Which wooden toy chest is best?
Cheap plastic toy chests are a dime a dozen. Once your child grows out of one, you can’t use it for much else. If the quality is particularly low, you won’t be able to donate it or pass it along to a friend. And if that chest is emblazoned with a TV or video game character your child suddenly decides they hate? Forget it.
Wooden toy chests solve these problems. Their sturdy construction stands up to the wear and tear of playtime, and their classic design never goes out of style. Our top pick, the KidKraft Limited Edition Toy Box, is built tough and comes in a beautiful espresso color.
What to know before you buy a wooden toy chest
Toy chest vs. toy organizer
Wooden toy chests are boxes with lids that provide a single large space for storage. The design of wooden toy organizers can vary. They usually feature multiple smaller spaces for storage, sometimes with lids and sometimes without.
Toy chests are best suited for stuffed animals or bigger toys. Toy organizers are best suited for building blocks or smaller toys. You or your child can just toss things into a toy chest at the end of the day, while a toy organizer requires a more disciplined storage plan.
If you feel like a toy chest is the right choice for your child, it’s time to select a lid style. Most wooden toy chests have lids attached with a hinge. A special mechanism in the lid ensures it stays up and won’t accidentally slam down on little fingers. A few models have a lid that removes completely, like a shoebox.
Many toy chests have a lid that doubles as a bench when closed. This bench may or may not have padding. This can be a great place for your child to read, tie their shoes or display a cherished toy.
Pay attention to the overall size and the interior storage size. Bigger isn’t necessarily better. The idea of a toy chest is to keep all of your child’s favorite items at the ready. Toys that only see occasional use should be fine on a shelf or in a closet.
If your child will be sitting on top of their chest, check the manufacturer’s recommended age and weight limit. Make sure your child knows they should only sit on their chest when it’s completely closed.
What to look for in a quality wooden toy chest
In addition to locking hinges that prevent the lid from falling suddenly, most toy chests have cutouts at the top to prevent fingers from being squashed. These also serve as ventilation for the toys inside.
Another safety concern is chest weight. The heavier the chest, the less likely it will budge if your child climbs on top of it during play. Just keep in mind that a heavier chest also is more cumbersome for you to move, especially if it’s full.
Custom design options
Wooden toy chests come in a variety of colors and finishes. Most are treated to resist scratches. Some parents prefer a white or beige chest that can be customized with stickers or perhaps even decorated as a family art project. Others may prefer a deeper shade of wood that more easily hides any minor surface damage.
Some models have a sticker kit with letters so your child can put their name on the box. Other models can be customized with a name or favorite animal while ordering. This can be a wonderful extra touch if you are giving the chest as a gift.
Added mobility and storage
While more common on plastic models, a few smaller wooden toy chests have wheels on the bottom. These wheels make it easy for your child to take their toys from room to room.
A few wooden toy chests also feature a drawer or two. These drawers make it simpler to keep track of toys with a lot of pieces. These models can be a good middle ground between toy chests and toy organizers.
How much you can expect to spend on a wooden toy chest
Basic smaller wooden toy chests start at $75-$100. Full-size wooden toy chests with added features and better materials are generally $100-$150. Handmade premium wooden toy chests with name personalization or other custom touches can be found for $150-$225.
Wooden toy chest FAQ
Can you use a wooden storage box intended for adults instead?
A. Yes and no. Wooden storage boxes intended for adults likely do not have many of the safety features typical to wooden toy chests for kids. Even if they do, they probably weren’t built to withstand such heavy use.
What are some tips to help maintain a wooden toy chest?
A. Follow manufacturer instructions for your particular model. In general, you can fix minor surface damage with a wood cleaner or an all-purpose furniture polish. Hinges need some grease now and again, and it never hurts to check the screws’ tightness every once in a while.
What’s the best wooden toy chest to buy?
Top wooden toy chest
What you need to know: This is a handsome toy chest with a lot of room.
What you’ll love: Built to last but simple to assemble, the elegant design won’t clash with most adult furniture. It has a bench on top.
What you should consider: It is heavier and more expensive than similar models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top wooden toy chest for the money
What you need to know: Smart design choices both inside and out make this affordable toy chest a great buy.
What you’ll love: The seating bench is padded. It comes with a sticker set to customize the chest with your child’s name and is easy to clean.
What you should consider: Many users reported the assembly instructions are difficult to follow.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This has 4.5 cubic feet of storage from one of the most trusted brands in the toy industry.
What you’ll love: It is available in three colors. You can add matching furniture. It has a sturdy construction.
What you should consider: Some buyers reported issues with the hinges detaching after extended use.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Frank Paiva writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.