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Best Big Wheels

Updated April 2018
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  • 25 Models Considered
  • 34 Hours Researched
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 56 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide for Best Big Wheels

    Last Updated April 2018

    One of your best childhood memories was getting your first shiny big wheel and riding it around your neighborhood, and you'd like your little one to have the same experience. The good news is that big wheels are still readily available, and they're better than ever.

    You want to get a big wheel that your child will love, but the number of options available to you can make it seem overwhelming. It can be tough to decide which features are important and which you can take or leave.

    At BestReviews, we test products independently, as well as conduct extensive research. Our goal is to help our readers find products that they will love and that meet their individual requirements.

    Read on for our full shopping guide to big wheels to learn how to pick the right one for your child. When you’re ready to buy, check out our top big wheel picks in the matrix above.

    A big wheel is a type of tricycle for kids with a front wheel that is usually significantly larger than the two back wheels.

    Types of big wheels

    Lowrider big wheels

    The very first big wheels were made in the lowrider style – with a relaxed backward-leaning seat – and it's still one of the most popular styles today. Since the seat has a backrest, it encourages good posture and offers support, which can be especially useful for younger riders.

    This type of big wheel also has a cool retro look to it, so your little one can cruise around in style.

    Upright big wheels

    Upright big wheels are more like conventional trikes but with a large front wheel. The seat position encourages an upright sitting posture, which may make some children feel more stable, especially if this is their first tricycle. You can choose from a wide range of upright big wheels, so you're sure to find one that your child will love. However, they don't tend to have the same classic look that draws many people to lowrider big wheels.

    Push-along big wheels

    Push-along big wheels are designed for young toddlers who aren't yet ready for a pedal tricycle. The seat is low to the ground so that riders can push themselves around using their feet. While these make great first big wheels, push-alongs are not suitable for older children.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    While most big wheels have traditional handlebars, you can find some models that are controlled by dual-stick steering.

    Big wheel features to consider

    Color and pattern

    Children have a pretty good idea of what they like and don't like, so think carefully about the color of the big wheel you choose and any patterns and motifs it might feature. Otherwise, you might end up with a disappointed kid on your hands.

    You can find big wheels in a wide range of colors, as well as models that feature various characters, such as Batman and Peppa Pig.

    Unless you're buying it as a surprise, it might be worth consulting your child to find out which color and style of big wheel he'd like.

    Frame material

    Most big wheels are made of either plastic or metal (usually aluminum, aluminum alloy, or steel). There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of frame.

    Plastic

    • Pros: Extremely lightweight (stands up to knocks and scrapes that could chip paint off metal). More affordable than metal trikes.

    • Cons: Not as durable as metal. Can fade in sun. Can crack. Look a little tacky (if appearance is a factor).
       

    Metal

    • Pros: Durable (can often be passed down to younger siblings or other children). Look great (that shiny “new trike” appearance plastic models don’t have).

    • Cons: Heavier than plastic. Can be hard for younger children to handle. More expensive than plastic.

    Tire type

    The tires on a big wheel may be made of plastic, foam, solid rubber, or air-filled rubber. Consider which material is the best choice for you and your little one.

    • Plastic tires are hard, so small bumps in the road can feel like mountains. Plastic also offers very little traction, but it’s lightweight and there's no chance of puncture.

    • Foam tires are are softer than plastic tires and offer some cushioning against bumps in the road. Foam is puncture-proof and offers some traction, but we wouldn't recommend it for off-roading.

    • Solid rubber tires offer a reasonable amount of traction and cushioning (more than foam tires but less than air-filled rubber). Solid rubber tires can’t be punctured, which is a plus.

    • Air-filled rubber tires are the kind you find on adult bicycles. They offer plenty of cushioning from bumps and have good traction. Overall, air-filled rubber tires are the best kind of tire available, but sharp objects can punctured them, and the inner tube occasionally needs inflating.

    Ease of riding

    A big wheel is often a child's first foray into the world of bikes or trikes, so you want a model that's easy and safe for a little one to ride.

    • Pedals

    Look for models with pedals that aren't overly stiff and don't need the rider to exert too much pressure to turn.

    • Handlebars

    The handlebars shouldn't be hard to turn or too sensitive, since young children have a tendency to oversteer around corners.

    • Wheelbase

    Ideally, a big wheel should have a wide wheelbase, which provides better stability and makes it unlikely that it will tip over even if the rider turns too quickly and tightly.

    EXPERT TIP

    We'd recommend a seat with some back support because this helps brace the rider's torso. This is especially useful for young riders who otherwise might find it hard to build momentum.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Big wheel prices

    How much should you spend on a big wheel? You don't have to spend a lot to get a decent one, which is good news, since your child will probably grow out of it in a few years. You can expect to pay between $30 and $200, depending on materials and features.

    • Inexpensive

    You can find basic big wheels for as little as $30 to $50. These models tend to have plastic frames. The least expensive trikes may not be of the greatest quality, but they’re fine for occasional use.

    • Mid-range

    These big wheels cost between $50 and $100. You can find some excellent models in this price range that will suffice for most young riders.

    • Expensive

    Expect to pay $100 to $200 for a high-end big wheel. At this price point, you'll find specialist models, such as those that adjust as your child grows.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some big wheels designed for younger kids have buttons that produce lights and sounds.

    Tips

    • Make sure the big wheel is the right size for your child. The rider should be able to comfortably reach the pedals but not be so close that his knees bend up uncomfortably as he propels himself.

    • Look for a big wheel with an adjustable seat. This can help position your child for comfortable pedaling, and it means she won't grow out of her big wheel as quickly.

    • Check if assembly is required. Some big wheels come fully assembled, while others need to be put together at home. If assembly is required, make sure you have the necessary tools – and a good dose of patience.

    • It might be good to have a pedal locking feature. You can lock the pedals on some big wheels so that a younger rider can safely be pushed or propel the tricycle with her feet until she's old enough to pedal it herself.

    Big wheels don't have chains like traditional bikes, so the rider can pedal forward and backward.

    Faq

    Q. Can I buy a big wheel I can adjust as my child grows?

    A. Yes, you can find some big wheels that are designed to suit children over a wide age range. This type has a handle on the back that allows an adult to push it along. Later, you can remove the handle so that the child can push the big wheel along with her feet. Then, once the child’s ready, you can engage the pedals.

    Q. Do big wheel trikes have a maximum weight limit?

    A. Yes, all big wheels have a maximum weight limit. For safety reasons, make sure your child doesn't exceed this weight limit.

    Q. Are there different big wheels for boys and girls?

    A. You might find some big wheels marketed for boys or for girls. At a young age, there's no physical difference that makes it necessary for female and male children to have gender-specific trikes. Instead, the difference between "boys" and "girls" big wheels are generally the designs – blue trikes or those with superhero designs are marketed toward boys and pink trikes or those with princess designs are marketed toward girls. Of course, we all know that girls can like superheroes and boys can like princesses, so buy your children whichever big wheels they like, regardless of gender.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor