Which Thomas & Friends toy is best?

Thomas is a little tank engine that lives on the fictional island of Sodor. He’s not just an engine, though; he’s an engine with a human face. Thomas and his other engine friends get into trouble and back out of it again by always being “really useful engines.” Thomas & Friends appear in books and movies and on television shows.

Children make up their own stories and adventures while playing with their very own, very blue Thomas. If you’re interested in a top-of-the-line Thomas & Friends toy, take a look at the Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Power Wheels. This ride-on Thomas & Friends toy comes with its very own track for safe riding by even the youngest children.

What to know before you buy a Thomas & Friends toy

Thomas is a kindhearted blue tank engine with a human face and lots of friends. Thomas interacts with humans sometimes, but his real friends have their own names, faces and numbers. Thomas is engine # 1.

Thomas’ friends

  • Edward is engine #2. He’s also blue, and he runs his own branch railroad. Edward is a wise and clever optimist who shares his knowledge and encourages other engines. He’s one of the oldest engines on Sodor and is occasionally teased by others about his age.
  • Henry is engine #3. Henry is a green, all-purpose tender who works on the Main Line. He didn’t operate properly when he was young and needed a special diet of Welsh coal. He was rebuilt after an accident and now looks and works better than ever.
  • Gordon is engine #4. He is a blue express passenger engine and one of the fastest and strongest on the island. Because he’s so big and fast, Gordon feels superior to the other engines and is sometimes boastful about it.
  • James is engine #5. He’s a red tender who usually works on the Main Line. James is proud of his bright red paint and can be vain about it, but doesn’t like getting dirty.
  • Percy is engine #6. Percy is Thomas’s best friend. He is a small green tank engine that works on Thomas’s branch line, and his favorite job is delivering the mail. He likes to play tricks on others and often gets into trouble.

What to look for in a quality Thomas & Friends toy

You have many choices of types of Thomas & Friends toys. Here are four of the most popular categories.

Train track sets

Track sets are made of sustainably sourced wood. They come in pieces that snap together easily and you can assemble them in all kinds of shapes and configurations. Because this is how Thomas & Friends toys get around, track sets are the most popular Thomas & Friends toy accessories.

Wooden engines

These are the classic Thomas & Friends toys. The wood is smooth and solid and connects with magnets to make trains with as many engines and cars as you wish.

Battery-operated engines 

The more the merrier in the world of Thomas & Friends toys. Battery-operated engines allow Thomas & Friends toys to run around on track sets under their own power.

Interactive toys

These Thomas & Friends toys are for toddlers and preschoolers. Storytime Thomas tells stories that feature lights, sounds and music. Count with Me Thomas counts along with children as they put large coins in the slot like a jukebox.

How much you can expect to spend on a Thomas & Friends toy

For less than $20, you can get engines, books and some interactive Thomas & Friends toys. Multipack sets, simple track sets and mini train collections all cost $20-$40. Over $40 is where you’ll find more elaborate track sets and notable Sodor landmarks.

Thomas & Friends toy FAQ

How can you stop the batteries from running out of power so quickly?

A. Make sure you turn off the battery-operated trains when kids forget to, so they get a chance to rest between uses and you don’t have to replace them so often.

At what age do kids tire of Thomas & Friends toys?

A. Most kids get interested in Thomas & Friends toys as toddlers and stay interested through early elementary-school years.

What’s the best Thomas & Friends toy to buy?

Top Thomas & Friends toy 

Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Power Wheels

Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Power Wheels 

What you need to know: This ride-on Thomas & Friends toy comes with a track for safe riding by even the youngest children.

What you’ll love: This 6-volt, battery-powered, toddler-friendly Thomas & Friends toy is operated by a simple push of a button. Kids easily learn how to start, stop and steer. This Power Wheels toy moves at 1 mile per hour. Toddlers press the yellow button for train whistles and sounds from their favorite blue engine.

What you should consider: This is a very expensive toy.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Thomas & Friends toy for the money

Wooden Thomas & Friends Engine #1

Wooden Thomas & Friends Engine #1

What you need to know: This Thomas & Friends toy is a timeless classic. 

What you’ll love: The design of this Thomas & Friends toy is solid, ultra durable and made of sustainably sourced wood. Choose from 10 Thomas & Friends characters, including Thomas himself, Ashima, Bertie, Harold, Diesel and five more. Magnetic connectors allow this toy to connect to other Thomas & Friends railroad cars that are sold separately.

What you should consider: This Thomas & Friends toy doesn’t talk or make train sounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Thomas & Friends Minis 30-Pack of Toy Trains

Thomas & Friends Minis 30-Pack of Toy Trains

What you need to know: You can create your own 30-car super train with these mini toys that link together easily.

What you’ll love: This set of 30 toy trains is a great start for those who want to collect all 80 Thomas & Friends minis. Each of these tiny trains has its own special design, including Neon Splatter, Monkey Percy and Camouflage Rosie. Included are three exclusive beach theme designs.

What you should consider: These Thomas & Friends toys are only 2 inches long.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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