EV3 kit and app are the latest in LEGO's programmable robot series. Fairly simple block-based programming starts users off. Compatible with NXT 1.0 and NXT 2.0 motors and sensors (but these older-generation parts cannot control EV3 parts). User-created versions and programs available online.
Additional instructions must be downloaded to app or accessed online. Less technically savvy parents and children may be frustrated with initial setup and programming. Pricey.
Users can build any of 3 types of robots. Battery-powered light brick is a hit with kids. Tracked wheels roll easily. Most kids can put together a robot in about 30 minutes with instructions.
Some very tiny pieces mean younger kids need to be assisted by adults.
Combines classic LEGO Space figures with an exciting exo-suit model. A 321-piece, challenging build that results in a highly posable robot figure. Instructions are clear and easy to follow, without missing steps.
Multiple technical pieces and lots of very small pieces, so it’s not for younger kids unless supervised. Pieces tend to fall off easily, making this better for display than play.
Lots of figures and accessories included with this LEGO set, including an exclusive Ronin figure. Kids have fun building and playing with this kit. Highly posable robot figure has its own detachable skateboard, adding to the fun factor.
Robot’s arms sit awkwardly at the shoulder joint, so some users have reversed them so they articulate more naturally. Somewhat pricey.
A challenging LEGO build resulting in a good-sized BB-8 droid. Head can be turned and moved back and forth thanks to a side-mounted handle. Pop-open side hatch with a welding torch (non-functional) inside. Display stand and plaque included.
Kids under age ten may need adult help to assemble. Lots of parts (1,106 total). Somewhat pricey for a static build kit.
Robots were once the stuff of sci-fi fantasy, but today, you can build your own working robot using LEGO bricks. Both kids and adults can enjoy and learn new things from a LEGO robot kit. The question is, how do you pick the right LEGO robot kit to fit your needs? First and foremost, consider who will be using the kit. What is this person’s skill level? Where do their interests lie? All this can seem a bit daunting, especially if you're not familiar with LEGO robot kits.
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Read on for our full guide to LEGO robot kits, or scroll up to the product list to see our five favorite kits available today.
You'll find two main types of LEGO robot kits for sale: programmable robot kits and model robot kits. Here’s a brief overview of each type.
Programmable LEGO robot kits contain motors and sensors.
You can program, or "code," your finished robot via an app for tablet or smartphone or a program for PC or Mac.
LEGO robots made with programmable kits can move independently. Depending on your coding skills, some can carry out astounding tasks.
You can find programmable LEGO robot kits with two LEGO themes: Boost and Mindstorms.
Model LEGO robot kits look like robots but simply function as toys or models.
While model LEGO robots don't have motors or the ability to move independently, some do have moving parts.
You can find model robot kits in a range of LEGO themes, including Creator, Star Wars, Ninjago, and Ideas.
Before you purchase a specific kit, it helps to find out as much as you can about the product. The following questions give you a good place to start.
One of the first factors to consider is the age of the person you're buying for and the recommended age range of the kit. LEGO Boost robot kits, for instance, are recommended for ages seven to 12. LEGO Mindstorms kits are designed for ages 10 and up.
Only LEGO robot kits from the Boost and Mindstorms ranges are programmable. The Boost coding app is completely icon-based and very intuitive, so even complete coding beginners can enjoy it.
If you want to build a robot that can move on its own, it will need to have a motor. Check your chosen LEGO robot kit to make sure it has a motor. Some kits contain multiple motors so you can create more complex robots.
Model LEGO robot kits start at less than $20, but depending on the theme and the complexity of the model, some kits cost well over $100.
Interested in a programmable LEGO robot kit? These products start around $150 for Boost kits and around $350 for full Mindstorms kits.
Q. Will a LEGO robot kit help my child learn to code?
A. Yes, a programmable LEGO robot kit will absolutely help your child learn to code. LEGO Boost kits are designed for younger children, so they teach only the most basic rules of coding using drag-and-drop icons. However, with LEGO Mindstorms kits, there's a more complex programming option. The user can learn a lot about coding while creating robots that perform a wide range of tasks.
Q. Can adults use LEGO robot kits?
A. There's no reason why adults can't use LEGO robot kits. In fact, the entire LEGO line of products has many adult fans. That said, anyone with even basic computer programming skills might find the coding aspect of Boost kits very simplistic. The Mindstorms theme has much more scope, so adults might find that line of robot kits more challenging and satisfying.
Q. What exactly can you do with a LEGO robot kit?
A. At the time of this writing, the LEGO Boost kit allows you to build and program five models: Vernie the Robot, the Multi-Tooled Rover 4, the Guitar4000, Frankie the Cat, and the AutoBuilder. Mindstorms kits allow you to do much more due to the powerful EV3 Brick at their heart. The limit is your imagination (and your coding skills), but people have created robots that solve Rubik’s Cubes, play musical instruments, knit sweaters, and play chess, to name just a few incredible projects.
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