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How to Judge the Quality of a Toy Before You Buy

You probably have come across a child’s toy that you liked while shopping, whether online or in-store. But maybe you weren’t certain whether this plaything is really high quality.

Sure, you could check the customer reviews of the toy online (e.g. on Amazon) but that may not be enough sometimes. If the product is available on the internet, there is a chance that its reviews are fake or maybe there are a few to no reviews.

Following are 15 various ways that you can follow to confirm the quality of a children toy before you purchase:

1. Toy Reviews

Many toys out there are already available on Amazon including a rating average based on customer reviews (out of 5 stars). In case the item is not available on Amazon, you can check out other retailers’ websites such as Walmart, Target and eBay.

Feedback by customers typically gives a lot of useful information about the product quality including details related to its durability, safety and function. To have more reliable data, make sure the toy you’re buying have at least 10 reviews.

Amazon Customer Product Review

It’s also important to read through some of the actual customer reviews to ensure they’re authentic and not paid for. If you don’t want to manually sift through the reviews, you may alternatively use a fake review checker like ReviewMeta for Amazon and Fakespot Chrome extension for more shopping sites.

2. Seller’s Rating

It goes without saying that you should know who you’re purchasing a children toy from, especially on the internet. This helps to avoid getting a counterfeit toy that wasn’t made by the original manufacturer. Unauthentic toys will probably be of poor quality and/or unsafe for little ones.

Most online retailers (or marketplaces) like Amazon and eBay do maintain feedback on sellers. For an independent toy store, you may find information about them on review sites such as Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau.

3. Place of Manufacture

Many products made in China are considered average to subpar quality, which is mainly due to the cheaper material and labor. To significantly boost the chances that the toy you want to buy is truly high quality, confirm it’s manufactured in a country other than China (e.g. Japan or Taiwan).

Of course, this doesn’t mean that toys made in China will always be of lower quality.

4. Customer Service of Manufacturer

Superior product quality typically accompanies great customer service by the manufacturer.

Person at Office Chatting on the Phone

In order to confirm how the toy maker treats customers, simply call or email their support to ask about the toy you’re interested in. Keep a note of how long they take to respond and the amount of details they provide in their answers.

5. Toy Specifications

A toy quality is as good as its specific attributes such as density, material, and colors. For example, the manufacturer of a truly quality foam playmat will mention the actual thickness measurement rather than just a mere ‘high thickness’.

You should look for numbers and unique features (at least one) in any plaything you’re interested in purchasing.

6. Packaging Label Design

How the toy packaging looks like?

If the manufacturer has not invested the time needed to design a professional product label, chances are they also didn’t take enough time to make a high quality toy. Of course, premium label design doesn’t always mean the toy is of great quality.

7. Feel of Toy Material

When shopping in-store, just feeling the toy in your hands can give you a great sense of its sturdiness.

Person Examining Toys in the Store

If the toy material appears flimsy and light, its durability may not be that good.

8. Surface Cut

Smoothly-cut surface is pretty much a must for quality products.

If you feel any sharp spots or uneven sides in the toy, you can safely assume it has a subpar quality.

9. Design of Product

A quality toy will probably have a great design, if any.

For instance, the image of a high quality jigsaw puzzle will be designed with great care of the details. A doll with a not-so-good look may not be of good quality.

10. Compliance with Toy Safety Laws

Safety is always a major component of a toy quality, especially for little children.

Child Playing with Toy Camera

Before buying a toy, confirm it complies with the required toy safety standards (namely ASTM-F963 in the US). Sometimes this is mentioned on the product packaging or online description. Otherwise, you can directly email or call the manufacturer and ask them about this.

11. Availability in Major Retailers

Major physical retailers (e.g. Walmart and Target) do presumably try to ensure all toys they carry in their stores conform to the applicable toy safety laws. If a toy is offered there, it gives you some assurance that it’s safe for kids and thus of good quality.

Please note that the availability of a toy in major retailers doesn’t always mean they’re safe and you should do more due diligence before buying.

12. Toy Awards

An excellent way to confirm whether a toy is really high quality is to check if it has won a respectable award where rigorous testing was involved.

Examples of some award programs you can trust while shopping for children toys are those administered by Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Good Housekeeping and Mom’s Choice.

13. Warranty

A warranty communicates to the customer that the product is of high quality and guaranteed to last, especially when the price is hefty.

Children Toy Robot

If you’re buying a kids toy that costs $100 or more (including robots), check whether it has a warranty and for how many years.

14. Toy Price

Quality products will obviously cost more money to manufacture. That’s why it’s such a bad idea to buy cheap toys just to save some cash.

For a plaything to be of good quality, its price should typically be around (or over) the average price of similar toys on the market. To be on the safe side, try to purchase toys that are on the higher price range.

15. Product Discounts

Premium toys are more expensive to make, so they won’t be overpriced since their prices will already be on the higher end. Consequently, there will be less room for discounts which means lower price cuts throughout the year (around 10-30% max).

If a toy is discounted 40% (or more) several times yearly, you can probably assume it’s not really high quality.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a parent or a child educator, these are several ways you can utilize to judge whether a toy is truly of high quality.

You won’t have to depend on just product reviews in your toy shopping decisions, you now have other useful methods in your disposal. Applying just a few of them will improve your chances of buying durable and safe playthings for your little ones in the future.

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