10 of the best robot toys

There are super-cool robot toys for all ages and stages – our mini testers have picked out the best, including our Toy Awards 2019 winners

Toy Awards Best Robot Toy

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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.

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

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1. Spin Master Toys Owleez, £49.99 – best for flying robots

Age: 3+
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Robot – Gold

What it is: This owl responds to touch and its eyes light up dependent on its mood. It has over 100 sounds and movements and comes with a nest and a food accessory. It charges via a USB cord.

Why we love it: One part cutesy pet that needs nurturing, one part drone… meet Owleez! It can tell you what its mood is by its eye colour. And if you pet and rub it, it will fly! Our child reviewers loved this little toy.

Dan, MFM reviewer and dad to Myla, 5, says, “When she wasn’t playing with it, she made sure someone else was looking after it. She tucked it up in her bed and put clothes on it to ‘keep it warm’. The eye colour changes, which signal different emotions, was really appealing to her – and she instantly tried to do what needed to be done: feed, stroke, swing. She was already enjoying playing so much that the flying was the icing on the cake. Although she was a little scared the first time it flew, she soon overcame this and really looked forward to making it fly.” And Danielle, MFM reviewer, mum to Jamie, age 6, and Georgie, age 10, says, “Once the Owleez took flight, I have never seen 2 kids laugh so much, they were in hysterics. Our 6-year-old didn’t really ‘get’ the toy, but our 10-year-old did.”

Available from: Argos

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2. Boxer, £79.99 – best for cool tricks

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 or sleepy. And, while he’s not cheap, he’s not as pricey as other robot friends out there.

Carly, MFM reviewer and mum to Noah, age 7, says, “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.”

Our parent testers were impressed with the quality, and how easy it is to charge.

Gwydron, MFM reviewer and mum to Aidan, 8, says, “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.”

Available from: Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon

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3. Clementoni pet_bits, £19.99 – best for collectables

Age: 4+
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Robot – Silver

What it is: Robotic pets (7cm x 13cm x 18cm) who hear sounds and respond to clapping. Each pet has its own personality and dances when you clap your hands. It can record voices and can be coded, via the pet_bits app, to walk.

Why we love it: These collectable pets interact with each other when you have more than one! We love the tricks you can teach them to do. Our child reviewers had great fun with them. Alex, MFM reviewer and mum to Esme, age 4 and Imogen, age 6, says, “My two loved getting them to talk to each other and respond to their input. Imogen particularly loved blowing on their noses so they spin around and make giggly noises.”

Farwah, MFM reviewer and mum to Arham, age 2, and Shanzay, age 5, says, “Our favourite has to be the cat because my daughter thinks it is so cute and so do we! She thought it would have been better if its ears moved as well and if it had a ‘waggly tail’. She loved the music and the interactive noises – especially the robotic sounds which all of us had a good laugh at. The only downside was that it doesn’t walk on carpets.”

Available from: Amazon

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4. HEXBUG Robot Wars Arena, £39.99 – best for robot battles

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.

Our child tester Hal, age 8, says, “I love this and particularly love the hammer on the robot, and enjoy trying to destroy the other robot.”

Available from: Smyths Toys and Amazon

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5. Disney Pixar Toy Story 4, Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear, £24.99 – best for iconic toys

Age: 3+
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Robot – Bronze

What it is: A walking, talking Buzz Lightyear (18cm tall) toy that has sound effects, facial expressions, walks backwards and forwards and has wings that click out. Batteries required: 3x AAA (LR03) (not included).

Why we love it: This newest version of Buzz Lightyear still says the classic lines, like “Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!” but also some new phrases, like, “We’re on a mission to find our friends!”. But the big difference between this Buzz and the former Buzzes is that he can walk. Jonquil, MFM reviewer and mum to Theadora, age 7, and Benjamin, age 4, says, “This was the third Buzz Lightyear we’ve welcomed to our house so we were able to compare it with the previous models. There is a real wow factor when the toy is first switched on and runs through its repertoire. The thing that made both my children laugh was the walking backwards feature.” Benjamin, 4, says, “The best thing about this toy is that it walks and says ‘Has anyone seen sheriff Woody?’ and his wings pop up. The thing I don’t like is that its helmet does not go down.”

Available from: Smyths Toys

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6. Clementoni Coding Lab RoboMaker, £55.80 – best for construction coding toys

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 4 AA batteries.

Why we love it: Construction and coding and robots – and not only 1 robot but 5 different ones. Wow! Kate, MFM reviewer, and mum to Nienna, 8, says, “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.”

Dominic, MFM reviewer and dad to Tommy, 8, says,Really good value: hours of entertainment making and then playing with the robots.”

Available from: Amazon

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7. M.A.X (Meccano Advanced Xfactor), £149.99 – best for quirky robots

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 personalise – 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: Amazon

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8. Meccano Micronoid, £69.99 – best for a challenge

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

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9. VEX Robotics by HEXBUG Robotic Arm, £39.99 – best for a project

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 to 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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10. Transformers: The Last Knight Remote Control Sqweeks, from £69.99 – best for young children

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: Amazon

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