When the snow starts to fall, a day of sledding is a great way to enjoy some family fun. All you need is a reliably warm jacket, maybe a good pair of heated gloves, and a sled that suits your needs. When choosing the best snow sleds for winter fun, there are a few style options to choose from. Read below to discover the best snow sleds to keep your winters full of fun.
- BEST OVERALL: Flexible Flyer Snow Screamer 2 Person Sled
- BEST BUDGET: Airhead Classic 2 Person Toboggan Snow Sled
- BEST FOR ADULTS: Yukon Hammerhead Pro HD Steerable Snow Sled
- BEST SAUCER: Slippery Racer Downhill Pro Saucer Snow Sled
- BEST TOBOGGAN: L.L. Bean Toboggan and Cushion Set
- BEST INFLATABLE: GoFloats Winter Flamingo Snow Tube
- ALSO CONSIDER: Geospace Original LED Ski Skooter
Popular Types of Snow Sleds
After a good look at this recommended winter preparation list, it’s time for a breakdown of the most popular types of snow sleds. Snow sleds come in all different shapes and styles and are available in a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, and metal.
Toboggans are classic sleds that are traditionally made of wood and feature a flat piece of wood that curls at the front. Today, toboggans have been modernized to be sleeker and are often made of plastic. They are still rectangular in shape and can seat one to two people. They usually have a rope to hang on to at the front and can be controlled by shifting your weight from side to side while going downhill.
A more modern sled, saucers are circular sleds that have a slightly concave bottom. They are typically made of metal or plastic and fit one person. They are designed to glide on top of snow smoothly and they can travel downhill fast. Their shape makes them harder to control and direct than toboggans. Saucers are great for all ages, but especially for those who like to go fast.
Foam sleds are cut from a thick piece of firm polyethylene foam that’s a bit softer and more pliable than a classic plastic or metal sled. The bottom often has an attached piece of thin, hard plastic that withstands rocks and ice better than the foam would. They are less prone to cracking or breaking apart than a fully plastic sled and absorb bumps while gliding downhill. However, foam sleds aren’t usually as fast or glide as smoothly as saucers.
Aptly named, steering sleds are designed so the rider can have control over where they travel. They often have handles that connect to moveable tracks on the base of the sled. These tracks allow for precision turning while going downhill.
Inflatable Snow Tube
Inflatable snow tubes are made with high-quality vinyl that must be inflated before use. They’re often circular and are generally much thicker than other sled types. This extra thickness provides added cushioning that better absorbs bumps and masks the feeling of rocks while sledding. The cold air may deflate snow tubes somewhat quickly, so they sometimes need to be re-inflated before each use.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Snow Sleds
The different style isn’t all that should be considered when choosing the best snow sled. Here are more essential features and considerations to keep in mind.
Who will be using the sled is a very important consideration when shopping for a new snow sled. A toboggan or inner tube may be best for young children as it’s not as fast and is easier to control. However, adults may wish to use a steerable sled or something that can travel faster, like a saucer. Softer options like inner tubes and foam sleds absorb impact for those who don’t enjoy rough, bumpy rides. A two-person sled with a pull rope is convenient for family outings in the snow and makes it easy to tow children around or to ride downhill together.
The type of sledding hill and snow near you can also dictate which sled type you choose. When snow is powdery and fine, sleds with a greater bottom surface area like inflatable tubes will glide the best. Sleds with tracks can be used for compact or icy snow, and saucers perform best on packed snow.
Size and Weight
It’s also necessary to consider the size and weight of a sled. Adults and multiple passengers will require a bigger, longer sled with a larger weight capacity. Children’s sleds are usually shorter and measure no longer than 35 inches for a single rider. The weight of the sled also dictates how easy it is to pull the sled uphill in between uses. For example, a toboggan that weighs 15 pounds may be too heavy for young children to pull back uphill.
When shopping for the best snow sled, the most common materials you’ll come across are plastic, foam, metal, inflatable vinyl, and wood. The material also plays a significant role in the weight of a sled. Plastic and metal will usually travel faster downhill, whereas foam and inflatable vinyl sleds provide a more comfortable ride that absorbs the shocks of bumps and hard chunks in the snow.
There are different types of bottom shapes too. Some sleds feature flat and smooth bottoms that slide best over flat surfaces. Sleds that feature a ridged or railed base provide a bit more control and help keep the sled on track in the rider’s desired direction.
Many sleds come with an attached pull rope, but not all. Ropes are a great added feature that make it easier to pull the sled back to the top of the hill without having to carry the full sled in your arms. A pull rope also makes it possible to tow riders around for a sleigh ride. Some sleds are designed with a rope that can also be used to steer while going downhill.
Most sleds also include handles. Handles can make a rider feel more safe and secure in the sled and offer stability. They can also help with direction control. Handles are especially recommended for younger children to ensure they stay seated and don’t fall off as the sled is moving.
When using a snow sled, it’s imperative to follow a few safety rules to avoid getting hurt. The number one rule is always to sit or lay facing forward and to never stand up on a sled. This helps avoid serious brain injury and ensures you can see what’s in front of you. Young children should always have parental supervision. And lastly, sleds should never have more riders than they can carry.
Our Top Picks
This selection of recommendations covers a wide variety of designs, so you can find the best snow sled suited to who plans to use it and their speed preferences.
Flexible Flyer’s Screamer Snow Sled is a soft, foam sled that’s well-built for two people. The base measures 47 by 21.5 by 2 inches and has two sets of soft foam handles on each side. This sled is best suited for kids ages 5 and up and can hold up to 250 pounds.
The Screamer Snow Sled has a flat bottom and is cut from 1-inch thick polyethylene foam that cushions against rough surfaces. For extra durability against the cold and snow, the top is laminated to seal out moisture, while the bottom has a slick, crack-resistant hard plastic bottom for extra speed. This sled does not have a tow rope but at only 3 pounds, it’s lightweight enough for kids to carry uphill.
- Material: Polyethylene foam
- Product Dimensions: 47 by 21.5 by 2 inches
- Capacity: 2 people
- Fits 2 people
- 250-pound weight limit
- Soft foam handles
Airhead’s classic toboggan snow sled is an excellent choice for families, couples, and friends looking to hit the slopes. It’s made from high-impact plastic that can withstand icy bumps and rocks and has molded plastic tracks on the bottom of the sled to help you control the direction of movement.
On the side, there are two pairs of handle holes, as well as a pull-rope tied to the front. This sled measures 35 by 17 by 5 inches and can fit up to two adults.
- Material: Plastic
- Product Dimensions: 35 by 17 by 5 inches
- Capacity: 1 person
- High-impact plastic construction
- Molded plastic handles
- Easy-tow lanyard
- May be too small for some adults
If you feel the need for speed, consider the Hammerhead Pro HD by Yukon. Unlike most sleds, it features stainless steel and leaf-spring steering handles at the front that allows the rider to twist and turn with precision while traveling downhill. The sled bottom has polycarbonate and HDPE (high-density polyethylene) skis for more accurate control while turning.
The 51-inch by 22.5-inch frame is made from durable powder-coated 6000 aluminum that can carry one adult, 13 years and older, who weighs no more than 230 pounds. This sled also comes with a detachable nylon carrying strap for pulling it back up the hill.
- Material: Aluminum and polycarbonate
- Product Dimensions: 51 by 22.5 by 9.5 inches
- Capacity: 1 person
- Sturdy aluminum frame
- Includes a carrying strap
- 230-pound weight limit
Adults and kids alike can zoom down the hill with the Slippery Racer Downhill Pro. This classic saucer sled measures 26 inches across to fit children and smaller adults. It features a raised, reinforced handle design that makes it easy to grip the sled even when you’re seated and simple to carry for trudging back up the hill.
This sled is made of heavy-duty plastic that is highly flexible to prevent cracking and breaking. The plastic is also coated with IceVex cold-resistant treatment, so it can tolerate very cold temperatures without becoming brittle. A slick-coated base provides a smooth surface for flying down the next snowy hill.
- Material: Plastic
- Product Dimensions: 26 inches across
- Capacity: 1 person
- Easy-to-grip reinforced handles
- Can handle very cold temperatures
- Handles may be too small for large hands
This classic toboggan sled from L.L. Bean looks like something out of a Christmas movie—and it’s sure to provide hours of family fun. It’s made of strong hardwood slats, screwed together to create a traditional toboggan shape. Over top lies a non-slip, woven polyester cushion filled with 1.5 inches of insulating foam. The natural wood and red cushion give this toboggan a charming look.
Measuring 72 inches long, this wooden sled is one of the best sleds for family sledding and can comfortably fit two or three people. Since it’s made out of hardwood, you can trust it to carry yourself and a few friends or family members down the hill. A tow rope makes it easy to carry the toboggan back up the hill for another ride.
- Material: Wood, polyester, and foam
- Product Dimensions: 72 inches by 15.75 inches
- Capacity: 2 to 3 people
- Attractive look
- Made of sturdy wood
- Insulated cushion included
Don your winter hat and boots and tackle snowy hills in style with this flamingo snow tube from GoFloats. Made of raft-grade vinyl, this inflatable tub is a comfortable choice for shredding down hills. Two sturdy handles provide stability and a comfy high seat prevents your bottom from touching the ground. This design makes for a more comfortable ride, while the flamingo head adds a bit of fun.
To prevent punctures, this sled is made from a thick and cold-weather-treated material. In case of any mishaps, this snow tube includes a patch kit. A rapid-inflate valve helps inflate the tube in seconds so you can get to the fun stuff sooner.
- Material: Vinyl
- Product Dimensions: 45 inches across
- Capacity: 1 person
- Treated for cold weather
- Rapid-inflate valve
- Patch kit included
- Can be difficult to steer
Looking to add more adrenaline to your sledding experience? The Geospace Original LED Ski Skooter is an amusing pick. This “ski scooter” combines a snowboard-like deck with a handle and is designed for stand-up sledding. It can be used for downhill sledding or along groomed snow paths as a scooter.
A grippy deck and sturdy handle with LED lights make for safer use. The sled is made from tough polyurethane, which flexes for a smoother ride and to prevent cracking. A foldable design allows for easier carrying and storage. With a weight limit of 220 pounds, both kids and adults can take advantage of this fun winter toy.
- Material: Polyurethane
- Product Dimensions: 37 by 9.5 by 31 inches
- Capacity: 1 person
- Non-slip board
- LED lighting
- 220-pound capacity
- Requires a learning curve to use
With a puncture-resistant build and sturdy handles, the Flexible Flyer Snow Screamer is the best sled for all ages. The Yukon Hammerhead is the best snow sled for adults, with an aluminum frame, smooth skis, and a steering mechanism made for serious sledding.
How We Chose the Best Snow Sleds
Snow sleds have come a long way from the wood and plastic boards of the past, with a growing number of fun options available. The classics are exciting, but new designs also bring something to the table, so we included a good mix of both types.
To cater to different shoppers, we included a variety of sled types, ranging from classic toboggans to novelty sled scooters. We chose well-made and highly-rated picks to handle all types of snow conditions and last through several snow seasons. The top picks on our list are also made for all ages, so you can find a reliable sled whether you’re shopping for children or for the kid inside of you.
Q: What is the difference between a sled and a toboggan?
A sled refers to a vehicle or toy used to transport people or items, usually over snow or ice. A toboggan is a type of sled which features a long, flat-bottomed design with a curved front.
Q: Is sledding dangerous?
If proper safety precautions are followed, sledding can be a safe and enjoyable pastime. Never attempt to sled down hills that are too high or steep for your skill level, and always remember to sit down, face forward, and supervise children.
Q: Should I wax my sled?
While it’s not necessary, waxing a sled can reduce friction and make it go faster.
Q: How do you store snow sleds?
Snow sleds should be dried off after use and carefully stored in a dry place. Inflatable snow tubes should be deflated before storing.
Q: How long does a snow sled last?
A snow sled can last for a few years but it depends on how often it’s used, the material it’s made of, and how it’s stored. A wood or metal sled will last much longer than an inflatable or a plastic sled.