Top 10 Best Steel Roller Coasters in North America

  • 01 of 10

    Number 10: Tie: Ride of Steel and Superman: Ride of Steel

    Ride of Steel at Darien Lake
    ••• Darien Lake.

    There are a ton of steel roller coasters. They are, by far, the most popular type of thrill machine. Although within the category, there are all kinds of sub-genres such as inverted coasters, launched coasters, and hypercoasters. But only a few -- well OK, 10 -- can make this list of the best steel coasters.

    Speaking of hypercoasters, let's start with number 10, which is a tie between the essentially similar Ride of Steel at Darien Lake in Darien, NY and Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags America in Mitchellville, MD. They are known as hypercoasters for breaking the 200-foot height level, and they both deliver the goods in speed, acceleration, and airtime.

    Up next: Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa

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  • 02 of 10

    Number 9: Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa

    ••• Montu Coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa. © Arthur Levine, 2008. Licensed to About.com.

    Tampa Bay, FL

    One of the world's best inverted coasters, Montu takes its riders careening on a wild journey in a train that hangs below the track. It's an incredible sight when Montu sends a trainload of dangling legs literally head over heels through one of its many inversions. It's even more incredible to experience the G-forces of Montu's inversions and other elements.

    Up next: Maverick at Cedar Point

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  • 03 of 10

    Number 8: Maverick at Cedar Point

    ••• Maverick at Cedar Point. ©Arthur Levine, 2007. Licensed to About.com.

    Sandusky, OH

    With many of its sister rides towering over it at the coaster-crazy park, Maverick is proof that bigger is not necessarily better. Great things can come in relatively small packages. And with its twin launches, super-smooth ride, and wild layout, Maverick is a great thing. Read my Maverick coaster review.

    Up next: X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain

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  • 04 of 10

    Number 7: X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain

    X2 coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain
    ••• Six Flags. Used with permission.

    Valencia, CA

    An utterly unique coaster, X2 is the world's first "4th dimension" thrill machine. Its seats are on the left and right wings of the train, and they spin (in the 4th dimension) independent of the train as it travels the track. With a nearly vertical 215-foot drop and speeds reaching 76 mph, it is intimidating and totally disorienting. What a rush!

    Up next: The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure

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  • 05 of 10

    Number 6: The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure

    ••• The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure. Jeremy Levine 2004. Licensed to About.com.

    At Universal Orlando in Orlando, FL

    It dominates the front section of the park with its outrageous green track, its crazy-looking launch tube, and its trainloads of cars doing precarious flips in the air as they emerge from the tube. Hulk is as wild to watch as it is to ride.

    Up next: Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure

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  • 06 of 10

    Number 5: Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure

    ••• Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure. © Arthur Levine, 2006. Licensed to About.com.

    Jackson, NJ

    Another hypercoaster from the ride wizards at Bolliger & Mabillard (also known as B&M), Nitro is silky smooth and offers a wonderful combination of extreme height, speed, and airtime. It is among some wonderful rides at Great Adventure, including another acclaimed thrill machine (although the one is wooden), El Toro. Read my Nitro coaster review.

    Up next: Sheikra and Griffon at Busch Gardens Parks

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  • 07 of 10

    Number 4 (tie): Sheikra and Griffon at Busch Gardens Parks

    ••• Sheikra at Busch Gardens Tampa. © Arthur Levine, 2008. Licensed to About.com.

    Busch Gardens Tampa in Tampa Bay, FL and Busch Gardens Williamsburg in VA

    The continent's first diving coasters take riders to the edge in precariously open trains, taunts them for a few moments, then drops them 200 feet straight down. They are  similar to one another. Read my Sheikra coaster review and Griffon coaster review.

    Up next: Diamondback at Kings Island

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  • 08 of 10

    Number 3: Diamondback at Kings Island

    ••• Diamondback at Kings Island. © Arthur Levine, 2009. Licensed to About.com.

    Mason, OH

    Among the things I love about coasters is airtime, preferably the "floater" air that Diamondback delivers in massive doses. This is an airtime machine. Read my Diamondback coaster review.

    • The Beast- Coaster review of the famed Kings Island wooden coaster

    Up next: Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

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  • 09 of 10

    Number 2: Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

    ••• Apollo's Chariot at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. © Arthur Levine, 2005. Licensed to About.com.

    Williamsburg, VA

    It's hard to believe that a coaster with such monstrous stats -- 210 foot drop, 73 mph -- could be so incredibly smooth. Believe it. 

    Up next: Superman the Ride at Six Flags New England

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  • 10 of 10

    Number 1: Superman the Ride at Six Flags New England

    ••• Bizarro at Six Flags New England. © Arthur Levine, 2009. Licensed to About.com.

    Agawam, MA

    A near-perfect blend of thrills, coaster elements, pacing, location in the park, and other features pushes this Superman-themed coaster up (up and away!) to the top of the list. Read my Superman the Ride Coaster Review.

    Other Top Coasters

    Now you know which steel coasters make the best-of list. Are you ready for more?