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Choosing a Slot Car Race Set for Kids

Kids of all ages really have a blast racing Slot Cars! At Hotslots132, we specialize in helping our customers choose the track set that's right for you, and your family and friends. This article is going to focus on choosing the best slot car set for children.

Ok, let's talk about 5 years and up. There are lots of choices here, including different scales of slot cars.




Pictures above shows the different sizes from the smallest being 1/64th scale which is known as HO scale, then the 1/43rd, followed by the 1/32nd, and then the 1/24th scale. speed wise, 1/64 scale is the fastest (in real world terms about 700 miles an hour!) 1/43rd is next, in real world terms around 500 miles an hour, 1/32 comes in around 200-250 miles an hour (not including hop up motors of course), and then 1/24 would be under 200 miles an hour.


Scalextric START track sets are 1/32 scale (this means the slot cars are about 5 inches long (about the length from the palm of your hand to your fingertips) These sets are made of sturdy plastic with insulated slots. (This is great if you have dropped a screw, in the slot for example, there won't be any type of shock when you touch that piece of track). The cars are super resistant as well, and come plain with sticker decals that are fun for kids to use. Plus you can adjust the speed on the controllers to help kids stay on the track! There are different sets to choose from: Rally Start Sets, GT Start Sets, and Pro Racing Sets that comes with their own lap counter.

Another great feature of the START sets is that one set can make multiple layouts. (This track is easy to put together and take apart for kids around 7 and up.) This way your kids can easily change the layouts on their own. These sets are also expandable. You can purchase START straight track, or you can purchase an adapter track and then add regular Scalextric SPORT analog track. (Please see this Hotslots132 Scalextric Start Track Set video. ).

However, while you can purchase adapter track and add on with the regular Scalextric SPORT track (they are both 1/32 scale), it is not something we really recommend and here is why.
* The START track curves have a different curvature (radius) to them than any of the regular Sport track, so you need to buy 'adapter' START track sections so that the track sections will line up. You can purchase extra Start straights, but not the curves.
* The controllers, are very basic, and aren't really meant to be used for serious racing.
* The other weak point is the 'Start' lap counter. Again, very basic, wouldn't expect it to hold up. So, if you are wanting to purchase a set for family racing, we would recommend you choose the Scalextric Sport, or other brand of 1/32 track.

The START track sets are beginner track sets. It's a great purchase if you want to see if the kids have an interest in slot car racing. Kids have a great time with this set. It is easy for them to use, and to switch layouts, and it's very budget friendly.

We think that one of the best features of these affordable track sets, is that they are 1/32 scale. This means your kids will have a super large assortment of analog cars they can race as they can race any brand (ie SCX, SCALEXTRIC, CARRERA, etc...) . You can get twin pack Scalextric cars which are very affordable. And of course you should check out our "Great Buy" section of our website which has a lot of great slot cars to race. We suggest you avoid cars like F1 cars (as the nose and rear wing are easily damaged), cars with mirrors (super resistant cars may have rubber mirrors though) or small parts that stick out! Plus, we have kids who love to race Carrera Go! 1/43 slot cars on these sets. (1/64 scale cars ((HO) are just too small to race on 1/32 sets.) That leaves kids, lots, and lots of slot cars to choose from!

Next lets discuss 1/43 scale track sets. SCX and Carrera are the main brands in this category. 1/43 scale track is much more narrow than 1/32 (the larger the number on the bottom of the fraction, the smaller everything is). The cars are approximately 4 inches long. So, the good news is that you can fit a lot more track into less space. These slot cars are also much faster than the 1/32 scale (the larger the number on the bottom, the faster cars go). These slot cars really zip! But, for most adults, they go just too fast. Dads, and other adults tells us they much prefer to race 1/32 scale with kids. However, if it is just kids who will be racing, then 1/43 scale is a lot of fun. You will also find that the slot car selection for 1/43 is much more oriented to kids. You will find cars from popular children movies along with the cars that you find in real life.

We have a nice selection of Carrera Go Cars; not as many cars from SCX (they haven't invested nearly as much into their "Compact" line as Carrera has into their "Go" line). Generally you can race any 1/43 car on either set (but beware of loops, overpasses, as some of the taller cars just aren't made to do this). Of course these cars are less expensive, around $15 a car, and they can really take a beating! However as you will see, you have a much smaller selection to choose from than 1/32 scale cars.

Carrera's 1/43 line up of slot cars consists of an analog option called "Carrera Go!!!" And a digital option called Carrera Digital143. We will go over each of them, but the one thing to remember is that both track sets utilize analog track. Carrera GO!!! is all analog track. Carrera Digital143 uses special sections of digital track so you can change lanes for example, but these digital sections connect to analog track for your basic straights and curves etc. (This is the same idea Carrera uses for their Digital132 and the 1/32 analog track; they both use analog track.) We have one Carrera catalog page that has both the analog and digital listed there as the digital line uses the same car parts, as well as most of the same track The one key exception is categories we label "Analog Only" or "Digital Only" These areas would be for things like transformers, controllers, lapcounters, terminal track; and also the cars. You need to remember that you cannot "mix" the cars. Unlike the larger 1/32 scale, you cannot "chip" an analog Go!!! Car and race it on your Digital143 set. You have to stay in either the analog only or digital only page for these items. Just follow the heading for what you want and you should be fine!

Carrera Go has more cars and a wider selection of track to choose from than SCX Compact. Carrera has definitely invested more into their 1/43 line. You will find a great selection of Go track, with many interesting options such as flyovers, (like a super high bank turn), loops, jumps, crossovers, chicanes and more. This line of slot cars sets is truly the "toy" line for Carrera. As you can imagine the special track features can be very challenging at first for kids, but most of them master it before the adults can! This track comes with clips on the side to hold it together, and it can take some time to get it apart, so we would advise that you have a space set aside for a Carrera Go Layout, ... not the dining room table. With Carrera "Go" you can buy extra guide keels and brushes for their slot cars, which is a great idea as kids tend to enjoy the crashing, but it takes a toll on these parts.

SCX Compact Sets are also nice quality track sets. SCX Compact is more like the 1/32 track, in that it is stiffer track, and you won't find loops, flyovers, and other specialty track. SCX Compact has a few extra pieces of track you can purchase, but no car parts. If you need extra guides etc, you can email us and we will get you to the SCX support rep, who will send you what you need.

One more 1/43 scale, we need to mention here, is Carrera Digital143. With these sets, you can race 3 cars in a two lane track. Carrera Digital143 uses the same track as their "Go" line, but you add special sections of track where you can change lanes by pressing on a button on the controller. This lane change feature lets you get in front of a car and get into his lane. Lots of fun, but for us, the drawback is fewer cars to choose from (you can ONLY race Carrera Digital143 cars, no analog cars), but if you have 3 kids who will want to race at one time, this could be your answer. (With the family/adult digital brands, you can race up to 6 or even 8 cars at a time, and you have a larger assortment of cars to choose from. (We have written another article on these types of digital track sets for you. You can find the link at the bottom of this page.)

The last scale is 1/64 or HO as you will often hear it called. HO stands for half the size of 'O' trains. (We aren't train people, so this doesn't mean much to us, but a bit of trivia to pass along.) These cars are like Matchbox cars, about 3 inches long. They are the fastest cars around. This track is of course, the smallest, so you can get a lot of track in a small space. However, we are amazed at how much these cars are costing nowadays; very close to the beginning price point of 1/32 scale cars, and quite a few new models are more expensive than our opening price point for 1/32 cars. These 1/64 slot cars are getting more detailed nowadays (ie more realistic looking). However, it seems like kids are less impressed with the look of a car; they just want to go racing. AFX track sets is in our opinion the best overall track for this scale. They have a lot of extra track you can add to expand your track set. Like other scales of cars, you can race any brand of 1/64 analog car on AFX track. Life-Like and AutoWorld are two other brands we carry.

Overall, for customers looking to spend around a hundred dollars; we tend to recommend the Scalextric START line for family racing, as adults generally prefer racing 1/32 scale, and there is a very large assortment of cars. 1/43 sets are great for kids only, but they are faster than the START line, so are harder to race. The 1/64 scale track sets are great for people with very little space, who don't mind the super fast speed of these little cars. Again for family racing (with adults) Scalextric Sport, Ninco, SCX, or Carrera have better quality controllers, and track accessories than the START line, and we would recommend one of them if the budget allows it.

We have just covered what we consider the "track sets for kids". If you are thinking of purchasing a "family track set", where you have a larger budget, maybe you are thinking of a permanent layout, we would recommend one of our 1/32 analog sets or our 1/32 digital sets. Larger track set layouts are lots of fun of course, analog is generally our recommendation if you only have two people who want to race at a time. However if you have 3, to 6 people, you should read up on digital racing. In a nutshell, you can race up to 6 people (even 8 on Ninco Digital) on a two lane digital track set at one time, these cars switch lanes, and with some brands, (like SCX DIGITAL and Carrera Digital132), they will run out of gas. Check out our articles below on analog and digital track sets to learn more about these great sets. Plus,check out our slot car videos for analog racing or digital racing, you can see the different brands in action! We hope you find this info helpful, we are glad to help you if you are still confused, just give us a call during Hotslots132.com business hours. We will be happy to help you choose a great slot car set!

Other Articles:

Which is Best Analog or Digital Track Sets?

Choosing an Analog Track Set

Choosing a Digital Track Set

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