The 16 Best Train Sets for Kids of 2022

The Orbrium Deluxe Wooden Train Set has 52 pieces and 9 track configurations

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The 16 Best Train Sets for Kids of 2022

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Train sets are among the must-have toys for kids of all ages. Not only do they provide hours of entertainment, train sets are also suitable for a variety of ages and can withstand the test of time. Whether it’s creating different tracks to drive their train around or building the toy themselves with a model train set, playing with trains helps children build fine motor skills, problem-solve, and foster their creativity.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick is the Orbrium Toys Deluxe Wooden Train Set because it has nine different track configurations and its box doubles as a tunnel for the train. We also like the VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset because it’s meant for children as young as 1 year and has lots of playful, interactive features.

“Playing with trains helps children with emotional regulation, creativity, and future planning,” says Nicole Clelland, a licensed marriage and family therapist and registered play therapist. “[When playing with trains] children are able to figure out how to set up tracks, which side of the magnetic trains match, and practice thinking about possibilities before making a choice.” 

When choosing a train set, caregivers should pay attention to the manufacturer’s age recommendation as some trains (such as model trains) are meant for older kids. They should also consider the features a train set may have, such as a remote control or a variety of accessories, and if the train requires batteries or electricity to run. A quality train set can cost anywhere from $24-$370, so it’s important to consider your budget when picking a train set, too. To develop our list of recommended train sets, we consulted with Nicole Clelland, LMFT, RPT, and Willie Johnson, supervising engineer at Irvine Park Railroad, and reviewed dozens of train sets available on the market. 

Here are the best train sets for kids of 2022.

Best Overall: Orbrium Toys Deluxe Wooden Train Set

Orbrium Toys Deluxe Wooden Train Set

Amazon

Pros
  • Storage box doubles as a tunnel

  • Nine different track configurations

  • Compatible with other brands

Cons
  • Not all tracks are double sided

This 52-piece wooden set has everything your child needs to build their own railway system. In addition to three magnetic trains, it includes a bridge, train station, railroad crossing, and a tunnel. It also comes with a variety of accessories to create their own village, including figurines, road signs, and trees. 

One of the best parts about this set is that the tracks can be configured in nine different ways. It’s also compatible with other wooden train sets, including Thomas the Train, Chuggington, and Brio. 

Price at time of publication: $40

Dimensions: 15 x 13 inches | Recommended age: 3 years and older | Batteries: N/A

Best Budget: Tiny Land Wooden Train Set

Tiny Land Wooden Train Set

Amazon

Pros
  • Double-sided tracks

  • Made of durable beechwood

Cons
  • Engine car has magnet only on one side

The Tiny Land Wooden Train Set is a great starter set for kids. It comes with 39 pieces, including a red suspension bridge, trees, figurines, and buildings. This train set is made of beechwood, which is known for its durability, and is compatible with other wooden train sets, including Thomas the Train, Chuggington, Melissa & Doug, and Brio.

The tracks in this set are double sided, which allows the pieces to be used in multiple directions. This is especially helpful when creating twists and turns and other layouts for the track. The one downside is that, while the passenger car and hauler have magnets on both sides, the engine only has a magnet on one side, which limits its ability to connect with other trains.

Price at time of publication: $24

Dimensions: 31 x 21 inches | Recommended age: 3 years and older | Batteries: N/A

Best Wooden: Brio Disney Mickey’s Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

Brio Disney Mickey’s Deluxe Wooden Railway Set

Amazon

Pros
  • Mickey Mouse-shaped track

  • Train station has movable clock hands and a recording feature

Cons
  • Requires LR44 batteries

Since Brio is known for the quality of its trains, this set is one that will likely stay in your family for generations to come. It’s perfect for Disney fans and includes 33 pieces to build a Mickey-shaped track. In addition to Mickey and Minnie Mouse, kids can play with Donald and Daisy Duck as they hop aboard one of the five train cars. 

The best part about this set is the train station. By pressing the button on top of the station, your child can record and play announcements and bring this toy to life. It’s also worth noting that there are no small pieces in this set, so it’s safe for little kids to play with, too. 

Price at time of publication: $95

Dimensions: 17.72 x 7.87 inches | Recommended age: 3 years and older | Batteries: 4 LR44

Best Remote Control: Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief

Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief

Amazon

Pros
  • Makes authentic train sounds

  • Responds to voice control

Cons
  • Certain controls not available on remote

Train enthusiasts will enjoy this old-fashioned train with modern-day features. In addition to a working headlight, smoke, and sounds, this train has a remote control that is very easy to use. It can also be maneuvered through the LionChief Bluetooth app and even responds to voice commands to go forward, backward, or stop. 

Certain commands, like cueing the smoke, can’t be done on the remote control and must be initiated through the app. And while this O-scale train is intended for kids aged 14 years and older, it can be enjoyed by younger children as long as they have adult supervision. 

Price at time of publication: $370

Dimensions: 16.75 x 17.75 inches | Recommended age: 14 years and older | Batteries: 3 AAA

Best for Toddlers: VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset

3
VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 15 feet of interchangeable tracks

  • Interactive features like buttons, flaps, cranks, and sounds

  • Compatible with other VTech Go! Go! Smart Vehicles

Cons
  • Only one motorized train included

With its spiral track, interactive train station, and conveyor belt, this VTech train set is anything but ordinary. Along with its colorful tracks and smiling faces, this set has a variety of touchpoints that teach children important concepts like colors, letters, time, and even languages. 

Throughout the track, VTech has installed its SmartPoint technology at 10 different locations. Whenever a train rolls over these particular spots, the track responds with songs as well as phrases and sounds that are authentic to trains. With its large, easy-to-connect tracks that offer many different configurations, your toddler will favor this toy for years to come. 

Price at time of publication: $60

Dimensions: 3.94 x 5.12 inches | Recommended age: 1-5 years | Batteries: 3 AAA

Best Train Table: KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set and Table

Amazon

Pros
  • Large enough for multiple players

  • Dual-sided play board

  • Extra storage included

Cons
  • Heavy and requires assembly

The best part about this KidKraft train table is its size. At nearly 4.5 feet long, there’s plenty of room for siblings or friends to play with trains side by side. It comes with 120 wooden pieces, including trains, vehicles, a working crane, and a helicopter with spinning blades. There are also plenty of tracks to construct and a variety of buildings, street signs, and figurines. 

In addition to lots of play space, this table contains three large bins in which to store toys. The table itself is durable and has t-mold edges to protect the corners from chipping. However, it weighs nearly 47 pounds, so relocating it may be a challenge.

Price at time of publication: $171

Dimensions: 51.97 x 19.29 inches | Recommended age: 2 years and older | Batteries: N/A

Editor's Tip

"When your kiddo outgrows the train set, convert this table into a LEGO workspace. You just need a few LEGO baseplates glued to the table and that's it! The flat surface with studs is perfect to attach all sorts of LEGO pieces securely and the blocks can be easily stored in the bins underneath." — Hildara Araya, Commerce Editor.

Best LEGO: LEGO Freight Train

Lego Freight Train

Amazon

Pros
  • Makes authentic train sounds

  • Can be controlled via the LEGO app

Cons
  • Requires 10 AAA batteries

This freight train set takes playing with LEGOs to a whole new level. It includes 1,153 pieces and features a remote-control locomotive that can also be maneuvered by a smartphone using the LEGO app. The locomotive makes realistic train sounds and is accompanied by a cargo car, an auto carrier, two electric vehicles, a wagon, and a reach stacker. 

This set comes with 33 track pieces and tons of realistic accessories. It’s important to consider that you’ll need 10 AAA batteries to get this train set up and running. However, if you use the LEGO Powered Up app instead of the remote control, you’ll only need six batteries for the locomotive itself. 

Price at time of publication: $200

Dimensions: 22.91 x 18.9 inches | Recommended age: 7 years and older | Batteries: 10 AAA

Best Ride-On : Power Wheels Thomas & Friends Thomas with Track

Power Wheels Thomas and Friends Thomas with Track

Power Wheels

Pros
  • Works on or off the track

  • Plays train sounds and Thomas phrases

Cons
  • Weighs almost 27 pounds

With the Power Wheels Thomas & Friends train, your toddler will feel like a real conductor. There are two buttons they can push after hopping aboard: the start/stop button and another that plays Thomas phrases and train sounds. As your child grows more confident, they can ride this train off the track and steer it on their own.

When riding off the track, this train’s maximum speed is 2 mph. When attached to its track, it coasts along at 1 mph. It also has convenient footrests and a steering handle to keep your child’s hands and feet on the vehicle. While this train utilizes a rechargeable battery, the process of removing the seat to access it can be a bit tedious. 

Price at time of publication: $165

Dimensions: 27.75 x 13.1 inches | Recommended age: 1-3 years | Batteries: One 6-volt

Best Portable: Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tabletop Railroad

Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tabletop Railroad

Amazon

Pros
  • Great for travel

  • Four different themes available (sold separately)

  • Scenery painted on both sides

Cons
  • Tracks are relatively shallow

From family trips to playdates, this Melissa & Doug Take-Along train set is a great on-the-go companion. Weighing slightly more than 4.5 pounds, it’s light enough to be carried and has handles and a lock to keep it securely closed. Depending on the age and size of your child, this set may need to be carried by an adult. 

Inside the foldable track, you’ll find 17 accessories, including three train cars and a park ranger vehicle. However, your child’s favorite part may be the gondola that moves back and forth over a bridge. And while this set may be compatible with other wooden trains, its tracks are relatively shallow, which can cause them to derail. 

Price at time of publication: $38

Dimensions: 15.25 x 10.25 inches (folded); 15.25 x 20.5 inches (open) | Recommended age: 3 years and older | Batteries: N/A

Best Thomas the Train: Thomas & Friends Talking Thomas & Percy Train Set

Thomas & Friends Talking Thomas & Percy Train Set

Amazon

Pros
  • Talking Thomas and Percy greet each other on the track

  • Compatible with other Thomas & Friends tracks

Cons
  • Trains can derail around corners

With this Thomas & Friends train set, your child can send Thomas and Percy on an adventure as they explore the Island of Sodor. These battery-powered trains can visit all the places from the television show, including the Blue Mountain Quarry, where kids can drop boulders into a train’s cargo bed. There’s even a track switch for your kiddo to determine where the trains will go as they make their rounds.

You can easily combine this set with other Thomas & Friends kits to make the tracks even longer. The best part about this set is the sounds it makes; when Thomas and Percy pass each other on the tracks, they greet each other and say short, friendly phrases. 

Price at time of publication: $55

Dimensions: 31.1 x 68.11 inches | Recommended age: 3 years and older | Batteries: 2 AAA

Best With a Loop: Thomas & Friends Launch & Loop Track

Thomas & Friends Launch & Loop Track

Amazon

Pros
  • Kids can launch Thomas through a 360-degree loop

  • Includes track splitter to send Thomas in different directions

Cons
  • Large size makes it challenging to store

With a pull of a lever, kids can send Thomas the Train speeding around a giant loop on this Thomas & Friends Launch & Loop Track. There are more than 17 feet of track in this set to build and explore, including two separate hills. With the help of Carly the Crane, children can complete the track just in time for Thomas to make his final delivery. 

There are multiple pathways throughout this track, which can be expanded even further with other Thomas & Friends tracks (except the wooden ones). Both Thomas and Carly are motorized and only require two AAA batteries to operate. This train offers a thrilling alternative to traditional sets and can be enjoyed by kids aged 3 years and older. 

Price at time of publication: $50

Dimensions: 22.05 x 14.96 inches | Recommended age: 3 years and older | Batteries: 2 AAA

Best Model Train Set: Bachmann Trains Rail Chief Ready-to-Run Electric Train Set, HO Scale

Bachmann Trains Rail Chief Ready-to-Run Electric Train Set, HO Scale

Amazon

Pros
  • Realistic and made to last

  • Tracks are easy to install

  • Operated by a remote control

Cons
  • Regular maintenance involved

If your child is old enough for a model train set, the Bachmann Trains Rail Chief train is the perfect choice. While trains of this caliber are meant for teens, Willie Johnson, supervising engineer at Irvine Park Railroad, suggests that HO scale trains can be used by kids as young as 7 years old. Although a child of any age will enjoy watching this train, it should be done with adult supervision, as this set contains small pieces. 

This remote control train set comes with a diesel locomotive with an operating headlight and four additional train cars. However, it’s important to note that this train requires some maintenance; it may need a few hours to be broken in and its wheels and track must be cleaned and lubricated regularly in order to work properly.

Price at time of publication: $199

Dimensions: 47 x 38 inches | Recommended age: 14 years and older | Batteries: N/A

Expert Quote

“For kids 7 years and up, I recommend Bachmann HO scale trains. It’s perfect for setting up on a table and is the most popular model in the [train collecting] hobby. HO scale trains are large enough to handle easily while still maintaining all the neat details.” —Willie Johnson, supervising engineer, Irvine Park Railroad

Best Holiday Themed Train Set: Lionel The Polar Express Ready-to-Play Set

Lionel The Polar Express Ready-to-Play Set

Amazon

Pros
  • Train has a working headlight

  • Makes bell and whistle sounds

Cons
  • Requires 9 batteries in total

This festive Lionel Polar Express train set will be the perfect addition to your family’s holiday decor. The main feature is its Berkshire-style locomotive, which is widely known for being one of the most well-designed trains. It comes with an easy-to-use remote control that operates the train’s speed and sounds, including special announcements from the conductor. 

Its 32-piece track can be connected into a circle, rectangle, or oval shape. The train cars connect via knuckle couplers, which are quite strong and durable. However, there are no volume controls, so this train will continually make loud chugging sounds as long as it’s in use. 

Price at time of publication: $115

Dimensions: 50 x 73 inches | Recommended age: 4 years and older | Batteries: 6 C-cell batteries for train, 3 AAA batteries for remote control

Best Vintage Train Set: Bachmann Trains Chattanooga Ready to Run Electric Train Set, HO Scale

Bachmann Trains Chattanooga Ready to Run Electric Train Set, HO Scale

Amazon

Pros
  • Train has operating smoke and headlight

  • Good option for introducing model trains

  • Intricate details on train cars and accessories

Cons
  • Needs to be connected to an electrical outlet

This vintage train set was modeled after the famous Chattanooga Train at the Tennessee Valley Railroad. It includes an authentic steam locomotive, four additional train cars, and more than 130 accessories to bring the railroad to life. There are also nearly 4 feet of track that connect into a large oval shape. 

It’s important to consider that handling a train set of this kind requires much more finesse than some of the other trains listed here. It also comes with a comprehensive set of instructions and requires regular cleaning to work properly. 

Price at time of publication: $144

Dimensions: 18 x 28 inches | Recommended age: 14 years and older | Batteries: N/A

Best Electric Train Set: Lionel Hogwarts Express Ready-to-Play Train Set With Remote

Lionel Hogwarts Express Ready-to-Play Train Set With Remote

Amazon

Pros
  • Train has a working headlight

  • Plays clips from Harry Potter movies

Cons
  • Batteries only last 1-2 hours of continuous use

Harry Potter fans will love playing with Lionel’s Hogwarts Express train set. This striking red and black locomotive comes with a tender and two passenger coaches and is operated by a remote control. It also comes with 32 pieces of track that can be arranged into an oval, circle, or in patterns with curves. 

In addition to controlling the train’s speed, the remote cues the train to play whistle and bell sounds. Best of all, the train’s cars feature realistic details that will transport your kiddo to the magical world of Harry Potter. 

Price at time of publication: $100

Dimensions: 34.13 x 16.14 inches | Recommended age: 4 years and older | Batteries: 6 C-cell batteries for train, 3 AAA batteries for remote control

Best Large Train Set: LEGO DUPLO Town Cargo Train

LEGO DUPLO Town Cargo Train

Amazon

Pros
  • Train has lights and sounds

  • On/off button to conserve battery life

  • Optional interactive app

Cons
  • Crane’s gear may be difficult for small hands to turn

One of the best things about this LEGO Duplo train is that it’s durable and large enough to be enjoyed by toddlers. It’s also easy to use and starts and stops with the push of a button. Parents can download the LEGO app to their smart devices and let their children play fun activities or operate the train virtually. 

This colorful train set has various extra features, including cause-and-effect “action bricks” that play sounds or change the train’s direction. In total, this set comes with 105 pieces, including a boat, café, figurines, cargo wagons, cranes, and 24 track pieces. 

Price at time of publication: $130

Dimensions: 22.91 x 18.9 inches | Recommended age: 2-5 years | Batteries: 4 AAA

How We Selected the Best Train Sets for Kids

To select the best train sets, we first consulted with Nicole Clelland, LMFT, RPT. Due to her training as a registered play therapist and experience working with children in her private practice, Clelland understands firsthand how playing with trains can be beneficial (and even therapeutic) for children. She also gave us insights into the ways trains can promote social, emotional, and cognitive growth. 

We also spoke to train enthusiast Wille Johnson, who currently works as the supervising engineer at Irvine Park Railroad. Johnson provided in-depth knowledge on the different types of trains children can enjoy and informed us on the variety of features parents should look for when purchasing a train set for their child. 

After speaking with these experts, we spent two weeks researching the top train sets on the market today. In total, we examined nearly 30 different sets and selected those that have the best features and are safe to use. Additionally, we ensured that there are options for a variety of age groups, understanding that some trains are more fragile and complicated than others and are better suited for older kids. 

What to Look for in Train Sets for Kids

Recommended age

Train sets are nostalgic toys that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. However, young toddlers and infants may need adult supervision as many train sets come with small accessories that can be choking hazards.

Our best large train set pick, the LEGO DUPLO Town Cargo Train, is just one of many products on this list that are meant for younger kids. Its large, colorful pieces, along with its lights and sounds are specifically designed to engage toddlers and can help strengthen their fine motor skills and encourage pretend play. The KidKraft Waterfall Mountain Train Set & Table is another great choice as it’s large enough for multiple children of a variety of ages to play with at once.

In general, electric train sets are meant for children aged 14 years and older. This is because these types of trains tend to have delicate frames with intricate details or features like operating smoke that would not be safe in the hands of a young child. Also, some of these trains may be collector’s items and must undergo regular maintenance and cleaning in order to work properly. If you’d like younger children to play with these sets, be sure to have an adult supervising them.

Safety 

When choosing a train set for their child, caregivers should first consider the manufacturer’s age recommendation. For example, our best ride-on pick, the Power Wheels Thomas & Friends Thomas Vehicle with Track, is safe for children as young as 12 months old, however, they should not ride it off its tracks until they are older and can confidently steer the vehicle. 

Parents should also be on the lookout for small parts and accessories as these can be choking hazards. Smoke fluid, a clear, often odorless liquid used to create smoke, is another item to watch for as it may resemble water but is not safe to ingest. Smoke fluid can be found in trains like our best vintage pick, the Bachmann Trains Chattanooga Ready To Run Electric Train Set.

Features

While train sets today often have a variety of extra features like lights and sounds, classic wooden trains leave something to the imagination. Our best overall pick, the Orbrium Toys Deluxe Wooden Train Set, comes in a colorfully painted box that doubles as a tunnel for the train to zoom through and contains a set of magnetic trains, wooden tracks, a bridge, and a variety of accessories to build a small village. This durable train set requires no batteries and is built to last. 

If you’re looking to elevate your child’s train set experience, consider a collector’s item like our best holiday-themed pick, the Lionel The Polar Express Ready-to-Play Set. It has a working headlight and a remote control that cues a variety of sounds, including a bell, whistle, and even announcements from the conductor. Other sets, like our best LEGO pick, the LEGO City Freight Train, comes with more than 1,100 pieces and can be controlled by an app. 

Power Source

Unless it’s a magnetic wooden train, most selections on our list are powered by battery or electricity. Trains that are operated by a remote control require even more batteries than others, and if your child plays with it often, it can become expensive to replace the batteries. To keep costs down, we recommend buying a set of rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, which start at around $26 for both on Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What age is best for a train set?

    In general, 3 years old is a good age to buy a child their own train set. While our best toddler pick, the VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset, is safe for children as young as 1 year, most train sets contain small pieces which can be choking hazards for young children. 

    After age 2, children begin to explore with their hands (instead of their mouth) and by age 4, most have completely given up the habit of putting toys in their mouth. While a variety of trains on our list are appropriate for kids aged 3 years and older, it’s always important for parents to check the manufacturer’s recommended age before introducing a train set to their child.

  • What is a good first train set for kids?

    The VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset is a good first train set because it’s safe to play with for children as young as 1 and has a variety of interactive features, like a train station and conveyor belt hill. It also has 10 points along the track that recite phrases, sounds, and music—some even in different languages.

  • How much is a good train set?

    The price of a train set varies greatly and depends on the material used, how intricate or detailed it is, and the age group for which it’s intended. For example, a basic wooden train set like our best budget pick, Tiny Land Wooden Train Set, costs $24, while one that has a multitude of features like our best for toddlers pick, the VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset, costs $60. While both are meant for young children, the VTech set is much more interactive and is equipped with sounds, phrases, and multiple touchpoints. 

    Model train sets tend to be more expensive than those made for younger kids. Our best remote control pick, Lionel’s Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief, runs for $370 and is the most expensive train on our list.

Why Trust VeryWell Family

Laura Lu is an experienced health writer who has a Master of Science degree in Health Communication. Her work has appeared in publications like The New York Times, Media Psychology, Brit+Co, and Parents.com, to name a few. She’s also a mother of two young children who have spent countless hours over the years playing with their wooden train set.