What Are The Best Power Wheels For Off Road And Rough Terrain?

Power Wheels are a toy that almost universally inspires envy in children. They can lead to hours of fun and the allure doesn't wear off for years. Power Wheels for off road use are particularly enticing for both kids and parents, since they tend to have better performance and safety records as well as cool designs.

The Benefits of Choosing a Power Wheels Specifically Designed for Rough Terrain

Most Power Wheels aren't built for anything other than flat, dry, hard surfaces like asphalt or cement. Many kids and parents want to able to navigate grass and hills, at the very least. I know I feel better when my kids are riding around in the backyard as opposed to on the public sidewalk. Some Power Wheels are built for exactly this purpose. The benefits of choosing this kind of Power Wheels include:

Better Performance: They can easily navigate grass, gravel, hills, and even mud or wet ground from rain or snow. In many models, this is thanks to Fisher Price's Monster Traction drive system. This uses independent drive motors on both back wheels to give the Power Wheels the extra power needed to move over bumps and through less stable terrain.

More Stability: They have extra large wheels and a sturdier frame to keep the vehicle upright and cruising even on terrain that is less than ideal.

Safety: They have great safety features. Because they are built for rugged use, they have been thoroughly tested in a variety of conditions. The extra stability also adds to the safety, as it helps prevent tipping over. They also have features like automatic breaks and often, the ability to prevent a driver from going at a faster speed by locking out the fast mode.

Great Design: They just look cool! There are a number of flashy designs, include both rugged and modern looks.

Many of the Power Wheels made for this kind of use are modeled after real vehicles, things like a dune buggy, a Jeep, and a rugged pick-up truck. Driving a Power Wheels can be a good way for kids to engage in imaginative play, a chance to be like the grown ups they see. Driving around in a vehicle that looks just like the ones the grown ups are driving can be pretty exciting for kids.

In addition to the obvious benefits of imaginative, active play, Fisher Price describes a number of other developmental benefits of Hot Wheels. This includes the boosting of confidence and the strengthening of motor skills, balance, and body awareness.

Customizing Hot Wheels

Most off road Hot Wheels come with everything you need but there may be reasons to customize the vehicle. The graphics on the vehicles are typically in sticker form that you apply to the vehicle yourself. In the event that these get worn or your child doesn't like the included stickers, you can also use your own stickers. I think it would be fun to make a sticker with the child's name on it to put on the side or rear of the vehicle. I also find that kids love putting stickers on things and it doesn't hurt to give them the creative freedom to decorate their own ride.

You also may want to make some improvements to the vehicle itself. Some people change the battery to something with a higher voltage for longer lasting power and increased speed. Improving the traction of the tires is another common customization. The Power Wheels designed for off roading tend to have pretty good traction but this can wear away over time. You can check out this easy tire traction DIY

How to Choose a Power Wheels for Rough Terrain

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting an off road Power Wheels for your child. For me, safety is always my number one concern. Luckily, the off road Power Wheels have a strong safety record. Power Wheels has had some safety issues in the past, including a number of recalls. However, they've always responded quickly and appropriately when a safety issue is discovered, something that gives me peace of mind. There haven't been any major safety issues with Power Wheels since around 2000. Each Power Wheels goes through an extensive battery of tests and it's particularly rigorous for those designed for off road use. After their factory testing, new Power Wheels are also tested through an in-home program to make sure they meet the same standards in a real world setting.

There are particular safety features to look for, like an automatic braking feature. After safety, it usually comes down to style and performance. Off road Power Wheels come in a variety of designs, from the flashy and modern to the rugged and tough to the cute and girly. Many of these are modeled after real vehicles, so it can be fun to choose a model that will mean matching vehicles for parent and child.

Performance is also important. Some are better than others at handling the roughest of terrain. If you anticipate a lot of time will be spent navigating uneven conditions and things like gravel, mud, wet grass, and hills, you may want to choose one of the Power Wheels that really excel in this area. The size and material of the tires is one factor to look for in regards to performance. For this kind of Power Wheels, a wider tire with a good amount of tread is ideal. Speed is something to consider but this is pretty standard across most Power Wheels, with a maximum of 5 MPH. That's about as fast as you'd want a kid to be able to go, anyway. Use of the Monster Traction drive system with its independent drive motors in the rear wheels, also improves performance. Finally, battery makes a difference. Most of these Power Wheels have a 12-Volt battery, a good amount of power for this kind of use.

here are also other factors to consider like weight limit, whether the vehicle will fit two kids, and whether or not there is a cargo bed for hauling things around. Some Power Wheels even have bonus features like sound effects.

This guide talks you through five of the best off road Power Wheels to help you choose the right one for your child.

5 Best Off Road Power Wheels

Fisher-Price W2602 Power Wheels Dune Racer

Inspired by the dune buggy, this tough contraption has a cool, sleek design. It's available in several colors, a nice option that you don't find with most off road Power Wheels. Available colors include neon green, camo, and a pink and purple design. Thanks to its Monster Traction system, the Dune Racer will perform equally well on hard surfaces, rough terrain, and even wet grass. It won't get stuck, even on gravel or mud. The oversize rugged tires help the driver navigate bumps with ease. Additional safety features include a power-lock braking system and metal sidebars. The Dune Racer has two speed modes, 2.5 MPH for beginners and up to 5 MPH for the more advanced driver. There is a high-speed lockout option, great for when you want to make sure a beginning driver doesn't try the faster mode. The machine can also shift into reverse and reverses at the slower speed.

PROS

  • Fun modern design, reminiscent of vehicles in Mario Kart video game
  • Nice safety features
  • ​Fits two kids
  • Can handle a variety of types of terrain, including wet and uneven terrain

CONS

  • Plastic wheels can be pretty noisy
  • The battery wears out fairly quickly and takes a long time to recharge

Power Wheels Kawasaki KFX

This ATV-style Power Wheels looks just like the grown up version. It is available in three designs: a black and red design with flame graphics, a pink Barbie-themed design, and a neon green and blue Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles design. It can go up to 5 MPH or 2.5 MPH in reverse. Just like on many ATVs, a twist grip throttle is used to rev it up to the higher speed. An optional high-speed lockout is available to keep younger beginning drivers safe. A Monster Traction drive system ensures that it will handle difficult conditions like wet grass, mud, gravel, and uneven ground just as well as it handles a hard and flat surface. The oversize wheels are strong and have a good amount of tread to prevent sliding around. Power lock brakes make it easy to stop no matter the terrain conditions. This rugged vehicle is built to last.

PROS

  • Choice of designs
  • Excellent performance on rough terrain
  • Some good safety features

CONS

  • Open frame means rider is not quite as secure
  • Weight limit of only 65 pounds
  • Can only hold one rider
  • Battery life isn't great

Fisher-Price Power Wheels F150-6V

Many off-road Power Wheels have 12-volt batteries but this one has only a 6-volt battery. Despite having a bit less power, this cute truck has a lot to offer. The tires are extra wide and provide excellent grip. There is only one speed setting in both forward and reverse, with a top speed of 3.5 MPH. The design is modeled on the popular Ford F-150 pick-up truck and it comes with Ford stickers to apply to the bumper. A safety braking system stops the truck when the foot leaves the gas. Because of the smaller battery size, it does lose its charge fairly quickly. The Power Wheels F150 is available in yellow and silver.

PROS

  • A roomy truck bed lets the driver haul things around
  • Cute design based on a real truck
  • Good safety features

CONS

  • Smaller battery doesn't hold charge for long
  • Only fits one rider
  • Only one speed
  • Weight limit of 65 lbs.
  • It can handle uneven train but not quite as well as other models, especially conditions like mud and wet grass

Dodge Ram 3500 Dually Longhorn Edition 12-Volt Battery-Powered Ride-On by Kid Trax

Modeled after the heavy duty Dodge Ram 3500 pick-up truck, this is a machine with some extra features that make it stand out. It includes sound effects that mimic a real diesel engine. There is an option to turn the sound off. There are also working LED off road lights and a good-sized bed to haul and dump cargo. That's right, this truck has a dumping feature! The feature is manual but kids love being able to operate their own dump truck. Another unique feature of this truck is the doors. Opening and closing doors help keep driver and passenger secure and not at risk of falling out. The truck can reach speeds of up to 5 MPH when going forward and 2.5 MPH in reverse. The rear wheels of the truck are twice as wide. This helps provide more stability and safety, especially when the rear bed is full.

PROS

  • Dually rear wheels for adding stability
  • Working lights
  • Haul and dump feature
  • Doors
  • Fits two kids
  • Fun diesel engine sounds, with silent option

CONS

  • It's quite heavy which has advantages but it makes going up inclines slow
  • Engine sounds have the potential to be annoying
  • It doesn't do quite as well in some off road conditions, like wet grass and hills

Power Wheels Tough Talking Jeep Wrangler

This Jeep stands out for a few reasons. Kids love the included microphone and speaker, so they can drive around making announcements. There is also real music on the pretend radio, something none of the other off road Power Wheels can offer. In addition to these unique features, this Jeep Wrangler has all the same advantages of the other Power Wheels including durability and great safety features. It has two speed modes, 2.5 MPH and 5 MPH with a 2.5 MPH reverse. Unfortunately, it's not the best Power Wheels for off roading. The tire tread is lacking and they struggle with grip on grass. It's not impossible to drive on uneven terrain or grass but this one does best on asphalt or cement.

PROS

  • The battery holds its charge for up to 3 hours at a time
  • Voice amplifying microphone
  • Real music on the "radio"
  • Cool Jeep design
  • Fits two kids
  • Good safety features
  • Weight limit of 130 pounds
  • Rear cargo storage area

CONS

  • Lack of tire grip makes uneven terrain and grass difficult
  • Wheels can be noisy
  • Audio quality of the music isn't the greatest (a bit scratchy sounding)

The Verdict

Each of these Power Wheels for off roading has something unique to offer and all are solid choices. The clear winner for the best overall off road Power Wheels is the W2602 Power Wheels Dune Racer. It just stands out when you look at the benefits of this kind of Power Wheels, namely the versatility and safety. It's the best on the list at handling difficult terrain, has a great design, and has great safety features. That said, it won't be the best choice for every kid. The haul and dump feature on the Dodge Ram 3500 Dually Longhorn Edition will be the best choice for some kids, and the microphone and radio will make the Tough Talking Jeep Wrangler the obvious choice for others.