3 years old is almost the perfect age to buy a balance bike of your child. They should have the necessary co-ordination, balance and physical skills needed to ride a balance bike and there is lots of choice out there for this age group.
✔️ Top Tip - the seat height is the most important consideration when buying a balance bike. The seat height should measure at least 2.5cm (1 inch) less than a child's inseam (the length of the inner leg) so they can put their feet flat on the floor to push the bike along. Find out how to measure a child's inseam here.
Recommendations for 3 Year Olds
Strider Balance Bike
This Strider bike has adjustable handlebars and seat which will grow with your child.It’s lowest seat height is 11 inches (28cm) which will be perfect for even the youngest child (from 18 months). It also means that younger siblings will be able to have a go as well.
The maxiumum seat height is 42cm (16.5 inches) but it also comes with an extra long seat post which extends the maximum seat height to 48cm (19.5 inches)
Strider recommend that most kids will start using the seat post around 3 1/2 years.
This bike will really grow with your child and you shouldn’t need to buy another balance bike apart from this one.
The tyres are made of eva foam so you don’t have to worry about pumping them up or punctures. Eva foam will also give a smooth ride along the pavement and tracks. They lack the traction of air filled tyres but they should be absolutely fine for most 3 year olds. They’re low maintenance which is always a bonus.
The bike is super lightweight at just 2.9kg. A lighter bike will be easier for children age 3 to control.
✔️ Top Tip - a heavy bike may be harder for smaller, lighter children to control. If possible look for a balance bike which weighs no more than about 1/3 of your child's weight.
RideStar Balance Bike
If affordability is a desirable feature, the Ridestar balance bike is one to check out. It ticks lots of boxes, but won't break the bank.
The seat height can be adjusted from 32cm to 40cm and the handlebar height is adjustable too. The 11 inch wheels have EVA foam tyres which are puncture proof.
It's finished with a padded seat and soft grips on the handlebars.
The bike has a max weight of 20kg.
The KaZAM looks different to most other balance bikes, but there is a much to like about it's unique design. The unique feature is the footresting footplate. Kids have somewhere to put their feet while riding (in the middle) and it doesn't get in the way of their stride. The footrest also helps them find their centre of gravity.
The bike also features pneumatic tyres, so take it on rougher footpaths without any problem!
The handlebar is quite wide, which is great for growing kids. Whereas toddlers will find narrower handlebars easier when controlling the bike, as kids get older wider bars give the more comfort when riding.
The seat can be adjusted without any tools from approximately 34cm to 42cm which is a nice height range for most 3 year olds. Remember to get their inside leg measurement and ensure it's at least 2.5 - 3cm more than the lowest seat height. No tools are required for the saddle height adjustment.
The padded seat and soft handlebar grips are ideal for extra comfort.
✔️ Growing Room. Most bikes have adjustable seats. To make sure there is growing room in the bike, look for a maximum seat height which is at least 5cm (2 inches) greater than the child's inside leg measurement (inseam).
Chicco Balance Bike
This bike is very popular and I think the main reason is due to it's low price. Over on amazon it does have some excellent reviews too.
However, although it will be a great balance bike for some children it may be an awful choice for others so it’s very important to consider your child’s height when buying this balance bike.
Although the bike looks small the lowest seat height is 33cm inches (13 inches) so your child should have an inseam of around 14 inches (35.6cm) to be able to ride this bike.
13 inches (33cm) should be fine for most kids of this age group. At the other end, the highest seat height is 15 inches (38cm) so it’s not the best choice of balance bike for a very tall child as there isn't be much growing room.
It weighs just over 3kg (7lbs) so is lightweight which will make it easier for lighter, smaller children to control and use.
If you are buying a balance bike for a 3 year old, ideally you would want the bike to last until they are 5 and they are ready to graduate onto a pedal bike. The concern with this bike is that even though it’s cheap to begin with, you may find that you will have to buy a second balance bike for many children as they will grow out of it quite quickly. However, if you have a smaller 3 year old it is probably worth considering for a balance bike on a budget.
Here are some things you will want to consider when buying a balance bike for a 3 year old.
✔️ Brakes. You will notice that most balance bike aimed at smaller children do not have brakes. This is because young children will not use a brake. They will stop with their feet instead. it's not until age 3.5 or 4 years that a child has the necessary hand / eye co-ordination to use a brake. So for younger 3 year olds don't worry about a brake. If they are heading towards age 4 a hand brake is a good investment.
Make sure it has the right seat height.
As stated at the beginning of the article the most important thing when buying a balance bike is to make sure that your child’s feet will be flat on the floor when they are riding their bike. This is essential as they will need to use their feet to push the bike along. If they can’t do this they will be unable to ride the balance bike. Therefore the seat height is very important when choosing a balance bike.To make sure the seat height on the bike is the right size, measure your child’s inseam. This is the length between the top of their crotch and the floor.
Ideally a balance bike height from the seat to the ground should be around about one inch less than their inseam so they have the room to be able to get on and off the balance bike as well.
✔️ Tyres. - most balance bikes aimed at young children have EVA foam tyres. Air filled tyres have lots of advantages (better traction). Pneumatic tyres will work better on uneven surfaces, have more grip on in the wet weather and will absorb more shocks from bumps in the road. This is all desirable because ultimately the offer a more comfortable ride. However, EVA foam tyres are lighter and add less weight to the bike. It's important that bikes for young children are lightweight so easy to control and carry when needed (for example when going uphill). Also EVA foam tyres don't get flat. Which you go with may be a personal preference and what kind of terrain kids are likely to be riding on.
Radio Flyer Balance Bike
The Radio Flyer balance bike is an extremely popular and well known brand of balance bike in the USA, with some excellent reviews. The Radio Flyer company has been established since 1917, so has 100 years of reputation to protect.
The seat adjusts from 37cm to 48cm and has a quick release seatpost clamp so can easily be adjusted when needed without tools.
It is recommended for kids between the ages 2.5 and 5 years.
It has a long wheelbase for optimal stability. The wheels are made of EVA foam and are puncture proof. They also have traction tread to hug the road.
And as a super plus, there is a real ringing bell.
It's seat height measures from 38 cm to 47.5cm so it would suit a 3 year old who has an inseam of 35.5cm to 45cm. The seat height range spans 10cm so this is a bike which should grow with your child.
The features 14 inch wheels with pneumatic tyres so will give a smooth ride and give good traction on more uneven surfaces. A great bike size for 3 year olds as there is growing room for them.
It's super lightweight, weighing just 3.75kg.
The drop handle bars give this bike a grown up feel so they can be like older siblings (or Mum and Dad).
The build quality is fantastic. It's handmade and uses lightweight aluminium for the frame. It features a carbon seat post with 3k finish and rivetted, faux leather seat.
✔️ Wheelbase. - in some balance bike descriptions, you will see a description of the wheelbase of the bike. The wheelbase refers to the distance between the two wheels (where they touch the ground). A longer wheelbase is generally better because a longer wheelbase offers stability and is ultimately easier to balance on.
Banana Balance Bike - Great Budget Option
The banana balance bike is aimed at 2, 3 and 4 year olds and is the cheapest option of balance bike featured in this article
It's seat height ranges from 31cm to 40cm so would suit 3 year olds who have a inseam range from 33.5cm to 42.5cm. Bear in mind that it's good to have a few cm growing room, so a 3 year old with an inseam of 42.5cm would need the seat on the maximum seat height.
At 3.3kg it is very lightweight, so is easy for kids to control and for parents or adults to carry when kids have had enough.
It features foam tyres which won't puncture.
Summary: if you're looking for a balance bike on a budget this is a good choice.
BikeStar - An Option With Pneumatic Tyres And Handbrake
The Bikestar has pneumatic (air filled tyres). Air filled tyres offer better traction over surfaces, bumps in the pavements, on grass and dirt tracks etc. They are also good for going up and down curves. However, they need to be maintained unlike bike with EVA foam tyres. Air filled tyres are better as kids get older big and heavier and they offer more cushioning.
As well as air filled tyres the bikestar has a saddle height range between 35-42 cm and an adjustable handlebar height from 55-62 cm.
It weighs approximately 4.8 kg which isn't the lightest of bikes, however the weight of the bike matters less as kids get older and better. This is the only balance bike on this page that features a handbrake. Kids from aged about 3.5 years have the co-ordination needed to start using a handbrake. It's quite a good option to have on a balance bike as kids get older so that they can master an handbrake before they graduate onto a pedal bike where they will need to learn to use one.
Cruzee is the crème de la crème of balance bikes for young children. It has some outstanding features and is super durable but the quality is reflected in the price. So what is to love about the Cruzee balance bike?
Firstly it's the lightest balance bike you'll find out there but it doesn't compensate on any of the features. Amazingly it weighs under 1.9kg. So you will have no problem carrying this uphills or when little legs are tired out. Being lightweight also makes it super easy to control. So 3 year olds can build confidence quickly.
Non marking EVA foam tyres which also have traction are brilliant for both indoor and outdoor use.
The seat is adjustable from 28cm to 48cm so this bike will last young ones through years of use. The tool free seat adjustment allow the seat height to be adjusted quickly and easily.
The Cruzee is super comfortable and therefore enjoyable to ride with soft grips, a super comfy seat and low-profile axle bolts
There's a lot to love about this bike. One of the best!
The Micro brand is a leading brand in the world of scooters, and it's name is synonymous with quality and durability. Micro has now ventured into the world of balance bikes, with its creation the microbike. But does the micro bike live up to the same standards as the mini micro scooter is well known for in the scooter world?
The mini micro scooter is known for being lightweight and strong. Likewise, the micro bike is light and strong too. It weighs, just 2.45kg. However, although it is very light which makes it easy for 3 year olds to manoeuvre, it isn't the lightest out there, with the cruzee being much lighter.
The seat can be adjusted from 35 to 46.5cm, so there is a lot of growing room. However, there are bikes at similar price points with lower and higher seat heights. Again the Cruzee is one of them.
Some unique features just to the microbike include the front mud guard and the front suspension which ensures a smooth ride on rough surfaces.
The micro bike has been well tested and with their name at stake, Micro will never put out a bike which isn't excellent quality. However, there are bikes such as the Cruzee that give the Micro a good run for their money and may just pip them out the post.
The question is, do you want a bike with front suspension for that extra comfortable ride, or a well tested bikes such as the Cruzee which offers more seat adjustment and is a lighter weight.
Early Rider Classic
The Early Rider is a wooden balance bike which is more eco friendly than a lot of it's counterparts and looks awesome too.
There are tons of positives of this bike. The wheels feature pneumatic tyres (14 inch at the front and 12 inch at the back) so you can take this bike off the pavement and over some more uneven terrain. The airfilled tyres give a comfortable ride over the bumps and gravel you find on the pavement too.
The 12 inch wheel at the back keeps the seat and centre of gravity nice and low, which means it is easy to balance on but still has the 14 inch front wheel to drive the easy rider forwards. Larger wheels are desirable because they offer an increased speed. However, they also add weight to a bike, so there are comprises to be made and the early rider has done this to great effect.
The bike weighs 4.25kg which is won't be as light as bikes with foam tyres, but it's a good weight for a bike with larger air filled tyres.
The seat height can be adjusted from 31.5cm to 39cm so there is a decent amount of growing room on the bike which is aimed at 2 to 5 year olds.
The wheel base on the bike, is long which aids stability when riding.
Made of marine grade eco friendly birch the bike can be ridden in all weathers. Although it's best stored indoors.
|Early Rider||Air / Pneumatic||38-47.5cm||3.6kg|
|Early Rider Classic||Air/Pneumatic||31.5cm-39cm||4.5kg|
Most balance bikes have a tyre size of 12 inch which should be fine for most 3 year olds. This is the optimum size for most young children who ride a balance bike. They will ideally then be ready to transfer onto a 12 or 14 inch pedal bike.
Some balance bikes for 3 to 5 year olds have 14 inch wheels so this size of wheel is something to consider as well.
Tyres are generally either made of EVA foam or are airfilled. Both have advantages and disadavtages. EVA foam are puncture proof and are great for going along surfaces such as pavements and paths in the park. They never go flat. They weigh less than their airfilled counterparts, so add less weight to the balance bike.
However, air filled tyres offer more traction and a smoother comfortable ride as they absorb the impact from bumps and lumps from the paths. They are also better for going up and down curbs and on uneven terrain and surfaces. But they need some maintenance and do add weight to the balance bike. You also need to remember to check them.
Ideally you will want the bike to last as long as possible. It should be able to last until they are ready for the transition to a bike with pedals. Therefore look for a bike which will grow with your child. This means the seat and the handlebars should be adjustable and the seat can be adjusted higher than they currently need.
An adjustable seat is also great if you have older siblings who may also want to have a go on the bike. You can adjust it to their height so they can have a go as well.
If your child has younger siblings you may also want the bike to last so it can pass onto them as well. Look to the materials and to reviews of the bikes to determine the quality and whether it will last. Obviously if you would like to pass the bike onto a younger child or perhaps sell the bike after you have finished using it, it may be worth paying a little bit more for a bike that is guaranteed to last.