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5 Best Electric Train Sets of 2021

5 Best Electric Train Sets of 2021

Electric train sets are fun for people of all ages. Several are finely crafted, making them perfect for adult hobbyists who are collecting unique sets. Others are made of material that make them excellent toys for kids and toddlers. No matter what kind of electric train set you’re looking for, there is one here for you. This list offers the best electric train sets with a range of features that make them unique and fun. Our overall favorite is the Bachmann Trains Rail Chief, but if this one isn’t for you, there is one here that will be. Keep reading to find your next train set.

Our Top Picks

Bachmann-Trains-Rail-Chief-Ready-to-RunBest Overall: Bachmann Trains: Rail Chief.
Our overall top pick is perfect for those new to train sets and seasoned electric train set collections. It’s authentic design makes it great for people of all ages.
Lionel-North-Pole-Central-Ready-to-Play-Freight-SetRunner-Up: Lionel North Pole Central Freight Set.
This electric train set is festive during the holidays and fun to use year round. It makes steam, light, and sound for an even more realistic experience.
iBase-Toy-Electric-Train-SetBudget Pick: iBase Toy Electric Train Set.
Here is the best electric train set for those on a budget. It’s a good starting point for those just getting into train sets.
Lionel-Pennsylvania-Flyer-LionChief-0-8-0-Freight-SetSplurge Pick: Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief Freight Set.
Our splurge pick is a favorite among electric train set enthusiasts. Its sleek design makes it look authentic.
Hot-Bee-Electric-Train-SetToddler Pick: Hot Bee Electric Train Set.
Even kids love playing with train sets. This set is the perfect starting place for kids as it’s easy to use and built with a durable exterior.
 

A Closer Look: Best Electric Train Sets

Here’s a further breakdown of the top electric train sets on the market.

1. Bachmann Trains – Rail Chief Ready-to-Run

The best electric train sets overall.

Bachmann Trains - Rail Chief Ready to Run

Brand: Bachmann Trains | Set Pieces: 130 | Track Pieces: 13 | Ages: 14+ | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Our overall top pick for the best electric train set is a classic. Bachmann has been making train sets since 1833. This Rail Chief set is the perfect introductory electric train set for those just getting into collecting trains. It has an entire lineup of train cars, including a gondola car, cupola caboose, open quad hopper car, and more. The E-Z Track is easy to assemble. Simply snap the pieces together and connect it to the power supply then watch the train cruise around the tracks. Make sure to run the wheels back and forth on the track before turning it on to ensure they are properly connected.

  • Each train cart has excellent details
  • Headlights and taillights that get brighter with increased speed
  • Set only comes with enough track to create an oval
  • People figurines difficult to remove from plastic piping 

2. Lionel North Pole Central Ready-to-Play Freight Set

The runner-up.

Lionel North Pole Central Ready-to-Play Freight Set

Brand: Lionel | Set Pieces: 30+ | Track Pieces: 32 | Ages: 4+ | Price: 💰💰💰

For a holiday themed train set that is fun to use all year round, check this one out. The set comes with a cupola caboose, gondola, and more. There are 24 pieces of curved and 8 pieces of straight track that can be arranged in a variety of patterns. Plug in the batteries to watch the train move, see the headlight turn on, and hear authentic train sounds. This is our runner up pick because it’s an affordable option that makes for a great holiday gift, but can also be enjoyed every day of the year.

  • Young kids can easily operate it themselves
  • Remote control makes it easy to operate from a distance
  • Some had difficulty pairing the remote
  • Requires batteries in train and remote control

3. iBase Toy Electric Train Set

The best electric train set on a budget.

iBase Toy Electric Train Set

Brand: iBase | Set Pieces: 20+ | Track Pieces: 17 | Ages: 6+ | Price: 💰💰

Whether you’re new into electric train sets or want a model that doesn’t cost a lot of money, this is a great train set to consider. It comes with the basic cars: steam locomotive, passenger coach, and two freight cars with 17 pieces of track that can be arranged any way you want. This is an excellent option for young kids. The model trains themselves look realistic and they’re durable. Pieces of track snap together easily and stay firmly in place. It’s a good set to help little ones work on their hand-to-eye coordination and fine motor skills while having a fun time.

  • Batteries and water can be added to create steam 
  • Toddlers love playing with the whistle that comes with on the train
  • Train cars are relatively fragile
  • Train will fall off track if going too quickly

4. Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief 0-8-0 Freight Set

The best splurge electric train set.

Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer LionChief 0-8-0 Freight Set

Brand: Lionel | Set Pieces: 20+ | Track Pieces: 12 | Ages: 14+ | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

A splurge electric train set is best for those hobbyists who already have a good sense of train sets. It’s sleek black and silver design makes it look authentic. The train can be controlled through a remote controller or an app, both are connected by Bluetooth. Doors on the boxcar open. The train cars also have metal handrails and ladders for an even more realistic feel. This is a great set for those just starting to seriously collect electric train sets and those who already have a collection they’re seeking to expand on.

  • Track pieces are easy to connect
  • Has an app that can be used to control the train and its features
  • Too expensive for most budgets
  • Difficult to find additional tracks to expand overall track path

5. Hot Bee Electric Train Set

The best electric train set for toddlers.

Hot Bee Electric Train Set

Brand: Hot Bee | Set Pieces: 16 | Track Pieces: 10 | Ages: 3+ | Price: 💰💰💰

Hot Bee says that kids as young as 3 years old can play with this electric train set and have a blast. The set comes with a steam locomotive that produces actual steam when water is added, a passenger carriage, cargo vehicle, and coal carriage. On the front of the steam locomotive is a headlight, so you can watch the train run on the tracks with the lights off. Use the empty water bottle that comes with the set to pour water into the locomotive to generate faux steam. It’s easy for kids to set up and play with, but adults will also enjoy arranging the tracks and watching the train go. 

  • Very affordable price
  • Great electric train set for beginners
  • Unable to mute train sounds
  • Must clean smoke stack periodically to remove condensation

Electric train sets are favorites for both kids and adults. Whether you’re just getting into train sets or are a seasoned enthusiast, there is one here for you. They come with different features that make them look and feel as authentic as possible. These are some of the best electric train sets to set up in your home. 

Our Process

For this guide on the best electric train sets, our team spent 2 hours researching the most popular options from over 15 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about 30 user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each train set. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 5 train sets on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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