The Difference Between LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition (#31313) and LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 (#45544)

This article covers the difference between the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition and LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 products. Other articles in the ‘difference between’ series:

* The difference and compatibility between EV3 and NXT (link)
* The difference between NXT Home Edition and NXT Education products (link)

One robotics platform, two targets

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics platform has been developed for two different target audiences. We have home users (children and hobbyists) and educational users (students and teachers). LEGO has designed a base set for each group, as well as several add on sets.

There isn’t a clear line between home users and educational users, though. It’s fine to use the Education set at home, and it’s fine to use the Home Edition set at school. This article aims to clarify the differences between the two product lines so you can decide which product works best for you.

Which set to choose?

The facts and figures on this page may help you decide which set works best for you in terms of hardware and software, but there are other criteria as well. Which set is the most fun? (And won’t end up gathering dust)? See this article for some additional considerations.


The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set (LEGO #31313) is the one you’ll find in toy stores and many online stores, as shown in Figure 1 (link). It is often referred to as the Home Edition or Retail Edition. Right out of the box you can build 5 robots including EV3RSTORM, GRIPP3R, TRACK3R, R3PTAR and SPIK3R (link) and 12 bonus models (link).

You program the robot with software that you can download from the LEGO MINDSTORMS website for free (link). You can also control your robot with your smart phone, or with the infrared remote control that comes with the set.

The set contains 1 EV3 programmable brick, 2 Large Motors, 1 Medium motor, 1 Touch Sensor, 1 Color Sensor, 1 Infrared Sensor and an infrared remote, as shown in Figure 2. The set also includes 7 connector cables and a USB cable for programming.

You’ll need 6 AA batteries for the EV3 brick, and 2 AAA batteries for the remote. Instead of using 6 AA batteries, you can purchase the LEGO EV3 Rechargeable Battery and charger. (See “The EV3 Rechargeable Battery” below.)

The set further contains nearly 600 building elements, including beams, axles, gears and connectors, as shown in Figure 3. The inside of the cardboard packaging contains a mission pad (link). You can view an unboxing video of the set here (link).

LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Set

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Set (LEGO #45544, see Figure 4) is available from LEGO Education and various education resellers worldwide (link). The set includes building instructions for one vehicle with various sensor attachments. More building instructions are available here (link). Software tutorials are available as part of the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 programming software, which can be downloaded for free (link).

The set contains 1 EV3 programmable brick, 2 Large Motors, 1 Medium motor, 2 Touch Sensors, 1 Color Sensor, 1 Ultrasonic Sensor and 1 Gyro sensor, as shown in Figure 4. The set also includes 7 connector cables and a USB cable for programming. The set includes a rechargeable battery for the EV3 brick and a charger.

The set contains nearly 540 building elements, including beams, axles, gears and connectors, as shown in Figure 6. The sturdy plastic box further contains storage bins for your Technic elements.

‘Upgrading’ Elements from Education Edition to Home Edition

If you have the Education Core Set (#45544), you may still want to build the robots of the Home Edition set (#31313), the 12 bonus robots (link), or robots from books about the Home Edition set (link). To do so, you’ll need to purchase separately the Infrared Sensor (link) and the Infrared Beacon (link), as well as certain Technic building elements.

To find the parts you need, start with the diagrams above. You may already have many of the pieces in your LEGO Technic collection.

Below you’ll find several lists that show which parts you need to upgrade so you can build the robots of the Home Edition and the robots in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book.

Matt O’Brien created a list of the parts required to upgrade the combination of the Education Core Set (45544) and Expansion Set (45560) to Retail Set (31313) (link).

Peter Bittner has also made a nice Excel Sheet (link) that you can use to find which parts you need to upgrade from the Education Core Set (45544) to the Home Edition (31313), or from Education Core + Expansion set (45544+45560) to the Home Edition (31313). He has additional information here. (link)

You can order most elements from LEGO (link), or Bricklink (link). See also the instructions in the above files. Alternatively, you could get a large LEGO Technic set or a MINDSTORMS EV3 expansion set (See ‘LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Expansion Set’ below). You’ll get more value for money this way and it saves you some time, but you may still need to buy certain pieces separately.

‘Upgrading’ Elements from Home Edition to Education Edition

Similarly, if you have the Home Edition set (#31313), you may still want to build the robots of the Education Core Set (#45544, link). To do so, you’ll need to purchase separately the Ultrasonic Sensor (link) and the Gyroscopic Sensor (link), as well as certain Technic building elements. Note that the Infrared Sensor has exactly the same shape as the Ultrasonic Sensor. Both sensor can sense distance, but the Ultrasonic Sensor is more accurate for distance sensing. On the other hand, the Infrared Sensor also serves as the receiver for the Infrared Remote. It’s up to you to decide whether you need both sensors.

EV3 Programming Software Versions

LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robots can be programmed from a computer (PC/MAC) or a tablet (iOS/Android). The tablet app is a simplified version, leaving out several programming options. The PC/MAC programming software is the full version (and just as easy to use).

Both the computer software and the tablet app comes in two versions: The Home Edition and the Education Edition for teachers and students.

Home Edition Software

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition set (#31313) does not include a software CD in the box. Instead, you will need to download the Home Edition software for free from the LEGO MINDSTORMS website (link). The software includes a programming environment, and building and programming instructions for the robots you can build with the Home Edition set.

The software does not require a license key, so you can download the software early to see if you like the programming language, and to avoid waiting for a big download when you want to get started building and programing.

The installation file is about 700 MB in size. I found the following system requirements in the installation folder. I added a few comments in parentheses–they are not official comments. If you’re in doubt: Download and run the free software to see if it works before you buy the set!


* Silverlight 5.0 or newer (Installer is included – no need to download separately)
* Microsoft Dot Net 4.0 or newer (Installer is included – no need to download separately)

Operating systems:

* Windows: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, Windows 10 (32/64 bit) with the latest service packs. (Note that it does not work on Windows 8.0 RT or 8.1 RT)
* Macintosh: Mac 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8 and later with the latest service packs

System requirements:

* 2 GB of RAM or more
* 2.5 GHz processor or faster (This is the minimum for a dual core processor. For example, my quad core processor is just 1.7 GHz and it works fine.)
* Minimal supported screen resolution—1024*768
* LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 does not support tablets or certain netbooks with hardware that does not meet the above requirements.

Education Edition for Teachers and Students

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 software (#45544) can be downloaded here for free (link). The installation file is about 700 MB in size. The system requirements are the same as given above. As of 2017, no paid license is required to download, install, or run this software.

The software includes a programming environment, and building and programming instructions for the robots you can build with the Education Core Set (#45544) and the Education Expansion set (#45560). In addition, it contains a data logging environment for science experiments. For example, you can plot a graph of the light level in a room, and see it change over time.

Using the Home Edition Software with the Education set

The EV3 brick in the Home Edition set is the same as the EV3 brick in the Education Core Set, so you can use either version of the programming software to control your robot. In fact, you can install both versions of the software on the same computer, if you like.

So it is perfectly possible to use the Home Edition software with the Education Core Set and vice versa. When you do, you’ll need to add a few programming blocks to the software to be able to control the Gyroscope and the Ultrasonic Sensor. See this page for download and installation instructions.

LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Expansion Set

You can upgrade the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core Set (#45544) with the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Expansion Set (#45560, link). This allows you to build bigger robots such as an elephant and a stair climber (link). The set includes over 850 building elements including beams, axles, and gears, as shown in Figure 7. It does not contain any electronic elements.

While this add on pack was made for the Education Core Set, it’s also an excellent parts resource for use with the EV3 Home Edition (#31313). You won’t be able to build all of the models from this add on pack because you may be missing some elements from the Education Core Set, but the pieces are very useful to create your own robots. In particular, the set contains 9x O-frames, 6xH frames, 13x 15M beams, and numerous gears including a differential and a turntable.

The EV3 Rechargeable Battery

The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition set does not include a rechargeable battery. You can simply use 6x AA batteries. You may want to invest in 6 high performance rechargeable batteries with a dedicated charger. If you do, you’ll probably want to get at least 12 batteries so you can use one set while you charge the others.

You can also purchase the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 rechargeable battery (#45501, link) and the charger (#8887, link. Be sure to buy the charger that fits the plug in your country). This allows you to charge your robot while it’s on. No need to take your robot apart when the batteries run empty. The battery does make your EV3 a bit bigger (precisely one LEGO unit), as shown in Figure 8.

Working with LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 books

Several LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 books have been published and a few more books are on the way. When you plan to buy one of these books, be sure to check in advance which LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set is covered. Some books contain instructions for robots you can build with the Home Edition set (#31313) while others contain instructions for the Education Core Set (#45544). Alternatively, just get the book you like, and upgrade your LEGO collection with the pieces needed for the activities in that particular book.


To use the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book, you need the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition. This book helps you get the most out of your EV3 set. You’ll build cool robots, all the while learning about EV3 programming. You can learn more about the book here.

This book is divided into several parts. The first parts (Chapter 1-9) introduce the reader to programming. The programming software for the Education or the Home version is essentially the same, so you can use this book to learn how to program regardless of which set you have. New concepts are demonstrated using a simple vehicle robot. If you have the Education set, you can build the vehicle according to the instructions in that set, and just follow along with the programming tutorials in this book. The same holds for the programming tutorials in Chapters 14-17, which you can also do with the pieces in either set.

In addition to programming tutorials, the book also contains chapters (12, 13, 18, and 19) with building instructions for bigger robots, like the walking humanoid on the front cover of the book. These robots can be built with the pieces in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition (#31313).

Apps for Smartphones and Tablets

You can control your EV3 from your iOS (link) or Android (link) smartphone or tablet. The official Commander app is targeted at Home Edition users, with specific controls for the Home Edition robots, but it also works with the Education Core Set. In particular, if you have the Education Core Set, you can use the TRACK3R controls to drive the Educator Vehicle. In addition, you can create their own customized remote to control each motor connected to the EV3 brick. You can also program the EV3 with a tablet (link).

Purchasing Bluetooth and WiFi dongles

When you’ve created a program in the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 PC/MAC software, you transfer it to the EV3 brick using the USB cable included in the set. Once transferred to the brick, the robot can run the program on its own. In addition, you can program your robot wirelessly using Bluetooth or Wifi (using a USB WiFi dongle). This way, there’s no need to connect the USB cable each time you change the program.

While this works great for small setups at home, it can be frustrating to set up in classrooms, because classroom computers may not have administrator rights (for Bluetooth drivers) or they might not have access to configure wireless network settings (for WiFi). If you plan to use wireless capabilities in the classroom, consider buying just one dongle so you can try it out before you buy one for each set.

Questions and comments

The article and the illustrations are copyright (c) 2013-2017 by Laurens Valk, unless stated otherwise. Use the information in this article at your own risk.

Did I miss some information in this article? Noticed any mistakes? Did a link break? Please post comments and suggestions below. If your question is off topic, please search for the appropriate article on this website and post it there, or use the contact page (link). Thanks!

Update January 2017: Fixed broken links, and updated text to state that the Education software is now also available as a free download

About the author

242 Responses
  1. Illinois Mom

    So if my child is working with a First Lego League team using the education version, and I am considering buying one for home, do you recommend the education version? Or, would the home version suffice?

    1. If he or she wants to build an exact copy of their FLL Team robot to continue at home, then you’d probably want to get the Education Set. If it’s just for fun and to learn the system in general, the Home Edition will be fine. The programming is the same, so anything you learn at home you can use in school and vice versa.

        1. Rich

          I’ll chime in with my opinion here. I think the home version is viable and the best overall value. Keep in mind the EV3 programming language is available for the home system at no additional cost. The home version will let you do all the things included in Laurens’ new book. That’s good.

          I’m an FLL coach and have the education system. (Lego does not discount to teachers). There is a gap between the two systems. The Robot Square site comparison info above references the Thomas Rosendahl comparison for adding the home to the education system. There are lot of small parts. I was planning on buying the extra parts, but that’s tedious. The difference between having the education version (#45544) and adding the home version (#31313) seems to be about $100 – $120. I also have the expansion set (#45560). I have extra parts but sorting though everything consumes time I can be building and thinking about coaching techniques. I did get the education version of the software as that is what is used in the FLL competitions. I keep in mind this is Lego and extra parts contributes to creativity. Hope this is helpful.

      1. Rich

        I’m a new FLL Robotics coach. We have both the #45544 and #45560 sets for our students. I’m buying copies of you book for the team to use for practice. If I’m reading the thread correctly, having both of these sets will suffice for #31313 set. I just wanted to verify.

        As many parents will wish to have their kids do this at home I’ll suggest the #31313.

        Finding your site from the book is a blessing. Thank you.

        1. Hi Rich,

          Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately there will still be a few pieces missing if you have #45544 and #45560.

          However, you already have the pieces for Chapters 1-7 & 9, so you can definitely make a good start. You can also do most of 10 and 11.

          Keep an eye on this blog for a post with more details about using the Educational EV3 sets with my book. Hopefully I can work on that soon.

          Yes, I think the #31313 is a great set too. Honestly, I think both sets are equally ‘educational’. It all depends on the learning materials used with it. With this book, you can learn just as much about building and programming.


          1. Rich

            Thanks Laurens,

            I’ll probably the the #31313 or my Grandson. He’s 7 and doing a Lego robotics workshop this week.

            The #45544 and #45560 sets are provided by the schools technology department. Do you have a list of missing pieces between the two? If not I’ll do the comparison and can share results.


    1. Kristie Brown

      Hi Laurens – great work!

      A few things to be aware of regarding the software. It is not possible to upgrade the software from toy version to education version. If you buy an education kit and use it with the toy store software you will not have the building instructions for the 4 base education modes or the expansion set models, they are integrated into the education software “lobby” and not available as a hard copy at this time. The robot educator model is included as a building book inside the sets sold in the US so you will have that model to build. This model is used with the 46 robot educator activities for students to learn more about the building and programming capacity of this software.
      Any curriculum pieces sold by LEGO Education for LEGO Mindstorms will be integrated into the lobby of the software. Like the building instructions referenced before, these components cannot be added to the toy store software as it has no lobby.
      In addition, the data logging is a very important and integral component for education. It is not just for designing science experiments. It is for evaluating and proof of design concept as well as analyzing and troubleshooting. Students iterate on an existing design, but without using data logging of their designs performance how do they know if their design is better? How much more efficient is it? How much better does it perform? These are all integral questions to the design engineering process which is fundamental to what we are trying to do in the education setting. Practice for students who will be designing for iteration and innovation.

    1. I believe that during the installation of the Education Version, you can choose whether to install the Teacher Version or whether to install the Student Version. I do not know the exact difference between the two.

      1. martyn

        the teacher version has more content information, like solutions to the tasks given.
        also is it possible to create your own solutions , so now the content editor in the project is split in two, one for the students and one with more explanation mend for the teachers

  2. Emiel Brok

    Do you know if it is possible to get the EV3 Programming Software running on Linux?
    Seeing that the software needs Silverlight hurts me to be honest.
    As a big LEGO (Technic) and Linux fan I am very enthusiastic about the EV3. Mainly because LEGO choose to create the EV3 based on open source Linux.
    But requiring the software to run on non-open standards and end-off-life software like Silverlight surprises me unpleasantly.
    What is your vision on this matter?

    Best Regards, Emiel

    1. Hi Emiel,

      I’m with you on that – I’d love to use the official EV3 software on Linux. I might try it on Wine, but it gives me a headache just thinking of doing that with Silverlight 5 and .NET 4.0. If you manage to do something like this, I’d be interested to hear more about it.

      Note that you can program the EV3 from Linux if you use alternative programming languages. In fact, it’s not too hard to compile native C/C++ programs for the EV3 and send it to the EV3 over WiFi.

      Either work with the standard LEGO Angstrom distribution or, for instance, use ev3dev. Such things are still works in progress for now, though.


      1. baskaran

        Hi Larens,

        Thanks for publishing this great site!

        I am curious about the software requiring .NET 4.0. How does it work on Mac OS X? I know Silverlight is available for OS X. But I don’t .NET is available.

        1. rikshaw76

          I am also curious about this. Would be great to be able to run it on Linux (natively), and if an OSX build exists then maybe there is some hope it could be ported to Linux.

        2. sparks

          I downloaded the free software for Mac OS X and installed on a 2007 MacBook running 10.6.8. As far as I can tell so far it works great!
          I have also played around with the free COMMANDER app that I found in the iOS app store. Kinda fun for trying out some immediate action “voice” commands on your robots!

    1. That’s going to depend on many factors, such as how much you use the motors. WiFi is also going to drain your batteries quickly. And it depends on what kind of ‘normal batteries’ you use.

      With LEGO robots I think you’d just have to go rechargeable. Either the LEGO battery or high performance AA batteries. Non rechargeable batteries will be more expensive in the end and certainly worse for the environment.

  3. Lama-mantis

    I’ve a question about the software. Is it also possible to program my NXT with the new EV3 software? I heard something about it, but I don’t know if it really works…

  4. Ahmad Alkhatib

    I got friend asking me which to buy NXT or EV3 as his first LEGO Mindstorms set
    so he is new to the mindstorms world and doesn’t know anything about it between he is saying that money is not a problem
    which one he should get first

    1. bazmarc

      EV3 !! NXT has been around for almost 6years and compared to EV3 feels like a dinosaur (and i’m not even sure you can still buy it) seriously EV3 is the way to go. AND NOW the real question is: Should he get the HOME or EDUCATION version –and well– that’s what this article is all about!!! To give you all the information you need to help you decide. However if money is no object (lucky guy) then obviously he should get one Home, one EDU and one Expansion set… oh and one extra battery pack… OK that should set him off the right foot 🙂

      1. Ahmad Alkhatib

        Thank you so much for the reply

        Well for me i didn’t tried NXT but people have build a lot with NXT and i think that it’s so awesome 🙂

        EV3 it’s new(3 months left) and maybe it’ll have a great feature i think 🙂

        and the big brick difference between NXT and EV3 is clear so that’s what he should got

        but i got problem that after few days i’ll enter a Mindstorms school and they teaching only NXT programming 🙁 and there is a big difference between NXT software and EV3 software 🙁 and that’s mean i won’t understand anything .. YAY

        1. bazmarc

          The 2 programs look and feel a little different but how you program is very very similar — they are both LABVIEW in the background. What you learn in school will not be lost.

          1. Yeah, Bazmarc summed it up nicely 🙂

            NXT is great for those who already have it, but if you’re just about to start with MINDSTORMS, just get the latest and greatest: EV3.

  5. Lama-mantis

    I can’t find the rechargeable battery in the LEGO Shop. I only can see there the NXT version, and that is out of stock. Do you know where i can buy one?

      1. Lama-mantis

        Yes, it’s the same with the NXT chargeable battery. But if you search good, you can find a charger+battery for about €70,-.

  6. Mark

    This is a great piece, but I still can’t make up my mind. I have an 8-year-old son who has taken a couple of one-week lego robotics workshops, but we’ve never owned a Mindstorms at home. If price is not an object, which of the two would you recommend starting with??

    1. Hi Mark,

      I tried to stick with only the facts in this article to avoid bias.

      I do have my opinions, of course. I was thinking about writing a separate article with possible reasons to buy one set or the other. Do you think that would be helpful?


          1. KristyO

            Did you ever decide to release your person opinion on which is best? I only ask since we are getting the boys this for Christmas. If we get the educational one we were thinking of getting the Homeschool Value Pack. I do not want to waste money but also do not want to have to keep buying additional parts. What are your thoughts? Thank you!

          2. Hi Kristy,

            Sorry, I haven’t been able to write this down properly in an article.

            I am biased of course, but I think getting the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition, along with my book (The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book) is a good place to start.

            The Home Kit provides a lot of fun and interesting play activities (both remote control and also programming) while the book complements the kit with lots of educational activities such as learning how to build and program.

            Both kits are fine, actually, but you would need the Home Edition set if you would like to complete the projects in the book.



          3. Matt

            Actually Laurens you do mot need the home edition to complete the projects in your book, with a few minor adjustments you can build the models almost exactly the same.

  7. Marco

    I have terrible problems with the Ev3 Home Edition. It does not run any more on my iMac. Starts and then gets stuck. Can only be stopped through a forced stop. When the program starts it opens a huge window displaying in the middle a tiny picture of Mindstorms. In the upper left corner menu, the normal options are displayed like: SL_IMPLEMENTED_{BA0CEDD8-8BE6-4992-8B32-149BE6CB82BC}.
    The software did run, but something is disturbing proper functioning.

    Computer: iMac OS X 10.9 i7 16GB

    Please help

    1. Ahmad Alkhatib

      Try it on another PC
      Download the software on any PC and try the program

      If the problem solved then the problem is from your iMac
      try removing the software and installing it once again

      If the problem didn’t solved then the problem from your brick and i can’t help you with this

      Btw i have MacBook Pro and no problems with it

      1. Michael

        Wondering if you ever found a solution. I have a similar iMac and got the same error with EV3 software freezing on startup and dropdown showing a list with “SL_IMPLEMENTED_{BA0CEDD8_8BE6-4992-8B32-149BE6CB82BC}”

  8. Marco

    Thanks for your reaction. Installed already several times. I’m more or less sure that it’s the Mac, because I don’t read that much about it on the net. The brick is not involved at the moment. During startup, the software gets already stuck.
    But buying another computer as solutions..
    I hope somebody recognizes the problem and give me a clue where to look.

    Thanks, I already mailed them.

    1. Marco – I have seen similar performance problems when beta testing the software. They were fixed over time, so I hope they will fix this one too.

      Is the problem specific to opening one project file? Or do you get the error even when launching the software with the short cut link? Sometimes a bug in a project can cause the software to crash.

      I’m asking since I believe you said the software was working fine at first.

  9. Crimson Wife

    Thanks so much for this article! I was about to do a purchase order through my kids’ charter school for the version with the software rather than just the EV3 “core” school set. Now I’m going to download the home version of the software and use the charter stipend for the IR beacon and the IR sensor.

  10. Andrijan

    The list which tells you which bricks to buy to upgrade from education to home edition is poorly done. It suggests to buy too many bricks. because it doesnt tell you, that certain bricks are allready included just in the wrong color.

    1. Yeah – I might make my own list later to take that into account. In the mean time, just use it as a reference.

      The other link lists the part count of each set next to one another. Maybe use that one to make your own list.

      1. Andrijan

        I have another question… Can you give me any advice how to make profesional looking Building Instructions? Or are you yourself a skilled Instructions creator? I want to create some Robots with
        the Bricks from the EV3 set and with good Instructions People will be able to recreate them more easely.

  11. Alex

    This is great information. Thanks for putting it together. It seems to me that with the home edition, kids can get started quickly with fun builds. But for the long run, is the educational edition better with the added software features and the ability to extend more easily? I’d very much like to hear about your opinion to choose one way versus the other. My son is 10 and this will be his first mindstorms kit.

    1. Hi Alex,

      Yes, I think what you say sounds about right. The home edition is has more ‘instant fun’. This can be a good thing, to spark interest initially. Playing with the remote control is fun (Education set does not have one). You can always buy the extra sensors later.

      To make things a bit more complicated, I’m writing a book that covers only the home edition, and books can be a great addition.

      Note that even though the Education software has a few more features, for home use it’s not really worth the extra $100 in my opinion.


      1. Alex

        Thank you so much for the reply. I’ll start with the home edition and get the extra sensors later on. I look forward to starting the fun projects with my son. Hope to see your books on the shelf soon!

  12. Salvo

    Hi Laurens,

    thank you very much for this useful article.I’ve been saving for an ev3 set for a while now but I still haven’t found the best cost-efficient solution to my desires. The thing is that I already have a nice arrange of technic bricks that dates back to two or three years ago.. How much of a difference would buying the expansion set maketo my building possibilities?

  13. Arturo

    Thanks for your great help, aclaraste me huge doubts but I opened again, I want to get into the world of robotics and I would like to start with lego but I offer two completely different kits , one gives me fun and I love it , but the other Apparently has helped me to learn more , my question is if in my case I better buy the Home version or the educational version , because from the beginning I wanted the homemade version and buy the set of educational version expancion Can I give the same result? o I ‘d better buy the educational version? , I can not decide , in my country I can only get the home version and I would like to have the best possible experience, that I will continue with my previous plan? I work? or fight for the educational version that certainly falls short because it has less piesas software and is just the expancion realemnte useful ? or I get the home version , I could also use the expancion ? , according to their experience with earlier versions of lego you really thinks that in my case the best , it would be interesting to tell me the Cadre who will be creating the book, Thanks

    forgive me for my English

      1. Arturo

        If I get the educational version of the software, what could also use it to set “Home edition”? Does the package expancion I could run the “set HOME EDITION”?

        1. I’m not sure I understand your question, but you can use any version of the software you like. The EV3 brick in both sets is identical.

          But the Home Edition software is free, so I’d say the choice is easy 🙂

  14. Ahmad Alkhatib

    i have the eve home edition
    can i get the expansion set ?
    because every body saying that the expansion set is only for the education set
    but i want it for the home edition
    what is the problem here ?

    1. Sure, the expansion set is a great addition to the Home Edition, because it contains a lot of useful LEGO Technic parts.

      However, you cannot build the robots from the building instructions of the Expansion set, because they use some elements from the Education Core set too.

      Think of it as a useful resource pack for your own creations.

      1. Peter

        Is it possible to build from the Expansion Set Building Instructions, if I have the additional items like the Ultrasonic Sensor and the Gyroscopic Sensor? Are there still (additional) certain Technic building elements that is required?


        1. Jesse

          I want to know about this too. Bought EV3 home, and bought Ultrasonic Sensor, Gyro and Touch Sensor and paid for Edu Software. What else is needed that I am missing in Core set? My kids are taking classes for Lego Sore edition and I want to provide them similar experience at home.

          Any help will be appreciated….

  15. Patrick

    Great work Laurens!
    I’m about to buy one set so what do you PERSONNALY recommend to buy for me and my kid (I want to teach him programming as well)

    1. Hi Patrick,

      I think both versions are great for teaching in a home environment, since they have the same EV3 programmable brick and essentially the same software.

      The Home Edition has the added fun of the remote control and the cool-factor of the models you can build out of the box, which is great for many kids (they just love the snake robot).

      I think that this set makes it possible to make the transition from ‘play’ to ‘serious play’ quite smoothly. In the example of the snake, you can start with remote control, and later actually make it autonomous with a real program.

      Have fun 🙂




    First of all, thank you for all the information provided on this page. I found you comparison and breakdown of the differences very helpful in making a decision.

    I decided to go with the EV3 Education/Core set mostly due to the inclusion of the $60 rechargeable battery, which now comes with a charge cord. My son, currently in 4th grade recently participated in his 1st “First Lego League” Competitions, and while he really enjoyed the experience, since his schools lego club was more an after school acticity, he did not get to learn the building and programming components as much as he would have liked. He already had a technic set, so discounting color, using your helpful chart and the list of parts from his technic set, I was able to secure an order of lego pieces to make the difference between the Home Edition and the Core Set. Although, that shipment is not due to arrive for another week. I did opt out of purchasing an IR remote and IR sensor, given the bluetooth potential with an app on a smartphone/tablet/ipod “might” serve the same purpose when building home edition models with just the ultrasonic sensors instead of the IR sensor.

    I do have some specific questions to ask if you don’t mind helping me out here. I am looking for instructions to build a few of the core set models, namely “gyro boy” and the “puppy”. I am wondering if the Student Software is required to get directions for building these? The Lego Education retailer website for the United States seems to offer the site software purchase with a download option, but buying the individidual liscensce for $99 seems restricted to shipment.

    Second, after installing the Home Edition software and downloading the suggested gyro and ultrasonic modules needed for making the core set compenents more compatible with the home edition software…I did not see how to load these two add-ons into the home edition program. Is there a guide for doing this that you are aware of?

    Third, do you know of a good guide for creating custom configuration control setup with the bluetooth “commander” applications? Also, what are your thoughts on building a home edition model with just the ultrasonic sensor instead of the IR sensor?

    Fourth, There was mention that the bulk added to the power brick when using the recargeable battery pack instead of the AA batteries, may conflict with building some of the home editions models. Do you know from of any specific models which would not work with the added thicknees created when using the rechareable battery pack?

    Thanks for reading and any additional insight you can provide on these circumstances.


    1. Hi Evan,

      You can find the instructions for the Puppy and the other Education Core set models on this page (link). I was not allowed to share the program files, but I’m working on my own program for a balancing robot that will work for Gyroboy.

      You can install those blocks in the Home Edition software by going to ‘Tools’, and selecting ‘import blocks’. Then you’ll be prompted to select the downloaded files.

      The infrared sensor basically has three functions. It can detect approximate distance, it can detect which button on the infrared remote you press, and it can detect the direction and signal strength of the remote. This can be used to create a robot that follows the infrared remote.

      I found the commander app quite limited when it comes to creating a customized remote control. For example, you cannot make the robot run a specific task when you trigger a button. (This can be done with the infrared remote and a program.)

      The ultrasonic sensor is much more accurate for distance sensing, but the infrared sensor is a bit more versatile depending on which features you’ll use. I’m covering all of these features in my upcoming book.

      The rechargeable battery does not fit in the TRACK3R robot (but you can just build the Educator vehicle), but it seems to fit in all of the other official models. I think it fits in most of the bonus models as well. The battery is just one LEGO unit thicker, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The robots in my book fit the battery pack as well.



  17. Scott Arthur

    Great article. I just wanted to double-check one point. Will the brick definitely work fine with standard rechargable batteries?

    Best wishes from Edinburgh.


    1. Hi Scott,

      Yes, the brick works with standard rechargeable batteries. Robots consume a lot of power, so it’s probably a good idea to pick batteries with a high rating (mAh).

      I’m using these batteries. (UK Link). I bought 12 batteries (already had an old charger) so that I can charge one set while I use the other.

      It’s a bit of an investment, but ultimately it’s cheaper and easier than using non rechargeables. The advantage of regular recheargeables is that you can also use them for LEGO Power Functions, if you have any.

      I haven’t done any performance tests, though. These batteries work fine for me but many others should work fine too.


    1. Hi Dan,

      It works only with the Netgear N150 I linked to above. The LEGO firmware that runs on the brick that supports just this one. Hopefully future official firmwares have support for more dongles. (Experienced Linux users are already creating firmware versions with support for more dongles).


      1. Dan O

        Hi Laurens,
        Your link for the Netgear N150 shows two different products on the same page: 1) N150, the full-size usb stick style and 2) N150 Micro, the micro style. That’s why I was curious if the micro version would work, since this would be much less likely to impede robot movements.

        I’m mainly trying to figure out how to “easily” be able to remote control the EV3 via Wi-fi (or Blue tooth) dongle (any ready-to-use, no Linux programming knowledge) + Android tablet and the Lego Commander app ( I need to set this up for my 9 yr. old son, so he can use it.


        1. Hi Dan,

          I’m sorry if I’ve been unclear. You need the big one: see picture. Unfortunately, that’s the only one that works right now.

          I prefer to use Bluetooth, though. That dongle plugs into your PC, so that it doesn’t take up any space in your robot. It also consumes less battery and it’s easier to set up.

          The EV3 brick has built-in bluetooth, so you should be able to use your Android tablet already.

          I’m covering this in more detail in my upcoming book.


          1. Dan O

            Hi Laurens,
            Thanks again for a quick reply. I was checking the Wi-fi method, since the tablet I have does not have BT built-in. I still need to check to see if the tablet will allow me to add BT. If so, I’ll go this route.


  18. Dan O

    One other thing that I’m curious about is whether to do the teacher or student install with my education $100 license. I won’t be running a classroom, so teacher is not necessary but I want to get the most out of the software, so I thought maybe this would be the best route.

    Any thoughts on this?


    1. Bryan

      If you are making a single installation of the education software then use teacher mode. Everything students get is there but also extra information , especially if you install any later products such as Design Engineering or Space Challenge.


  19. Nag

    Very good article.. I am in the process of buying one for my son who has started to show interest in robotics (12 years) and was debating between home vs education vs core set EV3 Core Set Product ID: W5003400. The main difference between education and core set looks like it is software. Can I use the home software or would u recommend to buy the education (cost is extra $100).

  20. Stephane

    Very good article (dito). Personally, I plan to buy the education version + parts to be able to build the 31313 models too and it’s my first Mindstoms lego set.
    By the way, it costs a lot more than a single 31313 box because we have to buy a education software to have the default programs for the educations models if I understood well. I don’t know when I will buy all this because of the cost.
    Just to share, Education version + expansion set + charger + software for a single PC = 655€ here in France, and then I have to compute the missing parts of 31313 when you have 45544 + 45560; but probably around 100€ to add.

    With all this (and lot of money), all models around EV3 can be build.
    Do you have a better path to this target + programs at a lower cost?

    And of source, I wait for your opinion article on this choice like probably many people here 🙂


    1. Hi Stephane,

      While that would be great if you have that money to spare, I’d say you can do a lot of things with just one set. You can always expand later if you like.

      At that price, you can almost buy two complete sets. Maybe start out with the Home Edition (and my book :))and see if you want the other one later? By that time you’ll have programming experience so you can program the other robots, too.



      1. Stephane

        Hi Laurens,

        You are right, I could just buy the Home set but let me explain what pushes me to consider the Education one despite of the cost.

        I am 38y old, I am IT Architect and I love programming. I have 2 children:
        – A 7y old son who loves playing lego with the 15kg 80″ lego I have (with all building instructions). He is able to build his city sets 4203 and 31008 without problem. He also loves minecraft, plays a lot with redstone and is creative at building things on this game.
        – A 9y old girl whom I managed to teach some algorithms with Scratch (simple graphic programming) and who understood buildcaft + industrial craft automation in minecraft quite well. But she is unable to build a lego set, mainly because she is fed-up after less than 30 minutes.

        I think about teaching my children the robotic matter with the EV3. Maybe also play with a Raspberry PI as a 2nd controller brick 🙂

        By the way I ear you. If you say I should start with the Home edition, then I will consider this lower cost path. And of course your book will be on my desk when available 😉


        1. Hi Stephane

          I would argue that both sets are equally educational when it comes to programming, because they use the same EV3 brick and the software is nearly the same. Since your kids have an IT architect as their guide, I’m sure they’ll be able to learn quickly 🙂

          And since you already have a lot of LEGO, either version should work for you. If that doesn’t help, just pick the home edition for now, because it’s probably the easiest one to buy as well.

          1. Stephane

            Thank you Laurens. Home edition #31313 ordered 🙂

            When I wrote 80″, I meant 1980’s. But my old sets like #8860 (Auto Chassis) may be a bit useful to extend it a bit until I have others current technic parts.

            If you want, I can keep you posted on my feelings and progress with my 1st Mindstorms set in a week or so, you have my e-mail I guess 😉


  21. Josh

    Hey Laurens thanks for putting up the instructions for the education models but how do I program the colour sorter to count and remember the order of the coloured bricks. I just can’t work it out.

    Regards Josh

  22. Raj

    I am trying to compare home edition with education version.
    For HW only they are almost same cost, i.e. home ~$350.00 and education core kit ~$340.00
    But the education version does include rechargeable battery and charger which is a must IMO and that costs ~$75.00
    Additional touch sensor is not a value to me and motors are same to compare.
    Ultrasonic sensor is comparable to IR sensor and gyro sensor is extra.
    IR remote is almost no value if you are going to be using programming mode for completions like FLL.
    You can download ultrasonic and gyro sensor programing blocks in home SW version which is free. So in other words you can do same or more with home edition SW on education HW as you can do with home edition SW on home edition HW.

    $350 + $75.00 for battery and charger with remote (don’t care)
    $340 with gyro sensor and extra touch sensor (don’t care)

    So in simple maths education version seems like a better deal by ~$85.00 so even if you spend ~$100.00 for expansion set it still looks like a better deal and more scalable.

    Please help me understand if I am missing something. I heard value of education version SW, but I consider that optional. As a user I am not gated by that.

    1. Raj

      Thanks for your comments above.
      While completing my PhD thesis “Which EV3 to buy – Home or Education” – I stumbled upon this blog and saw your cost analysis above.
      Completely agree.
      Ended up buying the Education Core + Expansion and it is totally worth it.

      BTW, Big Kudos to Laurens for this blog. Very helpful indeed.

  23. Stephane


    I did buy the 31313 home edition set and I have a LEGO giro sensor on the way to my home.
    I did build 2 models with my soon and a little help of my daughter but they are more en less toys and since my soon wanted to “program” them but found them too complex, I did an Educator Vehicle like the one in education set. After this I did a “follow the red line” and a “follow the walls” programs, my soon but also my daughter were asking me how it works and finally had a real willingness to experiment programming themselves.
    Then I could start to teach this odd graphic language (odd because of the old way you have to “let” variables to use them) and have them listening and doing their own experiments.

    I probably should have bought the education version, but this retail version works for teaching too as far as you build a simple vehicle.

    Now for my personal experiments, I wait for RobotC to be compatible with the EV3. While this labview is fine for children, I don’t like the “My blocks” stuff in which the code is “lost” and cannot be edited back, and if you don’t use these “My blocks” a simple code becomes very big.

    On another subject, I have a small question for you Laurens: 🙂
    I wrote a basic balancing program which I can’t test until I receive the Giro sensor. This is basically a motorTorque = deltaGiroAngle * C1 + giroAngleVelocity * C2 + deltaWheelAngle * C3 + wheelVelocity * C4. How do you proceed to estimate C1..C4?


    1. Hi Stephane,

      You can edit the contents of a My Block by double clicking on them. No code is lost 🙂

      In fact, you can add inputs (parameters) and outputs (return values), just like a C “function”.

      As to your last question – that’s not a “small” one 🙂 Acquiring those values mathematically is quite difficult, as it requires an accurate physical description of the model, the motors, and the sensor.

      In addition, you’d need something like a PID controller to make this work. I have a program for this, but I haven’t had the time to write a tutorial for it yet 🙂


      1. Stephane

        Oh my… you are right, just double-click… I feel so…, thank-you!! 😉

        Yes: a PID controller, that’s the purpose of the program.
        I plan to query the giro angle and read the motors encoders every X ms (X probably around 50) and use delta since last read as the derivative for velocity and the direct values for current position. C1..C4 are the gains. C4 will later vary to make the robot travel. I may have forgotten some parts, this is all memory from nearly 20 years ago 🙂

        I will be happy to read your tutorial when ready, but I hope to solve this problem myself before that, with just little help :p


  24. Raj

    Home edition SW comes with some sample programs for each of the 5 standard configurations. This helps in understanding as a sample code for each of the sensor or motor.
    If I am using HOME edition SW with education version HW is there a way to get some of the sample program codes for some of the education version robots?

  25. Ian

    You have done a great job telling us about the two sets from a parts point of view, but I have always wondered about the Home vs the Educational Software, which seems to be also know as EV3-G. So tonight I bumped into this which explains the difference which to most of us is not much other than free vs $100, sooner spend the $100 on more sensors 🙂

    Laurens there is also a reference to you on the site.

    Keep up the great work and looking forward to the EV3-G version of the balancing robot, I am using your NXT version on my Segway and runs well the kids love to see this and have hard time trying to figure out why how it works.

  26. Danielle

    Hi, I downloaded the home edition for the EV3 and then followed your link to download the gyro sensor. But I am coming up to a problem. The are not downloading to my MacBook Pro. I have no clue what I am doing wrong. Could you please help me?

  27. Yehuda

    Thanks for the article.
    I’m a 28 year old student, and have experience with programming, and i want to get into the world of robotics.
    What set do you suggest?

  28. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for this information! It was just what I was looking for. My daughter is using the EV3 Education kit at school, and wants to bring some things home sometimes to work on different ideas. I downloaded the home EV3 software, but was worried about “messing up” something with her Education EV3 kit. Your clarification and info. about the expansion kits really helped.

    1. Since you’re using both the Education and the Home software, you might occasionally get a pop-up message saying “please update brick’s firmware”, because both software versions want to put their own firmware on it. Fortunately, you can just ignore this message 🙂

  29. Fiorenzo Sainini

    I am a high school teacher and I would like my students to program the ev3 with c/c++.
    I have found this site “” apparently providing an integrated development environment for c++, but as we try to use it nothing happens.
    Do you know this site ? Can you suggest any other way to allow programming in c the ev3 ?
    Is it possible to program the ev3 in c ?
    Thank you in advance, Fiorenzo

  30. Naz

    Thank you for the article. We are in malaysia and would like to purchase a 45544 along with the expansion kit for our son’s home use. Does the 45544 come with the required software?

    Thank you Laurens

  31. Francesco

    Interesting article. I was wondering, the the education kit is completed with the extension kit, a ir sensor and ir remote, what is missing for making the robot of the home version?

    1. Kat

      You can purchase parts from LEGO Education, (“pick a brick”), and Bricklink. You just have to figure out if you want to purchase the parts individually or in a pack of 50-100.

  32. Charlotte

    I’m very new to the Lego’s Wedo Software and teaching some very young kids in the neighborhood (1st – 4th grade). I can see that many are mastering the sets and ready for the next challeng. Thinking we will be ready for the EV3 soon. We were considering buying some Technic and Power Function sets first.

    My question, Can the PowerFunction pieces be used/or useful in Mindstorm creations?

    Your blog is extremely helpful! Even to those of us without a technical background. Just a mom trying to get young children excited about engineering & science. Separately, my girls want to know when will Lego come out with a prettier Mindstorm Robot? “Not everyone wants to build a black, gray,& red creature.” See what the Friends line started? So if you have any pull, let them know we’re waiting.


    1. Hi Charlotte,

      Thanks for your comment. If you have a power function infrared receiver (normally used with the remote control), you can expand your EV3 set with this device (link). According to the HiTechnic website, it also works with EV3.

      The sensor lets you send commands from the EV3 to the Power Functions receiver so that you can control the motors connected to it from your EV3 program. (The receiver simply thinks someone is pressing buttons on the remote control.)

      I agree with you that the EV3 seems to be marketed mainly to young boys. If this is a concern, you might want to consider getting the Education Core set discussed in this article, which seems to be a bit more gender neutral.

      On the other hand, it depends a bit on what you want to build. I use the EV3 Home Edition for my upcoming book, but I tried to design the robot projects in such a way that anyone would have fun creating them. For instance, I didn’t include the shooter or the red ‘mohawk’ on the humanoid robot on the cover. Instead, after the reader has learned to make it walk, he or she is encouraged to create a program to make it interactive and lifelike by showing ’emotions.’

  33. mike

    hello laurens

    i want to know that what do you is better the home version or the education version and if i buy the home version what do i need to upgrade for the education version.


  34. pete preston

    How do you get the nxt sound sensor to work with ev3 home edition? The Lego store people said it would work but no icon shows up when the software is running. Do you have to load a driver or upgrade?

  35. roy

    Where can i buy additional parts when i decide to upgrade to both education and expansion set? Can you buy parts individually or as a full set???

  36. c yim

    Hi Laurens

    Do you know if I can connect two identical sensors to the same ev3 block? For example, if I connect two touch sensors to the same ev3 block would it be supported? The reason why I am asking this is the instruction manual states that “The software cannot distinguish between two identical sensors or motors” (page 15 in the mindstorms documentation).

    Any insight on this is appreciated, thank you.


    1. Hi Cheung,

      Do you want to connect two of the same sensors to the same EV3 brick? For example, connect a Touch Sensor to input port 1, and another Touch Sensor to input port 2?

      This is perfectly possible. When programmming, you can choose which sensor should trigger a particular action.


  37. Jabbix

    What about minimum hardware requirements from official site.
    Education EV3 set:
    – 1 GB ram
    – 1 GHz processor or faster
    – Minimal supported screen resolution—1024*600
    – At Least 1.5 GB of Available Hard Disk space

    and Home EV3 set:

    – Dual core processor 2.0 GHz or better.
    – 2GB of RAM or more.
    – 2GB of available hard-disk space.
    – XGA display (1024 x 768).

    and you sayin that min processor is dual core 2.5 GHz.
    I’m little bit confused now 🙂

    1. Hi Jabbix,

      That’s a good point. Honestly, I don’t know what the real values are. I quoted my information from a document that came installed with the software.

      The EV3 Education and EV3 Home Edition use nearly identical sofware. Certainly the system requirements shouldn’t be that much different. Maybe it’s the marketing department who came up with those numbers, trying to make it more “accessible” for schools with low-end computers?

      My advice is to download the free EV3 Home Edition software and install it to see if it runs well. Try to place some programming blocks on the screen to see how smooth that experience is.

      If this works fine, then the Education EV3 software should run fine as well.


      1. Jabbix

        Thanks for you quick reply.
        I’m trying to buy some computers for my school. I will use education set with official software. Unfortunately, I can’t test it before I will make purchase. Until I have read your post I was 100% sure that I will make it with Intel Core Duo 2.4 GHZ and 4GB DDR3 memory. I have to look for more users reviews on internet maybe I will find more info.

  38. Jabbix


    I have followed your advice and I installed EV3 software on my old computer – 2.0 GHZ Core Duo and 4GB of memory. I tried to move some blocks and some other stuff. Everything runs smoothly, I didn’t have any problems so I think that with 2,4 GHZ everything gonna be ok.

  39. Ian

    You will definitely need a machine that runs at 2.1 GHz or faster, for years I had been running NXT G on my Acer netbooks with no problems other than changing the screen res. I was able successfully run my 1.6 GHz netbooks with 4G of ram using XP with some success but the 1.0 GHZ netbooks just couldn’t do it. I tried several different laptops a few months back to see how they worked, I found great deal on small 1.8GHZ machines but with Windows 8 they were slower than the 1,6 GHZ netbooks. I did call LEGO EV3 Support and wasn’t given any helpful answers other than use what works for you, the tech there was running on a machine that was 2.0GHZ plus. This summer I will be running both my LENOVO 2.1 GHZ machines with 2G of ram using windows 7 and my 1.6 GHZ netbooks to see how it goes. On a positive note EV3 is smoother, fast downloads and lots of very useful features. There was new firmware update in June and some new upgrades the educational software version, haven’t tried them yet so it would be nice to get some feedback on this updates.

  40. Risha

    Does anybody know if I can use the ultrasonic sensor instead of the infrared sensor in builds(the builds are not remote control)?
    By the way great article Laurens!

    1. Good question. It’s possible. The shape of the Ultrasonic Sensor is the same as the shape of the Infrared Sensor in terms of size and connectors.

      Only the ‘eyes’ are shaped slightly differently, but that doesn’t affect the way it’s built into a robot.

  41. Bryan

    I live in Canada. Lego is apparently restricted in mailing or selling the ev3 in Canada. How come? Is there any process I can use to get this set? Thanks in advance.

  42. Ian

    I live in Canada and there is no problem getting EV3 Home or Educational sets. If you want to get the the Home kit order it from the LEGO website but make sure you set the region to Canada (shipping is free, I just checked and they are available, if your looking for the Educational kit you will have to go to one of LEGO’s Canadian Educational stores, this can info can be found on the LEGO website or by calling LEGO Service to find out to call. Spectrum in Ontario is one and B and B School Supplies in Quebec is another.

    Hope this helps.

  43. Maureen

    Hi Laurens, Thanks so much for such an exhaustive description of the new Lego Mindstorms! We have the NXT Education 9797 with the extra parts bin 9695 and the Simple and Powered Machines 9686. We’d like to get the new EV3 and I think I’ve decided to get the Home Edition and purchase your new book from the publisher. 🙂 I’m wondering about the software. Should I keep the software for the NXT on the laptop and just download the new software for the EV3 and keep both on the laptop? One won’t mess the other up, will it? I did read where you said you could keep both the HomeEdition and the Education edition of the software for the EV3 on the same computer (If you have both) and choose between them. Also, you say to download the free software first (for the ev3) to see if it works on your computer, but without a EV3 brick how do you know if it works? Should I just remove the NXT software? Will we ever use it again? Thanks – Maureen

    1. Hi Maureen,

      That’s awesome, thanks for your support (you can use discount code DISCOVER at the publisher’s website by the way.)

      It’s safe to keep both the NXT and EV3 sofware on one computer. This shouldn’t cause any conflict. You can also program your NXT brick with the new EV3 software, so you may end up not using the old NXT software at all anymore. Keeping it won’t hurt though.

      For more information about NXT and EV3 compatibility, see the link at the top of this article. You can still use most of your NXT components with EV3, for even bigger robots.

      If the installation of the EV3 software runs successfully, and you can place programming blocks on the screen without problems, I think you’ll be fine. However, in your case you can even test it with an NXT brick 🙂



  44. MJ

    We’re in the USA and thinking of getting an EV3 home set (#31313).
    Is there any difference/advantage between buying it from amazon versus buying it from the lego store (or anywhere else)?

  45. Jye Wang

    Hi, your website contains wealth of info. thanks for your effort. I am a father who is trying to figure out whether to buy EV3 home edition for my 6th grade son. He has no experience with robot building whatsoever but I have seen him building big Star War kits without problem. Is EV3 a good beginner’s kit? Or are there any more entry-level kit from Lego you will recommend me buying him for Christmas gift? Don’t want to give him something that can be frustrating.

    Thanks for any insight!


    1. Hi Jye,

      Thanks for your comment. I wrote another article here with some more considerations about choosing between the sets. As you’ll read in the article, I think the EV3 Home Set will be the better choice for you and your son, because there is also the possibility to really ‘play’ with the robots.

      Do keep in mind that even though your son has quite some building experience, programming is a different kind of task. (That’s why the set is rated 10+).

      However, if you start working on programming the robots together, it can be a lot of fun.

      You can also use my book (EV3 Discovery Book) as a guide to get started building and programming. It assumes no prior experience with building or programming robots, and you’ll learn the ins and outs of the EV3 system while you build several robot projects and complete the challenges.



  46. Daniel

    Is there no way to do datalogging with the ‘Home Edition’-Software? Or any easy (ideally) open-source way to do so? if so, if you know about any tutorial, i would be very glad to check them out. cheers!

  47. Albert

    Great article!! The belt with number 6044688 in your list has a new part number which is now 6089573. The V-belt 4544143 cannot be ordered online because the packing is changed, but you can order it by phone.

  48. Trevor

    I think you’re doing a fantastic job across the board, but there’s one thing that I don’t think is getting enough attention- the EV3 software runs really, really slowly. I teach FLL and robotics classes and have used both the NXT and EV3 software on a variety of machines. The NXT software runs very smoothly whereas in many cases, there’s almost a second between clicking on something and having it register in the EV3 software. I wouldn’t complain except it’s realllly bad.

  49. Tammy

    I am very new to this. We want to use our home Ev3 version for a 4-H project. We can buy the extra core parts. I am wondering about the programming aspect. Has anyone used it specifically for 4-H. Any feedback would be great. The project book needed is 507.

  50. Ian

    I have the same problem with the lag between dragging the blocks into the programming area. The program seems to like a processor runs at 2GHz or higher. If you look at the requirements on the LEGO site they say 2GHz on the retail side and on the Educational side LEGO states 1.6GHz. I have tried both the slower and faster processor and it definitely is program that has a need for speed. I am running 6 sets in my classes and had to upgrade my computers which was an expensive upgrade to move to EV3 hope this helps.

    1. Trevor, Ian,

      I have experienced this as well. Myy high end 2010 laptop didn’t give very good results. The problem is that the software can utilize only one core. My laptop had a quad core i7 processor, but rated at 1.6 Ghz. This way even a cheaper 2.0 Ghz dual core gave better results.

  51. Carolina


    It’s mentioned in the article that the programming blocks for ultrasonic and gyro sensors are available for free download, and even include the links, but those links are no longer available at the Lego Education Website.

    Does anyone know where else I can download those from?

    Thanks in advance.

  52. Greg Lewis

    I coach an after school elementary grades 3-6 FLL team. We have two NXT sets (I think one is the education kit and the other the home version), but interest has skyrockets and we need at least one more kit. I am leaning towards buying the EV3 Home Version to keep us current and competitive. My only real question concerns the software. This may be addressed elsewhere, but we currently have multiple laptops in with the NXT software installed. If I buy the home version, will I be able to download it the software to multiple devices? The article indicates it doesn’t require a license. That is a key for me.

    1. The NXT software and EV3 software can work side by side. The EV3 Home Edition software is a free download from the LEGO website and can be installed on as many computers as you like.

      The EV3 Education Edition software (which I don’t think you need), does require a network license.

      It is also possible to program NXT bricks with the EV3 software. This may be interesting if you want the whole team to work with the same software. This does have some limitations so if you do this, be sure to try it out well before competition day 🙂

  53. Joe Pistritto

    Laurens, thanks for putting together the differences between the Educational and Home kits. I also bought your book, really great stuff!

    One question for you though — I really like the parts list image you created — what software did you use to create those images?


    1. Hi Joe,

      I used a combination of tools. They’re the same tools I use for the building instructions in the book. Including:

      Ldraw (An open source collection of 3D Drawings of LEGO elements)
      MLCAD (Program to assemble models and make instruction steps using above parts library)
      LDView (To render the model/model steps above)
      LPUB4 (To lay out the rendered building steps on a printable page)

  54. KtCallsita

    I absolutely love this article, and frequently share it with FIRST LEGO League coaches in my region. However, I just noticed the links to add the gyro and ultrasonic sensor to the free software are broken. Can these links be fixed?

    Thank you!

  55. Ron

    Lauren’s, regarding your book. Which sets would you need either the home edition or education set, because I am thinking of getting any of these as I am very Intrested in robotics.

    1. The book requires only the pieces in the Home Edition #31313 🙂

      Please see the paragraph in this article titled “Working with LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 books” for more information.

  56. oliver

    hi i lost parts ( wires and remote ) and i want to what type of wires the ev3 uses or what webstite to buy new ones from

  57. nakul

    can you help me I bought the set (45544) and the other set has more normal pieces can you list and make a buying list for all the parts that you don’t have in the 45544 set. i want to build the 31313 robots i bought your book
    please please please

    thank you

  58. Michelle Y.

    Does the home edition’s software run on Microsoft v. 10 OS? Looking at getting an EV3 for my kiddo but uncertain if it will work with the more recent OS.

  59. Brian Chung

    Hi Laurens,
    Thanks for this great article! After reading it, I found the Home Edition #31313 is a better choice for an initial interest for my 8 yrs old kid.

    I am an experienced developer of Microsoft products, Silverlight/ C#/ VB but I feel it is no easy to inspire a kid with programming concepts.

    Can you share idea/ tips/ tools) for coaching a 8 yrs old kid with his Mindstrom set?
    ( Sharing your book with my son is one way ^_^ )

    Thanks a lot!


    1. Laurens

      It’s the same. But the education version contains building instructions for the education models, and the home version includes building instructions for the home kit.

  60. David Guerrero

    Thank you so much for this information.
    I’m from another country and I have to think it very carefully when buying things over internet.
    I need to use my money well for a project involving the ev3 education, but i’m not sure on whether to buy the Education Version (without the Education Software) and use the home free software insted. Is it better if I just go for the full Education Set with Licensed Software? Will I be able to use that Licensed Software on more than my computer?

  61. Interested

    Quick question, can Home Edition software be used with the Education kit? I appreciate to complete certain robots I’ll need to add components to the Education kit but wondered if the free software would suffice. I was gifted an Education kit but its use will be for a 10yr old at home. Thanks in advance for your guidance.

  62. Linked document not working?

    Thanks for a very useful article.

    One thing though, when clicking on the link for the Thomas Rosendahl document highlighting the bricks needed to upgrade the Educational Kit into the Home kit, all I get is an empty document. Is anyone else getting this? If so has the author of the document changed it. If it is just me are there any suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong (I’m simply clicking on the link at the moment).


  63. Steve Sciotto

    My son’s computer is now running Windows 10. (It was originally a Windows 8.1 machine last Christmas.)

    Can we use it to program EV-3?

    Many thanks,


  64. Kelly

    Hi, Laurens,

    My 10 year old has a home edition EV3. For Christmas, he has asked me for sensors, so I am getting him an Ultrasound sensor and the Gyro Sensor.

    I am thinking about buying him an expansion set also. But will those sets work with the home edition? I am thinking about the EV3 Science Activity Pack, more specifically.

    Thank you so very much!

    1. Peter

      We’ve also bought our sons the home edition last Christmas, and this year the expansion set plus Ultrasound and Gyro sensor. The sets and pieces are fully compatible, it’s mostly additional LEGO Technic pieces you will get. Gyro sensor is awesome, this will allow you to build self-balancing robots!

      Not all robots projected by LEGO for the education edition can be built with that combination, though. You’ll need to buy a few additional pieces. Take a look at the spread sheet in the lego-mindstorms-ev3-comparison project if you want to know which pieces are missing for all robots to built. I made the comparison project, because our eldest couldn’t finish to build the Znap robot due to missing pieces.

  65. Peter

    Everyone who needs to know which pieces to buy for ‘upgrading’ Home Edition + Expansion Set to ‘Education Edition’, or Education Edition + Expansion Set to ‘Home Edition’ can now take a look at the lego-mindstorms-ev3-comparison project on GitHub.

    You’ll get a spread sheet with LEGO parts (numbers and names) you can use to order all or selected missing pieces of the combination you own. Enjoy!

  66. Suj

    Hello, I am new to this. We have a Lego EV3 Home Edition.Our son now wants to think about competitions. Does he need Education Version or can he do with what he has. I believe the sensors are available separately too. Thanks a lot.

  67. xin

    Hello, I am seeing the EV3 Education Core set raised price, and nowhere saying the software. Any idea? Previously, we have to pay for the software and there were 2 kinds of licneses, single license and site license. How about now? What is the situation?

    1. Laurens

      As of 2017, the education software is free (instead, the price of the LEGO box has gone up a bit). I updated the article to reflect this.

  68. bill1234

    hello my dad bought me the ev3 education by accident and I wantedthe lego ev3 31313 so can I buy the other pieces and can you tell me how to buy it

  69. Miles

    hello, I attempted to download the ev3 education software to a window 8 laptop. at the end of the down load, I receive an error indicating that the signature is invalid or corrupt? is there a problem with my laptop or the version of the code that is being hosted on one of your servers?

    Thank you

  70. Chad

    I am interested in getting PS3 controllers for my students. We want to run a LEGO Sumo program. I cannot find a site that clearly explains how to get the LEGO materials to work with the PS3 controller. Any help you could offer would genuinely be appreciated. Please feel free to email me.

  71. Amit Jindal

    I bought the EV3 retail version with extra expansion set + two sensors. I know what all other parts I need to buy. I explored bricklink, but I am not able to understand how do I place the order for the 300+ parts? Not single seller has everything and shipping is not disclosed at all. I am so confused, can someone please help?

    1. Sasha

      Amit, you are right in what you perceive about BrickLink to some extent. Look at the splash and terms pages first. When you find a seller who has parts you want, you can email and get an estimate of shipping costs. You can also look judge for yourself, to some extent by putting things in your basket and seeing what the estimate is on weight. BrickLink seller can be cheaper than buying from Lego ‘pick a brick’ as you can buy used bricks. Often their new prices are cheaper as well. However, you must calculate the cost of shipping into the cost of what you are buying! does not always have all the parts you want, but I would suggest it would be worth starting there for ease. On BrickLink, can be quite tedious comparing who has what and how much does it cost, but there is almost always someone in the world who has the parts you need that are not on

  72. nwmin70

    Hi all,

    Anyone knows which parts and items need to buy to build the education set robots with Home edition set. I bought Gyro sensor and Ultrasonic sensor already.
    Please help.


  73. Sasha

    It doesn’t take long to print out the parts lists for both home and education sets and identify which parts you need to buy. If you have other Lego sets at home, or loose pieces, you may not need to buy all of them. Are you familiar with shopping on BrickLink? You will need to look worldwide and shop from more than one place to buy all the parts – 3 different suppliers in my case.

    1. nwmin70

      Hi Sasha,

      Thanks for your suggestion. I will try it later.
      One more thing i would like to ask you that my EV3 brick came with firmware version 1.07H and can I update the firmware to 1.09H just straight way or any tricky in the process because I saw some failed issues in EV3 community site.


      1. Laurens

        I don’t think you’ll need to worry about upgrading the firmware.

        It failed on some MAC computers for some time, due to a missing USB driver, which may have been resolved in the mean time. (The update process failed to start altogether, so there was no risk in leaving the EV3 brick in a state with no firmware at all)

        Let me know if you’re having any trouble upgrading it.

  74. NewbieFLLCoach

    I just want to say thank you very much! As a new FLL coach this information has been extremely helpful! I didn’t read everyones comments so I’m sure someone might have told you already but if not… Lego seems to have broken all your links to them. I’m assuming they changed the url to what you were linking to. Thanks again!

  75. Jeffrey

    I have an older NXT set (#8527). My NXT Brick crapped out so I bought a EV3 brick by itself. I then ran across the EV3 Core Set and decided to order it because my older set doesn’t have things like track links, et al. Question is, can I build the older robots with the EV3 and will I be able to program it? Or, should I just move on to the new robots and use the extra parts to make my own creations?

    1. Laurens

      The EV3 motors have a slightly different shape than the ones in the NXT, but otherwise they are similar. And you can use both with the EV3 brick.

      But because of the different shape you may need to modify existing designs a bit to make it all fit.

  76. Christine

    Just want to comment about the differences between the Home and Education Core sets as they relate to the Education Expansion set…

    My nephew has the Home Core set and recently received the Education Expansion set (and the two sensors) for his birthday. When diving in to do the Expansion builds, we quickly found that there are *lots* of parts not in the Home set that are necessary for the Expansion projects.

    Right now, we (my sister and I) are trying to figure out what pieces he would need to add so that he has everything that comes in the Education Core set. We are up to 164 pieces. That includes the ball bearing / caster and its mount, which cannot be bought directly from Lego and would have to be purchased from Lego Education (if not from a 3rd party).

    I would recommend updating your post to reflect this for people considering the Expansion set. We contacted Lego about helping us order the needed pieces – the Lego Education representative said he gets this call at least once a month but that Lego will not make a “conversion” set, so it’s up to us to put together the order. We likely will buy from a variety of sources for the most economical solution.

    We love Lego – my nephew adores your EV3 book! – I just wish these sets weren’t so different or that Lego would offer a Home Expansion set with all the pieces needed.

  77. Super LEGO side,

    I needed parts to make our EV3 (45544) complete.
    We use 9 sets on our school in Middelburg Netherlands.
    With this information the right part-number is easy to find.


  78. Shana

    Hello, I recently purchased the home set for my daughter. We also bought the expansion set, not knowing it worked with the education version only. Is there something that tells me what else I need to buy to make the expansion set work with the home version? Thanks

    1. Laurens

      The expansion set will also work with the home set, as all LEGO Technic pieces are compatible. Whichever base set you have, the expansion kit is a good resource for building your own robots.

      But I think you mean that you would also like to build the education models from the extension kit like the elephant? In that case, you can use the lists in this article to “upgrade” the home version to match the education base kit.

  79. C Konig

    Do I understand correctly that the educational version of the software can be downloaded and used for free by now?

    I just downloaded and opened it from the Lego website and there was nowhere any mention of having to pay for it… I have also clicked around a bit without being asked to enter a license key. Or will this only pop up when connecting it to an actual brick?

    1. Laurens

      As of 2017, the education software is free (instead, the price of the LEGO box has gone up a bit). I updated the article to reflect this.

  80. Ni

    If I buy a lego education ev3 set and a expansion ev3 set what are the replacement kits I need to buy for it to be converted in to a home set.

  81. Srirang

    Maybe this is already called out by someone already, but instead of tediously buying the parts missing in one set with the intention of upgrading to the other … one can easily buy the delta directly from sites like Ebay.

    For example, here is someone selling the EV3 home edition kit with all parts except the electronic parts. This is EXACTLY what one needs to upgrade EV3 student edition to the home edition! The listing on Ebay goes something like : “Lego EV3 Mindstorms RETAIL 585 pieces – NO BRICK,MOTORS,SENSORS,WIRES 31313”

    Dont ask me why someone would buy one kit just for the electronic parts and sell the plastic piece on Ebay, but that serves the purpose for which this blog came into existence 🙂

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  83. Freeze

    Fantastic comparison.
    I ve planned to buy Mindstorms for my 10 year son, but finally I decided to buy an used Edu version than a new Home edition. I am happy and exciting too 🙂

  84. Henry

    thanks, I want to buy a mindstorms set for my sand, he’s comming 15th…
    wich could be the best vesion for home edition today..?

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