t quite there yet. The Little Tikes 4-in-1 Ride-On toy is perfect for them. That’s because parents can help control where the ride-on toy goes. Your little ones will have fun whether you’re the one in charge, or they’re riding on their own.
If your child can’t quite reach the pedals, no problem. This Little Tikes ride-on toy comes with footrests that can fold away and detach when not in use.
Once your child is old enough and their legs can reach the pedals of the best ride-on, you won’t have to worry about their feet slipping off the non-slip pedals.
The seat adjusts to four positions. It’ll fit almost any child so your kids can grow with this ride-on, making it a great investment.
There is a 5-point safety belt harness along with a protective safety bar on this ride-on toy, so you never have to worry about your child being injured.
You have the options with this ride-on toy. The adjustable, detachable handle allows you as the parent to have full control of the ride-on toy with one hand. There’s even a convenient cup holder in case you want to take a water or sports drink bottle with you. Or, when your child is ready, you can detach the handle and let them ride on their own.
The extra-large storage compartment features a dumping feature on the back of the toy.
The Little Tikes 4-in-1 Ride-On has great reviews. Parents like the maneuverability of the parents’ handle while their little ones learn to ride a tricycle.
#8: Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike (Best Trike)
Recommended age: 24 months to 5 years old
Is your child a Harley fan? While they might not be big enough for the real thing, your kid will love having their very own Harley Davidson in the form of a tricycle. This is for kids who are a little bit older and know how to use pedals.
Styled Like a Harley Davidson
These tricked-out ride-on trikes are just what every little boy or girl who loves motorcycles needs. They’ll love the cool Harley Davidson details that resemble the real thing.
Big Foot Pedals
Similar to the Little Tikes 4-in-1 Ride-On, this ride-on toy has pedals. Thankfully, the Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike features big foot pedals, making it easier for your little rider to get moving.
Easy Grip Handlebars
The easy-grip handlebars allow for your child to have better control of their trike as they cruise up and down the driveway or sidewalk.
The rugged, durable wheels are ideal for most ground coverings and help to give it a stable wheelbase.
This is a huge hit among small children, and parents say assembly is pretty easy, making it a hit with them, too.
Your kids should always, always be supervised when they’re playing with their ride-on toys. If they were to fall off, your kids could be seriously hurt or injured. And no parent wants that.
Make sure that your kid’s feet are firmly planted on the floor. Otherwise, they might have a hard time pushing off and stopping and may also accidentally push themselves over.
Ride-ons should be put together properly. All of the wheels should rotate freely and smoothly
Ensure your kids are riding their cars on a smooth surface, preferably hardwood floors or concrete.
Verdict: Your Best Riding Toys for Toddlers
I’ve broken down my top eight picks for you here:
If you want the best value for your money, pick the VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train.
If you’re looking for the best premium toy, choose the Peg Perego Lionel Lines Train 6V Ride-On.
If you want the best balance bike, pick the Ancaixin Baby Balance Bikes.
If you’re looking for the best around $20, choose the JOYIN Unicorn Bouncy Horse Plush Kids Ride On Toy.
If you want the best musical ride-on toy, pick the Little People Fisher-Price Music Parade Ride-On.
If you’re looking for the best push walker, choose the TOMY John Deere Sit N Scoot Activity Tractor.
If you want the best ride-on with pedals, choose the Little Tikes 4-in-1 Ride-On.
If you want the best trike, pick the Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike.
As a recap, when buying a riding toy for your kids, take into account their age and weight, since these aren’t made for those over the age of 5 or who weigh more than 50 pounds, but also make sure their little legs and feet reach the ground. Whether you’re shopping for a toddler or an older child, find something they’ll have fun with.
Look for additional features like cup holders or special functions. A scooter, a ride-on car with four wheels, or a trike are going to be a lot of fun for your little one.
As a parent, do your research before making your purchase. Remember some of these take batteries, like the VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train and the Little People Fisher-Price Music Parade Ride-On, so having an extra battery or two on hand is a good idea. Also, keep in mind that when you order from one of the links on this or another site, someone may earn commissions.