What Are The Best Sleds for Kids in 2021? (Top 9 Guide)
Winter brings plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. Whether with family or friends, most kids love sledding. But not just any snow sled will do. The type of kid’s sled you select has a big impact on how fun and safe their day at the sledding hill will be.
Looking for the best snow sled or snow tube for kids for 2021? Well, slide right up. Our complete guide has the top kid’s best sleds for 2021 plus everything you need to know about sled safety and more.
- Our #1 Choice – Best Choice Products 35-inch Kids Snow Sled
- Our #2 Choice – Slippery Racer Downhill Xtreme Toboggan
- Our #3 Choice – Flying Saucer by Flexible Flyer
- Our #4 Choice – Lucky Bums Snow Toboggan with Brakes
- Our #5 Choice – GoFloats Winter Snow Tub
- Our #6 Choice – Flexible Flyer
- Our #7 Choice – 35″ Toboggan Sled from Lucky Bums
- Our #8 Choice – Flexible Flyer Wooden Pull Sled for Kids
- Our #9 Choice – A-DUDU Snow Tube
- Frequently Asked Questions about Snow Sleds & Snow Tubes for Kids
- What are the Different Types of Snow Sleds?
- How Do I Select the Best Snow Sleds for My Children?
- How Do Kids Stay Safe When Sledding?
- What Hills are Best for Sledding?
- What Should Kids Wear When Sledding?
- Can Sleds Be Repaired?
- Final Thoughts
Our #1 Choice – Best Choice Products 35-inch Kids Snow Sled
A classic, durable design which is safe, portable and easy to steer.
- Lightweight and easy to pull
- Durable, weather-resistant plastic
- Simple, reliable controls
- Plastic can be somewhat thin
- Best snow sleds for single riders
It’s a classic design for a reason! These snow sleds from Best Choice Products is durable enough to withstand multiple winter seasons but still lightweight enough for kids to easily pull it up the hill again and again.
The total dimensions are 35 inches long by 17.5 inches wide. While it’s a bit bigger than disc sleds, it’s still designed for a single occupant (although an adult and toddler can safely ride together).
The simple design is easy to control even at fast speeds down high hills. Handles on each side of the middle of the sled allow for quick, precise driving. Plus, a built-in pull rope makes pulling the sled around simple.
Our #2 Choice – Slippery Racer Downhill Xtreme Toboggan
Do you feel the need for speed?
- Sleek design for fast motion
- Unique IceVex weather-resistant coating
- Flexible flyer is not breakable
- One of the best snow sleds for riders weighing 100 pounds or less
Zoom down snowy hills with ease in this sleek, aerodynamic sled from Slippery Racer. It has a unique design with a flat rear and hourglass-shaped middle to allow for superb control and stability.
The sled is made from heavy-duty, flexible plastic which can bend nearly in half without breaking (it’s technically called a “high flex ratio.”) Plus, the sled is coated with IceVex, a one-of-a-kind treatment which protects the plastic from the ravages of freezing temps.
At 48 inches long by 12 inches wide, it can hold two kids or one adult and child. The attached rope lets you pull the sled up the hill easily even on slippery terrain.
Our #3 Choice – Flying Saucer by Flexible Flyer
A three-pack of colorful, durable saucer sleds which fit both kids and adults.
- Lightweight, stackable and easy to transport
- Durable, high-density plastic can last several seasons
- Safe for kids four and older
- One of the best snow toys
- Can’t be repaired if cracked
- Can’t choose individual colors in three-pack
It’s fun for the whole family with this three-pack of saucers from Flexible Flyer. They’re made from three-inch thick, high-density polyethylene plastic. Each sled has a molded-in handgrip for stability and control.
Each Flexible Flyer snow sled weights a light two pounds but is still sturdy enough to support kids and even many adults. It’s recommended for kids ages four and up.
The sleds are 26 inches in diameter. They’re stackable, too. You can toss them in a car trunk for easy transport.
Our #4 Choice – Lucky Bums Snow Toboggan with Brakes
Elegantly simple and packed with safety features, this toboggan from Lucky Bums is great for younger kids.
- Built-in brakes help keep sled under control
- Durable plastic construction made to last several seasons
- Trusted manufacturer committed to rider safety
- It’s easy to apply the brakes when gripping the handles
For over ten years, Lucky Bums has been committed to creating safe, high-quality outdoor gear for kids and families. Their Snow Toboggan may look like a standard sled, but the quality craftsmanship makes it one of the toughest, safest, and overall best sleds available.
Each sled includes working brakes which help the rider stay in control even at high speeds. Plus, the snow sled has an ergonomic seat with back support. Anti-slip panels in the footrest area help keep your feet inside the sled at all times.
The tow handle in front allows for easy transportation. It’s a lightweight sled which even younger ones typically have no problem pulling.
Our #5 Choice – GoFloats Winter Snow Tub
Sledding is better with dragons and unicorns! These comfy, inflatable tubes let you coast down snowy hills in style.
- Five fun creatures including dragons and unicorns
- The durable, inflatable tube can hold adults and kids
- Tube self-inflates and includes a repair patch kit
- Characters have fun, cartoony style
- Tubes are a bit too big for younger kids to control
Not every sled has to look like a sheet of plastic. GoFloats has five fun inflatable options: Unicorn, Ice Dragon, Polar Bear, Penguin, and Flamingo. They’re made from thick vinyl which combines comfort and durability. Although puncture is unlikely, a repair patch kit is included just in case.
The eye-catching designs feature bold colors and cool, cartoon-style critters. They’re sure to bring a smile to the face of any kid or adult.
A unique value system inflates the tube automatically in seconds. Fully inflated, it’s a comfortable ride which absorbs bumps. It’s 45 inches across which holds both kids and adults.
Our #6 Choice – Flexible Flyer
Stay comfortable even on rough terrains with this two-person foam sled perfect for parent and child.
- Lightweight, durable foam construction
- Sleek and fast
- Designed for adult and child to use together
- Non-snow surfaces can scratch the sled fairly easily
Made from thick foam, this two-person sled from Flexible Flyer provides a smoother ride than most plastic sleds without sacrificing speed. Its unique design consists of one-inch polyethylene foam set between a tough top layer and crack-resistant plastic bottom.
It’s fast, too. The plastic bottom allows the sled to glide over snow instead of digging in, which means lots of ground gets covered fast.
It’s 47 inches long by 21.5 inches wide. With a total weight capacity of 250 pounds, it’s ideal for one child and one adult. However, two older kids can ride it together, too.
Our #7 Choice – 35″ Toboggan Sled from Lucky Bums
Another quality sled from Lucky Bums, this 35-inch winter toboggan has a classic style which combines durability with safety.
- Durable construction built for speed
- Timeless style with classic red color
- Comfortable grips allow for precision control
- No built-in braking system
Colored a bold red with a timeless design, Lucky Bums is a 35-inch, toboggan-style plastic sled best for older kids or younger kids with an adult.
It’s built to last winter after winter. The heavy-duty plastic is treated with a cold-blocking additive. It resists cracking and breaking even after long exposure to frigid temps.
Grooved channels in the underside of the snow sled carve through the snow at high speeds. But the rider remains in control thanks to the built-in handles. Smooth grips protect against skin scrapes, but you should still always wear gloves when sledding.
Our #8 Choice – Flexible Flyer Wooden Pull Sled for Kids
This charming and adorable wooden pull-sled is a great way to introduce little ones to sledding.
- Designed for toddlers
- Wide base helps sled stay stable
- Double-slat backrest keeps kids sitting upright
- Made from beautiful, natural Maple
- Child will probably outgrow sled after one or two years
- Bolts sometimes come slightly loose
Made from Northern Hard Rock Maple, this wooden pull-sled is tons of fun for parents and toddlers. A double-slat backrest provides extra support so kids can remain sitting upright even when the sled goes up or down slight inclines. Additionally, a wide base helps the sled stay stable at all times.
An included tow rope allows you to pull your child safely. Fitted padding absorbs bumps while also allowing for air circulation to keep the seat and backrest from getting too cold.
Our #9 Choice – A-DUDU Snow Tube
This inflatable snow tube from A-DUDU measures 47 inches across, making it fun for adults and kids to use together.
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- Durable PVC material protects against punctures
- Large width fits adults and kids
- Can withstand temps up to negative 40 degrees
- Ideal for family sledding
- Not suitable for solo use by younger kids
With this snow tube, you get all the fun of an inflatable snow tube with none of the hassles. It’s lightweight enough for kids to carry but still puncture-resistant thanks to its durable PVC construction.
The K80 snow tube’s coating protects against temperatures as low as -40 degrees. Of course, you don’t want to go sledding in such low temps, but it’s nice to know the sled can be stored in an unheated garage or shed.
This snow tube is a bit too big and fast for younger kids to use on their own, but it’s perfect for parents and kids to use together. When fully inflated, the total width is 47 inches.
Frequently Asked Questions about Snow Sleds & Snow Tubes for Kids
What are the Different Types of Snow Sleds?
Not all of the best sleds for kids are the same. They can be divided into four types:
Plastic is the most common type of sled. They’re durable, lightweight and easy to control. Most plastic sleds are oblong or rectangular. They’re suitable for a wide range of ages – even adults can safely ride on many plastic sleds.
Steering is controlled in two ways. Handle grips in the sides of the sled allow the rider to perform sharp left or right turns. A cord threaded through the front of the sled can also be used to steer. Pulling back on the cord can slow the sled down, but braking isn’t usually a major feature of plastic sleds.
These sleds are usually the most affordable option. Plus, if the sled is made from high-quality, durable plastic, it should last for many seasons without damage.
Toboggans are the classic sled you’ve likely seen in movies or possibly even owned as a child. They’re basically a wooden box placed on a pair of skis. Many have a handlebar steering mechanism.
If the skis are properly waxed, toboggans can be blazing fast and lots of fun. But they can also be dangerous. Crashes expose riders to solid wood and sharp skates. Also, they’re heavy, which is no fun for pulling up the hill.
Additionally, toboggans have fallen out of fashion over the years. They’re fairly hard to find. Plus, well-made, classic toboggans can be pretty pricey.
Inflatable Snow Sleds
Similar to inner tubes used on the water, inflatable snow tube sleds are a fun, often bouncy way to sled on hills big and small.
Most inflatable sleds are circular, although you can also find sleds shaped like animals or vehicles. Unlike inner tubes for water, which are open in the middle, inner tubes for sledding completely protect you from contact with the ground.
Inflatable sleds vary in size considerably. Most can hold two small kids or a kid and an adult. Larger sleds can hold several people.
They’re lightweight but stable and safe. Inflatable sleds are a great choice for riders who like to catch some air by sledding off ramps.
Although most are made from plastic, saucer sleds are usually considered a separate category. These circular sleds allow for maximum front weight distribution. They’re fast but centered and stable.
Kids love the wild ride. Saucer sleds tend to spin as they move. You never quite know what direction you’ll end up facing.
Saucer sleds are usually pretty thin. They work best in areas with a fairly substantial cushion of snow. Otherwise, you’ll likely feel every bump, rock or obstacle you pass over.
How Do I Select the Best Snow Sleds for My Children?
Most people choose either a plastic, inflatable or circular sled for their kids. All of them are fun and safe options. Your child might simply prefer one style over another.
Regardless of the type, almost all snow tubes and sleds will list a recommended minimum age limit or age range. Within the appropriate age guidelines, you’ll want to consider a few other factors, too.
First, check the weight capacity. Putting too much weight on a sled can cause it to crack or reach unsafe speeds. Generally, you want a cushion of about 20 pounds between the total weight on the sled and its maximum limit.
Also, check the length of the sled. The rider’s limbs should be inside the sled at all times. Although allowing feet to extend beyond the front of the sled is common practice, it’s actually pretty dangerous.
How Do Kids Stay Safe When Sledding?
Safety first! With the right precautions, sledding is usually very safe, even for young kids. Here’s what you need to know:
- Keep arms and legs inside the sled at all times
- Always hold onto sled handles and edges when the sled is moving
- Never ride in a sled headfirst
Make sure children understand how to use any braking mechanism. For most plastic sleds, the “brakes” are just the pull rope attached to the front.
In an emergency, kids should roll to the side. Teach them not to worry about where the sled is going. Rolling sideways out of the sled is the most effective way to prevent imminent injury.
Otherwise, teach kids how to use their feet to regulate speed. Simply planting their feet down into the snow will stop, or at least slow, even the fastest runaway sled. Sitting upright in the sled is the safest position because it allows the rider room to move their legs.
More than the ability to brake or maneuver the sled, the key to safe sledding is picking the right location. Injuries are likely to occur in a situation where the rider is either too young or too inexperienced for the type of hill.
What Hills are Best for Sledding?
When snow falls in your area, there’s probably at least one local spot where people go sledding. But just because a sledding hill is popular doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe for your child.
Generally, once a kid can ride a bike on his own, he can probably control a sled by himself, too. Of course, the younger the child, the smaller the hill he or she should sled on.
Introduce toddlers to sledding by putting them in a small sled and pulling them around with a tow rope. You don’t need much of a hill at all. Even your backyard is probably a great place to pull a little one around on a sled.
Toddlers and younger kids can share the sled with mom and dad. Kids should sit directly on the sled, with the parent’s legs out to each side. If a child is sitting directly on your lap, you won’t be able to move your legs quickly, which could be a problem if you need to brake suddenly.
For older kids, use your best judgment. Don’t just consider the steepness of the hill. You also want to make sure the flat area at the end of the hill is sufficiently long and free from potential problems. Never sled towards traffic, rock or other hazards. As a general rule, the flat area should be at least three-quarters the length of the hill.
What Should Kids Wear When Sledding?
Before your kids hit the sledding hill, make sure they’re dressed appropriately. They should:
- Wear proper safety equipment
- Wear clothing which will protect against the cold
On cold days, there’s usually no limit to the layers. Kids should wear boots, coats, gloves and probably even face protection.
But what about those sunny afternoons when the snow on the sledding hill hasn’t melted away? You can usually get away with fewer layers during these warmer times. However, always make sure clothing covers all skin, especially the torso, hands, and arms. Even though the sledder might not need much protection from the cold, they’ll need protection against scrapes if they fall.
Not every kid wears a helmet when sledding – but they really should. Little kids can be pretty fragile. Even if you’re pulling a toddler around the backyard in a sled, the risk of a fall-related injury still exists.
Older kids should wear helmets, too. Even when sledding on a moderately-sized hill, speeds can be as fast as what can be reached on a bicycle. Snow, specifically packed snow, doesn’t really provide any protection against head injury. A helmet is the best way to stay safe when sledding. If you don’t have a winter sports helmet, a bike helmet can provide significant protection.
Finally, gloves are usually safer than mittens. Both keep hands warm, but only gloves allow kids to wrap their fingers around the handholds or grips on the sled. Being able to hold onto the sled securely helps improve control and reduce the risk of crashing.
Can Sleds Be Repaired?
Generally, plastic sleds can’t be repaired. If a crack develops, the safest thing to do is throw the sled away and get a new one. Cracked plastic can result in difficulty controlling the sled. Plus, the crack will likely spread fast as you use the sled. Jagged plastic edges also pose a risk of cutting the skin.
However, you can try to repair inflatable sleds. Most inflatable tubes will include a repair patch. Sticking the patch on is easy. The hardest part is usually identifying the leak. Spraying the tube with soapy water can help. Bubbles on the surface will often appear near the hole.
Never use a damaged sled. Even a minor problem can result in a loss of control. Carefully check your sled for damage before using.
The best snow sleds and snow tubes don’t have to be complicated or expensive. When selecting a sled or tube, choose one which is durable, allows for plenty of control, and is appropriate for the child’s age, weight and height.
Bad weather doesn’t have to prevent outdoor fun. Once the snow has settled, grab your sleds for active outdoor play the whole family can enjoy.