EV3 Home Edition or EV3 Education Edition: Which one to buy?

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)?

EV3 Home Edition (#31313)
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)?

EV3 Education Core Set (#45544)
EV3 Education 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.


You can buy the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition at:

You can buy the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Education Core set at:

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21 Responses
  1. Matt

    Hi Laurens,

    I am enjoying your book and look forward to building the robots in it.

    I have the Education Core Set (45544) and Expansion Set (45560).

    Have you or one of your fans identified a list of elements that are only available in the home/retail set (31313) so that I can “upgrade” my Education set to be able to build all the robots in your book?




      1. Matt

        Hi Laurens,

        Are you referring to the article “The Difference Between LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition (#31313) and LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 (#45544)” (November 2013), at http://robotsquare.com/2013/11/25/difference-between-ev3-home-edition-and-education-ev3/, specifically the paragraph “‘Upgrading’ Elements from Education Edition to Home Edition”?

        If so, I would be happy to share a spreadsheet for folks who would like to upgrade from the Education Core Set (45544) and Expansion Set (45560) to the Retail Set (31313) so they can build robots from the Retail Set and your book.

        I think it’s easier to use than the Brick Dojo list, and Rosendahl’s list doesn’t take into account folks who have the Expansion Set already.



        1. daniele

          Hi Matt

          I’m interested in buying the educational+expansion sets and I’D rather have a look at your list to the missing parts to have a retail set!

          Could you please upload it somewhere?


  2. Debora

    For me it was the other way around. I made al list, but is was a very tall one ;-).
    I ended up buying them both. I couldn’t find al the little parts in de shops.

    Why not sell those parts in a different Lego box? I’m sure there will be a market for it!

    Greetings from the Netherlands.

  3. wayne

    Thanks for the info above.I am looking at getting both the Home Edition and the Education Core Set. Question – Will the free software for the Home Edition work for the Education Core Set or do I have to also pay $99 for the software license? Thanks

  4. René

    Hi guys I’m interested to learn robotic. I’m beginner in this field but I think it’s amazing I would to buy a LEGO kit I have two choice.
    1) the LEGO NXT model
    2) The LEGO EV3 model

    Wich model you advice me to buy?

    Have nice day everybody

  5. smitha


    My Son uses the Home edition 31313,can he upgrade to expansion set. Any additional parts are required what would be the source to find.


  6. Vulnavia

    Hi Laurens,

    I have built and programmed gyro boy to do pre-programmed movements. Am looking to add bluetooth control sort of like commander. I could set up a BT mailbox and send single digit mail box entries for control. Still working on the program by the way. Anyway to use Commander where it won’t override the balance loop?


  7. Billie

    I’m not sure if this is to old to get a reply but I came across the Lego Mindstorms EV3 core set # 45544 in a home we purchased. I have no use for this and while o have loved Legos since a child and my kids do this is way to technical for them and would love to see someone who can use it and learn from it rather than it get broke and pieces lost. It looks as if a charger may be missing. But all other cords are there. If anyone knows where one could sell a set like this and maybe what a fair resell price is, I would greatly appreciate it. TIA

  8. Andrew Jones

    It looks like the educational sets include software at this point?
    Your old links referring to it as separate no longer function

    The description for the core (#5003400) says it includes LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 software

    Do you have any knowledge to say this is now true?

    1. Donna

      I just bought the Education Core set. It does not technically “come” with the software, but the software for it is now free as a download from Lego. There is no longer a need to buy it for $99.

  9. Luis Sanchez

    Hello Laurens!

    Where did you buy the organizer container in page 5 (Figure 1-4).

    Can you post the link?


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