The 8 Best Balance Bikes of 2019

Get them started early with these top-picks

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Thanks to balance bikes, clunky and cumbersome tricycles, and training wheels are a thing of the past. Best for kids 18-months and up, balance bikes are two-wheeled bikes specifically made your kids that don’t have any pedals or training wheels whatsoever. The idea behind them is they encourage balance and instill confidence in your child while preparing them for riding a regular two-wheeler with zero training wheels. They make the transition to a traditional pedal bike easier, and in some ways, safer. 

Finding a balance bike that clicks best with your child will take some trial and error, and your kid’s height and weight are major factors, so you may want your child to test out someone else’s before purchasing one. The size of the bike is the most important and you should take your child's current size into account instead of buying bigger for them to grow into. Most have adjustable seats and handlebars so they will last for years to come. It is best to read the sizing chart the manufacturer recommends before making a purchase. 

Here are the top balance bikes for your child. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Courtesy of Amazon

This particular Balance Bike is an online Best Seller; it has everything kids need for their first riding experience and more. Its recommended for kids 18-months-old to age 5 and is wear-and-tear strong with puncture-proof tires and a durable, but light steel frame. This bike only weighs 6 pounds, making it light but super durable. Other bells and whistles include a footrest near the wheels that doesn’t protrude out and get in the way of your child’s legs, a (very) low to the ground adjustable seat for a young toddler to climb aboard with ease, and padded and adjustable handlebars that are smaller than standard size for an easier, sturdier grip. 

It’s easy to set up and you don’t even need a toolkit, so no need to worry about tiny bolts and complicated directions. You can even purchase a rocking base for this bike—sold separately—which can be used by babies 6-months-old and up so they can practice their balance, dexterity, and understanding of spatial awareness while still in diapers. 

Best Budget: Bixe Extreme Light

The prices of Balance Bikes vary (most retail for $100 to $200, approximately) but you can find some at a lower price point. Recommended for children 18 months to age 5, this Bixe bike doesn’t feel or look poorly made—it’s a quality product with foam tires and an aluminum frame that arrives almost completely assembled. Each Bixe Extreme Light bike is personally inspected before its ready to be shipped out to future customers. It clocks in at just 4 pounds but holds kids up to 60 pounds, so it not only grows with your child, you truly get your money’s worth thanks to longevity. Each model also undergoes intense safety testing, so it’s a birthday or holiday gift you can give your kiddo with confidence—to boost theirs! 

Best for 18-Month-Olds: WOOM 1

Kids as young as 18 months can ride a Balance Bike if you—and they—believe they’re ready to ride. One to try is the Amazon’s Choice Woom 12 balance bike, manufactured specifically for children 18-months to 3 1/2 years of age. This particular bike, which is quality checked by mechanics before it's shipped to you, serves as a great introduction to the world of balancing on two wheels. The handle brake is green, making it easy for kids to identify and use since it’s colorful, and located adjacent to the small handlebar, made for little hands to grip with ease. The bike’s long wheelbase, very low-to-the-ground seat, and solid, air-filled tires, make it beginner-friendly, very safe, and easy to balance since it has a low-gravity center, thanks to a sturdy type of aluminum.

You want your tyke to maneuver their bike with as much ease as possible, so this lighter, 7-pound one is a solid choice for your on-the-move toddler. Experts recommend handle breaks for kids 18-months to age 3, so the fact this bike has one is a great perk.

Best for 2-Year-Olda: Cruzee Ultralight

Children reach milestones at different ages, but if your 2-year-old is ready for a balance bike and shows an interest in early independence, consider investing in this Amazon’s Choice Balance Bike from industry leader Cruzee. It's easy for a kid to ride smoothly and hold upright and it’s made with rust-free aluminum and is just 4 pounds. It’s sturdy and an ample first bike for your busy, curious child. It can be used up to age 5, so it’s worth the money investment and is a comfortable ride. It has a plushier seat than other bikes, foam rubber tires, soft adjustable handlebar grip, and there are no potentially dangerous bolts that stick out from the tires or frame. 

Reviewers called this bike easy to assemble, store, and carry, and liked that two siblings close in age can both ride it. Of note: When balance bikes have no handle breaks, like this one, kids tend to "stop" using the tips of their toes—so expect some muddy and dirty sneakers as they practice. 

Best for 3-Year-Olds: Banana Bike LT

Kiss annoying training wheels goodbye with this balance bike. This particular model is new and improved from its previous edition. Cool new kid-and-parent approved features include an updated seat design and bracket, newly designed handlebars for a cozier grip, and a promise from the company that it’s easier to put together than older versions. It’s a nice option for your 3-year-old because it’s solid at 14 pounds, which is heavier than most, but parents firmly feel it makes balance easier.

Reviewers like the price point and adjustable seat. The bike is recommended for kids 18-months up to age 4. This bike has no handle breaks, so tykes will need to stop with their feet—something they’ll practice which will eventually come with ease.

Best for 4-Year-Old: Chicco Red Bullet Balance

This balance bike is also an Amazon’s Choice and a nice stepping stone for kids before they’re ready for the real deal. Recommended for children up to age 5 and 55 pounds, it’s made of light metal and is almost 6 pounds, so it’s pretty lightweight.

Reviewers liked that the seat’s lowest setting was quite low to the ground—it goes from 13 inches up to 15 inches—making it easier for shorter and/or younger children to use. Remember that every child’s height, weight, and balance ability is different, so before buying any balance bike for your kid, measure their inseam (the length of their best-fitting pants from their crotch to the bottom of their leg). The inseam should be as long as the minimum seat height; and 2 inches less than the seat’s maximum height for best use, safety, and longevity.

Best for 5-Year-Old: Strider 14X

Strider is a well-known manufacturer of balance bikes and this particular model is recommended for kids up to 80 pounds, so it’s definitely a nice option for an older child who isn’t quite ready for a traditional bicycle yet.

Made of steel and weighing in at 15 pounds, it’s a bit heavier than others on the market, but it’s a two-in-one, which makes it really unique because it transitions from balance bike to a traditional bike with pedals. Once your child masters riding the 14X as a balance bike, simply attach the special pedals that come with the bike and voila! Your child is ready to roll down the street while pedaling with ease and confidence since they had so much practice with the balance bike. And, by the way, 5-years old is not too old for a balance bike. For some kindergarteners, a balance bike is their very first introduction to cycling, and for others, they’ve used balance bikes before and use this one as the last step before pedaling away. Thanks to high-tech ergonomics, the pedals don’t get in the way when the child puts her feet down to stop and go. 

Best Eco-friendly: Kinderfeets Classic Chalkboard Wooden Balance Bike

In the Netherlands, biking is an extremely common mode of transportation for Dutch citizens young and old. This balance bike was invented by a Dutch, U.S.-based dad originally who wanted a push bike for his child inspired by his bike-loving Netherlands hometown. The Kinderfeets Balance Bike is for kids age 2 and up and is made of sturdy, solid, high-quality birch wood (the wheels too, the tires are airless) but the frame itself is an actual chalkboard your kid can decorate with Crayola chalk that comes with purchase. How cool!

This bike weighs 8 pounds, has a smooth wooden footrest, a cushioned, adjustable seat, and ergonomic handlebars that encourage good posture when riding. It’s available in a variety of chalkboard shades including green, pink, and red, and is so eco-friendly—even the packaging its shipped in—that it’s approved by the Forest Stewardship Council.  

Reviewers describe it as easy to put together and say your kid will really stand out at the playground with this sharp-looking bike they decorated themselves.

Our Process

Our writers spent 8 hours researching the most popular balance bikes on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 12 different bikes overall, screened options from 12 different brands and manufacturers and read over 10 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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