Erector sets are a great way to encourage developmental learning. In a way, they can be thought of as an advanced puzzle that a child uses to improve problem-solving skills, building, and more. These unique skills can increase a child’s understanding of the fields of science, technology, engineering, and even architecture.
As with many children’s toys, there are hundreds if not thousands of models to choose from.
Below, you’ll find our top choices for the best erector set. We’ll include erector sets for all different ages, from toddlers to teens.
|Top 9 Best Erector Sets||Why It's Best||Mom Rating|
|Toy To Set of 9 Take Apart Toys||Best for encouraging young builders||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Lincoln Logs 111-Piece Set||Best wooden erector set||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Tinker Toys 30-Model Super Building Set||Best erector set for toddlers overall||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Schylling Steel Works 5 Model Construction Building Kit||200 Pieces of real steel||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Picasso Tiles 100-Piece Magnetic Building Set||Best magnetic erector set||♥♥♥♥♥|
|K'Nex Power and Play Motorized Building Set||Best motorized building set||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst Building Set||Best introduction to robotics||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Meccano Off-Road Truck 25-Vehicle Set||Most entertaining building set for older kids||♥♥♥♥♥|
Best Erector Sets
Brickyard Building Blocks 163-Piece STEM Toys Kit
Best for ages: 3-8
One of the greatest things about the Brickyard Building Blocks 163-Piece STEM Toys Kit is that it comes with more parts for kids to play together or build alone. Six tools are included in the kit, as well as more movable wheels, plates, nuts, and bolts that make it easier for kids to build.
The tools included in this erector set work easily for even kids as young as 3. There are built-in slots for the screwdrivers and the wrenches click as you turn them. All the nuts also have a slot for screwdrivers, which lets them be turned using the wrench or the screwdriver.
Another great feature of this set is that it grows with your child because they can build more designs as they age. A colorful guide has 42 designs including a dog, robot, movable crane, and more. Unfortunately, the guide uses only pictures as guidance and does not include step-by-step instructions.
Something else to note is that when kids are playing together is that there are quite a few designs that cannot be made at the same time because of the limited pieces.
- Works for ages 3 and advances as they get older
- Several tools included in the kit
- Nuts and bolts work with wrenches or screwdriver
- Comes with 42 designs
- Great erector set when your kid is starting out
- May not have enough pieces for multiple kids to play
- Design book is just pictures, not instructions
Kid K’NEX – Budding Builders Building Set
Best for ages: 3-9
The Kid K’NEX – Budding Builders Building Set allows younger kids to build crazy inventions like wacky critters. With 100 colorful pieces, the set allows kids to enjoy an erector set version of Mr. Potato Head! The set also includes instruction sheets to help create 50 different models.
Like the previous model, this has a learning curve. A detailed guide helps your child assemble structures as early as three years old, but there are more challenging models that are ideal for ages 9+.
This set works using a variety of pieces that click into place. It includes tails, feet, hands, and tons of other pieces to encourage imagination.
The connectors might be a little harder to push the first few times, but it’ll become easier as your child plays with them. Like with other K’nex sets, this set will help your child improve STEAM skills as they find their magic with this set.
Many kids may only enjoy this set for younger ages and then be ready to move on to a more advanced set.
- Comes with 100 pieces and instructional manual
- Can be used for simple structures
- Works fine motor skills
- Fun eyes and body parts to make unique critters
- Better for younger children
Toy To Enjoy Take-Apart Toys with Tools
Best for ages: 3-6
The Toy To Enjoy Take-Apart Toys with Tools comes with 192 pieces and seven toys that your child can build, including three dinosaurs, a train, truck, motorcycle, and helicopter. It comes with seven screwdrivers as well, which makes it easy for several kids to play with the set at once.
Something that is nice about these toys is that there are seven distinct toys that can all be assembled at once. This is ideal for children between 3 and 5, so it doesn’t have as big of an age range as some of the other toys. However, it’s perfect for encouraging natural curiosity as your child takes the toys apart and then puts them back together.
The tools included in this set are screwdrivers, which can help your child improve their fine motor skills and coordination. The chunkier pieces are ideal for little hands and the screwdrivers are small enough to fit in little hands.
Even though this is a nice set overall, it might not be durable enough for the average toddler. The pieces are thinner than they look when pictured online and can become sharp if they are broken, so it’s important to be sure your little one is playing with them appropriately.
- Big pieces for little hands
- Several kids can play at once
- Comes with 7 structures that use different pieces
- Colorful and engaging
- Improves coordination and fine motor skills
- No storage container
- Can break if kids are too rough
Lincoln Logs 111-Piece Set
Best for ages: 3-6
This traditional Lincoln Logs 111-Piece Set has all the same quality that parents have come to expect from Lincoln Logs. It is perfect for encouraging your child to construct buildings and the pieces fit together perfectly.
Lincoln Logs have been around for over 100 years. The wood pieces are made of 100% Maple and a pretty bright brown in color. They are designed with indents that allow them to lock together and hold their structure. The roof and window pieces allow your child to create a wide variety of buildings.
Once built, your child’s set can be used to play with other figures or toys. When they are done, the pieces can easily be stored in the metal tin that the Lincoln Logs come in. The one downside is the number of logsyour child could imagine a lot more with longer pieces. However, this is compatible with other Lincoln Log sets so you could easily start a collection.
- High-quality wooden pieces
- Freedom to build several designs
- Easy to interlock the wooden pieces
- Tin is nice to store logs in when not playing
- Comes with roof and window pieces
- Could use a few more logs in the set (especially longer ones)
Tinker Toys 30-Model Super Building Set
Best for ages: 3-9
The Tinker Toys 30-Model Super Building Set comes with 200 pieces including rods, washers, end caps, spools, and flags. A detailed instructional book makes this easy to use for ages 3 and older.
The pieces in this kit are made with durable plastic and have bright, pleasant colors. They can be used to build any number of things, from a fish and other critters to vehicles with moving parts like a truck or a windmill.
Even though these pieces are easy to put together and take apart, they also hold their shape well for play after your child has built them. This allows for further imaginative play and enjoyment.
One downside of this building set is that it is not cross-compatible with the older models of Tinker Toy sets. It is compatible with the new sets, but the rods are too wide to fit the connectors of the older sets.
- Colorful, durable pieces
- Instruction manual has several building ideas
- Pieces are easy to put together and take apart
- Can play with the toys after they are assembled
- Not compatible with older Tinker Toys sets
KEVA Structures 200 Plank Set
Best for ages: 5-12
The KEVA Structures 200 Plank Set comes with precision cut blocks. When set on a stable surface, these are easy to stack and build tall structures. Since stacking does require a stable hand, this is designed for ages 5 and up.
The KEVA set teaches your little one all about stability and gravity. They learn about the principles of physics, balance, and more. Since all the planks are the same size and shape, it’s easy to stack them together and create towering structures. A 24-page booklet is included that has design ideas to get your child started. Among the design options are buildings, geometrical structures, and more.
This set is also compatible with other KEVA sets, which are also designed using precision-cut logs. This is nice since the set will last for years, the Maple wood is resistant to fingerprints, dings, and scratches.
Something to note when buying online is to be sure of the manufacturer. Some reviews state that lighter, rougher pine blocks were shipped instead of the nicer maple wood.
- Blocks are smooth and easy to stack together
- Maple wood resists fingerprints, dings, and scratches
- Great for making buildings and geometrical structures
- Easy to stack
- Wide range of building options with guide included
- Need to be cautious about the manufacturer when ordering online
Schylling Steel Works 5 Model Construction Building Kit
Best for ages: 8-12
The Schylling Steel Works 5 Model Construction Building Kit is designed for ages 8 and up. It is a great choice when your little one is ready to move past some of the erector sets designed for younger kids. The included instructional guide is useful and makes building easy even for younger builders.
The Schylling is an easy-to-use model that creates any type of vehicle your child can imagine. One major benefit is that the pieces are made of full steel so they will stay sturdy for much longer than plastic. This means that once your child is done playing with this set, they can use it to build other models.
This set is made with 200 metallic pieces and has working wheels so your child can play with their creation when they are done assembling it if they would like to. Like any best erector set, this helps build fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills.
- 200 well-designed metallic and plastic pieces
- Working wheels
- Builds fine motor skills, problem-solving skills, and hand-eye coordination
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- Works with other sets by the same brand
- For ages 8 to 15
- Some of the screws may be stripped
- Instructions were hard for some children to follow
Picasso Tiles 100-Piece Magnetic Building Block Set
Best for ages: 3-10
The Picasso Tiles 100-Piece Magnetic Building Block Set is a great choice for kids ages 3 and up. It introduces your child to geometrical shapes and 3D forms. They also have to consider magnetic polarity as they put the pieces together.
One of the great things about this is the creativity that it allows because fastening the shapes together lets your child make a wide range of structures. This set has also won two awards for its innovation, including the Parent Tested, Parent Approved Award and the Tillywig Toy Awards Brain Child Award.
One of the great things about this set is that there are enough pieces that children can play together with their parents, friends, or siblings. They are also compatible with many other magnet building sets.
You will want to keep a watchful eye on your child because of the magnets used in the set. If more than one is swallowed, they can become dangerous.
- Introduces your child to 2D and 3D geometrical shape
- Introduces magnet polarity
- Ability to build a wide range of structures
- Cross-compatibility with other magnetic building sets
- Magnets can be dangerous if swallowed
IQ Builder Stem Learning 164-Piece Set
Best for ages: 4-10
One of the great things about the IQ Builder Stem Learning 164-Piece Set is that it works well for beginners and intermediate age. It has connector balls, different sized connectors, and plates that come in a variety of shapes. Wheels and wheel connectors are also included.
To put this set together, you insert the connector until it audibly clicks. You release the connectors by squeezing them. The instructional manual is available online. There is one book each for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels which is nice.
One downside is that some of the builds are designed for sets with more pieces. This means your child might not be able to build all the designs in the manual, which can be frustrating if they are excited about building something. However, by learning to build the basic geometric shapes in the manual, they can easily build their own creations.
With a wide range of design options, this works well for kids that like tinkering. They can follow the easy-to-use instructions or build on their own. It’s also nice because more than one child can build with the set.
- Has different manuals for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels
- Your child can easily build their own creations
- Works well for ages 3-10
- Includes a variety of plate shapes and connector lengths
- Easy to use the connectors
- Not all the designs in the instructional manual can be built
K’Nex Power and Play Motorized Building Set
Best for ages: 7-12
The K’Nex Power and Play Motorized Building Set is designed for ages 7-12. It comes with a battery-powered motor and the instructions to build 50 different models. In addition to the models included in the manual, your child will easily be able to use the various pieces to come up with their own creations.
This set encourages spatial awareness in addition to problem-solving skills, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. The K’Nex can be used for simple or advanced designs, which makes it perfect for a wide age range.
The included motor is powered with batteries and can be built into 25 of the recommended builds in this set. You will need 2 AA batteries for the motor. There are also convenient storage compartments and the box folds up like a suitcase, which is perfect for storage.
Another nice benefit of this plastic set is that it is manufactured at a zero-waste, landfill-free green manufacturing facility in the United States. The K’Nex customer service team is also great, especially if there are any missing pieces or problems with your product.
The one downside is that there is only one motor and five wheels included. This limits the number of things that can be built, so if kids want to build a motorized or wheeled vehicle they would have to work together.
- Motor works with 25/50 models in the instruction book
- Easy to follow instructions
- Can be used for simple or advanced designs
- Great for encouraging creativity
- Comes from a zero-waste, landfill-free facility
- Only one motor and five wheels included
K’NEX Mega Motorcycle Building Set
Best for ages: 9 to 14
With the K’NEX Mega Motorcycle Building Set, kids can build an authentic replica of a sportbike motorcycle. It has real working parts with working suspension! Moreover, it has over 450 pieces for an extra challenge.
Before kids display their work, they need to assemble all of the pieces including a seat, tailpipe, handlebars, cowling, and chunky tires. This fun set comes in four colors including bright blue, green, black, and silver. All STEM toys should be this exciting to ignite kids’ imagination.
All the pieces are made in America with zero waste from a reputable brand – K’nex! Meanwhile, your kids can strengthen motor skills, dexterity, and spatial awareness. Teach your child to become the next inventor with this set.
- Very intricate for hours of fun
- Part of a larger landscape set for kids who collect erector sets
- 450 pieces
- Detailed instructions are easy to follow
- No tools needed
- Not all kids are into motorcycles
Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst Building Set
Best for ages: 8-16
Unlike the other erector sets on this list, the Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst Building Set comes with everything your child needs to build a working motor and vehicle. It comes with over 50 parts, including batteries, a storage bag, motors, tools, hardware, and safety glasses.
This kit comes with 10 different challenge cards that encourage your child to use problem-solving and understand robotics. There is a 21-page guide with tips and tricks, but part of the fun is figuring out the challenges. For example, one card states to build something that can draw curved lines.
This toy is especially good for an introduction to robotics. It is also cross-compatible with other Tinker Toys and LEGO Robotics sets. This will be a benefit once your child satisfies themselves with the challenges and wants to learn to do more.
- Lets your child build a working motor
- Great introduction to the field of robotics
- 21-page guide with tips and tricks include
- Challenge cards get your child thinking
- Compatible with other Tinker Toys and LEGO Robotics sets
- We couldn’t find any!
Meccano Erector Super Construction 25-in-1 Building Set
Best for ages: 10-14
The Meccano Erector Super Construction 25-in-1 Building Set comes with 638 parts, including the pieces to build a working, motorized crane. This set is designed for ages 10 and older and the vehicles are intricate and can be built one at a time, which means your kid will be entertained for weeks.
In addition to the building parts, this set comes with a plastic carrying case with storage compartments, a 6V electrical motor, an instruction sheet, and 2 tools. The instruction sheet is easier for a child around 12-13 years old but might be difficult for a 10-year old.
With the many options for building, it can give a child interested in erector sets plenty of fun. It also is made of metal parts, which are durable and long-lasting for the many builds.
One thing to note is that many people who have received this product have received it with missing parts. You should check it right away in case it needs to be exchanged or returned.
- 25 different building possibilities
- Builds a real working crane
- Metal parts are durable
- Instruction book is easy to use for older kids
- Storage compartments for organizing parts
- Might arrive with missing parts
K’Nex Thrill Rides 3-in-1 Classic Amusement Park Building Set
Best for ages: 9-14
The K’Nex Thrill Rides 3-in-1 Classic Amusement Park Building Set comes with all the pieces you need to build a motorized Ferris wheel that stands at almost three-feet tall. When they are ready to tear the Ferris wheel down, there are also instructions included for a swing ride and a boom ride.
This is a large set, containing 744 parts that include rods and connectors, as well as a battery-powered motor. Something to note is that it can be a little difficult to get the batteries inside the motor.
Like all K’Nex products, this is designed to be cross-compatible with other sets. This is nice if your child gets bored easily or wants to expand on what they can build. Even though instructions are included for these three specific models, the possibilities are endless.
- Builds three amusement park rides
- Ferris wheel stands almost 3-feet tall
- Has 744 parts for hours of building fun
- Motor included so Ferris wheel spins
- Hard to get the batteries inside the motor
Meccano 4×4 Off-Road Truck 25-Model Building Set
Best for ages: 9-16
The Meccano 4×4 Off-Road Truck 25-Model Building Set comes with a 6V electric motor, 443 parts, 2 tools, and an instruction guide for building a working 4×4 truck with a high-torque motor. Once your child’s ready to take that apart, they can build any one of 24 other designs or come up with something on their own.
The truck has many features that will make it fun to play with once its put together, including working doors, motorized 4WD, and off-road rotating wheels. It does require 4 AA batteries that are not included. The metal pieces are durable and have a metallic finish that is pleasing to the eye.
Meccano color-coordinated the instructions to the different pieces. Unfortunately, the black pieces do not show the positioning of the holes and it can make it hard to put the truck together because the pieces are shown as all black. Another problem is that the tools are not magnetic so it can be easy to drop the small nuts and bolts.
- Can build 25 different vehicles for hours of fun
- Finished truck has real working parts
- Motor is strong enough for off-roading
- Metallic pieces are durable and have a pleasing finish
- Can be hard to attach pieces with the smaller nuts and bolts
- Instructions are unclear in some areas
IQ Toys Ferris Wheel Building Model
Best for ages: 10-15
The IQ Toys Ferris Wheel Building Model lets your child build a Ferris wheel that spins, accompanied by lights and music. The instructions are incredibly detailed, which is nice because this set has 954 pieces. It is best for ages 10-12 and older.
Even though the motor spins the Ferris wheel, the baskets do not spin and they can get stuck upside down as the wheel goes around. Additionally, while most of the parts are durable metal material, the platform is made of plastic.
The detailed and intricate build can keep kids busy for hours. This comes with all the pieces you need to build the Ferris wheel, including a detailed instructional manual and motor. It does require some tinkering to get the gears running smoothly but this aspect tests your child’s problem-solving skills.
- Has over 900 pieces
- Very detailed instructions make building easier
- Encourages problem-solving skills
- Has a working motor
- Spins and features light and sound
- Baskets can get stuck while the wheel is spinning
- Platform is lower quality than the rest of the parts
Meccano Erector Micronoid Code A.C.E. Programmable Robot Building Kit
Best for ages: 8-14
The Meccano Erector Micronoid Code A.C.E. Programmable Robot Building Kit is an interactive set that connects to your computer for programming once you are finished building it.
Something that is great about this kit is that even with it being a programmable robot, it is designed for novice builders. It has 115 parts and also comes with a motorized micro module, 2 tools, an instruction sheet, and a USB cable. You will also need 4 AA batteries for this robot which are not included.
Some of its functions include robot fighting mode and a DJ mode that plays music. Kids can also program the robot with custom walking and turning sequences, as well as make their own music using recordings of their own voice and the Micronoid’s sound effects. Finally, this makes a good gift for kids with siblings because they can all play. A.C.E. is only one of several robots in the Meccano programmable robot line.
The robot is fairly easy to build and program and the instructions are detailed well. Once it is built, the screws can come loose from time to time. You’ll want to tighten every once in a while to be sure your kid doesn’t lose any of them.
- Great introduction to building and robotics
- Easy-to-read instruction
- Tools that you need to build included
- Can program the robot with sounds and your own voice
- Can program walk patterns
- Screws loosen over time
Erector Set FAQ’s
What is an erector set?
Erector sets are building sets that challenge your child. They work on putting together many little pieces in a certain way with the intention of creating a masterpiece. Erector sets can be stationary or motorized. There are kits for construction vehicles, Ferris wheels, robots, buildings, and countless others. For avid builders, a super construction set might be a good choice. Super construction sets can make ten, twenty, or even more buildings.
Why are erector sets a good gift for kids?
Erector sits have several developmental benefits for your child, letting them develop important cognitive skills. When they are assembling the different pieces and putting them together, they are using hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Erector sets also encourage imagination and creativity. Your child must come up with creative solutions to the set, which encourages problem-solving skills.
Once your child builds some of the basic models and gets familiar with the sets, some also have enough pieces that they can create their own models. This lets them try new things and encourages their creative side.
Build more problem-solving skills with a best marble run set.
What are motorized erector sets?
Motorized building sets use motors that make different parts move. For example, a set might let you build a working crane or a Ferris wheel that goes in circles. Motorized sets have the benefit of helping your child learn how a motor works to make things move, which is important in fields like engineering and science.
Usually, the motorized sets are more complicated to build and are designed for children ages 8 and older.
Erector Set Buying Guide
The best erector set that you choose for your child is going to affect their overall level of interest. Like many things, kids are going to be more motivated when they are interested. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Age Range/Skill Level
Some of the erector sets in this review are designed to grow with your child, including instructions for simpler builds and more advanced builds. If you choose an erector set that is too advanced, your child might become discouraged before they start building. If the building set is too simple, it might bore them and they’ll lose interest. You should use age ranges as a guide when choosing erector sets for your child. However, you should also consider the skill level of other sets they have built and if they might be ready to try something harder.
The most common materials building sets are made of are metal, wood, and plastic. Metal sets are commonly sued when building airplanes, cars, and other vehicles because of the visual element. Metal is a good, sturdy material. Wooden erector sets are usually easier for younger kids to build because they have a simpler design and larger parts. Finally, plastic parts are especially common in erector sets for kids. These are not as sturdy as metal but they come in brighter colors. They are also generally more affordable than metal or wood erector play sets. When buying the best erector set made of plastic, be sure to look for thicker pieces that are durable.
Size of the Parts
When your child is younger, they might lack the fine motor skills need to assemble smaller parts. Smaller parts are also harder to lose and can be a choking hazard for younger children. You’ll want to consider these things as you pick out a building set. The tools that are included might also come into play.
Erector sets have the goal of building something specific. Having clear instructions reduces frustration. Look for instructions with clear wording and detailed pictures. Having colored pictures can also help, especially if your child is building with a colorful erector set.
Some kids build erector sets and then collect all the individual vehicles, buildings, and other structures they have made. If your child likes exploring different ways that pieces can fit together, consider buying an erector set that makes more than one structure.
Any time that you buy something with small parts, there is a risk that there will be a piece or two missing. It is best to buy erector sets from a reputable company with a good return policy and solid customer service. This will ensure you get the pieces you need as soon as possible so your child can start building.
When you choose sets that work with the pieces of sets your child already owns, they can build bigger and more complex ideas. This encourages creativity and also extends the life of an erector set since your child can build more advanced ideas as they become more familiar with the set.
Some erector sets have unique features that help your child understand key areas. For example, a motorized set can help your child understand how motors make different pieces move. Robotics sets can help your child understand programming. Even things like magnetic sets can help your little one understand polarity while stacking sets help them understand gravity, balance, and other aspects of physics.
Erector building sets give your child a chance to develop critical skills while exploring concepts like building and engineering. By challenging them to create new things and solve problems, they are also learning skills that can help them in other areas of life. As you shop for the best erector set, it’s important that you consider your child’s age range, skill level, and interests. By keeping these things in mind, you’ll be able to easily choose the right building set for your child.