Are Hot Wheels Better Than Matchbox? (Which Should You Buy?)

Toy collecting has become a very popular hobby amongst kids and adults alike. Of course, among all the different kinds of toys, toy cars seem to be the most prevalent collectible. When it comes to having a toy car collection, Hot Wheels and Matchbox are really the only brands that matter. 

Whether buying toy cars to play with or to enjoy just by looking at your collection, deciding which brand you should purchase is a tough decision but I will try and make it a bit easier with the information in this article. 

When it comes to quality there really is no better toy car than Hot Wheels and those are the cars that I personally love and buy. Hot Wheels also tend to have more fantasy style cars than Matchbox does which kids love as well.

That isn’t to say that Matchbox cars aren’t good or that some people don’t prefer them over Hot Wheels, however, I grew up playing with Hot Wheels and I personally love the way they move and their designs. 

Both Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars have been around for many decades (although Matchbox cars are older) and both of them are considerably better than any other generic alternatives (please please don’t buy those junky cars) so choosing between the two can be difficult. 

If you are new to toy car collecting or you simply want to make a more informed buying decision when purchasing them, you need to be aware of the different features of each brand and what makes them so special.

I will cover that in the rest of this article. 

Picking the right one – Hot Wheels or Matchbox?

Most people are not able to easily tell the differences between the cars that are manufactured by these two brands. Only an ardent toy car collector knows the real difference between these two toy brands and which they will choose. 

Both these brands are equally appealing to both kids and collectors. Hot Wheels is preferred by those who have an inclination towards fantasy elements as often you will see Hog Wheels that have animals on them, on top of them or other interesting designs. Hot Wheels are also designed to offer speed and acceleration and they work far better when building your own Hot Wheels tracks as well which make them more attractive to the younger generations.

Matchbox toy cars on the other hand are far more realistic. They have been designed to look as realistic as the real street cars and trucks that you see every day on the roads so you will not see as many odd or interesting designs with Matchbox cars. Unlike Hot Wheels the Matchbox car range offers a wide range of trucks which gives it an extra edge over Hot Wheels.

There are many different reasons why people love each of these two brands and I will go into that next. 

Why do people love Matchbox cars?

  • Variety and features – Matchbox has been in the toy market for almost 70 years. In these seven decades it has come up with a wide range of cars and trucks that are available in a variety of designs and sizes. Some of the options allow you to even assemble and customize the cars by selling/ exchanging the interchangeable parts. This is one of the features that increased its popularity among collectors and kids.
  • New releases happen irregularly – this is another popular reason why Matchbox cars are a collectors favorite. The brand comes up with new cars and trucks irregularly, which gives it more of a novelty feel. Whereas most other brands seem to have new releases considerably more often which does appeals to kids.
  • Other vehicles – Along with realistic cars, Matchbox is also known for its spectacular series of rescue and construction vehicles. You would be surprised to know that this brand also has its own airplane versions as well.

Why do people love Hot Wheels?

  • Limited Edition Models The first Hot Wheel was released in 1968 under Mattel Toy brand and has been growing in popularity ever since. The improvement in the designs came after the brand was procured by Mattel. In recent years Hot Wheels set the limited edition trend for its cars. These limited-edition cars appeal to collectors as well as to children alike.
  • Fantasy Cars Hot Wheels have gained immense popularity for its wide range of fantasy cars which are often sought-after by kids. The brand replicates cars that feature in popular animation movies with the Batmobile being a great example of one of the fantasy cars from Hot Wheels.
  • Performance – Speed and agility are features that appeal mostly to kids and teenagers. They keep an eye out for toy cars that offer the best performance. This is because kids like cruising their cars on their race tracks or even just racing them in the hall. No other brand can beat Hot Wheels when it comes to performing on tracks. This is where Matchbox takes a back seat because Matchbox cars may have aesthetic value but don’t perform well on the tracks.

Should you buy your kids Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars?

If you are buying your kids their first toy car, you might be confused about whether to choose Hot Wheels or Matchbox. Another point of confusion that might arise is whether you should encourage them to play with these wonderful toys or to begin a collection to be placed on a shelf?

Well in my opinion, toys are meant to be played with. If you have small kids I feel like you should let them play with the cars that you purchased rather than keeping them on a shelf. 

When it comes to playing with the vehicles, Hot Wheel cars are the best. 

The brand offers a lot of add-ons that have been perfected over the years. The looping tracks and multi-level garages are just a couple of the add-ons that are worth mentioning. These accessories will entertain young kids for hours.

If your kids are a bit older or have an inclination towards collecting then Matchbox is probably the best. 

Honestly, the best thing to do is involve your kids in the decision making process. Take them to the store and let them decide which cars they like the most. Some children are drawn to the more realistic looking models whereas some fall for the fantasy models (that’s how I always was). The accessories offered will likely also have an influence on the kids’ choice. 

Sometimes these brands offer a lot of cars in one package and for younger kids this is a special treat.

Best ages for Hot Wheels

People who have purchased Hot Wheels feel that these cars are best for kids over three years. Kids who love to race cars find these models incredibly attractive and many people will find that these toys keep their little ones entertained for hours. 

Creating race tracks, and racing against yourself or your friends/siblings is a great way to spend an afternoon! 

Best ages for Matchbox cars

Parents who have purchased Matchbox cars are likely to notice that kids can have more creative play with these models since the package comes with a wide range of vehicles with adventure, rescue and construction themes. 

Children develop their imagination through creating different scenarios such as rescues, chases and other situations using these toys. This is a great toy that helps kids grow their creativity.

This makes Matchbox cars ideal for children who are 6 and younger. Older children will likely have more fun with the faster Hot Wheels and the “cooler” designs. 

A lot of the Matchbox users are also collectors; some of them new and some of them ardent Matchbox car collectors for many years. They find Matchbox a great brand to build a new collection or to add to an existing one.


Both these car brands are popular and sought-after worldwide and they equally appeal to young and old alike. Although both these brands are comparatively more expensive than other cheap toy car brands they both offer unbeatable quality and designs. 

As for choosing between the two – I feel both these brands are great for kids and collectors but personally lean towards Hot Wheels simply because of the unquiet designs, higher speeds, and that’s what I grew up playing with. 

 However, it really all depends on what you are looking for.  

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