LEGO 31313 Mindstorms EV3 Educational Remote Control & STEM Toy Robot Kit

Last updated date: July 8, 2020

DWYM Score
9.1

LEGO 31313 Mindstorms EV3 Educational Remote Control & STEM Toy Robot Kit

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We looked at the top Robot Kits and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Robot Kit you should buy.

Overall Take

The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 features an intuitive drag-and-drop programming system that makes it easy to jump right in. And with the ability to transmit your commands from any Bluetooth-enabled device, you can make nearly any tablet or smartphone into your controller. The robot also boasts a variety of peripherals, including touch, infrared and color sensors. In our analysis of 111 expert reviews, the LEGO LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robot Kit placed 7th when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 8, 2020:
Checkout The Best Robot Kit for a detailed review of all the top robot kits.

Expert Summarized Score
8.9
21 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
818 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
EV3 kit and app are the latest in LEGO's programmable robot series. Fairly simple block based programming starts users off.
- BestReviews
Lego Mindstorms EV3 allows you to build your very own brick-based comrade that can be transformed into multiple prototypes and be programmed using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
- Wiki EZ Vid
February 15, 2019 | Full review
By default, each design comes with its own unique features and programmed behaviors. They can also be steered using the included remote control. Users can program their creation using the LEGO Mindstorms Ev3 software for PC, and download their commands to the robot using a USB cable, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi.
- Digital Trends
July 8, 2019 | Full review
The Lego Mindstorm robot kit has a unique design and made separate from the list of available. This is the latest model that can be monitored via smart devices and the performance is outstanding. It is perfect the customers who want to make use of robots work smartly.
- Electronics Hub
January 30, 2018 | Full review
The EV3 brick is compatible with the Programmer App, so your child can use the intuitive drag-and-drop programing interface to instruct the robot to talk, walk, and even swing plastic blades.
- Review Geek
August 24, 2018 | Full review
It’s a great way for them to develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination. We liked how it comes with touch, color, and IR sensors as it provides kids with a lot to observe.
- Doodle Buckets
October 5, 2019 | Full review
It’s simple, straightforward, and effortless. As long as you’ve established a Bluetooth connection to the EV3 brick, your programmed course will be beamed to the Lego robot and obeyed.
- Make Use Of
November 8, 2016 | Full review
Programming the robot was incredibly easy. The software, available for both Windows and Mac, works like a visual diagramming tool (think Microsoft Visio or Google SketchUp). You drag and drop instruction modules onto a blank canvas and hit a play icon. Lego says the process takes about 20 minutes, but my group had a working program in ten minutes where the bot could walk straight for a bit, stop, turn, and start walking again.
- Wired
October 24, 2019 | Full review
One of the biggest additions to Mindstorms EV3, thanks to the more advanced Intelligent Brick, is Bluetooth control from your mobile device. The LEGO Mindstorms Commander app for iOS and Android includes preset control panels for all five robots you can build in the 3D Builder app.
- PC Magazine
August 19, 2013 | Full review
The LabView Software for LEGO MINDSTORMS is free. No longer will you need a disk in the box, the download of this software available to anyone with a Mac or Windows PC. Search for LEGO MINDSTORMS Software and it’ll be the first result.In this relatively easy to learn software you’ll be able to program each of the moving parts available in the EV3 kit. Each of the ports you see on the main Intelligent EV3 Brick can be connected to one of the elements included in the pack, all programmable therein.
- Slash Gear
May 3, 2014 | Full review
They're ludicrously fun to play with, and I had a great time sitting on the floor like a kid piecing a robot together (and the whole process was made even better by the fact that I got to do it on the clock!). It's hard to deny that making robots and then programming them to do your bidding is just straight-up awesome.
- ARS Technical's
August 6, 2013 | Full review
Unleash the creative abilities of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3! Construct TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM and GRIPP3R quicker than ever before using the Wonderful free EV3 Programmer Program in your tablet. Then use the intuitive drag-and-drop port to program your favourite robots to walk, speak, think and do whatever you can imagine.
- Children for Children
August 15, 2019 | Full review
This robot is built with 601 pieces which includes the intelligent EV3 Brick, 3 servo motors as well as color, touch and IR sensors. It can be easily connected with kids’ smart devices to control the robot via the free EV3 programmer app.
- Hobby Help
The robot functions on powerful servo motors and allows you to control the robot remotely via the remote control. There are a variety of other sensors that come with the robot which can all be programmed to do certain tasks. The programming of the robot can be done using the EV3 Programmer which is available on both iTunes and Google Play.
- Best Seekers
The free tablet-based 3D Building app (available for iOS and Android tablets) is new to this edition, built in collaboration with Autodesk. The app takes you step-by-step through each build, and thanks to Autodesk’s mad CAD skills, each piece is lovingly recreated in fully rotatable and zoomable 3D.
- Mashable
What we like is there are more instructions that have been approved by LEGO if you go online, so you’re not limited to just 5 models. You can program your robot through your PC or through your smartphone or tablet devices. Big kids and kids at heart will love tinkering with the Lego Mindstorms EV3.
- Kid Tech Lab
May 4, 2019 | Full review
At the heart of the product is the Intelligent EV3 Brick with a powerful ARM9 processor, USB port for WiFi and Internet connectivity, Micro SD card reader, back-lit buttons and 4 motor ports.
- Bring on the Robots
The new EV3 Programmer App makes building and programming LEGO robots faster, smarter and more fun. Download the FREE app to a tablet from the LEGO MINDSTORMS website, choose the robot you would like to build, then bring it to life with the improved programming tool. No need for any wires or additional software.
- Whiz Kids Robotics
The Mindstorms software provides a drag-and-drop GUI style of programming. I have been programming for 26 years now so have an intuitive understanding of how things work, but I believe that it is easy enough for anyone to pick up. I can say this because my six year old son wrote all but one of the programs for the Track3r robot!
- Redbrickable
August 31, 2013 | Full review
The robot can be controlled with a smart device or a remote control.
- Kids Ride Wild
Like many other toy robot kits, this one also lets your child do some very basic programming. They can do this on a variety of devices, including laptops, computers, tablets, and smartphones. The coding is fairly basic, but it acts as a great introduction for kids and those kids who are already interested in tech will absolutely love this.
- Ultimate Kids Tech
What experts didn't like
Additional instructions must be downloaded to app or accessed online.
- BestReviews
When compared to others on the list it is a very expensive kit.
- Electronics Hub
January 30, 2018 | Full review
This robotics kit is a little on the pricey side.
- Review Geek
August 24, 2018 | Full review
Takes a while to startup and shutdown.
- Doodle Buckets
October 5, 2019 | Full review
The programming software is a bit limited, however. There is no copy and paste, and the mouse cursor tended to lag at times after building a complex program. There should be a way to switch quickly between the mouse pointer and the hand icon.
- Wired
October 24, 2019 | Full review
Small number of servos and sensors included mean projects will either be limited or require additional investment.
- PC Magazine
August 19, 2013 | Full review
The price is really the only downside to this set.
- ARS Technical's
August 6, 2013 | Full review
Pieces are poorly organized in non-resealable bags.
- Mashable
The PC software isn't perfect. There were a few things I thought could be made clearer and it was quite slow sometimes. My Windows 7 based PC is no slouch, yet it lagged quite often on some of the screen transitions and even just trying to drag blocks around.
- Redbrickable
August 31, 2013 | Full review
Doesn’t come with rechargeable battery pack.
- Kids Ride Wild
It comes with over 600 separate pieces, but it doesn’t come with any sort of organizational tool.
- Ultimate Kids Tech

From The Manufacturer

Unleash the creative powers of LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3! Build TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM and GRIPP3R faster than ever before with the amazing free EV3 Programmer App on your tablet. Then use the intuitive drag-and-drop interface to program your favorite robots to walk, talk, think and do anything you can imagine. When you're ready for more, fire up the advanced programming features of the EV3 software on your PC and Mac, or take instant control with the free Robot Commander app on your smart device or infrared remote control included with each set. Log on to LEGO.com/MINDSTORMS to access loads of cool content and interact with a huge online community of other LEGO MINDSTORMS fans. The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robot revolution continues!

An Overview On Robot Kits

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 Buying Guide

  • 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.”