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Which wooden train sets are best?

Wooden train sets are fun and can be mesmerizing, since you can watch the tiny train engine travel around mini mountains and the countryside to get back to a miniature hometown. Electric train sets are usually preferred over battery powered trains, since they run for longer periods of time. The Melissa & Doug Wooden Railway Set is a stellar wooden train set.

What to know before you buy a wooden train set

Model trains vs. toy trains

There is a difference between model trains and toy trains. Model trains are mini versions of real-life trains that are highly accurate and built to scale. Collectors and historical-train lovers enjoy these kinds of trains. 

Toy trains, on the other hand, are meant to be played with and are made of cheaper materials. They are not quite as realistic as model trains, but they usually are more durable. Wooden train sets typically fall into the toy-train category. 

Consider the age of your child

Some themed train sets are meant for kids ages 8 and older, while some sets are only intended for kids and adults ages 14 and older, due to features such as delicate detailing and “real smoke.”

Battery-powered vs. electrically powered engine

Some train engines are battery-powered, while others are electrically powered and must be plugged into the wall. Battery-powered engines have small compartments under the engine in which you load the batteries, and you need to manipulate a switch on the train engine to turn it on and off. Electrically powered engines run on electric currents in the track themselves. If they’re not manually powered, wooden train sets typically have battery-powered trains.

What to look for in a quality wooden train set


There are several types of cars in wooden train sets, including off-center cabooses, freight cars, tank cars, passenger and dining cars, quad hoppers, box cars, gondolas and coal cars.


The most popular train track designs include ovals and circles. Each of the train tracks connects to the next track with a T-slot formation.

How much you can expect to spend on a wooden train set

Wooden train sets range in price from about $20-$100. The most basic and inexpensive wooden train sets cost about $20-$35, while midrange wooden train sets vary in price from about $35-$60 and the higher-end wooden train sets go for about $60-$100.

Wooden train set FAQ

How can you change the shape of a train track?

A. The simple answer is to get creative and experiment with the train track to change the shape. If you aren’t quite sure how to start experimenting, there are plenty of guides online that will show you various train track shapes to create with the track pieces you have.

What are the plastic rods that come with the train set?

A. These plastic rod accessories track clips. They are an optional addition to your train track to help make sure the train tracks don’t fall or slip apart after regular use.

Can you mix and match various wooden train sets?

A. Some manufacturers of sets designed for very young children are made to be compatible with other sets. Sets for older children and adults usually are brand specific.

Where can you find mountains and other huge pieces of scenery?

A. You can either buy premade scenery models from your local hobby store or look up online do-it-yourself guides that will teach you how to make these mountains and pieces of scenery.

What’s the best wooden train set to buy?

Top wooden train set

Melissa & Doug Wooden Railway Set

Melissa & Doug Wooden Railway Set

What you need to know: This well-constructed wooden train set from Melissa & Doug provides plenty of possibilities for imaginative play.

What you’ll love: This wooden train set is meant for ages 3 and older, and is composed of durable wood. The wooden train set can be assembled in about four configurations and works well with other wooden train track systems.

What you should consider: The track pieces of this wooden train set don’t always stay together.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top wooden train set for the money

Tiny Land Store Wooden Train Set for Toddlers

Tiny Land Store Wooden Train Set for Toddlers

What you need to know: This wooden train set from the Tiny Land Store is meant for toddlers and little kids ages 3 to 5. 

What you’ll love: This Tiny Land Store wooden train set is composed of polished beechwood and fits Melissa and Doug, Chuggington, Brio and Thomas trains. The train set comes with a bridge, scenery, a passenger car, an engine, and flat and curved tracks.

What you should consider: This wooden train set doesn’t accommodate Thomas trains, according to some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Funpeny 60-Piece Wooden Train Set

Funpeny 60-Piece Wooden Train Set

What you need to know: This 60-piece wooden train set from Funpeny can help improve your child’s coordination and imagination.

What you’ll love: The set comes with plenty of deluxe railway equipment, including 23 train-track parts, 17 trees, six figures, a tunnel, a train, a car and an engineering vehicle.

What you should consider: This wooden train set is not very durable and doesn’t always stay together.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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