Which Kids ATV is Best for my Child?


If your kid is ready for their very first kids ATV, don’t worry. Many mini ATVs are designed with kids in mind, including their safety features. But how do you know which ones will be the best fit for your boy or girl? 

Well, if you want to know what is a good ATV for a 10 year old, or what the best youth ATV for 7 year old is, you have come to the right place. If you’re in the middle of buying your first kids gas ATV, keep reading to learn all you need to know about how to find the right fit.

ATVs are controversial

Especially when it comes to kids riding them. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are definitely not toys. They are potentially dangerous machines that if handled the wrong way, can lead to serious injury or death.

Some parents that have ATV riding experience teach their children to respect the vehicle. They ensure that their kids wear the right protective gear, and ride it safely and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. But there are increased risks associated with anyone under the age of 16 riding an ATV.

Ultimately, parents need to educate themselves about the dangers of ATV riding. It’s imperative to consider the age, size, skill, and confidence of your child when you are investigating the most appropriate ATV for your kid.

For more information about children riding ATVs, the ATV Safety Institute has some great resources.

The Differences Between an Adult and a Kids ATV

There are many things that distinguish adult-sized ATVs from a youth ATV, but the most obvious one will be the size. This is a reliable way to tell if an ATV is meant for kids or adults, because most mini quads meant for kids will be too small to fit an adult.

Another dead giveaway is the weight. Adult ATV 4 wheelers weigh considerably more than a kids gas ATV. This is because they use more metal than plastic and have parts that are larger and heavier as well, contributing to the overall weight.

Arguably the biggest difference between the two is the abundance of safety features that are found in a kids ATV. This might include larger mirrors, larger brake pedals, smaller handlebars and maybe even a remote control emergency brake that can be used by a supervising adult.

atv 4 wheeler

What CC Means and How it Affects Engines

CC stands for cubic centimeters. It refers to the size of the cylinders that are used in the vehicle of an engine. The higher the CC number, the bigger the cylinders, meaning more power.

As a general rule of thumb, the younger your child is, the less CCs there should be for the engine.

How Different Engines Work

ATV engines typically come in two different types: gas or electric.

Gas engines are typically more expensive, give off exhaust and extra noise, but they have that traditional feel that can add to a ride. Gas engines will vibrate and make you feel like you’re riding on a hulking machine, which to many people is part of the fun. 

Electric engines are cheaper and have faster acceleration but they can have a long charge time which could take multiple hours, whereas a gas engine can be refilled in under a minute. They could also have less range than a gas version depending on the strength of the battery.

Whether you want gas or electric is entirely up to you. They’re both good options with their own sets of pros and cons.

kids gas atv

Choosing the Right ATV for Your Child

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of kids’ ATVs, it’s time to go over what you really need to keep in mind when selecting one: the capability of your child and the age group of your child.

Your Kid’s Confidence and Capability

It’s important to pick an ATV 4 wheeler that matches where you think your kid’s skill level is at. If your child is 4 years old and hasn’t even learned how to use a tricycle, it would be best to get them something that is very easy to use like a 50cc ATV.

But if your kid is a little older or has more experience with riding like with bikes or skateboards, then you can get them something that matches that like a 110cc ATV instead.

Age Group

As a rule of thumb, there are three main age groups for kids ATVs, each with its own corresponding engine strengths. This isn’t an ironclad law but merely a guide to help you get a feel for how to purchase a small ATV.

7-9 years old

The first age group is 3 to 7 years old and the engine range here is roughly 50cc to 110cc. You should keep in mind that small ATVs with engines in the 50-60cc range are very hard to find these days. They have become unpopular and the ones that can be found are of notoriously low build quality, so it’s best to stick in the upper range of 80-110cc.

One of the benefits of this range of mini quads is that they tend to come with extra safety features to account for the mostly small riders. Many of them have remote brakes that can be triggered by the parents. They also have the ability to slow down the ATV rather than bring it to a complete stop.

It would actually be preferable to get an ATV that is around 100cc and has these safety features because it’s like having a vehicle that can turn into a 50cc engine at the push of a button. It’s great for when your child is still inexperienced, but after a year or two, they will be ready to ride it normally without any intervention.

10-15 years old

The second age group is 8 to 15 years old and the engine range here is 110cc to 125cc. Expect this range of ATVs to be a little bigger and louder. The wheels will be wider and taller, they will have larger seats, many of them will have a reverse function and some will have multi-terrain wheels.

Keep in mind that your typical 125cc engine has a max speed of 25 mph, so if that’s too fast for your kid make sure there are the kind of parental and safety control features discussed above.

This is a great range of ATVs to get for a preteen because most ATVs in this range are large enough to fit teenagers and even small-sized adults as well.

16 years old and up

The last age group is 16+ and the engine range here is 150cc to 200cc. At this level, we’re going to have top speeds that go up to 40mph. These quads are not meant for beginners; only buy these ATVs for kids who are expereicned riders.

Be sure to also keep your child’s height in mind when selecting a kid’s ATV. Just because they’re in the general age group doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be too short or too tall for it.

youth atv

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a clear idea of what kind of ATV to get for your child. As long as you keep the type of engine, height, age group, and desired safety features in mind, you will be able to get a vehicle that will make your boy or girl happy for years to come. 

Thank you for reading and have fun and stay safe with the off-road adventures!

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