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Best ride-on toys for one-year-olds and beyond, as recommended by parents

Help your toddler get moving and develop their gross motor skills with a ride-on toy that will encourage them to use their body and discover the open road.

By Laura Cooke | Last updated Apr 18, 2024

A decent ride-on toy is a bit of a play room (or garden) essential. The best ride-ons provide a brilliant way to keep small children busy for hours, giving them the opportunity for pretend and role play, physical exercise and the chance to develop all-important gross motor skills.

Ride-on toys are designed to be a first set of wheels, similar to the best kids trike but more focused on play than getting from A to B. Getting confident on a ride-on toy will stand your little one in good stead when it's time to pick out the best balance bike or best scooter for them, and later, when it's time to choose a first kids' bike.

NHS advice is that from age one to two, “toddlers should be physically active every day for at least 3 hours. The more the better. This should be spread throughout the day, including playing outdoors. Active play, such as using a climbing frame, riding a bike, playing in water, chasing games and ball games, is the best way for this age group to get moving.”

A ride-on allows them to use both their arms and legs, as well as their core, and helps them learn to coordinate their bodies to move in a certain direction by steering, pedalling and leaning. Here at Mumsnet, we think ride-ons are one of the best toddler toys you can buy.

To help you find the best one for your little one, here’s our guide to the best ride-on toys for one year olds and beyond, as tried and tested by real parents.

Best overall ride-on toy
What we like
  • Lightweight

  • Easily folds up in three clicks

  • Handle makes it easy to carry

  • Cute design

What we don't like
  • Quickly grown out of - but great to pass down to siblings

Key specs

Price on writing: £22 | Age: 12 months+ | Batteries: None | Size: 61 x 34 x 39cm | Weight: 571g

What Mumsnet users say
stalachtiteorstalagmite · Recommended
“For a first birthday I'd go for a Scuttlebug. You could do a scooter for Christmas perhaps? That timing would probably be perfect. We gave our DD a scooter for her second birthday."
See Post
Our verdict

These cute, googly-eyed characters are a great set of wheels to take your toddler right through to their first bike. They’re designed for one to four-year-olds with three wheels and front-wheel steering which makes it easy for your toddler to stay in control.

They come in a range of designs and colours, including beetles, bees, grasshoppers and butterflies so you’re sure to find a colour your toddler will love.

We like the three-click fold which means you can collapse the Scuttlebug within seconds into something small and lightweight that fits easily into the basket of most buggies. They’re so easy to put together from new, too. Best of all, Scuttlebugs are an absolute bargain, offering many hours of play for little over £20.

Related: The best beach tents for a sun-safe summer holiday

Best budget ride-on toy

B Toys Bizzie the Bee Inflatable Ride-On

What we like
  • Air pump included

  • Smooth and squishy

  • Four feet keep it stable

What we don't like
  • Inflatables can get punctures

  • No different designs available

Key specs

Price on writing: £23 | Age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None | Size: ‎53 x 25 x 49cm | Weight: 1.4kg

Our verdict

For a bargain ride-on that stores flat, an inflatable like this one from B. Toys is a great option. Little ones can grab onto the antennae and bounce around - it's basically a modern spacehopper. A manual air pump is included which inflates the bee in just 5-10 minutes, if your toddler possesses that level of patience.

The material is pretty thick and sturdy, but it's not as ready-for-anything as the other ride-ons on our list, and we wouldn't recommend using it outdoors on anything other than grass.

Related: The best remote control cars for kids of all ages

Best ride-on-toy for outdoors
What we like
  • Fun ride-along toy

  • Available in a choice of designs

  • Removable base plate as your child grows in confidence

What we don't like
  • Initial assembly can be challenging

  • Can discolour if left outside

Key specs

Price on writing: £55 | Age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None | Size: 74.3 x 42.21 x 38.1 cm | Weight: 8.05kg

What Mumsnet users say
AriettyHomily · Tried & Tested
“The best value ever. They still try to fit in now at age 9.”
See Post
Our verdict

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is a bona fide ride-on classic. It’s been whizzing around back gardens and playgroups for 30 years and is available in several styles now, as well as the classic little red car. Reviews suggest it’s a bit of a pain to put together but once it’s set up, it’s really tough and robust and will be good for years. It’s also hardy enough to be left out in the garden in all weathers, although you should expect some discolouration over time if you leave it to the mercy of the elements.

There is plenty here to appeal to toddlers including a working horn, an ignition that moves and clicks, a fuel cap to open to add petrol, and even cup holders! The door opens to get in easily and there’s a storage area in the back to pop your best teddy bear in, too. The front wheels rotate 360 degrees and there’s a removable floor so the car can be pushed along by the parent or propelled by your toddler’s own feet on the floor. That’s what gives this ride-on real longevity - kids can start using it long before they’re capable of pushing it themselves. As well as being a great ride-on toy, we think it's one of the best toys for 2-year-olds.

Best ride-on toy for 1 year old
What we like
  • Available in lots of designs to suit all tastes

  • Beautifully made and built to last

  • Great manoeuvring

What we don't like
  • Reviewers say it shouldn't be used as a walker or push-along

Key specs

Price on writing: £66 | Age: 1-3 years | Batteries: None | Size: ‎40 x 25 x 30cm| Weight: 1.8kg

What Mumsnet users say
SomeHalfhumanCreatureThing · Recommended
“Both mine loved ours. It lasted almost 10 years before it started to look a bit worn out. Compulsory 1st birthday present as far as I'm concerned. Get the bee.”
See Post
Our verdict

Beloved by parents and toddlers alike, Wheelybugs are fast becoming a classic ride-on toy. And despite being nearly £70, they still go like hot cakes. Possibly the reason behind their huge success is the fact that they manage to tick both the ‘appeals to toddlers’ box AND the ‘doesn’t look like a horrible lump of bright plastic in your house’ box. Very clever.

They are beautifully made though, with a solid wood base, smooth handle and a cover made from - vitally - wipeable polyurethane leatheroid that feels really comfy to sit on. They feel solid, yet lightweight to carry and they age really well so you can keep it as a family heirloom to pass from child to child.

Wheelybugs are pretty nippy too - you’ll be amazed at the speed your toddler can reach once they get going. They are recommended for ages one to three but many children will use them for much longer. They’re available in several different animal designs and you can now even buy plush covers for them that turn them from a ladybird to a lion… or anything you wish!

Read next: Best outdoor toys: get your kids active with great toys and games for your garden

Best first ride-on toy
What we like
  • Perfect size for little ones

  • Sturdy construction

  • Soft grip handles

What we don't like
  • Quickly grown out of

Key specs

Price on writing: £29 | Age: 12 months+ | Batteries: None | Size: 17 x 37 x 47cm | Weight: Not stated

Our verdict

With soft, grippable handles and a sturdy frame, this Cocomelon Bobble Ride On makes a perfect first ride-on for your little one's first birthday. Not a Cocomelon fan? Not to worry - this design is available with lots of other characters.

The seat is ergonomically moulded for comfort and steadiness, and the wheels are puncture-proof for both indoor and outdoor use. Little ones will be able to find their feet on this cute ride-on, designed specifically for 1-year-olds.

Read next: Best toddler reins to keep your little ones close

Best ride-on tractor

John Deere Kids Tractor with Front Loader and Rear Trailer

What we like
  • Pull-along trailer and front-loaded digger

  • Pedals

  • Great quality

What we don't like
  • Not suitable for kids under 2-and-a-half

  • Expensive

Key specs

Price on writing: £140 | Age: 2.5 years+ | Batteries: None | Size: Not stated | Weight: Not stated

What Mumsnet users say
FluffMagnet · Tried & Tested
“We've got a Rolly Toys John Deere tractor and trailer with front scoop. Bought from Robert Dyas but also seems to be available on Amazon. They have quite a range of different ones. Was an absolute pig to assemble but DD loves hers.”
See Post
Our verdict

Tiny tractor fans will love this ride-on, which is licensed by John Deere itself. Great for getting in the harvest in the garden, it comes with big, chunky wheels that mean uneven ground poses no issues. It also has a large, detachable trailer so you can invite a few toys along for the ride, and the bonnet lifts up if your toddler needs to do any emergency repairs.

This is a brilliant toy for pretend play and role play, but it’s also great exercise, using the anti-slip pedals to make your way around the outdoors. It’s very sturdy and will stand up to most weather but it <is> very big and you might not want to leave it outside all the time, so make sure you have space to store it.

The manufacturer recommends it for ages 2.5 to 5 years so it’s one for preschoolers rather than toddlers really, but this ride-on should bring lots of joy to farm fans and transport enthusiasts.

Read next: Best remote control cars for kids, test-driven by Mumsnetters

Best electric ride-on toy
What we like
  • Travels at a speedy 1.5-3 mph

  • Music player included

  • 45 minutes of play per full charge

What we don't like
  • Not suitable for under-3s

  • On the pricey side

Key specs

Price on writing: £125 | Age: 3-5 years | Batteries: 6V 7AH x 1 | Size: 51 x 101 x 62cm | Weight: 25kg

What Mumsnet users say
Smeddum · Recommended
“I loved the remote control aspect of it, it made it easy to use out and about (not on pavements or anything though).”
See Post
Our verdict

Another one for slightly older kids, this ride-on is actually electric, making it feel like the real deal and it’s an excellent copy of the Audi it’s based on, too. Budding car fans will love it. The car comes with working LED headlights and tail lights, a dashboard gauge, steering wheel, pedal and even a music player, so it really does feel like a proper car.

The large, comfy seat has a safety belt to secure your child properly and nice wide tyres. There are two speed settings - 1.5km per hour and 3km per hour so they can start off slow and go faster as they progress.

You’ll be pleased to know that it also comes with a parent remote control so you can still be in the driving seat when you need to be. Obviously, this ride-on isn’t going to offer any exercise for your child but it is lots of fun and great for a bit of role play.

Read next: Best toys for 3 year olds: gifts preschoolers will love

Best value ride-on toy
What we like
  • Nice and stable

  • Built to last

  • Trusted brand

What we don't like
  • Reviewers say it needs to be used on a smooth surface

Key specs

Price on writing: £45 | Age: 18 months+ | Batteries: None | Size: 54 x 28 x 54cm| Weight: 3.1kg

Our verdict

We like a toy that does more than one thing, so we were very impressed by this ride-on from Micro Scooter, which is a bouncy toy as well as a wheelie one. The Bike Hopper is an inflatable caterpillar that can be used alone as a hopper to help children improve their strength and balance, but it then attaches to a chassis, which turns it into a ride-on. The caterpillar is ergonomically designed to provide comfortable seating, and the chassis has 360-degree rotation on the wheels, which are hidden beneath a smooth-sided chassis so they can’t run over anyone’s toes - including their own.

The Hopper Ride-on is really intended for indoor use, so we were also pleased to see that the wheels were non-marking and the wheel cover on the chassis saves your furniture from getting beaten up, too. The toy is aimed at children aged 18 months-plus as little ones do need a bit of stability to sit on the bouncy caterpillar body, but then it should keep them busy for years. We liked the fact that the body can be deflated so you can take it away with you, too.

Read next: The best scooters for kids, tried and tested by Mumsnetters

Best inflatable ride-on toy

Early Learning Centre Hop Along Rabbit

What we like
  • Bouncy and huggable

  • Improves balance

  • Portable when deflated - great for taking on holiday

What we don't like
Key specs

Price on writing: £24 | Age: 1-3 years | Batteries: None | Size: 44 x 20 x 41cm | Weight: Not stated

Our verdict

Who says a ride has to be on wheels? This cute, bouncy rabbit is very appealing and huggable and offers toddlers a chance to strengthen their legs as they bounce around on the rabbit’s back. The chunky ears give them something to hold onto. The ‘bounce’ in the toy encourages your child to use their muscles and work on their balance, too, so it’s great for physical development.

The Hop Along Rabbit can be used inside or out, but, while it’s pretty sturdy we would keep it on the lawn and look out for any sharp stones that might give it a puncture.

That said, if you do need to deflate, you can do so easily so you could even take this on holiday to keep your little one busy while away. It’s recommended for 12 months to 3 years and is sure to become a playroom favourite.

Read next: 10 of the best travel games for 2024

Best heirloom ride-on toy
What we like
  • Great looking

  • Easy-grip steering wheel

  • Imitation fuel cap

What we don't like
  • Metal can dent

  • Pricey

Key specs

Price on writing: £150 | Age: 1 year+ | Batteries: None | Size: 40 x 35 x 73.5cm | Weight: Not stated

Our verdict

This is a real beauty. It's so pretty you’ll be happy to have it parked up in your living room - as long as you have the space, of course!

Suitable from one year, this traditional metal toy car in smart racing green has an ergonomic seat and a very handsome style. It has a working steering wheel and just feels really lovely and well-made throughout. It’s definitely not cheap but it is totally delightful and is sure to become a family heirloom.

Read next: Best garden slides for toddlers and beyond

Best multi-purpose ride-on toy
What we like
  • Grows with your child

  • Robust

  • Great value for money

  • Chunky flashing LED wheels

  • Ride-on seat opens for convenient storage

What we don't like
  • A little bit stiff to assemble

Key specs

Price on writing: £150 | Age range: 12 months - 12 years | Max weight: 50kg scooter, 15kg ride-on | Trike weight: 4.7kg

Our verdict

Tested by Mumsnet: smarTrike Xtend Ride-On review: a money-saving set of wheels to see them through childhood

It is very easy to spend an extortionate amount of money on things with wheels for your little ones, from the essential buggy or double buggy,  to the various trikes, ride-ons, scooters, balance bikes, bikes and skateboards that you inevitably end up buying throughout their childhood.

The team at smarTrike aims to help ease this financial strain with the ingenious 5-in-1 smarTrike Xtend Ride-On, which can be transformed from a trike to a ride-on, to a scooter in three different sizes. In short, the smarTrike Xtend Ride-On wants to be your little one’s trusted travelling companion from 12 months, all the way up to 12 years of age.

Although the £150 price tag may sound off-putting, the smarTrike Xtend Ride-On is a good investment that will help to save you hundreds of pounds in the long run.

Read next: Best stair gates and safety gates for babyproofing your home

From cars and tractors to bugs and bees, wheelie ride-on toys to bouncy ones and toys for both indoors and outdoors, there is a huge range of ride-on toys to choose from for different ages. Here are a few things to think about before you buy.

What is the best age for ride-on toys?

About a year old is a great age - in fact ride-on toys make a brilliant first birthday present. But basically your child just needs to be able to stand with help, sit easily and securely and use their hands to hold on and their feet to prepare them. The only upper limit on age is when they get too big for the toy in question.

Can a 1 year old use a ride-on car?

Yes, but just check on the packaging that the car is designed for one-year-olds. Some ride-ons have a higher minimum age.

What are the benefits of ride-on toys?

As well as just being really good fun and encouraging independence, ride-on toys can help develop gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They give young children some of the essential exercise they need each day, whether used indoors or out, and also give them the chance to practise role play and pretend play.

What to look for in a ride-on toy

If you are thinking about purchasing a ride-on toy, there are a number of things you should consider first.

  • Where you will use it: Are you looking for a ride-on toy that can be used indoors, or strictly outside only? Inflatable ride-ons are best for indoor use as they are at risk of punctures if used outside. If you are considering a wheeled ride-on, ensure the wheels suit the floor surface. Your carpet will thank you.

  • Where you will store it: Consider your storage space. If you want a large ride-on car or tractor, check the dimensions to make sure you have enough space in the shed or playroom. If space is limited, you may be better off opting for a small ride-on that folds for easy storage, such as the Scuttlebug. If you are investing in an outdoor ride-on toy, check whether it is suitable to be left outside in the garden. Some ride-on-toys should be kept out of the rain or harsh sunlight to avoid damage.

  • Powered or manual? Do you want a ride-on that is battery-powered or toddler-powered? Powered vehicles are great fun, and they often come with lights, sounds and various other bells and whistles attached. However, they can be pricey and large, making them tricky to store. They also don't provide the same exercise for little legs. If you are thinking about a battery-powered vehicle, check the specifications carefully, including the battery life and top speed. Powered ride-ons may not be suitable for very young children.

  • Is there room for growth? If your child’s feet don’t quite touch the floor to begin with, don’t worry. The beauty of most ride-on toys is that children can grow into them. However, when it comes to balance bikes, Cycling UK advises that your child should be able to sit comfortably on the bike, knees slightly bent and feet flat on the floor.

  • Are there any extras? Does the ride-on-toy make noises, is there a steering wheel, does it come with built-in storage? Check the extras to make sure you get the best value for money.

  • Cost: Finally, always remember your budget. It's very easy to get carried away and spend £100-plus on a ride-on toy, but you may find that your toddler will be just as happy with something in a lower price bracket.

What is the best ride-on toy brand?

Little Tikes and Wheelybugs both do a range of ride-on toys that Mumsnetters love for their robustness and quality and kids seem to play with endlessly. Overall, we think the Scuttlebug is the best ride-on toy, with Scuttlebugs taking kids from a year old up to riding their first bike.

Who makes the best ride-on toys for toddlers?

Wheelybugs are a great choice for toddlers. The beautifully crafted wooden ride-on toys with squishy seats come in all shapes and sizes from ladybirds and bees to pigs and cows. They roll around really easily, pushed by toddler foot power and are virtually indestructible.


“Both mine loved ours. It lasted almost 10 years before it started to look a bit worn out."


Wheelybug Toddler Ride-On


Buy now

Which is the best ride-on toy for outdoors?

Little Tikes’ Cozy Coupe is a classic that never seems to go out of fashion. It’s really robust and stands up to lots of garden play and wet weather. Toddlers love it.

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

“The best value ever. They still try to fit in now at age 9.”


Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

Little Tikes

Buy now

Which is the best ride-on toy for different ages?

Do you need hard floors for ride-on toys?

Not at all. In fact, some of them are a lot quieter on carpet! However, most indoor ride-on toys go a bit faster on hard floors.

How we chose our recommendations

Real reviews from real parents

We scoured the Mumsnet Talk forums to find honest reviews on the best ride-on toys for one-year-olds and older toddlers - we know that the most useful recommendations always come from parents who have been there and bought the products.

Expert advice

We also scoured the internet for experts’ thoughts on ride-on toys so we knew what we were looking for and that each product we shortlisted was safe, durable and provided plenty of play value.

Awards and reviews

We looked out for products that had also won industry awards and accolades. Finally, we checked out customer reviews to find out which products they raved about in their reviews and which had left them disappointed.

About the author

Laura Cooke is a Content Editor at Mumsnet, with a special focus on child’s play, outdoor play and toddler play content.

Laura started writing Swears By articles for Mumsnet in 2021, writing buyers' guides and product reviews to help Mumsnetters make informed choices when it comes to parting with their pennies.

Laura is also a freelance journalist and has written articles for publications including the Daily Mirror, the i, Metro, Stylist and Happiful magazine.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful reviews like this one.