Kids' scooter buying guide

Kids love to scoot! Whether they’re circling the driveway or rolling to the playground, scooters are easy for toddlers to step on and off, simple to store and will ready little ones for bike riding. Older kids benefit from improved agility, extra exercise—and a scooter can even help them get to school on time!

There are so many options to consider when it comes to choosing a kids’ scooter, from wheel style to steering and brakes. But the right model will grow with your family and keep them all happily rolling along for seasons to come.

Jump to

  1. Is my child ready for a scooter?
  2. Benefits of a scooter
  3. Scooter types
  4. Choosing a metal vs. a plastic scooter
  5. Types of steering
  6. Scooter features to consider
  7. Scooter safety
plus icon

1Is my child ready for a scooter?

There isn’t a definitive age when kids are ready to start scooting, but many parents get their toddlers rolling around two or three years old. As a rule of thumb, if they can walk steadily—and they are keen to hop on—then they are probably ready for a starter scooter. Keep in mind that there are styles of scooters to suit a wide range of activity levels, so little ones do best if they start on a set of wheels designed for toddlers. Older kids who are already bike riding, but curious about scooting, will enjoy a ride with a narrow board and faster wheels. (See below for a full run-down on kids’ scooter types.)

2Benefits of a scooter

There are so many reasons why scooting is great for kids, including physical development and screen-free play. Kids who scooter:[1]

  • Build motor skills: Learning to ride requires both fine and gross motor skills, since kids have to push with their legs, grip the handles and maneuver the board.
  • Develop better balance: Little kids are still working on their centre of gravity, so adding movement, steering and braking really kicks up their understanding of how to steady their bodies.
  • Get a confidence boost: Riding a scooter independently—no push from mom or dad required—will help them see they’re capable of all sorts of things. Every kid could use an extra dose of self-confidence!
  • Are motivated to move (and outside, at that!): The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that kids between 5 and 11 get at least an hour of intense activity a day.[2] Scootering is a great way to get little bodies moving. Plus, mastering a scooter readies kids for riding a bike, too, since many of the motions are similar. If your kiddo is not already on training wheels, this will get them cycling in no time.

3Scooter types

So, your kid is ready to roll, but now you’re faced with the task of figuring out which type of scooter suits them best. We get it, it can be confusing to compare all the styles, but you’re in luck because we’ve broken down the most popular types of scooters for kids, along with their pros and cons, so you can make the best choice for your little one.

Electric scooter

Electric scooters

Older kids love to roll with the extra oomph that comes with an e-scooter. The electric boost makes getting from A to B—like home to school—easier.[3]

Pros Cons
There are a wide range of models to cater to a variety of ages and abilities, each with a different max speed, weight limit and special features. E-scooters tend to require more assembly than other styles.
They are built for long-term use and come with adjustable height handlebars and higher weight maximums to accommodate kids as they grow. The electric boost doesn’t encourage them to break a sweat, which translates to less physical activity.
Many models come with a range of fancy features, including LED headlights, digital handlebar display, multiple speed modes and more!

Shop electric scooters

Kick scooter

Kick scooters

These are the traditional type of scooter—and what you probably first thought of when the topic of scooters came up! Kick scooters are also known as “push scooters.”[4]

Pros Cons
There’s a reason why these are sometimes also called “cruising scooters”—they are made for easy rolling! Kick scooters do not move well on grass, gravel or dirt paths.
Kick scooters come in a variety of fun variations, including folding, light-up and more advanced trick styles, too. Unless you’re buying a type of kick scooter called a stunt scooter, they are not strong enough for doing jumps or tricks.
This type of scooter travels well along smooth terrain like sidewalks and paved park pathways.

Shop kick scooters

Three-wheeler scooters

kids riding three-wheel scooters

The name pretty much gives away what this type is all about, but there are also different types of three-wheel scooters to consider.

Pros Cons
Most types of three-wheelers are super stable, making them ideal for little ones. Models with two wheels at the back instead of the front are less ergonomic. Kids might trip while pushing.
Scissor, or flick scooters are the more advanced version of a three-wheeler and offer a truly unique scooting experience. Most three-wheelers don’t tend to grow with the rider—you’ll have to buy something else when they outgrow it.
Many three-wheel designs come with a wide platform, which makes steering easier.

Shop three-wheeler scooters

4Choosing a metal vs. a plastic scooter

There are pluses and minuses to each material—some styles feature a combination of the two. Above all else, consider if it’s a high-quality build that looks durable and comfortable for your kid to ride.

  • Metal: A metal frame can take a beating. These scooters are tougher, but also heavier. They’re great for older kids who are trying out tricks or taking their scooter on rides down steep hills, for example. Some aluminum scooters are sturdy enough to carry riders over 200 pounds.
  • Plastic: Starter scooters for toddlers tend to be mostly plastic, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Plastic parts mean it will be lighter and easier for little ones to maneuver.
timer icon
Quick Tip
Don’t forget to check out the materials on the scooter parts, too. Some more sophisticated scooters come with fiberglass-reinforced decks or polyurethane wheels, which can make the ride smoother and quieter.

5Types of steering

There are two types of scooter steering options to choose from.

  • Lean steering: With lean-to-steer steering, riders shift their body weight left or right, curving their scooter in their desired direction while all wheels stay on the ground. This helps kids to improve balance and agility. A three-wheel scooter with lean-to steering is a great stepping-stone to two-wheeling and cycling.
  • Handlebar steering: This type of steering is most commonly found on beginner toddler scooters. With this style, kids turn the handlebars like they would on a bike to move in the direction they would like to go. Scooters with handlebar steering are super easy to use, making them ideal for the smallest of novice riders.

6Scooter features

Scooter features

The right combination of key features—including handlebar adjustability, brake specs and wheel size—will make your kid’s new scooter easier, and safer, for them to ride.

Standard features:

  • Handlebar and grip: As a rule of thumb, the handlebar height should be somewhere between the rider’s tummy and elbows. Look for models that come with adjustable handlebars, for a better fit and more longevity (since you’ll be able to raise it as they grow). Some models feature fully rotating handlebars, which are fun for experienced riders!
  • Wheels: There are several standard wheel size ranges. Scooters with small (100mm to 125mm) and medium (145mm and 180mm) wheels tend to be light, compact and agile. A small-wheeled kick scooter is easy for kids to handle and one of the most common scooter styles, but they can also go fast and lend themselves to riskier riding. Scooters with large (200mm and 205mm) and extra-large (230mm) wheels are heavier and steadier, which can be good for inexperienced older riders. It’s also worth noting that larger wheels are also harder to stop.
  • Deck: This is the kick board, where your child stands. Starter scooters tend to have wider decks that are lower to the ground, for maximum stability.
  • Forks: This is the vertical tube that connects the bar, deck, and front wheel. They are made of aluminum (which is lighter) or steel (which is sturdier), depending on the size and style of the scooter.
  • Brakes: There are two types of brakes. The fender foot brake slows the scooter down by pressing on the rear wheel. (This is most common on kids’ bikes!) Handlebar brakes can be a V-brake or disc brake style, much like on a bicycle. These are meant for controlling higher speed scooting and more common on e-scooters and adult models.[5]

Extra features to consider:

  • Anti-slip deck surface: Whether it’s a model that features a deck lined with grip tape, like on a skateboard, or one with raised treads, better traction will improve safety and give little kids more confidence on their scooter.
  • Scooter seat: Most scooters are stand-up, but some models come with foldable seats so little kids can take a break while they are learning. (Scooter seats are most common on adult e-scooters called mobility scooters.)
  • Folding scooter: These compact options are great for storage. They come in handy for carrying—especially when your kid hands their scooter off to you mid-park stroll!
  • Ergonomic grips: Foam handlebar covers make gripping more comfortable for little hands, but rubberized grips will last longer and work well for all riders.
  • Replaceable parts: Some of the most popular brands, like Razor and Micro, have the option of replaceable parts, which means longer usability. (You’ll be able to fix a busted wheel or replace cracked grips and pass the scooter down to your next kid when the time comes!)
  • Warranty: If your kid is tough on their toys, keep an eye peeled for brands that offer solid warranty coverage of at least a year.

7Scooter safety

Scooting can be great exercise—and great fun—but it can also be dangerous, especially around car traffic, on uneven terrain or in poor weather (which can reduce visibility and make sidewalks slick). But, with the right equipment, a few precautions and parent supervision, you can help keep your rider safe. Here’s what you should keep in mind.

  • Scooter weight limit: Regardless of the style of scooter, all models should be used according to the age and weight recommendations. Most models are size inclusive, with max rider weights in the range of 110 or 140 pounds on many kids kick scooters for ages five and up, for example.
  • Safety equipment: Set them up for success by outfitting your kid in the right protective gear. In addition to a helmet, kids should wear wrist guards, elbow and knee pads. Experts also recommend close-toed rubber-soled shoes, like sneakers (and never flip flops). Pants and long sleeve shirts will also provide some protection from scrapes and cuts if they do take a tumble.

Shop scooter safety equipment

Shop more scooters and accessories

Article Sources

  1. Very Well Family. Should You Buy Your Toddler a Scooter?
  2. Public Health Agency of Canada. Physical Activity Tips for Children (5-11 years).
  3. Government of Ontario. Electric kick-style scooters (e-scooters).
  4. Decks & Scooters. How to choose a kick scooter for children.
  5. Biking Universe. Do kick scooters have brakes?
  6. Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America. Scooter Safety.