Best Christmas train set

Holiday & Costumes

Some sets have small parts and figurines that could pose a choking hazard, so never leave young children unattended around a Christmas train.

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Which Christmas train set IS BEST?

When decorating your home for the holidays, nothing ushers in the season quite like a train set wrapped around the Christmas tree. These festive locomotives vary from simple toy trains to functioning models complete with working lights and puffs of engine smoke. 

Model trains are a massive category however, and finding the right Christmas tree train set can be a daunting task. While there are many factors to consider, the many features of the Lionel Polar Express Model Train Set make it the best pick.

What to know before you buy a Christmas train set

Types of Christmas train sets

Christmas train sets under the tree can range from affordable plastic toys to metal locomotives with realistic detailing. 

  • Model trains are typically more expensive and are meant to accurately replicate the look and function of a real train. They also usually involve a somewhat complicated assembly. 
  • Toy trains are usually built out of plastic or wood and have a much more whimsical, child-friendly appearance. Many of these are modeled to feature popular fictional characters like Mickey Mouse or Frosty the Snowman. 

Whichever type of Christmas train set you choose, make sure it’s durable enough to last multiple holiday seasons. 

Train cars

A Christmas tree train set could come with a wide variety of different train cars to enhance realism and make the train set educational and fun. Look for cars with added details to make the train feel more holiday oriented, like layers of snow or boxes of presents. 

  • Locomotive: Immediately recognizable as the front of the train, the locomotive car is usually the part of the Christmas train where most of the features are kept. This part could whistle, light up or release puffs of artificial smoke into the air. 
  • Coach car: This is where the passengers sit and dine on the train. Many Christmas train coach cars will have illuminated windows that feature miniature silhouettes of passengers enjoying their winter ride. 
  • Coal car: This car typically has no roof and is designed to look like it’s loaded with coal to fuel the engines. 
  • Gondola: Another open-top storage car, the gondola is used to carry cargo like wooden logs, Christmas trees or wrapped presents. 

Tracks

Think about where you plan to operate your Christmas train and make sure your set comes with all of the necessary track parts. Most track designs are meant to be shaped like an oval to wrap around a Christmas tree, but some users may want a straight track that runs along a wall or around a corner. Some complex train sets may even feature bridges, tunnels or a Y-shaped split track that lets you change direction.

What to look for in a quality Christmas train set

Control

Most electric Christmas train sets come with some kind of control function. This could be a simple knob that makes the train stop and start or a handheld remote control that can be used to adjust the speed or activate the lights. 

Optional features

Many train sets for under the Christmas tree have immersive features like a working whistle, holiday bells and a puffing smoke engine. Other advanced models have high tech features like Bluetooth compatibility so you can control the train from your smartphone. 

Accessories

To make the most of your Christmas train set, look for a product that includes fun accessories like pine trees, mini reindeer or festive figurines like Santa Claus. 

How much you can expect to spend on a Christmas train set

The cost of a Christmas train set can vary depending on the materials and any included features. A simple toy train set can be purchased for around $30-$50, while a high tech model with all the bells and whistles can cost $100-$400. 

Christmas train set FAQ

Can I mix and match train set components?

A. For most train sets, you can mix and match parts as long as they’re produced by the same manufacturer.

What is the suggested age range for a Christmas train set?

A. While kids of any age can enjoy the festive look of a Christmas train set, most model train sets with tiny parts should only be assembled by children ages 8 and older. 

What ARE the best Christmas train setS to buy?

Top Christmas train set

Lionel Polar Express Model Train Set

Lionel Polar Express Model Train Set

What you need to know: Based on the train from the popular holiday film “The Polar Express,” this model train set is extremely detailed and loaded with immersive features. 

What you’ll love: Manufactured by one of the most iconic brands in the model train industry, this Polar Express train comes with features like puffs of smoke, working lights and Bluetooth compatibility. The set also includes detailed figurines and an intuitive remote control. 

What you should consider: This model is more expensive than most Christmas train sets. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Christmas train set for the money

Hot Bee Electric Train Set

Hot Bee Electric Train Set

What you need to know: Fun and affordable, this electric Christmas train set is the perfect choice for young kids. 

What you’ll love: This colorful train set has multiple track assembly methods for different tree sizes. It also includes fun features like a realistic whistle sound, odorless smoke and a locomotive headlight. 

What you should consider: Some users questioned the overall durability and longevity of this product. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Blue Block Factory Christmas Tree Train Set

Blue Block Factory Christmas Tree Train Set

What you need to know: This versatile, 20-piece train set is a solid choice for preteens. 

What you’ll love: With its colorful gold, red and silver locomotive, this whimsical Christmas train set looks great wrapped around an illuminated Christmas tree. The battery-powered train features headlights, realistic sounds and a puffing smoke function. 

What you should consider: This train is more lightweight than other models, occasionally resulting in track derailment. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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