A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Kids Car
More often than not we underestimate just how much our kids crave to get behind the wheel. They sit and watch as wedrive, wishing they could do the same. That, however, doesn’t mean that your driver-in-waiting is ready or able to reach the pedal, let alone take charge of a full-size vehicle.
A trip to the DMV is definitely out of question, but a trip to the toy store isn’t. You can get your young one a kids’ car that’s just their size. To them, driving the little toy is just as fun as driving the real thing.
Besides, having the best kids car is still the ultimate status symbol. Your child will feel like they own the world every time they cruise around your home pavements or in the yard. That can go a long way in boosting their self-esteem, and in those right moments you can teach them a little something about traffic laws and the importance of respecting other motorists and road users.
It’s a win-win situation, not to mention it’s the only way that a kid can legally and safely drive a car. As a parent or guardian, choosing the best toy car will make the whole experience much better for both of you. That is why you need to keep an eye out for the speed of the car, its safety features, size, weight capacity and so much more.
Here we have covered helpful tips that will help you pick the best kids’ car for your child.
Our Picks For The Best Kids Car
The Different Types and Brands of Kids’ Cars
One thing that you will notice when shopping for a kids’ car is that most of them replicate the designs of full-size vehicles. Your options range from electric SUV-style designs, quads, luxury brands, pedals and the tiny kiddy cars that are pushed using feet.
Electric kids’ cars like a Mini Cooper mimic their full-size counterparts much better and therefore offer a more realistic experience. On the other hand, buying a manual or pedal car like a sporty Batmobile means that your kid will get more exercise. The only problem is that he/she might not like it as much as an electric one.
These days almost every electric ride-on car comes with the logo of the car that it mimics. Your child might not have a preferred car brand yet, but you can use your taste to pick the best kids car for them. For example, a miniature car makes a good buy for Mercedes lovers. If you like your car big and muscular you can opt for a Jeep
The point is that there are different types of kids’ cars. Most of them mimic real cars like BMW, VW, Audi, Chevy, Benz etc. Be sure to choose one that your child will like, and more importantly check to see that its quality exhibits excellent craftsmanship.
This is the single most important consideration – your kid’s safety. In this regard there are two things to keep in mind. First look at the availability of safety belts. They may seem unnecessary at the car’s low speeds but they add that extra layer of protection in case it topples over.
Secondly, the car’s tires need to be well designed with treads that can increase stability. Compared to full-size vehicles, kids’ toy cars get more accidents. You can prevent their frequency and/or severity by ensuring that the car stays on the ground as frequently as possible on account of well-treaded tires.
Also, teach your kid to check for air pressure as often as possible. They don’t need a pressure gauge for that, simply checking a tire’s hardness should do the trick.
Battery Life and Voltage
Of all the things to look at when buying the best kids car, the battery is probably the second most important. It impacts so many other things, ranging from weight capacity to speed and everything in-between.
Now, a kids’ car can either be a 6V, 12V, 24V or 36V. As you would expect, 6V models are light-duty cars that are mainly suitable for toddlers who are relatively lighter than their grown siblings and friends. They are not as fast as their 12V and 24V counterparts, and that too is an advantage because your toddler will be safer.
12V cars, on their part, offer faster speeds, bigger weight capacity and a generally better performance, especially for older kids. They are the most popular because of their ability to power through fairly rough terrains like a slightly hilly yard. Because of that, most 12V cars are recommended for kids who are 3 to 8 years old. A good example is this Ferrari Spider.
If you want more power in your kid’s car you could go for a 24V or 36V ride-on. Although they are generally more stable, these high-voltage toy cars are ridiculously fast. For example, a 24V like a high-rider can do a whopping 7mph. The same goes for most 36V cars. Unless the child is really good at controlling the car, the high speed might prove more dangerous compared to the 5mph and 3mph offered by 12V and 6V models respectively.
It’s not just the battery’s voltage that matters, its life span is important too. Obviously a bigger battery will last longer, which explains why 24V and 36V toy cars can go up to 2 hours without needing to be recharged. Depending on the model of the car, a 6V can do a cool 30 minutes while a 12V can offer as much as 1 or 1.5 hours. The exact duration depends on other factors like speed and weight.
Number of Motors
Electric ride-on cars are powered by a motor. It is the one that makes the wheels to move forward or backwards. While most of them have a single motor that’s located on the back wheel, some have a dual-motor with one motor positioned on the back right wheel and the other on the back left wheel. That makes the dual-motor a 2-wheel drive (2WD).
Needless to say, a dual-motor is more stable at a high speed and can support more weight. It therefore offers a smoother ride compared to a toy car with one motor. The latter may be slower when weight is increased. Even so, single-motor models are the most popular and they perform decently well when maintained properly.
I talked about age briefly when discussing battery power, but I feel it’s a point worth revisiting. If you want to buy the best kids car for your child make sure the child can fit in it. Better yet pick one that they can grow into and enjoy for a couple of years.
Most manufacturers usually indicate the age recommendation. But don’t use that as the only guidance. Remember that the weight of your child can be a bigger limiting factor that their age. For example, a 5-year old who is heavier than an 8-year old will probably need a more powerful ride-on car.
Alongside age, some manufacturers usually indicate the maximum weight that a kids’ car can take. As mentioned in passing, weight capacity depends on the car’s voltage and number of motors. Obviously the number of seats play a role too. If it has two seats then it’s likely rated for a higher weight capacity than a one-seater.
Whether it’s a one or two-seater, do not let adults and older kids to try out the toy car. They may damage or even break the whole chassis.
The issue of warranty is just as important as any other. Make sure that the toy car comes with a reliable warranty, and if possible inquire about the seller’s return policy. Ensure that all the important parts, like motors are covered by the warranty. After all you will be spending in excess of $200 for a toy. Actually some cost as much as $500.
Other things to look at when buying the best kids car include remote control, presence of MP3 player, working lights and its ease of assembling. Remote control is probably the most important because it allows you to control the car from wherever you will be seated or standing. You can steer or stop it to avoid accidents.
That’s about everything you need to know in order to buy the best kids car for your child. In case of any doubt don’t hesitate to ask your questions and I’ll try to answer as many as possible.