Some toys have universal appeal. Toy phones, keys, and steering wheels are all items each of my kids have adored. You can find all kinds of steering wheel toys for toddlers, from simple stroller-mounted options to complex multimedia toys with lights and sounds.
We’ve tested and reviewed a wide variety of steering wheel toys for toddlers. This is the list of our top ten favorites along with a brief buying guide outlining our reasons for choosing them.
- Has over 60 words, phrases, & songs
- Driving, animals, & music modes of play
- Light enough for lap use in vehicles
- Includes volume control
- Unique emotional learning component
- Winner of many independent toy awards
- Trilingual with english, spanish, french
- Light enough to sit on a lap
- Plays classical music
- Audio variety with volume control
- Unique handlebar design
- It’s paw patrol!
- Tractor-like engine sound
- Licensed john deer product
- Turn signals make realistic clicking noise
- Converts from floor to a sit-on toy
- Responsive accelerator, brake & steering
- Fun scrolling roadway images
- Multiple tactile experiences
- Attaches to stroller or car seat
- BPA-free plastic parts
- Velcro straps for easy attachment
- Lightweight & convenient
- Simple design, no bells & whistles
- Interactive controls teach cause & effect
- Commands teach kids left from right
- Satnav system for navigational systems
- Unique audio sounds
- Includes working turning signals
- Has speedometer display
Benefits of Steering Wheel Toys
Steering wheel toys encourage imaginative play, providing your child with an opportunity to explore new situations, strengthen their social skills, and develop new abilities (1).
They can help develop hand-eye coordination by encouraging your little one to reach out and touch the steering wheel or any play element the toy has. Steering wheel toys with lights and sounds teach children about cause and effect because they learn “if I do this, then that will happen.”
How to Choose the Best Steering Wheel Toys
These are the factors we considered when choosing the best steering wheel toys for toddlers.
Always check the age rating on toys before purchasing. Some steering wheel toys are made for older children and can pose a danger to toddlers. When you choose toys labeled for 0–3 years, you can be sure they are safe for them to enjoy.
A steering wheel toy that will encourage imaginative play is inherently educational. However, some also include additional features that teach numbers, colors, and other age-appropriate characteristics.
Some toddlers prefer that their steering wheel toys look just like the grown-up model. Others are less worried about that and are more excited by the play potential. We have included a variety of styles in our favorites.
It’s wise to consider whether steering wheel toys for toddlers can be used at home, in the car, or on the stroller. When reviewing steering wheel toys, we also consider how portable a toy is and whether it can still be enjoyed without batteries.
More features don’t automatically make a better product. We have a range of options from the very basic to the complex, technologically powered educational toys that teach color, shapes, and more.
Consider what your child likes and how they like to play. Is your child a fan of a particular character, color, or style of vehicle? Do they want to play in one spot on the floor, or are they a more multi-locational dynamo?
Choosing a toy from a reputable manufacturer or seller minimizes the chances of buying an unsafe toy. However, we have looked at whether the toys have hard edges, pieces that could become loose or heavy items that could harm a child if dropped.
The average steering wheel toys cost less than $30, with most of them falling somewhere between $15 and $25.
The Best Steering Wheel Toys of 2021
After combining our experience, speaking with other parents, assessing online reviews, and considering the previous points, these are our top ten picks for the best steering wheel toys for toddlers.
1. VTech: Turn and Learn Steering Wheel Toy
The bright and cheerful VTech Turn and Learn steering wheel toy has three modes of play for a trio of similar yet unique learning experiences.
When your child presses the horn in driving mode, they will hear such phrases as “green light, let’s go,” “yellow light, slow down,” and “red light, stop.” This is not only fun but teaches colors and gives a basic understanding of the concept that green means go ahead and red means stop.
Your little one can push and pull the gear shifter, flick the indicator lever up and down, adjust the side mirror, and slide the smiling puppy friend back and forth across the dash. There’s plenty to do and much to learn, all packaged into a budget-friendly steering wheel toy.
- Has over 60 words, phrases, and songs.
- Driving, animals, and music modes of play.
- Light enough for lap use in vehicles.
- Doesn’t include suction cups to hold it on a tray or tabletop.
|Age range||6–36 months|
|Size||10 x 8 x 4 inches|
|Location for use||Floor|
2. Best Learning: My Spin & Learn Steering Wheel
This toy from Best Learning offers several unique features and fun interactive options.
Along with functioning as a steering wheel, the Best Learning Steering Wheel spins like a top on a hard surface, which causes much giggling in our home. Along with the standard color and shape learning opportunities, this steering wheel teaches about emotions such as surprise and joy.
If the wheel is inactive for more than a minute, it shuts off to save the battery. For child-song-weary parents, you can have the steering wheel toy play the tunes without the vocals, and there’s a volume control switch that makes us really happy!
- Includes volume control.
- Has a unique emotional learning component.
- Winner of several independent toy awards.
- Teaches several colors, but doesn’t include green, orange, pink, or black.
|Age range||6–36 months|
|Size||10.55 x 2.28 x 10.55 inches|
|Location for use||Floor, tabletop, etc.|
3. Baby Einstein: Driving Tunes Steering Wheel Toy
A tiny steering wheel for tiny tots, the Baby Einstein Driving Tunes steering wheel toy is small and light enough for the smallest of would-be drivers. The side hoop allows it to be attached to a stroller with a clip, and the entire thing is light enough to sit on the lap in a car seat.
Although small and basic, there’s enough to keep babies amused, making it a worthwhile purchase.
Plays snippets from:
- Beethoven, The Ruins of Athens
- Bach, Goldberg Variations
- Beethoven, Rondo in C
- Beethoven, Contradance No. 6
- Mozart, Piano Sonata No. 11 in A
- Beethoven, Rondo a Capriccio in G
- Strauss, The Blue Danube
- Mendelsohn, Symphony No. 4
- Trilingual toy includes English, Spanish, and French.
- Light enough to sit on a lap.
- Plays classical music.
- Doesn’t keep older toddlers amused for long.
|Age range||3–36 months|
|Size||5.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 inches|
|Location for use||Floor/table, stroller, lap.|
4. VTech: Paw Patrol Steering Wheel Toy
My youngest son adores Paw Patrol and is a fan of Chase in particular, so although it’s more of a handlebar toy than a steering wheel toy, this one was a shoo-in.
Fearless Paw Patrol leader Ryder encourages your child to try the steering toy in ATV, hovercraft, and snowmobile modes. In addition to Ryder’s voice calling the pups to action, there are over 200 phrases, melodies, and sounds.
These include instructions such as “honk the horn five times.” The number of potential sounds, songs, and phrases means you do not have to repeatedly listen to the same five comments. It also has volume control, making it adult-friendly while still fun for kids.
- Plenty of audio variety with volume control.
- Unique handlebar design is different from other driving toys.
- It’s Paw Patrol!
- It may not hold the attention of an older child.
|Age range||2–5 years|
|Size||4.6 x 12 x 9 inches|
|Location for use||Tabletop, floor|
5. TOMY: John Deere Steering Wheel Toy
With its classic John Deer green coloring, this is the best steering wheel toy for kids who enjoy farms and farm vehicles. Rather than making standard engine noises, you’ll hear the dulcet tones of a deep rumbling tractor engine.
The chunky key makes a satisfying clicking sound when turned, as do both levers. Press the buttons, and you get tunes to drive along to. And the indicators light up and flash for a more authentic driver experience.
- Has a tractor-like engine sound.
- Licensed John Deer product is great for farm-loving kids.
- Turn signals make a realistic clicking noise when in use.
- No power button to turn it off.
- Loud sounds with no volume control.
|Age range||18 months to 5 years|
|Size||11.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches|
|Location for use||Floor, tabletop|
6. Color Tree: Ride-on Toy Steering Wheel
The Color Tree ride-on steering wheel toy converts from a floor-based, toddler-focused toy to a taller, sit-on toy for older children. Both forms have the same functions. The only difference is that your toddler can sit and play on the floor, and your older child can sit on the stool to play.
The steering wheel is mounted on a dashboard with a faux display screen. Choose from three scenes, and as your child turns the wheel, the car on the screen moves in the same direction. The display is low-tech, with a repetitive scrolling image, but it’s ideal for kids and has the benefit of not feeling like a screen-based electronic toy.
In seated mode, there’s a lower section with a brake and accelerator for an authentic driving experience.
- Converts from a floor-based to a sit-on toy.
- Responsive accelerator, brake, and steering wheel.
- Fun scrolling roadway images.
- Larger than other options.
- The microphone can be annoying for parents.
|Age range||18 months+|
|Size||18.5 x 18.5 x 19.6 inches|
|Location for use||Floor, tabletop|
7. KiddoLab: My Little Driver Steering Wheel Toy
The KiddoLab My Little Driver steering wheel toy is designed for babies under a year old. The bright fabric around the outer wheel comprises three different fabric designs for lots of colorful visual stimulation. Also, it is soft and easy for a baby to grasp.
The plastic center has two “blinker” lights, a cute frog mirror, and a pair of dials to ensure you don’t run out of gas or break the speed limit. Your child cannot remove the key, so there are no worries about it becoming a choking hazard, and it makes a satisfying clicking sound when turned.
- Multiple tactile experiences.
- Attaches to stroller or car seat via hook and eye strap.
- Limited age range.
- Surface wash only means the fabric can become stained.
|Age range||6–12 months|
|Size||7 x 7 x 2.4 inches|
|Material||BPA free plastic with fabric|
|Location for use||Stoller, car, floor, etc.|
8. Playgro: Drive & Go Steering Wheel Toy
The Playgro steering wheel toy is like a small plastic dashboard that can be attached to your stroller’s front bar.
The toy has a basic wheel-in-a-dashboard setup. It includes a horn in the center that squeaks when you press it; a simple key, gear shift, and blinker set-up; and a spinning ball with little beads inside it.
Left and right arrows flash when you play one of the two tunes, and a wiggly bar across the top holds a pair of teething rings. We found the rings impractical as your baby has to lean forward across the dashboard at an odd angle to gnaw on them.
- Velcro straps for easy attachment and removal.
- Lightweight and convenient.
- Simple design doesn’t require lots of bells and whistles.
- Textured teething rings aren’t practical.
- Only plays two tunes that become monotonous very quickly.
|Age range||1–3 years|
|Size||2.4 x 3.5 x 11 inches|
|Location for use||Floor, lap, tabletop, stroller.|
9. CASDON: Interactive Satnav Steering Wheel Toy
We loved the concept of this interactive “satnav” steering wheel toy from CASDON. With its interactive GPS-style display, kids learn to recognize left from right as they react to spoken instructions such as “turn left.”
Your child can choose a destination from four options, and the navigator voice combined with light-up arrows will direct them to the location. The arrows on the screen react to the direction the wheel is turned, blinking if the child makes a wrong turn. The voice praises them if they choose correctly.
This fun steering wheel toy includes buttons to start/stop, slow down, speed up, or beep the horn with a variety of fun sounds.
Because of the tall stand on the product, it can only be comfortably used when sitting on the ground, so your child will need to use it in the vehicle or while seated in a chair at home. It doesn’t fasten to anything, so it needs to be supported by your child’s legs in order to stay in place. This positioning may be difficult for younger children to manage.
- Interactive controls teach cause and effect.
- Commands help children learn left from right.
- “Satnav” system introduces children to maps and navigational systems.
- Doesn’t fasten to the car floor so if it tips over, it’s hard to recover while driving.
- Uses British English phrasing such as “petrol station” rather than gas station.
|Age range||3 years+|
|Size||4.5 x 8.5 x 17 inches|
|Location for use||Floor, in vehicle|
10. Facaily: Portable Steering Wheel Toy
The Facaily Portable Steering Wheel is a fun toy for toddlers that includes suction cups, so it’s possible to attach the toy to a tabletop, highchair, or stroller tray. With a speedometer display and 11 buttons for music and sounds including ambulance, police car, and firetruck, it is entertaining enough for most toddlers.
However, although this steering wheel toy is marketed as a good option for use in a car seat, it only partially fulfills this role.
This is because there’s only a vague pair of hooks on the rear of the steering wheel, so you have to source a strap or have a back-of-seat storage fixture already in place for this to work. Then when you have the steering wheel in place, a child securely restrained in a car seat has no chance of reaching the wheel.
Also, the toy is labeled as appropriate for kids 3 years+, which is a reflection of the safety of the toy rather than the cognitive development stage. The functions of the toy are something a younger toddler would enjoy more.
- Unique audio sounds make it fun for most younger toddlers.
- Includes working turning signals.
- Doesn’t fit with the suggested age range.
- Back of seat positioning doesn’t work.
|Age range||3 years+|
|Location for use||Car seat (suitable hardware not included), tabletop|
|Product||Best||Age range||Size||Material||Location for use|
|VTech: Turn and Learn Steering Wheel Toy||Best Budget Pick||6–36 months||10 x 8 x 4″||Plastic||Floor|
|Best Learning: My Spin & Learn Steering Wheel||Best Interactive||6–36 months||10.55 x 2.28 x 10.55″||BPA-free plastic||Floor, tabletop, etc.|
|Baby Einstein: Driving Tunes Steering Wheel Toy||Best Small Steering Wheel Toy||3–36 months||5.5 x 8.5 x 2.5″||Plastic||Floor/table, stroller, lap.|
|VTech: Paw Patrol Steering Wheel Toy||Best Character||2–5 years||4.6 x 12 x 9″||Plastic||Tabletop, floor|
|TOMY: John Deere Steering Wheel Toy||Safest Steering Wheel Toy||18 months – 5 years||11.5 x 7.5 x 7.5″||Plastic||Floor, tabletop|
|Color Tree: Ride-on Toy Steering Wheel||Most Flexible||18 months+||18.5 x 18.5 x 19.6″||Plastic||Floor, tabletop|
|KiddoLab: My Little Driver Steering Wheel Toy||Best For Babies||6–12 months||7 x 7 x 2.4″||BPA free plastic with fabric||Stoller, car, floor, etc.|
|Playgro: Drive & Go Steering Wheel Toy||Best for Strollers||1–3 years||2.4 x 3.5 x 11″||Plastic||Floor, lap, tabletop, stroller.|
|CASDON: Interactive Satnav Steering Wheel Toy||Best Navigational Toy||3 years+||4.5 x 8.5 x 17″||Plastic||Floor, in vehicle|
|Facaily: Portable Steering Wheel Toy||Best for Car Seats||3 years+||10-inch diameter||Plastic||Car seat (suitable hardware not included), tabletop|
Safety Tips for Using Steering Wheel Toys in the Car
- Toys attached to a car seat can become unfasted, making them potential projectiles in a crash (2). Toys attached to a rear-facing infant carrier are especially dangerous. In the event of a crash, these toys can swing or become detached, potentially hitting your child and causing injury.
- Some older toddlers in forward-facing car seats like to hold toys on their lap. But just like with attached toys, lap toys may also become projectiles in a collision. However, in this case, the toys would likely fly forward, hitting people in the front seats.
- Steering wheel toys with lights and sounds can be distracting to a driver. Either the sudden sounds or flashing lights or the desire to turn off a toy that’s playing the same song over and over can cause you to lose concentration.
The Bottom Line
Steering wheel toys for toddlers come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They can be as simple as a lightweight wheel that a baby can enjoy to a convertible floor toy that becomes a full-on driving simulator for older toddlers, complete with working brakes and accelerator.
These toys can also teach colors, numbers, shapes, and even emotions, so your child will get much more out of their steering wheel than simply pretending to steer.
Our recommended steering wheel toys are great for a variety of scenarios so you can find the perfect driving experience for your toddler.