Fans have notably had strong reactions to characters introduced in Star Wars’ modern releases, but the critical and fan reaction to automech droid BB-8 was nearly universally positive. Kids love the cute little droid, and his very nature makes a companion droid built in his likeness inevitable. Because BB is so well loved, there’s a lot of droids out there, and as is frequently the case with both droids and popular character merchandise, some options are much better than others. We took a look at some of the best – and worst – to help you choose.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall BB-8

Best Overall

Original BB-8 by Sphero

Upgrade Choice BB-8

Upgrade Choice

Sphero Special Edition Battle-Worn BB-8

Best Overall BB-8

Best Budget Buy

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Hyperdrive BB-8

How to Pick the Best BB-8 Droid

1. Recommended Age

Age should always be a consideration when choosing gear and toys for kids, but this is especially true when purchasing a droid. Since they’re essentially small robots, they can be a bit more expensive and delicate than other toys. Models designed for younger kids tend to be easier to operate and more durable, so unless your child has a lot of experience with droids, don’t consider buying one above their age range.

2. size

Droids can vary in size pretty widely, and that includes the ones listed here. Although they share a similar theme, there are a few we’ve noted that are significantly larger than others. This could be a positive or a negative depending on your space and your child’s age, size and capabilities, so it’s something to consider in your decision making.

3. batteries

Power is a crucial part of RC toys, and it usually comes in the form of batteries. Some droids come with on board batteries that charge via USB while their remote controls require batteries, while others need batteries for both units. A few models on our list come with all the batteries they need right out of the box, but double check if batteries are needed, which ones and how many to make opening the toy a frustration free experience for your kiddo.

4. Lights and Sounds

Part of the fun of a droid like BB-8 is light and sound interactivity, but it isn’t featured in all models on the market. If it’s important to you that your BB-8 light up and feature sound, you’ll want to make sure the model you choose checks both boxes.

5. safety

It’s essential to always know if there are safety hazards present in gear, toys or clothes for children to make sure that they’re kept safe during playtime. The most common safety hazard with droids is choking hazards, making some models unsafe for children under 3. We’ve noted where this issue is present.

6. Special features

When products have a lot in common, telling models apart can become confusing. Knowing their most noteworthy features can help you make an informed side by side comparison. You’ll see a lot of similarities on our list, but you’ll also see the differences that can wind up driving buying decisions.

bb-8 droid toy

The Winners

#1

Original BB-8 by Sphero

Best overall

Sphero are masters of the gyroscopic technology that drove the creation of the real BB-8 used in the Star Wars films, and it shows in the authenticity of their Original BB-8 drone. App enabled, the tough waterproof companion droid responds to voice commands and features the range of adorable expressions BB is known for. The authentic movie motion, lights and sounds of the droid are very evocative of the real thing, and creating and viewing holographic recordings adds a new dimension of interest to the droid.

The Original BB-8 drone is compatible with the Force Band, an official Star Wars accessory toy that enables BB to respond to special gesture commands. He’s also programmable, and can engage in autonomous exploration. This is a fairly small droid that travels easily and is unobtrusive during home play.

Recommended Age: 8 – 14 years
Size: 4.8 x 5.3 x 8.9 inches
Batteries: 1 Lithium battery included
Lights/Sounds: Both
Safety Hazards: Choking Hazard
Special Features: Voice command recognition, range of expression, autonomous exploration, creation and viewing of holographic records, batteries included

#2

Upgrade Choice

The cool battle worn exterior on this droid is totally unique to this Special edition Battle Worn model by Sphero, which otherwise shares many features with the company’s Original BB-8 droid. This includes voice recognition, BB-8’s beloved expression range, autonomous exploration and the creation and viewing of holographic records. The special edition model adds extra features, most notably the presence of the Force Band. The accessory, which is normally sold separately, is compatible with many Star Wars toys, adding a motion recognition and response component that is akin to “using the Force”.

The use of free iOS and Android compatible apps lets users develop an adaptive personality for their BB-8 droid, participate in online “Force Training” and view the holographic recordings they’ve made. It’s safe to say this droid is feature packed, but it still has a few issues. Setting the orientation can be frustrating, and an accidental object strike that’s a little too hard can undo it. The Force Band compatible app can take up a lot of room, which can be particularly problematic for Android users, and the device’s Bluetooth recognition is sometimes spotty.

Recommended Age: 8 – 14 years
Size: 4.8 x 5.3 x 8.9 inches
Batteries: 2 Lithium batteries included
Lights/Sounds: Both
Safety Hazards: None
Special Features: Voice recognition, range of expressions, autonomous exploration, creation and viewing of holographic records, batteries included

#3

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Hyperdrive BB-8

Best Budget Buy

The fluid head and body motion and movie accurate appearance of The Last Jedi Hyperdrive BB-8 make play exciting to watch. A full library of BB’s iconic physical and audible expressions are on display here, making this droid an extra cute pick for big fans of the little automech. The durable exterior on this model combined with a simple user interface make it a friendly choice for younger users and first timers. The remote’s interface features two joysticks and is the perfect size for the hands of the youngest recommended users. It’s a good first droid experience at a low price that won’t frustrate younger kids.

There aren’t many issues with this model, but it’s notable that it runs best on flat surfaces and isn’t ideal for carpet. Like some BB droids, there are issues with his head falling off during collisions, but it’s magnetic, so it’s a very easy fix.

Recommended Age: 5+
Size: 6.3 x 6.3 x 9.9 inches
Batteries: 4 AA, 2 AAA not included
Lights/Sounds: Both
Safety Hazards: None
Special Features: Lights, sounds, droid expressions

#4

Disney Star Wars The Force Awakens BB-8

Operational with or without sound, Disney Star Wars The Fore Awakens BB-8 figure from the Disney Store is a decent pick for younger users thanks to the low recommended age of 3 with no choking hazards present. It features authentic body and head motion as well as 17+ sound effects and some lights. It’s small enough to be easy for younger kids to handle, and the operation is simple enough to not cause much frustration once it’s figured out.

That said, however, it’s not the perfect choice for everyone. The sound effects on this droid are limited compared to similar models, and the lighting effects even more so. It doesn’t have any additional features that are particularly exciting, so while younger kids will have fun, there’s a chance older ones will be bored. The auto-run time frame is limited and requires frequent resets which kind of takes the magic out of the feature, and the instructions that accompany the product are limited so there’ll be an initial learning curve that may dissuade less persistent children from playing with it.

Recommended Age: 3+
Size: 7.8 x 8 x 11 inches
Batteries: 4 AA included
Lights/Sounds: Both
Safety Hazards: None
Special Features: 17+ sound effects, batteries included

#5

Star Wars Hero Droid BB-8

Largest Remote Control BB-8

The impressive 16 inch height of this droid (19 with antenna) is especially exciting to kids at the minimum recommended age of 6. Star Wars Hero Droid BB-8 is another pick that’s most ideal for younger users(think 6 – 10) – the unique ‘follow me’ mode included on this model makes BB a great companion droid, and his voice recognition and motion sensor are very entertaining to little ones. His lights, sounds and motions hold up in terms of authenticity, but there are still a few things you should watch out for about this droid.

He’s not quite as sturdy as some of the other BB-8 droids out there – it’s an easy fix, but his head falls off a lot during collisions. It’s magnetic, so it pops right back on, but it can still take away from the fun of the toy and become frustrating after a while. It’s not quite as sturdy as some other models overall, so keeping playtime in a safe, open area would be wise. There are also choking hazards included here, so keep kids under 3 away from this product.

Recommended Age: 6+
Size: 14 x 14 x 7.8 inches
Batteries: 3 AAA not included
Lights/Sounds: Both
Safety Hazards: Choking Hazard
Special Features: Extra large size, voice recognition, following capability

#6

Inflatable RC BB-8

Best Avoided!

If the term “inflatable droid” gives you pause, it probably should. While this Inflatable RC BB-8 droid could be an okay pick for a younger user who isn’t seriously interested, it has the potential to disappoint just about anyone else. This iteration of BB features 14 unique sounds, but no lights whatsoever, making it less than reminiscent of the real thing. The fact that it’s inflatable means that the aesthetic details are a bit lacking as well, rather like a robotic BB beach ball that doesn’t do too much.

We don’t mean to totally disparage – because it’s inflatable, this BB does store pretty easily. It’s simple to control, features multi-directional movement and it’s not too pricey. However, we still can’t recommend it. It’s not particularly durable, detailed or interesting and we foresee disappointment in kids who have a serious interest in droids, Star Wars or both.

Recommended Age: 4+
Size: 16.9 x 11.8 x 11.8 inches
Batteries: 4 AA and 2 AAA not included
Lights/Sounds: Sounds
Safety Hazards: None
Special Features: 14 unique sounds

#7

Star Wars Remote Control BB-8 Droid

The detailing on Star Wars RC BB-8 Droid really stands out, as BB’s movie-accurate appearance combines with expressive sounds and motion to create an awesomely authentic aesthetic both kids and adults will enjoy. This fun little BB is a great pick for letting kids recreate scenes from the movies or tell their own Star Wars stories.

While he’s a great pick for younger users (5 is the minimum recommended age), he’s a bit lacking in features compared to some of the other droids we’ve covered here. There are no voice recognition features on this model, and it doesn’t have any following or motion sensing capabilities. It has sounds, but there are no lights. On a positive note, however, the detailed exterior is durable and can hold up to the crashes and bangs that are often part of a new user’s learning process.

Recommended Age: 5+
Size: 6.6 x 5.4 x 8.9 inches
Batteries: 4 AAA not included
Lights/Sounds: Sound
Safety Hazards: None
Special Features: Features sound

FAQs: All you need to know

Q What is a BB-8 droid? 

AIn the Star Wars universe, BB-8 is an astromech droid. Droids are a type of artificial intelligence that exist alongside humans and alien species in the franchise’s universe. Astromech droids are a type of versatile utility robot that performs maintenance and repair, typically on ships. These droids come in many forms, as R2-D2 was famously also an astromech. In the films, BB-8’s role is in service and friendship to Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. 

QWhich Star Wars movies did BB-8 feature in? 

ABB-8 was first seen in 2015’s The Force Awakens, and came back to movie screens again in 2017 in The Last Jedi. The franchise promises that the fan favorite droid will return again in the series’ 9th installment, with release date to be determined. 

Q How was BB-8 created for the films? 

A

Achieving the signature motion of JJ Abrams’ original design for BB was not an easy task. The final design for BB relies upon a remote control robotic ball. A gyroscope inside the ball allows it to perform the rolling motion that’s iconic to BB. Slightly more complex is the magnetic spherical balancing robot drive that comprises his head, a design that was uniquely patented for BB’s creation. This allows the head to engage in reactive motion with the gyroscopic ball in order to create the motion and expressions that define the little droid. A more detailed explanation from some folks who are better at science than we are is right here. 

Q How do they get BB-8 to work in real life? 

ABB-8 was not a CGI creation, so the “real life” operation is very much the same as you see in the movies. As explained above, he is powered by a gyroscopic ball, and his head is a patented magnetic drive designed to respond to the ball’s movement. 

Q How do I choose the most appropriate BB-8 for my family? 

AThere’s a lot of models available, which is exactly what prompts this question for shoppers. The age range of the intended user, the size of the droid and the features it has that the user may enjoy are all factors you should look toward to influence your purchase. Most options have both pros and cons, so it’s also important to review those to make sure a product feels like the right fit before you purchase.

DIY, Craft and Decor Ideas

DIY, Craft or Decor Idea 1

Planning a fun BB-8 birthday party? This adorable cake from Kathy at Merriment Design will add an impressive extra element of fun to the gathering.

DIY Star wars Cake

DIY, CRAFT OR DECOR IDEA 2

If you need some decor for the party, check out this charming pinata tutorial from Amy at Oh So Savvy Mom – it’s also a game they’ll love that incorporates physical play!

Star Wars DIY decor

DIY, CRAFT OR DECOR IDEA 3

Want a fun party craft that costs very little to put together? Check out these precious paper plate BB-8 crafts from Carlee at Fun Learning Life that kids will love making and taking home(parents will love that they did more than eat cake).

DIY, CRAFT OR DECOR IDEA 4

BB-8 lovers in need of a Halloween costume, look no further – Paula at Jump Start Your Joy offers this sweet costume for littles.

DIY Star wars BB-8 costume

DIY, CRAFT OR DECOR IDEA 5

That’s not the only costume idea, though! Sara at Mom Endeavors offers up this easy BB-8 costume that’s great for cons. 

DIY Star wars BB-8 costume 2

Quick Decision

Original BB-8 by Sphero – Best Overall
It features voice commands, a range of expression, autonomous exploration and movie-realistic design and motion in a durable package that travels well

Battle Sphero Worn BB-8 – Upgrade Choice
It has the voice recognition, expression range and exploration of the original Sphero model with the special edition battle worn finish that’s super cool, plus the Force Band is included, making this model a real standout

The Last Jedi Hyperdrive BB-8 – Best Budget Buy
It’s very detailed, durable and easy to operate for a droid that’s not particularly expensive

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Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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