Buying Guide: Find the Best Scooter For Kids of All Ages
This guide is designed to help you find the best scooter for your kid, no matter what their age, or whether you’re looking for a boys scooter or a girls scooter. Scooting is such an amazing way to help your kids learn to balance, develop muscle and motor skills, all while having fun and getting exercise. Not all scooters are made with solid materials, not all are adjustable (sounds great, but the perfect kids scooter for you might not be), and some can’t be taken apart or folded down easily for travel. We’re here to help you narrow down your search, and help you find the right one. Before you get started, there are a few things you need to look for. Some design features should be taken into consideration when choosing the best scooter for you child.
A note about safety – it’s important to point out that the use of approved helmets is always recommended. Knee and elbow pads are also highly recommended especially at the very beginning. Kids who are just learning to scoot should wear high visibility, or brightly colored clothing and stay away from traffic, stick to practicing on smooth surfaces, and, of course, be under adult supervision.
Simple Scooter TerminologyTo help make your scooter shopping a bit easier, we’ll start with some terminology. Take a look at the image below at the most common parts discussed in this buying guide.
Different Types of Scooters for Kids
Now that you’ve seen what and where some of these parts are, let’s set our sights on the different types of scooters out there. Kids mention all sorts of different terms and brand names that we’re not used to, so let’s take a look at the most popular types of scooters for kids. A great toddler scooter for a 2 year old, and probably up until you’re looking for a scooter for 6 year old kids and older (or whenever you feel your child is ready), will likely be a 3 wheeled scooter for kids in this age range. Once their balance and motor skills have progressed, and you feel they’re ready for a 2 wheeled design, it will depend heavily on their interest, and where and how they will most often use it. Some two wheeled scooters are designed more for speed with larger wheels, some for cruising comfort with suspension, and possibly a hand brake, and some are built for doing tricks and jumps. This is not to say that they are all exclusive to those interests, but in the case of trick scooters, for example, they are usually not adjustable, are reinforced with steel or aluminum and have metal core wheels to withstand the abuse of the jumps and tricks. Other models are adjustable and are capable of some tricks, but large jumps and complicated tricks that involve any kind of force on the T-bar could be dangerous. We’ll talk a bit more about that in the Adjustable Handle Height section below. The image below are examples of the types of scooters discussed in this scooter buying guide.
Important Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Scooter For Kids
The Best Scooter Will Be One That’s Age Appropriate
As with a bicycle, while kids learn and develop balance and muscle, hand-eye coordination and motor skills, it’s important to start with a three-wheeled scooter to assist them, but still give them the sense of accomplishment. A toddler 3 wheel scooter for very young children should be low to the ground, the ‘decks’ are usually quite narrow, somewhere in the 4-5” width range, any wider and it will be more difficult for the child to control, and the three wheeled models will not go as fast as the two wheeled versions. Models for children in the 2-5 year old range should be a ‘lean to steer’ model. While kids are developing balance, but also their critical and quick decision making skills, leaning to steer is much safer than a model where the T-bar can turn suddenly. Then there is the design of the three wheeled scooter, most three wheeled scooters have two wheels in the front and one at the back, is the preferred version among parents. Many reviews of three wheeled scooter designs with two wheels at the back and one at the front say it gets in the way of their ‘kick’ follow through, and the kids get frustrated quickly. Better to look for a 3-wheeled model with 2 wheels in the front, and one at the back.
Best Scooters for 2-5 Year Olds Will Have:
- Lean to Steer – helps with balance development, but also helps to avoid accidents.
- Low Deck – good for stability
- Three Wheels – Ideally 2 front wheels and 1 back wheel
- Narrow Foot Deck – Somewhere around 4-5″ will help them with control
At about the age of about 6+ is the time to look for a two wheeled scooter. However, you know your kid best, if they are already used to scooters, skateboards, or riding bikes without assistance, younger may be okay.
As we discussed before, more options become available according to how and where the scooter will mainly used. Kids grow fast so an adjustable handle height might seem like a good idea, but if the scooter will be mainly used for jumps and tricks, good scooters for these kids will not have adjustable T-bars. We’ll discuss all of this is more detail below, but the main things to consider when buying a two wheeled scooter are:
Best Scooters for 6 Year Olds and Up – Consider The Following:
- Adjustable Height – only if it’s not being used for aggressive jumps and tricks
- Wheel Size – larger is faster but heavier, smaller is slightly slower, a typical size is 110mm
- Wheel Type – metal core polyurethane for trick scooters, otherwise nylon core polyurethane wheels are the norm
- Weight Capacity – some of the beginner models have a lower maximum weight capacity, so won’t last into their teens
- Slip Resistant Foot Deck – more important as they start to ride faster and ride more often
Ok, so that was a brief overview, below we get into some specifics. If you’re ready to start looking at some different models, and reading some kids scooter reviews, click on the following links (press ‘home’ at any time to return to this page):
Scooters for ages 2-5 / Scooters for ages 5-8 / Scooters for ages 8-13
Should it Have an Adjustable Handle Height?
Are adjustable height scooters better? Maybe. The handlebars should be about waist height for optimal control. Children grow between 3” – 4” per year between the ages of 2 and 5, and about 2” per year after that, so adjustable scooters with a “T-bar” that can slide up and down might be a nice feature. It provides the possibility of sharing with a sibling who is a different height, so for kids of a younger age, this feature is nice to have. Once you kid grows out of it, it will be time to replace. The argument against adjustable handle heights is it may be seen as less durable. Our stance is that this is a nice option for the younger kids, especially in the 2-5 year old range, and older kids who love to cruise around the neighborhood, and are less interested in jumps and tricks at the skatepark.
When you don’t want an adjustable height option is older kids who are into doing tricks and jumps at the skatepark. In this case non-adjustable, solid T-bars are the way to go, as they will be more durable and sturdy. This also applies to foldable design options that we cover later on. A kids stunt scooter, or trick scooter, will be solid. Some tricks are aggressive and involve the complete force of the rider’s weight over the handlebars when landing a jump, so you’ll want no possibility of anything collapsing and causing injury.
✓ Adjustable is great for 3 wheeled scooters, and kids who just love to cruise
✗ Not recommended for trick scooters
Scooter Wheels – Which Size is Better?
Wheel size and wheel type can get quite complicated for very experienced riders, so we’ll keep this nice and basic. The standard scooter wheels are made from polyurethane threads around a plastic core, and a diameter of 110mm. As a general rule, a smaller wheel is slower, but lighter, and keeps the deck lower to the ground which can help with stability, whereas a larger wheel in the 120mm scooter wheels to 125mm will be faster and also raise the deck higher from the ground, and be a smoother ride for the most part. Experienced riders prefer the larger wheels because it gives them more clearance for doing tricks in addition to speed.
The width of the wheel is not something most consumers have a choice in. Expert riders will choose wider or narrower depending of they want more traction, or more maneuverability in their stunt scooter wheels, when buying after market, or custom wheels.
The material that makes up the core of the wheel becomes important for the pro scooter riders and stunt scooter riders. Trick scooter wheels will usually have metal core, rather than plastic, as it provides the durability needed for aggressive jumps. Some are getting into hollow core scooter wheels to make them as light as possible.
Some versions of the 3 wheeled models have scooter wheels that light up for the younger kids, with LED lights in the wheels. Might be a fun feature for the little ones.
So…Which Wheel is Best? Can’t go wrong with 110mm
- 100mm scooter wheels – slower, but lighter and less ground clearance for greater stability
- 110mm wheels – the industry standard for most everyday ‘out of the box’ scooters
- 120-125mm scooter wheels – faster, smoother, and provide more ground clearance for tricks
- Polyurethane with plastic core – industry standard for most everyday scooters
- Polyurethane with metal core – industry standard for most pro style scooters
- Polyurethane with hollow core – extremely advanced, very light wheels