Best Electronics Kit for Students in 2021

If there is a good time to give students something worthwhile to do, it would be now. And what is the best way to accomplish that? Give them their own electronics kit. These circuit and electronics design kits are a perfect way to keep students busy while they continue to learn.

As educational toys, electronics kits introduce students to the basics of circuitry and allow them to build something they will have fun using in the end. We know parents would be out looking for a kit that would give their kids the best experience – from building to learning – so, we reviewed some of the best electronics kits for students. Here is a quick summary of our findings:

Read on to see our recommendations, product reviews and a buyer’s guide.

Best for Children (5-8 years old) – Snap Circuits Beginner

Manufactured by an expert in educational toys, the Snap Circuits Beginner is what we think will finally satisfy young kids’ hunger for something to tinker with. Children are natural explorers and this set is specifically designed to encourage the young explorer and builder in every child. The kit comes with 14 separate parts that can be used for more than 20 projects. The picture manual is a kid-friendly feature that makes it easy to follow, especially for non-readers. Some of the end products include a working fan, colored lights, light and sound egg, and a horn. The building process makes for a great STEM-learning activity. Since Elenco is keen on safety, this product is designed with safety features and snap-together components that make it suitable for children as young as 5 years old.

Another good choice for introducing electronics is Elenco’s Snap Circuits, Jr. SC-100, which allows kids to construct over 100 projects. Although this caters more to kids aged 8 years old and above, it can still be given to children younger than 8. There are no tools required when assembling devices and this kit also comes with an illustrated manual. Therefore, if you think your child needs a more challenging learning tool than a beginner-level kit, try the Snap Circuits, Jr.

PROS

  • has a picture manual
  • kids can build over 20 projects
  • no tools required to assemble

CONS

  • nothing noted

User Reviews

Parents, teachers, and guardians fill most of the Reviews section and most of them agree that Elenco’s Snap Circuits Beginner is a great kit for starters. The product is often given as a gift or used as a classroom material and it doesn’t take long before it becomes kids’ favorite toy. Some users share that they have let their 3-year-olds try it and even kids younger than 5 can do the tasks. The kit promises a fun learning experience by engaging the users and giving them a venue to unleash the engineer in them. As stated in reviews, the picture manual is easy to follow, and that kids get excited upon seeing that their creation works.

Best for Children (8+ years old) – Smart Circuits by SmartLab

For children who are capable of taking on a bigger challenge and are ready to be introduced to the world of computer technology, Smart Circuits by SmartLab is the perfect kit. Each package comes with a 48-page pictured manual which gives clear instructions on how to build 50 projects. This will definitely keep kids busy for hours on end. While having fun working on the projects, kids will also learn about the science behind every build. As mentioned, this is a good starter kit to learn about computers because it comes with a microcontroller.

The guidebook explains how the microcontroller works and how it’s used for projects like a motion-sensing room alarm, a quiz show, and an electronic drum kit. What makes the projects easily doable are the color-coded components. Albeit more challenging, most kids, especially in the 8-12 age range, may find themselves constructing devices without (or with minimum) assistance from adults.

PROS

  • comes with an illustrated manual
  • wires are color-coded
  • can build 50 projects

CONS

  • some users reported issues with plugging wires in

User Reviews

How kids love building projects with this kit is what is consistently emphasized in the reviews. Parents or grandparents find their kids unable to stop building, working on one project after another. Users believe that the Smart Circuits kit is worth the money they paid for and think that it’s a great learning kit. Some users who are teachers have tried purchasing this for their classes and they rave about how their students enjoyed constructing devices, feeling accomplished because they’re doing something that only adults can do. Several reviews also mentioned how the manual is easy to follow and instructions and illustrations are kid-friendly.

Best for High School – Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit

If there is an age group that loves experimenting the most, it would be high schoolers. So, especially for those who are into anything mechanical or electronic, the Elegoo UNO should be an ideal kit to start with when transitioning from basic to a more complex level. With this product, high school students will be able to understand the physics behind different electronic devices as they get their hands on transistors, resistors, sensors, LEDs, and other such components.

What makes building easier is the free PDF tutorial that comes with the kit. Since it is Arduino-compatible, it is a good foundational tool for building familiarity with the Arduino platform and other complex electronic principles.

PROS

  • comes with a free PDF tutorial
  • Arduino-compatible
  • comes in a hard case
  • affordable

CONS

  • components look cramped up in the package
  • no printed manual

User Reviews

Great deal for how much it’s worth. This is what most users rave about in the product reviews. For a very affordable price, they get a comprehensive learning kit with excellent quality components. Those who are into Arduino say that the Elegoo UNO is a good beginner kit because it has Arduino coding samples. The tutorials were clear, informative, and easy to follow. A lot of users say that they want to learn more about electronics and the documentation that comes with the kit allowed them to accomplish that. This is highly recommended for beginners.

Best for College or University Students (Introductory) – Elegoo Mega 2560

Another from Elegoo’s line of all-in-one kits is the Elegoo Mega 2560 Project Ultimate Starter Kit. Like the UNO Project Super Starter Kit, this pack also comes with a comprehensive tutorial, making it a great choice for beginners, hobbyists, and, most especially, those studying electronics. For a reasonable price, users will get a whole package of over 200 components including resistors, jumper wires, LEDs, sensors, a breadboard, potentiometer and others. Also being Arduino compatible, this is a great tool for easing into the Arduino technology and continuing STEM learning. The sensors included can be utilized to build a variety of useful devices.

PROS

  • includes over 200 components
  • Arduino-compatible
  • not too expensive                            

CONS

  • instructions in the manual can still be improved

User Reviews

Customer reviews show that most people who have tried the Elegoo Mega 2560 Kit can testify that this is a good starting kit for learning Arduino and microcontrollers in general. In fact, it is best for those with beginner or intermediate skill levels. This means that this falls in the “not too hard” and “not too easy” project kits. The free tutorials and helpful customer service are mentioned in several reviews. The diversity of the projects that can be built from this set also gives users more to do, which is what they actually want. Some users mention studying the tutorial and learning how to build devices for hours. Overall, It’s a great tool for learners and hobbyists.

Best for College or University Students (Comprehensive) – Arduino UNO R3 Starter Kit

Who knows Arduino better than Arduino itself? This is why we believe the Arduino UNO R3 Starter Kit is the perfect kit for college or university students to get to know the platform more. This kit comes with a 170-page project book that gives a comprehensive guide on how to work on 15 projects. The activities are a good STEAM-learning opportunity that will let students know how to think critically and learn about basic electronics principles. Learning how to code is made easy because students can follow the guide as they build their devices.

Sensors and actuators are other components that can be explored using this product. What is great about this starter kit is, although it details important electronics concepts, it is still suitable for beginners. Also, since this is an original product from Arduino, it is an excellent way to explore possibilities within the Arduino platform that may prove useful when doing actual electronics work.

PROS

  • is the original Arduino starter kit
  • includes a comprehensive project book
  • is a good introduction to coding and electronics

CONS

  • only 15 projects to work on
  • more expensive than other starter kits

User Reviews

Users are in agreement when talking about how effective as a learning tool the Arduino starter kit is. For one, it is manufactured by Arduino itself. Different electronics principles are well-explained and instructions on building the projects are clear and concise. A lot of users recommend starting with the original one before experimenting with other versions. There are also some users who say that Arduino remains true to its word that no prior knowledge is required with using this kit – it is perfect for those with beginner and advanced electronics skills.

How We Picked the Best Product for This Article

Documentation

Our market and focus for this guide are students. Hence, it would be but logical to make documentation part of our considerations. We want users to be able to read, follow, and execute instructions. When using the kits, students need a guide that will not only guide them through the build process, but also help them understand principles behind the end-product’s functions. Documentation or manuals that come with the products must be clear, concise, and easy to understand. It would also help if principles are explained well for students to be able to comprehend.

Arduino Compatibility

Whether we like it or not, Arduino technology is now part of the electronics industry. Since we know that students will eventually become part, perhaps as engineers, of the said industry, we want to make sure they are equipped with the right tools. Our recommendations will expose them to the necessary concepts they need to understand in order to make it in the “real world”. Hands-on experience is the best teacher and we want the students who read our guide to have access to the best kits they can use to explore and acquire the needed experience.

Range of Projects

Most of the electronics kits have similar components. So, instead of looking for a product that has extra components, we factored in the type or range of projects that can be built using those components. Knowing the types of devices that can be constructed somehow gave us an idea of what age level the product is most suitable for. For instance, projects such as light and sound devices are more appropriate for children. On the other hand, projects that make use of sensors and Arduino technology are best for users with higher skill and age levels.

User Reviews

What better way to know more about a product than to hear about experts’ opinions? A lot of the reviews are from engineering students and teachers, engineers, and parents. Although parents are not experts in the field of electronics, they sure know how to tell whether a product is no good or is worth the price they have or had to pay. This is why customer experience is always a consideration. By checking reviews, we get to know if the product components actually work or if junior-level kits are actually appropriate for children.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Snap Circuits Beginner and Snap Circuits Junior?


Although they are from the same manufacturer, Elenco, there are major differences between Snap Circuits Beginner and Snap Circuits Junior. For one, looking at the names alone, one can infer that Snap Circuits Beginner is for ‘younger’ kids with more ‘beginner’ level skills. It has fewer component parts than Snap Circuits Jr., and has less complicated projects to work on. The instruction manual also has fewer words and, instead, has more picture instructions that children can easily follow. Meanwhile, Snap Circuits Jr. has more build opportunities and more parts. The projects that can be created are also more complex. Since Snap Circuits Jr. has a snap-together feature, kids can experiment and create their own devices once they become familiar with the principles behind the electronics applications.

What is a good electronics kit that doesn’t focus on microcontrollers?

An electronics kit that gives students a more diverse set of projects to work on is Playz Electrical Circuit Board Engineering Kit for Kids. It has more than 25 experiments that allow kids to learn about science, physics, mechanical, structural, and electrical engineering as they play with a circuit board. As a STEM-focused learning tool, the Playz Kit is appropriate for 8-13+. Some of the projects that can be built include an AM/FM radio, a flying ball, and other light and sound devices.

What is the best age to get kids started with electronics?

An ideal age to introduce kids to the world of electronics would be five years old. Kids this age usually display interest and also already have a certain level of understanding of electronics concepts and know the value of being able to build something. Meanwhile, although some kids are already able to tinker with electronics projects at age 3, this is still too early and there is a high chance that they only consider electronics kits one of their many ‘toys’.

What is the best electronics kit for a teenager?

Elegoo Uno Project Super Starter Kit has got to be the best kit for teenagers showing interest in learning about circuitry and programming. The projects are suitable for those with high beginner to intermediate level skills – categories where most teenagers fall under. The lessons and instructions should be easy enough for them to explore the component parts and their functions on their own.

What is the best electronics kit for engineering students?

An easy pick would be Elegoo Mega 2650. This kit may be the best tool that can accommodate engineering students from different age levels and with different learning needs. Although there are other Arduino starter kits on the market, Elegoo’s Mega 2650 provides the most opportunities for learning with the 200 component parts that come with the kit.

Summary

In summary here is a list of the best electronics kits for students:

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