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Skiing and snowboarding are excellent wintertime activities, but sledding is something people of all ages and skill levels can enjoy. Cruising downhill in a sled is easy, affordable, and super fun. Whether you're heading to the mountain or expecting snowfall in your neighborhood, you'll want to be ready with the right gear.
Sleds come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, and choosing between them is mostly a matter of personal preference. Just make sure that no matter which one you pick, it's easy to haul back up the hill at the end of a run so everyone has enough energy to keep the fun going.
From runners, racers, and sliders to saucers, tubes, and toboggans, here are the best sleds available today.
Best Plastic: Emsco ESP Series 66 in. Family Fun Four-Rider Toboggan Sled
Weight: Varies | Dimensions: 66 x 19-inches | Material: Heavy-duty poly construction | Capacity: 3-4 people | Age Range: Ages 3 and up
Holds up to four small children
Comes with an attached rope
Diamond-polished base for smooth sledding
Available in two colors
May not hold up in extreme cold
Plastic sleds can be remarkably durable and aerodynamic—and the ESP Series 66 in. Family Fun Four-Rider Toboggan Sled does not disappoint. Perfect for the whole family, this made-in-the-USA sled has an extra heavy-duty poly construction that will last for years to come. It's available in two, highly visible colors for added safety, and has a diamond-polished base for smooth sledding. With a flexible frame and built-in grip handles, it's designed for speed and agility when gliding downhill.
Measuring 66 x 19-inches, the ESP Series Toboggan Sled built to accommodate up to four small children, or one adult and two children. It comes with an attached rope, making it easy to pull it back uphill.
Best Wooden: Flexible Flyer Metal Runner Sled
Weight: 12 pounds | Dimensions: 48 x 20-inches | Material: Wood | Capacity: 2-4 people | Age Range: Ages 5 and up
Vintage sled appeal
Lightweight for children to carry
If you used to sled as a kid, the old-fashioned Flexible Flyer Metal Runner might stir up some nostalgia. This extra-durable snow slider is 48 x 20-inches with a 250-pound weight capacity. It can accommodate most adults and is suitable for kids ages 5 and up. Weighing 12 pounds, it's also light enough for most children to pull up a hill.
While it's priced a little higher than other options on this list, the high-quality Flexible Flyer Metal Runner Sled is an impressive product. It has a wooden seat made from smooth birch and classic red powder-coated steel runners. Though it has a vintage appeal, this slick sled is notably fast with exceptional maneuverability. You can sit upright or lay facing forward while using the steering bar to swivel your way downhill.
Best Tube: Sportsstuff AMERISPORT Snow Tube
Weight: Varies | Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 12-inches | Material: Heavy-duty rubber | Capacity: 1 | Age Range: Ages 3 and up
Leak-, scratch-, and tear-resistant
Molded handles for easy steering
Bright graphics for visibility
May not be as fast as traditional sleds
Inner-tubing isn't just for rivers. If you love drifting downhill in an inflatable tube, check out the AMERISPORT Snow Tube. This large, heavy-duty tube is made to last. Manufactured out of heavy-duty rubber with heat-sealed seams, this durable snow tube is leak-proof, scratch- and tear-resistant, and designed specifically for tubing. The sturdy coating also helps it slide fast down snowy hills, while the heavy-duty molded PVC handles helps you effortlessly steer and move the sled. Plus, it has bright Americana graphics for increased visibility.
Best Toboggan: L.L.Bean Toboggan and Cushion Set
Weight: 14-20 pounds | Dimensions: 72 x 15-inches | Material: Durable hardwood | Capacity: 3 | Age Range: Ages 4 and up
Durable hardwood construction
Non-slip foam cushioning
Accommodates up to three riders
While there are many modern variations, traditional toboggans are long and narrow with a candy-cane curved front. If you're looking for a classic sled that can accommodate multiple riders, we recommend this toboggan and cushion set from L.L.Bean. Made of Northern hardwood with a steam-bent hood, it's just as durable as it is beautiful. It's available in two different lengths—Classic (72 inches) and Extra-Long (92 inches)—and includes nonslip foam cushioning for added comfort and support.
With a simple, timeless design, this wooden sled drifts effortlessly through the snow with up to three riders. It has nine horizontal wood slats, allowing each rider to keep their seat and feet secure. Depending on the size you choose, the L.L.Bean Toboggan weighs either 14 or 20 pounds and has an attached pull rope, making it easy for most people to pull uphill.
Best for Kids: Lucky Bums Kids Plastic Snow Sled
Weight: Varies | Dimensions: 35-inches | Material: Heavy-duty plastic | Capacity: 1-2 | Age Range: Ages 3-15
Available in two lengths
Plastic is treated for extreme cold temperatures
Best for only one person
For a kid-friendly option that's also budget-friendly, you might consider the Lucky Bums Kids Plastic Snow Sled. It comes in two lengths (35 inches and 48 inches) and is recommended for ages 3 to 15. The 48-inch toboggan sled is large enough to safely carry one or two children down a hill. Made of heavy-duty plastic and treated for icy-cold temperatures, this is a dependable product you can count on for hours of fun and hundreds of trips down the slope.
The Lucky Bums Kids Plastic Snow Sled is built for speed. With grooves molded into the slick plastic, it glides quickly downhill. This sled also has two rows of handle grips and an attached rope for easy steering and control. The rope allows most kids to haul it back uphill with minimal effort.
Best Splurge: Yukon Hammerhead Pro HD Steerable Snow Sled
Weight: Varies | Dimensions: 51 x 22.5-inches | Material: Powder-coated aluminum frame | Capacity: 1 | Age Range: Ages 3 and up
Sled is built for faster speeds
Aluminum frame and steel steering system
Very precise turning
Limited to one person
We're not going to sugarcoat it: the Yukon Hammerhead Sled is an investment. But if you're looking for a serious sledding machine that's going to last your for many winters to come, it's worth checking out.
First and foremost, this sled is built for speed—so much so that the manufacturer recommends wearing a helmet. It has a powder-coated aluminum frame and stainless steel steering system, providing a sturdy base that can accommodate kids and adults up to 230 pounds. At 51 inches long, this sled is outfitted with Polycarbonate skis in the front and HDPE skis in the rear. This allows for greater, snow-shredding speed and more precise turning. When it comes time to bring the sled back up the hill, simply use the included nylon carry strap.
Best for Toddlers: L.L.Bean Kids' Pull Sled and Cushion Set
Weight: 13.5 to 18.5 pounds | Dimensions: 31 x 14-inches or 39 x 17-inches | Material: Kiln-dried hardwood construction | Capacity: 1-2 | Age Range: Toddlers
Perfect sizing for toddlers
Kiln-dried hardwood construction
Attached rope for easy pulling
Sledding is an excellent all-ages winter activity—even for toddlers. The L.L. Bean Kids' Pull Sled and Cushion Set comes in two sizes, with the small being perfect for toddlers and littles under 5. (The small size is 31 x 14-inches and 13.5 pounds, and the large is 39 x 17-inches and 18.5 pounds.) Designed to last for generations, this heirloom-quality sled is constructed out of kiln-dried hardwoods and finished with a clear lacquer.
The Kids' Pull Sled glides effortlessly on the snow. And the attached rope makes it easy to pull toddlers or small kids around your yard, down the sidewalk, or through any snowy area. Plus, this sled has wood and metal side rails to prevent your child from tipping out. The included cushion set is made of water-repellent nylon, so your child can stay dry and comfortable as you tug them around in the snow.
What to Look for in a Sled
Depending on who is in your sledding group, you'll want to make sure the sled you pick is light enough to slide back up the hill at the end of each run. Not only will heavy sleds sink into the snow more, which may slow things down, it may also wear out sledders after just one or two trips down the hill.
Plastic sleds are lightweight and inexpensive, but after a year or two they can get cracked, bent, or crushed. Metal and wooden sleds will cost more, but can last for many years, as long as they're stored properly. Inflatable tubes are great picks for adults, but a sharp stick or rock can pierce them, so it's worth keeping a patch kit on hand if you choose that method.
Many sleds list a weight limit to help you determine who can actually ride it. Small children should always go downhill with an adult, so if you have young kids, look for a pick with a higher weigh limit and enough seating space for an adult to fit, too.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was edited and researched by Lily Sperry, a lifestyle writer and commerce editor at The Spruce. Having grown up in the midwest, she's seen her fair share of snow days and knows how important it is to find the right sled. To keep our product picks current, she read customer reviews and recommendations from third-party websites.