13 of the best robot toys

There are now some super-cool robot toys for all ages and stages – and we've got children to pick out the very best

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Robot toys are everywhere right now – and they’re better and more child-friendly than ever. From a cool dancing preschool robot to more complex, self-learning robots you build and code yourself, there’s a cool bot friend for all ages and attention spans.

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Here are the best robot toys, as tested and rated by children…

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1. Boxer, £79.99

GOLD winner, Best Robot Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 6+

What it is: A quirky mini robot on wheels who responds to hand movements with funny expressions and can read the 10 activity cards included with him, to play games like Bot Bowling, Paddle Bot or Go Kart. If you place a card down in front of him he’ll roll over it, scan it and start playing! Comes with a remote control, and you can download a free Boxer app to access more games. Full of personality, Boxer can express a full range of emotions, from happiness to sadness and grumpiness to sleepiness. Boxer comes with a remote control so that you can race him around and get him to do tricks and you can download a free Boxer app on your phone to get brand new games to play with him.

Why we love it: Boxer is very cute, his tricks are cool and his facial expressions are wonderful – you really can tell if he’s happy, sad, grumpy sleepy. And, while he’s not cheap, he’s not as pricey as other robot friends out there…

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘Noah’s absolutely delighted with Boxer. It’s a huge hit and he recommends it to all his friends. He loves doing tricks with it and learning how to do new things.’ Carly, mum to Noah, 7
  • ‘Aidan is so excited with Boxer and never gets bored playing with it. He particularly likes the fortune teller mode where he can ask Boxer a question, usually something like “Does Dad smell?” It’s good quality, easy to charge and good fun.’ Gwydron, mum to Aidan, 8

Available from: Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon


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2. HEXBUG Robot Wars Arena, £79.99

SILVER winner, Best Robot Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 8+

What is it: A thrill-packed alliance of bestselling mini-robot Hexbugs and the hugely popular TV show Robot Wars: your infra-red remote-controlled armoured and weaponised hexbugs do battle, RW-style, in a(moulded plastic) arena. Our money is on Royal Pain, with his ‘havoc hammer’…

Why we loved it: We could talk about how you can customize your hexbug with stickers or fix on one of the interchangeable pitchfork, wedge, shovel, spikes and battering ram weapons – but basically it’s all just about brilliant, silly, laugh-out-loud fun.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘I love this and particularly love the hammer on the robot, and enjoy trying to destroy the other robot.’ Hal, 8

Available from: Smyths Toys and Amazon


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3. Clementoni Coding Lab RoboMaker, £69.99

BRONZE winner, Best Robot Toy, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 7+

What it is: A 250-component kit to build 5 increasingly complex interactive robots that you can programme manually or via the (free) app. Comes with ‘cybernetic brain’, 3 electric motors, 2 IR sensors, a touch sensor, a speaker and step-by-step guide. Requires 4AA batteries.

Why we love it: Construction and coding and robots – and not only 1 robot but 5 different ones. Wow!

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘Nienna really likes this kit, and loves the dancing robot! So many parts which initially looks daunting, but the guide was extremely comprehensive, and the 360 degree, 3D view on the app was great for assembling any tricky parts.’ Kate, mum to Nienna, 8
  • ‘Really good value: hours of entertainment making and then playing with the robots.’ Dominic, dad to Tommy, 8

Available from: Smyths Toys


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4. Anki Cozmo, £199.99

Age: 6+

What it is: A 12cm x 19cm x25cm robot with forklift-y arms and amazingly expressive eyes. Once connected to the free Cozmo app (iPhone and Android compatible), he’ll recognise your face, say your name, and ask to play games. Over time, he gradually unlock more abilities and allow some simple coding. Comes with charger and 3 interactive power cubes that he – and you – can incorporate into his games. Batteries included.

Why we love it: Cozmo has SO much personality. He’s pleased to see you when he ‘wakes’, snores as he powers down and celebrates when he wins a game – or throw a tantrum if you beat him too often! Our child testers particularly loved how he recognises faces – even the family pet – and awarded him Gold in our 2017 Toy Awards.

Available from: Smyths and Amazon 


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5. Fisher-Price Teach n Tag Movi, £44.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A preschooler-friendly robot (33cm x 34.5cm x 14cm) with chunky wheels, a 360° turn and over 60 facial expressions. You press the light-up buttons on his head to get him to play fun but nicely educational games – or dance. Needs 4 C batteries (included).

Why we love it: It’s nice to see a robot that’s squarely – and creatively – aimed at the under-5s. A joint Silver winner in our 2017 Toy Awards, he offers all the excitement of a flashing, smiling, dancing, rolling robot while also getting his little playmates up and moving (and thinking) as they join in his games.

Available from: Argos and Smyths


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6. M.A.X (Meccano Advanced Xfactor), £149.99

Age: 10+

What it is: A 332-piece construction kit that builds into a 38cm x 30cm x 10cm robot with a cheeky face and built-in obstacle-avoiding infra-red sensors. You can then control – and personanlise – him with buttons on his MeccaBrain (oh yes) or with your phone/tablet using a (free) app (iPhone and Android compatible). Takes 1 to 3 hours to build. Comes with instructions, rechargeable battery and USB cable.

Why we love it: The build is challenging but the instructions are great. And, once you get M.A.X up and running, he’s the quirkiest little guy – he even tilts his head if he doesn’t understand you. His message-recording function was a particular hit with our testers in our 2017 Toy Awards year, earning him a joint Silver.

Available from: Smyths Toys


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7. Clementoni Evolution Robot, £60

Age: 8+

What it is: A kit to construct a 53cm x 36cm x 9cm self-learning robot with moving arms, caterpillar tracks, 5 different facial expressions, sounds and music. Can be controlled manually but also connects to a (free) app (compatible with newer Android and iPhone devices). Has 8 interactive play modes, including a programming one, which (among other things) you can use to get your robot to pick up stuff and blow raspberries! Needs 8 AA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: This is a good build (not too many little pieces) and a fun robot with more groove to him than you’d think at first glance. We particularly liked the programming mode – one of the best coding toys we’ve seen in this age range and our 2017 Toy Awards Bronze winner.

Available from: Amazon and Debenhams


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8Meccano Micronoid, £45.43

Age: 8+

What it is: A 30cm-high robot you build yourself and then programme to dance, sing, giggle, talk, answer questions – and fart. Comes with an instruction booklet and all the tools you need. Choose from 3 different characters, all of which interact together if you build more than one.

Why we love it: We rated this toy hugely, both for the build (challenging, at 139 pieces, but well thought out and hugely satisfying) and for the mega-play value it offers after the build. All our child testers found the finished robot incredibly entertaining, and had loads of fun making it dance and flash its eyes and repeat silly phrases. 

Available from: Amazon  

9. Thames & Kosmos Geckobot, £45

Age: 8+

What it is: A kit from which you can build 7 different robotic models, including a crawling inch worm, a smartphone holder, a suction tow truck and, of course, the Geckobot. Comes with a 24-page instruction book, and details about suction experiments you can conduct with each of your robots.

Why we love it: The building bit is challenging and the Geckobot actually walks up walls. Nuff said.

Available from: Bright Minds and Amazon


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10. Clementoni DOC Educational Smart Robot, £29.99

Age: 4+

What it is: A sweet little robot (6cm x 27cm x 41cm)  tall that’s designed to boost your child’s logical thinking and sequencing skills. Your child has to get DOC to move from one place on the game board to another, avoiding all the obstacles.  Requires 3 AA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: The combination of robot and game is cute and we like the Smart Mode option, where DOC chirps up to offer your child advice on how to play – great for the youngest users.

Available from: Coolshop and Amazon

11. VEX Robotics by HEXBUG Robotic Arm, £39.99

Age: 8+

What it is: A 350-piece snap-to-connect kit for making a 6cm x 38cm x 25cm robotic arm with an articulated grabber hand and a base that rotates 360 degrees. Comes with an instruction booklet (it’s a 4 o 6 hour build) that also details 2 alternative construction options.

Why we love it: This is a proper ‘project’ build that requires lots of patience and perseverance but the pay-off at the end is super-exciting: all our child judges loved playing with the robotic arm they built.

Available from: Amazon  


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12. Transformers: The Last Knight Remote Control Sqweeks, from £79

Age: 3+

What it is: A 21cm ‘autobot’ based on the small-but-determined character in Transformers: The Last Knight. You can make him sing and dance and talk, or switch him into blaster mode and fire his ‘blaster accessory’. Comes with remote control and full instructions. Needs 6 x AA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: He’s just the right size for playing indoors and he’s easy to control. Small children love making his hat wiggle and his eyes light up. And he does a good boogie in dance mode…

Available from: Smyths and The Entertainer


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13. Infantino Sensory Discovery Robot, £12.99

Age: 6 months+

What it is: A funky little baby robot toy (20cm x 12cm x 15cm) with a clicking, rotating head and spinning eyes. It lights up and plays music when you push or pull his feet and when you turn him upside down. Requires 2 AAA batteries (not included).

Why we love it: He’s lovely to look and full of different textures to feel. The music is cute, too – and comes with a volume control!

Available from: Argos and Mothercare

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