Train Sets: 6 Top Picks

Preschoolers are fascinated by trains. In poll after poll, readers have told me that train sets and train tables are toys that hold their kids’ interest for years, with the peak ages of interest being about two to four. Here’s a rundown of six of the most popular train sets and tables out there:

KidKraft Wooden Waterfall Mountain Train and Table Set: KidKraft is known for well-built wooden toys. This wide train table comes with three built in storage bins. At 120 pieces this is the largest set of those featured here. It’s $124.97 at Amazon.

Step2 Deluxe Canyon Road Train & Track Table: What’s great about this table is that it has a lid. When the train isn’t in play, your kids can use the table for coloring, building with blocks, etc. Another great feature for mess-weary parents is that the tracks are molded into the table and can’t be lost or scattered about. On the other hand, because the tracks are molded into place, you can’t change the track layout. Includes three-piece train set. Made in USA. $84.88 at Amazon.

Fisher-Price GeoTrax Timbertown Railway: This durable plastic train set is a hit with the five and under set. It comes in two versions: “remote control” and “push.” The remote control version has self-aligning wheels, train sound effects and forward/reverse action. It requires six AA batteries and comes with 15 pieces of reconfigurable track. The push version, which can be harder to find, requires no batteries. Table not included. The remote control version is $39.99 at Amazon.

Plan Toys Road and Rail Deluxe Train Set:  This set is made from chemical free, sustainable rubber wood, and its paints have been tested for safety. Includes three cars, 18 track pieces, 6 road pieces, traffic light, train signal, train station, two people, and a few trees. Table not included. $74.99 at Amazon.

Learning Curve Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway Water Tower Figure 8 Set: Learning Curve makes the “original” Thomas trains and tables. This is a great, affordable starter set. It includes Thomas, Sir Topham Hat, a cargo car, and 22 other pieces. Table not included. $34.12 at Amazon.

Melissa & Doug Classic Wooden Figure Eight Train Set. This basic, affordable set includes a wooden engine and coal car, plus 20 pieces of wooden track and a bridge. Tracks are compatible with other wooden sets, like the Learning Curve set above. $22.28 at Amazon.

There are a couple of store brands worth checking out, too, and can save you some money. Toys R Us’ Imaginarium City Train Set is $34.99 and Target’s Circo Figure 8 set is $20.29. Both are compatible with other wooden sets.

Related: How to Pick Toys with Staying Power [and Avoid the Duds]

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Comments

  1. Jen says:

    The nice thing about the wooden train sets is they hold up well and can be found used for often a lot cheaper. I got a set this summer which has been waiting patiently in the attic for my twin boys’ birthday on Friday which was a table and a full set of trains and tracks, all for $40. The previous family had played with it, but since it is wood, it is in great shape.

  2. Terrah says:

    They have a kidkraft rain set at Costco right now for $114– it’s the airport one.

  3. NJ Mom says:

    If someone truly wants an entry level train set, Ikea sells some cheap ones under the Lillabo moniker. So, a 20-piece train set is listed for $9.99 and is compatible with other companies’ train sets. This toy is not sold on its web site, but only Ikea stores. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30064359/

    • Allison says:

      Ooh. I like the bridge design on that Lillabo one far better than the name brand Thomas ones (which topple so easily because they are three pieces).

      • Susana says:

        but beware! the Ikea bridge is too short for Thomas trains…which, if your toddler is anything like mine, will defeat the purpose of having a bridge! Otherwise, the Ikea pieces are great.

  4. Crystal says:

    Do you have any recommendations for train/car rugs? The tables take up to much space and we have a few pieces for a track but that just gets a crazy mess and I can’t figure out all the ‘sets’ and what connects with what. Not to mention the prices to make a set bigger.

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