Balance bikes are the ultimate way to introduce young ones into the world of riding.
But let’s be honest; not everyone is willing or able to spend a fortune on these small machines.
While there are affordable options out there, the catch is that not every cheap balance bike is a well-made balance bike. Sometimes cheap bikes are just that; they are cheaply made.
You can expect damage within a few weeks of purchase, ongoing maintenance fees, and worst of all, irreversible dysfunction from some of the cheap options in the market.
To counter this, we’ve gone out of our way to look for and review the best-made balance bikes that are available at an affordable price tag and still safe for child-riding.
The icing on the cake? They’re all under $100!
Of course, they don’t have some of the features that come with a higher price tag, but they deliver in terms of function and durability despite it.
So if you want to reap the benefits of a balance bike for your kiddo but don’t want to break an arm and a leg for it, here’s a comprehensive list of 16 of the best budget balance bikes.
|Balance Bike||Recommended (Best for) Age||Frame Material||Wheel Size||Weight||Seat Height (inches)||Tire Type|
|1. Albott||18months – 5 years||Aluminum||12"||6.6 lbs.||12-16.9"||Foam|
|2. Schwinn Koen||2.5 -4 years||Steel||12"||8.5 lbs.||14.25-16.75"||Foam|
|3. Jolitto||2-6 years||Carbon steel||12"||7 lbs.||12.2-16"||EVA foam|
|4. JOYSTAR||1-6 years||High tensile steel||12"||
12.6 - 18.5”
|5. Yvolution Yvelo||18months – 5 years||Aluminum||12"||
|6. GOMO||2.5 – 4 years||Steel||12"||
12” – 17”
|7. Swagtron K3||2 - 5 years old||Aluminum alloy||12"||
12.25” – 15.25”
|8. INFANS||2 - 5 years old||Steel||10"||
|9. The Croco||1.5 – 5 years old||Steel||12"||
11.5” – 16”
|10. Chillafish Charlie||18 months – 4 years||Steel||12"||
12.25” – 15.25”
|11. Banana Bike GT||2 - 5 years old||Steel||12"||
12.2” - 17.3”
|12. TotoScoot II||2 - 4 years old||Steel||12"||
11” - 14”
|13. Radio Flyer Glide &Go||2.5 – 5 years||Aluminum||12"||
14.2” – 18.5”
|14. Strider Classic||18 months – 3 years||Steel||12"||
|15. Bixe Store||18 months – 3 years||12"||
|16. Radio Flyer Air Ride||1.5 - 5 years||Steel||12"||
Let's Dig Deeper into Each of our Favorite Budget Balance Bike
1 Albott Balance Bike
There are so many reasons to secure this cheap yet well-made bike.
To start with, the paint job is stellar! That’s thanks to the anodic oxidation painting, which is both wear and corrosion-resistant. The result is that the Albott balance bike always has this ‘new’ look even after years of use.
The bike boasts of a lightweight aluminum frame (6.6 pounds) yet sturdy enough to withstand any rough handling that your child may put it through.
Because the weight is so light, it is easy for toddlers to control the bike. As a true testament to the bike’s sturdiness, the manufacturer states that it has the strength to carry up to 110 pounds. What’s really impressive is the fact that for a balance bike, the weight capacity is well over the standard 60 pounds weight limit for most balance bikes.
The aluminum frame is further composed of a 16.9” T-bar, which is embellished with cozy grips for little hands, 12” heavy-duty foam wheels, and a thick seat that is comfortable for long hours of sitting
To keep the bike longer with your child, the seat height adjusts from 12” to 16.9” for kids as young as 18 months all the way up to 5 years.
Along with the seat height, the handlebar height is also adjustable between 19.3” and 20.9.”
The comfort level of the Albott balance bike extends with the inclusion of a footrest whereby the child can rest their feet as they glide ahead.
Additionally, to keep the child from sharp turns that could result in them jackknifing themselves, the bike features a turning limiter.
For a budget bike, the lightweight yet sturdy aluminum frame coupled with a footrest and turning limiter for safety makes this bike unmatchable!
- Turning limiter to prevent accidents
- Adjustable height
- Footrest for feet placement
- 110 pounds weight capacity /li>
- Although foam tires are lighter, they don’t grip as well as air tires
2 Schwinn Koen Toddlers Balance Bike
Coming from a trusted bike brand is the Schwinn Koen balance bike.
This bike is designed to fit 2.5 to 4-year-old boys. The company also features a slightly different colored but otherwise completely similar bike known as the Schwinn Elm for young girls.
Both bikes feature the innovative Schwinn SmartStart technology, which entails a lightweight frame, smaller grip diameters, narrow q-factors to create a comfortable upright riding position better
The steel frame of the Schwinn Koen can surely take tough beatings with confidence. However, the seat is the seller of the Schwinn Koen. It features a saddle handle that eases teaching the toddler how to ride as the parent or guardian can rest their hand.
The saddle handle also works as a carrying handle and storage ‘hanger,’ making both the bike’s transportation and storage easy.
It further features a cushioned grips for comfort and an ideal steering limiter for safety purposes.
Another great additive to the Koen is that a quick-release seat post collar allows for easy height adjustments. However, we will warn that the seat height only adjusts within 2.5 inches, narrowing the time period one user has with the bike.
Compared to other balance bikes within its price range, the Schwinn Koen wins for its innovative design and utmost functionality.
- Innovative SmartStart technology
- Features a safety turning limiter
- Saddle handle
- Quick-release seat post collar
- Highly durable
- The narrow scope of seat height adjustment
- The quill-style headset is prone to rattling loose
3 Jolitto Balance bike
Another fun to ride but completely easy-on-the-pockets balance bike is the Jolitto balance bike.
This bike is ramped with all the features that you would expect from a balance bike in its price range and then some.
To start with, installation is a few minutes’ job, as the necessary tools come with the packaging, and for the most part, the work is already done for you by the manufacturer.
Secondly, both the seat and handlebar heights are adjustable. The seat adjusts between 12.2 inches and 16 inches, while the handlebar height adjusts between 19.7 and 21.6 inches to fit kids between 1 and 6 years. And thanks to a quick-release feature, there is no need for tools to make the height adjustments.
Additionally, a sturdy footrest is perfectly placed in position for little feet. We love that it has a unique pedal design and positioning, which will help riders seamlessly transform to pedal bikes.
The body of the bike itself is made of rust-proof carbon steel and adorned with flat-free EVA polymer wheels, a cushioned seat, and non-slip TPR handlebars.
The sturdy steel frame can accommodate a weight of up to 220 pounds, which is significantly higher than the average child’s weight.
What makes the Jolitto balance bike an outstanding balance bike for its price is that it has extra features such as a handy mudguard that one would expect to find exclusively in a higher-end balance bike. With the mudguard in place, the little one stays protected from stains if they take the bike through muddy trails.
Our only reservation about this bike is that we don’t think it’ll fit larger-sized 6-year-olds. But for every other child below that size range, the Jolitto makes for a perfect toy.
- Tool-free clamp
- Handy mudguard
- 220 pounds weight limit
- Anti-skid widened tires
- Pedal positioned footrest
- It only fits smaller-sized 6-year-olds
4 JOYSTAR Balance Bike
Many features make the JOYSTAR another worthy additive to our exclusive budget balance bike list.
The manufacturer promises that even novices can assemble the bike in a few minutes, and we can attest to this.
In its complete form, the JOYSTAR balance bike is a 12-inch bike made of high tensile steel that stands on 12 x 1.75” EVA polymer foam tires.
We found the 6.39 pounds very maneuverable by toddlers in the 2.5 to 6 year age range for whom the bike is designed. We also like how the JOYSTAR’S bending frame design allows kids to step through easily and off the bike
Of all its features, the footrest on this one stands out as its width offers sufficient room for feet so that they aren’t too squeezed. And while the footrest is wide, it isn’t so much that it interferes with the toddler’s stride.
Lastly and equally impressive is that a quick-release seat allows fast and easy height modification. The seat height of the JOYSTAR allows movement between 12.6 and 18.5 inches which is a much wider height adjustment than most bikes allow. This means that coupled with the 20.4 – 22.4 inches handlebar height adjustment; the bike stays with your child longer.
The 12-inch size is perfect, but for a true fit for the youngest toddlers, the company also avails a 10-inch version of the JOYSTAR balance bike.
Check out our full review of the JOYSTAR balance bike.
- Roomy yet unobtrusive footrest
- Airless EVA foam tires are low maintenance
- Low step-through design
- Lacks air tires
- Not the most comfortable seat
5 Yvolution Y Velo 10/12” kids balance bike
Now, if there’s ever a compilation of ingeniously made balance bikes, the Yvolution Yvelo has to make an honorary appearance in it.
Why? Because this bike’s design is a cross between a tricycle and a pedal-less bike. Take off the pedals, leave two rear wheels for stability, and you’ve got a bike that’ll initiate your little one into the world of riding with confidence. Then when they’re ready to advance in their balance, take off one rear wheel, and it’s a regular single rear wheel balance bike.
Next step? You guessed it; they’ll be ready for a pedal bike in no time. So this is the perfect balance bike for timid kiddos.
It’s the ideal balance bike for riders as young as 18months old going up to 3 years of age. This is especially so with the lightweight frame design and low standover height, making it easy for the tiniest toddlers to handle the bike.
We find that the Yvelo is more of an indoor toy than an outside tool.
And because the bike will more than likely be ‘ridden’ indoors, you will be pleased to know that the rubber wheels are silent on floors, and they also spare the floors from marks and scratches.
Save for being a bit too wide for narrow-framed riders; the Yvolution Yvelo bike really is a great balance bike. Not only does this bike mimic the design of training wheels, but it also delivers in terms of practical functionality.
- Unique double rear wheel design
- Anti-scratch noiseless rubber wheels
- Height adjustable seat and handlebar
- Recessed bolts keep the child from harm’s way
- Better indoors than outdoors
- Rear wheels may sit out too wide for narrow-framed riders
6 GOMO Balance bike
Short for Get Out More Often, The GOMO balance bike will literally do what its name promises for your 2.5- to 4-year-old child.
This balance bike is available in 4 different yet equally bright colors for the kid to get their favorite from. And for each of them, an attractive paint job beautifies the bike’s exterior.
Aside from an obviously attractive exterior, we find the extended wheelbase and geometry of the GOMO bike very child-friendly as it promotes an upright and roomy riding position
Aside from that, this bike features an unobtrusive footrest which not only stays away from the rider’s stride but also adds to the general fun of the bike.
The seat height adjusts between 12 and 17 inches to stay at par with the child’s growing size. And the size adjustment is easy owing to the quick release seat post and handlebar post collars.
The only bummer is that despite its foam tires, the GOMO weighs 8.5 pounds. Quite frankly, it’s a bit heavier than other balance bikes that we have reviewed, but it is still manageable by the bulk of toddlers.
Additionally, many of the bike’s parts are plastic as opposed to aluminum or steel, which means they are prone to damage faster. Plastic rims, for instance, aren’t as stable as metal rims.
But other than that, the rest of the parts rank high in terms of quality and functionality, which is why the GOMO is a favorite among toddlers and their parents.
Check out our full review of the GOMO balance bike.
- Bright color schemes
- Extended wheelbase
- Adjustable seat and handlebar height
- Tucked away footrest
- Plastic parts are more susceptible to damage
- It might be too heavy for some kids
7 Swagtron Balance Bike K3
Available in blue and pink colors and embellished with a beautifully textured matte finish, the Swagtron K3’s got all the bells and whistles of a high-quality bike.
Soft handgrips, for instance, ensure ultimate comfort while a threadless headset keeps the bike’s handlebars from twisting out of place.
Made of a very lightweight aluminum frame, this bike boasts a very navigable 6.5 pounds weight.
But the best part is that it still features low roll resistance wheels on air tires for the low price and minimal weight! The air tires promise to grip terrains with precision and still deliver shock absorption.
We love that the K3’s seat adjusts to accommodate the difference in the rider’s height as the months go by. But, as with all good things, there is always a downside.
For the K3, it’s the fact that the seat requires tools to adjust. That in itself isn’t much of an inconvenience, but the limited seat height range (12.25 – 15.25”) and lack of adjustment setting to the handlebars, in our opinion, is another bummer that most users have to live with. It means that the bike’s shelf life with one user is shorter in comparison to other balance bikes.
But on the bright side, there’s always a chance to pass on the bike to the next size-appropriate rider, isn’t it? For being one of the lightest budget balance bikes that features air tires, this one is a prized possession.
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- Pneumatic (air) tires
- Soft padded saddle
- Seat post requires tools to adjust
- Seat height range is limited
- No footrest
8 INFANS Kids Balance Bike
Next up, we’ve got the 10-inch INFANS balance bike.
To put it plainly, this is a simply made balance bike whose features are just simple enough to get the job done. There are no fancy additives to embellish the bike, but that doesn’t take away from its ability to make its riders master the art of balancing a bike.
The INFANS balance bike is made of a durable steel frame that is constructed in a safe, streamlined design. On the wheels sit inflation-free EVA tires that roll smoothly in different terrains.
Comfort features such as a non-slip 360 degree rotatable handlebar and padded seat make this bike very user-friendly.
Additionally, the seat and handlebar height are also adjustable; the seat height is between 13.5 and 17.5 inches, while the handlebar adjusts between 21.5 and 24 inches above the ground.
The bike comes in black and red colors for toddlers between 2 and 5 years of age. And we have found that it is easy for the children within that age range to control, move and raise the bike on their own as it only weighs 6 pounds.
Unlike other balance bikes we have mentioned, the INFANS bike can only accommodate a kid weighing up to 55 pounds. Although the weight is ideal for young toddlers, it is still lower than the standard 60 pounds weight capacity for such bikes.
Short of higher-end features such as air tires and a footrest, the INFANS bike remains a great balance bike for those who are on a budget.
- Durable carbon steel frame
- Adjustable seat and handlebar height
- Safe streamline design
- 360-degree rotatable handlebar with non-slip embossment design
- Minimal weight capacity in comparison to other balance bikes we’ve reviewed
9 The Croco Balance Bike
It doesn’t get any better than Croco’s 4.5 pounds weight
Thanks to the very minimal weight, kids find it extremely easy to navigate and even carry this bike independently.
The Croco is a 12-inch bike made of highly durable steel material to cater to both the youngest toddlers of 1.5 years old and those on the higher end of the toddler age spectrum, around five years of age.
Aside from the extremely lightweight, this bike is child-appropriate as it adjusts to fit the different kids’ sizes within its recommended age range. The seat’s minimal setting is 11.5 inches, and the highest setting is 16 inches off the ground, while the handlebar’s lowest height setting is 20 inches and the highest setting is 24.5 inches off the ground.
With the help of quick-release clamps, the height adjustment is quick and tool-free.
The Croco further features a well-padded saddle which, together with the 33.5-inch wheelbase; this bike ranks high in terms of comfort and stability on all kinds of terrain.
It is designed for both boys and girls; it is available in blue, green, pink, and orange for both genders to select their preference from.
Even with all these factors at hand, one of our favorite features about the Croco is that it comes with a safety bell. For a budget balance bike, it is very clear that you get a lot of bang for your buck with this one.
- Lightweight (one of the lightest bikes in our review)
- Quick-release clamps for fast adjustment
- Comes with a safety bell
- The padded saddle is very comfortable
- Available in 4 colors
- Lacks air tires
10 Chillafish Charlie Toddler Balance Bike
The Chillafish Charlie toddler balance bike is one of the very few bikes that appropriately cater to the smallest riders.
With 10-inch wheels sized for kids with a height range of 31.5” – 41.3”, this bike lies on the smaller end of the size scale;
The Chillafish Charlie’s standout feature is the presence of a convenient handle that works to ease the transportation of the bike. We love that the handle sits out of the way when not needed and required. It stands and enables easy bike movement.
Weighing 6.5 pounds, the Chillafish is easily maneuverable and provides ultimate ride quality for the toddlers; especially when paired with puncture-free foam tires
Available in silver, black, and pink, this bike is entirely customizable compared to a bike with one solid color option.
Additionally, both the seat and handlebar height are easily adjustable between – and - respectively. The only inconvenience that one might have to deal with is using an Allen key to make adjustments to the seat and handlebar.
Definitely not a deal-breaker for us; we still rank this as one of the budget balance bikes out there.
- The integrated carrying handle makes it easy to transport
- Adjustable seat and handlebar
- Available in a variety of colors
- Requires Allen key to adjust height settings
11 Banana Bike GT balance bike
Spotting a very conspicuous yellow color is the Banana GT balance bike.
It’s the cruiser-type 12-inch version of the famous Banana LT Bike; with air tires.
The distinguishing feature about Banana bikes is, in fact, in the name itself, as all their balance bike frames take the shape of a banana and embody the low curve. The longer wheelbase and lower stand-over height basically mean that it is much easier for children to get on and off the bike as the stand-over height is low.
As a result, the center of gravity is also low for the young ones, which makes the bike more stable.
Another distinctive feature about the Banana GT is that it has a true headset with real sealed bearings as opposed to plastic.
Still availed at an affordable price, the Banana GT features air tires that deliver traction and cushioning with precision. However, the air tires make the bike heavier than the Banana LT.
It is not the lightest bike with a weight of 8 pounds, but the weight is manageable.
This bike will grow with your child as the seat height starts at 12.2 and goes all the way up to 17.3 inches. Quick-release clamps hasten the adjustments process, and comfort remains superior regardless of the height setting as the saddle is well-padded and ergonomically shaped for the best riding experience.
Still, on the seat feature, its underside features a grab handle that can be used to transport the bike easily
Ultimately, while we also love that the GT’s packaging comes with full-color step-by-step instructions, most people still find the assembly process tedious compared to other balance bikes.
Check out our full review of the Banana GT and LT
- Grippy air tires at an affordable price
- Low standover height
- Quick-release seat post clamp
- True headset
- The grab handle on the seat’s underside makes transportation easy
- Heavier in comparison to the Banana LT with foam tires
- Requires quite a bit of assembly
12 TotoScoot II Balance Bike
Tots will definitely love the TotoScoot II balance bike. This bike can best be described as ‘small and regal.”
The manufacturer recommends it for children as young as one year old, making this bike best sized for the smallest riders.
It is equipped to fit the smallest and most timid riders and train them in the best possible way. The wider-than-normal wheels, for instance, lend the bike better stability for the rider who isn’t quite ready to navigate a regular balance bike.
Rather than letting their feet dangle awkwardly in the air as they scoot ahead, the TotoScoot II further provides a footrest for the little riders to rest their feet before they are ready for a pedal bike.
Seat height-adjustability is another factor that we like. The lowest seat height setting starts at 11 inches off the ground for the young ones and goes all the way up to 14 inches.
The steel frame weighs 7 pounds, which in our opinion, might be too heavy for some of the smallest toddlers. This means that the bike handling will differ from toddler to toddler, but we definitely wouldn’t recommend this bike for the smallest and lightest toddlers.
- Extra-wide tires lend more stability
- Low seat height setting
- Adjustable seat and handlebar height
- Convenient footrest
- The weight may be too heavy for small toddlers
- It might be too wide for the narrowest frames
13 Radio Flyer Glide & Go Balance Bike
If you are one for the ‘looks,’ you will definitely love the Radio Flyer Glide & Go retro red look. It’s a classic look that can’t go unnoticed in the neighborhood.
The Glide & Go’s biggest selling point, however, is its size. It’s a larger-sized balance bike designed for older kids who have a late start to riding.
Every rider starts by learning how to balance the bike, right? This means that there’s a definite gap in the industry for products that fit the so-called ‘late beginners.’
The Glide & Go is a steel-made bike whose lowest seat setting is 14.2 inches off the ground, and the highest seat setting is 18.5 inches. The higher seat height setting is appropriate for taller riders, and with a weight of 8.4 pounds, it remains easy to control by riders in that age and size group.
As usual, we commend the fact that the height settings can be done thanks to the quick release feature swiftly.
But that’s not all this bike has to offer; it also comes with air tires as well as a ringing bell to alert passersby of the incoming bike. We love how the appropriately-sized wheelbase allows for stability for the bike.
That said, the saddle is our least favorite feature of this bike. Its minimal padding makes it less durable and thereby prone to ripping. Nonetheless, for its price point and impressive features, the Glide & Go is a steal!
Check out our full review of the Radio Flyer Glide & Go.
- Designed for late beginners
- Air tires
- Quick-release seat post clamp
- It comes with a ringing bell
- Cheap saddle
14 Strider 12 Classic Balance Bike
Singled out of a group of 3 similar-sized bikes from the same company, the Strider Classic ranks as the most basic of the bunch. But even so, it’s definitely not a basic bike in comparison to bikes within its price range.
It is packed with less features than the Strider Sport and the Strider Pro, but the Classic is a true embodiment of its name; Classic.
Simply made to fit kids between 18 months and three years of age, the Strider Classic is a 12-inch balance bike.
What makes it stand out is that it allows as much customization as your pocket can handle. The bike can be upgraded by switching out some parts and incorporating purchased accessories
One such feature is the extended seat post which enables riders of different heights to fit the same by raising the seat over 16 inches.
The bike has a lightweight build which makes handling by kids very simple. In addition, a low center of gravity geometry enhances overall stability
It further features foam tires as well as a seat and handlebar that are height-adjustable through quick-release features
As with all Strider bikes, there are extra benefits such as access to races, photo contests, and so much more that comes with the brand name. Add that to an ability to buy or sell Strider bikes quickly; you’ve got a worthy investment.
- Upgrade kits and accessories make the bike easily customizable
- Available in 4 different colors
- Foam tires rather than air tires
- Requires extended seat posts to fit older riders
15 Bixe Store Balance bike
For those keen on finding an extremely lightweight balance bike for the tiny beginner kids, look no further than the Bixe 12.
Of all the balance bikes we have reviewed, the Bixe 12 has one of the lightest frames. Weighing just 4.4 pounds, the bike is surprisingly sturdy.
The lightweight and small frame (by far, one of the smallest we have come across) are just appropriate for kids between 1.5 and 3 years of age. The small size is still roomy enough to allow kids to have enough moving space to fit comfortably.
Although foam tires don’t provide as much traction as air tires, the rider is never at risk of flats with the Bixe 12’s foam tires. To add spark to the tires, it features cool, brightly colored rims for that enviable look.
Looks aside, we love that the Bixe 12’s adjustability allows it to grow with your child as the seat conveniently adjusts between 11.5 and 15.5 inches.
So what’s the downside? Well, the grips aren’t the most comfortable. Additionally, while the seat and handlebars height settings allow adjustment, tools are required.
Check out our full review of the Bixe 12.
- Super lightweight frame
- Small frame for the smallest riders
- Adjustable seat height
- Tools needed for height adjustment
- Foam tires don’t provide as much traction
16 Radio Flyer Air Ride Balance Bike
which we mostly meet in bikes of the higher end of the price range.
This Air Ride still has the distinct quality of heavy-duty metal construction and finish as the Radio Flyer Glide & Go.
It is designed for kids between 1.5 and 5 years; it is equipped to deliver sturdy and smooth riding on grass and gravel, thanks to a robust steel frame and 12” whitewall air tires.
Similar to the Radio Flyer Glide & Go, it features a ringing bell that enhances safety for the little rider and adds to their fun.
Another pleasant is that the Air Ride bike grows with the little one as its seat adapts to their height, all through their growth spurts.
Additionally, an innovative feature is that its design entails an innovative grip tape on the frame, which works to prevent kids’ feet from slipping as they glide.
Ultimately, all these features add to the classic design of the Radio Flyer Air Ride and make it a perfect first bike.
- Fun ringing bell
- Tool-free adjustment
- No-slip grip tape on the frame
- 12” air tires ride smoothly on all terrains
- Not durable
- No handbrake
Moms and dads worldwide want the best for their children, but sometimes the budget doesn’t allow it.
Not all affordable balance bikes are perfectly designed for the comfort and smooth experience for kids. Some are but an assemblage of components, some good color selection, and a brand name. With that, you have an inexpensive balance bike, but does it cut? Some, only a selected few, do! Check out our kids' scooter buyers guide should scooters be in your buying equation.
Getting a cheap balance bike, however, doesn’t mean that one has to sacrifice quality.
In fact, even without some of the features that higher-end bikes are embellished with, these bikes we have reviewed still accomplish the main reason for their purchase: to teach children how to balance bikes before they are ready to pedal. They are a great way to make kids learn how to cycle without using tricycles or training wheels.
Some of these balance bikes have innovative designs that stand out from the competition. The Yvolution Yvelo, for instance, offers the best of both worlds as it starts out as a tricycle then eventually graduates to a regular balance bike.
So while they don’t have the extra padded seats or smooth bearings of higher-end balance bikes, the balance bikes we have compiled above are the ones you can trust if you don’t want something that will end up in a garbage truck after a few months of use.
Best of luck!