Which train set for kids is best?
Train sets are perfect for kids to play with, as they watch the little engine wander through the miniature countryside and mountains and roam back to its home town. It’s important to get a train set with the right features for your kids. Ideally, you should find a train track that is simple and easy for them to set up and won’t come apart as the train goes past.
If you’re looking for a fun and entertaining train set for kids, our top pick is the KidKraft Ride Around Town Wooden Train Set and Table.
What to know before you buy a train set for kids
It’s crucial to look at the manufacturer’s recommended age range before you actually purchase a train set for kids. There are many themed train sets out there that are only recommended for kids age 8 and older, so if your child is younger than 8, you should find a train set that is more suitable for young kids and toddlers. There are also some train sets out there that are only meant for kids and adults age 14 and older, due to features like delicate detailing and realistic smoke.
Different types of tracks
Before purchasing a train set for your kids, you should learn about the various kinds of tracks. There are straight tracks that simply form a straight line, curved tracks that form a curve, split tracks that are shaped like a Y, and flex tracks that can accommodate bumpy terrain. Bridges lift the train over rivers and switches or crossings integrate the roads as scenery.
Most train set manufacturers recommend that you first unpack everything, then lay down the track in the design you want and load the batteries into the engine if needed. You can then connect the transformer or power box to the track, place the engine on the track first and connect the remaining cars. Finally, your kids can turn on the train and play with the train set.
What to look for in a quality train set for kids
Some train engines need to be plugged into the wall, while other train engines simply run on battery power. Pay attention to this and select the type of engine that works best for you and your children when purchasing a train set for kids.
Attention to detail
Many older kids like seeing attention to detail in their train sets, including headlights, logos and decals, the amount of smoke coming out of the engine and the sounds made by the wheels and car.
You can purchase additional parts for your train set for kids if needed, including tunnels, buildings and figures, lights, signals and signs, train stations and scenery, including hills, shrubbery, fake bodies of water, trees and other pieces of land.
How much you can expect to spend on a train set for kids
Most train sets for kids cost around $75-$100. The train sets for kids around $75 feature character sets and trains that run with the help of a remote control, while higher-end train sets for kids tend to be more detail-oriented.
Train set for kids FAQ
Can you mix and match train sets for kids?
A. You can only mix and match train sets for kids if they come from the same company. Train set manufacturers don’t usually enable you or your kids to mix and match train sets from different brands, so your specific train set model probably does not work with a train set from a different brand.
What are the plastic rods that come with your train set?
A. The plastic rods that come with your train set are known as track clips. They are an optional addition to the track to help make sure that the tracks don’t disconnect or slip apart, particularly after regular use.
How can you change the shape of your track?
A. There are countless online guides out there that will show you and your kids different shapes to make with the track components that you have. You and your kids can also experiment with different shapes and get creative.
What are the best train sets for kids to buy?
Top train set for kids
KidKraft Ride Around Table Set and Table
What you need to know: Considered the best of the best, this fun and comprehensive train set from KidKraft is perfect for toddlers and young kids.
What you’ll love: This engaging train set features two storage bins and a sturdy table. It is also fairly easy to assemble and offers young kids hours of fun, due to the colorful characters and accessories.
What you should consider: The tracks don’t always fit properly and the wood veneer is prone to peeling.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top train set for kids for the money
Thomas & Friends Talking Thomas and Percy Train Set
What you need to know: This budget-friendly Thomas & Friends train set offers colorful parts, plenty of sound and movement and an exciting theme.
What you’ll love: This affordable, motorized train set will give you and your kids plenty of bang for your buck. The train set is an excellent option for preschool aged kids and is compatible with other Thomas train sets.
What you should consider: Some customers say they wish that the customer service team was more attentive to their needs.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Melissa & Doug Wooden Railway Set
What you need to know: A well-constructed and feature-packed train set from Melissa & Doug that provides plenty of options for engaging and imaginative play.
What you’ll love: This Melissa & Doug train set works well with other wood track systems and is perfect for kids and toddlers up to age 6. The train set is composed of durable wood and features cargo and freight trains.
What you should consider: The train tends to derail and the track pieces don’t always stay connected.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.