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The Best Robot Kit

Last updated on July 8, 2020

We looked at the top 15 Robot Kits and dug through the reviews from 90 of the most popular review sites including Gear Brain, Gist Gear, Best Reviews Guide, Robot Top Picks, BestReviews (Products), Tech Age Kids and more. The result is a ranking of the best Robot Kits.

Best Robot Kit

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Our Picks For The Top Robot Kits

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

ELEGOO UNO R3 Ultrasonic Smart Car Robot Kit

ELEGOO

UNO R3 Ultrasonic Smart Car Robot Kit

Overall Take

Educational STEM Kit This educational STEM robot kit is an excellent tool to spark your child's interest in robotics.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews (Products) and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" ELEGOO Smart Robot Car: An educational STEM kit beginners (kids) to get Complete Package: Contains 24 kinds of module parts including obstacle avoidance, line tracing Easy to Assemble: All the module interface has been modified with XH2. 54"

Makeblock mBot DIY Mechanical Building Blocks STEM Education Robot Kit

Makeblock

mBot DIY STEM Education Robot Kit

Overall Take

Improves Logical ThinkingThis robot kit can be assembled in as little as 15 minutes.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews (Products), Tech Age Kids, Lifewire, Robot Shop, Best Baby Kit. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Proudly presented by Makeblock, a global leading brand in STEAM education solution Don't judge it by size, he is a real robot that has It's up to you to decide if you wants to follow the"
Cons
"Screws kept loosening"

Sillbird STEM 12-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit, 190-Piece

Sillbird

STEM 12-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit, 190-Piece

Overall Take

Powered by the SunSkip the batteries and take advantage of solar power by choosing to build a robot with this kit.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Gist Gear, Best Reviews Guide, Robot Top Picks. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" This science toys will teach children how to engineer a robot that uses solar power, while help to develop manual dexterity, problem solving skills, improve logical thinking,self-confidence and promotes the importance of teamwork & collaboration"
  The Best Value

KIDWILL STEM 14-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit

KIDWILL

STEM 14-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit

Overall Take

Best for Teens and AdultsAll of the pieces in this robot kit are premium quality and made from a non-toxic ABS material.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus . Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
22

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the robot kits available to purchase.
15

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

90

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Gear Brain, Gist Gear, Best Reviews Guide, Robot Top Picks, BestReviews (Products).

14,735

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy and 4 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 15 Robot Kits and also dug through the reviews from 90 of the most popular review sites including Gear Brain, Gist Gear, Best Reviews Guide, Robot Top Picks, BestReviews (Products), Tech Age Kids and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Robot Kits.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

ELEGOO UNO R3 Ultrasonic Smart Car Robot Kit

Our Expert Score
10.0
5 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.8
595 user reviews
Our Take

If your child learns better with hands-on activities, you'll want to consider going with this robot kit. It's designed for beginners and is easy to assemble. Once the robot is constructed, you'll be able to choose between several different modes, including auto-go, infrared control and obstacle avoidance.

What other experts liked
ELEGOO Smart Robot Car: An educational STEM kit beginners (kids) to get Complete Package: Contains 24 kinds of module parts including obstacle avoidance, line tracing Easy to Assemble: All the module interface has been modified with XH2. 54
- BestReviews (Products)
Using the kit and a smartphone, we will be in full control of the four-wheeled smart car, which we can drive forward, left, right, and backwards - all from the control of a smartphone!
- Makers Portal
Well-made parts. Elegoo components are surprisingly well-constructed.
- Robot Fanatics
Line tracking feature for a smooth motion on a predesigned runaway using infrared transmitter and receiver tubes, only constraint being a clear and long run-away.
- Arduinos Kits
The Elegoo Smart Car is a nice introductory mobile robot kit. It is easy to assemble and has everything you need to get started with learning practical physical computing principles
- The New Stack
What other experts didn't like
However, it’s still difficult for beginner robot DIYers to figure out.
- Robot Fanatics
The tires have a lot of grip. As a result, turning wasn’t very good out of the box. My solution was to simply add a strip of plastic tape to each front tire, so the slick side was in contact...
- The New Stack

The Best Bang For Your Buck

KIDWILL STEM 14-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit

Our Expert Score
0.0
0 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.6
304 user reviews
Our Take

Once you've mastered the beginner robot kits, you'll be able to move up to this kit. With the pieces provided in the kit, you'll be able to construct 14 different robots, including a wagging-tail dog and a walking crab. There's also the option to power the robots using either a battery or the included solar panels.

What other experts liked
What other experts didn't like

Overall Product Rankings

ELEGOO UNO R3 Ultrasonic Smart Car Robot Kit

1. ELEGOO UNO R3 Ultrasonic Smart Car Robot Kit

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 6

Sillbird STEM 12-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit, 190-Piece

3. Sillbird STEM 12-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit, 190-Piece

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 5

KIDWILL STEM 14-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit

4. KIDWILL STEM 14-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 2

UBTECH JIMU STEM App-Enabled Builderbots Robot Kit

5. UBTECH JIMU STEM App-Enabled Builderbots Robot Kit

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 4

LEGO 31062 Toy Creator Robo Explorer Robot Kit

6. LEGO 31062 Toy Creator Robo Explorer Robot Kit

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 2

littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Robot Kit

8. littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Robot Kit

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 27

Thames & Kosmos Engineer Kit STEM Robot Kit Storybook

13. Thames & Kosmos Engineer Kit STEM Robot Kit Storybook

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 5

OWI 14-In-1 Educational Solar Build-Your-Own Robot Kit

15. OWI 14-In-1 Educational Solar Build-Your-Own Robot Kit

Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 11

Our Robot Kit Findings

ELEGOO UNO R3 Ultrasonic Smart Car Robot Kit

What We Liked: If your child learns better with hands-on activities, you’ll want to consider going with this robot kit. It’s designed for beginners and is easy to assemble. Once the robot is constructed, you’ll be able to choose between several different modes, including auto-go, infrared control and obstacle avoidance.

Makeblock mBot DIY Mechanical Building Blocks STEM Education Robot Kit

What We Liked: Users have the choice of following a set of directions to make their robot or relying on their own creativity. Once the robot is assembled, users can control it via a remote or through the Makeblock app on their smartphones. This robot is even able to follow a black line, so you can draw out your own elaborate path for your robot to travel down.

Sillbird STEM 12-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit, 190-Piece

What We Liked: This robot kit allows children to build a total of 12 different robots. Some of the robots are operational on land, while others can maneuver around in water. It doesn’t even require batteries, as it is powered by the sun.

KIDWILL STEM 14-In-1 DIY Solar Robot Kit

What We Liked: Once you’ve mastered the beginner robot kits, you’ll be able to move up to this kit. With the pieces provided in the kit, you’ll be able to construct 14 different robots, including a wagging-tail dog and a walking crab. There’s also the option to power the robots using either a battery or the included solar panels.

UBTECH JIMU STEM App-Enabled Builderbots Robot Kit

What We Liked: If you want to do more with a robot then simply move it back and forth, this model is an excellent choice. It’s designed to be interactive and comes with a giant claw that can pick up objects. You can also operate the robot using an iOS or Android device.

Our Expert Consultant

Molly Thornberg   
Technology and parenting blogger

Molly Thornberg is a professional writer, creative and mom to four kids, living her best life outside of Dallas, Texas. With a love for all things tech, she is passionate about helping parents raise kids in the digital age. She writes about technology, parenting and humor on her blog Digital Mom Blog.

Our Robot Kit Buying Guide

Technology can be a roadblock for modern-day parents, but it doesn’t have to be. Sure, it may seem like there’s constant competition for your child’s attention. Between their TV, video games and an endless array of increasingly connected (and concealable) gadgets, it can be hard to hold a kid’s attention for five minutes, much less spark their curiosity.

For a lot of young minds, the best approach might not be to rein in the tech but lean into it. For kids who are already immersed in the still-evolving Internet of Things, a robot kit might be just the ticket to get them playing with something outside of a screen (at least partially). And the right robot kit can teach them key concepts about programming that will really pay off in the form of a future STEM career.

That stands for science, technology, engineering and math, for the uninitiated — all concepts that are put to good use in robotics. And if you think your child might be too young to be programming ‘bots, think again. There are some surprising toys out there that can appeal to grade-schoolers of any level.

Robot kits can involve a variety of materials. Straight out of the box, they might look like anything from a series of blocks to a jumble of complex circuits and sensors. Fully built, they can take the form of traditional, bipedal sci-fi robots to armored animals or even abstract geometric shapes. Robot kits for the youngest youngsters, though, will likely involve the fewest parts. With a little help, even 4 or 5-year-olds should be able to put together character toys like R2-D2 using a series of magnetized bricks. At any age level, the building stage should be a sneaky way to school your child on engineering basics.

Depending on what form they take and what sensors they’re equipped with, the completed robot might be able to do anything from simple back-and-forth movements to fetching objects or other multi-stage tasks. If they’re a drone, they might even fly and do aerobatic tricks. It will be up to their creator to tell them what to do, and that programming stage is when the real fun (and learning) begins. When you think “programming,” you might picture endless lines of code in an obscure computer language, but at its root, programs are simple instructions. Robot kits — at least, those for the younger set — boil those instructions down to their fundamentals.

“Robot kits can come in many forms,” says Molly Thornberg, a parenting and technology expert and the brains behind the Digital Mom Blog. “See if the kit is for one-time use, or if it’s modular. Modular kits allow multiple uses and ways to create your robot.”

For ages up to 9 or so, that might take the form of a drag-and-drop interface on an app, or something as simple as a series of buttons to press on the robot itself. When it’s done right, kids will get the joy of bossing around their new creation, but they’ll also have learned a little something about the order of operations and logic.

For tweens and early teens, robot kits typically start getting more granular with their programming. The work will typically be done on an app, and the programmer might have to issue individual commands to each limb that enable the robot to walk, for example. The robots themselves might be harder to build, but they’ll also be more versatile.

Robot kits for teens and older builders will start getting into full-fledged programming, using languages that have applications beyond just one project. The robots will require their budding mad scientists to wire up their own circuits and sensors. The programming will likely be done on an app, through a platform such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi. Arduino is a particularly popular way to program everything from robots to “smart” devices for household use. It involves a series of hardware components, all programmable by an open-source motherboard that can generally run programs in a series, one at a time.

Raspberry Pi is a more general-purpose computer that can be linked up with a nearly endless series of peripherals. It too is open source and uses Linux software to run its programs.

Whatever age level you’re buying for, make sure you’re supervising the process — but not too closely. The whole idea is to let their young minds loose and allow them to discover the possibilities of tech in the real world.

DWYM Fun Fact

What’s the biggest robot in the world? There are actually as many subcategories for this title as there are applications for robotics. But let’s face it: We’re all thinking of those big, walking metal monsters from films like “Pacific Rim” and cartoons like “Voltron.” And in that category, leave it to the Japanese to fulfill our wildest nerd dreams.

A Japanese company called Sakakibara Kikai currently holds the title for the largest humanoid vehicle with a 27-foot, 9-inch tall giant MONONOFU (that’s Japanese for “samurai”). It’s directly inspired by the robot warriors of Japanese anime, right down to the pilot capsule in the chest. The overachieving engineers actually made it too big to leave the hangar that it was created in, so it has to be partially disassembled in order to go out on test drives. So much for a rapid response in case of a Godzilla attack!

The Robot Kit Tips and Advice

  • Buying robot kits for younger builders is generally going to be easy. Everything will be contained in the kit, and the only thing you might need to add would be a laptop, tablet or smartphone for the programming app. Once you get into advanced kits, it’s best to do a little research even if you’re tackling so-called “starter sets.” If you’re making a circuit board from scratch, it’s a good possibility you might need a soldering iron. And even some all-inclusive sets might require a cordless screwdriver or wrench, at least to save time.
  • If we haven’t made it clear in the buyer’s guide, age and experience plays a big role in exactly what kind of robot kit to buy. And while your child might be plenty smart for their age, keep durability in mind when buying them a kit. A particularly tech-savvy 6-year-old might well be able to build and even program an intermediate level robot with your help, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to play gently with it once you’re out of the room. Make sure that at least the electronic parts are sturdy, because smashed robots can be an expensive lesson in responsibility.
  • How will you do the programming on your robot? Commands are what makes a robot a robot, after all. If your kit includes a controller, you’re all set. But even some ‘bots for grade-schoolers require you to download an app instead. Certainly, that will save you some money on components, but you’ll want to make sure you have a tablet or other device you can dedicate to the cause. How much space will the app take up? Does it require a subscription to use? Does it need to be verified on a laptop or can you just download it onto a smartphone and start coding directly from there? All good questions to have answered before you buy.
  • Speaking of apps and controllers, you’ll want to know how they communicate with the robot. Dedicated remote controllers like the ones used by RC cars, will operate on a certain frequency (typically 2.4 GHz). If that’s the case, make sure you operate your robot in a place where there aren’t other RC toys around or their own controllers might interfere with the signal. You (or they) might be able to switch frequencies for an easy fix. In the case of apps, they’ll connect by way of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. If it’s the latter, make sure you’re taking your robot for a spin where the signal is strong.
  • If it’s a robot, it needs power. In most cases, that will be supplied by rechargeable batteries. In some ‘bots, you might need to supply your own traditional ones. Even the rechargeable ones will need to be juiced up periodically, so make sure they start with a charge. Some might even operate on solar power, which is great — as long as it’s efficient and you’re outdoors enough for it to matter.
  • It’s a great thrill watching a robot execute your commands for the first time. That feeling can fade pretty fast if your robot doesn’t do that much, though. Whether it’s for young builders or old, versatility is key. Robots like those in the Lego Mindstorms series offer tweens lots of repeat playability in their multiple builds, where different configurations of the same robot can perform different tasks. Older engineers can keep their curiosity satisfied by kits that use the modular Arduino platform, where the same base software can be used for multiple applications.
  • Keep all of your robot kit’s bits and pieces in one place. “Kids have a tendency to lose parts and pieces,” says our tech and parenting pro Thornberg. “Either keep the box the robot kit comes in, or have another box handy.”

About The Author

Alicia Bodine
Alicia Bodine 

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer who loves researching the latest in electronics to keep up with her teenage daughters. With more than 15 years of experience, her work has appeared on leading tech publications.