Art Ingels, the father of go-karts, was a hot rodder and racing car designer at Kurtis Kraft. In 1956 he initiated one of the greatest fun activities known to man when he built the first go-kart from a lawnmower engine and some scrap metal. Although super karts can reach a speed of 160 mph, the recreational go karts are child-friendly and are created for kids all over the world to enjoy the exhilarating adventure of go-karts safely.
There are a ton of different styles, power sources, and sizes to choose from. There are pedal versions of ride-on toys all the way up to mini-dune buggies. We’ve produced this guide to help you buy the best go-kart for kids – and for any adults that are brave enough to give the larger models a go.
Our Top Picks For The Best Go Karts For Kids
1. Razor 24-Volt Ground Force Drifter Fury
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2. Hauck Lightning Pedal Go-Kart
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Razor Crazy Cart
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HoovyKart Go Kart Conversion Kit for Hoverboards
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Hauck Batmobile Pedal Go Kart
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7. Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer
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The Razor Ground Force Drifter Fury is a great choice if you are looking for an electric-powered kart to stay on-the asphalt or concrete. Low to the ground, you’re child will feel like they are going plenty fast as the Razor gets close to it’s 12mph maximum speed. As you might have guessed from the name, the go-kart is meant to hit the curves and “drift” – it’ll slide sideways some if you time it right.
This toy is meant for kids up to the tween years. The manufacturer recommends for children 8 and up, but you really don’t want to push the maximum weight limit of 140 lbs. Any more than that weight and you are risking stressing out the electric motor. Battery life will depend on how fast you go and how much weight the motor is pulling, but battery life doesn’t seem to be an issue for most appropriately-sized riders.
Tip: If you think your child might EVER head onto a public road with this – for example, at the end of a driveway – make sure you attach the flag to the Razor. These are really low to the ground and most drivers will have a difficult time seeing your child on the road without a flag attached.
Weight Limit: 140 lbs
Looking for something to both wear out your children and have them thanking you at the same time? The Hauck Lightning might be the go-kart for you!
This vehicle is for the child that loved their Big Wheel but now is ready for something more – something with a steering wheel like mom and dad have. It’s a solid beast, made of steel tubing and having rubber wheels to keep riders connected to the road. The adjustable seat means the go-kart will grow with your child, until they are ready to graduate into a powered version someday.
The human-powered element means speeds should be kept at reasonable levels – little legs can only peddle so hard. This is aimed squarely at the pre-kindergarten market, though depending on your child’s size they should be able to ride it well into first grade.
Weight Limit: 120 lbs
The Razor Crazy Cart is an excellent choice for tweens who like go-karting but also want some crazy moves too. Skateboarders may enjoy this go-kart as an alternative. It’s a go-kart with some crazy drift and drive modes.
The patented drift system allows the child to vary the rear caster angle to drive and drift in any direction: forward, backward, diagonally, sideways, and any other angle in 360 degrees. The drift bar lets the driver control the spins, cornering, and drifts.
The 24 Volt (two 12V) rechargeable battery system runs for up to 40 minutes of continuous fun with a speed limit of 12 mph. A foot pedal acceleration controls the speed. There are no brakes; the speed decreases when the foot is lifted off the pedal. Pneumatic front tires and anti-tip front caster wheels prevent tipping forward.
The upgraded Razor Crazy Cart has improved steering mechanism, stabilizing casters, and no seatbelt for safety reasons. It’s the same principle as not having a seatbelt on a bicycle. Kids tend to spin, let go of the steering wheel and lean out of the cart’s stability triangle between the three wheels, which can tip it over. If the cart tips because of these extravagant tricks, a seatbelt would keep them strapped to the go-cart. It’s always safer if kids wear safety gear; they should wear a helmet whether they are riding a bike, skateboarding, or go-karting.
Weight Limit: 55 lbs
If you’re worried your kid may fall off a hoverboard and hurt themselves, then the HoovyKart Go Kart Conversion Kit could be the solution. Your child has more control, it’s safer with the seated position and more fun.
Transform any hoverboard into a go-kart by attaching the HoovyKart Go Kart kit. The go-kart arrives 90% assembled. Assembly is fast and ready for use within minutes. Attach the seat to the seat plate with the 4 screws.
Steer the go-kart with the grip handlebars from the seated position. Accelerate, brake, and turn the go-kart with the handlebars. Move both grips down for forward and up for backward. Turn left by moving the left grip up and right grip down and vice versa for turning right.
Foot pedals and frame length adjust to the kid’s height. The seat contours to your back and legs for a comfortable ride. The lightweight aluminum frame is aircraft grade.
Weight limit: Weight limit of hoverboard you attache
The Razor Dune Buggy is another great choice for your pre-teen child. It’s a more traditional go-kart than the Razor Drift, meant for off-road riding. The tires actually require air! There is a working suspension system! I kid a bit, but your child will get a more comfortable ride through the dirt and trails because of these features.
The speed is controlled through a hand throttle. There is no pedal to push on the Razor Dune Buggy. Riders under 120 pounds will get speeds up to 9 mph on the grass – and the built-in seat belts will make sure your child stays safely within the go-kart at all times. Stopping is provided through a metal rear-disk brake also located on the steering wheel.
Your child should expect to see continuous run times of around 45 mins to 1 hour from the included batteries. Again, your mileage will vary depending on the terrain and your child’s weight.
Weight Limit: 120 lbs
If your kid is a Batman fan and wants to protect their city against the villain, the Hauck Batmobile Pedal Go Kart is one of the best go-karts to consider. With its hero front cover design and race styled pedals, your little hero is ready to race the villain off the streets. The rubber wheels and eight ball style brake will ensure a better grip and a smooth ride.
A sturdy steel tube frame protects your little hero against impact and crashes. The handbrake works on both rear wheels to control the speed when going around corners. The villain may think slipping down the alley is an escape route, but the three-point steering wheel responds quickly to your child’s steering maneuvers.
The seat bucket not only keeps the child safe while driving, but the seat is also adjustable. It will comfortably fit your child’s height, ensuring lots of go-karting fun until they’re eight years or when they outgrow the go-kart. If there are two or more Batman heroes in the family, adjusting the seat for each child, is fast and easy.
Weight Limit: 120lbs
The Power Wheels Dune Racer is perfect for the first powered device for your child. It’s targeted at children 3 and up. Everything about it is built to ease your younger child into the world of go-karts. In the same regard, it’s a great choice for a less-adventurous child who just wants to cruise around the ‘hood at a nice, easy pace.
To begin with, the Dune Racer will max out at 5 mph in high mode. If that’s too fast, you can limit speeds to 2.5 mph in low-speed mode. That’s a safe way to teach a child how to drive, and get them comfortable with the idea of the pedal press powering the go-kart.
There are two seats, so young children can take turns riding and driving along on your grass or dirt trails. It’s rated for up to 130 pounds, so this tandem driving can take place as children age. It also provides some extra room for older children to spread out as they ride solo.
It’s not the fastest thing on your lawn, but your younger child will love it anyway!
Features To Consider When Shopping For Go Carts For Kids
Gas vs. Electric Powered vs. Pedaled
Gas-powered go-carts are suitable for outdoors. Electric powered and pedaled go-carts, however, are pollution-free and suitable for indoor or outdoor tracks.
The electric or battery-powered go carts run for a ¾ hour to 3 hours depending on the type of battery. Then the battery needs to be recharged.
Although low maintenance, the electric-powered go carts are limited with battery charging time. Some models need up to 12 hours of recharging which means you’ll only be able to drive the go-cart once per day.
One vs. Two Seater
Children too young to drive a go-cart can still enjoy the fun with a 2-seater go-cart. Some 2-seater go carts allow the child to control the brakes and steering wheel while being a passenger with an adult.
2-Seater go-carts with remote controls allow kids to drive with their friends. At the same time, the adult can also remotely control the go-cart if necessary.
Some go carts have the feature where you can remove the second seat when you want a 1-seater go-cart.
On-Road vs. Off-Road
Rubber tires enhance the racing effect when driving on the road. With a 3-point steering wheel for maneuverability and a child’s imagination, the experience is like driving on a racing track.
Same size wheels on the front and back allow for improved racing but not for off the road driving.
For off-road fun consider dune buggies with large pneumatic tires and rear suspensions. The greater the traction on the tires, the better the control of the go-cart on off-road terrains. It’s easier to pedal when the go-cart has pneumatic tires with traction.
Rear suspension helps with corners and maneuvering the go-cart across uneven terrain.
Power vs. “human power” brakes
Pedal go carts regulate the speed with how fast a child can pedal. For younger children, a pedal go-cart is safer than an engine that may go too fast for the child’s ability to control. Pedal go carts allow the child to reverse and pedal backward too. Pedaling teaches the child motor skills and improves the child’s coordination abilities.
Gas-powered go-carts and the electric-powered go carts satisfy the desire for speed in older children. Kids want to drive adult cars; engine-powered go carts create the kind of thrill of driving a vehicle. Gas and electric powered go carts are great choices for go-cart racing.
Materials Go Karts Are Made Of
Go-karts made from plastic material is usually a good option for toddlers and young kids. Make sure the body of the go-kart is made from a high-quality plastic that will withstand crashes and rough driving.
Tubular steel frames are commonly used in some of the best kids go-karts designed for older kids and racing karts.
The go-kart body should protect your child against unnecessary injuries during accidents. Even if a new go-kart is all shiny and looks good, check the quality mark before you buy it.
Type of Go Carts for Different Age Groups
Go cart manufacturers stipulate the age group appropriate for the specific go-cart. Although your child may be the right age, weight, and height, make sure your child is ready to drive a go-cart. Only a parent knows if their child is ready for the responsibility.
Little Kids (3-8)
- Pedal go-carts are like riding a bike; the toddler’s power controls the power. It is, therefore, safe because it can’t go faster than what the kid can pedal. Pedaling is a great exercise, and it strengthens bones and muscles.
- High back seats give comfort and support. Adjustable seats accommodate various heights of kids four to eight-year-old. A short or tall kid will have as much fun as your average height child while sitting comfortably and safely.
- Plastic materials are lighter in weight than aluminum or steel and cause fewer injuries when the go-cart crashes. High-quality plastic is durable and can withstand a young child’s enthusiasm, even when they lose control.
- Easy to grip handbrakes. If the kid likes to reverse pedal, consider brakes that operate for forward and backward pedaling.
- Bucket seats and rubber wheels for safety. The maximum wheel grip holds the go-kart steady, and the bucket seat keeps kids safely secured when taking sharp corners.
- Pedal go-carts with additional features for steering and braking give tweens more forward and reverse maneuverability. Hand-operated rear brakes, power lock braking systems, and thumb trigger acceleration controls are handy safety features to have on faster go-karts.
- Electric go-carts run with a motor and a battery and increase speed up to 10 mph for racing thrills. Batteries last about 35-40 minutes of fun.
- At a higher speed, safety precautions are essential, like bumpers and safety belts. Kids should learn safety rules and driving skills for better control of the go-karts.
- Some go-carts have driving features in the steering wheel, allowing easy maneuvering with only one hand.
- Lightweight tubular steel frames are stronger than aluminum frames.
- 2-stroke engines that can reach speed up to 30 mph, which is within safety limits for recreational go-karting. Gas-powered go karts are heavier and faster than other types of go-karts. The thrill is more at higher speed, but so is the danger.
- Transmission systems with different speed settings add to the excitement. A kill switch is a good safety measure if the go-kart is going too fast for the driver or they lose control. Go-karts teach kids how to drive improving their driving and safety skills while having fun.
- Bumpers at the front and back for safety when crashing and impacting with another go-cart or object. Other safety features to look out for are: a secure seat belt, a comfortable good-sized bucket seat, and a protective roll bar.
- Good braking systems. Hydraulic brakes give the rider complete control. Hand brakes are suitable for sudden stops, especially rear brakes.
Some go carts for kids can carry the weight of an adult when stationary. It helps when you want to demonstrate to a child how to sit in the go-cart.
There are also 2-seater go-carts that will support the combined weight of an adult and a child. Always check with the manufacturer how much weight the go-cart can handle.
Go carts aren’t limited to kids. There are many go-carts made for adult “children” to have the same fun the younger ones have. Besides, if you’re going to buy one of the best go-karts for kids, wouldn’t you be tempted to try it out too?
How Fast Do Go Karts Go
Speed is an important feature when selecting the best go-kart for kids of various age groups. Your child may enjoy the thrill of speed but aren’t mature enough to control a gas-powered go-kart. Then electric or pedal go-karts may the better option.
Pedal go-karts are the safest for toddlers and young kids. The speed is in direct proportion to how fast the child pedals. Rarely will a child lose control over the go-kart because of pedaling too fast.
Pedaling strengthens leg muscles. The stronger the child’s bones and muscles develop, the faster they will be able to pedal. Typically motor and eye-hand-coordination skills develop too, which increases the child’s ability to control and maneuver the go-kart.
The maximum safe speed limit for driving go-carts for recreational fun shouldn’t exceed 30 mph. A safe speed limit for kids younger than ten years is up to ten mph. Toddlers and kids three to six years shouldn’t control a go-kart with speed more than five mph.
If your child is interested in racing go-karts the child will be racing at speed above the safe limit. The different race leagues have age restrictions, and often 7-years-old is the youngest age allowed. Although a quality go-kart may give your child a better chance at winning a race, it also means a stronger engine that has the potential for higher speed.
Was this article helpful when considering the best go-cart for kids? What do you consider the most important feature?