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

Last updated date: July 2, 2020

DWYM Score

8.0

OWI 14-In-1 Educational Solar Build-Your-Own 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.

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

Overall Take


In our analysis of 98 expert reviews, the OWI OWI 14-In-1 Educational Solar Build-Your-Own Robot Kit placed 15th when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

The solar powered robot can be transformed into 14 different robot modes that include a multitude of comical and functional movements. Easily change from a wagging-tail dog - running beetle - walking crab - surfer - speedster - zombie chaser and more. The robot kit provides unique accessories and parts that make robot move on land or water or both. With alternative energy playing such a pivotal role, there is no better time than now to start children on the path to learning basic concepts behind these technologies. Fortunately, all the 14-in-1 robots are powered by the sun, so no batteries required. The robot moves in direct sunlight and allows children to create and use their infinite imagination. There are two levels in building robot version. Level One includes: Turtle-bot, Beetle-bot, Quadru-bot, Boat-bot, Walker-bot, Dog-bot and Wheel-bot. After children explore entry level designs, they can challenge their manipulative skills with Level Two projects: Roly Poly-bot, Auto-bot, Slither-bot, Surf-bot, Zombie-bot, Crab-bot and Row-bot. Additional features include: adjustable polarity on the solar panel to change direction of motor rotation, retractable robot head which can be quickly stored in the upper body, the robot head can be installed in the front, top or rear of the gearbox and transparent housing to see the movements of the gears. As we all say, ""Our children are the future"". And if anything is certain about that future, it is that renewable energy sources and green technologies will play a major role in our children's lives. With 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot Kit, let them learn about their future and have fun at the same time. From the Manufacturer Design Robots Powered by the Sun The solar powered robot can be transformed into 14 different robot modes which include a multitude of comical and functional movements. The user can easily change from a wagging-tail, running beetle, walking crab, surfer, speedster or to a 'zombie chaser'. With alternative energy playing such a pivotal role, there is no better time than now to start children on the path to learning basic concepts behind robotics and renewable energy resources. Fortunately, this product is powered by the sun, so there are no batteries required. The robot moves in the direct sunlight and allows children to create and use their infinite imagination. There are two levels in building the robot kit. Level one includes: Turtle-bot, Beetle-bot, Quadru-bot, Boat-bot, Walker-bot, Dog-bot, and Wheel-bot. After they amuse themselves with the entry level, can challenge their manipulative skills with second level: Roly Poly-bot, Auto-bot, Slither-bot, Surf-bot, Zombie-bot, Crab-bot, and Row-bot. Additional features include: Unique accessories that can make the robot move on land or water Adjustable polarity on the solar panel to change direction of motor rotation Retractable robot head which can be quickly stored in the upper body The robot head can be installed in the front, top or rear of the gearbox Transparent housing to see the movements of the gears For ages 10+.

Expert Reviews

Expert Summarized Score

8.5
8 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

7.0
1,022 user reviews

What experts liked

We love this product since it takes an interdisciplinary approach to STEM-subjects. By teaching kids how to build, model, and create new designs, it improves their spatial learning skills and enhances logical thinking.
- Mom n Kids
This solar powered robot can be transformed into 14 different robot modes. Powered by the sun - no batteries required
- Booms Beat
December 13, 2016 | Full review
Kids are able to use the set to create up to 14 different robot toys, which keeps them entertained for hours on end. It encourages them to be more creative and helps to develop their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
- Doodle Buckets
October 5, 2019 | Full review
The solar-powered robot could be transformed to 14 distinct robot modes including a great number of comical and operational movements. The user can quickly switch from a wagging-tail puppy -> operating beetle -> walking crab -> surfer -> speedster -> zombie chaser.
- Children for Children
August 15, 2019 | Full review
The OWI solar powered robot is a whopping 14 different configurations in one!This DIY solar powered robot kit contains all the required pieces to help you build a variety of robots.
- Magesolar
This OWI can actually be transformed into 14 different robots. The package comes complete with instructions on how to convert this OWI into the different models.
- Kid Tech Lab
May 4, 2019 | Full review
The kit provides unique accessories and parts that make a robot move on land or water or both. All the 14-in-1 robots are powered by the sun and move in direct sunlight, so no batteries required.
- Whiz Kids Robotics
No batteries required, all of its power comes from the sun. This solar powered robot can be manipulated and transformed into 14 different robot modes.
- The Solar Advantage
October 8, 2017 | Full review

What experts didn't like

It doesn’t work without the solar panels being exposed to direct sunlight.
- Mom n Kids
Doesn’t produce as much power as some were expecting
- Doodle Buckets
October 5, 2019 | Full review
No rechargeable battery; must be in direct sunlight to move.
- Magesolar

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.

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.

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.”