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5 Best Balance Bikes For Your Toddler – 2020

yedoo too too 18 month old

Hey there toddler parent (or grandparent)! Are you looking for the BEST balance bike for your toddler?  You are in the right place!

In the last few years, the market has become absolutely flooded with a plethora of balance bike options. Unfortunately, many of these bikes are complete junk.

We’ve researched and personally tested dozens of balance bikes to help you sort through the weeds, save your hard-earned money, and save you time picking out a bike.  

We are going to share with you our top balance bike picks, balance bike reviews, AND also explain what you should be looking for in a bike so you can make the best choice for your child.


But first, let’s make sure you are looking at the right list!

  • Need a budget option?  These are the BEST toddler balance bikes.  If you are on a tight budget, look at our list of the 7 Best Balance Bikes Under $100 instead.
  • Have an older kid?  We’ve hand-picked balance bikes that fit toddlers (18 months to 3 years old).  If you have an older preschooler, you’ll be better off checking out our list of the 5 Best Balance Bikes For Preschoolers.  
Glide Mini Balance Bike

5 Best Toddler Balance Bikes

BikeWhat We LovePrice
1Woom 1Incredibly lightweight, low standover$199
2Prevelo Alpha ZeroInternal cable routing, brand name components$199
3Yedoo TooTooFun color schemes$169
4Pello RippleBrand name components$198
5Frog Tadpole MiniFits REALLY small riders$210

* (Last updated: 2020-11-23 at 07:01 – More Info)


Woom 1

Woom 1 Balance Bike

No matter the age, Woom bikes are as nice as they come.  The Woom 1, the smallest bike in the Woom line-up, is truly top-notch.  If you can afford it, there is no doubt that this bike will perform for your little one. 

The upright geometry and long wheelbase make the Woom balance bike stable and easy to cruise on.  And at a mere 8 pounds, this bike is super light making it the best balance bike for an 18-month-old.

Price: $199


Prevelo Alpha Zero

prevelo alpha zero balance bike

The Prevelo Alpha Zero is as pretty as it is functional.  The sleek brushed-aluminum frame is lightweight and boasts internal routing for the brake cable to keep things clean and tidy. 

Speaking of brakes, this little balance bike has an easy-to-pull, easy-to-reach Tektro handbrake.  That, along with pneumatic (air) tires, quick-release seatpost, and optional custom-color grips, make the Prevelo a top-pick.  It’s the best balance bike for your 2-year-old.

Price: $199


Yedoo TooToo

yedoo too too balance bike

If you want the prettiest balance bike on the market, the Yedoo TooToo is the winner.  The bike comes in an array of beautiful color schemes and has a pleasing aesthetic. 

Of course, we wouldn’t include a bike on our Top 5 list just for looking good.  The Yedoo TooToo also performs.  It includes pneumatic (air) tires, a rear v-brake, and reflective dots on the tires.

Read Review: Yedoo TooToo

Price: $169


Pello Ripple

The Pello Ripple is the smallest bike in Pello’s line of fantastic kids bikes. In addition to being beautiful, the bike comes with brand-name components you’d find on an adult bike. These include Kenda tires, a Cane Creek headset, and a rear Tektro v-brake.

Both the seat height and handlebar height are adjustable, and the seatpost can be adjusted tool-free thanks to the quick-release seatpost collar.

Price: $198


Frog Tadpole Mini

Frog Tadpole Mini Balance Bike

If you have a seriously mini rider, consider the Frog Tadpole Mini which will fit the very smallest toddlers.  This bike is one of only a few on the market with 10″ wheels and has an incredibly low minimum seatpost height of 9.5.” 

It also has pneumatic (air) Kenda tires and a rear handbrake which quite frankly is a bit unnecessary considering your child will likely outgrow it before they are old enough to learn how to use a handbrake.  We only recommend this bike if you are super antsy to get your child riding since you will probably have to buy a larger balance bike before your kiddo is ready for a pedal bike.

Price: $210


Honorable Mentions

There are so many good balance bikes these days that we couldn’t fit them all on our Top 5 list. These are balance bikes that are also worthy of your consideration.

BikeWhat Makes It UniquePrice
Strider SportStrider themed races, contests, etc$89.97 *
Haro Prewheelz 10Small, BMX style bike
Eastern PusherIncredibly lightweight
FirstBike StreetComposite frame
Early Rider LiteWooden frame
Early Rider ChargerPlus-sized tires
Co-Op Rev 12Use your REI dividend
Burley MyKickDurable steel frame
Spawn Tengu 12Mini mountain bike
Norco Runner 12Bike shop option
Trek KicksterBike shop option
Specialized HotwalkBike shop option
Cannondale Trail 12Lefty fork
Islabikes RothanNo longer sold in US (find one used)

(Last updated: 2020-11-23 at 07:01 – More Info)


Strider Sport

Strider has managed to so dominate the balance bike market, many people use the word “Strider” and balance bike interchangeably.  The Strider Sport will last from 18 months to 5 years and comes with an extended seatpost and a quick-release to make seat adjustments easy. 

We don’t love the fact that it doesn’t have pneumatic (air) tires, and it lacks a brake, BUT it is lightweight and comes in at a reasonable price.  It also gives you access to Strider races, which wins it a place on our list.

Read Review: Strider

Price: $89.97 (Last updated: 2020-11-23 at 07:01 – More Info)


Haro PreWheelz 10

The Haro Prewheelz 10 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles and safety features that some of the other bikes on this list have, but it holds a special place in my heart as it was my son’s first real bike (he did have a pre-bike first). 

The Haro is one of the only bikes on this list with 10” wheels, and the small wheels and tiny frame make it very manageable for particularly small children.  My son was 14 months old when he got this bike for Christmas, and we recently handed it down to another little boy who was too small for a Strider.

Read Review: Haro PreWheelz 10

Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2020-11-23 at 07:01 – More Info)


Eastern Pusher

The Eastern Pusher balance bike is a tiny pushbike offered by the popular BMX company. While we don’t recommend many balance bikes on this list that don’t have pneumatic (air) tires, we like the Eastern enough we had to include it.

First off, the bike is crazy lightweight (4.6 lbs). This makes it ideal for more petite riders. Second of all, we found that the tires were non-marking and had good traction on our hardwood floors, which made it the toy of choice during one particularly long winter at our house.

Read Review: Eastern Pusher

Price: $130


FirstBike Street

With the growing popularity of balance bikes, the market has been flooded with new brands in the last few years.  Even with all these new entrants, the FirstBike Street is the one balance bike that still stands out for its uniqueness. 

The composite frame is safe, soft, and durable.  For toddlers, you will need the lowering kit that is sold separately, but that makes this an ideal “first bike.”

Price: $122.71 (Last updated: 2020-11-23 at 07:01 – More Info)


Early Rider Lite 12

Early Rider balance bike

No balance bike list would be complete without an eco-friendly wooden frame.  Made of marine-grade birch, the Early Rider Lite is just a beautiful as a nursery decoration as it is fun to ride. 

With high-quality parts and a 100-pound weight limit, this bike is sure to last for years (in your garage, not a landfill)!

Price: $129


Early Rider Charger 12

If your family likes to ride off-road, the Early Rider Charger 12 is the bike you want. It’s 2-inch wide, plus-sized tires provide plenty of traction as well as comfort. It’s also great for playing in the snow.

We also love the brushed aluminum frame and faux leather saddle. This is one beautiful bike.

Price: $199


Co-Op REV 12

If you have an REI dividend burning a hole in your pocket, make sure to check out the Co-Op REV 12. This REI brand balance bike offers lots of bang for your buck.

It doesn’t have any bells or whistles (there’s no handbrake for instance), but it’s simple design is durable and it weighs in at only 9 pounds. Get it with a 20% off coupon or your dividend, and this is a great deal.

Price: $139


Islabikes Rothan

Islabikes Rothan balance bike

Like Woom, Islabikes is another company that has specialized in making fantastic bicycles for all ages of children.  While pricey, these bicycles have quite the following and always sell well on Craiglist (something to keep in mind if the price tag makes you bristle).  The minimum seat height on this bike is a bit higher than others (11.5”) so if you have a particularly tiny child, keep that in mind.

Note: As of Fall 2018, Islabikes is no longer selling their bikes in the U.S. market.  We are leaving the bike on the list in case you are fortunate enough to live in the European market or if you manage to find one used.

Price & Where to Buy:

  • No longer sold in the U.S., search for one used

Comparison Chart: Toddler Balance Bikes

So how do all these bikes stack up?  Use this handy chart to compare price, weight, seat height, etc.  For more information on each category and on what’s important, continue reading below.

Balance BikeWheel SizeSuggested AgeSeat HeightFrame MaterialTire TypeBike weightBrake?Multiple colors?
Haro PreeWheelz 1010″18 months- 2 years11″-17″SteelFoam8.8 lbsNoNo
Strider Sport 1212″18 months – 5 years11″-16″SteelFoam6.7 lbsNoYes
Early Rider Lite12″18 months – 3.5 years11.6″-15″WoodAir7 lbsNoNo
FirstBikeStreet12″18 months (with lowering kit) – 3 years12″-18″CompositeAir7.7 lbsYesYes
Woom112″18 months – 3 years10.8″-15.7″AluminumAir7.7 lbsYesYes
Prevelo Alpha Zero12″18 months – 3 years11.5-14.6″AluminumAir8.5 lbsYesNo
Islabikes Rothan12″18 months – 3 years11.5″-15.5″AluminumAir7.7 lbsYesYes
Eastern Bikes Pusher12″18 months – 3 years10.75″-17″AluminumFoam4.6 lbsNoYes
Frog Tadpole Mini10"18 months - 2 years9.5"-13"AluminumAir7.6 lbsYesYes
Pello Ripple12"18 months – 3 years11.5"-17.5"AluminumAir8.8 lbsYesYes

How to Choose the Best Balance Bike for Your Toddler

Here are the most important things to consider when shopping for a balance bike for your toddler.  If you want to be even smarter on the topic, learn about our top 7 things to look for when buying a balance bike.

Weight

Weight is a crucial deciding factor for bikes for kids of all ages but is even more important when we are talking about the 2 and under crowd.  Toddlers who are just learning get frustrated easily, and the lighter weight the bike is, the more likely there are to succeed in their efforts (without a temper tantrum).  When comparing two bikes of the same price, pick the lighter one.

yedoo too too 18 month old

Hand Brake

At 18 months, toddlers do NOT have the coordination required to use a handbrake.  At this point, their feet work just fine as a brake.  For that reason, I do not make a handbrake a big deciding factor when choosing balance bikes for toddlers.  That said, by 2.5 to 3 years old, kids begin to be able to use the handbrake and it is good practice for children getting ready to transition to a pedal bike.  So, if you plan on your child using this bike for several years, consider buying one with a handbrake.

Kiddimoto Super Junior Max hand brake

Seat Height

The younger and smaller your child, the more important the minimum seat height.  If you put a child on a bike that is too big for them, they are inevitably going to crash, get hurt, and become quickly frustrated.  Before buying a bike, measure their inseam and choose a bike with a minimum seat height no larger than their inseam.  At this age, kids need to be able to put their feet flat on the ground when seated.

Price

Plan on spending a minimum of $100 for a high-quality balance bike.  If that is outside of your budget, check out our list of the best budget balance bikes.

You might also consider searching on Craigslist or asking friends about buying a used bike.  A decent used balance bike is generally a better choice than an inferior cheap balance bike.  If price isn’t an issue (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), then go straight for the Woom 1 or Prevelo Alpha Zero.  You won’t be sorry.

Tires

You have two options when it comes to balance bike tires: foam/plastic or pneumatic (air).  The foam or plastic tires are nice in that they never go flat (woohoo!), but my preference is always the pneumatic (air) tires.  Why? Because they offer superior traction when riding on grass, dirt, and gravel.  While this may not be that important at 18 months when your toddler is likely to be riding on the driveway or even the kitchen, you’ll be surprised how quickly they become more adventurous and daring.

Balance Bike Tires

Age

Even within the narrow “toddler” category, there are different things you should be looking for based on how old the child is that you’re shopping for.

18 months – The best balance bike for an 18 month-old is going to have a VERY low minimum seat height and a VERY light weight.  A brake at the age is totally unnecessary, but is nice to have if you plan on keeping the bike around for a while.   The same can be said for tires.  At 18 months old, foam tires can be nice for riding inside the house, but by 2 or 3 air tires are the better bet.

2 years old – By 2 years old, you can skip the 10″ wheels and go right for a 12″ balance bike.  Pick a bike that will last a year or two, until your toddler is ready to switch to their first pedal bike.

3 years old – If your child (or grandchild) is already in a 3T pant, consider buying a balance bike off our list of best balance bikes for pre-schoolers instead.  If they are on the smaller side, stick with a bike on this list but make sure that it has a brake, a high maximum seatpost height, and pneumatic (air) tires.  By 3, kids are pretty aggressive on the balance bike.

20 thoughts on “5 Best Balance Bikes For Your Toddler – 2020”

  1. Is Cruzee USA going out of business? I can’t get a hold of anyone for replacement parts. This is HORRIBLE service for the amount paid for the bike.

    Reply
  2. Hi,
    Have you had any kid testers on the Frog Tadpole Mini? I’m wondering how the handling compares to the Woom 1? And if that little bit of weight difference has a big effect on really young riders? Thanks

    Reply
    • Re: Frog Tadpole Mini.. we have one and it’s a great bike. It is TINY. As in my big for his age son grew out of it before he was 2. Friends of ours whose kids are particularly petite have it now, and I think it’s a good fit for kids who are small rather than kids who are young. Our friends two youngest (18mo and 3) are both using and loving it. It’s got a much shorter wheelbase than the Woom, which made the cockpit cramped for my kid by the time he was sitting on the seat rather than walking with it between his legs. If your kid’s inseam is large enough already for the Woom, that’s the way to go.

      Reply
    • Hi Lelsie,
      We haven’t gotten our hands on the Tadpole mini to do a full test/review, but I have had the opportunity to watch several children ride it….It handles as well as the Woom 1. The biggest difference is that it’s smaller. That’s great for truly TINY kids with short inseams, but the smaller wheels also make it harder to roll over obstacles….and it’s not going to grow with your child as long…..

      Reply
  3. The Norco Runner 10 is a great bike for a 10″ wheeled balance bike. I think it would be a good addition to your list. Great colors, quality and cheaper than the 10″ you have listed at $150 US. My daughter is 22 months now and really starting to get the hang of it.

    Reply
  4. I’ve been considering buying my niece a balance bike and I noticed there is a new one on Target.com called the Mobo Explorer Balance Bike and it’s a lot cheaper than what you have listed. Can you give a review on the pros and cons of that one?

    Reply
    • Hi Brenda,
      Compared to the bikes on this list, the Mobo is a much “cheaper” bike. It has plastic wheels and tires, a quill-style headset, etc. Though I haven’t tested it out first-hand, like other similar bikes, I wouldn’t expect it to be exceptionally durable. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get it, just expect the quality to be more like a toy than a real bike that will last a long time / can be handed down, etc.

      If you are looking for a budget bike, you could also check one of the bikes on this list instead: https://rascalrides.com/best-budget-balance-bikes-under-100/

      Cheers,
      KB

      Reply
    • Hi HJ,
      I only have experience with the Wishbone 3-in-1. Its a great bike and one I recommend often for little ones who aren’t quite ready for a balance bike yet, but will be soon.

      Reply
    • Hi Toni, Unfortunately there aren’t many balance bikes for kids older than 5. Your best bet is probably going to be to get a pedal bike, lower the saddle all the way, and remove the pedals. Your kiddo can then practice using the bike like a balance bike.

      Reply
    • Hi Trish,
      The Trek balance bikes are good little bikes! The biggest difference between the Trek Kickster and the bikes on our “Top 5” list is the lack of a handbrake. The higher-end bikes also have things like an aluminum fork (rather than a somewhat cheap-ish hi-ten steel fork on the Trek), recessed bolts, a removable steering limiter, and top-shelf components (tires, headset, etc). So, to summarize: the Trek balance bike is a good bike, just not a GREAT bike.

      Reply
  5. Great review, very helpful. What are your thoughts on the Mini Glider? I’d LOVE to buy anything from your list (REALLY want the Woom 1), but everything is out of stock from what I can find. The only one I saw available was the Yedo TooToo and I’m undecided on that. My son really wants a red bike and I’m not really digging the color choices, and I think a foot rest would be good for him. With his older brother’s bike, he likes to have daddy push him and he puts his feet on the foot rests, but who knows what he’d want/do with an appropriate sized bike for a 2 year old. Thanks.

    Reply
  6. Hi my son is 15 months old and very comfortable on his kinder feet tiny tot 2in1 tricycle, which also turns into a balance bike. He goes very fast and goes up and down hills. I was thinking of transitioning him to a balance bike now, but most reviews say 18months so I’m a bit confirmed whether I should or shouldn’t. I feel he would enjoy it more because he’s outgrowing the seat height and if I raise the seat more then he hits the back axel of the bike (which wouldn’t be there when I turn it into a balance bike)

    Reply
  7. I’d LOVE to buy anything from your list, my son is 1 year old and very comfortable on his kinder feet. He run very fast and goes up and down like hills. I am thinking bye for him to a balance bike now, the Trek balance bike is a good bike. I want to bye it. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Hi and thank you for the review! This was really helpful. Unfortunately most of the bikes you mentioned (not the most expensive ones) are hard to find in stock. Are you maybe familiar with ‘ Co-op Cycles REV 12 Kids’? Thank you, Jelena

    Reply

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