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8 Best Go Karts for Kids in 2020

In this article, we’re reviewing the best go karts for kids. Although we fondly remember the homemade soapbox racers of our youth, today’s go karts add power, safety features and proper build quality to go along with the fun – and still get kids playing outdoors!

There’s a wide range of go karts for children – they are smaller, lighter and slower than adult or racing karts. This not only makes them safer and cheaper but also much easier for kids to drive.

We have carefully reviewed dozens of models to select the 8 best go karts in 2020. From pedal or electric powered machines suitable for younger children right up to gas go karts for kids, there’s something here for everyone.

You’ll find our three top picks below, followed by a quick comparison table of all 8 models. Then a review of each go kart or buggy in more detail. Finally, our buying guide and FAQ, to help you find the best go kart for your kids.

Ultimate Choice

Trailmaster MINI XRX Kart

Trailmaster MINI XRX Go Kart

See on Amazon

Best Value

Razor Dune Buggy

Razor Dune Buggy for Kids

See on Amazon

Best Pedal Power

Hauck Lightning Pedal Go Kart

Hauck Lightning Pedal Go Kart

See on Amazon

Best Go Karts for Kids – Quick Comparison

The selected go karts in the table below are in ascending order of price (and usually top speed). After the table we then review each model in the same order, to make comparing them easier.

If you’re on a small screen, click the green plus sign, or the little picture of each go kart, to see more features.

 NameAgePowerTop
Speed
PriceMax
Load
Hauck Lightning Pedal Go KartHauck Lightning Pedal Go Kart4-7Pedaln/a$110 lbs
Hauck Batmobile Pedal Go KartHauck Batmobile Pedal Go Kart4-8Pedaln/a$110 lbs
Razor Power Rider 360 Electric TricycleRazor Power Rider 360 Tricycle8+12 Volt9 mph$$120 lbs
Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune RacerFisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer3-712 Volt5 mph$$130 lbs
Razor Ground Force Drifter KartRazor Ground Force Drifter Kart8+24 Volt12 mph$$$140 lbs
Razor Dune BuggyRazor Dune Buggy for Kids5-10 *24 Volt9 mph$$$120 lbs
Coleman CK100 Go KartColeman CK100 Go Kart8+ *98cc15 mph$$$$150 lbs
Trailmaster MINI XRX KartTrailmaster MINI XRX Kart4-10163cc25 mph$$$$$400 lbs

Top 8 Best Go Karts for Kids in 2020 – Reviews

These reviews are in the same price (and top speed) ascending order as the comparison table above.

1. Hauck Lightning Pedal Go Kart

Best Pedal Go Kart

Hauck Lightning Pedal Go Kart
  • Age Guide: 4-7
  • Max Speed: n/a
  • Max Load: 110 lbs
  • Colors: Green, Pink, Orange

Assembly is straightforward and a steel tube powder-coat frame makes this quite a sturdy go kart. The bucket seat with high backrest is adjustable (forwards and backwards) to allow for fast growing legs, making it suitable for most kids around the 4-7 age range.

However, adjusting the seat is via a screw underneath the kart so you have to tip it upside down first. This can be a pain if you have different sized kids wanting to share the kart all the time… We wish it had a simple lever to quickly adjust the seat from the top.

Although this pedal powered go kart is likely to be slower than a small bike, being so low down to the ground does give the impression that it’s much quicker than it really is, so it’s still exciting for very young kids. It deservedly wins our award for best pedal powered go kart.

Pros:

  • Cheapest model here
  • Seat adjusts to suit leg length
  • Solid, weather resistant frame
  • Good choice for kids aged 4-7

Cons:

  • Have to tip the kart up to adjust the seat

Check price on Amazon

2. Hauck Batmobile Pedal Go Kart

Coolest Themed Pedal Go Kart!

Hauck Batmobile Pedal Go Kart
  • Age Guide: 4-8
  • Max Speed: n/a
  • Max Load: 110 lbs
  • Colors: Black

Unlike powered karts, we like the fact that pedaling lets kids work off a lot of steam outdoors. It can also help build their strength and coordination – and there’s no battery to recharge or gas to refill!

Like the Lightning, race-styled pedals and an 8 ball style hand brake for both rear wheels make it easy to control speed or brake. Rubber wheels provide good grip, especially on hard surfaces like concrete.

Assembly is straightforward and the steel tube frame makes this a sturdy go kart. But the front panel with Batman stickers is only held in place by two plastic tabs – so if you hit anything, the panel comes off and needs reattaching. On the plus side, that means the panel doesn’t just shatter into little pieces!

The bucket seat with high backrest is adjustable (forwards and backwards) to allow for fast growing legs, making it suitable for most kids around the 4-7 age range.

However, adjusting the seat is via a screw underneath the kart so you do have to tip it upside down first. If only one child uses the kart that isn’t a problem. But, if sharing it between kids of different sizes, it would be easier if it had a simple lever on top to quickly adjust the seat.

The Hauck Batmobile is mechanically very similar to the Hauck Lightning so it is also a smart option for younger kids. It’s a fairly similar price too so if your kids are mad about Batman then this is a very cool themed pedal power choice.

Pros:

  • Batman theme!
  • Cheaper than electric powered go karts
  • Seat adjusts to suit leg length
  • Solid, weather resistant frame
  • Best go kart for a 5 year old

Cons:

  • Have to tip the kart up to adjust the seat

Check price on Amazon

3. Razor Power Rider 360 Tricycle

Awesome Fun Ride For 8 year Old and Above

Razor Power Rider 360 Electric Tricycle
  • Age Guide: 8+
  • Max Speed: 9 mph
  • Max Load: 120 lbs
  • Colors: Black

It’s also hugely entertaining as it’s not just capable of typical ‘circuit’ racing – where the 360 tricycle excels is in its ability to do full 360 degree spins.

You can also power slide or drift on it thanks to high-performance dual inclined rear caster wheels. This video gives an idea of what it’s capable of:

The Power Rider 360 has a push button throttle for easy acceleration. A front, hand operated braking system helps kids avoid any looming obstacles.

The chain-driven 100W motor is powered by a 12V 5Ah battery (charger supplied). This gives a continuous running time of about 40 minutes, depending on the child’s weight and the terrain. It takes about 12 hours to fully recharge the battery so this is best done overnight.

For the extra versatility and fun of 360s, this is our top pick for adventurous kids over 8 who want something more tricksy than a classic go kart. And because Razor is a US manufacturer, replacement parts are readily available from their website.

Pros:

  • 360 spins and power slides!
  • Cheaper than four wheeled electric powered go karts
  • 9 mph top speed, but feels even quicker
  • Spares available from Razor’s website

Cons:

  • 40 minutes running time between charges

Check price on Amazon

4. Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer

Best Two Seater Kart for Very Young Kids

Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer
  • Age Guide: 3-7
  • Max Speed: 5 mph
  • Max Load: 130 lbs
  • Colors: Green

Power Wheels is a brand name of Fisher-Price, which is itself part of Mattel, the famous US toy company.

The Power Wheels offers 2 speeds (2.5 and 5 mph) plus reverse – parents can lock out the top speed for beginners or very young kids. Auto brakes aid safety by stopping the kart immediately when you lift off the throttle.

This is certainly a stylish looking kids dune buggy with a sturdy steel frame and metal sidebars for hand support. There’s a secret storage compartment under the hood too for carrying little ones’ treasures. The ‘Monster Traction’ system (hard plastic wheels) ensures that it can handle grass and dirt, but can be quite rough and noisy on hard surfaces.

Power from the 12V battery (charger supplied) gives a long running time of 1-3 hours, depending on the child’s weight and the terrain. But full charging time is correspondingly long – at least 14 hours.

The proprietary battery is equipped with a built-in thermal fuse which powers off the buggy if it is overloaded. If the fuse ‘trips’ the driver must wait 25 seconds before starting up again – remove some weight to avoid another shut down.

If you’re looking specifically for a two seater the Power Wheels is the only game in town. And it has better battery life than its single seat rivals, although it is a lot slower. Note: there is an Extreme version of this Dune Racer with wider wheels – check out our comparison guide to see the differences between both models.

Pros:

  • 2 seater go kart for twice the fun
  • Cheapest four wheeled electric go kart here
  • 1-3 hours running time
  • Suited to kids under 7 years old
  • Well known US manufacturer (part of Fisher Price)

Cons:

  • Only 5 mph top speed
  • Too wide to fit easily through some doorways

Check price on Amazon

5. Razor Ground Force Drifter Kart

Great for Fast and Furious Drifting

Razor Ground Force Drifter Kart
  • Age Guide: 8+
  • Max Speed: 12 mph
  • Max Load: 140 lbs
  • Colors: White, Blue

The Razor Ground Force Drifter features a powder-coated, steel frame and a large 250W high-torque chain driven motor powered by two 12V 7Ah batteries (charger supplied). This gives a continuous running time of about 40 minutes, depending on the child’s weight and the terrain.

Time to fully recharge the battery is about 12 hours so is best done overnight. Razor recommend not storing the batteries in temperatures below freezing so they may need to be removed for storage over Winter.

The Drifter is operated by variable speed, thumb trigger acceleration control and a simple hand-operated rear brake helps avoid nasty surprises. But there’s no reverse gear, no parental speed control and no engine braking, so it only slows down gradually if you lift off the throttle.

It therefore takes some time and maturity to learn to drive (especially as it’s designed to be very tail happy!) But it’s quick, exciting and the maximum load of 140 lbs should make the Razor Ground Force Drifter suitable for most kids including teenagers.

Pros:

  • Fastest electric kart here (12 mph top speed)
  • Great for drifting and sliding
  • Suited to kids over 8 years old
  • Spares available from Razor’s website

Cons:

  • 40 minutes running time between charges
  • Best on a hard and flat surface e.g. concrete

Check price on Amazon

6. Razor Dune Buggy

Best Electric Go Kart for 5 to 10 Year Old

Razor Dune Buggy
  • Age Guide: 8+ (Razor’s guide). 5-10 (* Real world guide…)
  • Max Speed: 9 mph
  • Max Load: 120 lbs
  • Colors: Red

Razor is a US manufacturer and it’s easy to get replacement or spare parts from their website.

Razor’s recommended age is a very conservative 8+ but an age range of 5-10 (real world guide…) with parental supervision may be more suitable. Because this four wheeler is a relatively small size – kids over 10 may find it too small… The maximum load of 120 lbs is also too low for many teens.

This kids Dune Buggy is 99% pre-built right out of the box so is quick to assemble. It features a durable tubular steel frame, padded bucket seat and a (lap) seatbelt plus side roll cage for safety. 8 inch knobby pneumatic tires and terrain following rear suspension provide a comfortable ride and increased traction.

Performance comes from a large 350W high-torque chain driven motor powered by two 12V 7Ah batteries (charger supplied). Top speed is a hefty 9 mph so safety precautions (e.g. a helmet) are necessary – see our safety guide below.

Battery life of about 40 minutes continuous use is fairly typical – the Razor Dune Buggy has a battery power indicator which lets the rider know how much juice is left. The full battery recharge time of 12 hours means it is best to charge the battery overnight.

Like other electric models, the Razor Dune Buggy has relatively small, narrow tires and little (just 1 inch) ground clearance. That’s enough clearance to go over small curbs and it won’t ruin your grass, unless it’s really wet. But it is ideal for flat surfaces like concrete.

Despite its name, it can’t really cope well with sand (or soft dirt) either – the tires are just too small.

However, as a ‘classic’ dune buggy it is still a really capable machine that is also very stable in turns. It wins our award for Best Electric Go Kart and is our top pick for kids under 10 if you prefer electric power.

The main competition comes from gas powered go karts for kids (see the next reviews) that are much quicker but also a lot more expensive.

Pros:

  • Classic electric go kart for kids
  • 9 mph top speed
  • Pneumatic tires
  • Seatbelt
  • Good size for kids under 10
  • Spares available from Razor’s website

Cons:

  • 40 minutes running time between charges
  • Maximum weight capacity of 120 pounds

Check price on Amazon

7. Coleman CK100 Go Kart

Best Single Seat Gas Powered Go Kart

Coleman CK100 Go Kart
  • Age Guide: 13+ (Coleman’s guide). 8+ (* Real world guide…)
  • Max Speed: 15+ mph
  • Max Load: 150 lbs
  • Colors: Red

Coleman Powersports is a long established US company selling a range of ATVs and dirt bikes etc so parts and service are readily available.

Coleman’s recommended minimum age for the CK100 is 13+ but this is a relatively small kart. We think that an age range of 8+ (real world guide…) with parental supervision may be more suitable – if kids have the maturity, size and strength to drive it safely. Here is a quick video of the kart in action:

The Coleman CK100 is a solid go kart, of heavy duty 16 and 13 gauge tubular construction, has plenty of power. The 98cc (3.0HP) air cooled 4-stroke, 1-cylinder gas powered engine can propel kids to a thrilling 15+ mph. So safety precautions (e.g. a helmet and gloves) are advised – see our safety guide below.

With 13 inch rugged low pressure pneumatic tires this Coleman go kart is as happy tackling muddy open fields as hard flat surfaces. For peace of mind, parents can adjust a governor to restrict the speed for smaller kids and beginners.

Fully automatic transmission means kids don’t have to worry about changing gear. Rear disc brakes provide good stopping power while a roll bar, heavy duty brush guard and 4 point harness give extra protection.

The Coleman CK100 is our top pick for a single seat gas powered go kart for kids over 8. It’s quick (but parents can govern the speed) and the maximum load is 150 lbs which is suitable for many teens. Even adults claim to ‘borrow’ this kart from their kids and still have lots of fun in it!

Pros:

  • 15+ mph top speed
  • Gas powered so no recharge time required
  • 13 inch pneumatic tires
  • Speed limiter
  • Roll cage and 4 point harness
  • Traditional US manufacturer

Cons:

  • More expensive and noisy than electric go karts for kids
  • Gas engines require maintenance

Check price on Amazon

8. Trailmaster MINI XRX Go Kart

Best Gas Powered Go Kart for Kids

Trailmaster MINI XRX Kart
  • Age Guide: 4-10
  • Max Speed: 25+ mph
  • Max Load: 400 lbs
  • Colors: Blue, Black, Green, Red, Yellow

The whopping 163cc (5.5HP) air cooled 4-stroke gasoline engine (a Honda clone) has electric start. It can propel kids up to 25 mph so safety precautions (e.g. a helmet and gloves) are advised – see our safety guide below. Here is a quick video of the kart in action:

For peace of mind, parents can start up or shut down the engine from up to 100 yards away using the included remote controller fob. This trailmaster go kart also has a governor to restrict the speed down to as little as 4 miles per hour for beginners.

Hydraulic rear disc brakes provide good stopping power and roll bars plus 5 point harnesses offer extra protection for driver and passenger. A pair of working LED headlights not only look cool but also help the driver see and be seen.

Double A-Arm front suspension with coil over shocks and large 13 inch rugged tires help tackle bumpy terrain more smoothly while fully automatic transmission makes it easy to drive. Ground clearance is 3.5 inches (several inches higher than many electric karts) which helps tackle off-road terrain.

Pros:

  • Two seater
  • 25+ mph top speed
  • Gas powered so no recharge time required
  • 13 inch pneumatic tires
  • Speed limiter and remote engine stop or start
  • Roll bars and headlights

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to electric go karts for kids
  • Gas engines require maintenance

Check price on Amazon

Buying Guide

So you’re looking to buy the best kids go kart or dune buggy? There’s more to think about than buying a traditional pedal-power ride on vehicle. Read on to discover the most important differences, advantages and safety features below.

What to Look For when Choosing a Go Kart for Kids

Before buying, make sure a go kart is the best option for the terrain your kids will most often drive on.

Pedal and electric powered karts and kids dune buggies usually have small, thin wheels with very low ground clearance. So they are best suited to flat surfaces like concrete or grass. They don’t cope well with sand (or soft dirt or gravel) – the tires are just too small.

  • If your kids will use it mostly in the backyard then a pedal powered or electric go kart is a great choice, depending on the child’s age and size.
  • But if they will want to spend most of the time off-road, a go kart may not actually be the best vehicle for them. Check out our review of the best ATVs for kids – they are built mainly for off-roading.
  • For older kids and youths, a gas go kart can be a good compromise. As they have more power and higher ground clearance, they cope with light off-roading better than electric karts.

Finally, decide if you need a single or a 2 seater go kart. Single seaters are more common but must never be used to carry a passenger in front of the driver. That isn’t safe because, in a crash, the passenger can be crushed between the steering wheel and the driver.

Pedal vs Powered Go Karts

A pedal powered kart is a great option for very young kids. They can burn off energy in a safe way and it never runs out of juice, until they do! These models are also cheap, quiet, maintenance free, lightweight and easy to store – and you don’t need gas or a charging point.

Powered vehicles are more suitable for older and more mature kids who feel the need for speed. They can play a part in improving a child’s coordination, risk awareness and maturity.

They also offer a possible gateway to racing go karts and an early driving experience that may help when learning to drive a car as an adult. But gas go karts and dune buggies should only be driven by kids who are responsible enough to handle them – they can be very quick.

go kart racing

Electric vs Gas Go Karts

4 of the racers in our reviews are electric and 2 are gas powered. Each power source has its own merits and disadvantages:

  • Electric go karts for kids are slower, cheaper and quieter (like the whine of a drill). Ideal for backyards in sleepy neighborhoods.
  • Gas powered go karts are faster, more expensive, smellier and noisier (like a motorcycle). Best suited to rural locations or off-road use in remote areas.

Electric models depend on a battery which needs recharging when it runs down. Depending on the vehicle, the battery can last as long as 3 hours or as little as 40 minutes. But that’s still enough for 5-10 miles of riding fun.

However the time required to fully recharge the battery is usually 12+ hours so you do need to plan ahead. You don’t want it to run out of charge after 5 minutes, or a long way from home…

Gas powered go karts are, of course, powered by gasoline so, if the gas tank is empty, just pour another gallon in and you’re good to go again!

There are also differences in the amount of maintenance each type of kart requires:

  • Electric go karts and dune buggies have a maintenance-free electric motor.
  • Gas engines require regular servicing, just like a motorcycle. Oil, brake fluid, spark plug, fuel lines etc may all need regular inspection, cleaning or replacement.

Finally, electric power should be more environmentally friendly than a gas guzzler. If the home electricity you use to recharge the battery comes from a renewable source, but that’s an argument for another day…

Top Speed

Pedal powered karts only go as fast as your little kids can pedal, unlikely to be more than a fast walking pace. An adult should easily be able to keep up with them if necessary.

Electric go karts in our review are split into 2 groups:

  1. Ride on ‘toy’ go karts for little kids like the Power Wheels Dune Racer, with a top speed of 5 mph
  2. Fast go karts for kids and teens (like the Razor 360 Tricycle) with a top speed of 9-12 mph depending on the terrain and the weight of the driver.

Cheap gas powered go karts can reach seriously fast speeds of 25 mph. They are more suitable for older or mature kids. But both models in our review also have a governor that lets parents restrict the speed for beginners.

kids racing kart

Safety Features

Electric four wheelers are arguably safer by design than gas go karts:

  • They’re slower and don’t have the inherent dangers of the oily bits in an internal combustion engine. Think of a glorified hair dryer motor compared to a screaming motorcycle engine…
  • Gas engines also run much hotter than the motors found in electric vehicles. Especially the muffler which can cause a serious burn if touched.

A desirable safety feature in the best kids go karts is a governor (limiter) that parents can set to restrict maximum speed:

  • The Power Wheels has a simple switch to select half or full speed, up to a maximum of 5 mph.
  • Both gas models we reviewed have a more sophisticated parental governor with variable speed control for younger kids and beginners.
  • But the powerful electric karts for teens (like the Razor Ground Force Drifter) don’t have any governor. You have to rely on the child’s maturity to drive them at an appropriate speed.

Other desirable safety features include:

  • A seat belt – to stop the driver being thrown out in the event of a crash.
  • Good brakes – essential in fast go karts for kids (disc brakes typically provide more stopping power than drums).
  • Roll bars or a roll cage – provide extra protection for the head and shoulders in case of a rollover.

Working head and tail lights are necessary for driving at night. But none of the models we’ve reviewed have tail lights so they should only be driven in the daytime. Good daylight also lets the driver quickly see, and respond to, any obstacles or sudden changes in terrain.

See the FAQ below for recommended safety gear.

Go Karts for Kids FAQ

What is a kids go kart?

It is a popular type of open wheel car, often used for racing. Modern versions typically have four wheels, a single seat and a steering wheel but two seat versions are available in leisure karts.

They can use pedal power or an electric motor or a gas/diesel engine (similar to a motorcycle). They are smaller and slower than full size adult racing models and often have additional safety features.

What is the right age for a go kart?

Our reviews cover a variety of models for kids of all ages, from a go kart for 3 year old right up to teens and youths, so there’s something for everyone.

Manufacturers’ recommended age guidelines are a good place to start but they are sometimes quite conservative – they don’t want to be sued…

Each child is different – you don’t want to buy a vehicle too small, slow or ‘childish’ for your kids. But neither do you want to let them loose on something too fast or big for them to handle safely.

Consider the size, strength and maturity of your child, not just their age. If choosing a powerful kart, are they prepared to learn how to drive and brake safely, wear appropriate safety gear and maybe take some lessons?
boy playing on pedal power go kart

Are go karts safe for kids?

A lot depends on the type and speed of kart, as well as the size and age of your child.

Pedal power models (and the Power Wheels) are slow enough that an adult can walk alongside and keep up with them. Letting young kids ride a bike is likely to be more risky.

But more powerful electric and gas go karts for kids and youths are quick and heavy enough to potentially cause injury if suitable protective gear is not worn.
Always keep to the following safety rules:

– Kids must never carry a passenger in a single seater.
– Under 16s should be supervised by an adult.
– Always wear a safety helmet.
– Long hair must be tied up or kept inside the helmet – so it can’t get caught up in the wheels or chain.
– Loose clothing should be avoided, for the same reason.
– Go karts must never be taken onto public roads (illegal in most states anyway). They are for off-road use only.

To help keep your kids safe, check for hands-on training courses for children in your local area.

What go kart safety gear do kids need?

For the more powerful electric and gas models, always use the following safety equipment:

– A suitable Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet.

This is the most essential safety gear. According to a government report by the NCBI, the “relatively low incidence of head and neck injuries, compared with traffic accidents, may be attributed to … use of a safety helmet”.

And other protective gear can be useful such as:

– Eye protection
– Gloves
– Suitable (over the ankle) riding boots
– Long pants and a long sleeved shirt.