The 9 Best ATVs for Kids and Teens (2021 Reviews + FAQs)

Toy, electric, gas? We take an honest look at the safest ATV options for kids

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 10th, 2021

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Our top picks

Best for very young kids (3+): Power Wheels Kawasaki

"A perfect starter vehicle for toddlers and younger kids. This model is a popular choice even among serious ATV riding families."

Best for pink lovers (3+) : Peg Perego Polaris Outlaw Pink Power

"If it's just got to be pink, then this is a sound ATV-style toy to get them started."

Best 70cc gas powered ATV (6+): Can-am DS70

"For parents choosing gas, this solid youth ATV is a sound option for young but experienced kids moving on up. Another popular ATV among enthusiasts."

Best mini ATV (8+): Razor Dirt Quad

"The perfect machine to introduce young children to ATV riding. The Dirt Quad is the ideal compromise between safety and realism."

Best 90cc gas powered ATV (10+): Honda TRX90X

"For experienced children ready to handle more power, this classic ATV from Honda is thoughtfully engineered and durable with sensible safety features."

Best electric ATV (14+) : Razor Dirt Quad 500

"The best option for parents of kids who want enough speed and realism while remaining as safe as possible before they reach 16-years-old."

You are here to find the best ATV for your kid.

But, really… what are you looking for?

Now, true all terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not toys. They are powerful vehicles that can be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands, or when ill-matched to the size and skill-level of the rider. They can also be extremely fun which is why there is a thriving community of passionate ATV enthusiasts; often families who love motorsports and the great outdoors.

Is this what you are after?

Perhaps, instead, you are looking for an ATV-style electric ride-on toy. These genuinely are toys. They pose little to no risk for young children. They are slow-moving electric vehicles popularized by Power Wheels.

Or maybe you want something in between?

In this article, you will get honest and unbiased advice about the safest and most appropriate ATVs for kids. Our hope is that you’ll be ready to make an informed buying decision (whether or not you agree with our top picks!)

Let’s get to it.

Kids riding ATVs: a divisive issue

The truth is that ATV riding is a divisive issue. Some parents have been riding them for decades and are highly experienced, they understand the risks and train their children from a very young age to ride with skill. For these families, what feels safe is very different from other families who wouldn’t dream of letting their kids ride a true ATV before the age of 16.

There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to ATV riding. Your decision must take into account the skill and experience of both the supervising parents and the children themselves. In this review, we are honest about the real dangers and safety considerations you need to consider, without telling you what to do.

In 5-minutes, you should know whether riding an ATV is right for your child, and, if so, which are the safest, most appropriate models to buy.

Why you should trust us

Don’t just trust us. We encourage you to do your own research. However, these are the steps we’ve taken to help you:

Safety first – period.

ATVs are not toys. Safety and training need to be taken seriously by all parents and young riders. Dr. Charles Jennissen, M.D., FAAP, a pediatrician and safety expert who studies ATV injuries and deaths in children, says that “more children die on ATVs than do while riding bicycles. And in 2015, at least 73 children younger than 16 died and 26,700 were seriously injured by ATVs. 1aappublications.org ATVs kill more children than bicycles: AAP urges families to yield to safety

For this reason, the AAP recommends that children under the age of 16 should not use ATVs.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) doesn’t go that far. They recommend that children under 6 never ride an ATV and that children under 16 never ride an adult ATV. For kids in between they recommend that they always operate only youth model ATVs appropriate for their age. 2onsafety.cpsc.gov CPSC Warns Families About ATV Dangers for Kids

If parents do allow their children under age 16 to ride an ATV, these are critical safety rules to follow:

If parents do allow their children under age 16 to ride an ATV, these are critical safety rules to follow:

  • Always wear motorcycle-style helmets approved by the Department of Transportation.
  • Take training
  • Never carry passengers.
  • Never ride on public roads.
  • Never allow children to drive an adult model ATV
  • Avoid three-wheel ATVs

Safety guidance doesn’t stop there. We’ve rounded up all the safety advice we could find from public health organizations and real ATV riding families. Our hope is that this will give you a headstart if you are new to ATV riding and safety guidance.

Now:

With all that said, we aren’t here to tell you what to do. We have, however, made our selection of youth ATVs with a ‘safety first’ approach.

Our top picks of the best ATVs for kids and teens

Best for very young kids (3+)

Our opinion

We recommend the Power Wheels Kawasaki Racing ATV (check price on Amazon)  as the best ATV-style electric ride-on toy to get your child started. During our research in ATV forums, we found this model came up a lot. Even among experienced ATV parents, this was put forward as a great option to get the very youngest of riders started. 

With a speed of 3 or 6 mph, your child will gain confidence as they learn to steer, brake, and generally control a vehicle. Naturally, these toys aren’t designed for rugged terrain and perform best on flat ground. That said, the Kawasaki ATV Racer is better-made than other ride-ons and will allow for some basic off-road action on forgiving grass or forest paths.

It has a decent quality 12-volt battery. Lighter riders will get the full 35 minutes ride-time but be warned that older or heavier kids may get less.

At a glance
  • Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 3 to 7-years
  • Power: Electric (12v battery)
  • Ride time: Up to 30 mins
  • Top speed: 6 mph
  • Reverse: Yes

Best for pink lovers (3+)

Our opinion

Another decent ATV-style electric ride-on toy, the Polaris Outlaw Pink Power (check price on Amazon). Like the Kawasaki it is powered by a 12-volt battery and has two speeds (2.5 or 4.5 mph). This, again, is a nice first step towards handling an ATV further down the line. 

The Pink Power looks great and is perfect for girlie girls who love pink. 

Don’t expect this to last forever and don’t attempt to take it off-road, but if you are are looking for a fun toy for a couple of years of use, then this model is a solid choice. Just be aware that lots of parents found assembly a little tricky – particularly the stickers which are hard to line up neatly.

At a glance
  • Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 3 to 7
  • Power: Electric (12v battery)
  • Ride time: Up to 30 mins
  • Top speed: 5mph
  • Reverse: Yes

Best 70cc gas powered ATV (6+)

Our opinion

We, like many other parents, recommend starting children on electric ATVs. However, if you’ve decided you’d like your kiddo to progress onto a gas powered ATV, then the Can-Am DS70 (check price from Can-Am) is a popular option. Before letting your child ride it, it goes without saying that they should attend an ATV safety training, have full safety gear, and be supervised by an experienced adult at all times.

The manufacturer recommends children be 6-years or older, and many parents report starting their kids on it this young. Personally, we would wait until our daughter is 8 or above.

The Can-Am DS70 has a 70cc gas powered 4-stroke single cylinder engine and starts with a factory restricted speed of 10mph (this would take an adult running to keep pace). There is a speed limiter screw which allows you to reduce the speed further as your child first learns. You can also increase it to a maximum of 15mph.

A solid ride and sturdy ride, the DS70 durable and well-built. It isn’t the fastest youth ATV, but personally we’re quite happy with that.

At a glance
  • Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 6+
  • Power: Gas (70cc)
  • Top speed: 10mph (15mph unrestricted)
  • Reverse: Yes

Best mini ATV (8+)

Our opinion

The Razor Dirt Quad (check price on Amazon) is an electric mini-ATV and one of the most popular options for getting children riding. Be warned that this is NOT a toy like the previous options. This is a genuine ‘starter’ ATV and the perfect way to introduce your children to the same guidance, respect, and caution that you would with a regular ATV. (We’d recommend you get your kid ATV safety trained.)

The Dirt Quad is built with the geometry and proportions of a traditional ATV. It has pneumatic 12” tires and enough power in its 24-volt battery to ride off-road on family trails. With a top speed of 8mph, it demands that the rider focus and develop genuine coordination and control of the vehicle. Similarly, kids need to learn how to use the handle brake – another important ATV skill.

The manufacturer recommends riders are 8-years and above, though in ATV forums many parents report their 6-year-olds being comfortably handling this one. It is robust and well-made, but there are reports of bolts working themselves lose, so make sure you calendar some regular maintenance checks.

At a glance
  • Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 8+
  • Power: Electric (24v battery)
  • Ride time: Up to 40 mins
  • Top speed: 8mph
  • Reverse: No

Best 90cc gas powered ATV (10+)

Our opinion

If you have an experienced rider who is ready to move up to a 90cc, then the Honda TRX90X (check price from Honda) is a classic model. This ATV has an air-cooled 86cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine and a four-speed manual-shift-transmission. It is definitely not for a first-time rider, and Honda themselves recommend that riders attend a safety course. If you have followed all of the safety guidance both from Honda and CPSC and your child is an experienced rider, then this ATV will provide a great experience as they develop their skills.

The manufacturer recommends 10-years or older, but your decision should be based on your child’s skill-level and experience too. Personally we’d recommend 12 to 14-years as a safer starting age.

For children who are ready for it, the TRX90X is a super-fun ride. It has a no-clutch transmission which means that young riders can focus more on their steering, handling, and braking. It is also well-engineered by Honda and ought to last a very long time.

At a glance
  • Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 6+
  • Power: Gas (90cc)
  • Top speed: 23mph
  • Reverse: Yes

Best electric ATV (14+)

Our opinion

Razor Dirt Quad 500 (check price on Amazon) is the best electric ATV for kids. The manufacturer recommends 14-years and above, but the majority of parents offering feedback on forums and Amazon claim their kids are comfortably riding it from as young as 10-years-old. 

The Dirt Quad 500 sports a 36-volt battery which can easily power teens and adults up to a speed of 10mph. It also looks and feels like a genuine ATV and will keep kids fully entertained while developing their vehicle control and hazard awareness.

Opinion on this one is divided. The serious ATV families tend to shun the Razor Quad for older kids, saying that it is ‘too slow’, or they start their kids on it much earlier than the recommended age, using it as a ‘starter ATV’. If you think you may fall into this camp, perhaps give this one a miss. 

However, for families who want the safest ATV experience for their children before they reach the AAP’s recommended age of 16-years, then the Razor Dirt Quad 500 is the perfect option. It has the look and feel of a traditional ATV, but is both slower and lighter – this makes it safer.

At a glance
  • Manufacturer’s age recommendation: 14+
  • Power: Electric (36v battery)
  • Ride time: Up to 60 mins
  • Top speed: 10mph
  • Reverse: Yes

FAQs

Are kids ATV dangerous?

In the wrong hands, yes. ATVs can definitely be dangerous. They are not toys but potentially dangerous vehicles that require fast thinking and skill. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society both advise against kids younger than 16 riding ATVs.

With the right training, guidance, and supervision, along with appropriate safety gear and choice of vehicle, risks can be minimized.

How old should a child be to ride an ATV?

Among ATV enthusiasts, this is considered a controversial topic. It is certainly a very personal decision based on the expertise and experience of the parent, along with the age, weight, and capability of the child.

Many parents recommend following the AAP guidelines that state a child should be at least 16 years old. 

Others go with CPSC recommendations, ie, children must be at least 6 years old and should only ride youth model ATVs appropriate for their age. 

And then there are parents who grew up with ATVs, know and love them, and want to get their kids in on the action a lot earlier than this – even as young as 3.

The ATV Safety Institute provides a Readiness Checklist to help you determine whether your child is ready to learn to safely operate and control an ATV. 

We aren’t here to tell you which is right for you. Based on the totality of evidence and recommendations we’ve read, as parents, this is our personal stance (though not a prescription we would make for you or any other parent).

  • Children should be at very least 6 years old to ride an ATV, and only after they have received professional training. Furthermore, they should only ride an electric age-appropropriate model with full safety gear and close supervision from an experienced ATV-riding adult.
  • A more conservative starting age would be 10 years old. Again they should only ride an age-appropropriate model with full safety gear, have constant supervision, and have undergone professional training.

If your child is less than 6 years old, then you can opt for an electric ride-on toy, such as ‘Power Wheels’. A popular option is the Kawi Ninja Powerwheels.

Is a child legally allowed to ride an ATV?

There are no federal laws. Instead each state has its own laws, some require ATV riders to be 10 or older, others the minimum age is 16 or more. Check out ATV laws state by state.

Does my child need training?

Yes. If they are riding a real ATV (including an electric one), then they should definitely take a professional ATV safety course. Do a search to find a local training school.

What to look for in a kids ATV

Age-appropriate ATV models

While American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids should be at least 16 years old before riding an ATV, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advises that kids must be older than 6 and should “operate only youth model ATVs appropriate for their age”.

If parents choose to go with the CPSC guidance, then ATV manufacturers create youth model ATVs. These fall into four categories that determine the weight, dimensions, and maximum speed of the vehicle.

  • 6 years and up. Reach speeds of 10-15 mph.
  • 10 years and up. Reach speeds of 15-30 mph.
  • 12 years and up.  Reach speeds of 15-30 mph.
  • 14 years and up.  Reach speeds of 20-38 mph.

These categories aren’t backed up by safety testing studies, but for parents who choose to get their kids started earlier than 16, they can be a good guide to matching a child to an age-appropriate model. 3aappublications.org ATVs kill more children than bicycles: AAP urges families to yield to safety Remember that weight and skill-level are also important determining factors, not just age.

Electric vs. Gas powered ATVs

Even among experienced ATV riding parents – who often enjoy gas powered rides – most parents choose electric vehicles to start their kids off on.

Brent Huntley, a.k.a. ATV Man, explains: 

“Starting [your child] with an electric powered ATV is the safer and oft recommended choice.  Electric ATV’s are slower, quieter and have a more consistent acceleration than gas ATV’s, which require more discretion on the driver’s part. Even though electric ATV’s do not have as much power as gas powered ATV’s, it does not mean they are lacking any power at all.  Electric ATV’s often come with the ability to set different maximum speeds so your child can have fun flooring it at a slower speed until they are ready to really test some limits.”

Let’s do a quick comparison of pros and cons.

ELECTRICGAS
Pros:

Fast enough but tend to be slower and therefore safer for younger riders

Quieter

Consistent and predictable acceleration which is easier to handle

Top speed can be limited

Lighter which means safer in the event of an accident

No hot parts. Lowers risk of injury in the event of an accident

Better for environment

Require less maintenance
Pros:

More power. ONLY a benefit for older and more experienced riders who have reached an advanced skill level.

No waiting for charging
Cons:

Less power (only a downside for serious riders who are older, experienced, and skilled riders seeking to progress to the next level)

Takes time to charge
Cons:

More power. A potential danger for new and younger riders.

Heavier and therefore more dangerous in event of accident

Hot parts, which can cause burns during accidents

Require expert maintenance over time

Safety features

There are several key features that make ATVs safer for younger riders. Depending on your child’s age, experience, and skill level, you can decide which features are important to you.

  • Adjustable speed limiter. Allows parents to set the maximum speed to fit their child’s skill level and comfort.
  • Single-lever disc brakes. A single lever is easier to operate for younger children
  • Remote control. Some ATVs for younger riders feature a remote control that allows parents can turn on/off the engine.
  • Engine kill switch. An ATV kill switch shuts off the engine typically when it is pulled out. They can be attached to the rider or even to a parent with a long string (lanyard). This means that if the rider falls or shoots away from the parent, then the ATV engine will automatically get shut down.

Maintenance

Electric ATVs don’t require as much maintenance as gas-powered ones. If you go gas-powered, you’re looking at regularly checking your belt, maintaining your coolant level and treating your gas among other things. It’s a lot to take on for a kid unless mom or dad are there to pass on their mechanic skills – which sounds like a great bonding opportunity if you’re a serious enthusiast.

Our verdict

Our personal preference is to start children on electric ATVs. It’s a safer option yet still a ton of fun for a new rider. The Razor Quad (check price on Amazon) is a great starter ATV choice for young children.

If you are a serious ATV enthusiast and are looking for a gas-powered option, then the Can-Am DS70 (check price from Can-Am) is a solid choice for transitioning your experienced youngster on to their first gas-powered ATV.

Finally, if it is a toddler toy you are after, but something that looks like the real thing, then without a doubt the Power Wheels Kawasaki (check price on Amazon) is your best choice.

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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 10th, 2021

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Father and son playing on a mini atv together in the snow
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