Last updated: August 18, 2021

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Welcome to our big toy robot test 2022. Here we present all the toy robots that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best toy robot for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a toy robot.




Summary

  • The technologies in the field of robotics for children are highly developed and border on human behaviour to some extent.
  • Many toy robots are good for much more than play. They can enhance a child's development in many ways - including cognitively, motor skills as well as programming skills that can be future-oriented.
  • In any case, the big or small companions can be highly entertaining depending on the interest and appear on the market in various forms, such as the remote-controlled, programmable, for tinkerers, assemblable device or artificial intelligence.

The Best Toy Robot: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a toy robot

What is a toy robot and what is it used for?

Toy robots are - as the name suggests - robots that are used as toys. However, not only children have fun with toy robots, but also adults can play with them - or even work with them.

At what age is a toy robot worthwhile?

That depends on what a toy robot should fulfil as a gift for a child. Should it primarily entertain the child or perhaps teach it something? There are robots for children from 3. On average, (especially electronic) robots are recommended from 8. From 3, electronic toy robots are recommended that, for example, move and light up (like the Siebwinn) or encourage children in their speech development and gross motor skills (like the FKC35).

From 5/6, there are robots that accompany children in their first programming steps and adapt to the increasing complexity of their thinking (like the Dash). Or some that add actions such as shooting arrows and talking to glowing and dancing (like the ThinkGizmos).

Depending on the age, different toy robots are suitable. (Image source: 123rf.com / 89958376)

From the age of 8, the complexity of the robots increases. Here, functions such as control by hand movements, driving and singing are added. (SGILE) The Anki Cozmo can explore its environment by itself, interact playfully, express feelings, demand attention, remember faces and greet the people belonging to it. Another can stack or fight with conspecifics in addition to various movements already mentioned. (WowWee) From the young adolescent years (11) onwards, programming becomes more sophisticated (for example, with the wonder workshop cue).

Are toy robots safe for children?

We first set out here a few criteria for defining child safety in toy robots, against which we compare a few products: Below primary school age (under 6), the product has no parts that can be swallowed. It is made of environmentally friendly material that is not harmful when put in the mouth, for example. The product material is also robust so that no individual parts can easily come loose. Of course, we can't speak for all toy robots, so we'll limit ourselves to the 8 best-selling toy robots on Amazon Germany, as these are probably the most relevant for you.
Toy robot without parts under 6 material harmless material robust
Anki 000-00067 Cozmo from 8 specification only: plastic yes
HSP Himoto from 6 ? yes
Wonder Workshop Dash yes specification only: plastic yes - according to users
LEGO 17101 from 7 ABS plastics yes
Boxer - 6045396 contains which - -
Fisher-Price FKC35 yes - -
Sphero SPRK+ STEAM Educational Robot yes polycarbonate (unsafe) yes

Most of the toys here, if they are for children under 6, have no individual parts (in the original package). The sellers often do not give any information about the harmlessness of the material itself. Most of them have robust material.

All sellers point out that children should not play with their products unsupervised by their parents.

What can a child do with a toy robot?

A child can do quite a lot with its robot, from dancing, singing and talking to programming desired actions. Playing apps with the robot is widespread. Of course, you can also learn something with many machines. For example, through brainteasers or quizzes. With some robots, everything starts with assembling the figure. This gives the child a feel for the construction. Then, with some devices, it continues with independent programming. Either on the PC or via an app - and this can be done simply by stringing together symbols or more technically by codes. This enables your child to activate behavioural patterns and sequences with commands.

In this way, a child can learn to program, thereby already fundamentally understand the processes of complex machines, or can expand their knowledge. You can also control some robots with voice commands. Or you can record and play back your own voice commands with it. Some devices are even designed to allow emotional bonding by imitating feelings, in the appropriate place.

Does a toy robot need additional accessories?

Yes and no. Some robots or their remote controls need batteries, which are not always included, other devices are fully operational from the start and can be freely expanded with gimmicks.

To operate some toy robots, you also need apps. These are available in the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. (Image source: unspalsh.com / Franck V.) For some of them, however, you have to install the appropriate app on your operating device before using them. There are a few robots that can fight with the same robots, so to use this function you need a second one of the kind.

Other extensions are, for example, depending on the device: new game apps, different types of rubber chains for personalisation, a catapult, a tablet for transporting small objects, a xylophone, a painting set, travel bags adapted to the shape and size of the toy or even control using a kind of smart watch.

Decision: What types of toy robots are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to get a toy robot for yourself or for your family, there are several alternatives to choose from. The most important types are the following:

  • Remote controlled toy robots
  • Programmable toy robots
  • Educational toy robots
  • Play toy robots
  • Toy robots to assemble

The functional range of each robot comes with advantages and disadvantages, which you can find below.

What are the characteristics of a remote-controlled toy robot and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

In this case, remote-controlled means controlled by an additional device. This can be a remote control, a smartphone, tablet or a force band (a special wristband for controlling). The advantage of these toys is that you can steer them very precisely and also from a distance by pressing a button and using the touch screen. Moreover, you don't have to teach them, they come to you ready-made.

The disadvantage may be that you still have to get compatible equipment for the control and that this may also require additional batteries.

Advantages
  • Controls accurately
  • Has all capabilities
  • Can be operated from a distance
Disadvantages
  • Additional equipment for control?
  • More batteries

What are the characteristics of a programmable toy robot and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Here, programmable means that you first teach the robot certain procedures as a sequence of commands before it executes them; it stores them and has thus learned them. For example, you can teach it to go to a certain place, stand there and shoot one of its arrows by giving it only one command 'Shoot the arrow' (which is followed by several steps). A positive aspect of these apparatuses is that they introduce a complex topic - programming - in a child-friendly way.

Moreover, the offer here is already broad and there are products for children with different previous knowledge and depending on their age: abilities in thinking, sometimes even bundled in one device. Last but not least, a child easily finds access to the world of machines. A challenge can be that the companion has to learn some activities first and the remaining memorised functions can soon become boring. In addition, once a child reaches a certain level of complexity, he or she needs the support of someone experienced in IT.

Advantages
  • Programming at a simple level
  • Available for various age groups
  • Children learn to understand machines
Disadvantages
  • You have to learn the robot first
  • sometimes IT experience necessary

What are the characteristics of an educational toy robot and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Here, learning means that the toy either teaches a child concrete (factual) knowledge, for example with the help of quizzes or tasks, or supports its development, for example in its movement, language (in active listening and production) and emotional assessment. We will leave out programming as a field of learning here. On the positive side, your child learns to adapt to someone else in its communication and behaviour and develops this readiness. These devices impart knowledge in a fun way. It is also remarkable that some of them grow with the child, so to speak - i.e. they always have new tasks ready according to the child's progress or can be expanded with additional material.

Perhaps one criticism is that the German language skills of some of the units still leave a lot to be desired. Just as people who speak a foreign language have an accent, there are also robots that do so because, for example, their original language is English or others cannot yet speak German. However, many customers and their children do not see this as an obstacle.

Advantages
  • Trains interaction
  • everyday knowledge playfully
  • adaptable
Disadvantages
  • Some don't speak German or have an accent

What are the characteristics of a toy robot and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

This type of robot is primarily used for the playful entertainment of the child. They can dance, talk, tell stories, sing, run, walk, shoot, throw, jump, fight, react to gestures, curiously explore the area - as a humanoid or also in the form of a pet, or they simply serve as a robust play figure in themselves. (Of course, there are also combinations of different types of robots. - A mechanical friend that tells you a story, but also asks questions and challenges you to play) These devices can give your child pleasure for a long time if they have many capabilities. Depending on the shape and complexity of the device, a kind of friendly relationship can also develop and your child learns to care without it having to be a real living being.

On the other hand, these devices do not have extensive interaction capabilities, so they are more likely to do what your child tells them. Once they have discovered everything about the robot, however, boredom is more likely to set in.

Advantages
  • Provides long-term fun
  • bonds are formed, or the robot encourages a sense of responsibility
Disadvantages
  • Less interaction, more reaction
  • quicker boredom

What are the characteristics of a toy robot to assemble and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

There are also subcategories here: in the number of components, the range of functions, the material and the shape (e.g. spider, humanoid, excavator). Here a new factor is added that the previous apparatuses cannot evoke: Joy from pride in having built something that is ready for use. These feelings automatically create a stronger connection to the object, because your child has created it himself and has already got to know it better. The beauty is also that there are products that don't only work when they are completely finished, but also communicate or try to do something in between, only to realise that they are still missing parts for it. That has great entertainment value.

Moreover, it is not just assembling, but the manufacturers also provide knowledge about bionics - a transfer of advantageous natural phenomena to technology. For example, the reproduction of the properties of bird wings in aircraft wings. Of course, this type of robot requires more patience before you can use it properly, so it is not suitable for smaller children. In addition, the tinkering and fiddling is a sense of achievement, but afterwards the interest in the device can also wane again.

Advantages
  • Creates pride and a lot of joy
  • Stronger bonding
  • Interaction sometimes already during construction
  • Teaching bionics
Disadvantages
  • Patience needed
  • For children from 7
  • May lose excitement

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate toy robots

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible toy robots. The criteria you can use to compare the robots with each other include:

  • Target group / age
  • Control system
  • Operating and output language(s)
  • Power source

In the following paragraphs, we will explain to you what is important in the individual criteria.

Target group / age

It is important to look at the manufacturer's age recommendations, as there is a different focus on functionality, construction, parts and complexity for toddlers, primary school children and older children. For toddlers (3+), the robots themselves are not very small, the corners are rounded, the colours are brighter and the operation and movements are not as complex. Individual parts are dispensed with for the most part. The applications are simple - but there are already variants that train children in programming in a very simple way. For younger primary school children (from 6), programming is a big topic in relation to robot friends. Also, purely on the outside, these editions are already a little less playful in colouring and design. Some are no longer quite so big, already more delicate, more refined in their ability to move, more versatile in their abilities, more demanding in their tasks and games, and also more capable of learning and adapting, and also have more expansion options.

The older the children, the more sophisticated the toy robot can be. (Source: unsplash.com / Dominik Scythe)

For older children (8+), the little machines sometimes have a lot of personality of their own, evolve with the owners, even get to know them in a way, are again a bit more inconspicuous in appearance. A lot of black, set blue and red. In keeping with their growing age, they require more patience, frustration tolerance and empathy in handling. They can have a lot of individual parts. This is where you will find the mechanisms that you assemble yourself.

Control

How can you control robots? With buttons on the device, with voice commands, with your own remote control, with a smart device such as a smartphone, tablet or Force Band. Paying attention to this criterion is especially important for the last control option. If you don't have the right operating system on your mobile phone or tablet - Apple, Android, Windows - you can't use the technological wonder. It is also important to find out beforehand which apps you want to use. Sometimes there are lists of compatible devices.

Operating and output language(s)

This aspect is important if it is relevant to you in which language the robot speaks and how well, which language it understands and which language its apps have. There are devices that speak German and with which you can speak German. Then there are also some that only understand English and also only speak English. That can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Then there's Anki's Cozmo, whose app is in German but whose voice output is set to English, so it does try to speak German, but probably with an accent. Last but not least, there are those who, according to testimonials, can't be understood that well.

Energy source

This point might be important to you for environmental reasons, for reasons of economy and for practicality. First, let's mention the shapes that have not yet been mentioned in this article: the robots made of wood, foam and wind-up ones made of sheet metal. The first two variants have not found a place here, not because they are not worth mentioning, but because this article focuses on electronic devices that you can control. The figures made of sheet metal belong to the original form of the phenomenon, but nowadays - and probably for this reason - they are traded more as collectors' items than as children's toys. Now you can find devices on the market whose batteries you charge with an adapter and a USB cable. Of course, this is quite simple. There are also toy robots whose remote controls require batteries (AA(A) or LR batteries).

Interesting facts about toy robots

Where can I find additional apps?

That depends on the device and the operating system the robot supports. For the Dash, Dot and Cue products from Wonder Workshop, you can access apps from the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. You can also get new inspiration for MiP from WowWee and Cozmo from Anki. Google Play also offers more apps for Sphero's BB8.

You need additional apps to operate some toy robots. These are available in the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. (Image source: unspalsh.com / Franck V.)

Can I have my toy robot repaired - and if so, where?

No one talks about repair on the manufacturer and sales platforms. But they do talk about the possibility of returning the product. It depends on the seller how it is regulated. If you order directly from Anki (an original manufacturer), for example, you can contact customer service by email or phone. Amazon has a central returns centre. You send the defective device back to them. For private purchases, it's best to check the seller's return, warranty and repair information.

Image source: unsplash.com / Craig Sybert

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