Are you a model train enthusiast looking to build the perfect HO train set? Look no further, because in this guide, we’ll take you through the best HO train sets available on the market today.
From starter sets to advanced models, we’ll cover everything you need to know to build your dream layout.
Model trains have been a beloved hobby for generations, and building an HO train set is a great way to tap into that nostalgia. Not only do HO train sets provide a fun activity for collectors of all ages, but they also make for great display pieces in your home.
In this guide, we’ll cover the benefits of owning an HO train set, the different types available, and the top 5 best HO train sets on the market. We’ll also provide tips for building your perfect layout, so you can create a one-of-a-kind display that you’ll be proud to show off.
2. What is an HO Train Set?
An HO train set is a model train set that runs on HO scale track, which measures 16.5mm between the rails. HO scale is the most popular size for model trains, and it’s a great starting point for beginners and experienced hobbyists alike.
HO scale trains are typically smaller than O scale trains, but larger than N scale trains. They’re a good balance between detail and size, and they’re also more affordable than larger scales. HO train sets are available in a variety of styles, from vintage steam engines to modern diesel locomotives.
3. Benefits of Owning an HO Train Set
Owning an HO train set provides a number of benefits. Not only is it a fun hobby to engage in, but it can also be a relaxing way to unwind after a long day. Additionally, building and designing your train layout can be a creative outlet for your artistic side.
Another benefit of owning an HO train set is that it can be a great way to bond with family and friends. Whether you’re building the set together or just enjoying the finished product, it’s a great way to spend quality time with loved ones.
4. Types of HO Train Sets
When it comes to HO train sets, there are three main types: starter sets, intermediate sets, and advanced sets. Let’s take a closer look at each.
4.1 Starter Sets
Starter sets are designed for beginners who are just getting into the hobby. They typically include everything you need to get started, including a locomotive, track, and a few train cars. Starter sets are a great way to test the waters and see if this is a hobby you want to pursue further.
4.2 Intermediate Sets
Intermediate sets are a step up from starter sets, and they’re designed for hobbyists who have some experience with model trains. These sets typically include more track, more train cars, and a more advanced locomotive.
4.3 Advanced Sets
Advanced sets are for the serious model train enthusiast. They’re typically more expensive and include high-quality locomotives and detailed train cars. Advanced sets also allow for more customization and include more track, so you can create a larger and more complex layout.
5. Factors to Consider When Choosing an HO Train Set
When choosing an HO train set, there are a few factors to consider. Let’s take a closer look.
As we mentioned earlier, HO scale is the most popular size for model trains. However, there are other scales available, so make sure to choose the one that’s right for you.
When it comes to model trains, you get what you pay for. Cheaper sets may be more affordable, but they may also be lower quality. Make sure to choose a set that’s well-made and will last for years to come.
Model trains can be expensive, so make sure to set a budget before you start shopping. Keep in mind that more advanced sets will cost more than starter sets.
There are many different brands of HO train sets available, and some are better than others. Do your research and read reviews before making a purchase.
6. Top 5 Best HO Train Sets
Now that you know what to look for when choosing an HO train set, let’s take a look at our top 5 picks.
6.1 Bachmann Trains Empire Builder
The Bachmann Trains Empire Builder set is a great choice for beginners. It includes a locomotive, three train cars, and a 63″ x 45″ oval track. The locomotive features a DCC sound system, and the train cars have metal wheels and E-Z Mate couplers.
6.2 Walthers Mainline EMD GP9
The Walthers Mainline EMD GP9 set is an intermediate set that’s perfect for hobbyists with some experience. It includes a locomotive, six train cars, and a 72″ x 48″ oval track. The locomotive features a dual-mode sound decoder, and the train cars have metal wheels and Kadee couplers.
6.3 Athearn HO RTR SD40-2
The Athearn HO RTR SD40-2 set is an advanced set that’s perfect for serious model train enthusiasts. It includes a locomotive, six train cars, and a 100″ x 50″ oval track. The locomotive features a sound and DCC system, and the train cars have metal wheels and Kadee couplers.
6.4 Kato USA Model Train Products Superliner Passenger Car Set
The Kato USA Model Train Products Superliner Passenger Car set is a great addition to any HO train set. It includes two passenger cars with interior lighting, and they can be used with any HO locomotive. The cars are highly detailed and feature Kato knuckle couplers.
6.5 Atlas Classic Gold ALCO S2
The Atlas Classic Gold ALCO S2 set is an intermediate set that’s perfect for hobbyists who want a high-quality locomotive. It includes a locomotive and a 63″ x 45″ oval track. The locomotive features a DCC sound system and metal wheels.
HO train sets are a great way to get into the world of model trains. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned enthusiast, there’s an HO train set that’s right for you. Just remember to consider the scale, quality, price, and brand before making a purchase. And if you’re still not sure which set to choose, our top 5 picks are a great place to start.
8.1 What does HO scale mean?
HO scale is a model train scale that’s 1:87 in size. It’s the most popular scale for model trains.
8.2 What’s the difference between a starter set and an advanced set?
Starter sets are designed for beginners and typically include a locomotive, a few train cars, and a small track layout. Advanced sets are for serious enthusiasts and include high-quality locomotives, detailed train cars, and more track for a larger and more complex layout.
8.3 How much should I expect to spend on an HO train set?
HO train sets can range in price from less than $50 to several hundred dollars. The price will depend on the quality and complexity of the set.
8.4 What brands make the best HO train sets?
There are many brands that make high-quality HO train sets, including Bachmann, Walthers, Athearn, Kato USA, and Atlas.
8.5 Can I add to my HO train set over time?
Yes, one of the great things about HO train sets is that they’re customizable. You can add more track, train cars, and even a different locomotive as you become more experienced and your layout grows.