Armatron appeared in the 1980s. It was the manipulator toy offered by Tandy Electronics that started it all. Today it is a whole new world.

You can control arm kits with an Arduino, program them via USB, or even with a hydraulic remote control. While many robotic arm kits are expensive, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have some fun.

The following robotic arm kits will set you back under $100 (on Amazon at least).

Best Arduino Robotic Arms

The Arduino is arguably the most popular programmable controller used by manufacturers around the world. Robotics is also one of the most popular projects for enthusiasts. So it goes without saying that Arduino-controlled robotic arm kits will also be popular.

1. SunFounder DIY Robotic Arm Kit

sun protection robotic kit

You will find that most of SunFounder’s robotics products have good ratings on Amazon. The SunFounder 4-Axis DIY Robotic Arm Kit is no exception.

If you want to learn how to control a robot with Android, this robotic arm is a must. Works with open source MCU Arduino UNO.

You can use the four potentiometers on the control panel to control all four axes. Or you can get a little more advanced and send commands to your arm from your Arduino. This is done through the USB cable and the Arduino’s serial port.

This is a «smart» robot, as you can «teach» it to perform a series of up to 100 movements at the same time. Once programmed, the hand will repeat these movements as often as you like.

  • Axis : four
  • Control : Control panel (potentiometers), Arduino or via PC (with LabVIEW)
  • Axis control : individual servos
  • Power : two 18650 batteries (not included)
  • Price range : up to $100

2. ArmUno 2.0MeArm

Armuno Robotic Arm Kit

The ArmUno 2.0 MeArm robotic arm is compatible with Arduino or Raspberry Pi and even includes free downloadable software that you can start using right away.

It is a four axis arm with four servos. You can also use Windows compatible software to control the robot and teach it how to move. It’s promoted as coming with laser cut pieces, but some reviewers have noted that it’s a little brittle. However, the price is very competitive given that it comes with all the necessary software.

Make sure you have an Arduino or Raspberry Pi before ordering because you need it to run the robot! Assemble it in an instant with just a screwdriver. Please review the wiring diagram and source code on the Microbotlabs website before purchasing to ensure you have everything you need.

  • Axis : four
  • Control : control via Arduino or Raspberry Pi, and includes Windows-based control software
  • Axis control : individual servos
  • Food : Four AA batteries to power the Arduino (not included)
  • Price range : up to $50

The best hydraulic robotic weapons

If you really want to try something different, consider building a hydraulic manipulator kit. These sets are perfect for learning hydraulic controls and easy enough for kids to build.

3. OWI Hydraulic Robotic Arm

owi hydraulic robotic arm

Forget batteries and servos. This set of OWI Hydraulic Robotic manipulators is completely powered by water. It also has more axles than most others in this price range.

You can command six axes of movement. This includes the wrist in two directions, basic rotation, shoulder movement, and vertical/horizontal reach. It includes a lever control system to control the hydraulics on each axle.

This hand consists of 229 parts, so it is recommended for children over 12 years old. This is a very simple yet effective way to teach kids (and adults!) about the power of hydraulics and comes with easy to follow instructions.

  • Axis : five
  • Control : five levers, one for each axle
  • Axis control : individual hydraulic cylinder
  • Power : Water
  • Price range : up to $100

The best programmable robots

Want to take your robotics skills to the next level? Try to assemble and program the manipulator kit that comes with a built-in microcontroller. The kits below are ready for programming.

4. LewanSoul Arbit robot car kit

robotic car kit lewansoul

Most programmable hand sets that have as many sensors and features as this one usually cost over $100. However, since it is made entirely of wood, it reduces the cost significantly.

If you’re more interested in learning about electronics and robotics anyway, then the LewanSoul Arbit Robot Car Kit is a great compromise.

This robotic arm comes with a Micro:bit controller that can be programmed with a web-based graphical JavaScript compiler. It comes with a Bluetooth module, an LED matrix, an accelerometer, an electronic compass and even a thermometer! It supports Bluetooth, so you can control the robot arm with your Android or iOS device.

  • Axis : three
  • Control : five levers, one for each axle
  • Axis control : Micro programming: bit controller
  • Food : two 3.7V lithium batteries
  • Price range : up to $100

5. OWI-535 Robotic Arm

OWI programmable robotic arm

OWI is well known for making high quality, durable robot kits like these.

This 187-piece OWI five-axis robotic arm includes a 120-degree grip and wrist movement. You can also program a 300 degree elbow range, basic rotation and 180 degree basic movement. It even includes a search light on the grip (for all those objects you need to pick up in the dark).

The handle kit comes with a wired remote control to control the robot arm.

Note . To program the device to perform a series of automatic movements, purchase a USB interface and software. This increases the price but still stays below $100.

  • Axis : five
  • Control : Wired remote, programmable with USB interface add-on
  • Axis control : individual servos
  • Food : Four D batteries
  • Price range : up to $100

The best robotic weapons for kids

Use these robotic arm kits to introduce robotics to kids!

6. HEXBUG VEX Motorized Robotic Arm

vex robotic arm kit

The HEXBUG VEX robotic arm is mainly designed to get kids excited about assembling robotics. This provides a LEGO-like building experience. But it offers a four-axle range of motion at only one speed.

It comes with a wired remote with four switches to control all four servos. Please note that some reviewers have mentioned that the device is made of plastic, the servos of which are strong enough to bend.

Because the embedded robotic arm can also be made in two other configurations: helicopter and scorpion. It’s like having three build kits in one! For the young «creator» in your family, this is the perfect starting point.

7.UBTECH: Jimu Builderbots Kit

ubtech robotic-arm

Like the Hexbug kit, this UBTECH Builderbots robotic arm kit is designed to teach kids about robotics and programming.

This is a 357-piece robot kit that includes an infrared sensor, an LED, and four servo motors. You can control the robot by programming it with the proprietary drag and drop code using the JIMU iOS or Android robot app.

Manipulator kits are just the beginning

If you’re new to robotics and need a fun project to teach you the basics, all of these robotic arm kits are perfect. For adults, Arduino-compatible kits will also let you get wet in the world of microcontroller programming.

While you’re here, download our Arduino beginner’s guide. and when you’re ready, you can buy a kit for the manipulator and really go into town with it.

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