Best Electric Cars For Kids Reviewed & Tested
Often for toddlers, especially boys, one of the first words they’ll say is ‘car’. And so begins our lifelong desire for personal transportation. However, for young children the fun of getting around on their own four wheels is more than that, it’s also an important part of the learning process. Nowadays, there is a wide range of electric cars for children to play with inside and outside the house. Most look like miniature versions of cars and trucks you see on the road. The variety is so great that you can match an electric car to your kid’s personality. If you’ve got a young race car driver, then how about a sports car, for those who like adventures there are Jeeps, and for the child who wants to get things done then how about a pickup. This review will examine what to look for when buying an electric car for your child, and highlight some of the many options available.
What to consider when buying an electric car for kids
It’s an unwary parent who will underestimate the desire of a young child to find freedom, behind the wheel of their own vehicle as they drive around the home or the yard. Electric cars are probably one of the most expensive toys a kid will ever have and are usually reserved for Christmas or birthdays.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Power Wheels
- Good Break
- Power Wheels K.
- New Model
- Great Functions
Prices can range from as low as $200 to well over $1,000, as picking on that meets your budget and is right for your child is essential. These electric ‘ride-ons,’ as they are sometimes called, are engineering wonders, as they often resemble full-size vehicles, although few carry the badge of the full-size maker. Most electric cars are built for toddlers to young children, from as young as 18 months, up to the age of about seven. So expect the vehicle to be built to withstand all the punishment your child will give it in five or six years. The more expensive models will come with a warranty, just like their big brothers. Check the construction of the electric car carefully to see if there any sharp edges or protrusions that might hurt your child should they have an accident.
Remember, these cars for kids don’t have their own miniature airbags. Electric vehicles of any kind run off batteries. Generally, the bigger the battery, the more powerful the motors can be, and hence the car will be able to go faster, or run for a longer time. Higher voltage batteries are usually fitted to cars that can reach higher speeds. With higher speeds comes more safety risks to your child. Try and find a compromise where the top speed is within your safety limits. Otherwise, look for a machine that has a parental remote control so you can take charge if things get too fast for your liking. For a child to get the most out of their own electric car, the experience needs to mirror as closely as possible the car mom or dad drives. Some of these cars come with radios or even USB hookups for media players. The seats can be adjusted too. To summarize:
- Check for sharp edges or other safety risks
- Look for a warranty, especially on the more expensive models
- Work out what speed range would be suitable for your child and home
- The added extras that make it more like the real thing
10 Best Electric Cars For Kids
1. Power Wheels Ford Lil' F-150
This single-seater is an excellent likeness to the real thing and has a wide wheelbase and off-road tires to give it the same mean and muscular look. The truck bed at the back has plenty of room and can be used to carry light items as part of imaginary play. This is one of the growing number of kids electric cars that carry the trusted name of the real-life original. There are also 12-volt versions of this truck that can haul two children, and a number of special editions including those of the souped-up F-150 Raptor.
These models feature added extras such a working FM radio, and a jack to plug in an mp3 player. The 12V design also has a high-speed lockout system, which gives a parent control over the top speed of the machine. When your child is still learning it can be limited to 2.5 mph, and with more experience, it can be raised to five mph. And one more thing, the tailgate of the pickup bed works like the real thing too.
Fully automatic safety braking system
Lots of room in the truck bed for make-believe play
Great build quality, backed by trusted big brand name
Maximum weight 65lbs
2. Power Wheels Kawasaki
The over-size tires and wide wheelbase mean this is a very stable vehicle, and you should have no worries when supervising your toddler riding around the neighborhood or a local park. We know that even at three years old some children have not fully developed their sense of balance and visual-motor coordination.
As an added safety feature the quad-bike has no reverse, removing the worry of having an accident should the machine go suddenly backward. The Lil’ Kawasaki is offered in a variety of bright colors and is made of high-quality, durable materials.
As a first electric car for a very young child, you can’t really go wrong with this machine. It is sure to help develop their self-confidence and independence and improve their mastery of balance and coordination skills.
Only goes forward
Front storage compartment
Weight limit not specified
3. New Model 2015
You can fit your child snugly into the race car seat complete with seat belts for added safety. With a car looking this fast it has to sound fast too, and it has with a built-in soundtrack of engine sounds and light show.
It also comes with functioning headlights and turn indicators, a horn on the steering wheel, and an mp3 jack to plug in a music player. With a carrying capacity of 55 lbs (25kg), this vehicle is probably more suited to children under the age of five.
Parental speed control
Engine soundtrack and light show
Functioning headlights and horn
Lacks all-terrain capability
4. Best Choice Products
Loosely based on an open pickup or SUV this model has been tricked out with lights and an mp3 player, all ready to cruise the streets of the neighborhood. However, what really makes this unique is that it can be radio controlled by a parent. So if your child is too young to reach the foot pedal, then mommy or daddy can take charge and power the car, and all they have to do is ride along.
The manufacturers say the car can carry kids up to 66 lbs (30kg) in weight. To add the to the overall coolness of the ride it features working headlights, jazzy chromed wheels, and mp3 player, and engine startup sounds.
The high backed seat looks as if it has come straight out of a race car, and comes with a 2-point lap seat belt for added safety. Although this looks as if could be a go-anywhere car for your kids, the wheels are best suited to flat smooth surfaces.
Parental radio control
Lacks all-terrain capability
5. Peg Perego John Deere Ground Force Tractor with Trailer
Maybe your child likes to help in and around the garden, well this ride-on will make that task a little easier. The miniature tractor and working trailer will give your child an authentic experience of working on a farm and using farm equipment.
The tractor has two speeds, the slower is 2.5 mph, and the faster at 4.5 mph, and comes with reverse and automatic brakes. There is a parental speed lock to stop younger children going too fast.
The seat is adjustable, and has armrests like the real thing, and the tractor also comes with an FM radio. Parents say that it's great for imaginative role play, and with the trailer linked behind it can be extremely practical for your little one to haul around all the stuff he wants.
Does not have tractor engine sounds
6. Power Wheels Kawasaki KFX
The KFX model has a steel frame construction and all the ruggedness and presence you’d find in the full-size versions from Kawasaki. Just like the real thing the speed of this child’s ATV is controlled by a speed mechanism in the grip handle, great training should your kid want to ride a motorbike or scooter in the coming years.
With a low profile, it is easy for young kids to climb on and off the machine. A wide wheelbase means it is inherently well-balanced, and keeping the center of gravity lower means the ATV should be more stable over the rougher terrain it is designed to handle.
The machine is fitted with wide tires with a deep tread to give maximum traction in the mud and dirt. With its single seat, the KFX can carry a child up to 65lbs (30kg) in weight.
Stable wide wheelbase
Hand throttle mechanism
7. Razor Dune Buggy
This is one of the most potent kids electric cars on the market. The powerplant is a 350-watt electric motor, which is supplied with juice from two 12-volt rechargeable batteries. With a top speed of around nine mph, the makers say a child should get approximately 40 minutes of playtime out of a single charge.
Sitting in the tubular steel framed body, your kid will get the sensation of driving the real thing. The pneumatic tires give extra grip, and the rear suspension means the ride is smooth and comfortable.
The speed is controlled by a thumb-triggered device on the left side of the vehicle, and the rear disk brakes are operated by the right hand. There is no parental speed controller.
Powerful 350-watt motor
Steel frame construction
9 mph top speed
No power steering
8. Power Wheels Dune Racer
The Dune Racer uses the standard 12-volt power supply, and with the large, wide rugged tires providing excellent traction, the vehicle can reach a top speed of five miles per hour. The manufacturers say that this machine will go-anywhere, from the mud and potholes of the backyard to the sand dunes at your favorite beach.
The side-by-side seating will comfortably accommodate two children with a combined weight of 130 lbs (60kg). The machine uses the Power Wheels Monster Traction system which has a parental speed limiter for younger drivers at 2.5 mph.
It can also go in reverse at 2.5 mph. When it comes to stopping, the automatic Power Lock brakes activate as soon as your child takes their foot off the accelerator pedal. With the addition of the passenger seat, this gives your little one a chance to work on their interpersonal skills.
Seats two comfortably
Metal safety sidebars
Electronic braking system
No power steering
9. Fisher-Price Power Wheels
This model comes with an FM radio and storage space for your child’s favorite toys or items they want to carry. With the steering wheel positioned on the left side of the vehicle cabin, your youngster can get a feel for what it is like to drive the full-size Jeep Wrangler.
It is a useful tool to teach your kid the rules of the road and the skills needed to be a successful driver.
Power locking brakes
Choice of colors and special models
Weight limit not specified
10. Two-Seater 4-Door Premium Ride y
That has its own advantages and drawbacks. As the children will find it more difficult to have eye contact, the interaction will be more strained, and therefore there will be less opportunity to improve social skills.
There are realistic LED lights, engine and horn sound effects, along with a push-button starter.
There is a USB port to attach an mp3 player so your kids can have their favorite music on the move.
The Premium Ride also has a suspension system with shock absorbers to soak up all the bumps and potholes in the neighborhood. Oh, and the seats are made of leather.
Working lights and indicators
Long running time
The educational benefits
A kid’s electric car is a big toy, and it can have significant educational benefits for your little one as well. Playing and controlling the vehicle will help develop their motor skills. Driving it around can assist in creating spatial awareness. If there are two seats, it can boost their ability to socially interact with other children.
Driving Skills: Just climbing in and out of their ride-on car will help a child develop better motor skills and balance. Using the accelerator and brake pedal are great for coordination, along with turning the steering wheel and honking the horn. It’s all about getting your child’s body to learn how to multi-task. Once the thrill of getting behind the wheel has worn off, there’s a chance to teach your youngster the skills needed to drive a real car while they play. If your backyard is big enough, you can set out a driving course for them to navigate as if they were on the road. Otherwise, a quiet local parking lot would be an excellent alternative. You can teach them how to park, reverse, and control the speed and direction of their electric car.
Rules of the Road: Getting behind the wheel of an electric car is great for young children’s understanding of the rules that govern our lives. It can start off with the rules of the road. Explaining why we all drive on one side or the other, and why we need to stop for other road users and pedestrians. If your youngster is one of those that loves to crash into things, it becomes a great lesson on why it can be a big mistake, and there are consequences for damaging property and people.
Matter of Respect: Following on from learning about the consequences of their actions, even toddlers can begin to understand what it means to have respect for the property of others and their own. Next time they are out in their car when the yard or pathways are muddy have some cleaning materials ready for their return. Get your young child to show pride in ownership by cleaning their car, just like daddy. Have them hose down the tires, and sponge the sides of the vehicle to remove all the dirt, and leave it looking spotless.
Getting outdoors: These days, many children would much rather stay indoors than go outside for a walk in the fresh air. However, if you suggest they go for a drive with you in their car it can be much more fun for them, and at the same time gets them out of the house. It can never be too early to get your child interested in the outdoors, rather than being stuck inside playing video games. Also, if you go outside with your child, it can give him or her a sense of independence. No longer do they have to be pushed in a stroller, but have the power to control where they go by themselves, within reason of course.
Inspirational play: Playtime is when the imagination of a child can be truly inspired. The car features so much in the social fabric of our society that even the youngest children latch on to its importance. Their electric car can become the center of adventures from the exotic like going on safari, to the more mundane ferrying of toys to school.
The fun features
It might not be a wise idea to take your toddler along when you go shopping for an electric car. He might not be able to make up his mind from the vast selection available or be able to choose from the wide variety of extras that add to the fun factor. Try and point out the features that will make your child feel safe, and that will enhance the play experience. It’s a bit like an adult looking to buy a new car. Some kids’ cars come with stereo systems that connect to mp3 players.
Music can enhance the play experience and help in your child’s development. It may be a toy to you as an adult, but a ride-on car can be an escape into a world of imagination for a young child. If there is room to stow things, then the car becomes a vehicle for vacations in different lands.
A working horn, engine sounds, indicators and a dashboard full of gauges add to the reality. You should expect one of the dashboard gauges to be a battery level meter.
The last thing you would want is to run out of power a long way from home and have to carry the car and your toddler all the way back. Some of the fun features can also improve the safety of your child when out and about. Look for a machine with working headlights to give added realism on evening walks together, and make them more visible to other pedestrians and road users. Depending upon the top speed of the car, consider seat belts for the occupants, and if you expect them to spend a lot of time in it look for one with padded seats.
How fast can it go?
If you’ve done some research already into electric cars for kids, you’ll see they come with either 6-volt or 12-volt power packs. The power provided the battery is just one of the variables that will decide how fast your kid’s electric car will go. Other factors that have to be taken into consideration are the weight of the child, and the type of surface the car is driving over. All these will, of course, impact on the duration of the battery, and how long your little one can ride around before the car needs to be recharged.
Electric cars with 6V power sources are quite limited in their speed and are best suited to run on hard surfaces such as tarmac, and are ideal for younger children aged between three and five years old. As you would expect cars equipped with 12V batteries have more oomph, and so are better for children that are a little older and heavier, typically that means kids up to the age of eight. When it comes to running time, the best 6V vehicles can usually go for about 30 minutes to an hour.
The best 12V machines can sometimes double the runtime to two hours. There are various factors that will affect the runtime of any machine, mainly the weight of the child, and the surface being traversed. A car can run a lot longer on smooth tarmac than soft grass or mud. The cars that are designed for younger children and to go slower generally have a 6V power supply and have a top speed of about 3mph, a little less than walking speed. However, those with a 12V battery will go considerably faster, at 5mph or more.
Kit or ready-made?
Invariably dad is going to have to do some assembly work before the little one gets to drive his new electric car. It will be a trade-off between the complexity of the construction needed and the time it will take, knowing your child will be pestering you all the while to get it done. Some machines require quick assembly of exterior parts and trim that have been removed so it can be easily boxed or just the placement of seats and the steering wheel. Others need more extensive engineering to build axles, seats and roll bars. It’s a great time to get your child involved with their toy and have them help in the assembly process. It gives them an opportunity to learn about tools, and what they can do. Watching, or doing small jobs under supervision, will instill a degree of ownership in the vehicle, which could lead to them taking more care of their expensive toy.
How much weight can the vehicles carry?
The product information supplied by the manufacturer will give precise details on the maximum safe weight each vehicle will be able to carry. Some will provide an age range of the kids that can safely ride in the cars. Make it a rule for older children or adults, not to ride-on the electric car no matter how tempting it might be, as it will only end in tears if something breaks. Also, make it clear to your youngster that if the machine is meant for one or two passengers that is the limit. If more children want to a climb onto the vehicle, it might not be able to take the extra weight.
What we looked for in the best electric cars for kids
First and foremost, we looked at machines that were intrinsically safe for a small child to use. This is especially important when dealing with electrical circuits and mechanisms to charge the batteries. We also had to ask ourselves the question whether the vehicle was appropriate for the recommended age range. The build quality of the machine is also important, does it live up to the reputation of its full-size automaker? What customers are saying about the products is also a great gauge of their durability and design. How the electric cars look is also relevant, as young children like to have some link with what their mom and dad drive.
Q: How should I work out the weight restriction/capacity?
A: On average, electric cars for kids aimed at a single user have a maximum weight capacity of 60lbs, those for a driver and passenger can go up to 130lbs. These weight limits are based on the height-weight ratio for healthy children. So, it’s expected that a child will have outgrown their electric ride-on by at least the age of 12.
Q: What is the point “real-life” radio or engine sounds?
A: From an early age kids begin to make sense of the things around them, not just by what they see, but what they hear as well. Having a radio, mp3 player or engine sounds helps reinforce socio-cognitive functions. It also aids in the early development of hand-eye coordination, and it takes skill to sing along while steering a vehicle!
Q: Why is the maximum speed limited to about 7mph?
A: Research by the manufacturers has shown that this is the speed parents think their child is still safe while learning to control and guide a moving vehicle. Anything higher is not recommended for toddlers or preschoolers, so that is why most manufacturers include parental speed control as part of the package.
Q: How long does it take to recharge the battery?
A: Whether you have a 6-volt or 12-volt battery installed in your kid’s electric car, recharging times are usually in the order of three to four hours, for up to one hour use. Never keep your battery on charge for more than ten hours, or it could be damaged.
Q: Is there anything I can do to extend the battery life?
A: Like any new toy, we know the kids will want to ride and drive their electric car for as long as they can. If you don’t want too many tears when the battery dies, then it is best to limit the use to conserve the battery life. Once the battery indicator is close to empty, it’s just like a real car, and you have to fill up the gas tank, this time with electricity. You might find that a second battery can be on charge while the first is being used so you can swap them out when the first goes dead
Q: Is there much of a second-hand resale market?
A: Considering the punishment that most toys get during their lifetime, it’s more of a hand-me-down market rather than a resale market. Having said that, if the toy is well looked after, and there are not many dings and scratches your electric kid’s car will have some value. You can see at online auction and sales sites to gauge how much yours may be worth. Unfortunately, as yet there is no market in classic electric kids cars, but there may be one day.