The best electric train sets are now back in force and the sales don’t lie. Train sets have now become a trendy excellent gift to give for kids, but they can also quickly turn into a fun hobby for adults too. In fact, experts wonder if adults buy train sets for their children or more to satisfy their own hobbies. Whether you are a detail-oriented hobbyist or just looking for a festive, ’roundy-round’ set, there’s an electric train set for everyone.
However, there are plenty of factors to consider as a novice, and we understand that narrowing down the options can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve made a curated list of the very best electric train sets on the market. With accurate bells and whistles included, you’ll want to make sure to check out the O-gauge sets. If you want something more fun and festive, take a look at the Lionel Polar Express set. And for something functional yet creative, check out the Lego locomotives. Whatever your preference, we guarantee you’ll find an electric train set to enjoy for years to come.
#1.Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Electric Train Set
For those who are interested in the best electric train set, we think you try out the Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer. It is one of the best bargains on the market in terms of getting the best quality and performance for the price. The electric engine is quite powerful and this train rarely derails if you set it upright.
5 Best Electric Train Set For Kids and Adults
- #1. Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Electric Train Set – Best Overall
- #2. Bachmann Trains Night Before Christmas – Best Christmas
- #3. Lionel Hogwarts Express Electric Train Set – Best For Hobbyists
- #4. AOKESI Toy Electric Train Set – Best Toy
- #5. Lionel Union Pacific Flyer Electric Train – Best For Teenagers
#1. Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Electric Train Set – Best Overall
When it comes to the best electric train set, we highly recommend that you try out the Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer. This is clearly one of the most beautiful model train sets out there. First and foremost, the Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer is full of amazing small details and we think this is one of the reasons this brand is so popular. The quality given the price you pay just can’t be beat.
Next, many people like it because it is just so authentic sounding. It has puffing smoke, operating headlights, and really authentic train sounds that make this the perfect professional model train set. It connects via Bluetooth app and with a physical remote that allows it to go forward and backward. The electric locomotive is quite powerful as well.
#2. Bachmann Trains Night Before Christmas – Best Christmas
Next up, we have the Bachmann Trains Night Before Christmas, which is the best electric train set for those who prefer a ready-to-run holiday train set that is powered by a 4-6-0 Steam Era Locomotive. Bachmann is clearly one of the biggest players in the model train world and they certainly make quality model trains and tracks that perform well without derailing and last for a long time.
Although some would still consider this a “beginner” model train set, we are of the idea that if you like it, then you like it no matter what “level” you think the model train set is perceived at. Additionally, we just want to mention that it is quite easy to snap together although we actually find the Lionel track systems to be a bit easier.
#3. Lionel Hogwarts Express Electric Train Set – Best For Hobbyists
Another really nice option when it comes to the best electric train set is the Lionel Hogwarts Express Electric Train Set. This electric train set is clearly recognizable to anyone in the Harry Potter series. Some would consider this more of a kid’s model train set just due to the theme but it is certainly a nice one for collectors and professionals. In fact, it hosts a 4-6-0 locomotive and on-and-off switches for smoke.
We really like the fact that the passenger cars have interior illumination, which looks really nice both during the day and especially at night. Overall, the quality is definitely up to Lionel’s standards and the colors are built to last a long time without fading away. For many, this is the best electric train set for adults.
#4. AOKESI Toy Electric Train Set – Best Toy
We have already recommended enough premium electric train sets above, so we figured that we would recommend one for those who are on a strict budget. The Aokesi Toy Electric Train Set fits the bill for budget-minded consumers as long as they are willing to live with the fact that this is nowhere close to a real model train set.
It certainly does have most of the bells and whistles of a professional electric train set, except the quality, materials, and construction are just a cut below pro level. All in all, this is definitely a nice crowd-pleaser for a cheap cost and will certainly make for a great gift idea for the little ones.
#5. Lionel Union Pacific Flyer Electric Train
Lastly, we have the Lionel Union Pacific Flyer, which is quite similar to the Pennslyvania Flyer that we mentioned above. It has a 0-8-0 Steam Locomotive and operates very smoothly. This is definitely a beautiful electric train set by anybody’s standards and it certainly is a very good price for such quality in our opinion.
It has nice realistic sounds, bells, whistles, forward and reverses, and most importantly, just a really realistic look with amazing paint detailing. If you are serious about model trains and find this one to look nice, rest assured the quality is amazing and can withstand the test of time.
What to consider before buying the best electric train set – A Buyer’s Guide
There are 8 main features to consider when buying the best electric train set for kids and adults. These are:
- Size and scale
- User needs
- Wheels and couplers
1. Brand of the best electric train set
The selection of a brand is very important when looking to buy an electric train. And there are many electric train options available for both kids and adults, as well as experienced model train enthusiasts. While some people may place a high value on a particular brand, there are also many quality non-branded products to consider.
That being said, one brand that consistently stands out for its great train sets is Lionel. Founded in 1900, Lionel is one of the oldest and most respected names in the model train industry. Their electric train sets are well-known for their high level of detail, quality craftsmanship, and ability to provide hours of entertainment for both kids and adults alike. Whether you’re looking to start your own model train collection, or simply want to add a great train set to your existing setup, Lionel is definitely a brand worth considering.
Now, you also have to consider MTH, LEGO, Lehman Gross Lahn, KATO, Atlas, Athearn, Arnold, Bachmann, etc. With such a wide variety of different train sets to choose from, there’s something for everyone, no matter your level of experience or personal preferences.
2. Size and scale of an electric model train
It’s essential to consider the size and scale of any electrical train set. In essence, model trains are built around different scales of their real-life counterparts, which determine the size of the train. Note that there are a number of standardized sizes, known as gauges, which refer to the distance between each track’s outside rails.
Each of these gauges is assigned a different letter as a reference to their sizes. They range from the 1:22.5 scale G gauge, which carries train cars nearly 2 feet in length, to the 1:480 scale T gauge and its 2-inch cars. The choice of scale will depend on the layout you prefer, the amount of space available, and the level of detail you want in your toy train. The best train sets could include a freight train set, allowing you to transport freight and simulate real-life scenarios. So before buying an electric train set, make sure to consider the scale and size of the models to ensure you get the best experience.
There are two main gauges that people like. These are O and HO, which measure at a scale of 1:48 and 1:87 respectively. HO gauges are favored for their smaller size, with the cars measuring around 7 inches long. This feature makes them great options for smaller areas without sacrificing the fine details that make these sets so beautiful.
On the other hand, O gauge sets are twice as large as HO gauges, which can create problems if you do not have the proper space for them. However, its increased size allows for the most specific details across the entire set. O gauge sets allow for a better display of details, which can enhance the overall experience of playing and observing the train set. By considering the size and scale of an electric train set, one can make sure that the set fits both their needs and preferences, therefore making the experience more enjoyable.
3. User needs to look for in a train
One of the primary considerations you should take is identifying who will operate the train. Whether it is a child or an adult enthusiast, it is essential to choose a set that fits the needs and abilities of the operator. For instance, a remote control may be necessary if the operator is a child or someone with limited mobility.
On the other hand, if the operator is an experienced adult enthusiast, durability may not be such a big concern, and they may opt for a more detailed die-cast set. Additionally, toddler-proven wooden train sets are excellent options for children as they are sturdy and can withstand rough play. The complexity of the set must also be taken into account. A simple train set may be ideal for young children, while a complex set may keep adults engaged for hours. Overall, the best electric train set must meet the user’s needs and preferences, be it based on age, experience, or level of interest.
4. Selecting a power pack for a new train set
An electric train set can make your model railroad dreams come true. The first electric train was introduced in the late 1800s, and since then, the technology has improved significantly. Nowadays, some of the best electric train sets are battery-operated, which makes them more affordable and portable than traditional sets that require plugging into the wall.
When it comes to these battery-powered models, the train set comes with batteries in the cars that provide the power. The battery option is great for giving the train the necessary power to run around the train track without the hassle of additional cords or an electrical outlet. This option is used so that you can use your train toy inside the house but also outside. Basically, you are not limited by a wall plug. In fact, you can even use the train at a picnic with friends.
However, battery-operated sets are typically marketed to a younger audience and may not be suitable for more advanced train enthusiasts. They are also less customizable, limiting the opportunities for future additions to the track. Despite this, battery-operated trains remain a great option for introductory sets or those who value portability.
Now if you want more advanced features, then you’ll need a wall-plugged electric toy train. Regardless of the chosen power source, a well-designed electric toy train set can bring joy to both children and adults alike.
5. Operation of an electric train set for kids and adults
Operating the best electric train set is a breeze as almost all of them come equipped with a speed controller to start and stop the train. This nifty feature allows you to adjust the train’s speed and direction as it zooms around the tracks. Along with controlling the speed, the set includes controls for triggers like horns, announcements, and whistles. Furthermore, top manufacturers have introduced smartphone apps that connect to the train set via Bluetooth.
As a result, users can access the train set from a distance of up to 30 feet away, giving them greater flexibility and mobility. These apps also offer additional features such as controlling standard speed options, adding on new features, and adding to the overall experience of operating the train set. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced model train enthusiast, the starter set is the perfect combination of ease of use and fun. One of the most impressive features of these sets is that the train stays on the tracks unobstructed, allowing children and adults alike to experience the joy of watching it race around the tracks.
6. Accessories for the best train set for kids and adults
The accessories of the best electric train set are essential for creating a realistic train world for enthusiasts of all ages. The set features a variety of bells and whistles to create the sights and sounds of authentic trains, making it perfect for kids and adults. From working lights and smokestacks to the sounds of chugging as it rolls over the track, many sets will allow you to control and trigger these lights and sounds as you wish.
Note that some sets come with hundreds of additional pieces—such as people, lampposts, and various signs—allowing an enthusiast to create the exact setup for their specific layout. This set could be the perfect addition to a Christmas-themed train display or any other time of year. Additionally, other sets offer a variety of train cars and track designs, enabling you to customize your set to fit your preferences. With the best features of an electric train set, you can elevate your hobby, bringing a new level of enjoyment and creativity to your train-going experience.
7. Wheels and couplers
Wheels and couplers are essential components to consider, both defining the performance and reliability of the trains. There are two main wheel choices available for these sets. The first one is metallic and the second one is plastic. Plastic wheels are typically found on budget-oriented train sets. Although modern plastic wheels work well, they miss out on many desirable aspects that metal wheels offer, such as durability and cleanliness.
It’s worth noting that plastic wheels can also come off the rails more frequently than metal wheels. On the other hand, metal wheels are smoother rolling, and their added weight keeps the train properly positioned while running. The lovely click-clack sound of a train coasting over its tracks is also something that metal wheels deliver.
In terms of the couple, many high-end sets provide a knuckle coupler similar to real-life trains. These have a claw that grips onto another coupler, joining the cars together. This is a great feature to have as it allows for more realistic train runs. However, for those that are new to train sets, some sets will have replaced these couplers with magnets. Although not as authentic as the knuckle couplers, the magnet couplers make it a lot easier to set up and use the train set. This feature is beneficial for beginners who might not be as familiar with the intricate setup.
Regardless of the type of coupler used, the wheels of the electric train set are just as important to ensure a smooth and steady run. High-quality and durable wheels promote longevity and will keep the train on track. This will avoid repeated derailments. Overall, the wheels and couplers are integral components in an electric train set, as they allow for a more realistic and smoother train experience.
8. Track for model train enthusiasts
One of the most important things for any train lover to consider is the track. There are plenty of track choices on the market, as different manufacturers create their own styles depending on the gauge and design of the particular train set. It’s worth noting that most of the time, you won’t be able to connect different-gauge tracks, so it’s important to choose a track that’s compatible with your set. Nickel silver is the most common material for tracks, though other metals are used as well.
It’s worth noting that there are two main styles of track: conventional and roadbed style. Conventional tracks are metal rails that are molded onto plastic ties, while roadbed-style tracks include rails and ties of a conventional track on top of various forms of molded “roadbed” ballast. When it comes to the best train sets for kids, having a variety of track options is important, as it can make the set more versatile and exciting to play with. It’s also important that the sets aren’t too complicated for kids to set up and use easily so that they can focus on the fun of playing with the trains.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What age is best for electric train sets?
Parents often ask themselves what age is best for their children to start playing with them. In general, electric train sets are meant for children aged 10 to 14 years and older. However, this does not mean that young children cannot enjoy playing with trains altogether. There are starter train sets that are specifically designed for younger children that do not involve complex electric features.
Set for children typically include wooden train model for kids from 18 months and above, which do not pose any safety hazard. These sets are colorful and feature various designs that appeal to children. The electric first train set, on the other hand, is ideal for children who have outgrown these simpler toy trains and are looking for more advanced options. This set also has a range of intricate details and features, making it more suitable for older children who can better appreciate its complexity. Ultimately, it is up to parents to determine which train set is best suited for their child’s age and development level.
What is an electric train set?
An electric train set comprises of a small electric motor that pulls multiple cars over specialized tracks. There are two types of electric trains. There are wall plugged sets while others are battery-operated train sets. Both of these are crafted to create a miniature version of the actual trains, creating a display of various models, such as classic steam engines, contemporary locomotives, and bullet trains. When one switches on the electric train set, it comes alive, pulling the cars set along its tracks.
Electric train sets are a great source of enjoyment and entertainment, especially for the younger audience who witness the magic of a train running along the track. For the avid model railway enthusiasts, electric train sets are an opportunity to experiment with their imaginative layouts, activities, and design. Train sets also come with additional accessories, such as bridges, tunnels, and stations, to enhance the experience and create a realistic setting. The best thing about electric train sets is that they can be set up quickly and easily, providing an exciting display of a moving train around its tracks without the hassle of a permanent installation.
How does an electric train set work?
An electric train set works like a real train but in a smaller scale. It is ideal for children as it is easy to operate and provides endless hours of fun. The train set typically consists of a locomotive, several carts or carriages, and metal tracks that act as a conduit for electricity. Electricity flows through the metal tracks, which powers the train and propels it along the track. The speed and direction of the trains are controlled by a remote control or smartphone app, which is used to adjust the power supply to the track.
Are electric train sets safe?
In general, electric trains are safe, but it’s crucial to consider the user’s age. Electric train sets may include parts that are small and sharp, which are not safe for toddlers and young children to play by themselves. Therefore, parental supervision is required no matter the kind of power supply used. With the right precautions, electric train sets can be a fun and educational activity for kids of all ages. So, parents should ensure their kids’ safety by supervising them, ensuring the sets’ parts are secure and checking the power supply rules before use.
Why buy an electric train for a child?
Buying an electric train for a child is an excellent way to keep them entertained and promote their creativity. Electric train sets offer a realistic and interactive experience, allowing kids to run the train and become the conductor of their own adventure. These sets are a great way to enhance children’s imagination and spark their curiosity about the world around them.
In fact, any ready-to-play train set is an ideal option for kids who are just starting to explore the world of railways. Not only do they offer hours of fun, but they also help in building essential skills such as hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, and planning. Moreover, when children play with electric train sets, they learn about physics, mechanics, and engineering, thus expanding their knowledge of the world.
Therefore, a ready-to-play train set is an excellent investment for parents who want to provide their kids with a fun and educational activity that enhances their skills and knowledge. So, if you’re looking for a toy that your child will love and learn from, an electric train set is undoubtedly the right choice.
How long do model trains last?
The answer is as long as you take care of them. If you maintain your train set, it should last a lifetime. Personal experience indicates that model trains last until they fall to the floor, which fortunately is not a common occurrence. With a little TLC (tender loving care), your locomotives can outlive you without any issues.
Note that there are a few things you can do to extend the lifespan of your trains, like wiping them down after each use, keeping them stored in a dry and cool environment, and ensuring that the wheels are lubricated. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures or humidity, and protect them from dust or other particles. As long as you follow these guidelines and provide the train set with some basic care, you should be able to enjoy it for many years to come. So, if you’re looking for a hobby that can keep you entertained for a long time, building and operating a model train set is ideal.
How much do model electric Trains Cost?
The cost can vary significantly depending on a lot of factors. However, you can expect to pay at least $100 for a basic electric train set. As you move up in price, you will gain more train set features, such as realistic sound effects and intricate detailing. A mid-range electric train set can range from $300 to $800, with more advanced features such as multiple cars and a sophisticated control system.
At the high end of the spectrum are train sets that come with all the bells and whistles – expect to pay $1,500 or more for an express train that includes everything from scenery and track to a state-of-the-art sound system. For collectors and enthusiasts, the world of model electric trains can be an expensive one indeed, with some sets costing as much as $10,000 or more.
Ultimately, the cost of an electric train set will depend on your personal budget, as well as your level of interest and commitment to the hobby. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned collector, there’s a train set out there that’s perfect for you – and at a price that fits your budget.
Is there an educational benefit to train sets?
There is no doubt that train sets can be a great educational tool for children, teens, but also for adults. The versatility of train sets allows them to be adapted to various educational levels. Wooden train sets, for example, are perfect for younger children as they help develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination while also teaching basic concepts of physics and engineering. The use of electric models can help older children and teenagers learn about electrical engineering, circuitry, and mechanics. Train sets also offer an opportunity for children to exercise their creativity and imagination as they design their own train layouts. Adults can also benefit from the educational benefits of train sets, using them to teach history, geography, and engineering concepts to students or to simply relax and unwind after a long day. Additionally, the social aspects of train sets, such as participating in clubs or events, can also provide valuable life lessons in teamwork and communication. In sum, a train set is a versatile and engaging tool that can provide numerous educational benefits to people of all ages.
What should the best electric train sets for kids include?
It’s important to consider what the best electrical train includes and what features make it the best option. First and foremost, any good train set should include train engines that are easy for kids to operate. Additionally, enough tracks should be included to cover a variety of routes and train designs. But a good train set should also include more than just basic track pieces.
Some nice scenery features should be present, such as trees, bridges, curves, barriers, cars, and animals. These extras can enhance the overall excitement and interest in the train set and keep kids engaged in the play. The more immersive and diverse the environment, the more fun they will have. The control through a remote or telephone app is also important.
Overall, a great train set should provide kids with the opportunity to experiment with different layouts and expand their creativity. Therefore, choosing an electric train set that includes a variety of fun and interactive features, can be a great way to enhance your child’s playtime experience and foster their imagination.
Which is better: an electric or wooden train set?
The debate on whether electric or wooden train sets are better largely depends on age. Wooden train sets are more suitable for toddlers and younger children as they satisfy their needs to physically manipulate objects and explore spatial concepts. These sets are perfect for developing hand-eye coordination and learning basic STEM concepts.
On the other hand, electric train sets are ideal for more advanced children, perhaps for teens and older children. Electric train sets often come with more advanced train features like remote control options, multiple locomotives and tracks, and electronic sounds and lights which facilitate a more dynamic play experience. While electric train sets provide a more interactive and complex way of playing with trains, it is crucial to make sure they are age-appropriate for safety reasons. In conclusion, considering the age of the child, both wooden and electric train sets have their own unique advantages that can contribute positively to a child’s play experience.