Best pedal go-karts 2018
Kids love cars, and a pedal go-kart is a great introduction to the four-wheeled world. We compare some of the best you can buy today
Many who read this guide will go misty-eyed, perhaps remembering an enormous box turning up one birthday, and the shiny new pedal go-kart that lurked within. For many, delighted children, a pedal go-kart provides a first taste of self-propelled, four-wheeled transport. What could be a more exciting gift for a toddler to receive?
Fortunately, pedal go-karts are just as popular now as they were a generation ago, and there's a huge range to choose from. Here, we take a look at some of the best you can buy today.
Choosing a pedal go-kart – what to look for
As with any product, it's tempting to choose on visual appeal alone, but it's wise to look rather deeper when buying something a child is likely to form an emotional attachment to. Similarly, buying the cheapest might have costs in the long run.
When buying any substantial child's toy, quality is everything, for several reasons. Safety, of course, is paramount; the consequences of a shoddily constructed go-kart don't bear thinking about. Good quality also implies that a go-kart will be robust, too – essential for standing up to the punishment that it's likely to face, either intentionally or through those inevitable junior driving mishaps. Few things cause as much upset as a broken toy.
It's worth choosing a go-kart with a simple brake mechanism – one that a child will quickly learn to use. The simplest handbrake mechanisms work directly on one or both of the rear wheels, but are designed more to prevent the kart rolling away than to shed speed when being pedalled enthusiastically. Some have more powerful brake systems, which either use a bicycle-style brake caliper or a mechanism built into the chain drive, slowing the kart by back-pedalling.
Choose a kart with tyres that suit the terrain on which it's likely to be used. Solid rubber tyres are suitable for paved circuits, but might cause damage to flooring indoors. Hollow plastic wheels typically provide a more comfortable ride and are better suited to use on lawns, but typically aren't as durable. It's also worth checking that spare parts are easily available.
While it's very tempting to buy online, it's worth looking in person rather than relying on images alone. You'll also see how much of a challenge self-assembly is likely to be – the majority of go-karts are delivered as a box of bits. You'll also need to consider the size of the go-kart's driver. Some are designed to adjust for growth, but most specify a maximum weight or recommended age range, and it's not wise to exceed these for safety and durability reasons.
The best pedal go-karts for sale in 2018
Kettler Melbourne Kart review
Price: Around £149Suitable age: 3-5 yearsMaximum rider weight: 50kgAdjustable: YesAssembly required: Yes
The Kettler Melbourne go-kart has pleased children for several decades and its adjustability and impressive maximum driver weight mean a child can enjoy it for a number of years. It's a simple design with an enclosed chain and hand-operated brake, and the company also offers good spares support.
RIP-X Childrens 'My First' Pedal Go Kart review
Price: Around £49.95Suitable age: 3-5 yearsMaximum rider weight: 30kgAdjustable: NoAssembly required: YesThis is one of the cheapest pedal go-karts you can buy, but its low maximum rider weight means it might be outgrown quickly. It looks good for the price, though, with the safety of a hand-operated brake and fully enclosed chain. It might be worth spending more on a kart that'll last your child longer, though, unless they have a younger sibling to pass it on to.
Berg Toys Buzzy Fiat Go-Kart review
Price: Around £119.00Suitable age: 2-5 yearsMaximum rider weight: Not specifiedAdjustable: YesAssembly required: No
A visual resemblance with the ever-fashionable Fiat 500 makes the Berg relevant to image-conscious toddlers. For a steel-framed go-kart, the Berg's price doesn't seem exorbitant, either. The gearing is low, so you need not worry about high-speed pedalling accidents, and there's a pedal-back brake, which some children might find easier than a handbrake.
Thunder Eva Rubber Wheel Tyres Go Kart review
Price: Around £122.99Suitable age: 4-10 yearsMaximum rider weight: 50kgAdjustable: YesAssembly required: No
The Thunder certainly has visual appeal in its favour, with eye-catching looks and big, rubber tyres. Its maker boasts that they incorporate air chambers that resist punctures, which bodes well for the tough use its design is likely to encourage. There's an adjustable seat and a high rider weight limit to ensure it isn't rapidly outgrown.
Hauck T-90230 Gokart Batmobile review
Price: Around £173.93Suitable age: 4 years and upMaximum rider weight: 50kgAdjustable: YesAssembly required: Yes
This could be the perfect go-kart for junior superheroes, although its iconic style comes at a premium price and there's no Batman costume included. With an adjustable seat and high rider weight, it's likely to survive the odd growth spurt, and there's a handbrake and enclosed chain.
Berg Toys Ride-On Kids Buddy Pedal-Powered Go-Kart review
Price: Around £199.00Suitable age: 3-8 yearsMaximum rider weight: Not specifiedAdjustable: YesAssembly required: Yes
The 'Buddy' is among the most popular pedal go-karts currently on sale. It's a simple design, but built to a high standard and with a modern appearance. It also comes with the reassurance of a two-year warranty on its steel frame. It's not the cheapest, but should go the distance and provide pedalling fun for a good few years.
Hauck T-91869 Nerf Battle Racer review
Price: Around £209.74Suitable age: 3 years and upMaximum rider weight: 50kgAdjustable: YesAssembly required: Yes
The Battle Racer is likely to appeal to youngsters with a boisterous streak and encourages soft foam Nerf-gun drive-by shootings. The guns are sold separately and the Battle Racer is far from the cheapest you can buy, but it's strong on visual appeal and play potential.
Duplay Velocity Racer Large Pedal Go-Kart review
Price: Around £249.00Suitable age: 5 years and upMaximum rider weight: 100kgAdjustable: YesAssembly required: YesThe Duplay is a serious piece of kit: its sturdy tubular steel frame is claimed to handle riders up to 100kg in weight, which means grown-ups can have a go if a younger occupant can be prised away from the wheel. The usual safety features of an enclosed chain and handbrake are present and correct and the Duplay should offer pedalling fun for years to come.
Berg Toys Ford Mustang GT Pedal Go-Kart review
Price: £309.00Suitable age: 4-12 yearsMaximum rider weight: Not specifiedAdjustable: YesAssembly required: No
Another go-kart from Berg, this one channels some of the style of the Ford Mustang muscle car, but makes do with pedals in place of a powerful petrol engine. Like the real thing, the Berg Mustang promises big fun, with broad, grippy tyres on big wheels that should make easy work of bumpy surfaces. The wheels turn on ball bearings, too, which should make for smooth pedalling, while riders can reverse by backpedalling.
DINO X-Quad AF review
Price: Around £609.99Suitable age: 5 years and upMaximum rider weight: Not specifiedAdjustable: YesAssembly required: Yes
Sitting towards the top end of the pedal go-kart price scale, the X-Quad is designed to withstand heavy outdoor use and the manufacturer's publicity shots show it wading through shallow water at the seaside. A five-year frame warranty underlines its tough nature, and there's a two-year guarantee for workmanship, too.