Best go kart

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If you think you want to go racing, check out what kinds of instructional programs there are at go-kart tracks near you.

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Which go-karts are best?

Go-karts are small, open-wheeled cars that sit only inches above the ground. Go-karts have frames but no bodies, are smaller and lighter than ATVs and four-wheelers and are generally intended for use by kids aged 8 or older.

Made for recreational use, go-karts are built with safety in mind and are often a kid’s first “car.” 

If you’re looking for a kart to drive on pavement or grass, take a look at the Razor Dune Buggy. It has a 350-watt electric motor, knobby tires and can drive for 40 minutes continuously.

What to know before you buy a go-kart

Power source

Gasoline: The original go-karts invented in the 1950s were powered by small internal combustion engines. Because they use engines like the ones that power lawn mowers and chainsaws, gas-powered karts have similar loud, high-pitched snarls.  

Gasoline-powered go-karts require lubrication, regular spark plug replacement and ongoing adjustments just like lawn mower and chainsaw engines. You must store the gasoline in an approved container and keep it in a safe place. Gas-powered karts only go forward. If you want to back up, you need to get out and turn the kart around by hand. Gasoline karts can be used on and off road and are usually built to handle bigger and heavier drivers.  

Battery: Battery-powered karts are cleaner, quieter and require less maintenance. E-karts are typically designed to be used on level surfaces. Electric karts can go both forward and backward. They have more torque than gas karts, which means they accelerate more quickly. Battery-powered karts run until the batteries die. If you want to keep riding, you must wait while your battery charges or swap it for a spare you brought with you. 

Pedals: Pedal karts are made for young kids. The driver supplies the power, just like a bicycle. The driver’s legs pump the pedals, turning a sprocket that’s connected to the rear axle by a chain. Pedal karts are junior versions of powered karts.  

What to look for in a quality go-kart

Size

Karts are made for all sizes and types of people. If the frame is too small for your body, you’ll be cramped and uncomfortable. If the frame is too large, you’ll be tossed about and unable to handle the kart properly. The best fit is a snug one where you have maximum protection, comfort and control. Look for weight limits as a general indicator of the frame size and check the dimensions in the product specifications.  

Tires

Go-karts use one of three basic types of tires. The tires you want are the ones made for the surfaces where you plan to use your kart.

Knobby tires are made for karts that go on dirt, gravel and trails. The irregular surface is designed to provide traction in rough and loose terrain. The bigger the knobs, the better the traction.

Street tires are made to be driven on flat surfaces like pavement or grass where grip is not as important as a smooth ride. 

Slicks are used for racing. With no treads, the entire footprint of the tire grips the track for making fast, tight turns. 

How much you can expect to spend on a go-kart

Pedal carts cost $100-$200. Recreational battery- and gasoline-powered karts cost from $500-$2,000. Racing karts start at around $3,000.

Go-kart FAQ

Can I use my go-kart on the street?

A. No. Go-karts are not only far too small and too low to the ground to be legal for street use, they also lack the required safety equipment.

What if I want to go racing with my go-kart?

A. The first thing you need is a kart made for racing, and these can be quite expensive. The second thing is to get professional instruction and apply for a racing license.

What’s the best go-kart to buy?

Top go-kart 

Hauck Lightning Pedal Go-Kart

Razor Dune Buggy

What you need to know: This is a solid chain drive, knobby-tire kart for kids weighing up to 120 pounds.

What you’ll love: The powerful 350-watt electric motor is powered by two 12V sealed lead acid batteries that provide up to 40 minutes of continuous use on pavement or grass. The alloy steel tubular frame has side safety rails, and the bucket seat has a shoulder strap for driver safety. Speeds up to 8 mph are controlled by a thumb trigger and the rear disc brake is operated by hand.

What you should consider: This kart doesn’t handle hills well, so keep to flat surfaces.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top go-kart for the money

Hauck Lightning Pedal Go-Kart

Hauck Lightning Pedal Go-Kart

What you need to know: Kids aged 4-8 love this pedal-powered kart.

What you’ll love: The frame of this go-kart is made of powder coated steel and comes in four color choices. The rubber wheels provide a good grip and a smooth ride. The ergonomic seat is adjustable and has a high backrest for comfort and safety.

What you should consider: This go-kart may tip backward on steep slopes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Coleman Powersports CK100-S Go-Kart

Coleman Powersports CK100-S Go-Kart

What you need to know: This 98cc 3.0 hp gas-powered, chain drive go-kart is built for trail riding.

What you’ll love: The bolstered seat with four-point safety harness keeps riders safely inside the heavy-duty padded roll cage. The frame is made of heavy-duty tubular construction that supports riders up to 150 pounds. The low-pressure tires are made for traveling rough terrain and the hydraulic, foot-operated disc brakes stop this kart quickly and safely.

What you should consider: Make sure you put oil in the engine before using it.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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