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Buying an Electric Go Kart

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One of the latest crazes is electric go karts for both kids and kids at heart. They come in many shapes and sizes which can make it difficult to know what to look for when comparing them.

In this article, I will list a few of the key features that will matter to you when it comes to electric go-karts and help you figure out which type is right for you or your kid.

Electric go-karts are exhilarating, quiet, relatively safe and environmentally friendly to ride. They can give the rider their speed rush fix and they can also make for great off-road fun.

Kids Off Road Karts

While there still remains very few options for adult-sized electric go karts, the electric motors and batteries available at the affordable end of the market has quickly made kids go karts accessible to many looking to get their child into karting or going off-road with them.

I suspect adult-sized karts with considerably more power will be a few years away yet. The technology is there, but the costs are still so high that no company had come forward with a fully-fledged adult electric go kart that you can simply buy and ride yet.

However, many have opted to build their own from scratch with some impressive results, but that’s a topic for another day!

This does mean those big kids have very limited options, but why should that stop little kids from having their fun?

Kids off road go karts are not all made equal and there are a variety of comparison points you will want to consider when selecting one to purchase. Here’s the summary, and below that I will go into a bit more detail on each

  • Safety equipment
  • Electric motor speed
  • Battery charge and use time
  • Weight & Size

Electric Off Road Go Kart Safety

There’s nothing that makes a parents heart sink more than seeing their child in danger. Electric go karts are generally pretty safe these days, but they are not completely without risk.

While they don’t tend to go that fast, they sure go fast enough to hurt your kid if you’re being completely reckless in one.

Luckily, go kart manufacturers recognise how important it is to make their products as safe as possible and go out of their way to build karts with quality parts which will not let them down in normal use.

Bear in mind that it’s always wise to ensure your kid is wearing the right protective gear including a helmet when they are doing any kind of off-roading. Many of these karts specify an age range of 6 and above and we would also strongly suggest abiding by that.

Roll Cages

Every off-road go kart on the market worth its salt features a high tensile steel chassis with in built roll cage. This cage is essential when off-roading as the chances of taking on too steep an ascent or taking a corner with an adverse camber a bit too quick and rolling your kart over are very high.

While this is all part of the fun, electric go karts tend to weigh just as much if not more than their petrol powered counterparts. You definitely don’t want to be trapped by one under any circumstances, hence the roll bar.

The roll bar means that even when the kart turns over, the ground will not enter the space of the driver and quite often a cage or a roll bar makes a kart way easier to get upright again too.

Speed Limiters

Another awesome safety feature for kids go karts is a speed limiter. With punchy little electric motors, these karts go way quicker than toys of old.

For the younger or more inexperienced kids there is often a parent controlled speed limit feature which is a stroke of genius and could save you many heart-stopping moments as your child takes off into the distance.

CE Approval

It’s always worth looking out for CE approval when selecting a kids kart as this is generally a brilliant indicator that the product has undergone proper testing and development before being brought to market.

While you still need to apply a strong dose of common sense, CE approval is a very reassuring stamp that your kid will not be harmed by any malfunction of the product during normal use.

Quiet High Torque Electric Motor

Gone are the days of noisy and snail’s pace electric toys for your kids. The latest electric go karts feature high torque electric motors which can propel them up to 22mph in derestricted form.

Scary right? Well in the right hands they can make for exceptionally safe and fun toys, and part of their attraction is the opportunity to teach your child about safety and discipline when operating any kind of machine, which will stand them in good stead into their adult years.

It’s well worth comparing the motors of electric go karts before buying one, and while you may be tempted to purchase a lower power option in the name of safety, bear in mind that many karts have a speed governor which can be set by a parent before use.

This may be a great opportunity to purchase a toy which will keep on giving for years without your kid getting bored of it. Also, with the additional weight of an electric go kart, a bit more horsepower never goes amiss when having fun off road.

With regard to transmissions, these electric karts tend to have unusual ones with no gears and a switch for reverse, which can be great for kids.

One of the best motors available on the market currently is the 1000w 48 volt unit which can be found in the majority of the latest quality karts for age 6 and up. This motor is not specifically branded but between many of the karts we’ve looked at, we’ve noticed that the motors are consistent, likely sourced from China.

Reviews so far suggest this is a strong unit with a great lifespan so it comes highly recommended.

Electric Kart Battery Life & Charge Time

Just like electric cars of today, battery life and charge time is a key consideration when working out which electric go kart is the one for you.

It’s really no fun pushing a cart a long distance off road back to your car, and with the charging speed of electric vehicles big and small these days, when the battery is flat, the fun is over for a long while!

Due to this, its key to consider the battery life and charging time when selecting your electric go kart to avoid getting caught short off-road.

It can be difficult to get a real picture of how long and how far an electric go kart can go in one charge when we’re talking about off-road variants as the type of terrain and its varying nature can put a lot of additional strain on the motor and cause it to require more juice over a smaller distance or timescale.

It’s wise to compare go karts on best case scenario (which tends to be the figure all of them quote) but to also take it with a large pinch of salt, as riding a kart on the flat at a steady and constant speed will use a fraction of the battery power you’re going to be using off-road.

Some of the better manufacturers offer more realistic off-road specific estimates which can be very useful, but you’ve got to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples or it can become very unclear and confusing.

The better karts available quote about 14 miles of range in a best case scenario, and about half of this for off-road specific use. Once depleted, the batteries tend to take about 5-8 hours to full recharge, but bear in mind that these numbers may reduce over time as your battery ages.

Good quality karts feature battery gauges which help you keep track of how much battery power you’ve got left to help you avoid getting into any awkward situations.

Weight & Size

If you’re taking your electric go kart out on trails with your kids, then the chances are you’ll want to be loading it into your car. This is where weight and size can really be an issue.

It’s well worth measuring your cars load space before purchasing a kart to avoid any frustrations or disappointments. Kart manufacturers almost always list the length, width and height dimensions of their karts, but if it’s missing you’re best contacting the retailer for it rather than taking a punt.

Karts generally weigh between 70-90kg which is a considerable amount to lift by hand and will certainly require at least two people to lift. Generally, you need a substantial car or SUV to lug a kids off-road kart around with you and still fit the kids in the back.

Drifting karts

This craze has swept the electric car market, and the best news is that they are available for adults and kids alike!

While these are very strictly for use on smooth flat surfaces, you can still let your inner child run wild with an epic drifting kart. Professional motorsport drifters have been known to whizz around the paddock on these to get into the headspace of drifting before events, so you can be sure they are the real deal and not just a gimmick.

They are totally different to off-road karts and you can’t really go anywhere on one, just go round in circles while having a great laugh. Definitely worth consideration if you’re looking to have fun on a go kart but aren’t into off-roading.

Hopefully this information will have helped you in your quest to determine which electric go kart is for you and the kids, if there’s any further knowledge or information you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to comment and let us know about it.

If there are any specific models you think we should check out as well, please leave them in the comments.

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