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 one among multiple styles and brands may be a tough decision, with all the plastic toboggans and snow tubes and old-school wooden sleds on the market. 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, age of kids, whether the sled is for one or a group, and budget. The most popular sled types include wooden sledges (think: 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 is essentially a snowboard with handlebars.
Generally speaking, sleds are either a combination of wood and steel, plastic, and vinyl or rubber for snow tubes. Some of the more substantial plastic models are made of high-density polyethylene, often coated to prevent cracks and to glide easily through snow. You should also factor in a sled’s weight, as you’ll have to haul it back uphill.
It’s crucial to follow best 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 write about have customer ratings of at least 4 stars, and several are 4.5 stars and up. We cover a wide range of styles as mentioned above, plus options across multiple price points, from value to premium.
- Material: Plastic
- Dimensions: 35 x 18 x 5 inches
- Weight: 2.3 pounds
This best-selling toboggan for one or two is lightweight but sturdy for a fast ride whooshing downhill. The flexible and durable plastic sled is just over 2 pounds and is coated with the brand’s proprietary cold-resistant treatment. It features two side handles to hang on tight 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.
- Material: High-density polyethylene
- Dimensions: 48 inches long
- Weight: 15.5 pounds
With an impressive average 4.9 stars, this customer favorite is built to last, promising five 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.
- 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 original design, with the brand’s eagle logo and a bright red arrow on top and other vintagey details. It’s made of birch and red powder-coated runners, plus a substantial 12-pound weight for solid stability. The 48-inch-long sled has a 250-pound weight capacity and comes fully assembled. It’s also available in a 60-inch (5-foot) length.
- 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 to the hill themselves, plus disks tend to go fast because of their shape, with little surface area touching the ground. This one is from Flexible Flyer, made of heavy gauge polyethylene but only 2 pounds, with rolled contoured edges for stability and two hand grips. It comes in orange, green, and blue.
- Material: Heavyweight butyl rubber
- Dimensions: 42 x 42 x 11 inches
- Weight: 8 pounds
Snow tubing is a super-fun winter activity for older kids and adults, and this durable option gets rave reviews, with an average 4.7 stars from more than 100 customers. It’s just under 4 feet wide, made of heavyweight butyl rubber, with a 1,000-denier top, UV-resistant graphics, and a reinforced tarpaulin bottom. There’s also a safety valve and cap and four oversized handles, and it comes with a cover, a webbing strap to haul it uphill, and a carabiner to attach it to other tubes for group sledding.
- 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 gear like snowshoes and cross-country skis. It performs exceptionally well as a sled too, with 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 incredibly well-priced.
- 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 withstand cracks under a heavy load and a reinforced rim to provide sidewall strength, plus there are moulded 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.
- 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 moulded 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.
- 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 pull up on the sled. It’s backed by a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty and comes in three colors, plus it’s available in 2- and 3-pack options.
- 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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