A decent ride-on toy is a bit of a play room (or garden) essential. Ride-ons are 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.
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. Plus, it’s just super good fun to have your own wheels, isn’t it?
To help you find the best one for your kid, here’s our guide to the best ride-on toys for one year olds and beyond.
Finding the best ride-on toy for you
Because we know that the best recommendations always come from real parents who’ve bought the products themselves, we first headed to the Mumsnet Talk forums to find honest reviews on the best ride-on toys for one year olds and older toddlers. We also scoured the internet for expert and consumer reviews, ensuring each product we shortlisted was safe, durable and provided plenty of play value.
What is the best ride-on toy for toddlers?
1. Best overall ride-on toy: Scuttlebug Beetle
Price: £19 (RRP: £30) | Buy now from Amazon
“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.” stalachtiteorstalagmite
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, ladybirds, bees, grasshoppers and butterflies so you’re sure to find a colour your toddler will love.
We really 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 hundreds of hours of play for (currently) less than £20.
2. Best budget ride-on toy: B Toys Ride On Zebra
Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon
Some ride-on toys, particularly the beautiful wooden ones, can be quite pricey, so we were pleased to see this Ride-On Zebra from B Toys for less than £30. If you’re desperate for a wooden Wheelybug but don’t have the budget, this is less than half the price but still really lovely.
Like the Wheelybug, this is made from smooth, chunky wood with a soft seat. The wheels rotate 360 degrees and it’s pushed with the feet (the handle is just for holding on rather than steering).
It’s recommended from age 18 months but we think a one year old would get plenty of fun from it. Apparently it’s also suitable for up to 12 years but we think the average-sized 12 year old might have trouble fitting on it.
3. Best ride-on toy for outdoors: Little Tikes Cosy Coupe
Price: £50 (RRP: £60) | Buy now from Amazon
“The best value ever. They still try to fit in now at age 9.” AriettyHomily
Little Tikes Cosy Coupe is a 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.
It has lots 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 teddy 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.
4. Best ride-on toy for 1 year old: Wheelybug
Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon
“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.” SomeHalfhumanCreatureThing
Beloved by parents and toddlers alike, Wheelybugs are fast becoming a classic. 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’re really solid feeling yet lightweight to carry and they age really well so you’re likely to be able to sell on afterwards and make a lot of your money back or keep it as a family heirloom to pass from child to child.
Wheelybugs don’t half go, too. You’ll be amazed at the speed your toddler can reach on one once they get practised and the tight corners they’ll take on the 360-degree castors! 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!
5. Best first ride-on toy: Buggly Wuggly
Price: £28 | Buy now from Amazon
“Both mine had a ride-on toy for their first birthday which had years of play.” ChimChimCharoo
This is a brilliant ride-on toy for younger toddlers. It’s aimed at ages 1 to 3 but it feels really safe and appealing for the lower end of that age group and is a great introduction to ride-ons.
Toddlers will love the light-up horns with sounds and the friendly face on the snail. The lift-up seat for storage is also popular with little ones - we all need somewhere to stow our rice cakes when on the move, after all.
It’s really easy for even very small toddlers to clamber on and off and we like the foot rests which helps them keep their feet out of the way when they’re being pushed. The fact that the seat is close to the ground means it’s easy for them to propel themselves, too.
It would work outside but is probably more effective indoors and though it does work fine on carpet, it’s definitely a smoother ride on hard floors.
6. Best ride-on tractor: Rolly Toys John Deere Tractor
Price: £100 | Buy now from Amazon
“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.” FluffMagnet
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 should bring lots of joy to farm fans and transport enthusiasts.
7. Best electric ride-on toy: HomCom Ride-on Electric Car
Price: £140 | Buy now from Amazon
“I loved the remote control aspect of it, it made it easy to use out and about (not on pavements or anything though).” Smeddum
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.
8. Best value ride-on toy: Micro Scooter Bike Hopper Ride On
Price: £45 | Buy now from Amazon
“My DS got a little ride on car that was about £20 and he adores it!” TinkHasFlown
We like a toy that does more than one thing, so we were very impressed by this ride-on from scooter company Micro Scooter, which is a bouncy toy as well as a wheelie one. The Bike Hopper is an inflatable caterpillar which 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 getting beaten up, too.
The toy is aimed at the age 18 months plus as children need a bit of stability to sit on the bouncy caterpillar body, but then it should keep them busy for years. While it’s on the pricier side, it does offer a lot of play value and we liked the fact that the body can be deflated so you can take it away with you, too.
9. Best inflatable ride-on toy: Early Learning Centre Hop Along Rabbit
Price: £24 | Buy now from Amazon
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. Nothing like your favourite rabbitty friend deflating before your eyes to bring on the toddler tears.
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.
10. Best heirloom ride-on toy: Goki Ride-on Car
Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon
This is a real beauty. 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 a 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.
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
- Think about where you will use it.
- Extras - Sounds and lights. Storage
- Where will it be stored
- Does it need to be kept out of the rain?
- Room for growth. If your child’s feet don’t quite touch the floor to begin with, don’t worry etc
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. We also think the Scuttlebug brand is a great buy, with Scuttlebugs taking them 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.
Which is the best ride-on toy for outdoors?
Little Tikes’ Cosy 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.
Which is the best ride-on toy for which age?
- Best ride-on toy for a 1 year old: Wheelybug
- Best ride-on toy for a 2 year old: Buggly Wuggly
- Best ride-on toy for a 3 year old: Little Tikes Cosy Coupe
- Best ride-on toy for a 4 year old: Rolly Toys John Deere Tractor
- Best ride-on toy for a 5 year old: Goki Ride-on Car
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.
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.
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.