The 8 Best Train Sets for Kids in 2022

Provide hours of entertainment with these classic toys

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The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

A train set is such a classic toy that's probably on every kid's wish list. The options can range from small, beginner trains perfect for a gift for a toddler to larger ones with bridges, tracks, and tons of add-ons that could appeal to tweens and teens. Whatever you choose, your kid is sure to have hours of fun.

When purchasing your own train set, consider the age and capabilities of your child as per the advice of Peter Southard, “The Train Doctor” and President of the Twin City Model Railroad Museum in St. Paul Minnesota. Toddlers may reach for wooden models while older kids will enjoy an electronic metal option.

Below are some perfect options for the best train sets.

Our Top Picks
Take your train through a beautiful forest scene.
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This starter pack comes with brightly colored train, a bridge, and tracks.
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This train set comes with everything kids need to get their train game on.
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This cute train set can get kids’ learning on track while they play.
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If you’re looking for some serious track action, this may be just right.
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If your little engineer loves pink, this train set will be a hit.
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This LEGO set combines two childhood favorites into one fun toy.
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Perfect for a holiday gift, this set is remote-operated and makes for a cute and festive display.
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Dimensions: 37 x 24.8 x 6.3 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

What We Like
  • Adorable design

  • High quality pieces

  • Suitable for younger kids

What We Don't Like
  • Contains small pieces

Explore a beautiful forest scene with the Wild Pines Train Set from Tender Leaf Toys. This 30-piece set allows for endless track designs and includes three carriages, a logging truck, and six trees in various stages of life. Also included is a lake with two magnetized boulders and two bears to travel throughout. Little ones can learn about trees while trailing their trains through the scene with obstacles like spinning trees and sleeping bears.

Brio My First Railway Beginner Pack Train Set

Brio My First Railway Beginner Pack Train Set

Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 4 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 18 months and up

What We Like
  • High quality pieces

  • Perfect for toddlers

  • No small pieces

What We Don't Like
  • Magnets can be weaker than other models

BRIO is known for its well-made, creative toys, and this wooden train set is no exception. It’s perfect for kids just getting on board with train adventures. This starter pack comes with a brightly colored train, a bridge, ​ramps, and tracks. The parts, which are made of solid wood, are easy to put together and take apart so they can experiment and design all sorts of routes. It’s also compatible with all of the other BRIO train sets, so you can expand their collection over time for limitless possibilities.

Brio My First Railway Beginner Pack

The Spruce / Michelle Piccolo

What Testers Say

"My 22-month-old son likes to play with the trains and push them around the track. While he can’t quite build the track himself, it will be great to practice this skill with him as he gets older."—Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester

KidKraft Ride Around Train Set and Table

Kid Kraft Ride Around Train Set and Table

Dimensions: 47.8 x 34.25 x 16 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 6 months and up

What We Like
  • Compatible with other sets

  • Includes storage space

  • Easy to assemble

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

This train set comes with everything kids need to get their train game on, including the table. There are 100 pieces, including train tracks and three trains. The fun doesn’t stop there, however, as this set provides a brightly painted landscape that sets the scene as well as fun features like an airport with a runway, a helipad, and a hospital with an ambulance. There are animals, trees, bridges, additional vehicles, and more for tons of imaginative adventures. Two storage bins underneath provide a place for the pieces not being used. The set is compatible with Thomas and Friends and Brio wooden train sets as well for even more for fun.

KidKraft Ride Around Town Train Table

The Spruce / Sarah Vanbuskirk

What Testers Say

"There are more than enough pieces to go around, even with several kids playing. This reduces fighting over favored items (the elevated bridge, airport, and construction area with moving crane top this list) and makes it great for siblings and playdates."—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset

Dimensions: 3.94 x 5.12 x 7.87 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 1 year and up

What We Like
  • Educational and interactive

  • Includes batteries

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Battery life is short

This cute train set can get kids’ learning on track while they play. Not only is it a great train set with tracks, an electronic train station, a bridge, tunnel, and more, but it will also teach them important skills on their journey. From letter sounds ("‘T’ is for train") to colors and time and even phrases in foreign languages, they’ll be learning as they roll the train over SmartPoint locations. Additional vehicles can be purchased separately, and each elicits a different response to the SmartPoints. Three required A batteries are included.

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset

The Spruce / Sharon Lehman

What Testers Say

"The first thing we liked about this train set was that it greeted our 22-month-old with 'hello' in English, Spanish, French, and German. It's a great way to get your child to pick up on simple phrases in a handful of languages."—Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester

Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Train Set - O-Gauge

Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Train Set - O-Gauge

Dimensions: 16.75 x 17.75 x 8.5 inches | Material: Metal | Recommended Age: 14 years and up

What We Like
  • Puffing smoke feature

  • Easy to set up

  • Bluetooth capabilities

What We Don't Like
  • Users found audio quality decreased after use

This train is a bit of investment, but if you’re looking for some serious track action, this may be just right. It features an engine, a three-dome tank car, a boxcar, and a caboose with realistic details such as opening doors and metal handrails, as well as enough track pieces to make a 40 x 50-inches oval. The train is operated with a battery-powered remote (three AAA batteries are not included) that can power it backward and forward and control whistle and bell sounds, steam chuffing, and special announcements.

Bigjigs Rail Wooden Fairy Town Train Set - 75 Play Pieces

Bigjigs Rail Wooden Fairy Town Train Set - 75 Play Pieces

Dimensions: 3.54 x 22.83 x 14.37 inches | Material: Wood | Recommended Age: 3 years and up

What We Like
  • Unique design

  • Multiple pieces and ways to play

What We Don't Like
  • Some users found certain pieces did not snap in perfectly

If your little engineer prefers to think pink when it comes to toys, this wooden fairy town train set will be a hit. Pretty and pastel, this one stands out among traditional train sets that are typically decked out in dark or primary colors. The set comes with 75 pieces for tons of building fun. Included is everything from a pink bridge to pastel trees, houses, and even a helipad. And, of course, there are fairies included as well.

LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 Train Toy

LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 Train Toy

Dimensions: 22.91 x 14.88 x 4.65 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 6 years and up

What We Like
  • STEM-based

  • Multiple different builds and pieces

  • Compatible with other LEGO sets

What We Don't Like
  • Kids may need adult help to complete

This STEM-based train set combines two childhood favorites into one fun toy that lets them build their own motorized train brick by brick. Included is everything they need to build a cargo train, including a crane to help lift and lower the cargo as well as an eight-channel, seven-speed infrared remote control to send it rolling down the tracks. Other pieces include a full circular track with 30 curved rail tracks and eight straight ones, and accessories like a cow (for the cattle wagon), a bucket of milk and train station complete with an office that has a computer, cup, trash can, and fire extinguisher. In all, there are 888 pieces, which can be combined with other Lego sets as well.

Lionel Thomas & Friends Christmas Freight Lionchief Set with Bluetooth

Lionel Thomas the Tank Christmas Freight Ready to Run Train Set

Dimensions: 18.5 x 17.37 x 9.5 inches | Material: Plastic | Recommended Age: 8 years and up

What We Like
  • Festive

  • Recognizable character

  • Remote-operated

What We Don't Like
  • Users found the quality less than other models

There’s no better time of the year for a train than Christmas, and this Thomas & Friends Christmas Freight Train set will help you celebrate in style whether it’s December or any other month of the year. It comes with a Thomas the Tank Engine who sports a removable Santa cap. There’s also a wagon car and a caboose, as well as trees, presents, and tracks on which the train can travel. It’s all controlled by a remote that lets you move the train forward and backward, plus sound bells, whistles, and special announcements. Note: The remote requires three AAA batteries, which aren’t included.

What to Look for in a Train Set for Kids

Safety

On the packaging of any train set you purchase, it will advise you of any safety issues as well as a recommended age so that safety concerns do not arise. This could include small pieces that could become safety hazards for small children. In general, follow the guidance of the product and always stay near when small children are using new toys.

In terms of electric trains, "they operate on a 120 volt system" and parental guidance may be necessary for any electrical cords or battery installments that are necessary, Southard advises. But, "the voltage on the track is actually very low. So there is virtually no chance of any kind of electrocution happening," he shares.

Age Restrictions

Train sets come in a variety of difficulty levels, from ones you need to build yourself to those that are out-of-the-box perfect for toddlers. Your child’s age, abilities, and interest level should all be factors when shopping. Also, make sure you look for a set that'll hold their interest so they don’t outgrow it too quickly.

"The younger they are, the larger the scale," says Southard, referring to the size of pieces in a train set. According to him, wooden train sets with bigger pieces are more suitable for toddlers and young children. When children enter grade school, Southard recommends an O gauge set (larger scale set) and then when entering high school or adulthood, moving to an HO (or smaller scale) model.

Extra Features or Add-Ons

Some sets come with just the basics, while others come complete with a table plus other vehicles, people, and scenery to interact with the trains. Your budget, as well as your child’s preferences, should drive your choices. 

Extras can also make train sets more or less complicated. "You want to consider how easy is it for the child to mainly operate the train," says Southard, which can involve actually putting the train on the track or using the remote to make it go.

Additionally, toy trains with several extra features may require more maintenance. "If you're going to buy trains online, recognize the fact that it is going to be very interesting if you have issues with that train to get it serviced," rather than purchasing from a small shop, Southard shares. However, some online retailers may provide service or piece replacements if necessary, which can be found on their respective websites. Even so, this many affect where a consumer chooses to purchase their set from.

Size

How much room do you have to house your train set? If you have a large playroom, then size may not be an issue, but if you only have a corner of a room to use, you may want one that's on the smaller side. Also, consider how easy it'll be to take apart and how much room you need to store it.  

Why Trust the Spruce?

This article was written by Julie Evans, a writer and editor who has worked with a host of diverse companies including Microsoft, USA Today, Realtor.com, Brit + Co, CafeMom, and SheKnows among others. Additional research was done by Julia Fields, a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays since October 2021. Before that, she covered similar topics including toy reviews, product roundups, expert-focused articles, and more. Expert advice was provided by Dr. Peter Southard, “The Train Doctor” and President of the Twin City Model Railroad Museum.

Updated by
Julia Fields
Julia Fields The Spruce
Julia is the Assistant Editor at The Spruce, covering all things toys, gifts, and holiday. 
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