The little red wagon has been an icon of childhood for nearly a century, although these days some options are a little more high-tech!
If you’re wondering which wagon has the most pull, don’t worry – there’s nothing we love more than research in motion. We’ve checked out the top kids’ wagons of 2021 and are here to tell you about safety, prices, features, and to help you find the best wagon for your kids.
In this article:
Our picks of the best kids wagon
We just love the stroller wagon concept! It’s fun, functional, and far more sporty and playful than the old-school stroller. This cute, square hybrid (check price on Amazon) is reminiscent of British prams, with a super-convenient retractable peaked roof in case Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.
Safety harnesses inside the stroller wagon keep small riders safe, and step brakes give parents control over the ride. This all-purpose hybrid has a cup holder and matching cooler, making it a winner on park trips.
We really like that it also has built-in shoe storage, helping the kids (and us!) avoid unwanted muddy footprints on rainy and snowy days, earning it our Editors’ Choice badge.
What we love
- It has an ASTM certification, the same safety certification strollers are required to have
- Cheaper than similarly certified hybrids
- The lining is easy to clean, unlike some of its hybrid fabric-lined counterparts
- Age limits – kids older than 5 won’t fit comfortably into the safety harnesses
Best kids red wagon
Is this the Frank Sinatra of wagons?
We think so, but may be biased. The iconic little red wagon (check price on Amazon) still earns its keep today as a childhood staple, offering the same quality construction it did during our childhood (and that of our parents… and their parents!)
It doesn’t boast as many features as others but is still a definite backyard play staple. The weight limit of 150 lbs is generous, and the no-pinch ball joint is great for keeping little hands pinch-free. We like that the handle is extra-long, yet folds neatly under the body when not in use.
This is our favorite wagon for decorating with when not in use, as it looks cute when stacked up with stuffed animals or toys. We would be remiss to not award this one with our Best Kids Red Wagon badge.
What we love
- Easy to clean, easy to store, universally beloved by kids, and seeing it will make even your parents smile
- Low sides compared to similar wagons, so riders need to hold on tight
Best wagon with canopy
Talk about riding in style and comfort! The padded seats of this steel-framed wagon are comfy and cozy for riders up to 110 lbs. This makes it the perfect size for two smaller riders to share, and rubber foam blend tires ensure a smooth ride every time.
One of our favorite features is the convenient weather canopy, which shelters riders from rain (or too much sun, on those really hot days).
The Eco Wagon (check price on Amazon) has a convenient safety brake and is made of hand-washable fabric that’s easy to care for. We’ve given this wagon our Best Kids Wagon With Canopy badge.
What we love
- The convenient safety brake lets you feel confident when the wagon is stopped, and the canopy will keep kids safe and dry in any weather situation
- While this looks like a stroller wagon hybrid, it technically doesn’t meet the definition. It doesn’t have the safety standards necessary to pass for a stroller, so be cautious
Best kids wooden wagon
Little riders who are just gaining mobility will love this sweet little wagon that’s a spin on a classic. This Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon (check price on Amazon) has a toddler-height push bar, allowing little ones to practice their balance and experiment with the toy’s motion.
Wooden sides that can be removed add an additional element of safety for smaller riders. We love the furniture-safe bumper, making it a great indoor and outdoor toy and our pick for the Best Kids Wooden Wagon badge. Perfect for ages 1-4 yrs.
What we love
- It has the same quality materials and craftsmanship as all Radio Flyer wagons, and little ones love using it to build coordination and in imaginative play
- This one is just for tots, so make sure older siblings aren’t trying to ride – they could hurt themselves
Best beach wagon for kids
When you buy your kids something that also doubles as cool-tech and makes you feel like a fun, hip parent, everybody wins. This is like the SUV of kids’ wagons – super sleek and able to stand up to rugged terrain. It even comes packed with safety certifications to make you feel that much better about your – or should we say, ‘their’ – new toy!
This stroller wagon hybrid (check price on eBay) lives up to its name. It can accommodate an infant car seat with the use of an adapter, is JPMA Stroller Certified, and meets ASTM safety standards, making it great to take kids anywhere and earning it our Best Beach Wagon For Kids badge. It also has two cup holders and a snack tray, so kids will be set to cruise.
What we love
- Safety harnesses keep kids in place, and the ASTM certification and JPMA stroller certification give confidence that they’ve got a safe ride
- Two cup holders and a snack tray means no fighting over drinks and plenty of space to share
- It’s not as easy to nap in as a regular stroller or some other hybrids, nor does it come with a canopy. One is available, but you have to buy it separately
Best wagon for bigger kids
Lightweight but sturdy is the name of the game with this folding utility wagon (check price on Walmart). With a weight limit of 150 lbs, smaller kids can sit and play in this one if they want, but older kids find more use carrying pool and beach toys or snacks and drinks for trips and playtime.
It doesn’t have as many of the comfort riding features as other wagons, but the durable, virtually mess-proof fabric makes it great for carrying just about anything.
This wagon is awesome for kids to bring their stuff in during sporting, tailgating, and other outdoor events. A folding side table features cup holders and even a space for a cell phone. These convenient features have earned it our Best Wagon for Bigger Kids badge.
What we love
- The convenient side table is great, especially the phone spot
- It collapses and stores easily, sliding under the bed or behind a garage shelf until you need it
- Even though kids can be pulled in it, it’s more for cargo and doesn’t have very many comfort features
What to look for when buying a kids wagon
- Age appropriate: Do you have younger kids who would be better off with a starter or stroller wagon? Stroller wagon hybrids are great for younger kids, especially in pairs, but if your kids are older, you’ll want something sturdier, like the Radio Flyer or MacSports Collapsible Folding Wagon.
- Safety features: In stroller wagons, look for safety harnesses, brakes, and an ASTM certification. On our list, this would describe the Keenz 7s and the Veer Cruiser. Most don’t come with LED lights, which keep everyone safer during nighttime play, though they’re simple to install – check out this video. Wagons for older kids should have safe wheels and joints.
- Convenience features: For younger kids, we really love wagons with a canopy, like the Hauck Eco Wagon and the Keenz 7s. Cup holders come in handy more often than you think, if only for small snacks. Anything with a small tray or surface, like the Mac Collapsible Folding Wagon, can be a useful lifesaver.
- Material and ease of cleaning: Anything made of wood, metal or plastic will be fairly simple to clean, and some soft-lined wagons are easier to clean than others. If you want a soft-lined wagon that’s easy to clean, look for one with a lining made of sturdy polyester, similar to that used to make tents and other outdoor gear. It’s comfortable for kids to sit on and is easily cleaned.
- Storage size: Depending on the amount of space in your home and/or garage, storage space can be a concern. The Hauck Eco Wagon, the Keenz 7s and the Mac Collapsible Folding Wagon can be folded and stored when not in use. The Mac has the smallest collapsed size, but the Keenz is the smaller of the two stroller hybrids. You can use wagons to store toys when they are not being played with or used, a cute decorative addition to a child’s bedroom.
Why a wagon is a great childhood investment
- It encourages outdoor play: From a young age, kids love playing outside with their wagons, pulling their toys around the yard or neighborhood, letting you get some exercise and fresh air as well.
- When they’re not being used, they’re really great for toy storage: Stuffed animals that never seem to find a permanent home are always happy to hang out in a parked wagon.
- They’re a physical play object: Kids love running around pushing and pulling them, which is good exercise for growing bodies. Check out these great wagon activity suggestions – they’re based around Radio Flyer wagons, but most could work with any on our list.
- It’s a great toy for teaching early responsibility: Like making sure the wagon gets put away, that it’s been cleaned up if it’s been outside, etc.
- They can’t be beat for carrying drinks and snacks to the neighbor’s barbecue: Or a fireworks show, or the Little League game – and, of course, there’s room for a tired kid or two on the way home.
When is a wagon better than a stroller?
Strollers are a staple when you’ve got little ones, but they’re not always the most convenient way to transport your young kids.
Of the stroller wagon hybrids we’ve reviewed here, two picks – the Veer Cruiser and the Keenz 7s – have the ASTM certification, which is the same certification strollers are required to have.
They are also sturdier, larger, and allow you to transport more kids, more stuff, and sometimes even both. When are wagons the better bet?
- For families with two young children — especially when kids will be in their stroller wagon for a while, such as a theme park trip or other outdoor events. Small kids usually do better when they can face each other and interact, something double strollers don’t always provide.
- When you are going somewhere and need to bring extra stuff — Wagons can haul a little extra than a stroller. Double that if you’re going to be coming home with armfuls of souvenirs, drinks, food and other assorted event stuff. We all get tired of carrying all that stuff eventually.
- When you are roughing it — Most strollers really aren’t cut out for any kind of serious terrain, but wagons can generally hold up to some mud and muck. Wooden, metal and plastic wagons can be hosed off outside, and fabric lined wagons are relatively easy to clean.
- When you are going to an outdoor play space with the kids — Once there, playing with and in the wagon is a great way for them to exercise and use their imagination. Cup holders and snack storage are great for making sure that all food and drinks are kept off the ground and away from dirt and pests.
And the winner is…
There are lots of strong contenders on this list, but our winning pick is the Keenz 7s Stroller Wagon (check price on Amazon). We love the secure safety harnesses and that it is ASTM certified. Also, compared to other hybrids, the price is more than reasonable. What we love most about it is the compact storage – anyone who has ever had a bulky stroller they can’t stop tripping over will appreciate how easily this wagon folds up and slides into storage. The deep body and high sides make it extra safe and comfortable for small riders. It’s versatile, sturdy, easy to clean, and a great buy – especially for multi-kid households.