The Best Robotics Kits for Beginners

The Best Robotics Kits for Beginners

Our pick

Lego Boost

Lego Boost

The best robotics kit for beginners

The Boost kit is a joy to put together and the easiest to program, and because it’s based on Lego, the possibilities for creative expansion are almost limitless. Recommended for ages 7 to 12.

Buying Options

$150* from Amazon
$160 from Target
Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $160.

Since it uses Lego pieces, the Lego Boost set is the most approachable and the easiest to figure out how to put together. It’s a well-thought-out kit that a panel of child testers enjoyed as much as we did. The simple programming interface is easy to get started with, and the visual instructions allow non-readers to use and enjoy it, though more advanced programmers might find it limiting.

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Runner-up

Ubtech Jimu Robot AstroBot Series: Cosmos Kit

Ubtech Jimu Robot AstroBot Series: Cosmos Kit

Better coding, less-versatile pieces

This kit implements the Scratch programming language better than any others we tested and produces an exceptionally cute robot, but it’s compatible only with other Jimu kits. Recommended for ages 8 to 12.

Buying Options

$150* from Bloomingdale’s
$142 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $130.

If our main pick is unavailable, the next-best option is the Ubtech Jimu Robot AstroBot Series: Cosmos Kit. The companion smartphone and tablet app that leads you through building and programming is the most organized and simple to learn of any we tried. The clear instructions offer a straightforward introduction to the popular Scratch programming language. The blocklike Jimu building pieces aren’t as versatile as Legos, and they feel a little clunky, but they come together to build a capable robot.

Upgrade pick

Vex IQ Super Kit

Vex IQ Super Kit

For more-advanced programmers

This kit is made for teachers and includes more-sophisticated sensors and more programming options. It’s a better choice for someone who has experience. Recommended for ages 8 to 14.

Buying Options

$380 from Vex Robotics

If you’re hungry to do as much as you can with a robotics kit, the Vex IQ Super Kit will satiate your appetite for new skills whereas simpler and less expensive kits may only be an appetizer. You can begin programming this kit with a graphical language or move up to more complex tasks using the C programming language, and the extra sensors—which can detect colors, for instance, or when the robot bumps into something—add possibilities that simple kits lack. The kit is made for educators, and as a result it has some of the most solid pieces and packaging.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Lego Boost

Lego Boost

The best robotics kit for beginners

The Boost kit is a joy to put together and the easiest to program, and because it’s based on Lego, the possibilities for creative expansion are almost limitless. Recommended for ages 7 to 12.

Buying Options

$150* from Amazon
$160 from Target
Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $160.

Runner-up

Ubtech Jimu Robot AstroBot Series: Cosmos Kit

Ubtech Jimu Robot AstroBot Series: Cosmos Kit

Better coding, less-versatile pieces

This kit implements the Scratch programming language better than any others we tested and produces an exceptionally cute robot, but it’s compatible only with other Jimu kits. Recommended for ages 8 to 12.

Buying Options

$150* from Bloomingdale’s
$142 from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $130.

Upgrade pick

Vex IQ Super Kit

Vex IQ Super Kit

For more-advanced programmers

This kit is made for teachers and includes more-sophisticated sensors and more programming options. It’s a better choice for someone who has experience. Recommended for ages 8 to 14.

Buying Options

$380 from Vex Robotics

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter

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