New to Robotics: Legacy Kit, V5, or IQ?

If you’re just starting, you probably would want to use IQ. It’s definitely more limiting than either of the other two options, but it is easier to mess around with and is great just as a hobby. I personally would recommend the V5 system, as there are many things you can do with it. Also, the robots you can make with V5 are much more rewarding. For instance, you could make a lift taller than yourself that doesn’t take forever. I would not recommend Cortex Gen at all, seeing as they aren’t releasing anything else for it. Also, the motors are weak, the battery life is terrible, and the controller disconnects a lot. Hope this helps.


If it is just for fun, not for competition, then it would depend on what tools you have available.

If you have wrenches, hammer, table vice, hacksaw, and other basics, you can make just about anything with V4, and a lot of teams will be ditching their electronics cheap.

If you don’t have any sort of facilities and tools to work with metal beyond putting two pieces together, I would choose IQ. It is easier to hit the ground running as far as the hardware construction goes, and they have a lot of flexibility without requiring any tools.


As @Robo_Eng_13 said while EDR (V4 or V5, preferably V5) have so many more possibilities you would be limited by the hardware you have and/or are willing to get. V5 also has much more support for programming from what I understand.

IQ would probably be the most bang for your buck, but you are really limited once you get to a certain point. If you want to go deep into a robotics hobby do EDR, but if you want to skim the surface a little bit IQ would be the place for you.

Most of it depends on budget. IQ can suit most any budget, but if you have a larger budget (~2000$) definitely go for EDR.


Regarding my recommendation for V4 over V5. he hardware is for the most part the same (EDR build system), just the electronics and software are different. Right now, VEX is still struggling to deliver V5 to competition teams and classrooms, and the cost is going to be much higher than some of the Cortex systems that will be available now that the Trade In period is over. Cortex is not perfect (nothing VEX makes is) but it is low barrier to entry, and sufficient to get traction.

If you end up wanting to get into more complex and advanced robotics, but not compete in VRC or VEX U, you are much better off finding other solutions. Raspberry Pi, Beagle Bone, Arduino, and other microcontollers and computers have enormous capabilities and huge communities that can help you make progress. And they can be applied to the EDR build system, or to completely custom hardware.


Ah yes, I honestly completely forgot about the whole “ships in eight weeks” ordeal.

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I’d put a "Wanted Cortex System (Cortex, joystick, VEX Net Keys) and 12 motors with controllers) on here and see what you get. If you are just messing around, the Cortex is the way to go. With the trade program gone, teams are looking at the Cortex and motors as being useless for what they are doing, you may get a deal on them.

You can then get metal parts and build what you want.

The older style motors are two wire and the 3 wire motor controllers are pretty simple so any other motor controllers will drive them with Raspberry Pi, Arduino, etc. So while they are not “competition quality” you just want to learn something.

Barring that, I’d buy the IQ Classroom kit (since they sadly don’t sell the starter kit) and build with that. My VRC teams use VIQ to prototype stuff with, and I build stuff all the time to mess around. It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s fun, you can program it a blockly or the much beloved RobotC (text).

VEXIQ will be $375 with shipping, your metal cost should be in the $700 range if you get a deal on the cortex and motors.

If you decide to go VEXIQ you can always pack it back up and donate it to your local library. Or buy the kit for the library and help them run classes on it . Either way it can be a tax deduction as a donation. Or ship it to me, I’ll pay 50% of the original cost, I’m always looking for ways to help teams.


This might be close to heresy on this forum, but if you’re looking for a small robotics kit to play around with, and not interested in competitions, you should also consider LEGO Mindstorms. The current-gen kits are similar in price to IQ kits, but older control systems are pretty cheap on eBay nowadays, as little as $50-70 for a good-condition used kit if you’re willing to go with the first-gen RCX brick (which is my favorite anyway).


E-bay and your local Goodwill and it’s Yard Sale Season! I have a huge supply of Lego that get played with for less than $100. They work for smaller fingers that can’t manage the pins in VEXIQ.


I was considering it but the current gen kit which as you said is similar in price to IQ seemed less capable. Fewer sensors and less input/output capability. I assumed since it was the newest that it was the best Lego had to offer and hadn’t really considered an older kit. I like that VEX gives me room to grow though with EDR and even PRO should I want to.

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I’m leaning towards IQ at least to start because I feel like it will give me the most variety out of the box plus my younger brother just finished 6th grade so if nothing else when I’m done he should be able to get some more use out of it. If I plan on moving to EDR, should I spend as little on IQ as possible or do you all think that one of the add on kits adds enough to meaningfully extend the abilities / use of the kit. @Foster @holbrook



Sorry for picking on semantics, but the Cortex system isn’t version 4: Versions of VEX

Have fun as you start to explore the world of robotics!


No problem at all! In fact, thank you! I just assumed it was since the current version is called v5. At the very least it will make googling easier.

Yup, sounds like heresy to me


I totally agree with the IQ notion. If you end up in VexU… that’ll get pretty expensive. But I’d stay away from Cortex kits due to the dwindling supply and very limited tech support/replacement.

I do EDR, but I have 2 classroom kits at home for heavy prototyping and hobby building. They work magnificently, and the second kit was just an add-on.

As far as hobby building goes, you’re in the right place. Vex has arguably the best educational material system on the market (next to Lego) for its intuive nature and interchangeableness. IQ is probably the best route to go, unless you plan to get serious. (Which is when it gets really expensive.)


I bought myself a classroom v5 kit and some more motors, metal, and gears. It works great for me.

When my coach was getting rid of old and broken parts, I asked if I could take them because I knew I could fix them up. I got some omni’s, a few gears, some 393 s, and some beat up metal.

I also stayed behind at the tournaments we went to, and I picked up all the screws, nuts, and shaft collars that I could. I built up quite a collection.


Depends on your money suppy

I’d buy the Classroom Super Kit.

Then Competition Add on kit to get two motors an the roller wheels. The other parts are a bonus.

I’ve become a huge fan of the Long 2x kits, it makes extended bases and arms easy to do.

I like the Corner Connector Advanced Add-On Pack, it gives some other options that roboteers may not have thought about.

Long Shaft add on gives you the ability to make wider towers to support arms. Buy an extra pack of the plastic axles they are inexpensive.

I’ve grown to love the Capped Pin Connectors (228-5656) aka 0-2 and 0-3. They help the roboteers that can’t grok the pins going two ways.

Of course the Thin sheet attachment (228-4417) aka 0-1 pins for teams to stick cardboard decorations on robots is a big plus.

So I’d do the Classroom kit, the add on parts and see how it goes. Then get the competition kit to round things out. For bigger kits buy the Foundation kit.

Hope this helps.


Thanks everyone for your help! I’ve decided to get the VIQ Super Kit. Maybe when I have a bigger budget and more experience working with metal I’ll move to EDR but for now I’m excited to start building. Well once it ships June 1st anyway.


@Foster. Do you use plastic axles in competition robots? If so, in what parts?

I’m not the legend that is Foster, but the IQ plastic shafts are for IQ only. Not only are they not strong enough to support EDR equipment, but they are also not competition legal.

I’d reccomend metal shafts for IQ, but only because I’ve twisted a few plastic ones under too much load. However, the little flanges on some shafts are very useful for speed building and keeps the process as simple as possible.


I love the VIQ plastic axles with either the cap on the end or the ridge about 1/8" from the end. They make building VIQ robots a snap, you only need one axle collar. The ones without the cap/ridge I give to my VRC teams.

I use steel axles for anything with a span longer than 3". The long axle kit is my roboters most often requested parts. For example, the suggested “shoulder axle” in Flex is “exactly” the right length. But any twist it can pop out. Using the axle the next size up makes it easier for the roboteer for the initial assembly and on-going support.

“Wait, what, you give the plastic axles to you VRC teams?!?, They are not competition legal!!” Yep, I give them to the VRC team, they make excellent canaries.

Let’s begin at the beginning, hands up, how many of you have bent an axle? How many have created a full twist or a candy cane? Lots of you. How many of them happened at the first use/movement of the mechanism? Most of the hands that were up stayed up.

Some of this is due to the “Tim the toolman Taylor – moar power”, as teams harness multiple motors together or switch over to V5, but most is due to sloppy engineering.

So as VRC roboteers create complex mechanisms, I often suggest using a VIQ plastic shaft, they act as a canary, the let you know that things are not doing what you want as they snap. Their strength is slightly below the twist level of the standard metal shafts. They give a clear signal to the roboteer that something needs to be redesigned. (No, not just going to the extra strength shafts, think about what they are building) .

Once things are running smoothly, they pull the plastic shaft out and replace it with the metal one. If you hearken back to days of Green Eggs or The Jones, etc. they all built amazing robots that was based on amazing engineering, not just adding power.

Back in the early day there clutches that teams could use that would “click” when the stress was more than was expected. The VIQ plastic shafts serve in that role.

Hope this helps!