12V vs 24V Ride On: What’s the Difference?

There’s always been a close catch between a 12V vs 24V ride on. So, what’s the difference between a 12V and a 24V toy?

Is the price difference actually worth it or is it just a fancy gimmick? These might be some of the questions popping up in your head if you googled this topic for contemplating what’s best for your child. 

How Fast Does a 12 Volt Go?

12V ride ons generally have a speed limit of 4 miles per hour. If driven on very smooth surfaces it may even maximize close to 5mph.

Because of the low-speed output, these 12V ride ons can be used both indoor and outdoor – on even surfaces like wet grass, and gravel. These are perfect for children above the age of 3 years old.

How Fast Does a 24 Volt Go?

On the other hand, 24V ride on cars have a speed limit of 6mph and may go up to 7mph at times. This extra speed and power enable it to be driven on any rough terrain, hill climbs, and descents. 

That doesn’t mean that a 12V ride on cannot climb hills; it’s just that a 24V has the advantage of taking in more nominal load than the 12V. Thus, these are more compatible with kids above the age of 6.

Is 24V Faster Than 12V?

The short answer is yes; a 24v ride-on is faster than a 12v. The higher voltage produces speed. But you have to keep in mind that the voltage is not the only influence of speed. 

Type of wheels, weight onboard, and type of surface are also the main factors affecting speed. Only rides on smooth surfaces will showcase the toy’s optimal speed.

Difference Between 12V and 24V Car Systems

There are a few other differences between a 12V and 24V ride on car system apart from the speed factor. The points below may give you a better picture of the main differences between the two.

Current Drawn

A 12V car system draws twice as much the current when compared to a 24V. Current consumption is inversely proportional to voltage. 

For example, if a 12V system draws 60 amps of current to perform a specific task, the same can be completed by a 24V car system with just half the current supply – 30 amps. This way, current consumption can be slashed to half.

Wiring

Though wiring doesn’t affect the overall performance of the ride on, it is extremely useful if you plan to upgrade the ride on (from a 12V to 24V). 12V car systems have much thicker wires and complicated constructs as compared to a 24V system.

24V car systems are much more cost-effective in case of repairs and replacements as the wires are almost half in size compared to the 12Vs. 

This means lower cost of other electrical components too, as they are all connected through wiring. Even parents with bare minimal mechanical skills can repair or convert it into a higher voltage car system as it’s a lot simpler than a 12V.

Charging Duration

The initial charge duration for both 12V and 24V ride on is 12-18 hours at least. It takes about 12 hours for a 12V and 18 hours for a 24V car system to get fully charged. 

I don’t think this would make such a difference as either way you and your kid are going to be fed up with waiting for it to charge.

Run Time

Typically speaking, a 12V ride on gives a continuous playtime of 2.5 hours on average, it varies according to different brands. A 24V ride on gives up to 4 hours of non-stop fun.

You can’t really bargain on this one because the longer run time is one of the main reasons why the 24V toy’s sticker price is higher.

The 24V car system is such a lifesaver and relief for parents who’d like to keep their little ones occupied for a few hours of the day. Still, the actual usage time you’ll get from the ride on depends on complementary factors like speed, type of terrain, weight, etc. 

The only other way to increase your kid’s playtime even with a 12V car system is by keeping a fully charged spare battery at hand to switch up when necessary.

Acceleration

With more power, you get more acceleration. It might feel boring to hear the same type of words over and over again, but that’s just basic physics we can’t avoid. Acceleration is not a big deal for kids as much as it is for adults.

Still, if your kiddo seems to be an upcoming speedster or drifter, better acceleration would be such a thrill for them! 

For that, more horsepower is needed, and the 24V system provides just that. A 12V does give moderate acceleration, but since it’s not as powerful, it will take a few seconds for it to build speed and momentum.

In comparison, the 24V can do that in less than 3 seconds with a spinning wheel.

Weight Handling

12V vs 24v Ride on: What's the Difference?

The ride on’s manual would have already mentioned the nominal weight the toy can carry while maintaining average speed.

This applies to both 12V and 24V. If the child on top is heavier than what is mentioned, that will proportionally affect the ride on’s overall performance.

The 24V ride ons have the advantage of the capability to hold more weight than a 12V car system. But not to worry, as there’s another way round available for parents with heavier kids.

You can purchase a 12V 2WD ride on. A 12V 2WD ride on has dual motors on the back wheels, making the ride much steadier and safer.

12V Car System

Perfect for 1 – 3 years old children

Can be driven on wet grass, pavements, slight hills, tarmac, etc.

Great for kids who are getting their hands on such ride ons for the first time. 

12V toys will restrain them from driving at reckless speeds, and causing injuries. Of course, 6 mph is a high speed for a toddler. This will be a good start for them to set in motion and nurture their motor skills progressively.

24V Car System

Meant for children above the age of 3 at least.

Any type of terrain, hill climbs, or descents is a piece of cake for the 24V ride ons.

Kids who can keep their pace appropriately without getting overboard with the higher speed can enjoy the 24V ride ons.

How to Know if the Ride On is 12V or 24V?

Checking the true voltage of your ride on is essential to keep yourself safeguarded from sellers looking to make quick cash out of customers who aren’t foolproof. These are several ways to figure out if you have a true 12V or 24V ride on;

Check the manual

This is the obvious thing to do. The manual will specify the same voltage throughout. If you find something irrelevant or edited-like, reach out to your seller immediately for clarification so they can’t eschew you with silly reasons.

Check the fuse

The actual power running through the fuse can help you know whether the ride on is real 12V or 24V.

Use a voltmeter

Get a voltmeter and connect it to the battery. This is the simplest and most reliable source of finding out voltage. 

A true 12V ride on will generally show a reading of 12.6V at the least. A 24V ride on will register around 28.7V when fully charged. Always test the battery only when it is fully charged.

Caps on battery

You can count the number of caps on the battery to check its voltage. A 12V battery will have 6 caps, and the 24V will have 12 caps. Unfortunately, manufactures are playing tricks on this method too.

Can You Put a 24V Battery in a 12V Ride On?

Yes, you can. Children grow up real fast, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see that your 2-year-old has outgrown the size of their first 12V ride on in less than a year. 

The best way to extend the worth of your mini investment and cherish your child’s happiness is by upgrading the 12V car to a 24V. Here are a few ways to do this and a few mistakes not to do;

3 Ways to upgrade a 12V to 24V ride on

If you have a 12V and want to upgrade to a 24V there are 3 methods for doing this. It’s important to note that you should upgrade the motor to match any battery upgrades.

Add Another 12V Battery

This is what most parents prefer to do. Simply buy a 12V ride on battery that is compatible with the existing model and connect them in series. 

Do not connect them in a parallel circuit as that will not boost power

Get a New 24V Battery

12V vs 24v Ride on: What's the Difference?

Brands usually have a certain model with both 12V version and 24V version. There may be others like 36V, 48V, etc, but these two are the most common. 

If not, you also have aftermarket batteries to back you up. You just have to spend some time searching for the right model and an authentic supplier. 

Once bought, you can remove the existing 12V and replace it with the 24V battery. Still, this type of direct conversion is better off handed over to a mechanic instead of DIY. 

The reason being 12V and 24V car systems differ to a considerable extent with their wirings, and set-up complications. So just leave it to the pros who know exactly what they’re doing.

Use a conversion kit

Conversion kits are for parents who are willing to spend a little extra for the benefit of getting the job done quickly and sweat-free. 

Check the compatibility of the conversion kit with your specific model and you’ll get the full set of components needed to upgrade your ride on – 24V battery, fuse, connector, wired cables, and more. 

The best part of using a conversion kit is that you can switch back to the 12V whenever you’d like. It will give 33% more run time than the stock battery.

What Not to do in a 12V to 24V Upgrade

An upgrade has to be a full upgrade, not just a part replacement. This is an expensive mistake that most parents tend to make while upgrading the ride on. 

Changing just the mere battery voltage is not sufficient. Of course, the ride on will still function and it will be faster too. But that contentment and satisfaction will only last a couple of months. 

Then, you will end up with a broken ride on, a wailing child, and a desperate you. Let me explain why.

A little bit of elementary school physics here. The motor receives and converts the amount of power driven from a battery into energy. Energy is then used to make the vehicle function accordingly. 

Manufacturers have already designed the motor (and other components) to receive a certain amount of power. Thus, exceeding or subceeding the nameplate rating is not ideal.

For example, a 12V battery combined with a 24V motor will reduce the toy’s functionality as the motor is underpowered due to lower than prescribed voltage. Though it may become faster, the other components of the ride on will not be able to function in coordination.

Similarly, a 24V battery fitted with a 12V motor will burn out due to overheating. This will affect the vehicle’s productivity and soon enough break down completely.

So…

The bare minimum of an upgrade should be the battery, motor, and fuse. Other essential components you should consider upgrading are the gearbox and wheels.

12V or 24V ride On – The Better One?

Price doesn’t make much of a difference between a 12V and a 24V ride on, as parents always prioritize their kid’s joy and safety over little savings. 

I can’t decide which one would be better for your kiddo. For all logical reasons, the 24V is superior to a 12V ride on. 

But it all depends on how old the child is, the speed limit you’d like to give your child, usability (indoor/outdoor), how well you think your child can handle the ride on, and the level of safety it holds.

More speed means more fun, but it also poses more risks. One way you can control the maximum speed your child can drive is by choosing a ride on with parental lock feature. 

When parental lock is on, your kid can only drive at half the original speed the ride on offers. 

Many parents are concerned about their kids’ safety and want to purchase something that’ll last for more than 3 years at least. This way you can buy a 24V ride on for a 3-year-old and use it till the child is above 6 years old.

You can’t expect kids to perfect their driving skills at such a tender age but you can always pave ways for them to learn so.

Wrap Up

Now we are debating about 12V vs. 24V ride ons. Sooner or later, we’ll be doing the same about 24V vs. 36V and so on. 

Just like adults, kids too get bored of luxuries and big toys easily and expect even bigger better things. So it’s never a bad idea to look for ways to please your child. 

Whichever you pick, you’re already a superdad/supermom for your kid. 

Pick a smart one. Get them to put aside their video games and enjoy a great day in the sun riding cars and jeeps!