The Best Balance Bikes For Toddlers, According to PEDs and Parents

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Taking the training wheels off is a milestone for kids learning to ride a bike. But training wheels aren't the only way to get them off and riding. Balance bikes allow toddlers to get a handle on motor skills sans pedals and training wheels, making them a popular pick for toddler gifts.

"A balance bike is a training bicycle that helps toddlers learn balance and coordination without the use of pedals," says Daniel Ganjian, MD, FAAP, a board-certified pediatrician at Providence Saint John's Health Center. "Children push themselves along with their feet."

Balance bikes traditionally have two wheels, but some may have four, particularly those for younger, wobbly toddlers still getting the hang of walking. The design and function of a balance bike offer benefits.

"The benefits are similar to pedaling a bike — builds strength, improves balance and posture, and helps children learn spatial awareness and motor skills," says Kelly Moriarty, DNP, MSN, RN, an injury prevention coordinator at Novant Health in Charlotte, NC. "It's also a fun physical activity that they can take part in for their entire life."

USA Cycling also agrees that balance bikes are an appropriate way to get little ones bicycle-ready. But finding the best balance bike for your little one can be difficult, considering the plethora of options out there. Whether you're looking for a balance bike for your 2-year-old or an older toddler around the age of 4, there are a few things you should consider when shopping for a balance bike.

For starters, choosing one that is safe and effective is critical. Dr. Ganjian advises parents find one that has:

  • A sturdy frame and quality materials
  • An adjustable seat height
  • Properly inflated, durable tires
  • A lightweight design (for easy maneuvering)

Dr. Ganjian adds that the bike shouldn't have sharp edges, protruding parts, or a reputation for poorly designed brakes. Reviews can help, but Moriarty suggests double-checking things once the balance bike arrives, particularly that the fit is right for your child.

"The child should be able to sit on the seat and have both feet touch the ground," Moriarty says. "The weight of the bike is also important, as you don't want it so heavy the child can't maneuver. It shouldn't weigh more than 30 percent of your child's weight."

Monitor your child's growth to adjust the seat position as necessary. One final safety note from Moriarty: "Always wear a helmet," she says. "When you start helmets at a young age, children will learn the importance and be more likely to wear them as they get older."

Based on expert advice and parents' reviews, these are our top picks for the best balance bikes.

Overall Best Balance Bike For Toddlers

Overall Best Balance Bike For Toddlers

Strider 12 Sport Bike ($130)

Strider's balance bike frequently tops reviewer rankings and parent-group polls on Facebook. The durable, lightweight design fits expert recommendations and allows the bike to grow with a child. The Strider 12 Sport Bike can grow with a little one from 18 months to five years, depending on height, weight, and skill. Parents also adore the tool-free assembly. Overall, the Strider 12 Sport Bike has a whopping 4.8-star rating based on more than 10K Amazon reviews.

What Reviewers Say: "My 2 1/2 yr old grandson is very active. This bike has been great for teaching balance. It's a great junior bike for him since he's not quite ready for training wheels. He LOVES it."

Best Safe Starter Balance Bike For Toddlers

Best Safe Starter Balance Bike For Toddlers

Kriddo Toddler Balance Bike ($57, originally $80)

The Kriddo Toddler Balance Bike boasts a sturdy frame, a footrest to teach toddlers to pick up their feet, and durable all-terrain tires that glide along surfaces from grass to pavement. Limited steering reduces tumble risks (but helmet wearing is still important). Previous reviewers say the top features of the Kriddo include its value for the money (4.6 stars), lightweight 8-pound design (4.6 stars), and ease of assembly (4.6 stars).

What Reviewers Say: "My daughter absolutely LOVES this bike. She was weary at first, but has built so much confidence so quickly. This was a great purchase. She's 4 and a bit tall for her age, but this could have easily fit a average 2-6 year old based on the seat."

Best Affordable Balance Bike

Best Affordable Balance Bike

Chillafish Charlie 10-Inch Kids' Balance Bike ($60)

Ditch sticker shock but not style or safety with the Chillafish Charlie 10-Inch Kids' Balance Bike. Available in several colors, the balance bike boasts puncture-proof 10-inch tires for added confidence in safety and durability. An adjustable seat, handlebars, and a lightweight, 5.5-pound metal frame also align with expert recommendations. The bike boasts a 4.7-star rating out of five stars on Target's website.

What Reviewers Say: "My boy loved his first bike! He was able to ride it immediately. It looks nice and elegant and very light that we even took it with us for holidays!"

Best Balance Bike For Barbie Fans

Best Balance Bike For Barbie Fans

Banana LT Balance Bike ($65, originally $80)

At 6.4 pounds, the Banana LT Balance Bike's fourth iteration is its lightest yet. An adjustable seat allows your kid to get some figurative mileage out of the bike — it typically fits children ages 2 to 4. At less than $100, the value is noteworthy. Ditto for the bubblegum-pink style of this Banana LT Balance Bike on Amazon, perfect for the little one loving all things Barbiecore.

What Reviewers Say: "This banana bike is great for young kids, it helps them learn balance before transition to a regular pedal bike. The bike is extremely durable, and it is very easy to set up. my 1 year old got the hang of the bike within a day after watching my older kids."

Best BMX-Style Balance Bike

Best BMX-Style Balance Bike

Chillafish BMXie2 12" Kids' Balance Bike ($75)

While safety is of higher priority than style, the Chillafish BMXie2 12" Kids' Balance Bike proves you can have both. BMX-loving parents will love how this toy mimics classic dirt bikes, and the five colorways (orange, blue, pink, kiwi, and mint) give gift givers even more style options. The Chillafish also gets the basics right: the seat is adjustable without tools, and the 12-inch RubberSkin tires work on all terrains and don't require inflating.

What Reviewers Say: "I bought this bike for my 2 year old and let me say he has been riding non stop! Sturdy but lightweight enough for my child to use! It had many fun colors to choose from! The glow wheels are also a big hit for added fun day or night! Handles and seat fit my little one perfect! A must have for an energetic little one!"

Best Balance Bike For Younger Toddlers

Best Balance Bike For Younger Toddlers

Sereed Baby Balance Bike ($50)

The two-wheel design of a traditional balance bike may be a bit too challenging for a toddler learning to walk. The Sereed Baby Balance Bike's four-wheel design is for the youngest toddlers, ages 12 to 24 months, making it a great stepping stone and first birthday present. A turning limit provides stability for teetering toddlers, and the 3.6-pound frame helps the balance bike travel well. With its wear-resistant, nonslip, and nondestructive wheels, toddlers can ride on the floor inside or on the grass outside. The No. 1 Amazon bestseller in "kids balance bikes" has a 4.8-star rating based on more than 5K reviews.

What Reviewers Say: "Easy to assemble. Made with quality materials. Grandbaby toddler can stand and learn to walk with it (straddling the seat that is well padded) or sit and ride. Rolls easily on carpet and doesn't roll away on ceramic tiles like inexpensive plastic wheels. Toddler will be zooming soon! This is a good interim riding toy prior to a trike. Will definitely consider giving this as a gift to other toddlers."

Best For Ease of Assembly

Best For Ease of Assembly

Bekilole Balance Bike ($40, originally $57)

The Bekilole Balance Bike comes 95 percent assembled, so there's no need for gift givers to do their best elf impression and try to build anything. The bike's ASTM F963 Safety Certification by United States Children's Product Safety can give parents added confidence, and the four wheels make this balance bike accessible to younger kids. Additionally, the balance bike limits sharp turns — a benefit for little ones still working on walking.

What Reviewers Say: "Got this little cute bike for my nieces first birthday and she loved it. The quality is great and it was easy to assemble together and it was sturdy and it was able to adjust to fit her height."

Best Balance Bike to Grow With

Best Balance Bike to Grow With

Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bike ($54, originally $70)

Radio Flyer is a noted brand for affordable bikes, trikes, and wagons, and the Air Ride Balance Bike is no exception. The Amazon-exclusive two-wheeler has an adjustable seat and 50-pound capacity that fits most 18-month-olds to 5-year-olds. Rubber tires work on all terrains, and the cool red hue is as classic as they come.

What Reviewers Say: "We loved these bikes. My kiddos used them for a few years when they were younger and it did help a lot with learning balancing. The seat can be lowered and raised to adjust to different children's heights which was so nice."

Best Classic-Looking Balance Bike

Best Classic-Looking Balance Bike

Aceger 12-Inch Kids Balance Bike ($94, originally $100)

Can we talk about the adorable basket on this Aceger 12-Inch Kids Balance Bike? Let your little one use it to stash a favorite lovey or toy, which can serve as a copilot to their adventures. The balance bike is for older toddlers and preschoolers — 2.5 to 5 years — and the 10-pound frame is lightweight and sturdy, albeit not the lightest on this list. This bike has tons of other bells and whistles, including reflectors and an actual bell.

What Reviewers Say: "This strider is for my 2 year old granddaughter. It is adorable and she will love it. The only negative is the tire are not solid, like most striders. We will need to replace them soon. The size, color, bell, basket and comfy seat are perfect!"

Best 5-in-1 Balance Bike

Best 5-in-1 Balance Bike

Besrey 5 in 1 Toddler Bike ($70)

The Bersey 5 in 1 Toddler bike offers toddlers and parents ease and versatility. Detachable pedals allow the bike to serve as a tricycle without pedals, baby walker without pedals, tricycle with pedals, baby walker with pedals, and balance bike without pedals — making it perfect for every growth stage. The product works for kids ages 1 through 4, which is why value for money is one of Amazon reviewers' most-noted perks of the bike.

What Reviewers Say: "My 2 and 3 yr old grandchildren love this. Super easy to adjust the seat height, different options for the back wheels depending on where the kids are at in their riding skills. Also easy options for pedals or not. Very versatile for kids."