We all want the best electric train set because we all deserve it. However, finding the best train set could be challenging, particularly for those buying it for the first time. There are hundreds of different model train sets of various brands and scales. This could be overwhelming, especially for those who are just starting their collections.
On the other hand, there are many things to take into consideration before making your electric train toy purchase. A buying guide would be of great help as well as looking into product reviews. We have a list of model trains we’ve reviewed and a helpful buying guide. With these two, we hope to make it easier for you to narrow down your choices.
Table of Contents
- Best Electric Train Set Reviews
- 1. Lionel O Gauge Model Train Set
- 2. Bachmann Trains Electric Train Set
- 3. Lionel Battery-Powered Train Set
- 4. Temi Battery-Operated Train Set
- 5. Lionel Santa Fe Electric Train Set
- 6. Hot Bee Electric Train Toy
- 7. Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Electric Train Set
- 8. Atlasonix Classic Electric Train Set
- 9. Bachman Santa Fe Flyer Electric Train Set
- 10. SNAEN Battery-Powered Play Set Toy
- 11. Intelino J-1 Smart Train Set
- 12. Lionel Thomas and Friends Model Train Set
- What to Look for When Buying Electric Train Sets
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Electric Train Set Reviews
1. Lionel O Gauge Model Train Set
Are you new to model train sets? Take a look at this Lionel train set, and you might grow a liking to it.
This Polar Express complete model train set is an electric locomotive with uncomplicated controls through Bluetooth. Since it is equipped with LionChief Bluetooth technology, it has a smooth operation and better sound quality. This train set can also run with your smart device. Furthermore, it features a forward and reverse speed control knob that is easy to operate.
The train set comes with 12 pieces of easy to connect tracks. When joined together, it creates a 40 inches by 60 inches oval train path.
The features of this train set includes an RC sound system with steam cuffing and engine background sounds. In addition, it consists of the official ‘All aboard the polar express’ and ‘tickets please’ movie sound clips. There are also engine background sounds, whistle bell, and a user-activated announcement. With all these effects, kids surely have a delightful experience that can get them occupied for hours.
Moreover, the passenger car has a detailed design. There’s interior lighting, a viewing platform, and a decorated drumhead on the observation car. Besides, you can notice passenger silhouettes in the windows. Thanks to these detailed designs, this toy brings you the realistic playtime experience.
2. Bachmann Trains Electric Train Set
This electric model train set is the second product that I want you to take a look at. Since this unit offers you many great benefits.
An EMD GP40 diesel locomotive powers this HO scale electric train set with operating headlights which means it is a road-switching model. Furthermore, it is a ready-to-run train set with complete pieces.
The package includes 130 pieces consisting of an open quad hopper car, offset cupola caboose, gondola car, steel reefer car, miniature figures, and a lot more. Despite a large number of pieces included, the manufacturer gives you detailed information for assembly. Hence, this train set is reasonably easy to put together.
Since it is from Bachmann, it features an exclusive snap-together E-Z track system. This makes set-up quick and fun, and also allows a perfect layout for finishing touches. Yard operations and railroad switching is possible, all thanks to the E-Z mate couplers.
3. Lionel Battery-Powered Train Set
If you are looking for a model train set to start your collection, I would love to present to you this polar express battery-powered train set from Lionel. Take a look at this product’s review, and you will know about its pros and cons.
Lionel has a battery-powered polar express train set that includes a passenger coach, observation car, steam locomotive and tender, 24 curved and 20 straight tracks, and a remote control. In other words, this is a complete train set that comes with all the necessary parts that you need. Some of its noticeable rolling stock characteristics are the fixed knuckle couples and a very detailed passenger coach.
This model train set features authentic train sounds, including whistle, bells, and the original ‘all aboard the polar express’ movie sound. All these contribute greatly to a realistic and more enjoyable electric model train experience. On top of this, there is a working headlights that requires six C cell batteries.
The train can be controlled with a remote designed for effortless use. The button on the remote is clearly marked, so finding the corresponding knob for forward and reverse is easy to discern.
This ready to play train can run on the 12 pieces of tracks joined together to create an oval path. Furthermore, the package also comes with some extra straight pieces added to allow possible expansion.
4. Temi Battery-Operated Train Set
This electric train sets for adults is another great train set in the market currently. This train set also perfectly fits for Christmas occasions so your toddlers can event play with this set as well.
Temi’s model train set is constructed with non-toxic and eco-friendly materials. In addition, it had passed several tests as well as a strict adherence to quality and safety. Thus, you can be assured that your family, especially your kids, do not get any harm while playing with this electric train set.
Assembling this train set is easy, from setting up the modular rail track parts to placing the train engine on the railroad. You can also do several shapes and layout since the set includes plenty of tracks you can work with. Moreover, the track can easily snap in place and come apart for convenient set-up and storage.
The enjoyable part of this model train is the realistic LED headlight, sound, and smoke. In detail, to create realistic smoke, you need to add water to the container located behind the chimney. An empty water bottle designed for easy pouring is introduced in the package as a bonus.
5. Lionel Santa Fe Electric Train Set
When you know what you want in an electric model train set, it is easier to narrow down your choices. Take a close look at this Lionel train set, weigh its good and bad side, and see if it is a worthy purchase.
This O Gauge electric train set can be operated with a remote or Bluetooth app. Thus, you have more than one way to operate this electric train set, which is considered much more convenient compared to the rest in the market.
It has an on/off switch for the RC sound system that produces sound effects like diesel revving, user-activated announcements, and background sounds. So this toy brings you the most realistic feeling ever. Moreover, it features an operating directional headlights.
The set includes two coach cars, observation cars, a fast track terminal section, eight curved O36 track sections, a power lock-on section, a Santa Fe FT diesel locomotive, a wall pack power supply, and remote control. In addition, the two powerful motors are maintenance-free. This way you are not only getting a complete package but also one that is easy to maintain.
Furthermore, the passenger car is designed with die-cast metal trucks and operating couplers. The interior is illuminated and there is a flexible diaphragm between the vehicles and the opening doors. Everything has great detail so you can have a realistic experience with the locomotive.
The remote control comes with a forward and reverse speed control knob and three buttons to activate the horn, the bell, and the special announcement feature. Having these makes it uncomplicated to command the train and control its lights and sound features.
6. Hot Bee Electric Train Toy
Train sets are not only enticing to kids but also to adults who love to collect model trains. This type of toy is for all ages who are fans of model trains.
This electric train set from Hot Bee is a classic model train that features an exquisite locomotive steam engine. Besides, it comes with numerous pieces such as a passenger coach, curved and straight tracks, cargo vehicle, and a coal car.
Another cool feature of this train toy is the authentic train sounds that makes it closely similar to its real life version making the experience realistic. Moreover, it comes with a working headlight and realistic odorless smoke. To produce the steam, put the water into a slot near the chimney for a harmless smoke.
The whole set can be assembled quickly, even by kids themselves. This is because the upgraded modular rail track parts are designed for an easy set up to an oval or circular layout.
One can rest assured of the quality and safety of this train model. In detail, it is made of durable ABS material, which is the highest quality and non-toxic material. Furthermore, it is safe for kids to use it since the model train has undergone strict quality control.
7. Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer Electric Train Set
For those who like small electric train sets packed with amazing features and functionality, you should check out this O gauge locomotive. You will surely have a fun time putting it together and playing with it.
Lionel’s electric model train is in O gauge and can be controlled by remote or Bluetooth app. Besides, it is a ready-to-play train set you can control with your phone, plus it features rugged Berkshire-style details.
This toy train is equipped with many remarkable features, such as realistic train sounds and background noise, as well as puffing smoke. There is also a user-activated bell and whistle. Moreover, the chuffing sounds are in sync with the puffing smoke effect for a realistic experience.
There are several rolling stock features that buyers should know about. This includes operating couplers, metal handrails and ladders on the tank car, and opening doors on the boxcar. Furthermore, the package consists of a steam locomotive and tender, caboose, boxcar, and 3-dome tank car.
8. Atlasonix Classic Electric Train Set
There is more to model electric trains than just a simple toy you can play. For kids, it can be a learning opportunity that develops their creativity. This classic train set is an Arizona 1901 electric train, a perfect introduction product to anyone looking to collect model trains. It can also be a great addition to anyone’s growing model train collection. That is a reason why a train set from Atlasonix has a spot in this reviewing list.
The product comes in a beautifully illustrated box with horses and mountains. The package includes eight railway tracks (2 straight and six curved), a classic style locomotive steam engine, three train cars, and 4 model horses as a bonus.
The modular train tracks are designed to be easily assembled. In detail, the tracks slot into each other firmly and with ease. You can put it together in your desired layout and place the engine on the track to start the fun.
Aside from being fun, this model train set encourages kids’ imaginative play. The horses play a big part in setting the atmosphere back to the Wild West. And for a more enjoyable experience, realistic sound and authentic light effects are added.
9. Bachman Santa Fe Flyer Electric Train Set
Miniature electric train set is one of the most well-loved model trains in the market. Both kids and adults like the details and features they have just like this one we have here.
An EMD FT diesel locomotive powers Bachman’s HO scale ready to run train set. It comes with a sleek design with details that offers a pleasing visual.
The package includes a gondola car, open quad hopper car, and off-set cupola caboose. Moreover, it features an operating headlights, a power pack, and a speed controller. There is also an illustrated instruction manual that can also be found in the bundle.
The set comes with 36 inches of snap-fit E-Z tracks that form a circle layout when joined together. Besides, 11 of these pieces are curved track, and a curved plug-in terminal rerailer is used.
In detail, the exclusive track system is available in either gray roadbed with nickel silver rail or black railbed with steel alloy. The color reminds you of the actual trains’ tracks which intend to make the experience realistic. Furthermore, the tracks can be easily assembled by simply aligning and pushing them together.
In addition, the magnetically operated knuckle couplers allow the train to perform real railroad switching and yard operations. This makes playtime with this model train more fun and enjoyable.
10. SNAEN Battery-Powered Play Set Toy
Model train sets are popular to all train fans of all ages. The features and detail of these locomotive toys makes the playtime experience more fun and enjoyable for everyone.
This battery-powered model train set is composed of pieces constructed with materials that are non-toxic and eco-friendly. Moreover, it passed many safety, and quality tests as SNAEN has a strict adherence to them. Thus, you and your family, especially your children can be assured while having a fun time with this train set.
The package includes classic Christmas steam and tender, a coal vehicle, two passenger coaches, eight curved tracks, four straight tracks. Putting all these together from the modular rail tracks to the train engine is easy work. In fact, it is a ready-to-play model train set.
This classical train features LED headlights, sound effects, and smoke. Real steam will blow out of the locomotive by adding water to the top of the water container located on the front carriage.
In addition, an empty water bottle is included for a seamless water pouring method.
Kids and adults alike will find this model train set enjoyable and fun. It is recommended for children three years old and above because of the choking hazard it presents.
11. Intelino J-1 Smart Train Set
There are many train sets in the market with different features and functionality. If you are looking for a locomotive that is above others in terms of quality, check out this train set.
Intelino’s train set is unlike the others from its looks to the functionality and features. This J-1 smart model train has two play modes, screen-free and app-connected. The package comes with a smart engine, a wagon, 20 tracks, 40 color snaps, a train decal sheet, and a charging cable. If you have the traditional wooden train system, this toy train is compatible with it. This means you can use this model train on other train systems.
This train set is not only designed for fun but also to teach young kids. In detail, it is an intelligent learning device that is powered by advanced robotic technology. It is created to help children develop STEM and coding skills while having fun.
Furthermore, it features engaging play-based activities like screen-free coding, creating custom commands, and programming from scratch. With the help of a free mobile app (available for both iOS and Android), one can access the different drive modes, speed, and action feedback dashboard and custom commands.
12. Lionel Thomas and Friends Model Train Set
There is a good reason why model train sets are one of the most enjoyed toys for all ages. The realistic experience and functionality brings an enjoyable playtime just like this model train set.
This electric trains sets for sale features Thomas and Friends details and authentic sounds. In detail, it has moving eyes, three interchangeable Thomas faces, as well as a bell and whistle sound effects. There are many fun options for kids to play with this train set.
The package includes a battery-powered steam engine, eight straight and 24 curved plastic tracks, a passenger car, and a remote control. You can efficiently operate the train set with the control since it is clearly marked for forward/reverse and sound functions.
Moreover, the passenger cars have easy to use hook couplers for an effortless assembly.Since it comes with an exclusive track system consisting of 32 pieces of tracks and three layout options are available. So the passenger cars have easy to use hook couplers for an effortless assembly.
What to Look for When Buying Electric Train Sets
After going through our product reviews, you might already have a general idea of which brands and types are fit to your needs. Now it’s time to look at the essential qualities you should look for to get the best remote control train set.
Here are some of the criteria that you should ponder upon when choosing the top-rated electric train set.
Model trains come in three most common scales designed in proportion to real trains. The HO scale, which is 1/87th of the real thing, G scale, which is considered a big electric train sets at 1/25th, then O gauge is 1/48, and the tiny N gauge at 160/th of the actual train. When buying a model train in a specific gauge, everything, including the tracks and accessories, is made on the same scale.
Determining which one is for you depends mainly on your preferences. Kids should opt for the HO gauge since they are easier to handle, given their tiny hands. And if you are planning to buy it as a gift, check which scale they use so that the train models match in size.
Generally, power packs provide just enough power for one train and a few accessories. While controlling the train’s direction and speed is possible, the speed control is not very accurate.
However, these days, there are higher-end power packs that have a more reliable power supply. This is preferable since the better the power supply; the more dependable the operation will be for years to come. Besides, it can support larger layouts, unlike the basic power packs.
Bear in mind that if you want a railroad expansion for your model train, you’d need to upgrade to a more dependable power supply. The starter packs are only useful for powering accessories and lights.
The conventional tracks are the most prevalent standard that has long been built and developed for old electric train sets. It is made to ensure that they would work well with each other. At present, most model trains come with an integrated roadbed track. In detail, it features a raised molded plastic base representing the ties and ballast.
When choosing tracks, make sure that it conforms to a standard track gauge specifically to the ones you’ve picked. This is very important if you are planning for expansion later on. Also, go for ones that are made of plastic ties and metal rails, preferably nickel silver. The reason is because this combination is best for rail conductivity and doesn’t rust.
Wheels and Couplers
These parts took up a small space compared to others, but they play quite a significant role in how well the train set can operate. Any hinge on these can make a big difference as a whole; thus, giving them attention is necessary.
For the wheels, the ones that are made of metal are better compared to plastic. The reason is metal wheels are better at tracking and keeping the train rails clean. If you bought a set with plastic wheels, you could always purchase replacements.
As for the couplers, there are a variety of them available. Cheaper ones don’t look very realistic and don’t work with other cars. However, these days, many sets include a knuckle coupler making it well suited with all vehicles.
Then again, when choosing couplers, opt for metal construction. Fixed wheels and couplers are always more favorable than molded ones.
For a fun and realistic experience, accessories are often included in model train sets. This helps kids and collectors to customize their train set atmosphere. Some of the pieces frequently included are characters like train conductors and passengers, cars, and sceneries like trees, hills, mountains, and stations. If you are not satisfied with the accessories included in the set you like, you can buy it separately on the market. Just make sure they come on the same scale as your model train set.
There are different ways and devices to control the train. You can either use a controller that is connected to the power supply or a remote that allows you to maneuver the train from a distance. Some train sets come with both since the connected controller can only be used to power on/off and control the speed. On the other hand, the remote control deals with the locomotive features like direction, sound, and steam.
If you want to have a good quality starter set, expect to get it at a higher price. Each retailer offers various prices depending on the scale, prototype, and what are included in the set. You need to first look at the brand and its reputation and the outer shell of the train set, the locomotive itself. Sometimes this is also a fair measure of the quality inside, so don’t forget about it.
You also need to remember when it comes to the price tag; quality is more significant than consideration. You get what you pay for but paying a hefty amount for a train set doesn’t always mean you get the best quality.
Once you are done putting all these into perspective, we hope you will have an easier time deciding which model train to buy. If some things are still unclear for you, read on. You might find the answers to some of your questions in the following sections.
Other Important Factors to Consider
Aside from the things we’ve discussed on what to look for in a good model train set, we have the following additional factors. These are mostly for those who are not familiar with electric train sets and had just started learning about them.
What are electric train sets?
Electric train sets are a miniature, realistic version of real-life trains. They also work similarly to the real thing, plus the set includes many accessories to create an authentic environment around the tracks. Kids can play with it, and most adults buy them for their collection.
How do they work?
To make an electric train work; what you’d need is a rail-track and a power unit. In detail, the power unit is connected to the tracks, which provide electricity for the train to move. And depending on the amount of amps the train’s engine receives, it can go forward/backward and change speed.
What are the different types of electric train sets?
There are different types of trains, and they can be categorized depending on several factors. This includes the scale or gauge (which is already mentioned above), the fuel or power the train runs on, the train’s model, and if they are ready to play or kit-builds/scratch-models.
There are two main types of the electric train based on power, the electric and the live-steam. The former is more common and popular due to its ease of use, while the latter is a little tricky and ideal only for advanced collectors.
There’s the American Amtrak, Australian Freight, and old-school British locomotives for train models, to name some. They have train sets available on every scale, but HO and O gauge have wider varieties than other scales.
When it comes to the train set’s nature, the ready-to-run models are more in demand since they are ready to use on the track within a few minutes. On the other hand, those who prefer challenges can opt for the kit to build yourself from scratch. It is time-consuming and more advanced, so be aware of this before making your purchase.
Why do you need electric train sets?
Owning an electric train set is not only for kids to have fun and get entertained for hours. But also, it enhances children’s creativity, imagination, and motor skills.
Some people like collecting model train sets since they are big fans of trains and locomotives. In contrast, others enjoy building realistic dioramas with trains and cars. While the rest like the social aspect of meeting up with like-minded people and talking about trains or merely showing off their collections.
Frequently Asked Questions
You must’ve had many questions that weren’t covered with the buying guide. We answered some of the most commonly asked questions regarding metal electric train sets and the likes for those who are new to buying and collecting model train sets.
What are the most trusted toddler train set brands?
You can find many great brands for model trains with different price ranges. There’s Lionel, which you can find almost anywhere because it is the world’s largest O scale manufacturer. They have highly detailed model trains which are a bit pricier than others.
Another famous model train brand is Bachmann, the oldest train manufacturer, and currently the biggest seller of model trains by volume. The majority of the trains from this brand are very popular and are often what beginners turn to for model trains.
Also, there is Atlas, one of the well-known and oldest companies in the industry. Their inventions are the ones that made model railroading easier. And if you are into building trains, you will be familiar with Hornby. This UK company that manufactures almost everything you need to personalize your model train set.
These are some of the brands that have stood the test of time and have proven themselves reliable and trusted when modeling trains. Some brands not included in this are Kato, Pesco, and Athearn. Each has a specialty in producing a specific gauge of model trains.
What is the best train set for a 2 years old?
Kids around the age of 2 years old have tiny hands. It is ideal for children to enjoy playing with a model train and to buy them a model train set in G or O gauge. Having a detailed design and many accessories to set up a realistic environment enhances their imagination and creativity. Another factor you should consider is the set-up of the tracks.
Some kids prefer train tracks that are a bit more challenging with track switching and bridges. Always take into confederation your kid’s potential and maturity rather than their age.
What age trains set?
Model train sets are for everyone, no matter the age. There are many good models and ranges of gauges that are ideal for all ages.
The G gauge is big, rugged, and tough, which makes it ideal for the younger generation of train lovers. Besides, the O gauge is highly detailed and powerful, making it suitable for the entire family. Then, the HO gauge which is easy to operate in a smaller sized layout.
Whatever you intend to use a model train set for, you will find one that fits any age. As long as you know what to look for, you will surely find the best one among the seemingly endless options.
How to use?
Model trains are relatively easy to assemble and operate. Even if you are new to the whole thing, each set comes with an instruction you can follow. You should deal with three things after getting all the pieces out of the package, assembling the tracks, setting up the power connections, and putting the train on the track. Most of the model trains have the same direction on how to operate. The following will give you an idea of how to use your model train.
Once everything is in place, it is now time to run your train. Start by turning the knob clockwise on the speed controller all the way to the left. Then plug in the power supply and begin powering the track by turning the speed controller clockwise.
Next, observe the direction of the train. If it moves backward when the control is on forward, stop the train. Disconnect, flip, and reconnect the terminal wire to the rerailer track. And there you have it, your train running on the tracks.
Where to buy?
Electric train sets at Walmart seem an okay purchase to some, but you need to think otherwise. If you want to buy a quality model train set, you need to go to stores specializing in trains.
Your best option is to purchase from a local train store where there are many reliable products. This way, you can also discuss your alternatives with someone knowledgeable in the field. Moreover, you can get advice and ask questions to ensure that you get a good purchase.
How to care and clean?
When you own model trains, you should know that maintenance is an essential part of ensuring they last for a long time. While it is a back-breaking task, you only have to do it semi-regularly. There are different moving parts in a model train; thus, there are few ways to care and clean them.
The wheels are likely to be the dirtiest part of your model train set since they run over and pick up grime, dust, and dirt. To clean this, you need a piece of cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol. Then lay it down throughout a section of the track and let the train run over it.
The spaces between the tracks’ joints collect dirt and debris, which can derail them when ignored. Cleaning this will require plucking the grime with a pair of tweezers.
For the locomotives, cabs, and units, it is recommended to oil them every 100 hours of use or around every six months. Different brands and models require additional maintenance for these parts, but these methods are commonly used.
There are a lot of things to think about before buying the best electric train set. It might take some of your time and requires effort, but rest assured that you can get your hands on a quality model train set.
With the help of our product reviews, buying guide, and answering some of the most commonly asked questions, we hope you can find the train set that best suits your preference and needs. If you have any tips and trick up your sleeves about a good train set, leave a comment below. We are always happy to read what you have to share.