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These plastic disks are red, green, and blue and they are coated with IceVex, which is a cold-resistant treatment that aids in durability. The raised handles make it easier for kids to hold on while riding.
These saucers work best for younger, lighter kids riding on packed snow.
This sled has built-in handles that allow the rider a little more control when steering. It includes a lanyard to make towing back up to the top of the hill easier and it doesn't take up much storage space.
This sled is roughly 4 feet long, so it is best suited for smaller kids.
This model has both steering and brakes, which set it apart from the average sled. It features a no-tool assembly, can fit two riders, and has a retractable rope that makes for easy towing.
The cost of this model is a little higher than the other sleds on our shortlist.
This 47-inch snow tube has built-in handles and comes with a patch kit to facilitate repairs. It is large, but it is also light enough so a child can tow it alone. The included storage bag is a nice touch.
For rapid inflation of this model, it is best to use an air pump.
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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, you need 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
You can find sleds in a range of materials, all of which have different properties, pros, and cons.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.