11 Best Toy Excavators and Diggers: Large, RC, Ride On, Wooden, Metal + More!

Looking for the best toy excavator can feel very overwhelming especially if you do not understand the differences between construction vehicle diggers!

Below you'll learn what a toy excavator is compared to other diggers, how to choose the best one, and of course, our top picks for ride on excavator toys, stand alone excavators, construction vehicle sets, wooden toy excavators, and remote controlled ones!

Table Of Contents
  1. Best Excavator Toys
  2. Best Ride-On Excavators: 
  3. Best Remote Control Excavators: 
  4. Best Wooden Excavator Toys For Montessori At Home: 
  5. How To Choose The Best Excavator Toy: Drivability, and digging
  6. FAQs About Toy Excavators:
  7. Final Thoughts:

Overall Best Excavator Toy: Bruder 02446 Cat Small Wheel Excavator

The Bruder Cat Small Wheel Excavator is our best overall pick. With moving tires and a working arm, you can take this excavator to the sand, which makes it a great indoor/outdoor toy. Plus it’s a relatively affordable pick compared to many others on the market, especially of it's quality.

It's a great realistic choice for children as young as three. Parents can breathe easy when it comes to safety as there are no screws, glue, or batteries. It’s made from ABS plastic which is fade-resistant and high quality.

The excavator arm can be easily raised and lowered by using the large lever — which is easier for little hands to manage. Plus, it comes fully assembled for quick, ready to go play! Best of all, you’ll love that this looks just like the real Caterpillar excavators.

Pros
  • Ideal for kids ages 3 and up
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors
  • Extremely durable
  • Fully functional
Cons
  • Handle attached to boom requires some coordination to operate and could pinch little fingers until child learns how to use it properly

Best Overall Excavator + Digger Toy Set: iPlay, iLearn Construction Site Vehicle Set

For parents that prefer to pick a full construction set, the iPlay, iLearn Construction Site Vehicle Set is a great 360-degree solution for under $50!

Along with an excavator, you’ll also get plenty of other construction vehicles including a toy crane, a cement truck, a steamroller, and a dump truck. Plus you also get safety accessories. 

All of the vehicles feature moving parts for realistic play. The 52-piece set is made from plastic and some items like the tractor feature interchangeable parts for extended play. You’ll like that this set can be used in the sand, and that it’s ideal for group play thanks to the large range of vehicles. 

NOTE: This set is smaller than some on the list, so if you have specific size specs in mind, keep in mind that many of the trucks in the set are no taller than 2-4 inches.

Pros
  • Complete construction site set
  • Encourages group play
  • Interchangeable parts for the tractor
Cons
  • Not as durable as other options on the list (particularly the crane tips over and breaks often)

Best Dump Truck Excavator Toy Set: Cat Construction 7” Dump Truck

For little ones that want their construction vehicles to look just like the ones they see in real life, you can’t go wrong with this Cat Construction 7” Combo Set. Designed to be a replica of authentic Caterpillar vehicles, this three-piece set not only includes the excavator but also comes with a dump truck and front loader. 

These realistic, functional trucks are intended for indoor and outdoor use and are made from sturdy plastic with working parts so your children can enjoy more realistic play.

They measure in at over 4″ tall and are rated ideal for children ages three to six. Plus parents will appreciate the “easy open” packaging.

Pros
  • Caterpillar vehicle replicas
  • 3-piece set
  • Working parts and safe for indoor and outdoor play
  • Budget friendly
Cons
  • Not as durable as other options on the list

Best Mini Excavator Toy Set: JOYIN 11 in 1 Die-cast Construction Truck Toy Set

Whether you’re trying to maximize space in your home or are looking for a travel-friendly construction set, the 11 in 1 Die-cast Construction Truck Toy Set is a compact option featuring 11 mini construction trucks that fit inside a larger truck! It's the perfect portable set for the little construction fan in your life. 

Along with 11 miniature construction vehicles that feature metal bodies and plastic moving parts, you’ll also get eight little men posed in action as they work on the site. Best of all, you’ll like that all of the pieces are designed to fit inside a larger construction truck for easy storage when playtime is over. This toy is rated for children three and older.

Pros
  • Compact, space saving design
  • Large multi-piece construction site set
  • Mini vehicles feature moving parts
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Plastic attaching parts are not as durable as all metal options on the list

Best Large Excavator Toy: TOMY John Deere Big Scoop 15” Excavator

If you want a solid, budget friendly, nice sized functional excavator, you can't go wrong with the TOMY John Deere Big Scoop 15” Excavator. This is also a fantastic choice for dirt and sand!

The 15-inch long toy truck that features rolling wheels, working excavator toy arm, and scooper.

Kids can easily operate the arm by using the large, sturdy handle, but will need to use their hand to scoop with the bucket. This is one of the best toy excavators for sandbox and backyard dirt play. As an officially licensed John Deere product, it's realistic design mimics the life sized John Deere construction trucks. This truck is rated for children from ages three to five.

Pros
  • Large size is ideal for fun with sand and dirt
  • Functional excavator
  • Suitable for indoor/outdoor play
Cons
  • Scoop bucket must be manipulated by hand; not lever which only controls arm

Best Beach Excavator Toy: CAT Sand Set

If you're looking for something a little cheaper than the TOMY John Deere Big Scoop 15” Excavator in case your kid forgets it at the beach, then we love the CAT Sand Set.

It boasts a whopping 6″ in height, and is about 11″ long with elevated wheels for a smooth ride that won't get stuck like smaller excavators in soft sand.

The excavator bucket is quite deep and rotates a full 90 degrees inward to scoop a nice chunk of sand each time the child works the levered arm.

In addition, it comes with a shovel and claw arm for multiple kids to play at once, and a construction hard hat. The excavator toy truck is made from a lightweight plastic. Most parents say it's held up quite well with their toddler or young child.

NOTE: If not interested in the the construction hat and additional sand shovel, this toy excavator does come in a 3 set with a dump truck and front loader here.

Pros
  • 3 piece set with separate hard hat and shovel claw
  • While it's not large, it is larger than many excavator toys and intended for sand use
  • Realistic, functional lightweight design
Cons
  • Some reviewers RECEIVED damaged or defective products; but generally if it isn't damaged upon arrival most consider it well made for the price

Best Excavator Toy For Toddler: VTech Scoop and Play Digger

If you want a construction toy that’s a bit more interactive, you can’t go wrong with the VTech Scoop and Play Digger. This battery powered toy is ideal for babies and young toddlers. It counts the items as they're dropped in the chute, and has audio for introducing shapes, songs, and construction phrases.

This excavator toy features light-up buttons and also plays songs as well as offers a quiz mode. To activate the scoop, children must push the loader at the yellow handle, the arm then goes up and down to catch the included pieces and tosses them in the chute.

This toy is rated for children from ages 18 months to four years. Pieces can also be stored inside the excavator when not in use.

Pros
  • Repetitive phrases for counting and colors
  • Encourages fine and gross motor skills
Cons
  • Not an outdoor toy
  • Doesn’t have the realistic construction toy look

Best Plush Excavator Toy: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Whether your kid is obsessed with excavators or just a fan of the classic Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site book, this plush excavator toy is sure to be a hit! This nine-inch doll does more than just look cute.

Measuring in at 9 inches tall, it's soft and cuddly for home or travel.

When you press the back of the excavator, it make an engine noises and the headlights light up; though you cannot change the batteries so once it dies this feature no longer works.

It's a great way to encourage interactive reading experiences when read alongside the Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site books, and can serve as a wonderful bedtime toy to help little ones drift off to dreamland. 

Pros
  • Safe for all ages
  • Features lights and noises
  • Cute companion to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site book
Cons
  • No way to change the battery so the lights + sounds are very short lived
  • Only one sound and arm doesn't move

Best Character Excavator Toy: Blippi Mini Excavator + Fire Truck

What kid doesn't love Blippi?! While not a classic character toy, it's often one adults overlook, despite the educational Youtube channel for toddlers having over 12 billion (yes that's billion with a B) views.

The show features “Blippi” going to different museums, farms, fire stations, and more (including a construction site series) teaching kids all about community and science.

The Blippi Mini Vehicles comes in two-pack sets and this one features an excavator with working shovel and fire truck with a ladder that lifts. Each vehicle has the Blippi character seated inside.

While these aren’t true-to-life construction toys, they’re fun with moving parts and working wheels so your child can push these mini cars all over the house and make an affordable pick to bring to the playground or take on toss in a purse for on the go toys. They measure about 3″ long and can double as a cake topper for Blippi or construction themed birthdays! This set is rated safe for children ages three and older. 

If you prefer something larger, Target also has an 8 piece set that makes sounds and music featuring a much larger excavator.

Pros
  • 2-pack vehicle set
  • Cars have moving parts and working wheels
  • Safe for children 3+
Cons
  • Quality is equal to a “Happy Meal toy” so you're really paying for brand name

Best Digger Toys For 2 Year Old: LEGO DUPLO Construction Set

Why just use digger toys when you can construct them too?! The LEGO DUPLO Construction Set 10931 provides a unique STEM challenge of construction your dump truck and excavator which can then be used for pretend play.

Unlike traditional Lego's, LEGO DUPLO is rated safe for 2 year olds and up.

In total, you’ll get 20 pieces which includes two construction workers, a rock, and working excavator toy parts on both the digger and the truck.

The excavator cabin rotates, and the arm pivots at 3 different points. Assembly is designed with little ones in mind so it’s an easy process you can do with them until they learn to do it on their own.

Pros
  • Supports problem solving skills, pretend play, and gross and fine motor skills
  • STEM aligned
  • Fun for parents to do with children
Cons
  • Not ideal for sand/dirt as sand can get between the LEGO bricks.

Best Ride-On Excavators: 

Overall Best Sit On Toy Excavator: Kettler CAT Ride-On: 360-Degree Excavator Shovel/Digger

If you want the most realistic, fully operational ride on excavator digger toy with middle of the road pricing, then the CAT Ride-On Digger is the winner.

Rated safe for children as young as 3, it can handle up to 75 lbs. It features four rolling wheels with rubberized treads to smoothly move backwards and forward. The large digging shovel rotates 360 degrees around the main digger base. The arm features two levers for maneuvering the down and then scooping sand or dirt.

We like that you can lock the arm into position if you prefer, and it has the most realistic features for a ride on excavator we could fine. The wheels are made from resin and feature oversized tread for better traction on sand and dirt. The bucket is rated safe for use with sand, loose dirt, and even snow. Note that some light assembly is required when it arrives.

NOTE: If you have a John Deere fan on your hands, you can also purchase this excavator with John Deere branding instead of CAT branding on Amazon or Walmart.

Pros
  • 360-degree swivel support 
  • Dual-lever control of arm and bucket
  • Enhanced wheels for better traction and smoother ride
  • Kettler brand customer service is great
Cons
  • All plastic design

Most Affordable Ride On Excavator Toy: The Big Dig + Roll Ride On Excavator With Wheels

Reeves International Big Dig and Roll is a ride-on excavator with fully functional arm and scooper. While it doesn't offer the most realistic excavator vehicle exterior, it is the best functioning excavator that allows kids to sit on and roll around.

You’ll get a sturdy metal frame set with a seat that features a 360-degree swivel and a working excavator arm. 

Your child can use the handles to raise and lower the arm and adjust the bucket angle to dig up sand or dirt. This toy can dig to depths of 15 inches and has an arm extension of up to  33 inches. Keep in mind that this toy is rated for up to 110 pounds.

Pros
  • Real life immersive experience 
  • 360-degree seat swivel
  • Dual lever design to control arm and bucket
Cons
  • Some people struggled with the bucket falling off but it's an easy fix; replace the screw and bolt with a locking bolt so it won't loosen and fall off

Best Ride On Excavator Toy For Toddlers: POCO DIVO Digger Scooter Construction Truck

For the ultimate ride-on toy excavator, you’ll want something that can also make noises and lights up — just like a real excavator. The POCO DIVO Digger does all of the above.

Parents of toddlers can appreciate the high back seat with a handle if they need to push/pull their toddler on it or carry it home if their toddler decides they no longer want to ride it (because let's be honest, toddler's can be very fickle!).

This ride-on toy is rated for children ages three to 5 years old with a weight limit of 45 lbs. The music is activated as your child turns the steering wheel, along with flashing lights. Toddlers can use a handle to move the excavator arm up and down, or turn it left to right. The driver's cab also rotates. Note that some assembly is required, but shouldn’t take more than a half hour to complete.

Pros
  • Working wheels, arm, and bucket
  • Includes motion activated lights and music
Cons
  • Shorter height and lifespan due to smaller size than others on the list

Best Pedal Ride-On Toy Excavator: John Deere Backhoe + Front Loader

While this is the most expensive ride-on toy excavator, it also includes the most features. Unlike the others on this list which are powered by children walking the wheels (think the Flintstones), this one features pedals and a low frame similar to a tricycle.

It features the signature John Deere branding as well as a front loader and backhoe excavator arm, both are fully functional. The backhoe digger has a stabilizer foot and safety latch and both loaders can lower, scoop, and tilt with levers.

The seat has 2 adjustable positions to grow with your child. The front hood lifts for storage and the tires have a rubberized tread for a smooth ride. Assembly is required and the maximum weight limit is 50 lbs. It's recommended for children 3 to 8 years old and features a 3 year limited warranty.

Pros
  • Fully functional backhoe and front loader
  • Pedal ride on design
Cons
  • Challenging to assemble

Best Remote Control Excavators: 

Overall Best RC Excavator Toy: Double E Remote Control Excavator RC Toy

The Double E RC Excavator is built on a 1 to 20 scale that is a realistic replica of construction vehicles. It's affordable compared to most of the excavator RC, and rated safe for 6 years old and up.

It comes with 3 powerful motors on it's digging arm to lift and scoop, heavy duty rubberized tires, and a cab that fully rotates 660 degrees in all directions.

The remote control uses 2.4GHz and allows you to operate as far as 100 feet away. It includes everything you'll need, except 2 AA batteries for the remote, in the package from the transmitter, rechargeable battery pack, a USB charging cable.

It features an 11 channel function that allows you to go forward, backward, left, and rotate, as well as dig and rotate while making sounds and flashing lights.

Pros
  • Runs on rechargeable batteries
  • 100ft range for remote
  • Works with sand and dirt
  • Fun for kids and adults
Cons
  • Rechargeable batteries may not last long; suggest getting a back up

Best RC Excavator Toy for Toddlers: Power Gearz Jr. 

Big kids shouldn't get all the fun! Power Gearz Jr. makes a great first RC toddler excavator toy too! It features a kid friendly remote control with 2 large buttons for moving forward, backwards, and turning. Toddlers will probably love that it makes sounds and lights up too!

Parents can appreciate the round, soft edges and flexible antenna from a safety perspective. A little included construction worker can see in the truck's seat or be used for pretend play.

The remote control works up to 98 feet. It's rated safe for 24 months and up.

Pros
  • Toddler appropriate remote control for independent play
  • Separate character included for pretend play
Cons
  • No option to turn off sound or lower volume
  • Can burn through batteries quickly
  • All plastic design

Best Remote Control Toy Excavator For Older Kids: LEGO Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator 42100 Building Kit

Why just play with a toy when you can build it first? The LEGO Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator Building Kit is a challenging option for children who might otherwise be bored with a traditional excavator truck. This 4,108-piece set will give your child a hands-on STEM lesson as they must first put the truck together before they can control it. 

This high tech excavator is fun for kids 12+ and adults. It features 2 advanced smart hubs with 7 motors. This is part of LEGO’s Technic collection which relies on the Technic Control+ app to operate their creation via Bluetooth so you never have to worry about losing a remote or it running out of batteries.

It operates via four control screens which controls the forward and backwards drive, as well as the bucket, develop movement sequences, and even complete challenges. Because of the multiple small parts, this toy is rated safe for children ages 12 and up.

Pros
  • Encourages advanced STEM learning
  • App-supported RC functionality
  • Realistic design
  • Can purchase replacement pieces from LEGO
  • Cheaper to purchase kit versus all individual parts from LEGO
Cons
  • Requires 8 AA batteries
  • Not suitable for all terrains

Best Wooden Excavator Toys For Montessori At Home: 

Best Overall: Melissa & Doug

Melissa & Doug are known for their affordable wooden toys. They offer two different excavator style construction sets.

Dump Truck + Loader

This Melissa & Doug set is an affordable pick that comes with a classic dump truck, and a wooden construction truck featuring a front loader and excavator backhoe arm. It also includes a towing attachment, four wooden constructions pieces, and a wooden road barrier.

Trailer + Excavator

This 3 piece set includes a truck, flatbed trailer, and excavator that swivels 360 degrees.

With both sets: the excavator does scoop, lift, and tilt, though the wheels and buckets on it are plastic. It's rated safe for children 3 and up and parents can appreciate the frustration free packaging.

Pros
  • Painted wood construction
  • Functional pieces
  • Simple design
Cons
  • Plastic wheels and buckets

Best Quality Wooden Excavator: Indigo Jamm Digger Dave

Featuring all sustainable rubber wood construction, and non toxic paint, the push along excavator from Indigo Jamm is not only excellent quality but gorgeous!

The excavator scoop is moveable, as is the front loader bucket. Kids will enjoy using this wooden truck for pretend play while parents can appreciate it working on fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.

The digger also comes with a removable wooden driver and measures in at nearly 7″ tall, and about 12.5″ long.

Pros
  • Plastic free
  • Made from sustainable rubber wood
  • Includes removable driver
  • Easy to maneuver functional pieces
Cons
  • Brand isn't as accessible in the US (limited supply)

Mini Excavator + Digger Set: Melissa & Doug Wooden Construction Site Vehicles With Wooden Storage Tray

The Melissa & Doug 8 pieces wooden construction site vehicle set is the best mini excavator toy set we could find. It includes a wooden storage tray and 7 wooden construction vehicles (steam roller, cement mixer, forklift, dump truck, frontloader, crane with construction pieces for lifting, and a backhoe excavator), all with moving parts

It's the most comprehensive mini construction vehicle set for the price, and kids will surely love playing with them indoors and outdoors. The construction pieces are quite small and we would strongly urge parents to hold off on introducing those until at least 3 years old as they do pose a choking hazard.

As with all Melissa & Doug wooden toys, they are not the best quality in order to keep them relatively affordable. For most families, the quality will be fine, however if you prefer something a little nicer, then we love Le Toy Van's mini wooden construction vehicle set. It comes with only five construction vehicles (excavator, crane, dump truck, steam roller, and front loader) and two traffic cones. But they use 80% rubberword (Melissa & Doug usually use a pretty cheap plywood), 12% mdf, 5% plastic, and 2% steel for a more durable finish. All of their paint is non toxic as well.

Pros
  • Comes with storage box
  • Includes 7 construction vehicles and accessories
Cons
  • Plywood/Not the best quality

How To Choose The Best Excavator Toy: Drivability, and digging

Toy excavators are the perfect way for children to spend time being tactile. They get to play in the dirt — or on the floor — while discovering how items work and getting their first exposure to core concepts associated with STEM learning. But picking the right toy is about more than simply looking for something “fun” to play with. 

Age

As with any other toy you purchase, you want to make sure that you’re picking an age-appropriate toy excavator for your child. Younger children shouldn’t have a toy that features small parts that might easily come off and pose a choking hazard. 

Furthermore, you want to keep dexterity in mind with toy excavators as many require children to manipulate the scoop bucket.

Similarly, an older child might find an excavator that lights up and makes a bunch of noise boring fairly quickly. Instead, look for durable open ended options that don't rely on a single function or material for scooping and digging (e.g. the VTech Scoop and Play Digger probably won't last beyond 3.5 years old).

Your safest all around option when choosing a toy excavator that can grow with a child through the years is something large, open ended, durable and manually operated.

Materials

Metal construction toys will always be the most durable and longest lasting, and they have a price tag to reflect that. However, these typically also sell individual replacement parts, which is nice.

Your second most durable material will be a rubberwood, followed by ABS plastic.

As always, look for lead-free metals and paint that is non-toxic and lead-free. 

Weatherproof

If you live in a colder climate and your child wants to use the excavator in snow, opting for something higher quality can be a safer option as some cheap plastic can become brittle and snap in extreme temperatures.

If your child wants to use their toy excavator outdoors, keep in mind that water, humidity, and sunlight can all cause stickers to peel and paints to chip more quickly.

Most toy excavators are designed for light use with sand and dirt, but always double check this.

Style:

Analog

Analog options require the child to completely manually manipulate them. The pros of this include more fine motor skill development, encourages more open ended and imaginative play, and that parents don't need to replace batteries.

For families following Waldorf or Montessori at home, this encourages a deeper engagement with the otys and encourage longer lasting play, versus light up toys that just entertained.

Powered

Other options may be battery powered or even remote controlled.

For battery powered excavators, we suggest looking to see if there is an “on/off” switch in case parents want to turn off the lights/sounds for a time.

For remote controlled toy excavators, keep an eye on length of play between battery charges and whether or not the remote control is too complex for the child.

Ride-on

Ride on excavators can be an awesome option for playgrounds and backyards. This style is generally rolls around via pedals, similar to a tricycle, or via the child sitting and pushing with their feet (think the Flintstones or a scooter).

Some ride on excavators feature lights and sounds, others are entirely operated manually with levers and handles.

Sets vs. Single Items

Depending on the level of construction vehicle enthusiast you have on your hands will really determine whether you get a single excavator or a toy at in our opinion.

For truly detailed, realistic, high quality toy excavators you'll only find that sold as a single item.

However, sets can be a great started option to see how interested your child is in construction vehicle toys, are more cost effective, and are better suited for multiple kids playing together.

Price

Toy excavators come in every price point from $15 to $450. Saying on budget is obviously priority.

However it's important to consider whether or not replacement parts can be purchased separately, and if that even matters to you. For some people, the cheapest toy excavator will make the most sense. For others, they may want to spring for a more expensive one that sells individual replacement parts, like Bruder, so the toy lasts for years to come.

FAQs About Toy Excavators:

What is a toy excavator? 

When it comes to the world of construction vehicle toys everything can begin looking the same! The key features of a toy excavator are the boom, dipper, bucket, and rotating cab. Some excavators have tracks, other have wheels.

If you have a construction vehicle enthusiast on your hands the big thing to look out for is whether they'll have strong feelings about a backhoe (which is also an excavator) vs. a big excavator. An excavator is generally larger than a backhoe, sits on tracks, and used for more heavy duty construction jobs. Whereas a backhoe also typically features a front loader, has wheels, and used in farming or lighter jobs.

Both of these versions are generally referred to as excavators, especially in the toy space. You can find toy them in a range of styles too, including models made from plastic, wood, and metal options. 

Are excavator toys good for children?

Yes! Excavator toys are excellent for children as they allow them to learn about the world around them through play. Beyond simply having fun, children of all ages and genders can begin to understand basic engineering concepts that relate to STEM learning, while building critical mental and social developmental skills. Toy excavators encourage a slew of skills and a respect for our farmers and construction workers.

With that said, the biggest con of toy excavators is that they're one of the more fragile construction vehicle toys and require some of the greatest skill in manipulating the bucket.

Benefits Of A Toy Excavator: 

  • Respect for community and other industries
  • Pretend and imaginative play
  • STEM Learning
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Language development
  • Opportunity to work on social skills and sharing
  • Learning to care for things

What skills do excavator toys work on?

Excavator toys offer educational and developmental benefits for children. From an educational perspective, children begin to learn about technology and engineering principles — two core tenets of STEM learning. 

Developmentally, children gain physical, cognitive, and social skills. Depending on the excavator you select, children hone their fine and gross motor skills. Similarly, their ability to reason and problem solve are enhanced as they work through the process of moving dirt or objects from one location to another by using the excavator. This encourages independent play and is critical in developing their internal reward system, confidence, and self esteem.

Even playing with an excavator toy independently, can actually help them develop social skills, especially if they have a construction worker or driver doll, as they act out scenes on a construction site.

Along with building their creativity and self worth through imaginative play, when playing in groups, children learn to take turns and play with others.

Additionally, they build language skills whether playing independently or by playing together. Children are generally curious and will likely want to know all the parts of their new construction toy, a trip to the library to find some books to answer all of their questions can be great for developing language and a love of literacy too!

How do toy excavators work?

Generally, toy excavators work by manipulating the boom arm to lift and scoop items up with the bucket. Typically, the cab rotates, and the wheels move.

Depending on the type of toy excavtor, how these function will vary. Some require sole manual manipulation, others are battery powered, and others use a remote control.

What brands generally make good toy excavators?

The best excavator toys are generally going to come from brands like Bruder and LEGO since you can generally purchase replacement pieces if the toy breaks, really extending it's life.

Beyond that, John Deere and Caterpillar make some of the more realistic and affordable options that tend to be more durable than TONKA, Little Tikes, or smaller brands.

How do you care for and clean a toy excavator?

Generally speaking, you can clean a toy excavator by wiping it down with a damp cloth (not wet).

For more detailed toy excavators, you may want to use a Qtip or air duster to get into hard to reach nooks and crannies.

Typically you always want to avoid letting any toy sit in water or or the sun.

Which toy excavators are good for a sandbox?

Most hard sided toy excavators are made for sandbox use. Things to look for and consider before bringing your toy excavator into sand or dirt would be the wheel depth (how easily it can ride in sand) and how hard it'll be to clean sand off afterwards.

A little trick for cleaning sand granules from hard to reach places is to use an air duster.

Some people do not want to put plush excavators, lego bricks, or RC powered models in the sand as they do present a greater likelihood of getting damaged or being more challenging to clean.

As always, check with the manufacturer’s guidelines before allowing your child to use a toy in outdoor conditions. 

Can you use a toy excavator with other toy cars and construction toys?

Absolutely! Toy excavators are more fun when you can use them with other toy cars or even construction toys. Many excavators, while sold separately, are intended to be part of a complete set for a toy construction site. Using them with other toys and sets can make pretend play more exciting. 

Final Thoughts:

Toy excavators are a fun way for little ones to get hands-on play time while also learning about STEM principles in a low-stress environment.

For stand alone toy excavators, the Bruder Small Cat Excavator is a great option for kids thanks to its realistic design based off of real life Caterpillar trucks and wallet-friendly price. For toddlers though, we suggest the LEGO DUPLO Construction Set as it's rated safe for 2 year olds and up, comes as set, while providing an additional activity of constructing the excavator in an age appropriate way.

The best ride on toy excavator is the Kettler CAT Ride-On Excavator. Powered by a child's feet, the four wheel toy excavator features a rotating cab and multi-lever crane arm. We like that this option has one of the largest weight capacities of 75 lbs while also featuring a realistic design.

And while the Indigo Jamm Digger Dave is definitely the best wooden toy excavator, we know it's not in everyone's budget which is why we love the Melissa & Doug excavator set which comes with a dump truck, loading car, and construction accessories.

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