What Are The Best Wagons for Kids? – 2018 Edition
Wagons have been a beloved children’s toy for over 100 years and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Babies, toddlers and even older kids can be securely seated in a wagon for fun rides around the neighborhood, park, zoo and more. Plus, kids can pull their wagon around on their own, using it to carry stuffed animals and other toys.
A wagon is a fun toy kids will enjoy for years and remember for a lifetime. Unfortunately, knowing how to find the best wagon for your children can be a bit confusing at first – but we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up the six best wagons for kids in 2018. Plus, our complete guide has all the buying info you’ll need to know.
Ready to find the best wagon for your kids? Let’s get rolling!
Best Wagons on the Market – Our Top 6 Picks
Our #1 Choice – Step2 All Around Canopy Red Wagon
The red wagon from Step2 has a full canopy to protect kids from the sun plus many other useful features.
- Full canopy protects
- Seats can also flip down into a table or flatbed
- Secure locks on door keeps kids inside
- Initial setup can be complicated
- Instructions can be confusing
A feature-filled update to the classic red wagon, the All Around Canopy Wagon from Step2 features a full canopy, cup holders, a push lever door with safety latch and more. A rear-mounted storage container can fit snacks, clothes, a pack of diapers and similarly sized items. The interior of the wagon has four cupholders and a storage shelf.
With the canopy in place, the wagon resembles a covered pioneer wagon, only in bold red. Durable construction means the wagon will likely last for years. Whisper Ride wheels allow for a smooth, quiet ride even on uneven surfaces.
Our #2 Choice – Radio Flyer Ultimate Comfort Wagon
The latest model from Radio Flyer has solid construction, plenty of storage and a selection of different seating arrangements.
- Radio Flyer brand has great reputation
- Versatile design with five seating/storage options
- Durable Neo-Tech construction
- Includes storage bag which folds away when not needed
- Doesn’t move well on sand, rocks or uneven surfaces
- Steering can be imprecise
For over 100 years, Radio Flyer has been one of the top manufacturers of wagons – and their Ultimate Comfort Wagon is one of their most advanced models yet. This versatile wagon has five seating/storage options:
- Seating for two
- Covered storage and ride
- XL storage and ride
- Activity surface
In every setting, the wagon will always have a smooth, quiet ride thanks to the 10-inch Dura-tires. Also includes removable padded seat covers, seat belts, cup holders and a removable UV protection canopy. Made from 5mm Neo-Tech Lite, which is waterproof, scratch resistant and durable.
Our #3 Choice – Step2 Wagon for Two
A durable blue wagon with contoured seats and enough room for two kids to sit facing each other.
- Comfortable, durable wagon built for two
- Foldable handle for easy transportation
- Denim blue color
- Requires some assembly
- Might not fit in compact car trunks
This sturdy blue wagon is perfect for pals. With two contoured seats and deep leg wells, two toddlers can ride in style while sitting across from each other. If one child is riding in the wagon, the free seat can fit a stuffed animal or be used for storage. For additional storage space, a separate Tal-Along Trailer can be attached.
The easy-latch door opens easily but also stays securely closed. Drain holes at the bottom of the wagon prevent water from pooling and allow for easy cleaning. With a foldable handle, the wagon fits into a standard car trunk.
Our #4 Choice – Little Tikes Lil’ Wagon
This durable wagon is lightweight enough for toddlers to pull – and can be used indoors and out.
- Plastic wagon for kids as young as one
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
- Lightweight and easy to store
- Durable plastic with no sharp edges
- Meant to hold items instead of people
- Wheels move best when weight is in wagon
This little red wagon from Little Tikes is small in size but still big fun. Lightweight with no sharp edges, the wagon can be pulled by kids as young as one-and-a-half. Wheels are rugged for the outdoors but also soft enough for indoor use.
This is the newest version of the classic model from Little Tikes. Wagon has a red, plastic body and a foldable handle. If your toddler is more interested in pulling the wagon instead of riding inside, this wagon is a safe and popular choice.
Our #5 Choice – Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon
With all-steel construction and rubber tires, this Radio Flyer Classic Red Wagon has an outstanding reputation for excellence.
- Classic Radio Flyer design
- Durable all-steel construction
- Rubber tires with no-pinch ball joint
- Handle folds away for easy storage
- Steel exterior not as soft as ABS plastic
The classic Radio Flyer remains basically unchanged for generations. This wagon has an all-steel, seamless body which remains resistant to scratches, corrosion and other damage. The 10-inch steel wheels use real rubber tires, not plastic, with a no-pinch ball joint to protect little fingers. An extra-long handle folds underneath the wagon to allow for storage in a closet or trunk.
Made from steel, this wagon is durable but also very solid. Might not be the best choice for young ones who aren’t steady on their feet, as falling into the wagon can be painful. But if your child has a rambunctious spirit, this heavy-duty wagon can handle outdoor terrain, harsh weather and more.
Our #6 Choice – Radio Flyer Deluxe All-Terrain Family Wagon
This is a large wagon with five different seating options built to tackle even the toughest terrain.
- Five different seating and storage arrangements
- Extra-large, durable All-Terrain Air Tires
- Removable UV canopy
- Large wagon can be difficult to store.
Looking for an extra-large wagon which won’t be held back by rugged, off-road trails? This Deluxe All-Terrain has All-Terrain Air Tires, a removable UV protection canopy, seatbelts, four cup holders and more.
Also allows for five different seating/storage options: seating for two, covered storage, activity store, flatbed and XL storage. Large, durable and with uniquely designed tires, the All-Terrain Family Wagon is perfect for families with multiple kids.
How Do Kids Play with Wagons?
Italian immigrant Antonio Pasin invented the Radio Flyer wagon in 1930, and wagons have been popular with kids ever since. Today’s wagons have modern features like plastic construction, cupholders and canopies – but the basic fun of a wagon is timeless.
Babies and toddlers can sit (safely seat-belted) in the wagon while parents pull them around. Perfect for a stroll through the neighborhood, park, zoo or other location. More comfortable than carrying a child and much less complicated than a stroller. Kids as young as six months to eight years and up enjoy riding and playing with a wagon.
Kids can pull the wagon, too. Once kids can walk and grab objects, usually around the age of two, they might show an interest in pushing and pulling the wagon themselves. Holding onto the wagon handle can help kids stay steady when learning how to walk. The wagon itself can be filled with stuffed animals, toys, etc. Just be careful when older kids pull younger kids or pets in the wagon.
What Benefits Do Wagons Have?
Wagons have quite a few benefits for kids of all ages. Babies and toddlers can sit in a wagon and safely see the world. Compared to a stroller, wagons have wider views and just a generally increased feeling of being a part of the surrounding environment.
As kids get older, wagons help with muscle development, balance and motor control. The wagon handle provides support for beginning walkers. Plus, pulling the wagon helps exercise and strengthen growing muscles in the legs, arms and shoulders.
Interestingly, wagons can also help with the development of social skills. Many wagons fit two kids or even more. Typically, seats will be arranged so the wagon passengers are facing each other. This can help encourage conversation.
What are the Parts of a Wagon?
Although they have more bells and whistles than they did in 1930s, the basics of a wagon remain relatively unchanged since their initial debut. Wagons have three main parts:
This is the main part of the wagon. Usually, the body is made from either steel or ABS plastic, which is far more common. While still durable, plastic is lighter and usually the safer choice around kids who are new to walking.
But all-steel construction does have advantages. If you’re interested in the classics, you might want an all-steel Radio Flyer, made the same way today as over 100 years ago. Also, steel is often the strongest choice for off-road use.
The inside of the wagon might be a plain, open area but several features are available, too. Built-in cup holders in both children and adult sizes are a popular feature. Many wagons also feature a storage compartment on the outside for diapers, clothes or other small items.
The Undercarriage and Steering Device
This is the support system between the wheels and the main body. Most undercarriages are made from metal or heavy-duty plastic. The undercarriage moves the wheels.
The undercarriage connects to the handle, which allows for pulling, pushing and steering. This handle is usually removable, which allows for easy storing. While all wagon brands are different, most can fit into a standard-sized car trunk once the handle is removed.
The wheels are where the rubber meets the road, although often not literally. While the classic Radio Flyer wagons use rubber wheels, most wagons have wheels made from plastic or composite materials.
Regardless of the type of wheel, wagons generally don’t handle very well on shifting surfaces like sand or snow. However, they typically will be fine on pavement, off-road trails, lawns and other relatively even surfaces.
How Do I Find the Best Wagon?
First, consider the overall construction. While you want the body of the wagon to be durable, don’t forget to look underneath at the undercarriage. After all, that’s the part of the wagon most likely to be scraped by rocks and other rough terrain.
Aside from durability, you also want to ensure wheels are easy to replace if necessary. While plastic and rubber wheels should last a long time without incident, wheels are the still the part of the wagon most likely to need replacement. Make sure replacement wheels are easy to find and purchase.
Ability to Store
While using a wagon in your neighborhood and backyard is fun, you’ll likely want a wagon you’ll be able to take with you in the car. Aside from a removable handle, you’ll also want to make sure any accessories like a canopy can also be removed.
Adults should always supervise babies, toddlers and younger kids around a wagon. However, with proper supervision, wagons are often very safe. Most will have seatbelts to keep little kids safely seated. Additionally, most wagons constructed from plastic will have rounded edges to help prevent injuries.
Older kids can often have a little more freedom when playing unsupervised with the wagon. Just make sure they understand not to ride in the wagon down steep hills. Also, older kids should never pull younger kids (or pets) in a wagon unsupervised.
Fun for all ages, wagons allow kids to safely explore the world while also helping with physical and social development. When shopping for a wagon, pay careful attention to the quality of the construction, the types of materials used and the size when stored. Wagons are a timeless classic – one which kids today are sure to love!