Best Snow Sleds
The winter season is fast approaching and that means that several of you will be pulling out your snow sleds once again. However, be honest with yourself for a quick second, has the sled you are taking out reached an expiration date? Perhaps it is time for you to upgrade to a newer model. The process of selecting your newest model is not too tricky with this product as you need to focus on common characteristics such as performance and durability. There are toddler-specific and kid-specific sizes out there, as well as designs for adults. It ultimately is up to you, though.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.5 hrs of research
Delivers great performance and reliability
Allows for nimble steering
Seat will absorb most of the impacts
- YUKON CHARLIE’S
- FLEXIBLE FLYER METAL RUNNER
- BRADLEY SNOW TUBE
- FLEXIBLE FLYER SNOW SCREAMER
- FAT TIRE SNOW TUBES
- EMSCO GROUP
- SLIPPERY RACER
- LUCKY BURNS SNOW SLED
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. YUKON CHARLIE’S
Delivers great performance and reliability
Allows for nimble steering
Seat will absorb most of the impacts
It will not work very well in deep powder
One would not think that a metal model would be the best, due to the extra weight. Yet, in the case of the Hammerhead, it is masterful as it combines superb performance and durability with a lightweight core.Read more
Let’s just say the Hammerhead is built to last. It is designed with an aluminum frame that has been powder coated for protection and also a stainless steel leaf spring steering system.
To make it easier on both your lower back and your spine, the Hammerhead is equipped with an Aeron chair that manages to absorb most of the impact you will take down the slopes.
Despite the construction, the steering is quite nimble and this is thanks to the precision engineering. That said this model does struggle a little bit to perform in deep powder.
Though this is the number one model, it is not quite made for larger individuals. On the official product page, it is listed that the Hammerhead has a weight capacity of 200 pounds.
In addition to the fact that this only weighs 10 to 15 pounds maximum, the integration of the mesh ensures that snow does not stay on top while you are dragging it upward.
Granted you are not attempting to perform with the Hammerhead in deep powder, your experience should be incredible if you are under the weight limit. It really is as simple as that.
2. FLEXIBLE FLYER METAL RUNNER
Has double knee construction for support
There are pre-drilled holes to attach a rope
Steel runners are powder coated
48-inch size is not the best for adults
Is there anything that beats a gold old classic wooden sled? While the number one model on this list certainly does, enough can’t be said about the quality of this design here.Read more
On top of the smooth birch wood construction, Flexible Flyer has also designed this with powder-coated steel runners. Also, this features double knee construction for support and strength.
For adults, the 48-inch length of this sled may not ensure a comfortable ride. But, if you are a shorter individual, you should be just fine on this bad boy.
Any way you want to go about it, whether with your feet or lying down with your hands, you can carve turns with the utmost control here. Also, the steel runners offer insane speeds down slick hills.
Again, the 48-inch length may not be suitable enough for some adults. However, this is rated for kids ages five and up and can handle up to 250 pounds of weight.
Even though a rope is not included with your purchase, there are pre-drilled holes implemented that allow you to attach your own custom rope. Without the rope, though, this is still easy to pull back up the hill.
At the end of the day, it is hard to go wrong with the combination of wood and metal. In this case, though, the fantastic performance can actually overshadow the superb build quality.
3. BRADLEY SNOW TUBE
Comes in many different colors
It is very slick on fast and icy snow
Includes an integrated tow strap
Designed solely for downhill rides
A few buyers had issues with the seams ripping
Even though you may initially believe that this next model belongs in the water, it actually works efficiently down snow hills. In fact, it performs much better than you may think.Read more
Though some buyers have reported rips in the seams, the overall build quality here is impressive. The bottom is made of an industrial-grade vinyl and the canvas of 600D mildew-resistant polyester.
While there is a nice slick bottom that covers the center of the tube, there actually is not an insert to help lighten the impact. But, you could always stuff one inside yourself.
First off, the same vinyl bottom that was alluded to previously is also made with RapidGlide anti-friction technology and this allows for an enhancement in speed. Also, there are two sewn-in handles.
When this is inflated, as this is a tube and needs air to work properly, it measures 50 inches across.
When you are actually using this tube, there is a tow strap that allows for easy towing. However, when transporting it from location to location, it can be deflated to save space.
This type of sled is not going to be for everyone. For the right demographic who is looking for this sort of thing, you are probably not going to find a better option out there.
4. FLEXIBLE FLYER SNOW SCREAMER
It is large enough for two people
It moves well on any kind of snow
Designed with cushioned protection
The bottom has been known to separate over time
Here is another option from Flexible Flyer and they have dubbed this bad boy the Snow Screamer. Everything from the top to the bottom is superb here except for the fact that the bottom is prone to separation.Read more
The main issue with this model is the longevity, to be honest. It is not poorly built but the dense foam top layer tends to separate from the hard plastic bottom over time.
While the durability can be a bit questionable, the comfortability of the Snow Screamer is not. The same dense foam provides a thick cushioning system which will absorb bumps and impacts.
It really does not matter what type of snow you use this on, it is going to perform extremely well. In fact, for even more speed, you can wax the bottom. But, the speed is also ideal without wax.
Flexible Flyer recommends that users aged five and up use this model. But, it is large enough for two people to ride at the same time; granted it is not over the 250-pound weight limit.
With handles on both sides, you can easily carry this back up the hill or merely drag it along the ground. Either way, the process is fairly painless due to the weight.
Man, it is too bad the adhesive that holds the foam and the plastic together was not stronger. When this lasts, it can provide hours of entertainment and pure joy for anyone.
5. FAT TIRE SNOW TUBES
The Deluxe Edition includes a foam pad
Included is a four-foot long leash
Great for several kids at once
Not the best speed and distance
This is actually another tube design and while it is clearly on this list for a reason, it is worth noting that it is not ideal for consumers looking for top-end straight line speed and distance.Read more
The top shell of this tube is crafted of 1000D nylon and in addition to this, is both water repellent and mildew-resistant. Plus, the inner tube is also made of high-quality materials.
If you invest in the Deluxe Edition of this model, you can receive a foam pad. With this pad, it can add cushion and impact-resistance to the middle of the tube.
Even though the bottom of this model is designed with a vinyl bottom that is supposed to enhance the speed, several consumers have reported that this is a bit slow and that it does not travel too far.
Though this is recommended for kids aged 10 to 14, it is actually large enough for adults to try. But, for kids, it could hold possibly more than one at a time.
Given the fact that this is a snow tube, it is inflatable. In addition, the seller also provides you with a four-foot long leash that makes it easier to haul back up hills.
If this bad boy performed with a little more speed and distance, it could have landed in the top three of this list. Although, it does hit the nail on the head in just about every other area.
Works great for adults
Can be used for a plethora of other tasks
It has an ideal combination of strength and portability
It is not easy to steer
The plastic could be a little thicker
Ironically, Terrain’s snow sled may actually end up being more useful for other activities for you due to its massive capacity. At its core, it still is great for good old sledding.Read more
Being engineered with high-impact polyethylene, this is going to handle some abuse. With that said, this is still plastic and could have been more heavy-duty, all things considered.
Even if you wanted to let your little ones enjoy this sled, it is deep enough to keep them comfortable and secure. It is not the most comfortable design out there, but it suffices.
Due to the ribbed bottom, this is optimized to travel on snow and ice. However, you are really not going to steer this unit, which is a bit of a disappointment.
The sheer size and internal depth of this design make it ideal for both sledding and a multitude of other tasks. It can work terrifically for adults and children alike.
Part of the reason why the plastic is not overly thick is to ease the effort you must expend when hauling this model back up the slopes. Oh yeah, it also comes equipped with a heavy-duty tow rope.
Though there are some slight issues with the build quality and the performance, this overall design will be right up to the alley for some consumers out there.
7. EMSCO GROUP
There are additional tracking rails at the base for safety
It guarantees a safe ride for your toddler
Engineered with several comfort features
It is a bit cheaply made
The fit can be awkward for larger toddlers
Right from the get-go, understand that this next design is intended for toddlers. If you feel they are ready to go on an adventure, buy them a design that has been engineered for safety such as this.Read more
Though plastic is really a high-quality manufacturing material, it could have been a little more heavy-duty here. But, it is also not as if it will break within the first 30 minutes.
Without question, this has been engineered for both safety and comfort. This is headlined by cushioned paddings on the seats, the raised seat with a wide base and also the included seat belt.
Given this is for your toddler, they probably are not going to know how to steer so the concern is not there. Yet, this has a diamond polished underside for thrilling speeds.
Again, this is specifically designed for toddlers (aged three our younger). But, even some taller toddlers can find it awkward to sit in this.
Even though this is already portable, it can actually be folded up to make it even more compact. Heck, your little one could even drag it up themselves.
Why should you and your teenagers have all the fun this winter? Although you may be apprehensive about the thought of your toddler sledding, this is about as safe as it gets.
8. SLIPPERY RACER
Coated with a cold-resistant treatment
Features upgraded dual grip handles
Very easy to drag back up the slopes
The plastic is prone to cracking
Some consumers out there only require a simple plastic saucer for sledding and that is exactly what you are getting here. But, it is plastic which could be a deal breaker for some, to be honest.Read more
One nice aspect about this pro saucer is the fact that it has been coated with an IceVex cold-resistant treatment, making it suitable in cold conditions. But, the plastic can be prone to cracking.
While there really are no design features added to increase the overall comfort, the inside surface is smooth and is not uncomfortable to either sit or lay on.
It is amazing how nothing more than a sphere could perform so well. But, due to the fact that this is engineered to bend without breaking and that integrated handles are in play, that is the case here.
The actual diameter of this saucer is 26 inches but do note that the integrated handles do take away some seating space. Still, it is big enough to fit kids of most sizes.
This is about as easy as it gets when it comes to portability. Whether you are analyzing how easy this is to transport or how easy it is to carry back up the slopes, it is irrelevant.
For serious sledding enthusiasts, this may not cut it. But, if you want to surprise your children with an excellent Christmas gift then it could be.
Ideal for people of all ages
Built with safety and performance in mind
You can easily stop your momentum
It can be awkward to sit on for taller folks
Only really works in packed snow
Now this design here is unique, to say the least. It almost looks like a joystick is implemented into the middle of the sled but it does allow for an exhilarating downhill adventure.
10. LUCKY BURNS SNOW SLED
Backed by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee
The grips are smooth
It comes with a pull rope
The plastic is somewhat lightweight and flimsy
The side handles tend to fill up with snow
Chances are this last option resembles one of the sleds that you grew up with or one you are familiar with. Once again, it is plastic and will not be able to withstand too much abuse.Read more
Is the most durable design on this list? No, it is not but given its plastic core that should be expected. And yes, the plastic here is a bit flimsy so be cautious of that.
There is no implemented padding or anything like that but the grips are smooth and will not scrape your hands if you do not have gloves on.
When the speed does pick up, you can hold on to the handles on the side for security and also help maneuver the sled. But, the side handles do tend to fill up with snow.
If the 33-inch length is not suitable enough, there are also options for 35 inches and 48 inches. Each model will be suitable for a certain age group, so be aware of that.
No matter the length you choose, portability is made easier with the included pull rope. Also, the model itself is light in weight, to begin with.
This may not be the most spectacular model out there but you know what, it does the job very well. Granted you do not require the best of the best, this is a solid option.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
You need the sled to last you years to come and also handle the vigorous abuse of sledding.
Given the nature of snow sleds, it is only practical for durability to be a main point of emphasis. With most outdoor products that are expected to handle abuse, that is going to be the case. The truth is, these come in a plethora of different styles and materials. Some of the most notable and common manufacturing materials you will see will be plastic, foam, vinyl, wood, and metal. If you are looking for a serious ride and really do not want to worry about any chance of breaking, models designed with metal frames may be your best bet (perhaps even with a wood top).
The most common models out there are made of either foam, plastic, or vinyl. All three of these materials can be prone to breaking or tearing and a lot of it depends on how you ride and where you ride. For instance, with vinyl, which is typically used for tubes, rugged terrain can rip it to shreds in no time. The same issues can arise with plastic and foam so you can’t treat them like indestructible objects.
Going down the slopes can be painful enough so having a sled that is optimized for comfort is never a bad thing.
When it comes to sledding down slopes at insane speeds, it is only logical that there will be a chance for something to go wrong. The positive to this, of course, is if you crash then you are doing so on snow which can be more forgiving than doing so on other terrains. But, what about the duration of your sledding experience? In other words, do you really want to be in pain and in discomfort all the way down the hill? Presumably, you probably do not and that is why you need to assess the comfort level of any model you are looking into. In some sense, the level of comfort of a particular sled is influenced by its style. For instance, plastic toboggan styles will typically not have much padding and may not absorb any impact.
This is where foam can hold an advantage. Not only can dense foam absorb some of the impacts you will endure down the slopes, but it also provides a comfortable base to either sit or lay on. Of course, even with models that do not have foam or padding, look for smooth and non-abrasive surfaces.
How effective the model is will go a long way to determining your happiness. Look for optimal speed and ease of steering.
If the performance was irrelevant, then you could take a piece of cardboard and sled down a hill with it. That is just simply not the case, though, as the performance is going to mean everything for some buyers. Some of you may be content with anything or have children that feel the same way, but others will not. What dictates ideal performance? Well, it really comes down to speed, distance, and maneuverability and, to be honest, the best way to assess performance is to look at the individual styles one by one.
For example, let’s start with snow tubes. These look similar to what you would find in the water but they actually work very well in this manner. Plus, they are offered in different shapes and due to their vinyl bottoms typically will perform very well (but they may be hard to steer). There are also toboggan models and saucer models. The former can really fly if the conditions are right and can be controlled with small shifts in weight. As for saucer models, they tend to go a bit faster but also are harder to control and steer. Lastly, you have models such as snow racers which are pretty much optimized for impeccable performance in all facets.
Not all models will be optimized for all age groups. Plus, not all designs will be outfitted for more than one rider. You may want a certain size.
Truth be told, this section is entirely up to you (the buyer). But, it is important to understand, and this is something you are no doubt aware of, that not all snow sleds will be optimized for all age groups. Some will be designed specifically for toddlers, some for mid-sized children and others for adults. You may also see designs that can work for both children and adults. Depending on your needs and who you are buying for, you will need to look for specific sizes.
In fact, you can actually reference the styles again as they are typically outfitted for a certain amount of riders. Take toboggan style sleds, for example. Most of the time, you will be able to fit a couple of people on them at the same time (if you are interested in buddy sledding). But, for saucers and tubes, it becomes much more difficult to do so. Also, pay attention to the weight limit. If you are a 300-pounder and the weight limit is 200 pounds, do the math.
Snow sledding has one major issue; you have to bring the sled back up the slopes. Doing so can be made easier, though, with a model that is lightweight and portable.
Never forget about this criterion because it is huge. Typically, any product that you invest in that will be used in locations outside of your home will need to be easy to transport. However, in this case, it is even more important than that. While that is undoubtedly a consideration for you, perhaps even more vital is how easy the model is to drag back up the slope. When you go sledding, you need to start at the top of a hill and clearly, when you go down you will need to walk back up. This can become exhausting quickly and can be made even worse with a sled that is heavy and hard to drag or carry.
Ironically, this is one of the reasons why some models are made with flimsier materials and plastic. But, what you really need to look for is an integrated tow strap for dragging. Or, even integrated handles that give you a place to carry the sled. Of course, without question, the less it weighs the easier it will be to do so.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Frequently Asked Questions
Earlier, it was alluded to that this activity can actually be dangerous. It is a matter of simple physics to why snow sledding can cause injuries but here is the good news, there are precautions that you can take to ensure the safest ride possible. For starters, ensure that the area you are sledding in is not covered with obstacles such as rocks and holes. The smoother the surface and the fewer obstacles there are the less likely accidents are to occur.
Also, you may want to avoid going downhill head first as any sort of head injury could result if something were to go wrong. Oh yeah, and never sled at night unless the area is well-lit. One last thing, with children, ensure they are supervised.
Whether you plan on going sledding multiple times a year or simply maybe once or twice, it may be wise for you to clean the sled before you store it away for the warmer seasons. Due to the vast array of styles out there, it can be tough to come up with one way to clean all of them. But, for the most part, no one type is going to be particularly difficult to clean and wash. Depending on the amount of filth, you should be able to get away with a simple scrub down with a mild detergent. To prevent any damage, though, avoid using abrasive cleaning tools. When finished, rinse off the entirety of the model and allow it to dry.
Outside of investing in a specific model that is tailored for speed, there are actually some tricks of the trade you can employ to enhance the speed of your snow sled and here is how. If you have the money then you can opt to invest in special types of waxes. You can then coat the bottom of your model with this special wax and then you will notice a difference in the speed.
Of course, if you want to take the cheaper way out, candle wax and cooking spray work quite nicely, as well. Speaking of which, another substance that can increase speed is car wax. With any of these applicants, though, ensure the surface is clean and dry beforehand for optimal results.
One of the things that are sort of unfortunate about this sport and activity is you have to rely on the snow that falls. Because of this, you will only be able to do so for a short while. When the time comes where the climate increases and all the snow melts away, you will need to store your model away. Now, if you invest in a snow tube then this will be easy as you can deflate the model and then fold it away in a storage container.
This can’t be done with other types, though. So, you will want to clean them, allow them to dry, and then store them in a cool and dry location. Any location that will be exposed to excess heat should be avoided, as well as areas that are exposed to moisture.
Sand dunes are also a really entertaining terrain to ride down and consumers often ask if snow sleds can be used for it. Well, the simple answer is no and the main reason why is due to the nature of them. You see, they are only going to slide well in the sand if it is wet right after a rainfall. And who really wants to go to the sand dunes after it has rained?
If you want to do both types of sledding, then you really need to invest in each type separately for optimal performance. But, for the purposes of this guide, just stick to the white stuff for now.
For some models, powdery snow is actually not going to work very well. The main reason is this type is too soft and the runners will simply dig into it and get stuck. Optimally, look for packing snow as even though the landing will be more painful, the performance will be improved.
You also know the type that gets really messy and slushy right after a rainfall? Well, that can work as well. But, when you do have an accident and land awkwardly, it can be more painful. It is the tradeoff you have to live with, unfortunately. But, it is worth it because doing so in deep powder can be straight-up impossible. It works very well when you are snowboarding or skiing, though.
- The 7 Best Snow Sleds, Oct 22, 2018 ,
- How to Choose a Snow Sled, Jan 16, 2019 ,
- Sledding Buyers Guide, Jan 16, 2019 ,
- Sandboarding and Sand Sledding, Oct 24, 2018 ,
- Best Types of Snow For Winter Fun!, Dec 14, 2015 ,
- Top 10 Best Snow Sleds for Toddler in 2018 Reviews, Aug 01, 2018 ,
- Top 10 Best Snow Sleds Reviewed – [2018 / 2019], Oct 24, 2018 ,
- Top 10 Best Snow Sleds in 2018 Reviews, Jan 16, 2019 ,