With electric ride-on cars recently exploding in popularity, there are a large variety of options out there. That’s great for kids, but not so great for the parents, right? You may think, where do I even start? With so many different sizes, colors, features, and styles, we know finding the perfect electric ride-on car for your child’s age group can be a bit of a challenge.
We’ve broken down the important sizing guidelines into four different age groups to help you decide the best option for your family. Remember that children develop at different rates, both cognitively and physically. You know your child best, so keep that in mind during this read.
Power capabilities are the main deciding factor when choosing a car for a specific age. For example, a fast-moving offroader wouldn’t be appropriate for someone under the age of 6.
We measure power for electric cars in “voltage.” The lower the voltage, the lower the power. For example, a low-range voltage for a ride-on car is 6v.
We’re hoping the guide will help clear up any questions or concerns you may have. Let’s get started.
The Right Size Electric Cars For Toddlers (ages 0–2)
Young toddlers are in an important developmental period when it comes to their motor skills. Ride-on toys can help develop hand-eye coordination, as well as balance.
For this age group, the best cars should include safety features to prevent your toddler from falling or going too fast. One of the most important features to look out for is speed control.
For ages 0-2, the car should not go above 6v (6v is around 3 MPH). Since toddlers are small in size and weight, a car that goes over 6v can be very dangerous on impact.
When looking at seating options, you should always choose a 1-seater for a young toddler. A 1-seater will provide you and your child with more control and prevent any unnecessary movement. A headrest for that seat is also a big plus at this age. It’s best to choose a vehicle that’s low to the ground, making it easy for a small child to get on and off without any risk of falling.
Push cars are a fantastic option for any parent wanting to maintain control over their child’s speed and direction. This Mercedes Push Car Stroller is a great example that includes important safety features, such as a parental remote control. Push cars are versatile because as your child gets older and develops more motor skills, he/she can use them on their own. It’s a great accomplishment to watch them become more capable over time.
It’s recommended that toddlers only use their ride-on cars indoors in big, open spaces. Kitchens and bedrooms are not recommended due to sharp corners. A smooth carpet is great for softening a fall, but wood floors work just fine. You want to avoid any collisions, so keep furniture or dangerous objects out of the way.
Once your child is more accustomed to the vehicle, you can take them outside to a safe location. Driveways or backyards are recommended. Be sure to supervise your child at all times. Helmets are a great way to keep your child extra safe and ease your mind.
The Right Size Electric Cars For Ages 3–5
By age 3, your child is becoming more independent and developing his/her preferences in color, style, and general interests. Luckily, there are tons of ride-on car options for children in the 3-5 age range that are safe and reliable.
By 3 years old, your child will be able to handle the speed of 5-6 MPH. You also have the option to get a 2-seater for little friends and siblings to join in on the fun.
Cars geared toward preschoolers typically have a 12v battery. You’ll see these quite often in the ride-on car market, as they are the most common. These 12v cars can offer amazing features such as Bluetooth Wireless Music Streaming, FM Radio, LED Wheels, Car Covers, and Parental Remote Controls.
Cars for this age range also include upgraded, realistic dashboards. It’ll make any kid feel like he’s/she’s really driving when they see a gas, speed, and miles meter. Some ride-on cars also include stage gear shifts, buttons, and functional horns.
The dashboard isn’t the only upgrade, as some cars begin to look like real vehicles on the outside as well. There are toy car models on the market that are replicas of the actual car. Some licensed models are Bugatti, Lamborghini, BMW, Audi, and Maserati. You can imagine a child’s excitement when they get a mini car of their own — fueling independence.
If you have any safety concerns, ride-on cars like this Ford Mustang GT12v have front + rear shock absorption and a remote-controlled STOP function. There are many cars on the market with similar safety features in different colors and styles to appeal to your child’s preference.
At this age, kids can safely ride on sidewalks, driveways, and any flat-concrete surface under parental supervision.
The Right Size Electric Car For Ages 6–8
By age 6, your child will have essentially leveled up their motor skills and will be able to handle the extra fun stuff.
If you’re nervous, you can stick to the 6v-12v range for your child’s ride-on car. However, children in this age group seem to find the 24v to be the most fun. 24v cars can handle different terrain types and give kids a realistic driving experience.
With the 24v, they can now explore their backyard on grassy, muddy terrain. This maximizes the freedom of their experience. For safety, be sure you truly know and understand your environment before allowing your child to use their vehicle.
It’s best to avoid crowded areas such as parks or busy sidewalks to prevent injury and collision. Some kids tend to get over-excited at first and have trouble sticking to one area. However, we know accidents do happen. In case a collision does occur, these cars always include seatbelts.
Cars in this age range typically have a maximum weight limit of 75-112 pounds. Always be sure to check the specifications on any product page before purchasing a car for your child. It’s also important to take your child’s skills, maturity, and ability to follow rules into account before deciding on higher voltage cars. If your child has difficulty following the rules, it may be best to hold off on purchasing them a fast vehicle until they’re more mature.
It’s always better to make the mistake of purchasing a slower car rather than one that’s too fast and dangerous for a small child to handle.
The Right Size Electric Cars For Ages 8+
For kids aged 8 and up, there are now a ton of options that will allow them to explore their freedom, bond with friends, and gain responsibility.
Now, their ride-on experience can expand with electric scooters, electric motorbikes, go-karts, ATV’s and UTV’s. Because of the weight range and motor skills for children 8+ years old, they can now handle up to 36v ride-on vehicles.
Scooters are a popular choice for kids. They can give your child a bit of excitement while still giving them a safe ride-on experience. Most scooters are designed for children under a specified weight. They’re also limited in speed so your child doesn’t wind up going too fast when they’re out on their own. Please remember to provide your child with a helmet to ensure their safety while riding a scooter.
Although electric motorbikes may sound dangerous, we can assure you that they are relatively safe. Many of these bikes include a speed-limiter and easy-to-use breaks. There are also plenty of online guides that can offer you lists and information about the most reliable motorbikes on the market.
Since older children have a better understanding of how to operate a vehicle, a majority of bikes have multiple gear transmissions and good suspension systems.
It’s important that whatever type of vehicle your child uses is made up of durable materials. Now that he/she is going faster, the quality and safety features matter more than ever. Materials such as aluminum and steel are durable and will hold up in all different types of terrain and weather conditions.
Tire quality is important, too. If you see a vehicle that has pneumatic tires, that’s a good option to consider. Solid pneumatic tires are typically very puncture-proof and durable. You may also realize that you want to upgrade the tires, so head over to our guide on improving or replacing the tires on your kid’s electric car for more info.
For larger kids looking to ride larger go-karts, we highly recommend the use of protective gear. Although there isn’t gear made specifically for these types of toys, elbow guards, knee pads, and helmets are all a good choice.
We hope we’ve provided all the information you need to help you find the right size ride-on electric car for your child/children. The most important thing is choosing the correct vehicle according to your child’s abilities and size. Be sure to instruct your kids on proper driving as best you can before allowing them to operate any vehicle for the first time. For more specific recommendations, head to our guide on Power Wheels age ranges. And for more on choosing the right ride-on car, head over to our electric ride-on car buying guide and give our article on electric ride-on car safety a look too.
Have fun out there, and stay safe!