The best Lego Technic sets really emphasise what's different from regular Lego. They steer away from the bricks and studs of traditional Lego, favouring beams and connectors, gears and motors, custom parts and inventive mechanisms – and the very best Lego Technic sets offer a fun end product.
All but a sparse few of the original historic Technic sets are vehicles, some of which aim to replicate real-world hardware, some of which are fictional, and some are even concepts developed with actual vehicle manufacturers.
More expensive sets will tend to include some level of motorisation - and things have moved on from the motors of older sets. The latest Lego Technic set upgrade is the Smart Hub, which interacts with Lego's Control+ app via Bluetooth to control motors of different sizes; buying a motorised Lego Technic set will often net you those parts for less than you'd pay for them alone. You get a great Lego Technic build to boot.
Cheaper sets may offer some level of self-propulsion in the form of a pull-back-and-go block. Lower-cost packages are often 2-in-1 Lego Technic sets, too, offered with a second set of build instructions for a second build option, and a chance to enjoy building something multiple times.
Although Lego Technic sets can trend towards a higher price than the best Lego sets, they're a great buy – and you can often find them discounted, whether that's because a set is soon to be retired (these things aren't permanent) or a retailer has a sale on. Our guide to the best Lego deals is a great place to look for this.
Best Lego Technic sets: the list
Sometimes building Lego is a chore, and sometimes it's an intricate puzzle. Lego's latest supercar Technic set (pitched in the same range as the Porsche 911 RSR set, rather than the far larger Lego Technic Bugatti Chiron below) absolutely falls into the latter category. It's a serious build for serious builders, as indicated by its 18+ rating.
If you're not a fan of stickers, well, perhaps this model isn't for you, as the distinctive Ferrari racing livery on display here comes from sheets of the things, but if ever there were an affordable Technic showpiece this would be it - and you can expect to spend the best part of a day building it.
Inside there's a V8 engine with moving pistons; open the doors, and there's an authentic(ish) Lego recreation of a racing interior. It's all very nice - and probably the best money-to-build-time value you'll find in a Technic set. See our Lego Tech Ferrari 488 vs Lego Technic Porsche 911 guide for how this compares to the very similar Porsche 911 RSR model.
Lego's motors have improved significantly in recent years, with the latest blocks being some of the best they've ever put out. So why not take full advantage of that with a very capable Lego Technic remote control car?
The Lego Technic Off-Road Buggy lands both here and on our list of the best RC cars for a reason - it's great fun to build and great fun to drive, and while it's not the fastest RC car you'll find, it's absolutely fantastic value considering that the cost of its motors and smart hub, separately, would be more than this set on its own. Ignore the piece count.
Not everyone will like the (slightly) laggy control of Lego's Bluetooth Control+ app, particularly because it simulates a joystick control for speed and direction, but put it in the hands of kids and they'll have an absolute blast.
One of Lego Technic's goals has always been to replicate the experience of proper engineering, and nothing says 'engineering' quite like constructing a massive excavator. The Liebherr R 9800 mining excavator is just that: while the real thing is an 810 tonne beast used to scrape minerals out of the ground, this smaller model is just about the coolest Technic build around.
This is a serious 4,000+ piece Lego Technic set, perfect for adults, though it's not so complex that a teenager couldn't handle it. The Lego version of the Liebherr R 9800 switches out its enormous diesel engine for a pair of smart hubs and seven individual motors, each of which you can control through Lego's Technic Control+ App.
There's even a collection of round 2x2 bricks included so you can practice your scooping and dumping. A long build time, plenty to do once the pieces are together, and some serious shelf appeal combine to make this one of the best Lego Technic sets there is.
Motorbike nuts will go, well, nuts for this. The 646-piece replica genuinely captures the style and elegance of the iconic Italian sport bike, and we're not just talking a static model. With its turning front wheel, moving front and rear suspension, and working front and rear disc brakes, the V4 R also behaves strikingly like a real-life two-wheeler.
Other well-observed details include an exhaust pipe, exposed clutch, shock absorbers, windshield and dashboard. And then comes the crowning glory: a working two-speed gearbox – a Lego Technic first – with down for first, middle for neutral and up for second.
There’s a kickstand, too, so it’s easy to put it on display. Which you’ll probably want to do at some point, because this beautiful 1:8 scale model, which lovingly replicates the curves and colour of the original, is quite the looker.
Bricks are one thing, but when it's time to move up to more complex Lego you need something with serious kid appeal, like this awesome Dragster. The absolute perfect way to introduce Lego Technic to a Lego-obsessed youngster, this 2-in-1 build (the other form being a nifty Hot Rod) is great fun to put together and even more fun to play with, with a pull-back-and-go motor powering the wheels and sending it racing away at quite the clip.
You can even use the wheelie bar to decide whether to careen forwards with the front wheels in the air or keep all four tyres on the ground for more streamlined speed.
Highly entertaining, and a perfectly achievable build for junior constructors - and great practice for putting the pieces back together after a collision with the wall. Honestly, we'd buy one for the kids then one for ourselves; what is a Dragster without a rival to race against?
It’s a big project to take on, but for car fans (or Lego Technic fans), this is just about an unbeatable set. The 1:8 scale model (22 inches long when finished) has a specially designed eight-speed gearbox (with paddle gearshift) connected to a 16v engine model with moving pistons (which move at different speeds at different gears, naturally).
There's also working steering, a special interior with authentic details, and even a raisable rear spoiler.
As you build up the model around the functional core, the super-deluxe instruction books explain how the model was designed with Bugatti’s input, and the way you connect the different parts of the Lego structure mimic how the actual car is built. Overkill? Comically so. Amazing? Oh yes.
New for 2021 is a Lego Technic Monster Jam series, consisting (as we write) of the Monster Jam Max-D and this Grave Digger model, a replica of one of the world's most famous monster trucks. It's a properly cool little set for the price, and surprisingly complex to build. We'd suggest it will take an experienced Lego fan around an hour and a half to put together - and there's online instructions for a second model to construct, too.
The pull-back motor is surprisingly strong, and will send this off at a good pace. Obviously there's no control there beyond pulling back and letting go, but younger kids, we can testify, adore setting up ridiculous stunts for it. Thankfully the Lego Grave Digger's design is tight enough that it doesn't break easily.
All in all a great buy, one that's cheap enough that you should probably buy the Lego Technic Monster Jam Max-D as well. You've got to have a race, right?
Lego has really been pushing the advancement of gearboxes recently – as well as introducing its first bike gearbox in the Ducati Panigale model above, this new Land Rover Defender set boasts its most sophisticated gearbox to date: a four-speed sequential device that requires more than 100 pieces for its construction.
It’s typical of this super-authentic model, developed in partnership with Land Rover, which is bulging with complex mechanics. As well as the gearbox, there’s an in-line six-cylinder engine with moving pistons beneath the bonnet, working All Wheel Drive with three differentials, independent suspension on both axles, and a working winch.
There’s also a working steering wheel, a detailed dashboard and a transmission system with two levers for engaging high or low gear ratios. Atop your vehicle lies a removable roof rack with storage box, pannier, ladder and traction mats, and you can even open the rear door with a turn of the spare wheel. With more than 2,500 pieces, this is a great project to put together.
This Lego Technic model summons the spirit of the classic muscle car, and is inspired by both the original 1970 Dodge Charger R/T and the Fast & Furious films. With just over 1,000 pieces, this is less involved than the likes of the Land Rover Defender.
That may be a downside or a benefit, of course, depending on your outlook; but it certainly makes it a lot cheaper. And overall, the design is thoughtful, sophisticated, and will produce a rush of nostalgia in any fan of the films, or just Americana in general.
Authentic features include moving pistons, suspension, steering system, air blower, and V8 engine. There are also some clear nods to the movies, in the form of two nitro bottles for extra power, a mini fire extinguisher, and a supercharger intake poking out of a cutout bonnet.
And just to round things off nicely, there’s a display stand that lets you set the car up on its rear wheels, just like Dom did in the first part of the series. A great choice for anyone who lives their life a quarter mile at a time.
If the Lego Technic Off-road Buggy (above) doesn't take your fancy, the 4X4 X-treme Off-Roader just might. The name may be redolent of energy drinks and jeans shorts, but the performance here is slightly more sedate.
While this three-motor truck can pull off some interesting stunts - see if you can pop a wheelie - and it can go fast enough if you want it to, it's most at home trying to navigate the bumpy ground of your living room floor, with some seriously chunky tyres and suspension for days.
The Control+ app here gets you a slightly different selection of controls to the Buggy, and feeds back data on the speed, tilt and incline the 4X4 is tackling, which is neat. Cool huge tyres, too - we'd buy this set just for those.