Staff, Courtesy of Slippery Racer
After a big snowstorm, there’s nothing like making fresh tracks sledding down the steepest hill in your neighborhood. It’s a relatively inexpensive winter activity, but choosing among the plastic toboggans and snow tubes and old-school wooden sleds on the market can be a tougher decision than you might expect. We’ve rounded up the best sleds out there, so read on for our top recommendations, plus safety tips and things to consider before you shop. (Also, we encourage you to check out our fun read on the brief history of sledding.)
What to Consider
There’s no “best” sled style, but rather a long list of options to consider based on personal preference, kids’ ages, whether the sled is for one or a group, and budget. The most popular types are wooden sleds (think: the classic Flexible Flyer) and disks or flying saucers, along with toboggans and snow tubes, which typically have a tow rope. There are also specialty sleds, like ski sleds—a seat with a steering wheel set on a pair of metal runners—and stand-up scooter sleds, which are essentially snowboards with handlebars.
Generally speaking, sleds are made from either a combination of wood and steel, plastic, or vinyl and rubber for snow tubes. Wooden sleds are treated to be water-resistant and some of the heavier plastic models are made of high-density polyethylene, often coated to prevent cracks and to ensure a smooth glide through the snow. You should also factor in a sled’s weight, as you’ll have to haul it back uphill.
It’s crucial to follow guidelines for sledding safety—adults included. Kids should always wear a helmet while sledding; a ski helmet is ideal, but a bike helmet is sufficient. Give the sled a once-over before heading out to make sure it isn’t cracked or broken, and always go downhill feet first, not head first. Never sled down driveways or in parking lots, and choose open areas without trees, fences, and other obstacles.
How We Chose
All of the sleds we’ve written about have average customer ratings of at least 4 stars, and several have earned ratings of 4.5 stars or higher. We’ve featured sleds from multiple trusted brands, including Flexible Flyer, Lucky Bums, and Paris Company, and have covered a wide range of styles, as mentioned above. We’ve also chosen sleds that run the gamut in terms of price, from inexpensive picks to more premium options.
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Downhill Sprinter Sled
- Material: Plastic
- Dimensions: 35 x 18 x 5 inches
- Weight: 2.3 pounds
This best-selling toboggan for one or two may be lightweight, but it’s more than sturdy enough for a fast ride downhill. The flexible and durable plastic sled weighs just over 2 pounds and is coated with the brand’s proprietary cold-resistant treatment.
It features two side handles to hang onto on the way down and a rope to pull it back uphill. The sled is recommended for kids ages 4 and up and comes in four bright colors. It also stacks and is available in a 48-inch length.
A Step Up
Premium Snow Sled
- Material: High-density polyethylene
- Dimensions: 48 inches long
- Weight: 15.5 pounds
With an impressive average rating of 4.9 stars, this customer favorite is built to last, promising multiple winters of sledding fun. The durable, high-density polyethylene sled has a thick, double-walled design, and the air in between acts as an insulation barrier to keep the seat warm, which is a nice plus.
It’s also stable, thanks to its 15-plus-pound weight and ridges on the bottom. It features handles on each side for two people, a foam pad to help absorb shocks from bumpy terrain, and a hand strap for towing it to the top of the hill. The sled is available in fire engine red and bright blue.
Best Vintage Style
Steel and Wood Runner Sled
- Material: Wood/steel
- Dimensions: 48 x 24 x 7 inches
- Weight: 12 pounds
Flexible Flyer has been in business since 1889, so they know a thing or two about making top-quality sleds. You can’t beat a classic, and this wood-and-steel model is based on the company’s original design, with the brand’s eagle logo and a bright red arrow on top, among other vintage-inspired details.
It’s made of birch and glides on red powder-coated runners, while its substantial 12-pound weight provides stability. The 48-inch-long sled has a 250-pound weight capacity and comes fully assembled. If you’re looking for a longer sled, this one is also available in a 60-inch length version.
Best Flying Saucer
Paricon Flying Saucer Disc
- Material: Heavy-gauge polyethylene
- Dimensions: 26 x 26 x 4 inches
- Weight: 2 pounds
You can’t go wrong with an inexpensive flying saucer disk for your next sledding outing. They’re small and lightweight enough for kids to carry themselves—plus, disks tend to go fast because of their shape, with little surface area touching the ground.
This one from Flexible Flyer is made of heavy-gauge polyethylene but weighs only 2 pounds, with rolled contoured edges for stability and two hand grips. It comes in orange, green, and blue.
Best Snow Racer
Snow Racer Sled
$134.99 (13% off)
- Material: Tubular steel
- Dimensions: 41 x 21 x 10 inches
- Weight: 22 pounds
This snow racer delivers a next-level sledding experience, featuring wide-track skis, a molded plastic seat, plus a steering wheel and foot break. It has a tubular steel frame and a long steering column, which gives you a high seat to see what’s ahead and more control during your ride. There’s also a retractable rope to pull it back uphill—a good thing considering it weighs 22 pounds.
Best Snow Tube
Deluxe Edition Kids’ Snow Tube Sled
- Material: Vinyl
- Dimensions: 36 x 36 x 8 inches
- Weight: 10.3 pounds
Snow tubing is a super-fun winter activity for older kids and adults, and this durable option gets rave reviews, receiving an average 4.6 stars from more than 200 customers. It’s roughly 3 feet wide, with a 1,100-denier vinyl bottom, a 600-denier waterproof canvas top, and two sewn-in handles, plus a 6-foot-long tow. There’s also a valve stem tool to quickly deflate the tube to store it.
Kids’ Plastic Snow Sled Toboggan
- Material: Recycled plastic
- Dimensions: 35 x 18 x 5 inches
- Weight: 3 pounds
If you’re seeking a sled made with recycled materials, this one from Lucky Bums is your best bet.
The durable one-person toboggan has a simple design and a great price point, with molded grooves on the underside to keep it stable, two side handles, and a tow rope that can also be used to adjust your position within the sled.
It’s backed by a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty and comes in three colors, plus it’s available in two- and three-pack options.
Best Multiperson Sled
Winter Trek Large Pull Sled
- Material: Resin
- Dimensions: 66 x 20 x 6 inches
- Weight: 7 pounds
Gather the gang together for an all-family sled ride with this extra-large toboggan from Flexible Flyer. It’s roughly 5.5 feet long and 20 inches wide, constructed of thick resin to support a heavy load and a reinforced rim to provide sidewall strength.
The sled has molded groves on the bottom to keep it sturdy and three sets of hand grips, along with a tow rope to drag it uphill or to bring firewood from the woodpile to the house after a snowstorm.
Pro Expedition Sled
- Material: Polyethylene
- Dimensions: 60 x 21 x 6 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds
With a 500-pound weight capacity, this sled checks more boxes than downhill runs alone. You can also use it to transport supplies to a winter campsite or tote gear like snowshoes and cross-country skis.
It performs exceptionally well as a sled too, offering impressive speed and durability against large rocks under the snow. The 5-foot-long Paris Company Pro also features grommet-reinforced towing holes, is surprisingly lightweight at just under 5 pounds, and is incredibly well-priced.
Best for Babies
- Material: Polyethylene plastic
- Dimensions: 27 x 20 x 10 inches
- Weight: 3.3 pounds
Infants and toddlers can sled next to the big kids with this ergonomic mini toboggan. It features an adjustable snap-lock safety belt, a curved, raised seat and footwell, plus a long tow rope and polished underside for smooth gliding over the snow.
It’s recommended for little ones up to 3 years and the sled is highly rated, with more than 400 customers giving it an average 4.7 stars.
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