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The Best Electric Train Sets For Kids

Last updated on November 24, 2023

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Our Picks For The Top Electric Train Sets For Kids

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
  The Best Overall

Hot Bee USB Charging Electric Train Set For Kids

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Hot Bee

USB Charging Electric Train Set For Kids

Once the tracks are laid down, this train stays chugging along. The wheels grip the track materials well and the working smokestack provides a real "wow" factor. And thanks to USB charging, you can save a ton in batteries over the long term.

Overall Take

Steady and SturdyThis electric train set for kids chugs along on a rechargeable battery with real, odorless steam.

 Best for Older Children

Bachmann Train Light-Up Diesel Electric Train Sets For Kids

Bachmann Train

Light-Up Diesel Electric Train Sets For Kids

With this electric train set for kids, you get a whopping 130 pieces. The kit includes the various train cars, track pieces and accessories, such as stop signs, telephone poles and a signal bridge. Kids will love the speed controller, which allows the train to move at a slow, medium or fast rate of speed.

Overall Take

Everything You NeedThe diesel locomotive on this electric train set for kids has a headlight, just like the real thing!

SNAEN Classic Easy Assemble Electric Train Sets For Kids


Classic Easy Assemble Electric Train Sets For Kids

This electric train set for kids looks and sounds just like the real thing. Little ones can pour water into the steam locomotive and watch as the vapor comes rising out of the shoot. The train also has a built-in light and makes a real whistle to further stimulate your child's senses.

Overall Take

Budget-Friendly PickSurprise your little one with this affordable electric train set for kids.

  The Best Value

Lucky Doug Battery Operated Non-Toxic Plastic Electric Train Set For Kids

Lucky Doug

Battery Operated Non-Toxic Plastic Electric Train Set For Kids

With a working LED light, this electric train set for kids provides plenty of old-school fun. Creative older kids will love the track layouts, but they're easy to assemble for little ones. Once the train is placed correctly, it stays on the track and chugs along with authentic noises.

Overall Take

All-Ages FunThis set is great fun for creative kids ages 3 and older.

Buying Guide

It’s an understatement to say that things have changed for kids over the past few decades. Drones and remote-controlled cars have largely taken the place of paper airplanes and toy trucks. But somehow, there’s a place in every household for a good old-fashioned toy train set — even for kids who have never ridden a real train.

If you’ve ever played with your own set, you probably know why. It’s both calming and fun to watch a toy locomotive chug along the tracks. Setting up the rails gives kids plenty of room for creativity. And few toys evoke the holiday spirit more than a toy train circling the base of a Christmas tree.

Thanks to toy train hobbyists, there are plenty of models to choose from — perhaps too many, if you’re buying for a younger child. If you’re buying for a toddler, you can probably narrow down your search to simple sets made of wood or plastic. No, they won’t move on their own, but kids under 3 probably won’t care. They can hone their fine motor skills by putting the tracks together, and the train cars will be able to withstand the inevitable wrecks. Train tables are great for this age group.

Kids in pre-K and grade school might need a few more bells and whistles to keep their attention, and that’s when you can start looking for electric train sets. Here’s where you’ll need to separate kid’s sets from the myriad “professional” hobbyist kits on the market. The main difference will be how the train is powered. Hobby train sets mostly run by electricity conducted through the metal tracks, while those for children will usually have batteries in the train car that power the wheels directly. For younger children, the latter is clearly the safer option, but electric tracks will give you more room to grow if you’ve got a budding conductor on your hands.

Speaking of those tracks, keep in mind that your child is more likely to lose those than the train cars themselves. The more tracks you have, the more builders can explore their creativity. With that in mind, make sure that the tracks lock in place securely (and easily, especially for younger users). Kids will get frustrated easily if their tracks don’t stay in place, or the train won’t stay on the tracks. Trains with metal wheels will tend to hug those rails a little more securely, and it’ll be well worth the extra dollars if your kids are old enough to handle them.

What to Look For

Once you do get into hobby train sets, you’ll be inundated with lingo — most prominently when you’re choosing the scale, or size, of the train. These scales are expressed in letter grades, and the most common ones are O and HO. O trains are the larger of the two at 1/48 the size of an actual train car. More popular among younger users are HO trains, which are 1/87 scale (about 6 or 7 inches per car). If you’re picking trains or accessories to add on to your existing set, the first thing you’ll need to know is the scale.

From there, you can find all sorts of enhancements to keep your kids entertained. Depending on how much tinkering you want to do, you can pick single-speed trains controlled by a simple switch or variable ones that you can adjust with a remote control or even a smartphone app. Let your kids guide how much they want to add to the fun, but be careful: You may end up wanting your own set.

Working smokestacks are one great feature you’ll find on both train sets for younger kids and those for hardcore hobbyists. Don’t worry, though — they won’t fill up your playroom with actual smoke. On most cases, the “smoke” is steam that puffs out when you fill the car with a certain amount of water. Still, use care when letting toddlers play with this type of set. Even the most secure ones can spill water if they’re not handled correctly.

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