If you don’t want to move your child straight onto a bike with pedals, then a balance bike is an excellent stepping stone. A good balance bike can teach your child how to ride and become more confident. They will quickly learn how to balance, and consequently, the transition to a normal bike with pedals will be a much easier one.
To help you in your search, below is a list of the ten best balance bikes currently on sale. It’s a diverse list with plenty of options for most children and for most parents’ wallets.
So, let’s go through them and find the perfect balance bike for you and your little one…
- 1 Top 10 Best Balance Bikes To Consider In 2021 Review
- 1.1 1 Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike – Best Strider Sport Balance Bike
- 1.2 2 Swagtron Childrens-Balance-Bikes K3 – Best Mid Range Balance Bike
- 1.3 3 Bixe 16″ Pro Balance Bike for Big Kids – Best Rated Balance Bike
- 1.4 4 Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike – Best Premium Balance Bike
- 1.5 5 JOYSTAR 10″/12″ Kids Balance Bike – Best Value for the Money Balance Bikes
- 1.6 6 Chillafish Bunzi 2-in-1 Toddler Balance Bike and Tricycle – Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers
- 1.7 7 Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike – Best No Pedal Balance Bike
- 1.8 8 Glide Bikes Kid’s Go Glider Balance Bike – Best Balance Bike for Older Children
- 1.9 9 Puky 4059 LR M Balance Bike
- 1.10 10 AODI 12 Inch Sport Balance Bike, Pro Lightweight No-Pedal Toddlers Bike – Best Budget Balance Bikes
- 2 Best Balance Bikes Buying Guide
- 3 Looking for or more superb bicycle options?
- 4 So, what are the Best Balance Bikes?
Top 10 Best Balance Bikes To Consider In 2021 Review
1 Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike – Best Strider Sport Balance Bike
This is an all-steel frame bike that weighs 6.7lbs. It strong and will take all the punishment that your child is likely to throw its way. This relates to the components as well as the frame.
It has strong 12” mag wheels that look super cool and are also super tough. There are no inner tubes to worry about as it uses solid tires. This means no punctures or pumping up the tires to worry about. On the other hand, it does mean a slightly firmer ride.
What else makes it unique?
The handlebars are straight and feature a useful padded roll. In the event of your child falling forwards, it can help to protect their face and chin. It’s a nice feature, and we’re not sure why more balance bikes don’t have one.
Another feature we’re a big fan of is the inclusion of two mini footrests on the chainstays. These are perfect as your child improves their skills and begins to lift their feet off the ground. All balance bikes should have these too.
Is it right for your little one?
The Strider is suitable for kids with an inseam between 12” to 20”. That’s an approximate age range between 18 months and five years. Both the saddle and the seat are easily adjustable. Just as well, since kids grow so fast, you’ll probably have plenty of it to do!
The bike comes in a range of nine excellent color choices. We also have to commend Stride for the decals and overall design that makes it a cool looking little bike. This is a bike that’s likely to make your child very happy on their birthday or special occasion.
- Strong steel frame.
- Non-slip integrated footrests.
- Puncture-proof tires.
- Padded handlebars.
2 Swagtron Childrens-Balance-Bikes K3 – Best Mid Range Balance Bike
Swagtron is best known for their hoverboards and scooters. They have a solid reputation for manufacturing good value and well-made products. It’s therefore good to see them throw their hat into the ring with a range of balance bikes.
The Swagtron K3 balance bike uses aluminum rather than steel for the frame. You would think that this would reduce the weight, but that’s not the case. It weighs 6.7lbs, which is heavier than the steel-framed Strider we just reviewed.
Why is it still heavy?
We think some of this extra weight, all be it a small increase, is probably down to the choice of more standard wheels, with spokes, tires, and inner tubes. Additionally, the components are of slightly lower quality, which also adds a little extra weight.
As far as the tires are concerned, we prefer standard tires and tubes. Firstly, they create a softer ride. Secondly, the ride feels more like riding a more grown-up bike that they’re ultimately going to be riding.
Is this the best bike for your tyke?
The bike is suitable for kids with inseams between 13” to 17”. This means it should be fine for a child between 18 months to five years. The seat can be adjusted to accommodate your child’s growth. Happily, it’s a very comfortable and well-padded seat too.
All in all, it’s a well-made, strong, and inexpensive little bike. However, the design and color choice is a little uninspiring. Also, the lack of any footrests is an unfortunate oversight though not necessarily a deal-breaker.
- 12” air-filled tires.
- Easy to assemble.
- Comfortable saddle.
- No footrests.
- Poor color choice.
3 Bixe 16″ Pro Balance Bike for Big Kids – Best Rated Balance Bike
This is a larger sized balance bike. The wheels are 16” in diameter, and the frame is big enough for kids with an inseam between 15” to 22”. The bike is suitable for either larger children or for older children who are taken to a bike a little later for whatever reason.
The air-filled 16” tires are mounted on some cool-looking color-coordinated rims. They are fun and very grown-up at the same time. Additionally, the tires make the ride feel smooth and natural.
What makes it extra special?
The bike weighs 12lbs, which is a little heavy despite it being significantly bigger than a lot of balance bikes. Although it’s heavy, the advantage is that it’s very strong and that it has a whopping 150lbs weight limit. There are very few other balance bikes with even close to this kind of maximum weight capacity.
The bike comes almost fully assembled. All you need to do is fit in the handlebars and saddle. The good news is that these also come with child-friendly safety washers. These are tamper-proof to stop your child from trying to alter the height themselves.
What did we really love about this bike?
The Bixe has two very neatly integrated footrests at the front of the chainstays. These are well-placed to allow your child to balance their feet without them coming into contact with the tires, spokes, or wheels.
The bike comes in a choice of four colors. Finally, the good people of Bixe provide you with a full two years warranty. If you’re not completely satisfied, they will give you a refund. Alternatively, if you have a defective part, they will fix and replace it. Now you can’t argue with that.
- Good size for larger and older children.
- 150lbs weight limit.
- 16” air-filled tires.
- Tamper-proof clamps.
- Two-tear warranty.
- It’s heavy.
4 Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike – Best Premium Balance Bike
This cool looking little balance bike weighs just 6.7lbs despite having a rugged steel frame. The rest of the bike is equally strong and is durable enough to take the knocks it’s likely to get at the hands of a child.
The thing that sets off the bike beautifully is the 12-inch mag wheels. Fitted onto these are a pair of slip and puncture-proof tires. This means that your child will get a slightly firmer ride compared to tires with inner tubes. However, the truth is that they are a lot less maintenance as you don’t have to pump them up or worry about a puncture.
But is it the right bike for your child?
The bike can be used for any child between 18 months and five years. More accurately, this translates to any child with an inseam of between 12” to 20”. This provides plenty of scope for most first-time riders.
The seat and the handlebars can be easily adjusted as your child grows. So, they’ll have plenty of time to get used do to a balance bike before making the transition to a bike with pedals.
The Strider has a couple of features we particularly like. The first is the large non-slip footrests that allow your little one a safe place to put their feet when free-wheeling. The second is the inclusion of a thick padded roll on the handlebars to protect your child’s face if they are unlucky enough to fall forward onto the bars.
There’s no doubt that this is a nice-looking bike and that Strider has done a great job in making the design appeal to children. The bike in our review is a splendid yellow. However, if that’s not your thing, there are another eight colors to choose from.
- Large footrests.
- A padded roll on the handlebars.
- Solid tires.
- Strong frame.
- Easily adjustable bars and saddle.
5 JOYSTAR 10″/12″ Kids Balance Bike – Best Value for the Money Balance Bikes
JOYSTAR has got the design so right. What differentiates this from most other balance bikes is the clever step-through frame. This allows for a long and wide platform for your child’s feet. We’re sure you’ll agree this is a more natural place for a child to rest their feet when they’ve gained enough speed and confidence to take them off the ground.
The bike is suitable for children between a year and a half and five years. The minimum inseam measurement can be 12.6 inches and a maximum of 18.5 inches. As well as the seat being adjustable, you can also move the handlebars between 20.4 inches to 22.4 inches from the floor.
But how strong is this bike?
It has a strong frame but yet only weighs 6.3 lbs. This makes it one of the lightest balance bikes in our review. For a smaller child, it’s one of the best balance bikes because it’s lighter, so easier to ride, and therefore even more fun.
The JOYSTAR has tiny mag wheels and EVA puncture-proof tires. These kinds of tires are great for their maintenance-free properties but are, unfortunately, a little firmer. However, happily, the seat is well padded, so it should take up the worst of the vibration.
But you should know…
The bike doesn’t come preassembled, so you need to be prepared to break out the tool kit. JOYSTAR estimate it will take about 15 minutes to put together with very few tools and experience. We think this is an accurate kind of expectation.
Finally, the JOYSTAR balance bike also comes with a neat looking integrated fender. Plus, you get a choice of seven fun colors that are likely to be a hit with a kid. We kind of like them too.
- Step-through design.
- Large platform for your child to rest their feet.
- Solid puncture proof wheels.
- A small range of handlebar adjustment.
6 Chillafish Bunzi 2-in-1 Toddler Balance Bike and Tricycle – Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers
This is rather clever. It’s a balance bike that can be used as either a three or a two-wheeler. For toddlers that are not ready to venture onto two wheels, it can be used in three-wheel mode. When they get older and more confident, it can be switched, quickly and without tools, to a two-wheel mode.
When it’s switched from a trike to two wheels, it should be noted that the two rear wheels, when they come together, are quite wide. In reality, it’s not quite a two-wheel experience, but it’s very close. In our experience, we’d say it’s close enough for a child to gain the balancing skills necessary before moving onto a two-wheel pedal bike.
What makes it different?
The Chillafish Bunzi is predominantly made from plastic, so has more the look of a toddler’s toy rather than a kid’s bike. It’s suitable for children between the ages of one and three. Further, it has an adjustable seat that can be moved as your little one grows. It can be moved from around 9 inches to 15 inches, which is a respectable spread.
Not surprisingly, the balance bike has solid plastic wheels that are very much in keeping with the rest of the bike. It also has a plastic seat, so your child can be expected to have a bit of a bumpy ride. The seat has a small storage area underneath, presumably to store their mobile phone!
The best part?
One of the big advantages of plastic construction is that it’s very light. It weighs just 2.2lbs, which makes it easily the lightest on our list. For very small children, it will make it substantially easier to move around and ride on.
One final positive is that the price is very reasonable for such an interesting and innovative design. In fact, it’s priced on the lower side for bikes of this size. Consequently, it’s a good proposition, particularly for very small children.
- It can be used as a trike or two-wheeler.
- Easily adjustable seat.
- Storage box under the seat.
- It’s a bit bumpy.
- It looks like a toddler’s toy.
7 Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike – Best No Pedal Balance Bike
The Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike comes in an excellent choice of ten colors. Combined with the sleek and smooth lines, it got the looks that most kids are likely to love.
The bike has a much longer wheelbase than most other balance bikes. This gives it a distinctive look and also serves the practical purpose of increasing stability. It is slightly at the expense of maneuverability, but it’s a price well worth playing.
What’s super cool?
The long frame means that there’s space for your toddler to rest their feet. However, we think it’s less than ideal as there’s no plastic covering, so your child’s feet could easily slip, particularly in wet weather.
Another thing we don’t like about the foot platform and most of the rest of the bike is that the welds are a little rough. We can’t fault the bike for being strong and sturdy, but the welds somewhat spoil the aesthetics. To an extent, it can be forgiven as this is undoubtedly an affordable bike, but we still think it could be better, even at this lowly price point.
But be warned…
Another problem we have is the weight. It weighs nine pounds, which frankly is heavy. It’s suitable for children between 20 months to five years, but we think smaller children might find this too hard going.
More positively, it has a nice comfortable seat and some cool looking mag solid wheels. Additionally, it easy to assemble and easy to adjust. Happily, unlike some balance bikes, both the saddle and the handlebars can also be adjusted.
- Long wheelbase for stability.
- Excellent color choice,
- The handlebars and seat are adjustable.
- Cool mag wheels.
- It weighs a ton.
- The welds are rough.
8 Glide Bikes Kid’s Go Glider Balance Bike – Best Balance Bike for Older Children
This is a relatively large bike. It has a big frame for a balance bike and big wheels too. The size makes it suitable for older children of five years or more. If you have a small child and you like the design, they make two smaller versions. The Glide Bikes Kid’s Go Glider Balance Bike has three features we haven’t seen on many other balance bikes.
What are they?
The first of these is a long footrest peg that has been incorporated under the downtube. We like this because it places your child’s feet in a more natural position that is more akin to a pedal bike. Most balance bikes are designed, so your child has to put their feet slightly behind their knees, which is somewhat unnatural.
The second feature is the inclusion of a rear brake. Perfect for an older child that’s likely to get more adventurous and confident. It’s a great addition. This also means your child is not solely restricted to riding around on flat ground. The final interesting feature is the kickstand at the rear.
What else should you know?
The bike has a strong steel frame and comes equipped with wide air-filled tires. Together with the well-padded comfy saddle, it will help to give your child a comfy ride. The saddle and handlebars are also adjustable to ensure your child’s comfort as they grow.
The only downsides are the poor color choices and weight. Green, orange, and pink are hardly inspiring. Plus, 11lbs is hardly light. Though in their defense, for an older child, it’s likely to be less of an issue.
- Front brake.
- Well placed foot peg rest.
- Air-filled tires.
- Easily adjustable.
- It’s heavy.
- Poor color choice.
9 Puky 4059 LR M Balance Bike
The Puky is a cross between a balance bike and a scooter. It has a large platform that runs down a large channel at the bottom of the bike for your child to rest their feet. This could be when either stood or standing. Frankly, this could be a problem.
If a child has already been using a scooter and decides to do the same with the Puky, which is perfectly possible, they will have to stoop forward to grip the bars. Since the bars cannot be set high, it places your child in a potentially unstable position.
Conversely, when your child is sitting with their feet on the platform, all is fine. If you can persuade your child to only do this, there will be no problem. In the real world, we all know the chances of any child remembering to do this are close to zero.
How big is it?
The bike is suitable for children over two years old and between 30 to 43 cm tall. Both the handlebars and the seat can be adjusted though unfortunately, the level of movement is relatively small. It’s, therefore, a bike that they’re likely to grow out of quite fast.
The three-spoke wheels are color-coordinated to match the paintwork of the frame. They look cool, as do the solid puncture-resistant foam wheels. It all feels substantial, which given the fact it weighs 3.5kgs, is hardly surprising. For a small child, that’s undoubtedly on the heavy side.
A little weird…
The saddle has a high back, which seems like an odd choice. A flat saddle to allow lots of movement, if needs be, would logically be a better option. If the saddle on the Puky is comfortable or not is a little difficult to assess.
The handlebars have a foam padded impact roll to protect your child’s face if they fall forward. It’s a very useful inclusion since we believe the chance of your child doing exactly that is higher than on any of the other balance bikes or scooters.
What’s our verdict?
The price is significantly higher than all the other balance bikes on our list. That would be fine if we feel there is something to justify it, but we don’t. We’re still scratching our heads to try to understand the relatively high selling price.
- Handlebars and saddles are adjustable.
- Handlebars have an impact foam roll.
- Puncture-proof tires.
- Cool looking color-coordinated mag wheels.
- High price.
- Poor stability if used as a scooter.
10 AODI 12 Inch Sport Balance Bike, Pro Lightweight No-Pedal Toddlers Bike – Best Budget Balance Bikes
This is a well-made steel-framed bike that will fit most children between 18 months to six years. To take care of their growth spurts, it has an adjustable saddle that can be moved from 14.5 to 18.5 inches from the ground. That surprisingly very little and does lead us to question how it can be suitable for such a large range of ages.
Another issue we have with the adjustability is that the handlebars cannot be moved. This is also surprising given that it’s the only balance bike in our review that uses a modern handlebar stem mount.
However, there are many good things too…
The wheels are wide and are fitted with thick air-filled tires. They guarantee your little one will have a comfortable ride and make it a good choice for using on the grass either at home or at the park. The wheels are advertised as using an anti-slip and anti-friction rubber material.
Check this out, the good people of AODI are also thoughtful enough to include a floor-standing pump. It might not be the best in the world, but it’s up to the task of occasionally pumping up the small 12-inch wheels on this little bike.
Is it the best?
This is a good-looking little bike with a nicely painted and decorated frame. However, it doesn’t have an area for your child to rest their feet. The only possible place is on the chainstays. Unfortunately, these are behind your child’s seated position and are quite narrow so are far from ideal.
- Wide tires.
- Pneumatic tires.
- A floor-standing pump is included.
- Handlebars cannot be adjusted.
- No footrests or platform.
Best Balance Bikes Buying Guide
To help you find the perfect balance bike for your tyke, we’ve put together a comprehensive buying guide. Here are the elements you should consider before you make a decision:
Children grow very quickly, so a bike you buy this month might not fit them as little as a few months down the line. For this reason, all the best balance bikes have some degree of adjustability. Although being able to move the seat is a big help, you should ideally look for a balance bike that also has handlebars that can move up and down.
If the handlebars don’t move up and down, the child will end up leaning forwards at too great an angle. We recommend bikes like the…
…that both have a wide range of quick and easy adjustability.
Once your child increases in confidence, they will naturally want to rest their feet somewhere on the bike. This is part of the natural learning process and part of the transition to a pedal bike. A balance bike should therefore have a non-slip natural place to put their feet.
The platform should have a plastic coating and should be level or in front of their knees. This makes using the bike much easier. The JOYSTAR 10″/12″ Kids Balance Bike stands out as having the best platform for this purpose. However, the…
…we think goes one step further with a brilliantly placed footpeg.
The choice of tires is either between solid tires or air-filled pneumatic tires. This is best is difficult to choose between because there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. So, let’s take a look at each in turn. Solid tires have the main advantage of being puncture proof and also maintenance free. Once you’ve bought a bike with these kinds of tires, you’ll never have an issue.
The main disadvantage is that they do give a rougher ride. For this reason, they’re more suited for riding on flat and even surfaces. Pneumatic tires give you all the hassles of potential puncture and having to regularly pump them up to maintain pressure. On the other hand, they give a much smoother ride for older children who might want to ride in the park and on more uneven ground.
Most balance bikes don’t have brakes, which we think is a bit of a shame. If you buy a balance bike for a child who might want to be a bit more adventurous and go faster or the hilly ground, then brakes could be a very good idea. In these circumstances, we’d recommend the…
…which is the only bike in our review with brakes.
A heavier bike will be more difficult to use. This is more so for a smaller child, but less of an issue as your child gets older. For a very small child, we loved the super-lightweight and innovative…
We think this would be a great balance bike for a very small child.
Looking for or more superb bicycle options?
Then check out our reviews of the Best Tricycles For 2 Year Old kids you can buy in 2021.
And for the adult bike lovers out there, be sure to check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Bicycle Tool Kit, the Best Bicycle Pump, the Best Truck Bed Bike Racks, the Best Bike Mirrors, and the Best Bike Racks currently on the market.
So, what are the Best Balance Bikes?
There you have it. Ten of the best quality balance bikes currently for sale. They cover the needs of most ages and sizes of children and most parents’ budgets too. They are all solid performers, but there is one that we are particularly impressed with, and that’s the…
…which is consequently our top pick.
It’s an easy choice because it’s the only balance bike to provide a brake, a kickstand, and also a footpeg in a completely natural position. Additionally, it’s highly adjustable and has comfortable air-filled tires.