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Which toy cranes are best?

From wooden toys to remote-controlled toys, cranes are a popular addition to sets of construction vehicles. Children can learn the role these machines play in real life and how they interact with other machinery by building collections or interacting with other children and their toys. 

Kids’ toy cranes are also helpful in developing skills such as eye-hand coordination, while ride-on cranes will help with gross motor skills. An excellent choice when buying a toy crane for a child is the reliable and rugged Tonka Steel Classics Mighty Crane

What to know before you buy a toy crane

Construction vehicles have made great children’s toys for decades, and Tonka Trucks have consistently made the most reputable. These vehicles should be tough, even the toy versions, and they don’t come much tougher than Tonka. However, what should you think about when considering a toy crane?


Safety is always of paramount importance when buying a toy for any child. Always check with the manufacturer for their age-range recommendation and adhere to it. Small parts are considered choking hazards, and on top of the advice given, use common sense when giving a child a toy.


Don’t be that parent that forgets the batteries and disappoints a child on their birthday! Sometimes batteries are included, built-in and or not present at all. If they are omitted, avoid Christmas or birthday disappointment by remembering to buy them.

Compatible vehicles

Vehicles and machines don’t have to be the same brand to be able to use them together. However, more often than not, it does help. Using same-branded construction vehicles together will be more enjoyable because they will be the correct size. Also, for remote-controlled (RC) toys, make sure it has a 2.4 gigahertz transmitter to enable interaction with other RC toys.

What to look for in a quality toy crane


Lights and sound all add to the experience for kids. However, some toys are built to be imagination driven. In this situation, children often love to invent their own sound effects. However, compatible action figures or realistic accessories like traffic cones and street signs always help children develop their created worlds further.


A well-detailed crane is always going to go down well with anyone who wants to play with it. The better the detail, the more realistic the vehicle is for the child. Having a toy that looks similar to the cranes your child will see when out and about will only serve further to boost imagination.


Toy cranes are going to be played with outside for the most part. Children will want to get their toys into the dirt or sand and create realistic scenarios. Cheaply made toys won’t withstand this punishment, and a toy crane is no different. The toy should be made with durable toxin-free plastic and perhaps even some steel parts.

How much you can expect to spend on a toy crane

Simple handheld toy cranes can be bought for around $10, while better models with more working features will set you back from $20-$60. RC cranes are more expensive, and a good one will cost at least $60 up to a few hundred dollars for more sophisticated models.

Toy crane FAQ

What other vehicles can a toy crane be used with?

A. Cranes are used in transportation, manufacturing and construction. They can be a machine or part of a vehicle. This means they can interact with barges, trucks, ships or excavators, to name just a few. 

Will a toy crane be noisy?

A. A toy crane may have features that can make a noise, but others will be silent and require your child to create the noises for it. Some battery-powered toys may have noises to make the play experience more authentic, so consider your threshold to noisy toys before you buy.

What’s the best toy crane to buy?

Top toy crane

Tonka Steel Classics Mighty Crane

Tonka Steel Classics Mighty Crane

What you need to know: Tonka has pulled off another brilliant Steel Classics construction vehicle for children over three.

What you’ll love: Children will love playing with this crane together with a collection of other Tonka Steel Classics construction vehicles alone or while interacting with other children. This rugged and durable truck is made from steel and sturdy plastic for an authentic feel.

What you should consider: Due to regulations, the truck is primarily plastic with steel parts instead of the classic all-steel Tonka trucks of yesteryear.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top toy crane for the money

Thomas & Friends Wood Toys: Cranky at the Docks

Thomas & Friends Wood Toys: Cranky at the Docks

What you need to know: This wooden and plastic set is aimed at young children from 3-7 years and features the character Cranky the Crane from the Thomas the Tank Engine range.

What you’ll love: This crane is compatible with Thomas rail sets sold separately, and train tracks from those sets can be joined on to this one to build cool worlds. Kids can pick up cargo from the included Bulstrode the Barge character with the magnetic crane.

What you should consider: Despite being promoted as a wooden set, most of it is made from plastic.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Top Race 15 Channel RC Crane Professional Series

Top Race 15 Channel RC Crane Professional Series

What you need to know: This excellent 15-channel remote-control crane is suitable for kids and adults from 12 years old.

What you’ll love: This crane lifts cargo up and down, and the cabin spins 680 degrees. It features authentic lights and sounds, and the 2.4 gigahertz transmitter enables operation from over 100 feet away. This also means it can be used at the same time as other RC vehicles.

What you should consider: The two AA transmitter batteries are not included.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Barry Peacock writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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