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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3. ZXTDR 48-Volt 1800w Go Kart For Kids
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4. Coleman Powersports Gas Powered Go Kart
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5. Razor 24-Volt Dune Buggy
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6. Rosso Motors 36 Volt ATV
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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
Don’t let the name fool you. The ZXTDR Electric Go Kart is not just for kids! With a weight limit of 220 pounds this go-cart can handle any adult that can fit in it. I’d think it would start to be a tight fit if you are much over 6ft – but one owner claims her 6’4″ husband was able to get into it and ride without problems.
Why might you want to squeeze in to this go-kart? Because it can really haul! Top speed is around 27 mph which should satisfy all but the biggest speed demons. Parents can use the speed limiter control to lock down the speed to a more reasonable level so you can feel comfortable letting your teenager ride this device as well. Hydraulic brakes provide enhanced stopping power, and the steel frame is durable for hours of use.
Battery life will depend on how hard you ride, but the manufacturer claims a 2 hour drive time from the 4 12-Volt batteries included with the kart. If you have the room to off-road, your adventurous child will love this go-kart.
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
I’m going to admit something here. I used to ride 3-wheelers as a kid. I loved it, and I used to crash them more than a human should. Why someone thought it was a good idea to make inherently-unstable off-road vehicles – one with only ONE wheel in the front – is beyond me.
Luckily, we’ve grown as a society. You can now have your child riding on much more stable four-wheel ATV’s.
This ATV from Rosso Motors can fully charge in six hours. Once charged, your kids will be able to go off-road at up to 12 mph. Unlike most go-karts, this model can go in reverse. That can end up being a bigger deal than you think, especially as you are helping a new driver learn the ropes.
This go-kart is designed to look like “grown-up” ATV’s, so your child can look and feel just like you. It’s rated for ages 3 through 8 and up to 90 pounds – but some owners have claimed you can push that limit a little bit.
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 on 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 Children
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 indoors 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 friend. 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 sized 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.
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 power is controlled by the toddler’s power. It is, therefore, safe because it can’t go faster than what the kid can pedal.
- High back seats give comfort and support, especially if the seat is adjustable.
- Plastic materials are lighter in weight than aluminum or steel and cause fewer injuries when the go-cart
- Easy to grip handbrakes. If the kid likes to reverse pedal, consider brakes that operate for forward and backward pedaling.
- Bucket seats for safety.
- Pedal go-carts with additional features for steering and braking.
- Electric go-carts that increase speed up to 10 mph for racing thrills.
- At higher speed, safety precautions are important like bumpers and safety belts
- 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.
- Transmission systems with different speed settings.
- Bumpers at front and back for safety when crashing and impacting with another go-cart or object.
- Good braking systems. Hand brakes are good for sudden stops.
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.
Was this article helpful when considering the best go-cart for your kids? What do you consider the most important feature?