Best Toy Train Reviews 2018

Let's be honest, most of us like trains, even as adults! There is something weirdly satisfying about a mountain of steel rolling progressively on a specified path and shouting a distinctive "Choo Choo!" from time to time. Luckily, you don’t have to live near a train station to enjoy this beautiful scenario. You can buy a toy train set and play with your son or daughter each evening when you get back from work. We’ve reviewed 5 from some of the best toy train brands on the market. If you need to see more products, check out our other review on train sets to explore more buying options!
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Material
Pieces
Tracks
Age Range
Our Top Choice
Lionel The Polar Express Train Set
Lionel specializes in toys and accessories for kids, particularly trains. It makes hundreds of train sets, train cars, locomotives and track roads at reasonable prices.
Available in 2 buying options. 32 track pieces. Working headlight and plays announcements. Easy to install. Ideal for kids aged 4 years or older.
Sound effects didn’t work after a while.
Electric
Plastic
1 locomotive, 3 train cars
24 curved and 8 straight pieces
4 - 15 years
Best Value
Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends R/C Train
Fisher-Price is one of the most popular and appreciated toy manufacturer in the US. This brand sells colorful ride-on toys, play tables, train sets and hundreds of other products.
Excellent for kids up to 6 years of age. Easy to use. Makes sounds and talks. Comes with auto-off function. Doesn’t contain small pieces.
Some toys arrived defective.
Electric
Plastic
1 locomotive with remote
None, uses floors/carpets
18 months - 6 years
Bachmann Trains Rail Chief Train Set
Bachmann makes numerous bestselling HO scale train sets as well as compatible accessories such as locomotives, street trains, railroad signs and railroad tracks.
Bestselling HO scale train set. Comes with numerous accessories. Easy to set up. Working headlamp. Connects to power outlet, no need for batteries.
Only for age 14+ years.
Electric
Plastic, steel
1 locomotive, 5 train cars
47" x 38” oval track
14 years and up
Green Toys Blue/Red Train Set
Green Toys specializes in environmentally friendly, kid-safe products. It makes toys, tableware, books and other accessories from recyclable materials.
One of the safest train sets available. Ideal for kids aged 2 years and up. Dishwasher safe. Doesn’t rust or corrode.
Connection mechanism between cars is a little loose.
Manual
Recycled plastic
1 locomotive, 2 train cars
None, uses floors/carpets
2 – 8 years
Orbrium Toys Wooden Train Collection Set
Orbrium Toys makes a plethora of wonderful wooden toys, including train sets and accessories for them such as wooden tracks, cranes, water towers and checkpoints.
Durable and suitable for most kids. Compatible with other wooden train sets. Attractively painted pieces. Easy to set up.
Minor issues related to the connecting magnets.
Manual
Wood
3 locomotives, 9 train cars
Wooden railroad tracks
3 years and up

(Updated )
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Watch Our Toy Train Review

How Do I Choose the Best Toy Train?

Most of us wished for a toy train when we were small because it’s one of the most popular and attractive toys out there. Owning a train set usually translates into hours of fun and excitement for your kid and his friends, particularly if they use it on a play table or even better, on a train table!

Today's train sets are very varied and they can have numerous pieces, accessories and railroad tracks. You can opt for a manual toy train or an electric one operated with the push of a button. Besides, such a gift is appropriate any time, whether you want to offer it for Christmas, for your kid's birthday or for any other occasion.

As a grownup adult, you probably don’t know much about train sets, what the package contains, how to set them up or even how to use them. That’s why we put together this particular guide, to lend you a helping hand in choosing a good train set for your son or daughter.
Price
The market is very large and you can find numerous types of train sets out there, some of them even costing several hundreds of dollars. However, you don’t have to invest that much money if you don’t want to. Most toy train sets are available at prices starting from around $20 and going up to $120 for a model which is built according to the HO scale.

The price of a train set is influenced by the number of pieces contained, how many accessories are in the package, from what materials the train is made and whether or not it is an accurate replica of a real train. For example, a small, plastic train which comes with a remote will cost much less than an HO scale train with up to 10 train cars. There are also numerous excessively cheap toy trains out there, usually costing less than 15 bucks, but these are made using poor quality materials and they will deteriorate quickly. Stay away from them if you don’t want to disappoint your child.
Features
By now, you’ve grasped the basics of train sets, but let's get into more details and find out what aspects should be taken into account when buying such a toy.
  • Type – this is a simple one. A train can be either manual (moved by hand) or electric, being operated using a remote
  • Materials – most toy trains are made from plastic, but some of them can also be made from wood or incorporate steel elements
  • Pieces/Accessories – this is an important aspect and it basically refers to how many goodies you receive in the package. For example, some train sets come with one locomotive and 2 train cars, without tracks, while others might incorporate several locomotives, lots of train cars, people figurines, steel tracks and more
  • Age Range – some trains contain small pieces and they are not suitable for kids under 3 years while others are safer and purpose-built for 2 year olds, so knowing the age range is very important
The first thing you might need to do is to determine what type of train you want to buy, according to the age of your kid. Do you want a simpler, manual one or would you go for an electric train which contains numerous accessories? It is up to you.
Construction and Design
Plastic trains are some of the most basic ones. They contain fewer pieces and are more suitable for toddlers. They can be operated by a remote (you might need to buy batteries) and they are generally safe for use indoors and outdoors. If you want a simple gift for your kid, nothing too fancy, go for those and you'll be fine. In a similar fashion, you can also go for wooden trains which usually feature magnets to link the train cars to the locomotive. These are fine too, being affordable and eye-catching.

On the other hand, if your kid is older and may quickly get bored with a basic, plastic toy train, you can go for one which is built at HO scale. The HO scale basically means that the train is built according to the specifications of a real life one, except its miniature version. Such trains are really amazing, preserving a stunning level of detail and making your experience truly unique! They might contain numerous track pieces, accessories and are usually connected to a power outlet.

Speaking of accessories, in the package you will also find plenty of those, apart from the remote. For example, some train sets contain people figurines, stop and go checkpoints, railroad tracks which might be compatible with other train sets, railroad signs, cranes, different types of train cars and so on. Check the package before ordering, to know exactly what you are getting for your money.

When it comes to safety, remember to always buy a train set which is appropriate for the age of your kid, to keep him away from chocking accidents. Also, today's toy trains don’t contain harmful chemicals or dangerous paints, so your kid will be safe playing with them.
Performance and Ease of Use
In a similar fashion, most plastic toy trains are also dishwasher safe and if they don’t come with their own railroad track, they can be used both indoors and outdoors. Many children play with toy trains on carpets on even on grass and the train set doesn’t deteriorate.

If this is your first time buying a train set, remember to read the assembly instructions (if any) to know exactly how to set it up and pay attention to warranty information as some brands also back up their products with great warranty periods!

What is the Best Toy Train?

As you can see, train sets can be extremely varied and frankly, we like most of them! Once you set up a budget, take a look at our 5 recommendations below and see which one appeals to your preferences the best.
Our Top Choice
The Polar Express Ready to Play Train Set from Lionel is available in 2 buying options and incorporates a beautiful locomotive plus 3 train cars. If you want a more comprehensive train set with multiple train cars, check out the Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Train Set which is also available in 2 buying styles.
Lionel Polar Express Train Set with Working Headlight and 3 Train Cars - Available in 2 Styles

Lionel Toy Train 711803 – Ready-to-Play Set


Features
Lionel is one of the most famous brands when it comes to toy trains and accessories for them. This company sells hundreds of train sets, locomotives, train tracks, train cars, and even train conductor hats. For a kid, all these products are a must-have and luckily, Lionel's items are available at affordable prices, not to mention they’re made from durable materials.

The Lionel Polar Express Ready to Play Train Set is truly a masterpiece which might make even an adult want to give it a try and play with the kids! This train set is available in 2 buying options – the standard pack or the Polar Express with a straight track pack. This train set comes with a remote control and enables you not only to move the train forwards and backwards, but also to sound the horn and use the incorporated headlight. Yep, this train also comes with a headlight which makes things even more exciting!

The track is composed of 24 curved pieces and 8 straight pieces, giving your kid the opportunity to arrange custom routes and play a different game each time. The package includes a superb locomotive, a small coal train car and 2 additional train cars for passengers. The remote works with 3 AAA batteries and 6 C cell batteries for the train and although they are not included in the package, we think this is a minor inconvenience taking into account the numerous goodies this train set comes with!
Best Value
The My First Thomas & Friends Train Set from Fisher-Price is excellent for kids up to 6 years and it comes with a cute remote control with oversized buttons. If you’re looking for a larger train set, we recommend the Fisher-Price Thomas the Train Wooden Railway Race Day Relay Set which is really attractive and appreciated by kids!
Fisher-Price My First Thomas & Friends R/C Thomas Train Set with Easy to Use Remote Control

Fisher-Price Toy Train Y3766


Features
We are sure you've heard of Fisher-Price before, it’s a professional manufacturer of toys and accessories for kids with an impressive reputation and many years of experience. Basically, if you've run out of ideas on what to buy your kid for Christmas or any other occasion, Fisher-Price will save you. This brand sells motorized ride-on toys, train sets, play tables, Disney toys, educational toys and hundreds of other colorful and enticing items.

For example, we’re sure every 2 year old will love the Fisher-Price My First Thomas & Friends train set which is specially designed for kids up to 6 years. This is a simple train set which basically contains the famous Thomas locomotive and a small remote with oversized buttons. The remote is specially designed to be easy to use and hold by a toddler and the train makes sounds and talks while it’s operated.

Another advantage of this toy is that it works on multiple indoor surfaces including hardwood floors and carpets. You will eventually have to make a tiny investment and buy 3 AAA alkaline batteries and that’s it! Your kid will love this toy and play with it all day long as it stimulates imagination and develops motor skills. If you’re concerned about safety, this toy doesn’t contain small elements, so it’s safe in the hands of a child.
The Rail Chief Ready To Run Electric Train Set from Bachmann is one of the most sophisticated and attractive train sets out there as it can be set up in minutes and contains multiple train-related accessories. This model would be suitable for adults or kids aged 14 or older, but if your child is smaller, don’t worry – have a look at the Bachmann Trains Thomas And Friends Donald Train Set which is equally enticing!
Bachmann Trains Rail Chief Ready To Run Electric Train Set with Steel Road Track, Operating Headlight & HO Scale

Bachmann Trains Toy Train 706


Features
Bachmann or Bachmann Trains is all about HO scale train sets, locomotives, street trains and road tracks. You will actually be amazed to see how beautifully constructed these trains sets are and how detailed and sophisticated the workmanship is. If you are really passionate about model trains or trains in general, you should have a train set from Bachmann as this brand has years of experience making them.

Let's take a look at the Rail Chief Ready To Run Electric Train Set from Bachmann and see what it’s up to. This train set includes 5 train cars and a diesel locomotive which resemble real life models and all are built according to the HO scale. We are not going to get into details now, but you should know that HO scale refers to the fact that each train car or locomotive is basically an accurate miniature version of a real life one. As this set contains many small pieces and it is highly complex, it is not suitable for kids younger than 14 years.

We like the fact that Bachmann tries to recreate real life conditions with utmost accuracy. For example, in the package you will find 36 people figures, 48 railroad and street signs, a large oval track and many other accessories. A compatible AC adapter is also supplied and a speed controller. If that’s not enough, know that the locomotive also has a working headlight, so operating this train set in the dark will be a real treat!
The Green Toys Train Set is made entirely in the USA from recycled plastic and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals or dangerous coatings, making it ideal for your kid. This model is available in a beautiful red/blue color scheme, if you want one colored in pink with green, check out the Pink\/Green Train Set from the same manufacturer.
Green Toys Blue & Red Train Set – 100% Recycled Plastic, Dishwasher Safe, Made in USA

Green Toys Toy Train TRNB-1054


Features
As the name implies, Green Toys is all about environmentally friendly products for kids. It designs and sells hundreds of toys, books, tableware items and other products made from recycled materials and its items are available at affordable prices. Whether you’re interested in train sets, toy boats or sand toys and accessories, Green Toys is the brand to go to.

We really liked the Green Toys Train Set as it’s a cute and easy to use item which stimulates the imagination of your kid. This set contains one locomotive with 2 train cars as well as 2 accompanying figurines. All the pieces are made from recycled plastic and dishwasher safe, BPA free and don’t have any external coatings which might be dangerous for a small kid.

This particular set is designed for kids aged 2 years and older and as another small advantage, it’s not an electric toy, so it doesn’t need batteries. All you have to do is to connect the 6 pieces included in the package and let your kid play with them for hours (or at least until bedtime). Thanks to the fact this toy train set is made from plastic, it can be used both indoors and outdoors and it will never rust or deteriorate.
The Wooden Engines & Train Cars Collection from Orbrium Toys is currently a bestseller and it includes 12 different locomotives and train cars made from solid wood. The set is compatible with tracks from Melissa and Doug train sets as well. If you want an even more comprehensive train set for your kid, check out the 100-Piece Orbrium Toys Triple-Loop Wooden Train Set which provides excellent value for money.
Orbrium Toys 12-Piece Wooden Engines & Train Cars Set - Compatible with Thomas Wooden Railway, Brio & Chuggington

Orbrium Toys Toy Train ORB-TS-A103


Features
Orbrium Toys makes wonderful wooden toys suitable for kids up to 15 years of age. Its products are made from different types of solid wood and are either painted or unpainted, allowing your kid to color them according to his preferences. This brand doesn’t only make wooden train sets, but also accessories for them and most of the wooden railroad tracks made by Orbrium Toys are compatible with the train sets from other manufacturers.

For example, the Wooden Engines & Train Cars Collection contains 12 wooden pieces which are beautifully painted and resistant to wear and tear. This set contains wooden tracks and it also comes in a beautiful wooden frame which helps keep all the toys together.

We like the fact the connection between locomotives and train cars is done using 2 small magnets. These magnets keep the entire train together when it moves, but they can also be separate if your kid wants to switch train cars. Speaking of train cars, these are very different and include oil tanker car, cargo load, hopper car, cabooses and more. The biggest advantage of this train set is that it’s made from wood, so it might never deteriorate, it will never rust or corrode and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, making it safe for kids of all ages!

Get the Best Toy Train of 2018!

We hope you liked our review and your kid will also love each of these train sets when you offer them as a gift! Some of the best toy trains are made from durable materials and can provide hours of excitement and quality entertainment for your child, so pick yours now before they run out of stock!

Our Top Choice
Lionel The Polar Express Train Set
Best Value
Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends R/C Train
Bachmann Trains Rail Chief Train Set
Green Toys Blue/Red Train Set
Orbrium Toys Wooden Train Collection Set