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Published Mar. 24, 2021

You can do many activities in the wintertime, but some are more family-friendly than others. While skiing and snowmobiling are a lot of fun, it can take some time to properly master the skills required before you can truly enjoy yourself. Sledding, however, is an activity that nearly anyone can do with little to no instruction. Plus, very young children can participate without much exertion.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or a sledding pro because it’s a simple activity for people of all ages. There’s something about cruising downhill on a winter’s day that is very freeing. Plus, many sleds are very affordable. If you’re not sure which sled is the best for you and your family, check out our buying guide below.

The Best Sleds

The Slippery Racer Downhill Xtreme Toboggan Snow Sled is made of plastic and features an agile, aerodynamic design for the ultimate in speed and performance. This sled has a higher flex ratio than many competing brands, so it will resist cracking and maintain its integrity on all types of terrain. The body of the sled can nearly bend in half, and it won’t break. The 48-inch-long sled can fit one to two riders and features grip handles and a built-in pull rope, so it’s easy to carry uphill. The sled can also be used in frigid temperatures because it is treated with an IceVex cold-resistant coating. Overall, it’s lightweight and great for two small kids or one child and one adult.

However, the sled’s pull string is not the best quality. Also, you can feel bumps through the sled when riding over uneven ground, which can be a little jolting.

Key Features
  • Made of plastic
  • Accommodates one to two riders
  • High flex ratio
  • 48-inches long
  • Brand Slippery Racer
  • Model Downhill Xtreme
  • Weight N/A

Aerodynamic design promotes speed


Grip handles and pull rope included


Pull rope is not the best quality

You can feel the bumps on uneven ground

The Airhead Classic Snow Sled features the classic toboggan design. It’s made of high-impact plastic so that it will tolerate a fair amount of abuse. The sled measures 47 by 18 by 6 inches and features molded plastic handles and a lanyard, so you can more easily tow it uphill. It’s fast, lightweight, and fits two small children well, but because the sides are a little flexible, it can also accommodate some adults. It moves so quickly on both powder and packed snow that it may be too fast for very young children. Users report that the sled holds up well over time and is a good value overall.

One downside to this sled is that it can crack if you hit large rocks. The plastic may also warp over time.

Key Features
  • High-impact plastic construction
  • 47-inches long
  • Plastic handles, lanyard for towing
  • Fits one to two people
  • Brand Slippery Racer
  • Model Downhill Xtreme
  • Weight N/A

Lightweight and fast


Attractive colors and price


May crack if you hit rocks

May warp over time

If you want performance, this is the sled you want—it comes with a stainless steel leaf spring-steering system, so you can choose your direction when you’re soaring downhill. It also has high-quality polycarbonate and HDPE skis and an aluminum frame that will propel you quickly over the snow. The sled is 51 by 22.5 inches and includes a carry strap, so you can easily carry it back uphill. It’s so fast that the company advises users to wear helmets due to its high-velocity propulsion. This sled won’t crack like its plastic counterparts, and it won’t pop like an inflatable snow tube.

While this sled can accommodate up to 230 pounds, it’s only designed for one rider at a time. Also, it’s definitely on the pricier side compared to other sleds on this list.

Key Features
  • Aluminum frame
  • Stainless steel leaf spring steering
  • Polycarbonate and HDPE skis
  • 51 x 22.5 inches
  • Brand Yukon Charlie’s
  • Model Hammerhead
  • Weight N/A

Super fast


Carry strap included



Only accommodates one rider

If you have several sledders in your family and want a basic, no-frills option, consider the Flexible Flyer Snow Saucer Sleds. These sleds are made in America and weigh less than two pounds each. They can accommodate up to 150 pounds, so they’re best for children three to four years old and older as well as small adults. An orange, lime green, and blue sled are included in the three packs, and they’re 26 inches in diameter. They are made of heavy-gauge, injection-molded, high-density polyethylene and glide smoothly over snow. They also have hand grips, so you can hold on while you’re cruising downhill. Users report that they’re very sturdy, durable, and flexible.

Unfortunately, you can feel every bump when you use them. They’re also not as great of an option for teenagers and older children.

Key Features
  • Orange, lime green, and blue sled included
  • 26-inch diameter
  • Accommodates up to 150 pounds
  • Brand Flexible Flyer
  • Model 626
  • Weight 2 pounds

Made in America

Glides smoothly over the snow

Sturdy and flexible


You can feel every bump

Not the best option for older children/teenagers

The Flexible Flyer 611 Flying Carpet is one of the most portable options on the market. It’s made of lightweight polyethylene and is just 0.08 pounds, so even very young children can carry it: simply roll it up when you’re not using it, and flatten it out when you’re at the top of the hill. It’s a great option to use during recess at school. This sled is surprisingly durable and moves quickly downhill. It has soft rounded edges and two cutouts that act as handles. Designed for adults and children ages four and older, the sled is 36 by 18 inches. The company also provides a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee if you have any problems.

However, this sled is not as comfortable for taller adults. Also, since it’s so thin, it won’t hold up as long as some other options on this list.

Key Features
  • Polyethylene construction
  • Roll-up design
  • 36 by 18 inches
  • Brand Flexible Flyer
  • Model 611
  • Weight 0.08 pounds

Extremely lightweight and portable

Easy to use

Moves quickly downhill


Not for taller adults

Thinner than other options

The Flexible Flyer Snow Screamer 2-Person Snow Sled can accommodate two riders and features four handles for a secure grip. It’s 3 pounds, which is relatively lightweight and is 47 by 21.5 by 2 inches with a 250-pound weight capacity. Designed for riders ages 5 and up, it features 1-inch polyethylene foam construction with a slick, crack-resistant, plastic bottom, so you’re less likely to feel bumps. It also rides more smoothly than thin, plastic sleds, and you can wax the bottom for even faster speeds, even on wet and melting snow. The grips are positioned in just the right spots, and it moves fast, even on gentle slopes.

The biggest complaint about this sled is its somewhat high price. It’s also not a good option for very young children, and the bottom scratches easily.

Key Features
  • Accommodates two people
  • 47 by 21.5 inches
  • 250-pound weight capacity
  • Foam construction with hard bottom
  • Brand Flexible Flyer
  • Model Snow Screamer
  • Weight 3 pounds


Absorbs bumps and impact

Works well on wet and melting snow


Not designed for young children

Somewhat pricey

The Back Bay Play Lifetime Downhill Saucer Disc is made in America and is backed by a lifetime warranty. It’s constructed of heavy-duty, high-impact plastic, so it’s strong and durable. More importantly, it reaches high speeds and holds up well in cold temperatures. The sled has handles that make riders feel safe and secure. You can also use the handles to carry it uphill. Designed for beginner or more advanced riders ages 5 and older, this 27-inch-diameter sled is thin and streamlined, so it’s easy to store. Overall, it’s quite sturdy for a plastic saucer sled. It’s lightweight yet features thicker plastic than some rival brands.

Unfortunately, older and heavier riders will feel the bumps on the terrain, which can be uncomfortable and make for a more unpleasant ride. Some users also complain that the handles are not very sturdy.

Key Features
  • 27-inch diameter
  • Three bright colors available
  • Made in America
  • Made of high-impact plastic
  • Brand Back Bay Play
  • Model N/A
  • Weight N/A

Lifetime warranty

Thin and streamlined design

Easy to store


Older children and adults will feel every bump

Handles are not the most useful

The Back Bay Play Lifetime Snow Sled features a toboggan design, and it can accommodate two children or one adult. It measures 47.5 by 15 by 5 inches and is made in America. This durable sled features heavy-duty, high-impact-plastic construction, and it glides quickly downhill no matter what the temperature is outside due to its aerodynamic grooves on the underside. Designed for riders ages 5 and up, it has side grip handles, and you can either sit on it or lay down on it. It comes with a built-in pull rope that parents can also use for steering. Overall, it rides well and is fast on compact snow. The company also provides a lifetime warranty.

One downside is that it can be tough to fit an adult and child comfortably on the sled. The sides are also a little too low for deeper snow conditions.

Key Features
  • Toboggan design
  • 47.5 by 15 by 5 inches
  • Made in America
  • Ages five and older
  • Brand Back Bay Play
  • Model N/A
  • Weight N/A

Heavy-duty construction


You can sit on it or lay down on it


Not comfortable for a child and adult to ride together

Sides are a little low for deep snow

Best Sleds Buying Guide

Many children and adults get very excited when the snow starts to fall. Not only is it beautiful to see snow-covered neighborhoods, but it’s also an excellent time to get outside and enjoy the crisp, cool air. And if taking a winter stroll isn’t exciting enough, you can always go sledding. It’s a fun activity that both children and adults can enjoy together.

If you have a favorite sledding spot and want to be the king of the hill, you need to find the proper sled for yourself and/or your children. Our buying guide below covers some of the things you should consider before purchasing, so you can choose the best sled that will be the envy of the sledding hill. 

Why Do You Need a Sled?

Father with son sledding with the best sleds
The best sleds come in all different shapes and sizes.

One of the best things about sledding is that people of all ages can participate. While it’s largely a children’s activity, many adults love cruising downhill and racing their friends to the bottom. Multiple kids can ride sleds together, which is a lot of fun, and adults can accompany their small children if they’re too young to go by themselves.

Sledding also burns calories because you have to tow the sled uphill over and over again. It’s a great outdoor activity in general, especially when toddlers are cooped up in the wintertime. Sledding can help them burn off some energy, so they’re more likely to sleep at night—sledding all afternoon can be an exhaustive activity!

Sledding is also affordable. Once you purchase the sled, you simply have to find a hill. Many towns have areas for the public that are free to use.

  • It’s fun.
  • It burns calories.
  • It gets children outside in the wintertime.
  • It’s affordable.

The Most Common Types of Sleds

In general, there are two types of sleds. We do not include inflatable snow tubes in this guide because, technically, they’re not sleds. If you want a traditional sled, you can choose between either a toboggan or a saucer-style option. Either choice is a good one, but they each have their pros and cons.

Toboggan Sled

Toboggan-style sleds are very popular and have been around for decades. The old-fashioned versions had flat bottoms and were made of wood with a curled front lip. Perhaps your grandparents rode one of them back in the day. Today, most toboggan sleds are made of plastic, but you can also find some inflatable versions in stores and online.

Modern toboggan sleds are designed to accommodate one or more riders, and most feature a slick bottom so that they can move quickly downhill. You can also wax some models to reach even higher speeds, and you steer them by shifting your weight.

Saucer Sled

Many people choose saucer sleds over toboggans because they tend to be quite a bit faster. So if you feel the need for speed, you should select this type of sled. Saucer sleds are round and about 28 inches in diameter or larger, looking like a shield. They’re designed for one person only, so they’re not a viable option for parents who want to ride with their children.

Keep in mind these sleds also have no steering capability. After you hop on one of them, you can’t control its direction. Be careful using one on a crowded hill because you may inadvertently strike another sledder.

What to Look for When Buying a Sled

Winter fun with best sleds
A lot of modern sleds are made of plastic, yet are still ultra durable.

There are several things to consider when purchasing a new sled. First, you have to determine how much you want to spend. Many sleds are reasonably priced, but some require a bit of an investment. You should also consider the size and weight of the rider (as well as the sled’s dimensions), the materials used in the sled’s construction, and extra features that can make the activity more enjoyable.


A lot of modern sleds are made of plastic. Some plastic sleds are thicker in construction than others, which can contribute to their durability. Plastic sleds are generally inexpensive and have slick bottoms so that they can cruise over the snow. However, cheaper models may crack if they’re not built well. If you ride a thin plastic sled, you’re more likely to feel bumps in the terrain, which can be uncomfortable.

You can also find sleds made of foam, which provides some cushioning. They’re usually slower than their plastic counterparts. Other types of sleds are inflatable and are made of vinyl—these are designed for light, yet deep snow because they can be punctured if they come across rocks and other debris.


Size is another important factor: some sleds can accommodate just one person, while others can fit several kids or an adult with a child. You should factor in the rider’s age and weight in advance, so you know whether he or she will fit comfortably on the sled that you’re considering. Also, larger sleds can be more challenging to store in the garage, basement, or other areas of your home.


Some sleds are relatively basic, with cut-outs substituting for handles. Others have built-in handles on the sides, which provide added grip and security. A built-in tow rope makes it easier to carry a sled up and downhill, and parents can use it to pull their children on gentle slopes. Some sleds have runners that allow the rider to steer the sled in a particular direction.

Best Sleds FAQ:

By now, you know a lot about sleds and what makes one different from another. Still, you may have some questions before you make a final decision. Whether you’re looking for the fastest sled or want to know whether a snow tube is better, you’ll find the answers you need below.

Q: What are the fastest sleds?

If you want a really fast sled, choose an option that has skis. Flat-bottom sleds don’t dig into the snow as well because they create more friction.

Q: Are inflatable sleds good?

Inflatable snow tubes are a lot of fun because they glide quickly downhill. However, they’re tough to steer.

Q: What is the best snow sled for adults?

Both toboggan and saucer-style sleds are suitable for adults. Just make sure to choose one that’s large enough to accommodate your size and weight.

Q: Are snow tubes better than sleds?

They’re both a lot of fun and can provide thrilling rides, but a snow tube may get punctured on rough terrain, while sleds are a bit more durable because of their materials.

Our Top Pick

Our pick for the best sled is the Slippery Racer Downhill Xtreme Toboggan Snow Sled. It’s 48-inches long, so it can easily accommodate two children or one adult and a child. The sled is lightweight, aerodynamic, and durable. It’s also designed to withstand cold temperatures without breaking—and most importantly, it’s fast.

Final Thoughts

While we really like the Slippery Racer Downhill Xtreme Toboggan Snow Sled, the  Airhead Classic | 1-2 Person Snow Sled is another excellent option because of its budget-friendly price. You really can’t go wrong with either of these sleds, which we’re sure will provide hours of winter fun for you and your family.


  1. Sled – Wikipedia