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One of the top questions my students (and frankly, their parents) would ask me after a robotics class, was How do I continue with robotics? or What Arduino kit should I buy [my son/daughter]? We loved the class, but don’t want to lose these skills. What’s next?!
Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of Arduino kits you can purchase for yourself or your son/daughter to continue your robotics education.
This article is to help those who:
- …recently took a robotics class and want to continue working on projects;
- …read my article on how to wire a breadboard and want to add an Arduino;
- …have an Arduino and want to use it to get into robotics;
- …need to narrow down the selection pool because face it, there are a lot of Arduino kits out there;
- …want to pick up an Arduino kit, but don’t know what’s junk, and what’s actually worth buying.
And trust me, there’s a lot of “junky” and fake parts floating around on eBay and Amazon. So the main purpose is to provide you my top five picks for those looking to spend money on quality Arduino kits.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
For the Enthusiast Looking for Additional Sensors
Smraza Arduino Kit
I like this kit because it provides a smaller sampling of the most common electronics. It keeps things simple, and simple is less overwhelming. For the beginner, this kit provides some focus and it is cost effective. So, for $30, you can get a collection of the most common sensors and electronics. If you’re planning to buy an Arduino (~$16), it might be worth checking out this kit, because you will have some sensors to play with for an extra $14. Saves you the trouble of piecing together all these components individually.
- Great for beginners – provides focus for projects
- Sensors Included – saves you from picking sensors
- Good Value – includes controller and sensors
For those with a Controller who want projects to work on
The SunFounder Project kit is designed for those may have bought an Arduino and are looking for projects and tutorials to work on. The Good: Great gift idea for someone who’s into electronics projects Includes the hardware and a project tutorial book The Bad: This kit doesn’t include an Arduino, but you can buy the Uno R3 here or the Mega R3 here. You won’t be able to build a robot with this kit, but you will learn about a lot of sensors used in robots with this kit.
- Great gift idea for makers – comes with a nice project book
- Does not include controller – you’ll need to pick one up to use this kit
- Compatible with any controller you pick
When you want to upgrade your Arduino Uno to Arduino Mega
Elegoo Ultimate Kit
Like the name says, it’s an ULTIMATE starter kit, and that’s an under-statement. Consider this kit your comprehensive pack of sensors, electronics, and projects for the Arduino Mega Comes with a carrying case to keep you organized Gives a sampling of the most common (and not so common) electronics and sensors Good value for the number of parts you get in this kit (and they’re not all fluffy parts either, they’re actually useful). If you already have an Arduino Mega or an electronic kit, this kit may be over-kill since the components are pretty common.
- Stay Organized! – Comes with Carrying Case
- SO MANY SENSORS – all in one package for sensors
- Similar Parts – if you already have a kit, you may be getting duplicate parts
For the robotics maker looking for a comprehensive, DIY kit
Elegoo Robot Kit
Provides you tools, sensors, acrylic baseplates, motors, wheels, electronics, batteries, and EVERYTHING, needed to build this robot car. You won’t need anything else but patience to get this thing working 😉 Based around the Arduino Uno, so if you’re familiar with that platform, this robot should be pretty self-explanatory. And if you’re not, Arduino Uno is very easy to learn, so you’ll be in good hands with this! You can only build one model with this kit. With so many parts included, it may be challenging to actually use them all. The batteries do not have terminal markings, so you could put them into the battery pack backwards causing a short.
- Great Value
- Batteries could be plugged in backwards – no markings or terminal bocks
- Multiple Controller Compatible
For the parent looking for a durable robotics kit for their student
MakeBlock Ultimate DIY Kit
Interfaces nicely with the Arduino IDE (program environment). Option to program in Scratch (drag & drop programming), which is easier for younger students. Wiring and plugs are self-contained making it easier for younger students to connect parts. Rugged components made of metal (not plastic). Build multiple robot models with this kit. Most expensive kit on the list, but could be worth the money if you have a younger child (age 8+) because the parts are easier to plug in and the metal components are more versatile. Runs on AA, so you will need to keep them charged or have spares available.
- Interfaces nicely with Arduino IDE
- Rugged components – great for younger students
- Runs on AA – make sure you have spares charged
This robot kit is a great all-around kits for students of all ages. Even though it is an expensive kit, I see it as an investment as it is more rugged and provides a platform that students can grow into. The main controller can be programmed in Scratch or Arduino-C, so you can’t go wrong picking this kit up. The creators of this kit, Make Block, have a large online following, so if you want additional support or tutorials, you can certainly find additional resources out there.
Do you have one of these kits?
What kits do you like using for your robotics and electronics projects? Have a kit that wasn’t mentioned above?
Don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me on Social Media (@learnrobotics). I love seeing what you guys are working on! Feel free to leave a comment below with your experiences using Arduino.