You are looking for a Christmas present for children or don’t want to go wrong with a planned surprise: You’ve come to the right place. The wooden railway is a hit in all children’s rooms – if you just pay attention to a few points. We’ll help you decide between the countless suppliers and sets.
We show you what you should look for when buying a wooden train, which models are suitable for which age and in which price segment different offers are. With a few tips, you can also easily personalise and expand your wooden railway. You can also find out how best to clean your used wooden railway here.
The most important facts
- The robust individual parts of the wooden trains are already suitable for small children: The toys are recommended from the age of two or three.
- Not all train sets are compatible with each other: A list shows you which brands produce compatible train tracks.
- Want to get creative? A construction manual helps you to build your very own wooden railway.
The Best Wooden Railway: Our Picks
Buying and rating criteria for wooden trains
Before you buy a wooden train set, there are a few things to consider. The following points will help you to keep an overview in the railway jungle:
- Age recommendation
- Number of components
- Accessories & additional equipment
- Theme area
- Type of drive
- Material origin – and properties
With our tips, it will be easier for you to compare offers and then decide on the most suitable product.
With a wooden train, nothing breaks easily: at the age of two, most toddlers are already able to consciously push objects in a certain direction. The sturdy components of the wooden railway as a starter model are precisely tailored to the fine motor skills of toddlers – and encourage them in a playful way.
Number of components
Different models can vary greatly in the number of components they have: Sets with more than 100 components are among the larger ones. But be careful: Often, larger sets simply include more decorative accessories, which does not automatically mean more fun.
Accessories & additional equipment
More wagons, traffic lights or light and sound effects? Almost all manufacturers offer a large selection of additional equipment with which the railway landscape can be further expanded. The perfect gift for the next children’s birthday party.
The railway world knows no boundaries: Should the train travel through an ore mine or a dinosaur landscape? Here you are spoilt for choice when buying. But the good thing is: different sets can often be combined with each other very easily.
Type of drive
Wooden trains are either electrically or manually driven. Battery locomotives can go forwards and even backwards – but they are not very powerful. Here, it is important to take a closer look at the ratings of the individual products. The latest generation of locomotives can even be controlled via Bluetooth connection with a smartphone. However, the electric locomotives often have to be bought separately and are rarely included in entire railway sets.
Material origin – and properties
When you buy a wooden train set, you are consciously choosing a sustainable and natural children’s toy. But there are also differences here; many manufacturers supplement the railway with plastic accessories. Labels such as the FSC label guarantee that your child’s toy is definitely sustainable. For example, the Swiss brand Brio uses trains made of FSC-certified wood.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about wooden trains answered in detail
Despite these first tips, there may be some questions that come up before you buy your wooden train. Therefore, we answer the most frequently asked questions about wooden trains here.
Who is a wooden railway suitable for?
Once you have a train set, you won’t get enough: thanks to additional accessories, the wooden train set grows with your child and is therefore also a suitable toy for primary school children. Thanks to its robustness, parents don’t need to worry about tantrums or initial fine motor difficulties.
Which wooden train systems are compatible with each other?
How do I clean a wooden railway?
How can a wooden train be built or personalised?
A locomotive is also easy to make yourself and thus personalise: Hornbach has instructions with an integrated shopping list. For those who are not so keen on handicrafts, companies such as Schmatzepuffer or Kokokil also offer individualised wooden trains according to your wishes.
Whether homemade, personalised or already prefabricated: Wooden trains make children’s eyes light up. But so that the surprise doesn’t turn into a nasty surprise, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the age recommendation and the size of the wooden train set beforehand. If you already have a starter set that you want to expand, make sure you check the compatibility of the different suppliers.
It is also important to think about the origin of the wood and to clean the wooden toys from time to time. For this, we recommend lukewarm water with a little vinegar – or, in the worst case, sanding down the wooden parts.
Image source: Mike Bergmann / unsplash