Electric ride-on vehicles have been one of the fastest-growing segments in children's toys for many years and have plenty of benefits. One segment in this is the world of ATVs and UTVs for kids. The trend has been the same for children as adults looking at going off-road for a fun drive.
Like with other ride-on vehicles, selecting the right vehicle for your young rider is critical to ensure they are safe and get the most enjoyment out of their ride. While both are designed for off-road use, many might not be aware of some distinct differences between ATVs and UTVs, which are factors to consider before committing to either.
Read on to find out about the difference between ATVs and UTVs.
Definitions and Basic Characteristics
First, let's look at what ATVs and UTVs are in the first place, shall we?
What is an ATV?
ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicle and is designed for off-road use. You sit on it in a straddle seating position, steer it with a handlebar, and can manoeuvre through different terrains. Many other models and makes of ATVs are available, but they all have these three features in common.
ATVs for kids have several essential characteristics distinguishing them from full-sized adult ATVs. These characteristics are critical for ensuring the safety and appropriate use of ATVs by children:
- Size and Weight: Kid-sized ATVs are smaller and lighter than adult ATVs, making them more manageable for children to control. They are typically designed to accommodate children of various ages and sizes.
- Engine Power: Kid-sized ATVs come with different engine power levels, from 6V for the smaller riders to 12V and 24V for the ones looking for a little more adrenaline.
- Speed Control: Many kid-sized ATVs come with speed-limiting features, allowing parents to limit the maximum speed of the ATV to ensure safe riding for young riders.
- Lower Ground Clearance: Typically, kid-sized ATVs have lower ground clearance than adult models, reducing the risk of rollovers and making them more stable for younger riders.
- Age-Appropriate Design: These ATVs often have a design that is visually appealing to children, with bright colours and graphics that can make riding more enjoyable for young riders.
What is a UTV?
Generally, UTVs, or Utility Terrain Vehicles, are built more for work than recreation in "real life." They are larger and can seat passengers in regular seats side by side, often with storage space. They typically also come with a frame and roll bar for additional safety.
Generally, kid-sized UTVs share the same essential characteristics as kid-sized ATVs but still have some unique features that set them apart, with the two most prominent of them being:
- Size and Seating Capacity: Like kid-sized ATVs, kid-sized UTVs also are considerably smaller than full-sized UTVs, with a reduced seating capacity. They typically accomodate two riders, making them ideal for children and a parent or friend.
- Safety Features: A UTV for kids is equipped with seatbelts or harnesses, roll cages or bars, and safety nets or doors to protect occupants during a rollover or accident.
Key Distinctions Between ATVs and UTVs
Size and Age-Appropriateness
ATVs are designed as single-rider vehicles where the rider sits in a straddle position, giving them the whole ATV experience. The manufacturers are taking great care of making the vehicle as life-like as possible to allow your child to do the same as their parents, requiring a bit more balance while riding.
In comparison, UTVs are designed to accommodate more than one young rider, usually two, with more comfort and built-in safety features.
Purpose and Usage
Like their adult counterparts, kid-sized ATVs as single-rider vehicles are designed for recreational use and can serve as an introduction to off-roading.
As their name implies, UTVs can be used for light utility tasks as they can accommodate two or more riders, and some even have storage space. However, they are versatile enough that you can still have plenty of fun just riding them through whichever terrain you put them into.
Safety is paramount for any toy and even more so for ride-on vehicles. Electric ATVs for kids are built wide, with a relatively low centre of gravity, to minimize the risk of tipping over.
With kid-sized UTVs, some of the safety features depend on the model, but they typically have a sturdy frame, some even a roll bar in case the vehicle would tip over. Generally, these UTVs have a low centre of gravity and a low risk of tipping. They also come with seatbelts; many have remote controls to give parents an emergency option to intervene if necessary.
Engine and Power
Depending on the model, kid-sized ATVs and UTVs typically have various voltage options for their electric motors, including 6V, 12V, and 24V systems. The voltage level affects the vehicle's speed, power, and runtime.
6V motors are among the least powerful options and are generally designed for younger children, typically in the age range of 1 to 3. They have lower top speeds, and due to their lower voltage, 6V vehicles usually also offer shorter runtime compared to higher-voltage models. ATVs and UTVs with 6V motors are ideal for toddlers and young children who are just starting to enjoy ride-on toys.
12V motors offer medium power, and usually, vehicles with this type of motor are designed for slightly older children, usually between 3 and 6 years old. They offer faster speeds and generally provide more extended playtime than 6V models, as they have a more substantial battery capacity. They are best suited for kids who want more speed and power but are not yet ready for the larger 24V models. These ATVs and UTVs often come with more features like lights, music, and Bluetooth connectivity for playing music.
The 24V option is the most powerful option for kid ride-on vehicles. These vehicles are designed for older children, typically between 6 and 12, and offer the highest top speeds among ride-on cars. Compared to 12V models, the 24V ride-ons have a shorter runtime due to their higher power consumption. 24V ride-on ATVs and UTVs are suitable for older kids with more experience and can handle increased speed and power. They often have more advanced features like realistic suspension, better traction, and more elaborate designs.
As mentioned above, your child's safety is essential, so getting the proper safety gear and equipment is critical, regardless of the type of ride-on you choose.
Here are some recommendations for safety gear and equipment for children on electric ride-on ATVs and UTVs:
- Helmet: A properly fitting, certified bicycle or scooter helmet is a must. It should cover the forehead and fit snugly without being too tight. Make sure the helmet is securely fastened, and teach your child always to wear it while riding.
- Gloves: Gloves with padding and grip can help protect your child's hands and improve their grip on the handlebars, especially during sudden stops or turns.
- Elbow and Knee Pads: These protective pads can help prevent scrapes and abrasions in case of falls. Look for pads designed for skateboarding, rollerblading, or biking.
- Protective Clothing: Dress your child in long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and closed-toe shoes to reduce the risk of cuts and scrapes. Avoid loose clothing that could get caught in the vehicle's moving parts.
- Eye Protection: If the ride-on vehicle does not have a windshield, provide your child with clear, shatterproof goggles or sunglasses to protect their eyes from dust and debris.
- Reflective Gear: If your child rides during low-light conditions or on roads, consider adding reflective tape or clothing to make them more visible to others.
- Safety Flags: Attach a tall safety flag to make the child more visible to other drivers or riders.
- Mouthguard: For children who are more adventurous and ride at higher speeds or on rough terrain, consider a mouthguard to protect against dental injuries.
- First Aid Kit: Keep a basic first aid kit nearby in case of minor injuries like cuts and scrapes. Ensure you know how to use it and teach your child some basic first aid.
- Supervision: Always supervise your child when riding their electric ride-on vehicle, especially if they are younger or less experienced. Be vigilant for any potential hazards.
- Training: Provide your child with proper training on safely operating the ride-on vehicle. Teach them the rules of the road or off-road area where they'll be riding and emphasize safe riding practices.
- Regular Maintenance: Keep the ride-on vehicle in good working condition. Check the brakes, tires, and other components regularly to ensure they function correctly.
- Safety Rules: Establish safety rules for riding, such as wearing safety gear, not riding near traffic, and not exceeding speed limits. Enforce these rules consistently.
Cost and Maintenance
Prices for kid-sized ATVs and UTVs can vary widely depending on the model and features. One of the most significant variables when it comes to pricing is the motor's power level, with the 6V generally the lowest, ahead of the 12V and the 24V, forming the upper level in terms of price.
With batteries designed to last several years, you shouldn't worry about too many maintenance worries as long as you keep the ATV or battery-powered UTV for kids clean and check the brakes, tires and other components regularly to ensure your child's safety.
The choice between kid-sized ATVs and UTVs comes down to personal preference and whether your child would rather drive in a straddle position and handlebars or a seat with a steering wheel. Oh, and if they would like to be able to ride with a friend, of course.
Safety is another factor, especially considering the rider's skill level. We recommend using a lower-voltage motor for young or inexperienced riders to ensure they can get used to driving, the speed and the reactions to obstacles.
Off-roading can be a lot of fun and give a little more excitement than the driveway or the sidewalk, but you should be vigilant and supervise your child's off-road adventures to ensure they are always safe.
Whether you’re looking for a kids’ ATV for sale or the best electric UTV for kids, King Toys has a large selection of kid-sized ATVs and a wide range of kid-sized UTVs, so you're sure to find something for your child.
KingToys is a family-owned online business based in beautiful Ontario, Canada.
As parents, we understand the importance of providing our children with safe and enjoyable toys that stimulate their imagination and promote physical activity. Our commitment to quality is reflected in our carefully curated selection of ride-on electric toys, all tested for safety and durability.
As a family-owned business, we take pride in our personalized approach to customer service. Our team is always happy to answer any questions and help you find your child's perfect ride-on electric toy. We want you to feel like part of our family and know you can trust us to provide you with the best products and services possible.
Call us today at 289-440-2555 to learn how we can help you get your child mobile!