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The Best Robot Kit

Last updated on November 5, 2019

We looked at the top 11 Robot Kits and dug through the reviews from 76 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Tom's Guide, Primates 2016, Wiki EZ Vid, Top Reviews, Magesolar and more. The result is a ranking of the best Robot Kits.

Best Robot Kit

Why Trust The DWYM Score?

DWYM is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to.

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

Our Picks For The Top Robot Kits

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Elegoo

Mega 2560 Ultimate Starter Kit

Overall Take

Maker's Treasure TroveA comprehensive kit for Arduino programming featuring solid components.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Primates 2016, Review Meta, Future Horizons, Geeklah, No Place Called Home, Power Inception. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" The set contains all the obligatory elements to begin Arduino programming. The set is straightforward to arrange and use for rookies, even once they don’t have any information about electronics. Simply comply with the tutorials, and your youngsters will develop..."
Cons
"If you are looking for a kid's kit, this might not be the best choice, due to a relatively high price and the lack of step-by-step instructions."
  The Best Value

LEGO

Creator Robo Explorer

Overall Take

Versatile LEGO SetThis intermediate LEGO set can make a robot rover, dog or bird.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon.

LEGO

Mindstorms EV3 Robot Kit

Overall Take

Full-Featured 'BotTransmit commands from any device to this intuitive robot.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews, Wiki EZ Vid, Digital Trends, Electronics Hub, Doodle Buckets, Make Use Of and 15 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Target, Walmart and Best Buy.
Pros
" EV3 kit and app are the latest in LEGO's programmable robot series. Fairly simple block based programming starts users off."
Cons
"When compared to others on the list it is a very expensive kit."

littleBits

Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

Overall Take

Sparks CuriousityEasy to build and a joy to program.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus Tech Radar, PC Magazine, Make Use Of, Wiki EZ Vid, Mom n Kids, Play. Party. Plan and 19 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" We appreciate the user interface, which captures the Star Wars aesthetic and manages to squeeze a lot of information into a small screen without looking crowded. It’s easy to navigate back and forth between mission steps or play back animations..."
Cons
"Initial instructions are slightly unclear. The quick start guide is a bit weird; the first instruction is to "Build this circuit," and shows a drawing of the circuit, with no helpful words. The second is to download the app (available..."
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.
18

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the robot kits available to purchase.
11

Products Analyzed

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

View All Product Rankings

76

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: New York Times Wirecutter, Tom's Guide, Primates 2016, Wiki EZ Vid, Top Reviews.

10,832

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy and 3 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 11 Robot Kits and also dug through the reviews from 76 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Tom's Guide, Primates 2016, Wiki EZ Vid, Top Reviews, Magesolar 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 Mega 2560 Ultimate Starter Kit

Our Expert Score
9.5
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.2
638 user reviews
Our Take

The Elegoo Mega 2560 Ultimate Starter Kit teaches STEM concepts through the Aduino programming system. It has enough circuitry and parts to fulfill the needs of lab engineers, but the 35 lessons in the kit will also spark the curiosity of beginners. A versatile LCD display module is another highlight.

What other experts liked
The set contains all the obligatory elements to begin Arduino programming. The set is straightforward to arrange and use for rookies, even once they don’t have any information about electronics. Simply comply with the tutorials, and your youngsters will develop...
- Primates 2016
October 7, 2019 | Full review
Elegoo EL-Kit is the perfect Thanksgiving gift! This Arduino starter kit is ideal for both novices and advanced users like lab engineers and electronic major students. With the provided tutorial, you’ll realize that learning electronics is one of the greatest...
- Future Horizons
While we loved virtually all compartments in this kit, we were most impressed with LCD1602 Display module. It displays digits in two rows allowing you to showcase up to 32 figures, 16 in each row. The LCD features white characters...
- Geeklah
September 1, 2019 | Full review
The product comes with a very high quality module sensor for supporting on any project from engineers to beginners. As a helping hand you will get a pdf file with 35 lessons to guide you through the project first to...
- Power Inception
December 21, 2017 | Full review
What other experts didn't like
Not appropriate for teenagers beneath 10 years previous.
- Primates 2016
October 7, 2019 | Full review
If you are looking for a kid's kit, this might not be the best choice, due to a relatively high price and the lack of step-by-step instructions.
- Geeklah
September 1, 2019 | Full review

The Best Bang For Your Buck

LEGO Creator Robo Explorer

Expert Summarized Score
0.0
1 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.4
369 user reviews
Our Take

There's plenty of repeat playability in the LEGO Creator Robo Explorer. The same set of pieces can be configured into a robot rover, dog or bird with light-up components. And while they're not actually programmable, they are challenging enough to inspire young model builders.

What other experts liked
What other experts didn't like

Overall Product Rankings

1. Elegoo Mega 2560 Ultimate Starter Kit

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 8

2. LEGO Creator Robo Explorer

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 2

3. LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robot Kit

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 26

4. littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 27

5. PACKGOUT STEM Robot Kit

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 2

6. UBTECH JIMU Robot Astrobot Series Cosmos Kit

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 6

7. Giggleway Electric Motor Robotic Science Kits

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 5

8. Thames & Kosmos Robot Engineer Kit And Storybook

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 5

9. Discovery Kids Mindblown STEM 12-in-1 Solar Robot Creation

Overall Score: 8.3
Reviews Included: 5

10. OWI 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot

Overall Score: 8.0
Reviews Included: 11

11. Litand Alien Toys for Kids Robotic Building Set

Overall Score: 7.0
Reviews Included: 1

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 toys like the R2-D2 replica in the littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit, which is built from 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.

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. (The ‘bots in the Lego Mindstorms series are the perfect example, with their ability to change into different configurations.)

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.

About The Author

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Tod Caviness 

As a homeowner of seven years and a journalist for the past 20, Tod Caviness had to learn to be a handyman quick — or at least stock a garage like one. He's happy if he can log as many weekly hours on his stationary bike as he does on PS4 strategy games, but how-to sites on the internet win out over both of them.