Pinewood derby cars are the ideal race cars for derby racing enthusiasts. These miniature cars offer a lot of entertainment at quite a small price.
These unpowered and unmanned vehicles are by no means a small competition. Competitive races are frequently observed, and the top pinewood derby cars tend to win at them.
If you’re planning to win your next race, having your hands on one of the best Pinewood derby cars is definitely a plus for you. Using the perfect pinewood derby car, you can easily leave the competition to bite the dust!
However, all manufacturers tend to argue that they make outstanding pinewood derby cars. While you can typically ignore these as marketing gimmicks, it doesn’t help you in your search for the perfect pinewood derby car. Lucky for you, we’ve done the sorting for you!
If you’re looking for some of the finest pinewood derby cars to take along with you in the next race, then we have the top picks for your needs compiled right here. So what are you waiting for? Let’s look into the list!
Comparison of Best Pinewood Derby Cars 2020
|Derby Dust Pinewood Derby Car Kit||4.92 Oz.||Unpainted|
|Pinewood Pro Complete BSA Car Kit||4.89 Oz.||Unpainted|
|Pinewood Pro Barracuda BSA Car Kit||4.85 Oz.||Glossy Black|
|Pinewood Pro The Marlin Car Kit||4.85 Oz.||Blue|
|Pinewood Pro The Shark Car Kit||4.94 Oz.||Unpainted|
|Derby Dust Ready to Race Dervy Car||5.00 Oz.||Dark Blue|
1. Pinewood Derby Car by Derby Dust
If you want pure speed, this derby is hard to beat. The unpainted personalizable derby packs a number of features that allow it to storm past competition. Let’s look into what this car packs, in detail.
Built for speed: The derby has been built with the finest quality of pinewood. The block used is an official BSA. The sanding of the pinewood block has been done to perfection to ensure that there is no air resistance.
The wheels are a low 2.46 grams, which further helps enhance speed. The ground clearance is more than ⅜ inches and ensures that your derby can store the highest potential energy.
The design helps those demanding speed in a number of ways. The design is very low-profile at the front and bulges up near the rear. This allows for the best aerodynamic combination to provide you with speeds you can be proud of.
Easy to speed up further: Not only does this derby come built-for-speed out of the box, but it also allows you to further enhance it. The derby, despite having more weight at the end, still comes down to 4.92 Oz. This means that you have another 8 Oz you can add to the car.
While most people might consider painting the car in that limit, some might want speed instead of looks. If that sounds like you, Derby Dust packs a Tungsten putty to allow you to gain the maximum weight at the back.
A #44 is included for very fine weight adjustments. The axles are polished and straightened. The wheels are polished as well, but you still get a wheel polishing swab if you want to add a finer finish. Graphite lube is also included, to allow you to beat friction.
Stable build: Despite having a higher weight in the back, the derby is remarkably stable. This is because Derby Dust has taken care to distribute the weight properly over the rear axle. This means that your derby will not pull a wheelie within the race, and would stick to the track.
Not pricey: The built is remarkably cheap given the features that it offers. Despite having a derby that sticks to science and does well at it, the model will set you back lesser than most other pre-made models would!
Questionable customer support: The customer support provided by Durby Dust is far from ideal. A quick scroll through the Amazon reviews shows that they shift blame entirely to the customers, which is not helpful.
Nonetheless, you should not need to put up a bad review if you follow the instructions properly! Derby dust provides extensive instructions via their youtube channel should you need them.
Complicated to build: If you are looking for something easy for your child to assemble, this derby is nothing near that. While it is pre-sanded and ready to assemble, you have to make many fine adjustments for it to win the race. Otherwise, it will just fly off the tracks!
- Installed derby weight balanced ½-1” in front of rear axle for...
- Complete wood derby car kit including all necessary parts: final...
- Reduced wood weight, wood removed at possible wheel rubbing spots on...
2. The Lazer – Pinewood Derby BSA Car Kit
If your kids plan to take part in a derby, and can not work with complicated tools, this is perhaps the best kit for you. The Lazer has ensured that despite being simplistic, it is no child’s play though. The car can offer you astonishing speeds!
Easy to build: Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this car is how easy it is to build. The model comes as an assembly kit. In contrast to the Derby Dust model though, this derby takes minimal efforts to build.
The block of pinewood comes pre-sanded and has already been primed. You can simply start painting right away and get your derby to look the way you want it to. The axle holes have already been drilled as well, and you get two holes to ensure that you can lift one wheel up if you wish to!
The tools that are needed to make fine adjustments are also already included in the package. You can simply unwrap, build, and race!
Remarkable speeds: The model is built with the center of gravity very well placed. It’s high enough to let the car flow in speed.
The rules of aerodynamics have largely been followed. The body of the car has a very sharp front, letting it slice through the air and quickly make its way to the victory stand.
All the parts that are available to you are BSA approved and tuned for perfection. The axles are well polished, and the wheels are very well balanced and stable. The center of gravity is well placed, letting the car quickly glide without any bumps or the threat of a wheelie.
Lube and graphite powder are also given within the packing, and allow you to lube up your car to reduce any friction. All of this means that the derby is a beast when it comes to speed, and with the perfect adjustments, you can get it winning every race!
No back-weight: It is important to have a higher weight at the back for any derby if you want it to go as fast as it can. This is because the potential energy stored in the car would be higher if the rear wheels have more weight on them.
Unfortunately, the model has a very parallel design. Even though the back of the model is thicker than the front, the weight on the back is not significant enough for our liking. Every 100th of an ounce can make a difference in a derby!
Fortunately, the derby weighs at 4.89 ounces, which means that you can add another .11 ounces of weight at the back if you skip on the paint. You don’t get any tungsten putty though, so you’re on your own! You can always buy tungsten putty separately from Amazon.
Pricey: For a model that offers no tungsten putty and is very simply designed, this one certainly breaks the bank. There are models that cost a quarter of this price and can fetch the same speeds!
However, this model gives unmatched quality and makes every unit perfect. With a derby, you get just one shot! And because of that and the ease of use with this model, we’re willing to cough up the dollars.
- FREE PRO Axle Guide and Wheel Spacer from Pinewood Pro. $17 Value!
- Complete pine derby car kit with Official BSA parts precision tuned...
- Official BSA car block, pre-weighted, drilled and primed. Weights set...
3. The Barracuda – Pinewood Derby BSA Car Kit
If you want a car that’s already built for racing, and want to put in the minimal effort into the race itself, there’s nothing better than the Barracuda. The Barracuda car comes in an almost pre-assembled form and is one of the faster derbies.
However, please be aware that some racing events might disqualify you for using a pre-built model. Be sure to check the rules of your local club before making this purchase!
Easy setup: The setup does not get much easier than this. The car is already built for you, and ready to race out of the box! All you would need to do would be to push the axles through the pre-drilled holes, and you’ll be all set for racing.
The car is even pre-painted in glossy black color, making it perfect for those that want a car they have to put no effort into.
Speedy: The car manages to distribute the weight well. It weighs at about 4.85 ounces, much of which is near the rear end. You can add another 0.15 ounces of putty to make this car roll! This means that you can get the best speed out of this product.
To top that up, the car’s body is aerodynamic counters any air resistance. Friction also has little impact on this car, since it has very fine axles.
Bad Quality control: Sadly, while the product itself is great, the quality control isn’t. Many cars seem to weight differently from the standard, and some axles have been found to be badly polished. Some cars have paint improperly applied to them.
This means that you might be stuck with a bad piece, which would eventually lead to you losing that race. However, you can always risk it and get a change from Amazon should the product be unsatisfactory!
Expensive: The ease of use comes at an expense. This car typically costs about twice as much as our top pick. Given the questionable quality control, this price is not justified. You’d be much better off getting a car kit and building it, to save yourself some cash.
If you absolutely want to avoid all forms of building though, this car is definitely for you. Just be sure to test it first, and to check with your club about rules regarding using prebuilt derbies!
- FREE PRO Axle Guide and Wheel Spacer from Pinewood Pro. $17 value!
- Complete pine derby car kit with Official BSA parts prepped for speed!
- Official BSA car block, pre-weighted, drilled and painted with the...
4. The Marlin – Pinewood Derby BSA Car Kit
If you want to strike a balance between woodworking and easy-seeking, this car is your best bet. The Marlin is not pre-built, and you have to put in some thought into the assembly. However, the tools provided with the car make it easy enough for you to do so, letting you sit back, relax, and win!
Speed: This car is fast. The parts are all BSA approved, and the body is built in a way that allows for little air resistance.
The axle is well polished, and the wheels are very lightweight, which makes the car fly like breeze. Perhaps more importantly, most of the weight of the car is at the rear end.
What is particularly interesting about the weight of this car, is how it is distributed. If you look at the car, you would feel that the weight is evenly distributed. However, weights are added at the rear of the car by placing metal inside the pinewood. This allows for the car to have a sleek design and added speed, both!
The car weighs in at 4.85 ounces. You can add another 0.15 ounces of putty, for which there are holes under the car at the rear. They make adding more putty as easy as it can get! You even get free graphite lubricant to remove any friction!
Easy to assemble: If you want the car to be easily assemblable, the Marlin will definitely be a good choice. The car has pre-drilled holes, including a hole to lift the wheels up. The axles are pre-polished, and the pinewood is already painted. All you have to do is assemble and you’re ready to race!
Excellent quality: There have been no complaints about the quality of this derby by customers. All the units are made perfect, and weight in the same at the scale. This means that you can trust the Marlin to always do what it’s built to do, given that you assemble it correctly.
Instructions are inadequate: The instructions that are provided with the kit can be inadequate. While you get all the tools that you need, and assembly is easy enough, you’re not properly taught how to use the tools, which can be problematic if you’re new to derby racing.
However, extensive guides can be found online, so this should be no reason to deter you from making a purchase!
Expensive: The Marlin is priced around the same as the Barracuda. Despite being an easy build and having a nice blue finish, we feel that the price is unjustified. The Derby Dust kit is able to provide a much better value for money if you are willing to put in a little extra effort!
- FREE PRO Axle Guide and Wheel Spacer from Pinewood Pro. $17 value!™
- Complete pine derby car kit with Official BSA parts precision tuned...
- Official BSA car block, pre-weighted, drilled and painted. Weights set...
5. The Shark – Pinewood Derby BSA Car Kit
Want a Marlin but with the option to paint it on your own? Pinewood Pro has provided you with just that. This derby is easy to set up, and ready to race out of the box. While everything else seems pretty similar to the Marlin, you get to decide what color you want for this derby, making it the go-to for those wanting easy customization!
Easy to assemble: The kit already includes everything that you might need for the car. The block of pinewood is already shaped, sanded, and primed. This means that all you have to do is put on some paint and you’re ready to go! You can even decide to skip the paint if you’re more about speed than decoration.
The unit comes with precise instructions, which makes using this model super easy. Two holes have already been drilled into it, to allow you to run a car on three wheels where allowed. The assembly is as easy as it gets, and all you need to do is paint the pinewood and insert the axle and wheels!
Speedy: The car is no lesser than any of the other units that we have reviewed when it comes to speed. The shape is very similar to that of the Marlin. It is entirely aerodynamic, with weight being inserted inside the derby at the rear.
There are holes under the car at the rear as well, should you want to insert some tungsten putty. The axles have already been sanded and polished, and the wheels are small enough to minimize friction.
You get a number of tools to assist you in maximizing speed. You can space the wheels using a spacer, and an axle guide is provided to ensure that you can get the perfect axle insertion.
To top all of that up, you get a free graphite lubricant as well as a free book that gives out secrets for winning derby races! In other words, this kit ensures that you get the speed that you need with ease.
The quality of every unit is also great, which means that you should be able to win your race even if you order this unit at a late date. You get the best quality!
Weighty: While weight is a good thing when it comes to derbies, there are some regulations that need to be followed. The weight must be under 5 ounces for the race.
The car when packed, weighs just a little under that. At 4.94 ounces, there are only 0.06 ounces of room for weights. While normally that shouldn’t be an issue, given that this derby is unpainted, the weight is very concerning.
Essentially, if you paint more than 0.06 ounces on this car, you’re already disqualified from the race! We suggest that you apply minimal paint on this car if you were to buy it.
Expensive: For an unpainted unit, this car definitely costs a lot. The price is right in line with the Marlin, which makes this car kit much more expensive than what we would have preferred. The car kits provided by Derby Dust are noticeably cheaper and provide similar options!
- FREE PRO Axle Guide and Wheel Spacer from Pinewood Pro. $17 value!
- Complete pine derby car kit with Official BSA parts precision tuned...
- Official BSA car block, pre-weighted, drilled, and painted. Weights...
6. Ready to Race Derby Car by Shopvelox
The name of this derby tells you what to expect. The car is ready to race, and does it pretty well! If you want to go one step above the Barracuda and have someone insert the wheel axles for you as well, this should be perfect for your needs. Just take it out of the box, and you’re ready to go!
However, you should be aware that units that are pre-built are not approved for most races. The Amazon product page for the derby clearly states that this derby is built for Benchmark or Outlaw, so you should be aware of that before making this purchase!
Speed: The car knows that is is meant to be used for speed, and it does so well. It has an aerodynamic shape that lets it slash through the air with ease.
The car is also carefully built to get it the best speed initially. The front of the car is adjusted in a way that lets it get a headstart over the other derbies so that you are on your way to victory right at the start.
The wheel weight at just 2.56 grams, and use true lathe tread. This means that you should be easily avoiding any wheel-based friction. The wood has also been removed from around the axles so that you can race unobstructed.
The car is built to race on three wheels, which has proven to increase the speed further. The car has a high track clearance, and the weight is at an exact 5 ounces, with most around the rear. This means that there is no limit when it comes to speed with this prebuilt!
Stable: The car is also made very stable, and shows no signs of a wheelie or bad balance. It glides smoothly. All the units are made to perfection, ensuring that you never get a bad derby. You can just rest easy, take this car out of the package, and get ready to race!
Not customizable: With everything already being done for you, this car is not customization friendly. Any adjustment to the wheels or anything similar can cause the car to slow down. Shopvolex even asks you to use the car only to race, to ensure it lasts. It is made to fit the 40ft BEST TRACK and will perform best on that.
You should purchase this car only once you’ve understood these limitations. While all parts are BSA approved, it can not be used in all races due to pack rules, so be sure to check them before making this purchase!
Great value: For a car that is already built, and includes putty and a carrier box, this car provides great value. You can get it for cheaper than the Pinewood Pro models, and it comes pre-assembled, saving you a lot of time and effort! It’s undoubtedly great when it comes to value for money!
- Ready To Race Pinewood Car, No additional work needed. Great for...
- Center Rail Rider Riding, Pre Tuned derby car. No adjustments Needed
- 3 Wheel Rider, 3 degree rears, 1.5 degree front steer. Uses BSA Slots
Best Pinewood Derby Cars Buyer’s Guide:
Now that we have gone through the ins and outs of the best pinewood derby cars, it’s important to understand what you should look for when trying to buy the perfect model for yourself. Let’s explore!
Speed is perhaps the singular most important aspect of any pinewood derby car purchase. When you buy a derby car, you want it to win! There are a number of things that you can do to ensure that your purchase is the faster of the derby cars. Here are some things to look out for:
- Find an aerodynamic derby: This means that the front of the car is very flat, while the rear is thicker
- Find a derby with higher weight at the end: This means that most of the weight of the car should be near the rear axle
- Ensure that the derby is sanded and polished: This reduces friction
- Find wheels with lesser weight: This ensures that the surface friction is lower
- Find a polished axle: This reduces the friction between the pinewood and the wheels
- Find a derby that is higher (at least ⅜ inches): This removes friction between derby’s body and the track
- Find a derby that can run on three wheels: This reduces friction and lets your derby run faster
With these things in mind, you should be able to find a derby that can quickly beat out any competition. Every 100th of an ounce can provide you with a speed boost! If you find a derby that manages to do all of the above-stated things perfectly, you should be able to win every race.
If speed is your primary concern, we also recommend getting a kit that you can build on your own. This is because you can then cut down on paint and instead place the maximum emphasis on the weight at the rear end. Sure, you lose out on looking as cool as competition, but you’ll be the one carrying that cup!
A secondary concern that any buyer might have when buying a derby comes in the form of customization. A derby race is as much about showing your derby off as winning the race. There are models available that can do things like gloss or glow in the dark, and make your derby look simply impeccable.
If you’re an enthusiast for well-designed derbies, you should look out for models that allow you to customize the pinewood as you deem fit. We would recommend the Pinewood Derby Car by Derby Dust for you if customization is concerning to you!
On the other hand, you may want the car to be pre-built for you so that you have to put little to no emphasis on assembly. If that holds true for you, then Pinewood Pro offers many derbies that will allow you to assemble very quickly. These should be ideal for your needs and can save you the effort of having to paint the derby.
Derby races have rules. While the rules tend to differ with the packs, there are some rules that are generally followed by almost all packs. They include the follows:
- The derby must weight under 5 ounces
- The derby must not be higher than 3 inches
- The derby must not be wider than 2 ¾ inches
- The derby must not be longer than 7 inches
- The derby must not use sleeves, washers, and bearings
- Only dry lubricants are allowed
However, these rules vary with the pack that you are from, so it is important to check with your local pack. Ensure that the derby you purchase follows the rules of the race you wish to take part in. Otherwise, you’ll simply be disqualified!
If you’re spending money on buying a derby, you want it to be of the highest quality. If the quality of the build is bad, you will find that it will tend to lose races despite being made for speed. It will also not last you long.
For any product, quality is important. For a racing derby, it becomes especially important. We recommend that you carefully test any derby that you purchase, and get a refund or exchange if it does not work properly!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we have had a look over some of the best pinewood derby cars 2020, we are sure that you have managed to find your race-winner. Our picks were carefully selected to meet your needs!
The clear winner was undoubtedly the Pinewood Derby Car by Derby Dust. The Derby is fast and manages to hit all the marks perfectly. It has a high weight at the rear, and one of the most aerodynamic bodies that we have seen. It even offers you tungsten to place at the rear!
The stable model is hard to beat in terms of speed, and lets you customize the model on top of that! It follows all of the commonplace BSA regulations, and should generally be approved by your pack rules (It is still always important to check)
That is why we had little trouble selecting that value car as our clear winner. The other cars within the guide should be ideal for your specific needs as well!
We really hope that this guide helps you select the perfect derby, and good luck with conquering the track in every race you enter!