The best tricycles on the market today are the Radio Fyler 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike, Little Tikes Perfect Fit 4-in-1 Trike, and the Smart Trike Zoom 4-in-1 Multi-Stage Trike. Which one is the best 4-in-1 tricycle for your toddler? What are the differences and things you need to consider when buying a trike for your child?
4-in-1 tricycles are for babies and toddlers who are eager to explore the outside environment but don’t yet have the ability to steer or pedal. 4-in-1 trikes are a popular type of parent-steering trike before your child transitions to a balance bike.
In this article, we will do a detailed review and comparison of Little Tikes vs Radio Flyer vs SmarTrike from the most important aspects. Our goal is to help you pick the best one that brings the most fun for your kid, has the best safety features, and lasts the longest.
Final Verdict For Best 4-in-1 Tricycle: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘n Trike
The Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘n Trike has striking classic looks and is well-constructed. It’s packed with kid- and parent-friendly features, along with an amazing lifespan of more than 4 years. The Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘n Trike is priced at around $70. It is the model that stands out among all the bikes that we have reviewed and we highly recommend it.
Overview of the Top Three 4-in-1 Tricycles
1. Best 4-in-1 Tricycle Option 1: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘n Trike
The Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike is by far the most well-received model on the market. From our detailed comparison, you can see why its popularity is well justified.
With a lifespan of more than 4 years and at a price of around $70, this bike is packed with features that make it fun and safe for kids, as well as easy and convenient for parents. If you like its classic looks and top-notch quality, this is the best model to consider.
4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike is the most classic toddler trike by Radio Flyer. This brand also has other models for special usages such as on the beaches or hiking trails.
2. Best 4-in-1 Tricycle Option 2: Little Tikes Perfect Fit 4-in-1 Trike
The Little Tikes Perfect Fit 4-in-1 Trike is also a competitive model that is loved by many parents. Comparing to the Radio Flyer Stroll ‘n Trike, Little Tikes’ design is more parent-friendly thanks to its multiple storage trays and easy seat adjuster.
The only disappointment is that many parents find it difficult, if not impossible, to align some of the parts during assembly.
3. Best 4-in-1 Tricycle Option 3: SmarTrike Zoom 4-in-1 Multi-Stage Trike
SmarTrike Zoom is the most stylish looking model with vibrant color combinations. This trike emphasizes the riding experience for your child. However, your child must be at least 15 months to start using this model.
The manufacture also suggests that the trike is for children under 3-years-old. It is a good option if you only plan to use it for a little more than 1 year.
Detailed Comparison of Little Tikes vs Radio Flyer vs Smart Trike
Although we’ve given our recommendation for the best multi-stage tricycles for toddlers that will work for the majority of parents, your situation may be special or unique.
In that case, we have detailed all the factors that we have considered during the evaluation process. It is also beneficial to read through it if you want a comprehensive understanding of what factors to consider before buying. After all, a tricycle is something you are not likely to return once assembled.
The criteria we chose for our evaluation are the ones that concern parents the most. In addition to the manufacturers’ user manual, we also included feedback and reviews from real consumers. The information below will help you make an informed decision on the purchase.
1. Safety Features
Similarities: All three models have a safety harness, a safety waist bar, and a high-back seat.
Differences: While the other two models feature a 3-point safety harness, Little Tikes boasts a 5-point safety harness. It adds an extra layer of safety and comfort as you have more ways to adjust how the harness fits on your little one’s body.
Another difference is that the SmarTrike Zoom doesn’t have a footrest. A footrest is very important if your baby is still little, especially if she is less than 15 months. Not only does it provides a place for your little one to rest her feet while you are steering and pushing the tricycle, but it also ensures that her feet don’t get stuck in the wheels.
2. Riding Comfort
Similarities: All three four-in-one trikes come with a removable sun protection canopy as well as an adjustable seat. In addition, the seats are all made of plastic and are not padded. The handle grips are all made with foam rubber.
Differences: SmarTrike Zoom is the obvious winner here when it comes to riding comfort. Unlike the other two 4-in-1 trikes that use soft plastic tires, the wheels of the SmartTrike Zoom is made of EVA foam rubber.
EVA is a versatile material that is used for padding, ski boots, bicycle saddles, etc. They are excellent at absorbing shocks and turbulence.
In addition, the SmarTrike Zoom also sports a patented front wheel shock absorber. If the roads your child bikes on is bumpy or uneven, SmarTrike will provide the most comfortable riding experience.
3. Ways of Use
Similarities: All 4-in-1 tricycles can be used in four ways: strolling, pedaling without steering, pedaling with intervention, free pedaling.
Differences: Although all bikes have four different configurations, the age limit for each configuration is slightly different. The feedback from parents for each stage also varies.
For Radio Flyer, Stage 1 lasts from 9 months to 18 months (9 months in total), Stage 2 lasts from 18 to 24 months (4 months in total), Stage 3 lasts from 2-3 years (1 year in total) and Stage 4 lasts from 3-5 years (2 years).
Most parents love how simple and safe it is for stage 1 and 2, but the build of the Radio Flyer Stroll ‘N Trike makes it boring and toyish for bigger kids. Once your child outgrows stage 1 or 2, you will definitely want to get a more sturdy and functional tricycle.
For Little Tikes, Stage 1 lasts from 9 months to 12 months (3 months in total), Stage 2 lasts from 12 to 18 months (6 months in total), Stage 3 lasts from 18 months to 3 years (18 months in total) and Stage 4 lasts from 3-5 years (2 years).
The good thing about the Little Tikes model is that, unlike Radio Flyer that only allows fixed adjustments of the seat, the seat can be adjusted by sliding along the frame. It provides ample flexibility to accommodate your kid through different ages. Parents have positive feedback for this model for kids under 3 years of age. Like the Radio Flyer one, it loses its attractiveness after 3 years.
For SmartTrike, Stage 1 lasts from 15 to 24 months (9 months in total), Stage 2 lasts from 18 to 24 months (6 months in total), Stage 3 lasts from 24 months to 30 months (6 months in total) and Stage 4 lasts from 30 to 36 months (6 months). The SmartTrike model has a shorter life span of 21 months compared to its other two counterparts that have 51 months.
However, don’t get too hung up on the alleged duration of use because kids lose their interest in the other two bikes once they reach 3. So practically, there is not much of a difference. However, if you are shopping for a tricycle for a baby that is under 15 months, don’t even consider SmartTrike because it doesn’t have the footrest and protection.
Similarities: All three 4-in-1 tricycles are non-foldable. However, the parent steering shaft can be disassembled easily in order to fit in a car. Therefore, portability is not a big differentiator.
Differences: The sizes and weights are slightly different. The Radio Flyer model measures 35.04″ x 19.88″ x 40.75″, the Little Tikes model measures 18.5 x 46 x 36 inches, and the SmartTrike model measures 37 x 17.7 x 40.2 inches being the largest of the three.
In terms of weight, the three models weigh 15.9 pounds, 16 pounds, and 14.47 pounds respectively.
If the ability to fold up is important to you, we recommend Radio Flyer 4-in-1 EZ Fold Tricycle.
Similarities: All three 4-in-1 trikes have a storage compartment in the back of the bike for small items. However, Little Tikes excels at being the most parent-friendly model.
Differences: Unlike the other two models, the parent steering shaft of the Little Tikes Perfect Fit 4-in-1 Trike has a tray on the top. This design consideration makes it convenient for parents to reach their phones, sunglasses, water, or some snacks.
It’s also worth noting that the seat adjuster of the Little Tikes model can be operated simply by flipping a switch.
The construction and design of the three models are not vastly different.
The Radio Flyer model has a simpler and more sleek design while the Little Tikes and SmarTrike models have a more kiddish and cuddly look.
The Radio Flyer model comes in two colors: pink and red. The Little Tikes has three color options: teal, blue, and pink. The SmartTrike has two color options: red and multi-color.
In terms of quality and durability of the bike, Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike has the most positive feedback. Though some parents complained about the difficulty to maneuver the parent steering handle, the majority of the parents love the sturdy construction and high-quality material of the tricycle.
Radio Flyer is also the most popular model in the market today. Little Tikes Perfect Fit 4-in-1 Trike is also well-received, but there are many complaints about its design issues.
For example, some parents complain that the steering bar is difficult to push, the axel is not aligned properly, there is a misalignment between the pedal and handbag, etc.
At the time of this post, the Radio Flyer Stoll ‘n Trike 4-in-1 Trike is $69.35, the Little Tikes Perfect Fit 4-in-1 Trike is $99.99, and the SmartTrike Zoom Tricycle is $69.99.
Safety Tips for Using A Kids’ Trike
During Stage 1 and Stage 2 when parents are still controlling the direction and speed of the trike through the steering handle:
- Make sure your baby is wearing the safety harness properly
- Never use the trike on a steep downhill as it’s easier to lose control
- Push the trike slowly as sometimes your baby may take her feet off the footrest. Pushing too fast may hurt their feet
- Always keep an eye on your baby
During Stage 3 and Stage 4 when your toddler start taking control of the ride-on trike:
- Never let your child use the tricycle near the drive way or a pool
- Never let your child ride the trike barefoot
- Make sure your child is wearing a helmet that fits properly
- Dress your child in bright-colored clothes so it’s easier for other people or cars to notice
- Don’t let your child ride a tricycle on hills.
FAQs about Kids’ Tricycles
When do kids start learning to ride a tricycle?
A healthy baby can start sitting in a tricycle as early as nine months. However, at this age, your baby won’t be able to pedal or use the steering wheel. Therefore, the parents should always control the parent push handle to guide the baby. Most kids begin to pedal a tricycle at around 18 months and can most toddlers can ride a tricycle steadily by age 3.
Our research and customer feedback show that all with all things considered, Radio Flyer Stoll ‘n Trike 4-in-1 Trike is the best option. The market is heading towards foldable models that can fit easily in a family car. We will continue monitoring the market trends and add our analysis of the newest models.