Home vs Education Edition

Home vs Education Edition

One of the most common questions we receive is about the difference between the three MINDSTORMS sets available to FIRST LEGO League teams: Home Edition, Education Edition, and the FIRST LEGO League Bundle edition. We decided to put together a comparison sheet to help coaches decide what to buy.

Three MINDSTORMS options for teams

There are three different versions of the MINDSTORMS set you can buy for your team. As you look through the table below, notice that the retail set has a sensor not permitted in FIRST LEGO League (infrared, IR beacon) and the Edu and FLL versions do come with a rechargeable battery, gyro and ultrasonic sensors that teams find useful. The versions also have slightly different LEGO elements in them (e.g. slightly larger wheels and a ball wheel in the Edu edition, but a ball shooter, balls, and many decorative elements in the retail edition.) Under the “Useful Links” section below, you can find a nice comparison tool that displays what parts are in each set.

Also remember that in FIRST LEGO League, you can use LEGO elements beyond these three sets. All LEGO-branded elements (including motors, sensors, rubber bands, etc.) are permitted. However, you are not allowed to use the infrared sensor and the infrared beacon. You are allowed to use LEGO elements in any Technic and LEGO sets you may own. However, you are not allowed to use Power Functions motors, windup LEGO elements, and the NXT sound sensor. FIRST LEGO League also permits 4 motors (but only 3 come in any one set). Therefore, keep in mind what other parts you might want to purchase for your team beyond these basic sets.

All versions are compatible

The single biggest mistake people make is assuming that the sets and the software are very different. They are not. You are NOT limited or restricted because of the set you start with. All components in the sets are interchangeable and you can very easily purchase additional parts. The software between the sets is identical.

  • You can purchase parts not in one set (e.g. charger, battery, sensors) separately from LEGO.com, LEGOEducation.com, Bricklink, etc.
  • You can change the firmware on the brick from one edition (Home or Edu) to the other.
  • You can change the software from one edition to the other (Home or Edu) on the computer.

Useful Links:

  • To convert one set to the other, use this useful Comparison Chart by Rebrickable
  • To download the Retail Software visit the Retail Version Downloads Page
  • To view the Retail Robot Builds (5 main models + 12 bonus) visit the Build a Robot Page
  • To download the Education Software visit the Edu Version Downloads Page
  • To view the Education Robot Builds (5 main models + 6 expansion models), go to “Model Instructions” inside your Edu version of the software
  • To install the Retail or Education Firmware on the brick, go to Tools –> Firmware Update inside the EV3 programming software you installed
  • To install the programming blocks for any new LEGO sensors you add (Gyro, Ultrasonic, Temperature, Sound…), visit the Retail Version Downloads Page

Comparison Table

  Education Set FLL Bundle Retail Set
Availability Legoeducation.com Purchased as part of team registraion Lego.com and other retailers
Cost Core Set (5003400): $389.95 Expansion Set (45560): $101.95
Software: Free and downloadable
FLL Bundle includes Edu Core and Expansion Sets: US $439
Software: Free and downloadable
Retail Set (31313): $349.99 Software: Free and downloadable
Brick Firmware Edu Edition Edu Edition Home Edition (does not include on-brick datalogging)
Programming Software EV3-G Edu Edition EV3-G Edu Edition EV3-G Home Edition
Programming Tutorials General EV3 programming tutorials included General EV3 programming tutorials included EV3 programming tutorials for specific missions related to each build
Build Instructions 5 models (EV3 Core Base, GyroBoy, Color Sorter, Puppy, Robot Arm) plus Expansion Set models 5 models (EV3 Core Base, GyroBoy, Color Sorter, Puppy, Robot Arm) plus Expansion Set models 5 models (TRACK3R, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM, R3PTAR, GRIPP3R) plus bonus models
Sensor Support Built-in blocks/support for all LEGO manufactured sensors preinstalled. Third-party sensor support can be downloaded Built-in blocks/support for all LEGO manufactured sensors preinstalled. Third-party sensor support can be downloaded Supports all sensors. You will need to download the blocks for the Ultrasonic and Gyro sensors from the downloads page. Third-party sensor support can be downloaded
App Version For IOS/ChromeOS only For IOS/ChromeOS only For IOS/Android only
Other Includes rechargeable battery and charger, includes ultrasonic and gyro sensors Includes rechargeable battery and charger, includes ultrasonic and gyro sensors Does not include rechargeable battery and charger
Does not include ultrasonic and gyro
Includes infrared and infrared beacon

Prices and information are accurate as of January 27, 2017. If you see any errors, please email team@ev3lessons.com with corrections. Prices are in US Dollars and taken from the FIRST LEGO League, LEGO.com and LEGOEducation websites. They are subject to change.

Seshan Brothers
Seshan Brothers   Founder of EV3Lessons, FLLTutorials, LEGO MCP, FLL World Festival Champion 2018.