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Which youth ATV is best?

Off-road motorsports are great fun and good for your fitness, too. If you want to introduce your kids to the activity, a youth ATV is a great place to start. There’s a terrific choice, with something for all ages from just a couple of years old and up.

However, the sheer variety can make picking the best youth ATV a bit of a challenge. Our buyer’s guide looks at power, performance, and prices to help you decide. We’ve also chosen a few recommendations. Our favorite, the Razor Dirt Quad, comes from a line of kids’ ATVs renowned for toughness and grown-up riding style.

Considerations when choosing the best youth ATV

Performance options

There are a number of realistic-looking youth ATVs that don’t have motors at all. Usually, they have a push bar at the back or can be scooted along by the child’s own leg power. Mostly, however, we expect people to be looking at either battery or gas models.

Electric motors are available in 6-, 12-, 24-, and 36-volt (V) sizes. The smallest are very lightweight and manage a top speed of no more than 2.5 mph. The biggest might hit 10 mph depending on the size of the rider. An age range for these ATVs is usually suggested, and, of course, kids come in all shapes and sizes, but the majority of battery-powered ATVs are for pre-teens.

It’s well worth checking physical dimensions, and maximum weight limit, to make sure the vehicle is going to be big enough for your child. If you want a youth ATV for teenagers, you’ll want to be looking at 110cc or 125cc gas engines. You can expect a serious hike in cost.

Off-road capabilities

You probably wouldn’t expect your three-year old to be driving off into the forest or the nearest quarry, and you can quickly tell by the general construction what each youth ATV is intended for. If it’s got plastic wheels, then even if the tread looks chunky it’s not going to get much  further than your carpet or lawn. Those that can handle loose dirt and gravel will have proper pneumatic tires, and a quick look at the underlying frame will show a more robust construction.

Youth ATV features

Some youth ATVs have pretty basic speed control — it’s either go or stop. Others have more realistic throttle or foot controls for acceleration, and may offer a reverse gear as well. Gas power takes these machines into a whole different league — they’re basically small versions of adult machines with full gearboxes and all-around suspension. Of course, there’s a lot more maintenance required too.

Sticking with the battery-powered versions, you’ll usually have lights, and a horn. Many have a socket so kids can plug in their media device and play music while they ride. All these things have an impact on run-time of course. How long the battery will last and the time taken to recharge needs to be part of your thinking. There can be little worse than an impatient child!

Youth ATV price

The cheapest youth ATVs are around $50, but these rely on your kid’s legs for propulsion. Battery-powered models start at around $120 for 6V and rising to $450 and upwards for 36V models. Gas-powered machinery is likely to be $800 or more.


Q. Do I need to get safety gear to go with a youth ATV?

A. Even though many of these vehicles aren’t very fast, a helmet is a must. Gloves and other off-road gear is optional, but aside from offering more protection, they make for a more involving experience.

Q. Are there any restrictions on where youth ATVs can be used?

A. They can’t be used on the street. It’s not safe, and they aren’t legal anyway. Their use on public land will depend on local regulations so you need to check that. There are no restrictions we are aware of on private land as long as you have permission.

Youth ATVs we recommend

Best of the best

Razor’s Dirt Quad

Razor’s Dirt Quad

Our take: Powerful model for kids 8 and older gives a real feel for off-road riding.

What we like: Its 24-volt battery gives up to 8 mph. Knobby tires offer good grip on different surfaces. Efficient coil-over rear suspension. Built to handle rough treatment.

What we dislike: Not cheap. A few people have reported battery problems.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck

Kid Trax’s Caterpillar ATV

Kid Trax’s Caterpillar ATV

Our take: Lightweight budget model for 3- to 5-year-olds for indoor and yard use.

What we like: A 6-volt vehicle for the  price of some bicycles. 2.5 mph max speed, with forward and reverse. Has a seat belt, horn and headlights.

What we dislike: Inconsistent product quality. Assembly could be easier.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Choice Products’ Kids ATV

Best Choice Products’ Kids ATV

Our take: Midrange model for younger kids, with a host of realistic features.

What we like: Powered by 12-volt battery giving 3.7 mph max speed. Foot pedal for forward and reverse, two speeds, and 4-wheel suspension. LED headlight, horn, and media socket.

What we dislike: Some durability issues, particularly with battery and charging.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Bob Beacham writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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