The 10 Best Train Tables

Updated September 18, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Train Tables
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Sometimes the classic toys are the best. These train tables will never go out of fashion and will give your kids years of entertainment. They're designed to work with sets featuring some of today's modern icons, like characters from Disney's "Cars," as well as old favorites, like Thomas the Tank Engine. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best train table on Amazon.

10. Conductor Carl Set

Designed with safety in mind, the Conductor Carl Set uses single-piece tracks that fit together snugly once assembled, eliminating the possibility of any loose parts. The train can be rolled steadily along without ever popping off the track.
  • comes with 10 people and signs
  • certified lead and phthalate free
  • train doesn't fit under the bridge
Brand Conductor Carl
Model TCON-202
Weight 37.2 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

9. KidKraft Cadillac Range Racetrack

The KidKraft Cadillac Range Racetrack comes with 11 favorite Disney "Cars" characters, like Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally and the rest of the gang. Its round shape takes up less space than most other options and brightens up the corner of any kid's bedroom.
  • detailed tabletop artwork
  • budget-friendly price
  • track pieces tend to come apart
Brand KidKraft
Model pending
Weight 28.9 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. TOMY LC56980

Chuggington fans will love the kid-friendly TOMY LC56980, decorated with fun and vibrant graphics from the well-liked show. It is a great buy, and will bring a smile to any child 2 years old and up. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to line up the tabletop images.
  • compatible with other wooden tracks
  • built with real wood
  • play surface tends to bow
Brand TOMY
Model LC56980
Weight 51.5 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Little Colorado LC010-U

The eco-friendly Little Colorado LC010-U comes completely unfinished, so you can stain or paint the table to suit your taste and decor. It perfectly combines style with function at a very attractive price, and is completely safe with smooth, rounded corners.
  • can support up to 300lbs
  • it is handcrafted
  • doesn't have any storage drawers
Brand Little Colorado
Model LC010-U
Weight 50 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Beka Basic

The Beka Basic is made from premium maple wood that gives it a high quality look that you'll be proud to show off in your kid's playroom. It measures just 35" x 49", making it large enough to accommodate most train sets without taking up too much of your floor space.
  • sturdy baltic birch top
  • includes two matching rolling bins
  • smooth-sanded non-finished surface
Brand Beka
Model 08552 BEKA DS
Weight 41.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Sodura MTLCPT

The USA-made Sodura MTLCPT is engineered with 3/4" thick legs that won't warp or crack when moved around. It blends nicely into any contemporary decor, and is great for a variety of activities, like trains, puzzles and Legos.
  • beautiful natural birch color
  • simple to assemble quickly
  • all non-toxic finishes
Brand Sodura
Weight 43.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Step2 Deluxe Canyon

The versatile Step2 Deluxe Canyon is thoughtfully designed to provide hours of interactive play, featuring a built-in multi-level track and seven non-removable bridges. Plus, the layout always remains intact, so pieces don't get lost.
  • converts into a flat activity table
  • easy-to-clean surface
  • long-lasting poly construction
Brand Step2
Model 754700
Weight 24.9 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Kidcraft Waterfall Mountain

The Kidcraft Waterfall Mountain is a popular choice that has two handy drawers and comes with a 120-piece train set to get your little one started. The tabletop features brightly colored landscaping that will help bring their imagination to life.
  • included buildings snap into place
  • has a fun train tunnel
  • train can be loaded with cargo
Brand KidKraft
Model 17945
Weight pending
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Melissa & Doug Deluxe

The Melissa & Doug Deluxe is a multi-activity play table that is just as suitable for a dollhouse as it is for a train set. It's extremely sturdy, so you don't have to worry if your child tries to climb on it, and it features a pull-out toy storage drawer.
  • made with solid wood panels
  • makes a great puzzle table
  • split table top is easy to remove
Brand Melissa & Doug
Model 2371
Weight 63.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Brio Play Table

Designed with unmatched quality and craftsmanship, the Brio Play Table is made from solid wood with smooth rounded corners for a safe playing environment. It has been covered with six coats of chip-resistant lacquer paint to keep it looking like new for years to come.
  • raised side walls
  • perfect height for most toddlers
  • land and water graphics
Brand Brio
Model 33099
Weight 45.1 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

The Benefits of Train Tables

It's no secret that a train table is a great way to keep a child engaged and entertained for hours on end. But many parents may not realize that there are myriad developmental benefits to giving your child a train set.

For starters, train tables can help teach children foundational problem solving skills. Whether you realize it or not, life is a series of problems, and there are few more illustrative ways for children to learn the relationship between a problem and its solution than by playing with toy trains. By nature, trains require continuous, unbroken stretches of track in order to operate, and, while your child might get frustrated with the process of setting up that track, they'll delight in the reward of moving the train along their successfully finished course.

Most train sets also include pieces to help expand and enrich a child's understanding of movement. By inserting inclines, curves, and obstacles into their tracks, they'll face more complex problems to solve. They're also likely to learn the basic principles of physics. As they see the trains speed up when coming down a slope, for example, they'll learn about gravity without even realizing it.

The constraints of a table further push a child into the world of creative problem solving, as they'll have to avoid running the track off of its edge. But whether they're solving problems or just experimenting with different track designs, playing with train sets teaches creativity and encourages children to use their imaginations. Depending on the table or set, your child will encounter a whole world in which to construct a track, limited only by their own creative process (and, of course, the included pieces). Many sets also include customizable trains, further allowing your child to express him or herself.

The breadth of creativity possible with a given train set depends on its design. Some tables come with a totally blank slate on which your child can express themselves in whatever way they like. Others have a basic design in place to get them started. The type you choose should depend on what patterns you've observed in your child's play habits. If they like doing everything themselves, go for a table that allows them to do just that. If they prefer to build upon an existing foundation, there are plenty of options available.

Last but not least, train play helps children develop fine motor skills that they'll use for the rest of their lives. A train set is like a puzzle in many ways, and putting the pieces together helps solidify hand-eye coordination and dexterity. Those skills will help them with everything from getting dressed to brushing their teeth, tying their shoelaces, and, one day, driving a car.

A Brief History Of Toy Trains

While today's sets are made of materials ranging from metal to plastic, classic toy trains are wooden. Some models on the market today are virtually unchanged from their midcentury predecessors.

The first train sets were developed by a company called Skaneateles Handicrafters in 1936. They used wooden tracks and cars with metal axles connecting each pair of wooden wheels. Each train car (except for the first and last ones) featured a hook on one end and an eye on the other so that they could be connected in series. In 1956, Playskool took over distribution for the company until its owners sold it to the German manufacturer Habermaaß in 1980.

Right around the time Playskool began distributing the wooden Skaneateles trains, several other competitors came to market. The first arrived in 1956 from the Jack-Built Manufacturing Company, which marketed its creations as "snap trains" because of the means of connection they utilized. Built in Japan, they used a patented magnetic system to connect track sections and rolling stock alike. Both manufacturers' products were compatible with the other's, so that trains from one set could be used on tracks from another, though individual pieces could not be joined due to their differing connection styles.

In 1957, a Swedish company called Brio introduced its own wooden train sets in Europe. Considered the industry standard to this day, Brio's tracks were the first to use a peg-and-hole jigsaw connection system. Their train cars were initially joined by a hook-and-eye system like Skaneateles', though they switched to magnetic connectors after a number of years. Several other European competitors popped up in the meantime, including the Heros company, which was the first to experiment with plastic tracks in the 1970s. They also developed the first battery-powered toy trains in 1994.

Today, there's no shortage of manufacturers on the market. Competition has led to countless innovations and specialized designs, meaning there's no shortage of fun variations on the classic concept for children of the new millennium.

A Note About Track Styles

To this day, several standards exist when it comes to the tracks used with train sets. Regardless of manufacturer, many are interchangeable to allow you to combine sets or expand your train table without being tied to a particular brand.

The most consistent quality across train sets is the gauge of their tracks. Nearly all manufacturers conform to the same standards so that their trains can run on one another's tracks. The 20mm standard has been agreed upon by international hobbyist groups including the National Model Railroad Association and the German Normen Europäischer Modellbahnen. While most sets feature tracks with grooves of a standard depth and distance from one another, many manufacturers vary the curvature of the groove (or lack thereof).

Another common standard in train sets is referred to as the Vario system. It establishes that jigsaw-style tracks have loose connections to allow for some wiggle-room in track connections. In sets that subscribe to this standard, the pegs at one end of each track segment are smaller than the holes into which they fit. This allows for imperfect connections, making it easier for children to manipulate the tracks.

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Last updated on September 18, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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