8 Best Battery-Powered Toy Cars
Finding the best battery powered ride on toys for your toddler can be tricky.
They’ve been around for over a century if you can believe it! However, these days, there’s a pretty impressive amount of choice for anyone shopping for a child’s play car (or truck, or bike): whether your little one wants to drive Lightning McQueen from hit Disney movie Cars, or wants to zip around the back garden in a pint-sized replica of mum or dad’s ride, there are toymakers out there who have got you covered.
What’s more, as the technology improves, battery powered ride on toys are better-performing and safer than they ever have been: even battery powered ride on toys, which put (a small amount of) pedal power at your children’s feet, meet rigorous safety standards and can be enjoyed by children across a range of ages.
With Christmas on the horizon and parents starting to look for that perfect gift, it’s a great time to buy if you’ve been thinking about treating your family to a battery powered ride on toy.
There’s a lot of variety across a breadth of price points, so you’ll be sure to find something to delight the little ones in your life: as with any consumer decision, do your homework to get a good idea of what you’re looking for and you’re much likelier to be happy with your purchase.
Joyoushousehold.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
- This reproduction of an iconic John Deere tractor is a beautiful toy, with the strong and attractive John Deere green and yellow standing out brilliantly against the vehicle’s wood effect sideboards. Much like a real John Deere, this ride-on toy has strength to match its looks, and should maintain its performance for years to come.
- As an Italian company, Peg Perego operate under European manufacturing and safety standards, which coupled with their commitment to quality and safety means you can buy the John Deere Ground Force with confidence.
- The John Deere Ground Force is intended for ages 3 and up, with a maximum speed of 4.5mph and a 12V rechargeable battery (protected by a childproof lock).
- A spacious trailer is included as standard with the John Deere Ground Force: it’s simple to attach to the tractor, and comes with 2 grooved tread tractor-style tires which match those on the ride-on toy itself. With or without its trailer, the John Deere Ground Force can handle slopes with a gradient up to 10%.
- The John Deere Ground Force comes complete with a fully operational FM radio: this is both a fun and enjoyable feature, while further improving the roleplay experience and feeling of independence for the child user.
- Kids can ride the way they want with the John Deere Ground Force: its seat can be adjusted between 2 different positions, and there is also a choice of 2 forward gears (either 2.25mph or 4.5mph) or reverse gear (2.25mph).
- The Power Wheels Dune Racer is an off-road battery-powered ride-on toy, with the Fisher-Price proprietary Monster Traction drive system helping children drive across any terrain; hard or soft, wet or dry.
- This is an impressive-looking battery-powered ride-on toy, with a sturdy steel-and-chrome frame surrounding a spacious open cockpit which can house two young children comfortably. The body of the vehicle itself is colored black and green, which adds to its hard off-roader aesthetic: if you’ve got a young aspiring dirt-biker in the family, this might be the ride-on toy you’ve been looking for.
- With two forward drive speeds going up to a maximum speed of 5mph and one reverse gear, Fisher-Price have produced a battery-powered ride-on toy which offers high performance and flexibility in a safe and attractive shell.
- The Power Wheels Dune Racer is recommended for children aged 3 years and up, and comes complete with a 12V rechargeable battery and charger.
- Fisher-Price’s own Power Lock brake system works to keep the Power Wheels Dune Racer safe whatever the conditions: it’s an electronic braking system which responds quickly and self-engages on declines to prevent the toy from getting above its maximum speed by coasting.
- This is a replica Ford F-150, with monster truck-style wheels and an ‘engine’ under the hood to help with roleplaying. The wheels themselves aren’t just for show: they help the Lil’ F-150 ride as well on grass as it does on hard surfaces.
- With a maximum speed of just 3.5mph, this may not be the best option for the young racer in your family, but it does mean the Lil’ F-150 is suitable for children of all ages. The vehicle is operated by a one-touch foot pedal.
- The Ford Lil’ F-150 is powered by a 6V battery, and comes complete with a battery charger.
- Fisher-Price’s Power Lock brakes are powerful and responsive, while also being smart enough to slow down the vehicle if it ever gets above its maximum speed (for example, by coasting down a decline).
- Fisher-Price have seen fit to offer some choice with the Ford Lil’ F-150, which is available in either silver or yellow.
- Being a replica of the Ford F-150, the Lil’ F-150 features a nice roomy truck bed, which can serve as storage either during or between uses.
- The price: with a price tag at the bottom end of the scale, the Ford Lil’ F-150 is a Fisher-Price Power Wheels toy that’s significantly cheaper than most of its contemporaries, making it a great choice for those shopping on a budget.
- The Power Wheels Disney Frozen Jeep Wrangler is a good off-roader, with chunky tires, a front-facing grille and integrated roll bars. It also features two working doors and the same number of seats, providing room for two children to ride side-by-side.
- With Frozen colors – pastel blue and pink – and graphics from the Disney movie, this battery-powered ride-on toy is perfect for Frozen fans. It even features an integrated ‘radio’ which plays tunes from the movie (3 AA batteries required, not included).
- This Power Wheels ride-on toy isn’t just a Frozen product: it’s also a Jeep Wrangler replica, giving it an attractive off-road appearance and ensuring it doesn’t only appeal to the Frozen fans among us. Another benefit of the Jeep Wrangler aesthetic is the ample storage space at the rear of the vehicle.
- With two forward speeds (2.5mph and 5mph) and a 2.5mph reverse gear, the Power Wheels Disney Frozen Jeep Wrangler offers choice to its young rider. That choice, however, can be curtailed by an adult using the high-speed lockout, which prevents the vehicle from going into second gear.
- The Power Lock brake system featured on all Fisher-Price Power Wheels ride-on toys is responsive and works to slow the vehicle down if it manages to go above its maximum speed.
- The Fisher-Price Power Wheels Disney Frozen Jeep Wrangler is suitable for children aged 3 and older, and comes complete with a 12V battery and charger.
- This Fisher-Price Power Wheels ride-on toy is an impressive Kawasaki replica; an all-terrain vehicle that can handle off-road terrain without any problem, thanks to its imposing quad bike-inspired tires and high profile.
- The Kawasaki KFX can reach a top speed of 6mph, with 2 forward gears and a single reverse gear. It’s powered by a 12V battery, which is included along with a battery charger as standard.
- The Power Wheels Kawasaki KFX is intended for children aged 3-7 years old. As 6mph may be too much for younger children to start with, Fisher-Price have built in a high-speed lockout function which allows you to limit the vehicle to its slower gear until your child is ready to pick up the pace.
- This is a good-looking battery-powered ride-on toy, and an impressive recreation of a Kawasaki quad bike. With its bright green body and chrome finish elsewhere, the Power Wheels Kawasaki KFX will catch the eye when in use and when in storage.
- Fisher-Price’s Power Lock brakes work to keep children safe as they play, responding quickly and working to decelerate the vehicle in the event that it picks up speed going down a decline.
- Fisher-Price have pulled out all the stops to make the Power Wheels Ford Mustang a genuinely faithful replica: from the Running Horse grille to the trademark spoiler to the sporty chrome wheels, this is an attractive ride-on toy that’ll be exciting for any young wannabe driver.
- The interior features of the Power Wheels Ford Mustang further enhance its overall appearance and faithfulness as a replica, while adding to your child’s roleplay experience. An interior cup holder is convenient and authentic, while the ‘radio’ (which requires 3 AA batteries, not included) plays a selection of tunes.
- The Ford Mustang features 2 forward speeds of 2.5mph and 5mph, with a reverse speed of 2.5mph. It’s powered by a 12V battery, which is included with the toy along with an accompanying charger.
- The Power Wheels Ford Mustang is suitable for children aged between 3 and 7 years old. For younger children, a parental speed control is available which allows you to lock the vehicle to its lower forward speed of 2.5mph.
- The chrome wheels on this Mustang are good to go on hard surfaces and grass, meaning your child can drive around your yard however you’ve got it decked out.
- This is a truly impressive replica of the GMC Sierra Denali truck, from the grille and the (working) headlights down to the chrome finish on the tires. Even if you or your child aren’t particularly into your automobiles, this is an imposing-yet-stylish ride-on toy that should draw approving and envious looks in roughly equal measure.
- The GMC Sierra Denali has a maximum speed of 5mph, and can also be driven at a lower speed of 2.5mph. It also features a reverse gear of 2.5mph.
- It’s the integrated features which are the most impressive aspect of this Rollplay ride-on toy: authentic rubber tires, functional LED headlights, opening doors and an opening tailgate, realistic horn and engine sounds, and speakers with an auxiliary input all add up to a battery-powered ride-on toy that’s a blast to drive and a really fun roleplaying experience.
- Rollplay’s 12V GMC Sierra Denali is marketed as being suitable for children aged 3 years and older. There’s a high-speed lockout feature included for parents concerned about the safety of younger children, allowing you to limit the vehicle to its lower speed of 2.5mph.
- The GMC Sierra Denali comes complete with a 12V battery and battery charger, as well as an integrated battery life indicator which lets you know when it’s nearly time to recharge.
- Rollplay have provided a small amount of choice with the GMC Sierra Denali, offering it in either black or white.
- With a maximum forward speed of 12mph, the Turnado is comfortably the fastest battery-powered ride-on toy covered in this article. For this reason, it’s recommended for children aged 8 years or older; and you’d also be advised to ensure your child wears a helmet while operating the Turnado.
- The Turnado’s low-riding design is a real innovation in the field of battery-powered ride-on toys, proving both thrilling to ride and attractive to look at. It looks like a tricked-out racing kart, and in your child’s imagination it’ll certainly perform as one, with versatile torque allowing its rider to turn, twist, spin and drift with ease.
- The Turnado’s pneumatic wheels feature a deep tread and provide smooth surface contact, ensuring the vehicle can be ridden over most surfaces. Dynamic braking makes a big difference in terms of safety, especially at the Turnado’s higher speeds, although going flat-out over particularly uneven terrain is still not recommended.
- The Turnado reaches its impressive maximum speed using a 24V battery, twice the size of the 12V batteries used in most battery-powered ride-on toys. It doesn’t have a notably worse battery life, however, and the necessary charger is included as standard.
What are battery-powered toy cars?
A ride-on toy is simply a children’s toy that can be ridden: while this technically includes toys such as rocking horses, what is most often meant by the term is a children’s vehicle, either pedal-powered or motorized.
The earliest battery-powered cars in this style were entirely pedal-powered, but an increasing number on the market today are motorized and come with power wheels: these provide enough power for your kid to ‘drive’ using a one-touch operating pedal, helping them to role play driving and enabling them to take charge (even if only in their imagination).
Most commonly, these ride on toys have an electric motor and are battery-powered, although there are also junior quad bikes which work in much the same way while being gas-powered. Most ride-on children’s vehicles are 4-wheelers (cars, quad bikes, trucks), but 2-wheeler (bikes) and 3-wheeler (trikes) riding toys are also available.
Battery powered toy cars are available for toddlers across a range of ages, with the design choices taken by the manufacturer generally reflecting the recommended age rating of the product. Those ride-on vehicles designed for the youngest children – those who are 2 years old or less – will typically not feature a pedal control on the toy itself, so that the responsibility of ‘driving’ the vehicle remains with an adult who has a one-touch remote control for that purpose.
This electric toy car, which has been designed for especially young children, will also have a low maximum speed (comfortably less than 5mph) and will usually be built for indoor use, with tires which will do fine on carpet and hard surfaces but may struggle with rough or muddy terrain.
Most electric cars for kids are marketed towards children aged 3-6 years: these vehicles will have maximum speeds up to around 6mph, come equipped with a seat belt, and are most often controlled by a foot pedal on the toy itself.
This pedal will usually be a one-touch control, making rapid acceleration impossible and so enhancing the vehicle’s safety. These ride-on toys are steered using an attached steering wheel or handlebars, although remote controls may also be included to give parents and carers the option to brake the vehicle at a distance.
The electric car in this age range also boasts the widest variety of styles: TV and movie vehicles are plentiful, as are emergency services-style vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks; while there are plenty of road vehicle replicas for any infant petrol-heads.
The ride on toys targeted at older children – those who are 6 years old or more – see an increasing number of road vehicle replicas, and relatively few TV and movie vehicles. You’re as likely to see gas-powered jeep wrangler as you are a ride-on truck at this end of the scale – with all the safety concerns and increase price that go along with them – but there are still plenty of options out there for older children.
If you’re shopping for an older child in particular, keep an eye out for features like dual gears and power wheels, which tend to come with an increased maximum speed and add a further layer of realism to the riding experience.
Why buy battery-powered toy cars?
Battery-powered cars are a great recreational, learning and confidence-building tool for your kid, and they can either encourage a child’s interest in the outdoors or nurture an interest that’s already there.
At its most basic level, a ride-on toy is just that – a toy – which can be great fun for kids and entertaining for the adults that watch them. It’s more than that, though: ‘driving’ a ride-on toy by oneself can be a hugely important developmental milestone, offering children the chance to take responsibility for themselves and achieve something (getting from A to B) under their own steam and without direct parental instruction.
If your kid is very confident, being given the freedom to ride on their own can help them express that while learning about risk management – if your child is not that brave yet, a vehicle to drive and the freedom to drive it can be a great step towards taking charge for themselves.
Of course, there’s little sense buying a child something you know they won’t like; but if you’ve read this far, it’s safe to assume you know a child who’d be pleased to get their hands on a ride-on toy.
The benefits aren’t only for the kids, though: ride-on toys are fun and exciting confidence builders, but they’re also fundamentally safe – more so than you might think. Almost all battery-powered ride-on toys have a low maximum speed, usually not more than 5mph, and many of them come packaged with a remote control, which allows you to stop or turn off the vehicle at a distance if your little one is getting into trouble.
Put simply, they’re a great way to introduce kids to responsibility and risk-taking without exposing them to too much danger; and they’re also a fun toy that actually looks good in the home, and isn’t just messy clutter.
Battery power toys are well-loved by children, and with the colourful variety of styles on offer you’re sure to be able to find something that appeals to even the most reluctant road-user.
What’s more, thanks to the breadth of competition in the toy marketplace, they’re safer and cheaper than they’ve ever been, allowing parents to afford one with easy payments.
If you have more than one young child, or are planning on adding to the family further down the line, it’s also worth thinking about your value for money over the long term. If you buy a quality product and take care of it, there’s no reason your battery powered ride-on toy can’t bring joy to the family for many years to come.
Things to consider
If you’ve decided to lay down some hard-earned cash to get a battery-powered ride-on toy for the children in your life, there are a few things worth considering before you buying one:
- Age recommendation. Manufacturers make their age recommendation according to a number of factors, including the toy’s maximum speed and the degree of control afforded to the child user. Stick to toys recommended for the child’s age and you can buy with confidence in a fun and safe experience.
- Battery capacity. The battery power and capacity will roughly correlate to the vehicle’s maximum speed: a 6 volt battery should be enough for a top speed of 2.5-3mph, while a 12 volt battery can handle 5-6mph.
- Battery life. All of these toy cars come with a rechargeable battery, but knowing how long the ride-on toy wil work before its battery needs recharging or replacement is important. If you’re disciplined with charging the battery between uses, this may not need to be particularly long to ensure the child gets good use out of the toy, but a longer battery life is always a positive.
- Size and weight capacity. If your child is big for their age, you may already be familiar with the discrepancy that can arise between recommended age and recommended weight capacity when it comes to children’s toys. Check the size and weight limit and buy sensibly to avoid issues further down the line and ensure a comfortable ride for your kid.
- Battery-powered ride-on toys can be purchased with a number of different features, to improve fun and usability for children and peace of mind for parents. A remote control allows parents to shut down the toy at a distance, improving safety and parental control; while children will be happy to see features such as a horn (important for driving role play), fm radio or music player, LED lights, or a customized number plate.
- Intended user. Think about the child you’re buying for; not only their age and size, but also their preferences. Would they prefer a car straight out of their favourite movie or TV show, or would they be happier in a replica of their favourite racing car? Does the car offer an adjustable seat to accommodate their growth? Perhaps they just want to play grown-up by driving a smaller version of mum’s or dad’s car around the yard. Ask yourself what your child would most enjoy, and you’re well on the way to buying the ideal gift.
- Price is always more of a concern for some of us than others, but whatever your budget it’s worth knowing roughly what you’d like to spend before you start shopping. $100 should be enough to buy a decent entry-level battery-powered ride-on toy, with quality products starting around $200 and luxury pieces costing $300 or considerably more.
Risks and warnings
When buying any toys for toddlers, you always want to consider any risks that the toy may possess. Let’s go over some here:
- With any children’s toy, but particularly with motorized toys and those with moving parts, safety should be the number one concern. Be sure to check the ride-on toy over yourself before committing to a purchase. Look out for any signs of wear and tear or indications that the vehicle might be in anything other than factory-fresh condition. It’s also worth looking online to see if the toy has ever been subject to a product recall due to safety concerns, such as steering issues. If it hasn’t, but a lot of toys by the same manufacturer have, you may still have cause to be wary.
- Most age, size and weight recommendations on children’s toys are just that – recommendations – but they’re worth paying attention to and heeding. For one thing, any warranty attached to the product will likely be null and void if the manufacturer’s guidance for use wasn’t followed; but more importantly, you’re potentially placing your child at risk if you let them use a product intended for younger, smaller children.
- If the ride-on toy is being ‘driven’ across your lawn, there’s little risk of a collision or nasty accident; but when it comes to safety, it’s impossible to be too prepared. If you want to keep you little one protected while they’re playing, a helmet and knee and elbow pads are advised.
- If you have a nice lawn and plan to let children drive ride-on toys across it, be prepared to no longer have a nice lawn. While a battery-powered ride-on toy won’t do as much damage as driving a full-sized automobile across grass, they’re hefty toys with chunky tires, so take that into consideration.