Snap Circuits are great toys to introduce kids to building circuits without requiring traditional and confusing circuitry components. You also avoid the somewhat dangerous or complicated tools typically used in circuit building. The kits work by attaching components to a plastic structure (included with every kit), similar to a breadboard in a traditional circuit. A snap system attaches the components to one another, like snap buttons used on a coat. Each Snap Circuits kit comes with instructions to build a wide variety of projects using the included components. Each set includes different and/or more components to provide a wider variety of projects. Once the projects are exhausted, the components can be used in any possible combination to create a completely different circuit. This form of free play is a great learning aid, giving Snap Circuits another check in their favor. All Snap Circuits sets are compatible with one another. If the child outgrows one, then another can be purchased and combined with the previous one. Below, I have listed 6 of what I consider to be the best Snap Circuits sets. Now, you can decide what the best choice is for your child–or yourself.
The Snap Circuits Beginner kit is the best Snap Circuits set for younger children. It includes extra safety features and a simplified instruction manual using only images to make it more appropriate for those 5 years old and up. It’s also simpler than most of the other kits, containing just 14 parts and instructions to build 20 projects. The Snap Circuits Beginner kit includes a battery holder (batteries not included), a red/yellow LED, a lamp, a light motor with fan blades attached, a slide switch, a press switch, a horn, four snap wires, and a hollow, plastic egg that can be placed over the red/yellow LED as an aesthetic addition to the circuit. The projects in the kit start by using each component individually (e.g. Project 3 is a circuit where you simply turn on and off the lamp) and end by using multiple components in various combinations (Project 18 uses the horn, lamp, and light motor together). After completing the 20th project, the only limits are the child’s imagination.
- Contains 14 components and instructions for 20 projects
- The best Snap Circuits set for younger children (5+ years old)
- A good choice if you’re not sure the kid for whom you’re buying this will like it
- Simple and inexpensive compared to the other kits
The Snap Circuits Jr. 100 Experiments kit is a step above the Snap Circuits Beginner kit. I think this is the best Snap Circuits set for children who are too old for Snap Circuits beginner, but who still don’t want to dedicate themselves to the larger sets. It includes 30 components and instructions to build 101 projects. The components included with the Snap Circuits Jr. 100 Experiments kit are a whistle chip, slide switch, press switch, photoresistor, red LED, lamp, battery holder (batteries not included), speaker, music integrated circuit (a component that starts playing music when activated and attached to the speaker component), alarm, space war integrated circuit (another component that simply plays space-like sounds when activated and attached to the speaker component), motor, 100-ohm resistor, 2 jumper wires, and 18 snap wires of various lengths. The instructions will guide the user through building circuits for producing various sounds, voice and light controlled lamps, alarms, and several other projects.
- Contains 30 components and instructions for 20 projects
- Geared towards older children (8+ years old)
- A good beginner choice for older children
The next step up in the list is the Snap Circuits Jr. 300 Experiments. This kit contains over 60 components and instructions to build 304 projects, introducing amplifiers, transistors, and capacitors, components widely used in circuitry. The components included with the Snap Circuits Jr. 300 Experiments kit are a battery holder (batteries not included), antenna coil, green LED, lamp, microphone, power amplifier integrated circuit (a simple circuit amplifier component), 4 capacitors with different microfarad values, 3 resistors with different ohm values, high frequency integrated circuit (a component used in high frequency radio circuits), PNP transistor, NPN transistor, adjustable resistor, variable capacitor, and 6 snap wires of different lengths. The instructions will guide the user through building simple radio circuits, sound generators, alarms and notifications, and several other projects.
- Contains over 60 components for building 304 projects
- Contains instructions for all the projects from Snap Circuits Jr. 100 Experiments
- Introduces amplifiers, transistors, and capacitors, components widely used in circuitry
With the Snap Circuits Pro 500 Experiments kit, we leave behind the junior kits and enter into more advanced territory. The Snap Circuits Pro 500 Experiments kit contains over 75 parts and instructions to build all the projects from Snap Circuits Jr. 100 Experiments and Snap Circuits Jr. 300 Experiments, plus additional instructions to build another 205 projects, for a total of 511 projects. The components included are a diode, LED display, FM module, analog meter, SCR, relay, transformer, recording integrated circuit, and 4 snap wires, plus the parts from 100 Experiments and 300 Experiments that are necessary to complete the projects from those sets. The new projects give the user fun applications for the display and the analog meter.
- Includes parts and instructions for Snap Circuits Jr. 100 Experiments, Snap Circuits Jr. 300 Experiments
- Contains over 75 components and a total of 511 projects, providing 205 new projects in addition to those from the 100 and 300 Experiments kits.
The Snap Circuits Extreme 750 Experiments is the culmination of the Experiments sets. In my opinion, this is the best Snap Circuits set. This kit contains all the projects from 100, 300, and 500 Experiments plus an extra 180 new projects, for a total of 692 projects. It contains 80 components, among which are those used to complete the projects from the previous kits and new components for the new projects, including a solar cell, electromagnet iron core rod, vibration switch, bag of paperclips (for playing around with magnetism), and a two-spring socket. The projects themselves introduce the use of solar power and some of the basic concepts of electricity and magnetism (an important subject in most engineering fields).
- The culmination of the Snap Circuits Experiments kits, this kit contains parts and instructions for Snap Circuits Jr. 100 and 300 Experiments and Snap Circuits Pro 500 Experiments
- Contains new parts (for a total of 80 components) and instructions for 180 new projects (for a total of 692 projects)
- A great resource for giving children hours of fun and a solid foundation in electronics and circuitry
Snap Circuits LIGHT is a kit with an emphasis on light effects and music, which makes it the best Snap Circuits set for children who want something a bit more engaging. The kit is specifically made so that the circuits are affected by music played from a device such as a smart phone. There are over 55 components and instructions to build 175 projects. The kit includes a battery holder (batteries not included), 2 capacitors, a red LED, a white LED, a color LED, 2 jumper wires, a motor with a spare motor top, a glow fan blade, a disc holder with 6 disc cutouts (the disc holder spins and the disc cutouts are of different patterns and colors), a PNP transistor, a NPN transistor, a phototransistor, 3 different resistors, an adjustable resistor, slide and press switches, a speaker, a microphone, a color organ (the component that you’ll plug your music player into), stereo cable (to attach your music player to the color organ), a strobe integrated circuit, an infrared receiver, a fiber optic cable with black and clear holders, a fiber optic tree with a mounting base, a tower LED attachment, an egg LED attachment, prismatic film, and red/green/blue filter set. The manual includes instructions to build circuits that interact with and use the LEDs in several different ways (like strobe effects) and circuits that’ll pulse light with the beat of the music played from your device.
- Contains over 55 components and instructions to build 175 projects
- Can use the LEDs in combination with music from a portable device to create fun and interesting effects
- The best Snap Circuits set for music lovers and for kids who want something a bit more flashy (literally)
If you want to get your kid an introductory kit, the Snap Circuits Beginner, Jr. 100 Experiments, or LIGHT sets would be good options. The Snap Circuits Pro 500 Experiments and Extreme 750 Experiments are good choices if you know the kit will be used extensively. I think the Extreme 750 Experiments is the best Snap Circuits set. I’m a big proponent of providing kids with a strong basis in STEM topics during primary school. I believe a great way to do this is to provide a friendly and fun learning environment at home. Passive and active learning through play is an excellent way to learn a subject. I like to provide as much content as I can, and the Extreme 750 Experiments has plenty of content.