10 Best Balance Bikes: 2018

Our Top Balance Bike Picks For Toddlers, Pre-Schoolers and Older Kids

What’s the best bike for a toddler?

A balance bike is hands down the best first bike for a toddler or pre-schooler. But with hundreds of balance bikes on the market, finding the perfect bike for your toddler, (or pre-schooler or even grade schooler!) can be a challenge.  Not only are balance bikes not one-size-fits-all, there are many different features on balance bikes to consider – things like tire type, weight, size, and brakes.  To make it super easy for you, we’ve outlined our top 10 balance bikes, why we love them, and why you will too!

Why trust us?  We’ve tested over 30 balance bikes over the last 9 years and have personally met and consulted with the owners of many top balance bike brands including WOOM, Strider, Kazam and GlideBikes.  In fact, we know our stuff so well that Wirecutter, A New-York Times Company, “spent a few hours with the copious research” on our site to create their own top 10 list!

If your child is at least 4-years-old or very tall, check out our list of larger balance bikes – Best Balance Bikes for 4 to 6-Year-Olds.

10 Best Balance Bikes: 2018

Best Balance Bike

Why We Love It

MSRP

WOOM 1

Best Overall$199

Strider Sport

Best Universal Fit$110

Muna 12"

Best Bang for Your Buck$120

Banana Bike GT

Best Budget Bike$70

Yedoo Too Too

Best for Lightweights$160

Ridgeback Scoot XL

Best for Adventurous Older/Taller Kids

$210

WOOM 1 PLUS

Best for Timid Older/Taller Kids$269

Prevelo Alpha Zero

Best for Adventurous Younger Kids$199

Cruzee

Best for the Smallest Riders

$159

Strider 14x

Convertible Balance/Pedal Bike

$190

GOMO

Honorable Mention: Best New Budget Bike

$69


    • WOOM 1

      Best Overall


      WOOM1 balance bike in green

      MSRP: $199

      FITS KIDS: In clothes sized 18-months to transitioning to 3T, weighing at least 26 lbs. For a larger option, check out the WOOM 1 Plus.

      FEATURES: Air tires, hand brake and turning limiter

      FULL REVIEWWOOM 1
      Perfection from top to bottom, WOOM 1 creates a smooth, easy ride for young toddlers with a winning combination of a lightweight, extremely low step-through frame, a low minimum seat height, extra-cushioned air tires, and an easy-to-use handbrake. Its taller handlebars place riders in a natural, upright position with their weight centered over their hips, helping kids feel less hesitant about balancing.  As an added bonus, the WOOM1 is available in 5 colors!

      PROS
      • Natural upright body position and easy to balance
      • Wider 12″ air tires provide better cushioning than traditional 12″ air tires
      • Low step through makes it easy to get on and off
      • One of the lightest balance bikes with air tires and a hand brake on the market (just 7.9 lbs!)
      • High end components

      CONS
      • Compared to other brands, doesn’t offer a great range of seat heights


    • Strider Sport

      Best Universal Fit


      Strider Sport balance bike in blue

      MSRP: $110

      FITS KIDS: 18 months to 4-years-old, weighing at least 21 lbs. (Strider Classic only recommended until 3-years-old due to shorter seat post.)

      FEATURES: Foam tires, optional hand brake

      FULL REVIEW: Strider Sport

      Built on a well-designed frame, the Strider is easily adaptable to fit a wide range of age groups. With an optional extended seat post and optional extra-long handlebars, we’ve had the best luck with Strider at accommodating kids of various sizes. For a decent price point, the Strider is a quality bike that fits light kids, heavy kids, tall kids, short kids – you generally can’t go wrong with a Strider.

      PROS
      • Adjustable to to fit ages 18 months to 4 years old!
      • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
      • Foam tires never go flat and are maintenance free

      CONS
      • Foam tires provide minimal traction and no cushioning – not ideal for non-paved surfaces
      • Exposed bolts can potentially scratch legs


    • Muna 12″

      Best Bang for Your Buck


      Muna balance bike in red, blue, and green

      MSRP: $120

      FITS KIDS: In 2T – 4T pants

      FEATURES: Air tires, hand brake

      FULL REVIEW: Muna 12″

      The best bang-for-your-buck, the Muna 12″ is a rugged and nimble, go-anywhere balance bike that packs a lot of punch into its small price tag. For a surprisingly low price, you get a durable frame, air tires, a hand brake, and super cute designs to choose from. In addition to everyday neighborhood rides, the Muna’s wider tires and handlebars make it suitable for basic trail riding.

      PROS
      • Wider 12″ tires provide better cushioning and are great for packed dirt trails
      • Wide handlebars provide more control for steering
      • Height adjustable and tiltable handlebars
      • Three colorful, fun design options

      CONS
      • Taller minimum height of handlebars and heavier weight not ideal for petite riders


    • Banana Bike GT

      Best Budget Bike


      Banana Bike GT balance bike in blue

      MSRP: $70

      FITS KIDS: In 3T to size 5 pants

      FEATURES: Air tires

      A well-designed frame for the price, the Banana Bike GT has a longer wheelbase, making it more stable than other budget balance bikes. While the Banana is a deal for budget-minded families, just keep in mind that while we think the design is great, this isn’t a bike that’s going to last you for generations.

      For more budget balance bike options, check out our 10 Best Balance Bikes Under $100 list.

      PROS
      • Surprisingly good design for the price
      • Quick release seat post clamp
      • Air tires at a great price!

      CONS
      • As with all budget bikes, it’s not as durable as the other bikes we recommend
      • Handle on back of seat prevents tire from rolling when lowered all the way down


    • Yedoo Too Too

      Best for Lightweights


      Yedoo TooToo balance bike in orange

      MSRP: $160

      FITS KIDS: Younger or lighter-weight toddlers in clothes sized 24T to small 4T, weighing at least 27 lbs.

      FEATURES: Air tires, hand brake and turning limiter

      FULL REVIEW: Yedoo Too Too

      Quick, nimble, and lightweight even with air tires, the Yedoo Too Too is an exceptional buy for younger or lighter-weight toddlers who don’t want to sacrifice the performance of air tires for lighter weight foam tires. With 6″ of adjustable seat height, this is a great bike for lightweight kids to grow with. Once your child needs the seat height set to 17″ or 18″, most other balance bikes will be much heavier. And at $160, it’s a more affordable buy for many parents.

      PROS
      • A lightweight balance bike with air tires and a hand brake (just 8.2 lbs!)
      • 12″ to 18″ seat height range allows plenty of room for growth
      • Padded saddle

      CONS
      • Exposed bolts can potentially scratch legs


    • Ridgeback Scoot XL

      Best for Adventurous Older/Taller Kids


      MSRP: $210

      FITS KIDS: Older kids in size 4T – 7 clothes

      FEATURES: Air tires, hand brake

      FULL REVIEW: Ridgeback Scoot XL

      Hailing from the UK,  the Ridgeback Scoot is the perfect sized bike for older preschoolers or young grade schoolers who have yet to learn how to ride a pedal bike.  The Scoot is geared towards kids aged 4 to 8 who have no biking experience at all, who have only used training wheels (and can’t get rid of them), or who have outgrown their small balance bike but don’t yet have the desire to move up to a pedal bike. Its slightly leaned forward body position is a great fit for confident or adventurous kids who are likely to ride more aggressively one they master the bike.

      PROS
      • Wide, stable handlebars
      • Long wheelbase for stability and room for growth
      • 6″ of seat height adjustability
      • Quality, durable build

      CONS
      • Heavy for lighter-weight kids
      • Exposed bolts can potentially scratch legs


    • WOOM 1 Plus

      Best for Timid Older/Taller Kids


      WOOM 1 Plus balance bike in red

      MSRP: $269

      FITS KIDS: Fits kids in 3T to 5 pants

      FEATURES: Air tires, dual handbrakes, turning limiter

      FULL REVIEW: WOOM 1 PLUS

      One of the best balance bikes made bigger, the WOOM 1 Plus has all the benefits of the popular WOOM1, but for kids ages 3 to 5 – it’s the perfect bike for timid kids starting off their balance bike journey as preschoolers versus toddlers.  With comfortable, upright body positioning, large 14″ air tires, a removable “surfboard” footrest and turning limiter, DUAL hand brakes (a rare find in balance bikes), and a maximum seat height over 3″ above the WOOM1, the WOOM1 Plus is the ultimate confidence-building, large balance bike.

      PROS
      • Larger frame and 14″ tires provide plenty of room for growth
      • Lightweight and nimble
      • Removable turning limiter
      • Removable footrest
      • Dual hand brakes for optimal stopping power

      CONS
      • Footrest too large for small toddlers, but is removeable


    • Prevelo Alpha Zero

      Best for Adventurous Younger Kids


      Prevelo Alpha Zero balance bike in silver

      MSRP: $199

      FITS KIDS: 24 months old to transitioning to 3T clothes

      FEATURES: Air tires, hand brake

      FULL REVIEW: Prevelo Alpha Zero

      The Alpha Zero is what every young grom’s (and let’s be honest, their parents’ as well) dreams are made of.  No bright and busy graphics or literal bells and whistles, just a perfectly proportioned and precision-built balance bike.  From its high-end components, to a long wheelbase for added stability on jumps, hills, or trail riding, the Alpha Zero provides a smooth and effortless ride that is sure to instill a love of biking in your child at a young age.

      PROS
      • Low minimum seat height and low step-through ideal for young riders
      • High-end components, including threadless headset, Kenda tires, and Tektro brakes
      • Long wheelbase for added stability on jumps, hills, or trail riding
      • Cushioning air tires
      • Rounded bolts to prevent potential scratches

      CONS
      • Only available in two colors


    • Cruzee

      Best for the Smallest Riders


      Cruzee balance bike in red

      MSRP: $160

      FITS KIDS: In clothes sized 18-months to 4T, weighing at least 15 lbs.

      FEATURES: Foam tires

      FULL REVIEW: Cruzee

      Ridiculously light and beautifully crafted, the Cruzee balance bike truly stands out from the crowd. With its sparkling anodized aluminum frame (rust-proof!), multiple safety features, and ultra-lightweight frame, the Cruzee is an excellent starter bike for the youngest and lightest riders. Heavier kids may enjoy riding a more substantial frame. Available in 9 different colors!

      PROS
      • The lightest weight balance bike on the market! Less than 5 lbs.
      • Foam tires will never go flat and are maintenance free
      • Narrower handlebars make it great for younger or petite riders
      • Rounded edges to protect hands, arms and legs from injury

      CONS
      • Anodized aluminum scratches easily
      • Foam tires don’t provide the cushioning and traction of air tires


  • Strider 14x

    Best Balance Bike/Pedal Bike in One


    Strider 14x convertible balance bike in yellow

     

    MSRP: $190

    FITS KIDS: While the manufacturer recommends from ages 3 to 7, based on our testing, we recommend only from ages 3 to 5, or with inseams ranging from 15″ to 20″ in balance bike mode and 14″ to 20″ in pedal bike mode.

    WEIGHT: 12.5 lb.

    TIRE SIZE: 14″

    FULL REVIEW: Strider 14x Convertible Balance Bike

    After years of research, the Strider 14x was born. A great option for preschoolers who have yet to master a balance bike, the Strider 14x is a balance bike that converts to a pedal bike.   No need for training wheels, once a child has learned to balance while in balance bike mode, simply put on the pedals and within a couple of minutes they’ll be pedaling away, no help needed! Once your child outgrows the pedal bike mode, they will be ready for a 16″ bike.

    Due to taller handlebars, the Strider is best for taller 3-year-olds and up.  The longer reach between the seat and the handlebars is a bit too much for toddlers, who are much better off on the standard Strider 12″ Sport.  Based on our experience, the Strider is ideal for kids in size 5 clothes or less.

    PROS
    • Starts as a balance bike and easily converts to a pedal bike
    • Larger frame and tire size fit kids from ages 3 to 5
    • Comfortable, upright body positioning promotes confidence for beginners
    • Cushioned, ergonomic seat

    CONS
    • No hand brake, coaster brake in pedal mode
    • Very short crank arms in pedal mode – difficult for kids over age 5 to ride

     


Related Articles


10 Best Balance Bikes Under $100: On a budget? Our short list of budget-friendly balance bike options.

5 Best Ride-On Toys: Is your child still too young for a balance bike? Try out these ride-on toys instead!

Balance Bikes: How to Choose: Everything you need to know to choose the perfect bike for your child

Balance Bikes: Product Filter Tool: To view, filter, and read reviews on over 50 balance bikes

How to Teach a Child to Ride a Balance Bike: For help teaching your child to ride their new balance bike


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