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10 of the best ride-on toys for toddlers

Which sit-on and push-along cars, animals and starter trikes are the best – and most fun – for children aged 12 months and up? With the help of our toddler testers, we've selected the top ride-on buys

best ride on toys for toddlers
Published: May 27, 2022 at 11:47 am

Toddlers love sit-on toys that allow them to scoot around more or less under their own steam. And ride-ons now come in so many shapes and sizes that your child can hit the open road (well, the garden path) in anything from a classic car or snazzy feet-to-floor trike to a bug, ladybird – or even a mini replica of a Mercedes or BMW.

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"There are many developmental benefits of a ride-on toy for toddlers," says child psychologist and parenting coach Catherine Hallissey. "A well-chosen ride-on toy is obviously heaps of fun but it can also help to develop your child's balance and coordination, along with gross and fine motor skills."

But which ride-on toys are the best ones to buy? We enlisted a little army of toddler testers to sit, ride and scoot around in – and on– dozens of ride-ons in a range of styles and prices to find out which ones have the most play potential and offer the best value for money. Some of our best-buy selection are perfect for the just-about-walking 1 year-old; others are designed to last longer. All of them are sturdy and fun and have serious toddler kerb appeal...

Best ride-on toys at a glance

  • Best ride-on for older toddlers: Beehive Toys Bumblebee Ride-on, £39.99
  • Best dual-mode ride-on toy: Micro Ride On Air Hopper, £39.95
  • Best value ride-on toy with lights and sound: Buggly Wuggly Ride On, £32.99
  • Best motorised ride-on toy: Xootz BMW Ride On, £399
  • Best ride-on toy with 360° wheels: Wheelybug, £69.95
  • Best portable ride-on toy: Scuttlebug, £20.25
  • Best budget sustainable ride-on toy: Baby Clementoni My First Ride On, £22.99
  • Best for outside play: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, £69.99
  • Best luxury indoor ride-on toy: A Little Bird Told Me Bojangles Donkey Ride-on Toy, £119.95
  • Best foot-powered replica car ride-on toy: ToyStar Kids Ride on Mercedes-Benz Car, £41.99

What to consider before buying a ride-on toy for your child

– Age range Many ride-on toys are suitable from 12 months but because they sit closer to the ground may not be suitable for your child after the age of 2; other ride-on toys have a lower age range of 18 months or even 2 but will last until your child in 3 or older.

– Manoeuvrability How are the wheels fixed and how much, if at all, do they rotate? Fixed-wheel ride-on toys are often a bit cheaper but may not suit an older toddler who wants to steer and change direction; ride-on toys with 360° rotating wheels offer a lot more manoeuvrability and whizz.

– Weight and portability However much you child loves their ride-on toy, we can promise you that there will be times when you'll be lugging it home from the park or trying to fit it in the boot of your car. Check the toy's weight before you buy, and see if it has a carry handle or even folds down.

– Indoor or outdoor use Some ride-on toys are really only suitable for indoor use; others can tackle both but some will maybe not cope so well with rough terrain. Think about how and where your child will be playing with their ride-on toy before you buy.

Here's our pick of the best ride-on toys, as tested by toddlers and rated by their parents…

1. Beehive Toys Bumblebee Ride-on, £39.99

– Best ride-on toy for older toddlers

Beehive Toys Bumblebee Ride-on with child tester Ramsey

Age: 18 months to 3 years | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None | Size: L54 cm x W26 cm x H39cm | Weight: 2.5kg | Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards

This yellow-and-black ride-on toy rounded handlebars and silent, non-scratch, enclosed safety wheels, which can be used on any smooth, level surface, indoors or out. It has a seat height of 28cm, which should suit an older toddler well.

It's stable, super-stylish and good value for money. And, though it does look more like an indoor ride-on than an outdoor one, it does cope well with pavements and paths, as you can see from our picture – though we wouldn't recommend it for a scoot down a bumpy gravel track.

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"This is very sturdy and well made – and looks lovely," said Charlotte, mum of our child tester Ramsey, 2 (pictured above). "Ramsey loves the bright colours and the bee pattern and the height is just right for him: he seems very comfortable on it.

"It's very easy for him to push it along with his feet, gather speed and turn direction. Whenever he sees it, he jumps on it and has a scoot around!" Minimal assembly required (attaching handlebar with tool provided).

Pros: Sturdy, affordable, lightweight, easy to get on and off, suitable for indoor and outdoor use
Cons: More suited to older toddlers, might struggle on bumpy terrain, does not fold down, no choice of colour/design

Available at: Beehive Factory and Amazon

2. Micro Ride On Air Hopper, £39.95

– Best dual-mode ride-on toy

Micro Ride On Air Hopper with child tester Emily

Age: 18 months to 6 years | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None | Size: L54cm x W28cm x H31cm | Weight: 3.1kg | Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards

This inflatable, bouncy-friend–on-wheels has 2 antennae to use as handles. The 4 non-marking (yay!) PU wheels turn 360° and the wheeled chassis can be removed to use the toy as a hopper.

We like its dual-play feature (scooting and balancing/hopping) and were won over by its cute, contoured looks. It's also got plenty of longevity – although we do think the starting age of 18 months would only really work for a very long-legged toddler. And it's really only suitable for indoor use.

Jan, mum of our child tester Emily, 2 (pictured above), loved the design and build quality – and particularly liked the robust material used, saying, "It looks like it will last and will survive the amount of play my little girl will put it through!"

She was also impressed with how quickly Emily took to the toy, adding, "From the moment we opened the package, she’s loved riding around at top speed!" Emily's verdict? "Cool! Fun! Weeeeee!" Comes in blue and pink.

Pros: Sturdy, 2 modes, affordable, lightweight, easy to get on and off, 360° non-marking wheels>
Cons: More suited to older toddlers, only suitable for use indoors, does not fold down, limited colour choice

Available at: Amazon, Micro Scooters and John Lewis

3. Buggly Wuggly Ride On, £32.99

– Best value ride-on toy with lights and sound

Buggly Wuggly Ride with Lights and Sounds with child tester Elliott

Age: 1 to 3 | Best for age: 1 to 2 | Batteries: 3 x AAA (included) | Size: L50cm x W27cm x H38cm | Weight: 1.63kg

This very light bug-shaped BPA-free plastic red and purple ride on has squeaky, light-up horns and under-seat storage.

It's more of an indoor ride on, this one (though you could take it outside on smoother pavements) but it's fun, very well made and super-easy for even very young toddlers to get on and off by themselves. Our testers loved lifting the seat up and down and making the horns light up and beep (the sound isn't annoyingly loud). Better on a hard floor than a carpet, though.

Stacey, mum of our child tester Elliott, 15 months (pictured above), said, “It's amazing as the eyes beep and light up and there is a compartment for Elliott to put bits and pieces ('the boot', as it is called in our house). He loves it."

Pros: Affordable, very lightweight, easy to get on and off, light and sound features
Cons: Not suitable for grass or bumpy surfaces, will need batteries replacing, does not fold, no choice of colour/design

Available at: Amazon and Smyths

4. Xootz BMW Ride On, £399

– Best motorised ride-on toy

Xootz BMW Ride On with child tester Arthur

Age: 2+ | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: 12V rechargeable (included) | Size: L137cm x W65cm x H63cm | Weight: 30kg | Award: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards

This huge remote-controlled BMW electric ride-on has opening doors, a steering wheel, 3 different speeds, reverse gear, adjustable seats, seatbelt, carry handle and MP3 connection. It can also be 'driven' independently from age 5 up.

It's pricey – but what a head turner! It takes a little while to set up but the instructions are super-clear, and it comes with some great features including working front lights, a front grill, beeping horn and wing mirrors. And we like the slide-forward seats that mean you can adjust it for mini-drivers of all ages. It goes at a decent-but-not-too-scarily-fast speed but we found it sometimes struggles a little on grass and uphill (especially when the battery is low).

"This is another level up from your ordinary ride-on car," said Brogan, mum of our child tester Arthur, 2. "Arthur screamed at the top of his lungs when he saw it and performed a little jig in his excitement. We hooked up Daddy's phone to the MP3 and Arthur was speechless! Many of the children who live near by came out to have a look and they were also super excited just watching the car. And so were their parents!"

Charge time is roughly 9 to 10 hours, which then gives you 1 to 2 hours of driving time. Comes in blue or (only at Argos) white. Some assembly required.

Pros: Sturdy,amazing features, easy to get in and out
Cons: Very pricey, very large, heavy to lift, requires regular charging, does not fold, no choice of colour

Available at: Very, Littlewoods and Argos

5. Wheelybug, £69.95

– Best ride-on toy with 360° wheels

Wheelybug in pink pig design

Age: 1 to 3 | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None | Size: L39cm x W24cm x H31cm | Weight: 1.8kg

This animal-themed ride-on has a wooden base on 360° rotating castor wheels and topped with a padded sponge seat and an aluminium handle. The seat is covered with polyurethane leatheroid, making it both soft and wipe clean – music to the ears of any toddler's parents!

It's very lightweight and very nippy and manoeuvrable. It can also be used outdoors as well as in but we’d say it works much more efficiently on smoother surfaces.

Hollie, who's a member of our Top Testers Club bought a Wheelybug for her daughter Elsie when she turned 1 and said, "She loved it but, to be honest, she didn't really scoot about on it till she was 18 months or so. But we've had so much use out of it since then. She’s now 3 and still loves it!"

Available in Bee, Ladybird, Cow, Pig, Tiger designs. You can buy a Wheelybug with a plush seat cover in Dog, Hedgehog, Lion, Panda and Unicorn, which allows you to buy separate plush covers to place over the seat to mix it up your animals up a bit.

Pros: Lightweight, sturdy, 360° wheels, comfy wipe-clean seat, easy to get on and off, can be used indoors and out, large colour/design choice
Cons: Pricey, more suited to older toddlers, does not fold down

Available at: JoJo Maman Bebe, John Lewis, Hippychick and Learning Bugs

6. Scuttlebug, £29.99

– Best portable ride-on toy

Scuttlebug trike with child tester Finley

Age: 1 to 3 | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None | Size: L60cm x W33cm x H43cm | Weight: 2.7kg

This bright and funky foot-to-floor ride on is great value for money. It has 3 wheels and front wheel-steering and our toddler testers took it it straight away. It rides well indoors and on outside pavements but definitely struggles a little on uneven ground,

As well as it's great price, this ride on stands out for how quickly and easily it folds down – and how compactly too. In 3 steps, you can fold your trike down into a small, lightweight package that'll fit into most pushchair storage baskets. When your Scuttlebug first arrives, too, there's almost no assembly to do.

Bryony, who's a member of our Top Testers Club and a mum of 3 told us, "I think they’re great! Cute design and compact enough to take anywhere with you. Our Scuttlebug is onto our 3rd child and still looks and works great, so it's definitely brilliant value for money.”

Comes in 4 bug-themed colours: green grasshopper, a red beetle (pictured, above), pink butterfly and yellow bumble. You can also buy a Scuttlebug XL, a slightly larger version that's suitable for 1 to 4 years (pictured with our child tester Finley, in our picture above). Minimal assembly required.

Pros: Great value, folds down very compactly, lightweight, easy to get on and off, good choice of colours/designs, can be used indoor and out
Cons: Struggles on uneven ground

Available at: Very, Amazon and Argos

7. Baby Clementoni My First Ride On, £22.99

– Best budget sustainable ride-on toy

aby Clementoni My First Ride On with child tester Lola

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 18 months + | Batteries: None | Size: L59 x W16 x H25cm | Weight: 1.7kg

This great-value vintage-style ride-on car is made from 100% recycled materials with steering wheel, a squeaky horn and steerable wheels.

Lola, our 20-month-old child tester (picture above) got the hang of riding the car straightaway and loved the beepable horn, while her mum Laura was impressed by its the retro look and the fact that it's well-made, sturdy and formed from reclaimed plastic.

It's quite low to the ground, so an older, taller toddler might find it hard to sit on comfortably and we all noted, though, because the front is quite low, it's hard going on very uneven surfaces. Some self-assembly required

Pros: Great value, sustainably made, lightweight, easy to get on and off, squeaky horn
Cons: Best for indoor use only, may be too small for older toddlers, does not fold down

Available at: Amazon, OnBuy and Smyths

8. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, £69.99

– Best for outside play

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None | Size: L72cm x W44cm x H84cm | Weight: 8.62kg

This tall plastic car has front wheels that spin round 360°, a steering wheel, a opening door, a working horn, a moving and clicking ignition switch, an opening/closing fuel cap, cup holders and a storage area for toy passengers.

It also features a removable floor so that you can change between a parent-controlled push toy and a toddler-propelled scoot-along, depending on your child's age and stage.

Fun, manoeuvrable, and really robust (left outside, it'll withstand a few British winters), the Cozy Coupe rides brilliantly well outdoors. It's been a bestseller for over 30 years and it still reliably sets toddler hearts aflutter today. We actually had a mini child-tester fight about who got to sit in this first…

Available in loads of other designs, including a dinosaur, fairy and police car. Some reasonably tricky self-assembly required.

Pros: Sturdy, great for outdoor use, easy to get in and out, 360° front wheels, fun features, can be used as a push toy
Cons: Tricky to assemble, not very lightweight, does not fold down

Available at: JD Williams, Amazon, Argos and Little Tikes

9. A Little Bird Told Me Bojangles Donkey Ride-on Toy, £119.95

– Best luxury indoor ride-on toy

A Little Bird Told Me Bojangles Donkey Ride-on Toy with child tester Oliver

Age: 12 months+ | Best for age: 1 to 2 | Batteries: None | Size: L60cm x W28cm x H30cm | Weight: 4.7kg

This shaggy donkey ride-on has a wooden frame and legs, topped with a soft, stuffed polyester cover and a deep, curved leatherette seat. It has 360° rotating castor wheels, little wooden handlebars, crinkly ears, textured mane and a little bell in the tail.

It's beautifully – and robustly – made and super-comfy to sit on, though the height of the seat means a small 1-year-old might struggle to get on and off on their own and, once on, may not quite be able to touch the floor with their feet. It's also really only made for indoor use.

"The quality of this ride-on donkey is excellent," said Paula, mum of our child tester Oliver, 13 months (pictured). "The seat is padded and comfy, the fabric is beautifully soft, the bell and crinkle ears are lovely touches – and it just looks adorable. The wheels are multi-way so it is great for whizzing around, and the shape of the seat and position of the handlebars makes it feel like Oliver is well balanced and not going to topple off.

"It is a lot of money but I do think it’s worth it as it's so well made, so huggable and looks great in a child's bedroom." Also comes in Hubert Highland Cow, Moobert Cow and Cuthbert Elephant designs. A little assembly required.

Pros: Sturdy, super-comfy seat,360° wheels, crinkle/sound features, good choice of designs
Cons: Very pricey, only suitable for indoor use, not very lightweight, not super-easy for a small toddler to get on and off, does not fold

Available at: Amazon, Samuel Johnston and A Little Bird Told Me

10. ToyStar Kids Ride on Mercedes-Benz Car, £41.99

– Best foot-powered replica car ride-on toy

ToyStar Kids Ride On Mercedes Benz Car with child tester Ezra

Age: 12 months+ | Best for age: 12 months+ | Batteries: 2 x AA (not included) | Size: L65cm x W32cm x H39cm | Weight: 3kg

This shiny mini Mercedes lookalike is a perch-on-top car ride-on, rather than a get-inside car ride-on. It has anti-slip wheels and a turning steering wheel with 2 buttons to press for beeping and jingling sound effects.

It's really good quality for the price, and has nice speedometer detailing on the dashboard. We also like the roomy seat's high backrest (which doubles as a parent carry handle) and the little storage space underneath the seat.

Lowri, mum of our child tester Ezra, 15 months (pictured), said, "My son loves his car – it beeps and plays songs and he really enjoys riding around the house on it, as well as hiding his toys in the boot under the seat." Comes in red or white. Requires some assembly.

Pros: Sturdy, affordable, easy to get on and off, sound features, can be used indoors and out
Cons:
Batteries will need replacing (and not included), does not fold down, limited colour choice

Available at: Amazon, ToyStar and Smyths Toys

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How did we choose our 10 of the best?

When choosing and testing these ride-on toys we considered size, price, age suitability, durability, smoothness of ride, extra features and longevity of use.

Out 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our testing during the MadeForMums awards and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club.

Each year, 1000s of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, but instead a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we aim to help you discover what is best for your family

About the author Helen Brown

Helen is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she's also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.

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