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Best Sleds

Updated September 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 24 Models Considered
  • 8 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 153 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best sleds

    Last Updated September 2018

    Picture the scene: crisp white snow covers the ground, there’s a refreshing chill to the air, and you're flying down a hill on a sled with your friends and family cheering you on. A perfect 10! You just need to pick out a sled to complete this daydream... and, of course, snow on the ground.

    The only question left is, how do you find the best sled for you? With hundreds of fun-looking options on the market, it can be challenging to select the one that will best suit your needs.

    So, read our full guide to sleds, and before you know it you'll be streaming down those snowy slopes with the wind in your hair.

    For better performance, regularly wax the bottom of your sled.

    Types of sleds

    Toboggans

    Toboggans are are large sleds with flat bottoms and raised slides. Modern ones are most commonly made from plastic, but you can find wooden models. They're designed for multiple people to ride, so you'll probably be able to fit the whole gang on (as long as there aren't too many of you). They can be steered by shifting body weight and can go surprisingly quickly under the right conditions.

    An average toboggan costs between $30 and $70, depending on size. Though high-end vintage-style wooden toboggans can cost as much $700.

    Most toboggans have a rope on the front so they can easily be pulled to your sledding spot. The rider at the front can also hold onto it while descending to help them feel more secure.

    Saucers

    Saucers are small, lightweight single-person snow sleds. They're circular in shape and can go very quickly, but the rider has minimal steering or control, so they're not suitable for use in areas where you might have to maneuver around objects.

    Most snow saucers cost between $20 and $50, depending on the material and durability.

    Hybrids

    Hybrid sleds are somewhere between a saucer and a toboggan. They're usually shaped more like a toboggan, giving the rider some control, but they're much smaller than an average toboggan, usually seating just one person or sometimes two.

    You can find a quality hybrid sled between $25 and $60, though high-end models can cost over $100.

    Snow tubes give you a comfortable ride as their inflatable construction means they're naturally padded.

    Snow tubes

    Snow tubes are similar to saucers, since they're circular sleds, but the difference is that snow tubes are inflatable, sit up higher, and they're sometimes designed to fit multiple riders.

    A basic snow tube costs around $20 to $30, but you can find extra-large, durable models costing as much as $100 to $150.

    EXPERT TIP

    You can find sleds in a range of colors and patterns, so it’s fun to pick different ones for different users, like your kids.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Sled materials

    You can find sleds in a range of materials, all of which have different properties, pros, and cons.

    Plastic

    Plastic sleds are lightweight and generally affordable compared to their wooden or metal counterparts. They're smooth, and therefore fast, and work well on rough or rugged terrain. While plastic sleds are relatively durable, they can crack or break under certain conditions.

    Foam

    Foam sleds have similar qualities to plastic ones, in as much as they're lightweight and good for use on rugged terrain. Foam is more cushioned and comfortable than plastic, but it isn't as smooth, so foam sleds give you a bit of a slower ride – which can be either good or bad, depending on your perspective.

    Foam sleds are exceptionally lightweight and comfortable to use, but the foam can start to degrade after a few seasons of use.

    Wood

    Wooden sleds are very durable and long-lasting, if you maintain them properly, plus they have a classic look that some people find appealing. The downside to wooden sleds it that they're quite heavy, which isn't particularly fun when you have to lug them back up to the top of your favorite sledding hill or stash them in your car. Wooden sleds also tend to be one of the most expensive options out there.

    If you opt for a wooden sled, you should occasionally treat it with a wax or weatherproof sealant to stop the wood from rotting due to exposure to wet conditions.

    Metal

    You can find some types of sleds – particularly saucers – made from metal. Since metal has a very smooth surface, as well as a little bit of weight, you'll find yourself speeding down those slopes extremely quickly on a metal sled. It's also a very durable material that won't crack or snap, though it is possible to get scratches and dents in it, which could slow down your sled a little. These also might go too fast for your liking, or sink down in deep snow.

    Because inflatable sleds pack down very small, they're perfect for taking with you on a winter vacation.

    Inflatable

    Inflatable sleds are usually made from vinyl, which you fill with air before each sledding session. You get a very comfortable ride on an inflatable sled, since the air inside provides cushioning. Since they're very lightweight and have a unique weight distribution, they work very well in deep but lightly-packed snow, which many other sleds can struggle with.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    While most people sled in a sitting position, you can use some types of sleds lying down either on your front or back.

    Sled safety

    There's no doubt that sledding is fun, but it can also be dangerous if you don't take care. The following sled safety information will help you avoid harm as you enjoy those snowy slopes.

    • Your chosen sledding hill shouldn't be too steep and should end with a long, flat, open stretch to allow you to glide to a halt.

    • Never sled down a hill that ends with a hazard at the bottom, such as a street, a fence, or a body of water.

    • Make sure your chosen hill is free from obstacles that you could crash into or that could tip your sled.

    • Wear sensible, warm, waterproof clothing for sledding, but do not wear scarves, long sweaters, or other loose items of clothing that could get caught on the sled or on objects around or under it.

    • Ideally, you should wear a winter sports helmet while sledding, but if you don't have one, a bicycle helmet will suffice.

    • Never sled down a hill while facing backward or standing up.

    • Always keep your arms and legs within the sled. If you fall out, move out of the way quickly, while paying attention to anyone else who's coming down the slope.  

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Children under five should always sled with an adult. Most children 5 to 12 can safely sled independently, but should be supervised at all times with an adult nearby.

    Tips

    • Think about the number of people who want to use the sled at the same time. Some large toboggans can hold five or six people, but most sleds are designed for just one or two.

    • Check the weight of your chosen sled before you buy – you want something that's not going to be too heavy for you or whoever's using it to drag up a hill.

    • Consider the dimensions of your sled. If you'll be taking it in your car to your local sledding spot or packing it in luggage, avoid any sleds that are too large.

    • Some sleds come with a warranty. While this isn't a guarantee of quality, it does give you some peace of mind that, if your sled should break due to no fault of your own, you can easily get it repaired or replaced.

    • To increase its longevity, store your sled in a dry and reasonably warm place when not in use.

    While out sledding, always go to one side of the hill to drag your sled back up again, this leaves the middle open for others descending.

    FAQ

    Q. Are there snow sleds suitable for toddler use?
    A.
    Yes, you can find pull-along sleds designed for toddler use. These are made for the toddler to sit in and be pulled along by an adult. They aren't intended for toddlers to sled down a hill in on their own. Young children should only ever sled down a hill with an adult until they're responsible and capable enough to do so on their own.

    Q. Do sleds have weight restrictions?
    A.
    The majority of sleds come with a maximum weight limit listed on their packaging. It's dangerous for riders over this weight limit to use the sled in question, as it could break. Remember that this is a combined weight limit, so if multiple people are using the sled at the same time, be sure that their combined weight doesn't exceed the limit. Also, be aware that weight limit does not take such factors as snow depth into account (higher weights might sink sleds too deeply into light, fluffy, poorly packed snow).

    Q. How long will my sled last?
    A.
    Not all sleds are created equal – some will only last a season or two of regular use, whereas others could survive long enough for your kids to pass onto their kids. Generally, you get what you pay for, so a cheap sled is fine if you don't mind replacing it in a year or two, but you will have to invest in an extremely hard wearing model. If you’re concerned, get one with a warranty.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer

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