It’s no secret that kids love to move! Among the fun ways to get around, like running, jumping, and skipping, you can add driving to your little one’s movement play. A Power Wheels car can add a ton of fun to your home or backyard by giving your child another way to enjoy active play!
However, if you’ve never purchased a Power Wheels car before, you might be wondering which one is best for your kid. After all, you don’t want to buy a tiny car your child will outgrow in a year! Depending on your child’s age, you’ll have a few different options to choose from. The key will be to balance what will accommodate your kid’s abilities now and what they will still enjoy later.
Peruse the below sections for Power Wheels categorized by age range. These options will help you decide which model will be best for your home and family.
A few things to consider:
- The current age of your child
- The location the car will be driven (inside or outside, smooth or rough terrain)
- If your family has multiple children
- What the abilities of your child are
With that in mind, let’s review the age categories for Power Wheels cars!
Age 0-12 Months
There are no options for this age range! At this point in life, infants are learning how to move, so they don’t need something battery-operated added to the mix. Hold off searching for a powered ride-on car until your child can take a few steps while walking. After that, they might be able to handle an indoor rider like the ones described below.
Age 1-3 Years
For your tiny tot’s first ride on, you can go with a manual or powered car! That’s right; not all Power Wheels have power. Start your little one off with a pedaled trike to get them moving, but only as fast as they’re able to move themselves.
Trikes can be used indoors or outdoors, making for a good variable model for first-time riders. Letting kids explore movement in different ways is the best way for them to learn!
When your baby is ready to take on a powered car, Power Wheels offers a great beginner model, the Thomas the Tank Engine! This teeny driver can hold 40lbs and has a max speed of 2mph, so you needn’t worry about your child going too fast too soon. Using the train on the included track is even better as a starting point. That way, it stays in one place with no risk of bumping into things or getting underfoot.
After your baby and you get comfortable with the train driving, you can decide to take the car off its track and allow for some free roam driving. It’s the perfect stepping stone to the more advanced Power Wheels cars.
Although it is the perfect learning opportunity for little ones, they will outgrow this toy relatively quickly. Once they’re walking and running, kids will probably want to explore cars with more abilities and speed. Move on to the next category to see what Power Wheels has to offer for growing kids!
Age 3-7 Years
The most that Power Wheels offers comes in the 3-7 year old category. This is because it’s the most popular time for kids to play with cars of these abilities in their own backyards. And that’s probably where they should stay – in the yard! These bulky and heavy vehicles would not be appropriate for indoor use.
Below, you’ll learn about the Power Wheels types of varying ability and for solo or multiple riders.
Two riders can hop on for zippy fun on the Power Wheels Dune Racer. It can hold up to 130lbs and tops out at five mph. Two forward drive speeds (slow and fast) give nice variation in driving styles. As you’d expect, the tires on this adventurous vehicle have great traction and can handle multiple terrains.
Jeeps, jeeps, jeeps! The classic Power Wheels ride-on enters the scene as the best model to choose from for kids after they outgrow the Thomas the Tank Engine rider. This is the widest model range that Power Wheels offers. And for good reason! It’s, by far, the most popular choice for kids 3-7.
These cars can fit two riders, up to a total of 130lbs. The fastest speed is five mph, and parents can control that limit. With a working radio and storage space, there is lots of fun to be had with this little keep.
It comes in over ten decal options! From Jurassic World to Barbie, there’s sure to be a paint job that will match your child’s preferences.
The line of racing ATVs is a fun choice for adventurous kids with a need for speed. They can accommodate one rider up to 65lbs and are best for kids ages 3-7 years. With a max speed of 6mph and tires ready to tackle the “off-road” track, your child will swoon over this racer.
The racing ATV comes in a couple of different decal options. Choose from Super-Pets or blueberry blue to grace your backyard driving scene. Kids will sit upright in this single-seater and hold onto handlebars for steering.
Also in the ages 3-7 year category is the Power Wheels F-150 Raptor Extreme truck. Two riders, up to a cumulative 130lbs, can fit in this rider. It’s a bit slower than the ATV racer, with a top speed of 5mph. A storage trunk in the back lets kids load up with sticks, toys, or other goods for lots of potential play scenarios.
Tune into the working radio or have a turn at the microphone! This little truck is ready to hit the worksite and do double duty. The best part about it, though, is the paint job and decals. It looks just like the real thing. So, if you’re one for realism, you’ll love the look of this one!
The truck is a great option for families with multiple kids or a solo child that would enjoy a slightly slower vehicle. It is pricier than the Jeep or racing ATV, so that is something to keep in mind when browsing models.
Barbie Dream Camper
For a really fun take on a traditional Power Wheels car, you’ve got the Barbie Dream Camper! This little car is shaped like a classic RV, which is perfect for your camping enthusiast. It has very fun features, like a fold-down prep table, pretend refrigerator, map decal, and storage compartments for all your gear.
Like the other 2-seater Power Wheels, this car can handle up to 130lbs and tops out at five mph. It’s an all-in-one play situation, with a play campfire, food accessories, and even a pretend GPS! Let’s get camping!
When kids out-age their Power Wheels, you’ll have to look for a different brand for children over the age of 7. That also means that kids can outgrow their Power Wheels. Most of those riders for ages 3-7 years top out at 130lbs. If children weigh more than this limit, you don’t want to keep using the car, or you’ll risk motor damage or stripped gears.
For brands that offer ride-on cars for older kids, check out the following types and brands:
- Go-karts: four-wheeled cars with higher weight limits and low-profile zooming fun.
- Motorized scooters or quads: scooters are a great way for older kids to get around, as long as they have the practiced balance to handle the ride at higher speeds! Quads, or ATVs, can handle different terrain and weather conditions and are your best choice for an off-road pick.
- Mini motorcycle: best to use on a smooth dirt track or a bike path; mini motorcycles can really get going! Like other motorized vehicles for older kids, you definitely want to pair this one with a quality helmet – preferably full-faced!
A few tips for kids operating Power Wheels:
- Use the parent-controlled speed limit to gradually introduce your child to faster driving.
- Have a set of rules that your child must follow when driving their car…here are a few ideas:
- No driving on the road
- You must park the car when you’re done
- No chasing the dog!
- Properly clean your car regularly
- Store it well for winter or long periods of disuse.
What’s the key to having the longest-lasting Power Wheels car? Taking care of it! The better you stick to maintenance practices and proper care, the longer that car will last your child. Take your time to diagnose any problematic issues and fixes instead of letting a faulty car continue to be driven.
Get your kids involved in taking care of their car. This might look like wiping down the dust every so often or making small repairs like decal replacement and cleaning.
As you can see, you’ve got plenty of choices for your little one’s first (or second!) Power Wheels car. From a tiny tracked train to a handle-all racing ATV, the range is wide and varied. The hardest part will probably be which decal style to choose! If you’re considering other brands besides Power Wheels, check out our kids’ ride-on car sizing guide and always remember to keep safety first!