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11 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

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 BMW.

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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– all sort of ride-ons 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 and even adapt to a scooter as your child grows. All of them are sturdy and fun and have serious toddler kerb appeal…

Here are the best ride-on toys, as tested by toddlers and rated by their parents…

1. Beehive Toys Bumblebee Ride-On, £39.99

– Best for a starter trike


Age suitability: 18 to 36 months | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A yellow-and-black 2.5kg ride-on toy with a seat height of 28cm, rounded handlebars and silent, non-scratch, enclosed safety wheels, which can be used on any smooth, level surface, indoors or out. Minimal assembly required (attaching handlebar with tool provided).

Why we love it: 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 (though we wouldn’t recommend it for a scoot down a gravel track). “This is very sturdy and well made – and looks lovely,” said Charlotte, mum of our child tester Ramsey, 2. “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!”

Available at: Beehive Toy Factory

2. Xootz BMW Ride On, £249

– Best for turning heads in the park

Age suitability: 2+ | Best for age: 3+ | Batteries: 12V rechargeable (included)
Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A huge (137cm x 63cm x 65cm) remote-controlled BMW electric ride-on with opening doors, 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. 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.

Why we love it: 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). “Can I go in it now! Please Mummy!” was the instant reaction from our child tester, Seth, 2, followed by, “It’s so fun!” once he was in. “This is another level up from your ordinary ride-on car,” said Seth’s mum Jo. “It’s easy to steer and Seth loves that he can play his own music and turn the lights on and off. He and his older sister have been pretending to ‘go on holiday’ in it and even packed their favourite toys in it to take with them. It’s definitely a big hit!”

Available at: Very, Littlewoods and Argos

3. Strider 12 Sport with Strider Rocking Base, £196.98

– Best for moving on to a balance bike

Age suitability: 6 to 18 months (and up to 5 years as a balance bike) | Best for age: 10 months+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Silver, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A base with rubber floor-protection strips that’s designed to be secured to a Strider 12 balance bike to make a rocking ride-on. And then you can detach the balance bike when your child’s older and used separately.

Why we love it: This is both fun and an investment buy – essentially adding some pre-play time to a quality balance bike. It’s easy to set up, rocks quickly but feels very stable, and our little child tester had a lot of fun on it. “Cameron has enjoyed playing on it every day and always crawls over to it and tries to get on himself,” said Janet, mum of our child tester Cameron, 1. It’s suitable from as early as 6 months but, obviously, if your child’s going to be rocking on it at that age, you’ll need to be supporting them as they sit.

Available at: Strider

4. Micro Ride-On Air Hopper, £39.95

– Best for improving balance and coordination

Age suitability: 18 months to 6 years | Best for age: 2+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: An inflatable 31cm x 28cm x 54cm bouncy-friend–on-wheels, with 2 antennae to use as handles. The 4 non-marking PU wheels turn 360° and the wheeled chassis can be removed to use the toy as a hopper. Comes in blue and pink.

Why we love it: 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. Jan, mum of our child tester Emily, 2, 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!” 

Available at: Micro Scooters and Amazon

5. Primo Ride On Scooter, £200

– Best for retro style

Age suitability: 1 to 5 | Best for age: 3 | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 76cm x 30cm x 43cm metal-framed, 3-wheeled ride-on scooter, with aluminium trim, steel wheels and hand-stitched faux leather cushion seat. Features white sidewall tyres and black plastic hand grips. Comes in a range of powder-coated colours, including yellow, orange, mint and blue. Some light assembly required.

Why we love it: The cool, retro Italian styling of this ride-on scooter really sets it apart from the crowd: it’s like a Vespa shrunk down to mini size. It’s nice and sturdy and rides smoothly – although the way the 2 wheels are set make it quite wide at the back and some of our child testers found they got their feet caught at times. Alysia, mum of our child tester Hallie, 3, said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before in terms of design: it looks so premium and grown-up. Hallie loves it and says the seat is so soft and comfy, and she wants to ride it every day!” Do note that, at 6kg, this is a fairly hefty ride-on: maybe not something to let your child scoot on to the park if you think you might be the one carrying it back…

Available at: Bambinista

6. Mini Micro 3in1 Deluxe Push Along Scooter, £109.95

– Best for adaptability

Age suitability:  1 to 5 | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None
Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Awards 2021

What it is: A lightweight (1.8kg) 3-in-1 scooter with a removable seat and removable parent-steering handle. When your child is ready to scoot standing up, the seat can be removed and the handlebar raised. Available in 6 colours. Some self-assembly required.

Why we love it: It’s winningly adaptable and sturdy, and we love how long-lasting it is (up to a max child weight of 35kg) – you’ll get a lot of scoot for your money. “The utter joy on my son’s face when he saw it and rode it for the first time was amazing! I’d recommend this to anyone I know,” said Samantha, mum of our 18-month-old child tester, Ethan. We also like its super-soft handlebar grips and grippy, reinforced footplate.

Available at: Micro Scooters, Amazon and John Lewis

7. Scuttlebug, £25

– Best for portability

Age suitability: 1 to 3 | Best for age: 1+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A foot-to-floor ride-on with 3 wheels and front-wheel steering. Folds down in 3 steps for storage. Comes in Pink Butterfly, Red Ladybird or Yellow Bumblebee. No assembly required.

Why we love it: We like the bright and funky design, the super-quick fold and that it comes ready to ride straight out of the box. Kimetra, mum to our child tester Bob, 2, said, “This is excellent value for money. Bob loves going on it, making car and train noises, and it allows him to move at the pace he wants. It even fits in the basket of my buggy!”

Available at: Scuttlebug, Smyths ToysArgos and Amazon

8. Buggly Wuggly Ride with Lights and Sounds, £29.99

– Best for younger toddlers

Age suitability: 1 to 3 | Best for age: 1+ | Batteries: 3 x AAA (included)

What it is: A light (1.63kg), bug-shaped BPA-free plastic red and purple ride on with squeaky, light-up horns and under-seat storage.

Why we love it: 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.

Available at: Smyths Toys and Amazon

9. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Classic, £54.99

– Best for manoeuvrability

Age suitability: 18 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None

What it is: An 85cm-tall red plastic car with a steering wheel, door that opens, removable floor to offer pushing or self-propelled modes, working horn, cup holders, storage area for toy passengers and front wheels that spin round 360°. Available in loads of other designs, including a dinosaur, fairy and police car. Some self-assembly required.

Why we love it: The Cozy Coupe’s been a bestseller for over 30 years and it still sets toddler hearts aflutter today. We actually had a mini child tester fight about who got to sit in this first… Fun, brilliantly manoeuvrable, and really robust (left outside, it’ll withstand a few British winters).

Available at: Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon

10. Ladybird Balance Bug, £39.99

– Best for comfy scooting

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 12 months | Batteries: None

What it is: A wooden ride-on ladybird, with a wipe-clean padded foam seat, handle grips and 360°-rotating castor wheels that mean your child can ride it in any direction. Also available as a Lion, Panda and Bumblebee. Some self-assembly required.

Why we love it: We like the easy-grip handlebars – just the right height for a toddler. Our child tester, Dara, 1 took to his Balance Bug so enthusiastically, he’s now insisting on sitting on it when he’s watching TV and he’s having dinner! His mum Leighann rated it for its sturdiness, manoeuvrability – and that comfy seat. “It’s worth every penny,” she said.

Available atBeehive Toy Factory and Amazon

11. Baby Clementoni My First Ride On, £19.99

– Best for recycled materials

Age suitability: 12 months+ | Best for age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None

What it is: A 59cm-long, vintage-style ride-on car made from 100% recycled materials with a squeaky horn and steerable wheels. Some self-assembly required.

Why we love it: Lola, our 20-month-old child tester 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. We all noted, though, that this toy is probably more of an indoor ride-on than and outdoor one, as the front is quite low, which can make it hard going on very uneven surfaces.

Available fromSmyths Toys and Amazon

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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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