Want to buy a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics kit, but not sure which version to get? This article gives some considerations that may help you decide. For an unbiased, detailed overview of all the differences in terms of LEGO elements, software, and so on, read this article instead.
What’s the main difference between the two versions?
There’s one set designed for kids and hobbyists (Home Edition, #31313), and one set designed for students and teachers (Education Core Set, #45544). The contents of these sets are actually quite similar. Both sets let you build and program autonomous and working robots. They use the same technology, the same programmable EV3 brick, and essentially the same programming software.
The sets differ mainly in the type of sensors and LEGO Technic building elements that come in the box. Accordingly, the sets let you build different types of robots. While the Education Edition has an emphasis on building “functional” robots, the robots you can build with the Home Edition are not only functional, but also fun to play with.
Do I have to choose between “Education” and “Fun”?
Not really. Don’t let the apparent differences between the sets fool you. Since the sets use the same technology, you can just as easily make functional robots with the Home Edition, and of course you can make your own “fun” robots with the Education Edition.
For example, the Home Edition comes with a remote control so you can make the robot come to life even before you start programming. And once you get to the programming, the Home Edition has just as much “educational value”.
On the other hand, the Education Edition includes an extra touch sensor and a gyroscopic sensor. For example, you can use the gyro to increase the accuracy of the robot as it turns.
Fortunately, you can buy both the remote control (and receiver) and the gyro sensor separately, so you can always “upgrade” your robot later, regardless of which base set you start with.
Why would I get the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition (#31313)?
The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition (#31313, ~$350) provides lots of opportunities to learn robotics in a playful way. It comes with everything you need to get started building 17 cool robots (12+5). You can program the robots with a computer using free software, control them with the remote that comes with the set, or control them with your phone with a specialized app.
As you explore the possibilities of building robots and controlling them with the remote, you can gradually move on to programming to make your robots autonomous and move by themselves.
This can be a great way to spark your kid’s interest in robotics without making things too complicated at first. For example, you can build the robotic snake using the instructions that come with the set, and play with it using the infrared remote. Later on, you can program it to move across a room on its own, and use sensors to respond to its surroundings.
But can I teach my kid robotics with the Home Edition?
Yes! The Home Edition, too, contains all the elements required to learn to build and program autonomous robots, including motors, sensors, the programmable brick, and software. And don’t worry if you’re not a robotics engineer yourself. There are several guidebooks that teach you and your kid the ins and outs of the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 system, including how to build and program working robots. (In fact, most of these books require that you have the Home Edition set; you’ll need the building pieces from that set to complete the projects in these books.)
For example, The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book helps you learn to build and program your own robots as you create a series of increasingly sophisticated robot projects. Numerous challenges throughout encourage you to think creatively and apply what you’ve learned from the example projects. (Note that I wrote this book, so I’m biased. Don’t forget to check out other EV3 books too!)
Why would I get the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core set (#45544)?
The LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Core set (#45544, ~$340) was originally designed for use in the classroom, featuring a rechargeable battery and sturdy storage boxes. The set also contains a gyroscopic sensor, which can be used to create a self balancing robot. The set doesn’t have a remote control, so you’ll have to begin programming right away.
The set does not come with as many building and programming instructions. (To get the instructions and the programs, you’ll have to purchase a $99 software license.) However, if you already have a lot of LEGO Technic and if you’ll mostly be designing, building and programming your own robots, this may be the set for you.
Where do I buy LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3?
You can buy the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition at:
You can buy the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Education Core set at: