Man smiling as he is riding an off road go kart

Is your kid into slinging mud in the woods? What about chasing narrow forest trails through thickets of trees? If so, off-road go karts may be their type of fun. These go karts, also known as dune buggies or off-road buggies, offer endless fun on any terrain. They’re great fun for kids who have taken a shine to driving, making it a great addition to the arsenal of family power toys.

We at Ride Digest researched a range of off road go karts to determine the best options on the market. After much fretting and debate, we selected the Coleman Powersports Off Road Go Kart as our top pick. Why? Among other things, it has a top speed of 15 miles per hour and a load capacity of 400 pounds. It also fits adults comfortably – a rarity among affordable off-road go karts – and has mostly positive reviews from real customers.

Best Overall
Coleman Powersports Off Road Go Kart
For the best in off road go karts, look no further than the Coleman Powersports Off Road Go Kart.

Oh, and before you head out on the trails, make sure you’ve got a good helmet on hand – especially if your children are the ones chauffeuring.

Our Expert’s Top 5 Off Road Go Karts

Here are the top picks from our experts. Check out the chart to compare the ratings and features of different models.

Editor's PicksBrandRatingEngineMax SpeedMax Load
Best OverallColeman Powersports Off Road Go Kart4.0196 cc15 mph400 lbs
Best Budget BuyMotoTec Off Road Go Kart4.91000 w20 mph120 lbs
Best ElectricRazor Dune Buggy4.6350 w9 mph120 lbs
Best For KidsHONEY JOY Go Kart4.0Pedaln/a66 lbs
Best PedalMassimo GMK 200CC Go Kart4.5Pedaln/a350 lbs

*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers

Who Should Buy an Off Road Go Kart

  • Adventure seekers. If your child looking to hit the trails and enjoy some thrills, then you may want to give off-road go karting a try.
  • Those looking to improve driving skills. Ask any Formula One driver – they started with karts well before they belted into a racecar. The same theory holds true for amateurs. Knowing how to deftly navigate an off-road kart at speed in the woods improves reaction times, spatial awareness, and understanding of physics. Ultimately, the skills a child will develop while handling a kart will help them be a better driver once they’ve gotten their permit.
  • Young drivers. If your children are too young for their license but want to get some practice time behind the wheel, an off road go kart offers a perfect compromise.

Who Should Not Buy an Off Road Go Kart

  • Nervous children. If your child not comfortable behind the wheel, it may not be wise to get into an off road go kart. It may make you more nervous, as you’ll be more exposed to possible injury and challenging driving situations.
  • Urbanites. If you’re looking for motorized entertainment but find the woods unappealing or otherwise live too far outside a decent tract of forest, a regular go kart is a better option.
  • Tall kids. Off road go karts are tight, cramped little things. Teens, adolescents, and tall children may have issue fitting into one, making it difficult for them to fit comfortably behind the wheel.

Research Tips (from an Expert)

Here are some tips and best practices to consider when purchasing an off road go kart. Be sure to do adequate research on any potential purchase in order to understand its key features and points of differentiation. We also recommend visiting your local powersports dealer in-person, if only to actually sit in the kart you’re considering.

  1. Keep safety first. Safety should be top of mind when comparing off-road go karts. No matter your budget, you’ll definitely want something with a robust steel frame and built-in seat belts. Additional safety features, such as a roll cage, will also help protect riders in case of an accident. And don’t forget to buy a helmet and good set of gloves before getting behind the wheel.
  2. Be power hungry. The more powerful the engine, the more power you’ll have and faster you’ll go. Around 200 cc is a good starting point for something reasonably fast but not terrifyingly so.
  3. Consider load limits. It’s one thing if you’re buying a go kart for your child and only need a weight limit of 100 pounds. However, if you’re an adult who wants to enjoy off road karting, you’ll need a kart with a higher load limit.
  4. Consider occupant capacity. Most off-road go karts are single seaters, but there are some two-seat options available that make enable karting with a friend.
  5. Factor in additional features. Some go-karts are stripped down frames with a seat; others come with headlights, tail lights, a roll cage, storage trays, suspension system, and a roof canvas. Determine what bells and whistles suit your fancy before leaping into a purchase.

How Much Do They Cost?

Between $800 and $1000

For most go karts, you can expect to pay between $800-$1,000 for a quality product. Those with two seats and an integrated roll cage will carry a higher price tag. More basic karts are cheaper, but they’re often hobbled by low load limits that make them inadequate for adults. If you want all the doodads, expect to pay upwards of $1,500.

The Best Off Road Go Karts: Full Reviews

Best Overall
Coleman Powersports Off Road Go Kart
For the best in off road go karts, look no further than the Coleman Powersports Off Road Go Kart.

There are numerous reasons the Coleman Powersports Off Road Go Kart took the top spot on our list of the best off road go karts. For starters, it boasts a top speed of 15 miles per hour, room for a passenger, and a maximum load capacity of 400 pounds. Suitable for riders of all ages, this go kart comes complete with a 196cc engine pushing 6.5 horsepower – for the unversed, that’s a respectable figure among $1,700 go-karts.

The two built-in four-point safety harnesses keep you and a buddy in place even while zipping through corners, while the heavy-duty padded roll cage provides some additional confidence. This kart incorporates a pull start operation for ease of use, while the low-pressure tires will provide plenty of traction on any terrain. For $1,700, this kart isn’t cheap – but it does deliver everything you might want from such a machine, while also fitting real-sized humans.

Pros
  • Four-point safety harness
  • Heavy-duty padded roll cage
  • Comfortable padded seats
  • (Small) adult-sized
  • two-passenger, 400-pound load capacity

Cons

  • Some reviewers had reliability issues
  • Expensive

Best Budget Off Road Go Kart
MotoTec Off Road Go Kart
For a budget-friendly go kart option, MotoTec Off Road Go Kart has you covered.

Not trying to drop big bucks on a go kart? The MotoTec Off Road Go Kart is a solid option for those who are looking for an off road go karting experience without the steep entry fee. The MotoTec incorporates a simple, robust design with quiet, all-electric power. Its 1000 watts of output is nothing to sneeze at, either.

This eye-catching option comes complete with a 1000 watt 48 volt brushless motor. It’s suitable for riders aged 13 and up, and offers three options for top speed:10mph, 15mph, and 20mph. With durable steel construction and a standard seat belt, padded steering wheel, and roll bar, it’s a fantastic choice for those wanting a safe and affordable option.

Pros
  • Integrated roll bar
  • Durable steel construction
  • Max rider weight 120 pounds
  • 30-day parts warranty

Cons

  • Occasional customer service issue
  • Damaged parts on new products not unheard of

Best Electric
Razor Dune Buggy
A compact buggy with a powerful 350-watt electric motor.

The Razor Dune Buggy is a great choice for those looking for a powerful electric option. While lacking the wattage of the MotoTec, the Razor still comes complete with a 350-watt electric motor that allows riders to reach speeds of up to 9 mph. It features 8-inch knobby pneumatic tires that provide a smooth ride over rough terrain.

Suitable for riders aged 8 and older, safety features include a shoulder strap, safety flag, and hand-operated rear disc brake. 40 minutes of run time should be enough for the little ones to live out their Mario Kart fantasies, but we’re not the biggest fans of the 12-hour charge time. Otherwise, this is a great little kart for just $430.

Pros
  • 40 minutes of running time
  • Space-saving vertical storage capability
  • Thumb trigger acceleration control
  • Affordable fun

Cons

  • Warranty of just 90 days
  • Low 120-pound load limit
  • 12-hour charge time
  • Some reviewers had issues with customer service

Best for Tots
HONEY JOY Go Kart for Kids
For the best dune buggy for the youngest riders, look no further than the HONEY JOY Go Kart for Kids.

The HONEY JOY Go Kart for Kids is an excellent option for the youngest riders in the family, as it offers the style of a motorized go-kart with a slower and safer pedal-powered design. It’s an excellent choice for your child’s first ride-along, with far more panache than your typical Big Wheels.

This kart also features an ergonomic design with an adjustable seat that is much more supportive than a typical bike or trike saddle. The design boasts a durable metal frame and non-toxic polypropylene plastic construction. It comes complete with wear-resistant wheels with an anti-slip strip. The easy grip steering wheel and low speed make it a breeze to control, giving your youngest their first taste of wheeled freedom.

Pros
  • Fully enclosed safety chain
  • Anti-rust steel frame
  • Easy to control
  • Max rider weight 66 pounds

Cons

  • For riders under age 6
  • Some reviewers didn’t like the solid tires
  • No motorized option

Best Expensive Go Kart
Massimo GMK 200CC Go Kart
Speed, style, power, and capability, in one impressive package.

The Massimo GKM 200CC Go Kart is the ultimate in off-road go-karting. Sized and priced for the biggest kids in the family – Dads included – this kart will rip, roar, and carom through the woods unlike anything else on this list. Its 200 cc engine will deliver a top speed of 30 mph. The design also features a 350-pound weight limit, which allows for two passengers to comfortably ride aboard this adult-sized go kart.

The Massimo comes fully assembled and ready to ride, needing only a tank of gas to get romping. Though not cheap at $4,000, this is truly one of the best, most powerful options out there for this class of go kart.

Pros
  • 350-pound weight capacity
  • 2-passenger occupancy
  • Suitable for adults

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not reviewed as of press time

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast is a 500cc go-kart?

A 500 cc go kart can hit speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.

Can you flip a go kart?

Absolutely. It is not only possible but highly likely to flip a go kart if you’re going too fast for the terrain and try to make a sudden maneuver. When a go kart flips, it can be extremely dangerous – which is why it’s important to drive according to conditions and wear a helmet.

How dangerous are go karts?

More than an estimated 11,000 Americans were rushed to the ER with go-kart related injuries in 2014, with 40% of those being children. Most injuries had to do with broken bones and head trauma. That said, when operated correctly, go karts can be relatively safe.

Is go karting like driving?

Yes, go karting is similar to driving a regular passenger vehicle—or even race car—albeit with a much lower center of gravity and much more modest speeds.

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