15 Best Robot Kits for Adults From Basic to Super High Tech

A man's gloved hands assembling a blue robotic vehicle kit.

Remember the robot toys from the ’80s?

NOT that I’m old, but I have great memories of playing with the 2XL and Omnibot as a kid, and I thought they were nothing short of amazing. 

Well, my friend, things have changed. The robot kits today are capable of so much more than just firing off trivia questions and rolling across the floor.

While they may look intimidating at first glance, they’re really not that hard to master. I’ve worked on quite a few and figured everything out fairly easily. 

Top Picks

We’ll take a look at both beginner and advance options, but if you can’t wait to get started…

The two best choices for getting your feet wet are hands down the ELEGOO UNO R3 and the Makeblock mBot.

They’re both reasonably priced, a great introduction to robotics, customizable, and compatible with different systems.

Either one will be challenging without being too complicated and a ton of fun to put together and operate.

Best Robot Kits for Adults

Robot kits for adults tend to have complex features, more durable materials, or other components that set them apart from pure kid-focused kits.

Here are my favorite overall choices.

Most Popular: ELEGOO UNO R3

ELEGOO UNO R3 Project Smart Robot Car Kit V 3.0...

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It’s hard to overstate this robot kit’s popularity, particularly given its excellent balance of price, quality, and features.

If you’re interested in getting an excellent robot kit but aren’t sure where to start, begin your search here.

The UNO R3 smart robot car is beginner friendly with modified ports that make it easier to assemble and help reduce the chance for errors.

It’s also highly compatible with various control systems, including most Android and iOS platforms.

However, I think the thing that really brings this kit together and elevates it to the next level is the use of a line-tracking module.

This is important after you’ve finished building this robot, and it makes it easier to create extraordinarily in-depth courses to navigate through.

Like most robot kits for adults, the ELEGOO UNO R3 ultimately gives you what you put into it. 

Pros:

  • Excellent value for the price.
  • Good mix of challenge and simplicity.
  • Surprisingly customizable for the price.
  • Available in several designs.

Cons:

  • Requires at least a little electronic knowledge.
  • Slightly more expensive than some competitors.

Best Value: Think Gizmos Musical Robot Kit

Think Gizmos Musical Robot Building Kit - Wooden...

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Think Gizmos stands out in the crowded robot kit field by offering a unit built from laser-cut wood.

This produces a distinctively puzzle-like design made from 221 base pieces that include both light and sound.

This kit is perfect for beginners because the thick wood is more error friendly and allows you to correct minor defects by sanding down the parts.

It doesn’t require any intricate programming knowledge either, and it’s all available at an impressively budget-friendly price.

Pros:

  • Extremely affordable.
  • Sturdier than most other robot kits for adults.
  • Eco-friendly untreated wood.
  • Memorably distinctive design.

Cons:

  • Not as programmable as other robot kits.
  • No customization options.

Beginner’s Choice: ELSKY Spider Robot Kit 

ELSKY Spider Robot Kit, Scientific Robot Toy, DIY...

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Some people’s first response to a spider is to squish it, but this highly affordable spider robot kit is an outstanding option for anyone new to robotics.

It comes with two assembly choices for adjusting the stride length, while the snap-together design means you don’t need any glue or fancy tools to put it together.

I don’t usually see this level of simplicity as a good thing for robots, but that changes when we’re talking about beginners’ options.

In this case, its design is fundamentally a virtue and provides affordable practice before you move on to a more complicated kit where significant mistakes can be somewhat more expensive.

Pros:

  • Easy kit for total beginners.
  • Durable plastic components resist errors and mistakes.
  • A great choice for learning how to assemble robots.

Cons:

  • It does not come with a battery.
  • No remote control system.

Raspberry Pi Robot Kits

A Raspberry Pi is a small, highly affordable computer system that interfaces nicely with basic components.

These are most common in programmable robot kits for adults, making them ideal for learning about the coding side of things.

Yahboom Raspblock

Yahboom Raspberry Pi 4B AI Robot Kit 3-DOF Camera...

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Yahboom’s robot kit is more expensive than most other models on the market, but it’s also more complex and offers numerous features that other kits lack.

These include voice broadcast, object recognition tracking, and even visual autopilot.

The rugged wheel setup allows for tight maneuvering in almost any environment too, which makes this a top-tier toy for learning about both robotics and programming.

However, keep in mind that this is also an advanced, challenging robot kit. That means it’s best for experienced builders rather than first-time buyers.

Pros:

  • Significantly more advanced than most other robot kits.
  • Includes rarer functions like voice broadcasting.
  • Can recognize gestures, objects, colors, and more.

Cons:

  • Does not include Raspberry 4B or TF card (required).
  • More expensive than most other kits.

Freenove Hexapod Robot Kit

Freenove Hexapod Robot Kit with Remote (Compatible...

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Freenove’s hexapod kit is a flexible, remote-controlled system that interfaces through Wi-Fi, USB, and a remote control system that’s also included in the kit.

This particular robot has a heavy emphasis on programming while still providing a challenging build.

I particularly like this kit because it offers a lot of flexibility with some margin for error.

A six-legged body is fundamentally more stable than four legs, so that reduces the chance of causing damage if you send a strange command to it.

Pros:

  • Impressively durable design.
  • Works with both Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
  • Multiple control options.
  • An excellent choice for moderately skilled adults.

Cons:

  • No paper instructions.
  • It does not come with a battery.

Sphero RVR

Sphero RVR: All-Terrain Programmable Coding Robot...

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Sphero’s RVR is different from most of the robot kits on this list.

Rather than being something to build yourself, it’s actually a fully-functional hardware platform.

The customization options are why this unit stands out as being more than a fancy RC unit.

Aside from a robust programming suite that’s highly compatible with different systems, this little car also supports connecting other components to control it, hold other items, and generally modify it to your liking.

That makes it a deceptively simple-looking product but one with a lot of potentials if you’re ready to move on to creating custom robots.

Pros:

  • Fully built, highly customizable platform.
  • Ideal for experts who can get the most out of it.
  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

Cons:

  • No inherent construction is needed.
  • More of a toy than a robot kit unless you’re ready to customize it.

Arduino Robot Kits

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform, which makes it a popular tool among prototypers and people who are just starting to learn about the complexities of electronics.

A robust online community provides extensive support for modifying and customizing Arduino-based products.

Makeblock mBot Kit

Makeblock mBot Starter Kit with Bluetooth Dongle,...

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Makeblock’s mBot is a great programmable robot with a few features that really help it stand out from others.

First, it’s highly integrated with an intuitive coding system, which makes it easy to learn how to control.

Second, this friendly-looking robot includes multiple expansion ports on its main control board.

These ports are the key to its complexity because they allow you to add different parts and create a much more complex robot than what you can build right out of the box.

Overall, there’s a lot to love with this DIY kit, and it’s an outstanding introduction to Arduino kits.

Pros:

  • Multiple expansion ports for flexibility.
  • Numerous sensor types.
  • Highly compatible with different control systems.
  • User-friendly programming system.

Cons:

  • Not as agile as some other robots.
  • Relatively expensive for a learning platform.

STARTO Robot Car Kit

for ArduinoIDE Robot Car Kit with Line Tracking...

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For something a little faster than the mBot, STARTO’s ArduinoIDE-based platform mixes fast wheels with a beginner-friendly programming system.

However, what I really like about this kit is its use of multiple sensor types.

That’s great for ultimately creating more-complex Arduino robots, and this kit’s budget-friendly pricing makes it even better.

The sensors here include ultrasonic systems, infrared patrol systems, and even obstacle-avoidance and following capabilities.

A few extras like a control-mode switch and a DC charger provide added utility for a solid kit.

Pros:

  • Multiple sensor types.
  • Beginner-friendly design.
  • Allows multiple graphical programming modes.
  • Omnidirectional central wheel.

Cons:

  • Few customization options.
  • More exposed elements than some other kits.

ELEGOO Penguin Bot

ELEGOO Penguin Bot Biped Robot Kit for Arduino...

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This easy-to-build robot kit is a programming-heavy platform with a surprisingly high amount of flexibility for such a straightforward design.

Its components allow for obstacle avoidance, automatic following, music playing, and even some forms of dancing.

The part that stands out to me is that this is a rarer, semi-humanoid shape.

Most Arduino systems are vehicle based with 3-5 wheels, so a bipedal system provides a completely different programming experience.

Variety is good, and that’s why I ultimately picked this one for my final list.

Pros:

  • A rare, bipedal Arduino robot.
  • Easy to put together.
  • A surprisingly high number of sensors and controls.
  • Available in several colors.

Cons:

  • Too simple for some people’s tastes.
  • Arguably overpriced.

Humanoid Robot Kit

Humanoid robots stand out from the crowd – literally.

While their physical complexity varies, these robots usually require more skill to program and therefore work best for experienced buyers.

Erector by Meccano

Erector by Meccano Meccanoid XL 2.0 Robot-Building...

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Now here’s a robot that stands out from others. At roughly 4 feet tall, this kit produces one of the largest build-it-yourself robots around.

Its systems include voice recognition, smart-device communication, multiple motors for articulation, and over 3000 pre-programmed phrases for intelligent control.

Pros:

  • Much bigger than almost any other kit.
  • Impressively wide variety of control functions.
  • Multiple programming options.

Cons:

  • Not as durable as it could be.
  • Not a great choice for amateurs.

LEGO Mindstorms EV3

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 31313 Robot Kit with Remote...

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LEGO is most famous for its plastic building bricks, but this 601-piece set features a robust programmable system and a wide variety of decorative parts.

It also has fewer exposed components than some other robot kits, which puts it solidly ahead of most of the competition.

What really sets this kit apart and helps justify its price tag is the fact that it’s also flexible enough to build more than a dozen other robots.

That provides even more learning opportunities and elevates it from a good product to a great one.

Pros:

  • Extremely flexible design.
  • More durable than many other units.
  • Compatible with other LEGO pieces and products.

Cons:

  • Significantly more expensive than most robot kits.
  • Few sensor choices.

UBTECH Buzzbot & MuttBot Kit

UBTECH JR0602 Jimu Robot BuzzBot & MuttBot - App...

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For people who are looking for a simpler, cheaper humanoid kit, UBTECH’s Buzzbot & MuttBot combination kit provides 264 parts that you can assemble into various forms.

This is a good humanoid platform for learners thanks to its general simplicity and the fact that you don’t need any tools to put it together.

Pros:

  • More affordable than many other kits.
  • It comes with two pre-designed build patterns.
  • Works well with other JIMU systems.

Cons:

  • No special sensors.
  • More about programming than building.

Advanced Robot Kits

Advanced robot kits are generally more complex than some of the introductory options elsewhere in this guide.

While some still look simple from the outside, they hide much more advanced systems within.

Parallax Programmable Boe-Bot

Parallax-28832 Programmable Boe-Bot Robot Kit -...

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Parallax’s Boe-Bot is much less of a toy, like many other products on this list are, and more of an educational platform for hardware development.

It’s highly functional and compatible with a wide variety of accessories from the manufacturer that let you do things like add new sensors or control systems.

This is moderately complex straight out of the box, but the accessories and the advanced skills required for integrating are what take this product above and beyond.

Pros:

  • An extremely flexible base platform.
  • Part of a series of robotics-teaching products.
  • Has USB compatibility.

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive for what you get.
  • Not a great value unless you go all-in on accessories and customizing.

HEXBUG Build Blitz Construction Kit

HEXBUG Build Blitz Construction Kit with STEM...

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This deluxe kit includes over 800 pieces and seven notably different designs between its pieces, making it a top choice for learning how to program different shapes.

I particularly like the fact that it includes a crane shape, which is relatively rare among robot kits that offer this sort of flexibility.

The durable plastic parts provide longevity too.

Pros:

  • Extremely wide variety of designs.
  • Extensive smartphone control options.
  • Durable enough to allow for frequent building and disassembly.

Cons:

  • Little customization outside its existing parts.
  • Requires downloading an app for more builds.

UBTECH Firebot

UBTECH JIMU Robot Mythical Series: Firebot Kit/...

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In many ways, this is one of my favorite advanced kits.

While it doesn’t offer the same variety of designs as some other advanced kits, it includes over 600 parts for a complex build and support for programmable LEDs, touch sensors, and more.

It also looks better than most kits when completed, which is a not-so-small consideration.

Pros:

  • Excellent visual design.
  • Supports impressively complex programming.
  • Reasonably challenging to build.

Cons:

  • Harder to customize than some other robot kits.
  • Relatively expensive for its single-design style.

Robot Kit Buyer’s Guide

Here are some things to consider before you go shopping for a robot kit.

Number of Pieces

The number of pieces in kits varies, but in general, more pieces means higher complexity and often better articulation.

Simpler kits may have less than 100 pieces total, while complex kits can have over 500 pieces.

However, pieces alone don’t determine the flexibility of a kit. You should also consider whether those pieces allow for different designs.

Most block-style kits are highly customizable, but other systems only allow a single design.

Complexity

Complexity is not the same thing as the number of pieces in a robot kit.

Instead, it’s better to understand complexity as a measure of how much you can do with the robot and its programming systems.

Many modern robot kits feature a robust, block-based programming system that makes it easy to create in-depth instructions.

Particularly good kits even allow you to customize your build and then create instructions for each build, which is great for learning more about programming.

Features

Features in robot kits mostly consist of extra sensors or modules that expand what the system can do.

For example, ultrasonic obstacle sensors and infrared communication systems are features.

Most of these systems are also programmable, which makes them easy to integrate into complex instructions.

Controllability

This is intimately linked to the features in a robot kit but also includes elements like the programming language and the tools you can use to control your kit.

More controllability usually means more complexity, but if you can control many different parts at once, you can do some incredible stuff with a robot.

Generally, more is better here.

Related Questions:

Here are some other things people ask about robot kits for adults.

What Is the Best Robotics Kit for Beginners?

That depends on a few factors, including your budget and how much time you can put into learning about robotics.

On the merits, though, I like ELSKY’s Spider Robot Kit.

It stands out in a few different ways for beginners, starting with its plastic-focused construction.

Many robotics kits feature thinner and more delicate parts, whereas this eight-legged option mainly uses pieces that are large and thick enough to hold up under an inexperienced touch.

Despite the simplicity of its build, however, this robotics toy supports some flexibility with different assembly choices to change the stride length.

Finally, this model doesn’t require any glue or advanced tools.

I prefer complex kits for personal use, but for beginners, ELSKY’s kit is practical, affordable, and a great way to gain experience before buying something a little more complicated.

How Much Do Robot Kits for Adults Cost?

Pricing varies widely between kits, but for the most part, we can separate kits into a few common ranges.

Budget Kits

Anything below $50 is essentially a budget kit.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re cheaply made or prone to breaking, but don’t expect too many customization options in this range.

Mid-Range Kits

Products between $50 and $100 are mid-range kits. These usually have sturdier parts, more sensors, and more complexity.

These tend to be good products for experienced builders who want a little bit of a challenge.

Premium Kits

Kits that retail above $100 are essentially premium kits.

They often have many additional parts and components, higher complexity, or generally higher quality than their cheaper brethren.

I don’t recommend these for first-time buyers, but they’re a good choice for dedicated hobbyists looking to expand their collections.

Wrapping It Up

Take it from me, once you’ve finished with one robot kit, you’ll be itching to start on another, and you’ll have the confidence and skills to tackle more complex options.

For motivated beginners though, I still say that the ELEGOO UNO R3 or the Makeblock mBot are your best bet.

Not incredibly complicated. Compatible with various systems including Arduino. Fun way to learn and customizable if you wish. Perfect.

When you’re ready for more of a challenge, try the Erector.

With an amazing 3,000 pre-programmed phrases and 1,000 parts to assemble, it’s intricate enough to be challenging and c’mon, who doesn’t want a 4-foot-tall robot following them around?!

Sources:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/

https://www.arduino.cc/

Last update on 2021-05-18 at 01:38 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API