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Power Wheels are highly interactive toys that provoke imagination and immerse kids in playtime. Maybe your child is asking for one, or you’re considering surprising them for their birthday. What is the best option for them and for other toddlers?
The best overall Power Wheels for toddlers is the Toy Story Jeep Wrangler as it features familiar characters, a comfortable speed range, and works well on grass and hard surfaces. Beginner-friendly track-controlled models, while faster, more agile versions, are great options for advanced riders.
Whether you’ve already got your credit card on deck or you’re just hearing about Power Wheels for the first time, all are welcome here. Keep reading to know the top toddler-friendly models, what Power Wheels are, if they’re worth it, and more. Happy shopping! Find the 8 best power wheels for toddlers below.
Best Overall: Power Wheels Disney Pixar Toy Story Jeep Wrangler
The Toy Story Jeep Wrangler is the perfect Power Wheels for Pixar lovers and car fanatics alike. Bonus points if your child is into both! This model checks many boxes, which makes it the best overall Power Wheels for toddlers. From its realistic design to friendly Disney faces, there’s a lot to love about this vehicle.
Two kiddos can ride the Toy Story Jeep Wrangler for optimal entertainment. With fun lights, real character phrases, and an operational trunk, there are endless features to explore. This motorized vehicle works perfectly on grass and hard surfaces, whether it be your driveway, sidewalk, or backyard. A maximum speed of 5 mph (8 km/h) going forward and 2.5 mph (4 km/h) in reverse is the perfect range for safe, responsible enjoyment.
They say hi to their favorite characters like Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, and Woody. Add to the immersive experience by serving them ‘za from Pizza Planet for lunch. You might get as much of a kick out of this toy as they do. Now, to infinity and beyond!
Coolest Model: Power Wheels Jurassic World Dino Racer ATV Ride-On
What could be cooler than riding around the neighborhood on a dinosaur ATV? Nothing. This incredibly designed Power Wheels features the face of Blue the raptor on the front, and its tail juts out the back. If your child ever dreams of riding on the back of a dino (haven’t we all at some point?), then this is the one for them.
Just like a real dino, Blue can help your little one tackle the roughest terrain at an impressive 6 mph (9.7 km/h) going forwards and 3 mph (4.8 km/h) in reverse. Blue will soon become your toddler’s best friend and favorite adventure companion. All the kids will be jealous of this totally decked-out ATV, and that’ll only grow when they see Blue’s mouth opening and closing and your child roars on by.
Best Interactive: Power Wheels Barbie Dream Camper
All Power Wheels are highly interactive, but the Barbie Dream Camper just exceeds expectations. Not only are these vans totally driveable, they include tons of features to keep playtime stimulating and imaginative. It operates at a maximum of 5 mph (8 km/h) and easily tackles hard surfaces and grass. On top of the van’s driveability, it’s also decked out with high ceilings, a pearly pink finish, and many other camping accessories.
The Barbie Dream Camper lets kids learn their way around a kitchen with 14 different pieces of play food, utensils, and other cooking ware. Just like any true camper van, Barbie’s comes with a “grill” and “campfire” so your little ones can whip up classic camping dinners like hot dogs with s’mores for dessert. It even comes with a play sink, so don’t forget to encourage them to wash the dishes when they’re one. Who knows — they might start helping out around the house!
Best All-Terrain: Power Wheels Dune Racer
Monster racers require Monster Traction. Gone are the days of letting rugged terrain impede your adventures. With the Dune Racer, your toddler can comfortably tackle whatever comes their way — from easy-to-conquer hard surfaces to wet grass and even rough terrain.
The big wheels and open cockpit of this Power Wheels model will give our kiddos a thrill leaving them feeling ultra-cool and totally confident. Plus, they can grab onto the metal sidebars if your riders need some extra support. They can zip around trails going up to 5 mph (8 km/h) or reverse at 2.5 mph (4 km/h), so they’ll never get stuck while out and about.
Be prepared to hear all about your kid’s adventures at the dinner table. Conquering the land can really work up an appetite!
Best Splurge: Power Wheels Ford F-150 Raptor
If you want to give your little one the best that Power Wheels has to offer, go with the Ford F-150 Raptor. This bad boy is modeled after the real Ford truck and looks just like the real thing — oversized lifted tires and all. It’s even got some matching functions too!
As any truck should, the Power Wheels F-150 uses Monster Traction technology to drive on all kinds of surfaces, including rough terrain and wet grass, at a maximum speed of 5 mph (8 km/h) going forward and 2.5 mph (4 km/h) in reverse. Even the tailgate is fully functional, so your children can transport dirt, leaves, or even a packed lunch to break up a busy day on the job. For added authenticity, your kid can enjoy preloaded music and a working microphone.
Best Budget Buy: Power Wheels Nickelodeon PAW Patrol Lil’ Quad
The PAW Patrol Lil’ Quad is a crowd-pleaser with its familiar characters from the beloved kids’ TV show. This model is completely toddler-friendly. It’s suitable for ages one to three and comes with helpful features your child can easily master.
Unlike many other Power Wheels models, this one’s maximum speed caps at 2 mph (3.2 km/h) for a super safe riding experience. It’s easy to start and stop this lower-powered vehicle with a simple push-button. Instead of worrying about foot pedals, your little one can let their feet comfortably sit on the provided footrests. On top of that, the Lil’ Quad is built lower to the ground so lil’ riders can easily get on and off by themselves.
Note that, unlike many other Power Wheels, this model is made for one rider at a time. This way, your child can perfect their independent experience without distraction from a friend.
Best Low-Tech: Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Tough Trike
This isn’t your typical Power Wheels vehicle. It’s actually not battery-powered at all! Instead, this motorcycle is fully powered by your little one’s legs. If you aren’t quite ready to let your kiddo drive a fully motorized car, that’s totally understandable. This trike still offers many of the benefits of standard Power Wheels, like getting your kid to explore the outdoors, gain independence, and experience tons of other developmental benefits.
Since this ride is decked out with cool Harley-Davidson decor, your child can still keep super cool zipping around the neighborhood on it. Plus, it’s durable, great for tough terrain, and has a wide, stable base. The large foot pedals also make it easier for your little one to explore. The Tough Trike is great if they have an older sibling who is already zipping around on their motorized rides. This can make them feel like part of the club!
Best Training Power Wheels: Power Wheels Thomas & Friends Thomas with Track
The Thomas with Track is another Power Wheels model that’s fantastic for beginners. This awesome ride features everyone’s famous steam engine: Thomas! It’s great to have a familiar face to make this new experience easier for the kiddos — especially ones who are a bit apprehensive.
Rather than letting your toddler ride around freely, this Power Wheels model operates on an 18 foot (5.5 meters) circular track, but Thomas can be removed and used on the ground. Unlike other Power Wheels, the train is built specifically for indoor use. Don’t worry about your kid running you over — Thomas only runs at 2 mph (3.2 km/h) off-track and 1 mph (1.6 km/h) on-track. If you live in a rainy or snowy environment, this is a game-changer.
It’s easy for kids as young as one year old to use this Power Wheels model as it runs on a simple push-button to stop and start. Best of all, your little one can press the yellow whistle for real Thomas sound effects. What fun!
What Are Power Wheels?
Power Wheels are battery-powered motorized vehicles made specifically for kids by Fisher-Price. Toddlers can ride on these cars and operate them independently (within reason and with supervision, of course) to move, steer, and even reverse.
These toys come in a wide range of models; many are sized-down versions of real-world vehicles, including Jeep Wranglers and Ford F-150s. Still, tons of other fun options for those who aren’t overly car-obsessed feature their favorite characters like Batman, Barbie, Minnie Mouse, and PAW Patrol.
Power Wheels add a few more exciting and interactive features on some models like lights, radios, and various moving parts to make the experience much more engaging.
Kids love the exhilaration of operating their own tiny car, and adults love the stimulation and development Power Wheels can provide. It’s a win for everyone!
How Do Power Wheels Work?
Okay, so these motorized vehicles for tiny humans seem great, but if you’re wondering how exactly they work — from the battery to safety — we’ll break it all down for you.
What’s the Battery Like?
Power Wheels run on a rechargeable 12-volt battery. To get the vehicle running from the get-go, you’ll have to commit a whopping 18 hours before starting it up. Each time the battery needs fuel, it will take another 14 hours to achieve a full charge.
Are Power Wheels Safe?
Generally speaking, yes! Power Wheels are quite safe so long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding supervision and use your own judgment regarding where to operate it and how comfortable your child is on their toy.
There are extra safety features you can enable before letting your toddler sit down and start driving. Power-Lock brakes stop the vehicle as soon as your kiddo takes their foot off the pedal. There’s no need to worry about a separate braking mechanism for your child to engage — it’s as easy as not hitting “go.”
Another great feature is the parent-controlled high-speed-lockout function. This is a mode you can implement before your toddler even gets on the vehicle. Power Wheels all have a maximum speed limit to prevent your kid from riding at potentially dangerous speeds. Still, engaging high-speed-lockout drops their maximum possible speed to half of what the car is actually capable of.
This is a great function if you’re nervous about your child riding and while they’re still getting comfortable operating it. To adjust this, you must undo a screw, move a mechanism over, and re-install the screw. It’s easy enough for adults to do this hassle-free, but too complicated for a child to override this themselves.
Price Point of Power Wheels
Power Wheels can greatly range in price, but when it comes to these fun toys, the more cash you dish out, the more jacked up the vehicle will be. The cheapest model sold by Power Wheels is the Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Tough Trike costing only 31 USD (40 CAD). However, this model isn’t even motorized at all.
The cheapest battery-powered version, the Power Wheels Nickelodeon PAW Patrol Lil’ Quad, comes in at 100 USD (127 CAD), and the most expensive one, the Power Wheels Barbie Dream Camper, rings up at 450 USD (573 CAD).
Can I Buy a Pre-Owned One?
However, demonstrate caution if this is the route you choose to take. Some people may trick out their kids’ Power Wheels by increasing the maximum speed or modifying it in other ways. This can be neat and enticing but tread carefully. Not only could a higher maximum speed be dangerous for your child, but who knows how qualified the previous owner was in mechanics?
We wouldn’t want your little one getting injured because of a faulty reconstruction job.
Another concern is the care with which the previous owner handled the Power Wheels. Beware that the battery may not be in great health, or there could be glitches with the rest of the vehicle. That’s why it’s good to only buy from people you trust and check out the toy’s function before bringing it home.
How Expensive Is It To Recharge the Battery?
To figure out the exact cost of recharging your Power Wheels battery, determine the price you pay for electricity. If you don’t know the exact number, you can use the national average electricity cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) — which is 0.14 USD (0.18 CAD) or visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s appliance energy calculator to find your state’s rate.
You can use this site to input your Power Wheels’ wattage (144 Wh), the hours spent charging per day (14 hours for a full charge), and the days used per year. One charge will cost you 0.28 USD (0.36 CAD), but if you’re refueling every day, you’ll incur an additional 103 USD (131 CAD) on your electrical bill annually.
After you make your initial investment in Power Wheels, you might think that’s all the money you need to dish out. Sadly, that might not be the case. Like real cars, some vehicle parts may need to be replaced.
Depending on how much you use them and how well you abide by the care instructions, your Power Wheels’ battery may only last one to three years. After that, you’ll have to purchase a replacement 12-volt battery for 83 USD (106 CAD) from Fisher-Price. This ends up approximately being another 25% on top of your original Power Wheels.
Are Power Wheels Worth It?
Whether or not Power Wheels make sense for you and your toddler depends on some different factors. There many models available, but they aren’t a one-size-fits-all toy. Here are some things to consider before bringing one of these toys home.
Advantages of Power Wheels
- Power Wheels are fun toys for kids. These ride-on motorized vehicles are interesting, exciting, and interactive children’s toys. Your toddler is sure to get lots of laughter and enjoyment out of riding their Power Wheels.
- They may provide developmental benefits. It’s not just fun and games. Power Wheels can aid the development of your toddler’s sensorimotor skills, problem-solving abilities, and imagination. All the while, your little one just thinks of it as a good time!
- Power Wheels encourage your kids to play outside. Thanks to iPads, Nintendo, and other various screens, it can be difficult to empower your child to play outside these days. If your little one is hesitant to spend time in the great outdoors, Power Wheels may be the solution you’re looking for.
- The driving experience is quite realistic. Well, they might not be super realistic to anyone who drives a real car, but they definitely are a step up from Flintstones style foot-propelled ride-on toys! With a “gas” pedal, responsive steering, and even reversing options, Power Wheels offer an immersive experience. Plus, since they come in models that mimic real-world vehicles, your little one may even own a car that matches yours!
Disadvantages of Power Wheels
- Need an indoor place to store Power Wheels. Sadly, You can’t always store Power Wheels outside. While they can handle mild weather, they should never be kept unprotected in the rain. This means you’ll have to figure out an indoor storage solution — something just may not be realistic for all owners.
- Power Wheels have a history of recalls. As with many toys that have been around a long time, Power Wheels have had some recalls in their lifetime. You can find any safety alerts on the Recall & Safety Alerts section of the Mattel and Fisher-Price website. This is not to say that Power Wheels are inherently unsafe, but it is certainly a good thing to be mindful of.
- It takes a long time to charge the battery. Sadly, a recharged Power Wheels battery is a time-consuming process. It takes 14 hours to fully charge the battery, yet they only have a continuous ride-time of 30-35 minutes. If you have an impatient toddler, this could be a huge setback — or a powerful lesson in patience.
- Power Wheels are expensive toys. As previously mentioned, Power Wheels are a large purchase. You can get a steal for 100 USD (127 CAD), but many of these mini motorized vehicles sit in the 300-400 USD (328-510 CAD) range. This may not be an affordable investment for some, especially if you’re not sure that your kid will love it.
- Depending on where you live, Power Wheels may not be usable year-round. Does your climate involve tons of gorgeous, warm days, or is it filled with lots of precipitation that dominates most of the year? If it’s the latter, you’ll be limited in how much time your toddler can spend on their Power Wheels as they aren’t suitable for use in rain or snow.
Where Can Power Wheels Be Used?
Power Wheels can be used on a wide range of surfaces. However, certain ones are more suitable for rougher terrains than other models.
The whole Power Wheels line drives well on hard surfaces like roads, sidewalks, or driveways. Heavier-duty versions may feature Monster Traction to tackle these landscapes, plus wet grass and other rough terrains.
The terrain isn’t the only factor that should be considered when deciding where Power Wheels can be driven, though. If you live near a busy road and there’s no nearby sidewalk, you may be creating an unnecessarily dangerous situation. The same can be said for an uncontrolled intersection that drivers are known to speed through. It may be best to go to another location, like a park or playground with pavement, for safer riding in some cases.
Do Power Wheels Make a Good Gift?
Power Wheels can make a great gift for toddlers! They are stimulating, incredibly interactive toys. They can bear a pretty hefty price tag and require a fair amount of attention from supervising adults. Consider where your gift-recipient lives and how compatible that environment is for a toy so large that it can cover a significant amount of ground. For example, if they live in an apartment with minimal storage near a busy road, this may not be a gift for them.
Similarly, it’s a good idea to discuss your idea with the child’s guardians first. Ask them how they feel about their toddler riding around on a motorized vehicle — some may not be comfortable with this. Keen supervision and extended charging times are also needed to responsibly run Power Wheels, so check to see if they’re willing to partake in this commitment.
Are Power Wheels Good for Toddlers?
Power Wheels may be fun toys for your toddler to play with, but did you know they can actually be a great instrument to support your child’s development and mental stimulation as well? Here are some of the ways this toy can become a tool.
Stimulates Sensorimotor Skills
When your child is in control of a kid-friendly moving object, they can gain a great understanding of the world around them and how they function within it. Your little one will learn basic concepts about directions like the difference between left and right, front and back, fast and slow, forward and reverse, and stop and go. Not only will they begin to understand what these concepts are, but they will also figure out how to implement them independently.
Provides a Sense of Freedom
Though it’s not like your child is suddenly 16 and getting their driver’s license, riding Power Wheels can support your kid’s sense of freedom. Of course, these are moving vehicles that should not be operated without adult supervision, but your kiddo may feel a sense of independence as they understand that they are in control of their toy.
If your child has seen you driving your car before, this may inspire them to mimic your behaviors — or even makeup scenarios of their own. For example, they may pretend to go to the gas station to fill up their tank, have a friend give them a “ticket” when they’re going too fast, or anything else their minds can create. You might be amazed at the vast imagination that your little one has when they’re given a chance to explore it!
Teaches Problem Solving
There will be a bit of a learning curve as your toddler starts to play around with their toy. As such, they’ll have to figure out how to overcome the obstacles they face. These can range from getting stuck in the mud to turning or reversing when an object gets in their way. Your toddler can also learn how to identify their Power Wheels running out of “fuel.”
Even your kiddo needs to learn that there are rules they need to follow on the road. No, these probably won’t include the standard rules we know when we get behind the wheel, but there are likely some ground rules you’ll have to implement.
Is your child only allowed to ride on the driveway, not the grass? Are they allowed to ride when your family dog is outside? They’ll definitely need to know they can’t operate it without supervision, but you can use this as an opportunity to set restrictions that your toddler needs to follow.
Power Wheels are highly interactive, stimulating, and imagination-provoking toys for toddlers to ride on. Thanks to its versatility, great speed range, and fun design, the Power Wheels Disney Pixar Toy Story Jeep Wrangler is the best overall model for toddlers.
Other designs like the Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Tough Trike and Power Wheels Thomas & Friends Thomas with Track are great for beginners, whereas the Power Wheels Jurassic World Dino Racer ATV Ride-On is perfect for more experienced riders.