Go-Kart vs 4-Wheeler: Which One Is Better for Kids?

  • By: Go Kart Picks
  • Time to read: 9 min.
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In recent years, many parents have taken an interest in recreational activities for their children, especially outdoors. One trending outdoor activity is auto-motor racing which includes both go-karts and ATVs.

Both of these are a good start for children to set the foundation for mind and body connection as well as for learning how to drive safely. 

This article will weigh the pros and cons of both ATVs and Go Karts. So, let’s take a look at which one is a better choice for your kid. 

Go-Kart Vs 4-Wheeler (ATV)

Although Go Karts and ATVs may give you the illusion that they are both the same thing, they are quite different in their functionality. This is not to say that they do not share any similarities, especially since many different types of Go Karts may share several features with a traditional ATV.

In this section, we will discuss the similarities and the differences between ATVs and Go Karts.

Similarities

The basic and most obvious similarity between ATVs and Go Karts is that they are both used for outdoor recreational purposes.

Both have four wheels, two in front and two at the back. However, the size and type of the tire can differ according to what type of go-kart it is.

Since Go Karts come in a wide range of types, some variants of Go Karts share more similarities, such as the Off-Road Go-Karts compared to other more traditional Go Karts.

Right off the bat, both ATVs and Off-Road Go-Karts are designed with heavy engines and equipped with large tires for off-road, rough terrains.

Go-Kart vs 4-Wheeler: Which One Is Better for Kids?

Both are made not for riding fast but for easily navigating through rough terrain like mud and sand.

Another thing is that both the off-road go-kart and ATVs come with a spring suspension system so that the rider doesn’t feel all the nooks and crannies of the uneven surface of the race track. 

When you look at a traditional racing go-kart, you can easily tell that the physical appearance is already different from an ATV. 

Differences

While ATVs are specially made for the rough terrain, the racing go-karts are made for riding on asphalt roads. 

Go-karts, except for the off-road ones, are built with a small frame to facilitate speed and are wider as well. Whereas, if you look at ATVs, their building is taller and more narrow.

Another big difference between ATVs and Go Karts is the suspension. As mentioned before, except for the Off-Road Go-Karts, traditional Go Karts don’t have suspension like the ATVs since they are not made for the rough terrain.

Even their tires are smaller since they are made to run on asphalt surfaces, unlike ATVs that run on dirt tracks, so they have bigger tires.

One more difference between ATVs and Go Karts, including the off-road Go-Karts, is that ATVs are quadricycles that come with the driver’s seat set upon the ATVs engine whereas, for Go Karts, their engine sits at the back of the vehicle. 

Lastly, ATVs have handlebars to navigate the road, much like a motorcycle, whereas Go Karts, even the Off-Road ones, have a steering wheel. 

What’s Best For Your Kid?

Many parents feel that a Go-Kart is safer for their child than an ATV. One of the main reasons for this is that you have a wide variety of Go Karts to choose from, giving you the freedom to pick one that fits your child’s age and size.

Go-karts are also generally safer since they are made for smooth surfaces and indoor rack tracks, unlike ATVs, which are exclusively outdoors vehicles made for climbing tough hills and rocky terrain.

Different Types Of G-Karts

Pedal

As the name suggests, Pedal Go Karts come with pedals to run the vehicle. It is equipped with four wheels, and you can navigate the path with a steering wheel. This type is ideal for smaller children as they can control the vehicle’s speed by how much they are capable of pedaling.

Another reason why this is the go-to Go Kart for small children is that it resembles a bicycle with its mechanics, which is pedal-powered. It is great for beginners and even contributes to physical exercise.

BEST SELLER (PEDAL)
Hauck Lightning - Pedal Go Kart | Pedal Car | Ride On Toys for Boys & Girls with Ergonomic Adjustable Seat & Sharp Handling - Pink
  • This Pedal Go Kart provides an authentic driving experience and allows the driver to control their speed.
  • Lightning is designed to be the perfect pedal go kart for young drivers and can be used to ride both indoor and outdoor.
  • It encourages physical activity, builds strength, endurance and coordination.
  • Always ready to go, never need to worry about batteries that require charging. 
  • Race-inspired pedals, rubber wheels and 8 ball style hand brake, 3-point sporty steering wheel and steel tube powder-coat frame.
  • The custom, ergonomic seat is adjustable and equipped with a high backrest for a comfortable, safe sitting position.

Electric

Electric Go-Karts Run on batteries. The number of batteries that an Electric Go-Kart requires can depend on the model and build. One good thing about this type of go-kart is that they can use solar-powered batteries.

The one drawback to this pollution-free go-kart is that they generally require a much more experienced rider. Therefore small children are not suitable drivers for electric Go-Karts.

All Electric Go-Karts require a changing time of at least 24 hours before taking it out for its first spin, which may last anywhere from 40 minutes to 60 minutes.

OUR PICK - ELECTRIC
Segway Ninebot Electric GoKart Pro, Outdoor Race Pedal Go Karting Car for Kids and Adults, Adjustable Length and Height, Ride On Toys (Ninebot S MAX Included) , Black
  • Top speed of 23 mph and 15.5 miles range within one single charge
  • Rear engine and the rear-wheel-drive are set up like supercars
  • High-strength steel frame that can carry a payload of up to 220 lbs
  • Triple anti-collision protection and dual communication technology to increase safety
  • Adjustable frame length and steering wheel height
  • The manual handbrake can be used when drifting

Gas-Powered

The Gas Powered Go-Karts Are better suited for children who are mature enough to handle motor vehicles. These types of go-karts are more expensive than the electric or pedal-powered ones, and they also require a lot of maintenance. 

One unique feature that gas-powered Go-Karts excel in is speed. They are faster than their pedal or electric counterparts. Children over the age of 12 are suitable to operate these gas-powered go-karts at any outdoor race track.

BEST PREMIUM GAS POWERED
Coleman Powersports 98cc/3.0HP CK100-S Go Kart Gas Powered Go Cart for Adults and Kids (13+)
  • 4 stroke OHV 1 cylinder – 98cc/3.0hp
  • Smooth ride even on rugged terrain
  • Hydraulic foot-operated disc brakes for reliable stopping
  • Ideal for ages 13 +

Off-Road

The Offroad Go-karts are the most similar to ATVs. They are well equipped with big tires and strong engines that can take any natural, rough terrain like rocks, sand, and mud.

For obvious reasons, the Off-road go-karts are not suitable for younger children. Apart from this, off-road go-karting is a thrilling experience in itself and is a very Interesting sport for those who love to ride.

BEST 4-WHEELER ATV
Razor Dirt Quad
  • Age: 8+ years old
  • Max. rider's weight: 120 lbs (54 kg)
  • Motor: 350W, variable speed
  • Range: 5 miles (8 km) 

Racing

When you think of go-karts, generally, the picture that comes to your mind is the traditional racing go-kart. They are mainly for professional use, such as for racing tournaments and other competitions. 

Some racing go-karts are very high-end, equipped with the best engine and parts, making them quite expensive. The built of smaller and lower to maximize speed since these types of go-karts are mainly for professional use.

racing go kart

Are Go-Karts Safer Than ATVs?

Yes. Go Karts are generally safer than ATVs just for the fact that ATVs are specifically made for rough terrain and will require the rider to be quite experienced. Whereas for a traditional backyard go-kart, any beginner can ride the vehicle. 

Additionally, go-karts come in a huge variety, and some are even made for small kids as young as 2 years old. Go-karting equipment such as knee pads, elbow pads, helmets, and safety add ons are also much more widely available as compared to ATV equipment. 

Except for professional racing go-karts, the other types of go-karts typically come with a low speed with an additional safety harness, so the driver is protected at all times.

Another reason why Go Karts are safer than ATVs is that they can be powered with pedals or batteries, so it is safer even if an accident were to happen.

go-kart racing

How Much Do Go-Karts Cost?

The price of a go-kart can range from as low as $1500 to as high as $10,000. The one thing you have to note is that go-karts come in a bunch of different types, so each type can have its price range. 

Generally, the pedal go-karts are the cheapest among all go-karts, whereas the professional racing go-karts can cost as high as $10,000.

The average go-kart can vary from about $1500 to about $2500.

Read Also: How Much Do Go Karts Cost? (Complete Guide)

How To Choose The Best Go-Kart For Your Kid

Age Of Your Kid

Since there are many different kinds of go-karts, the size can also vary accordingly. For example, pedal go-karts are generally smaller than off-road go-karts. Because of this, pedal go-karts are better suited for small children and beginners, whereas off-road ones are made for older riders. 

Some of these karts also have adjustable seats that you can customize according to your child’s needs.

Go-Kart Type 

The type of go-kart is also an essential feature that you need to consider before buying one. If you have a child under 4-5 years old, it is best to get a pedal-powered go-kart. Also, if your child is a beginner, the pedal-powered go-karts are the best go-karts to start with.

This is because the speed is directly correlated to the child’s pedaling speed. So it does not have the risk of overspending. When it comes to the gas-powered or off-road go-karts, they are much more sophisticated and hence, require the ride to be more experienced.

If you’re looking to go eco-friendly, you can go for the pedal or the electric-powered go-karts, which are pollution-free. 

Terrain

What type of terrain is your child going to ride the go-kart on? This is an important question you need to ask before making a purchase.

If you are planning on a full asphalt surface for the rider, you can go for the traditional racing go-karts or the gas-powered go-karts, whereas if you want to go for rough terrains, the off-road go-karts are best suited.

Pedal-powered go-karts are the most common for backyard go-karting, provided you have the space for riding the vehicle.

Budget

When it comes to the budget for your go-kart, you can expect a wide range. Some go-karts coat as low as $150, while some can go up to $2500.

If you are looking to invest in a good quality go-kart that will last you a few years, you can go for the more expensive ones, which will also come with additional features such as adjustable seats and safety harnesses.

The price can also depend on what type of go-kart you are getting. For example, gas-powered ones cost more than pedal or electric-powered ones. In addition to this, racing or off-road go-karts are more expensive than gas-powered go-karts. 

Safety

We’ve already established that go-karts are generally safer than ATVs. One of the reasons for this is that go-karts come with safety already as a part of the vehicle. They have tubular frames on the sides that protect the rider from falling over.

Some go-karts also come with safety flags for riding on roads. If you don’t get it with the kart, you can always purchase this separately.

One more thing to note about go-kart safety is that some of them come with seatbelts while some have a safety harness. Some even come with good-quality tires to give the vehicle more traction when riding.

All of these aspects are highly dependent on how much your go-kart costs. Typically, the more expensive it is, the safer the go-kart is. 

Durability

Make sure that when you purchase a go-kart, the material is made of good quality steel instead of plastic. Plastic tends to break easily upon impact or even have dents and scratches that cannot be removed. The best option is to look for steel frames that are very durable and will last longer than a go-kart made of plastic.

Speed

In case you are looking to buy an electric go-kart, keep in mind that this will be much slower than a gas-powered go-kart. Likewise, an off-road go-kart will be much slower than a racing go-kart.

If your child is a beginner and below the age of 5, it is best to go for a pedal-powered go-kart so that the child can control the speed according to the pedal’s long speed. The gas or electric-powered go-karts are better suited for older children; aged 10 and above.

Final Thoughts

Go-karting and riding ATVs sound like a very fun activity for children. However, it is much more than that. You get introduced to the basics of driving and learn how to control the car. Some people can even make a profession out of it by becoming professional race track drivers. 

The fact of the matter is that go-karts are a safer choice for beginners learning how to navigate roads since it comes with a steering wheel and has a lot of safety equipment in place. Whereas an ATV is for thrill-seeking adults, who are already experienced in driving.

Read Also:

Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy a Go-Kart? Ultimate Guide

Minibike Vs Go-Kart – What’s Best For Kids

Best Go Kart for Kids of All Ages In 2022

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