inkycatz wrote:Back off, I'm doing SCIENCE!
Are you doing science? Which of these will you be using?
Snap Circuits are awesome. The removal of the need to solder eliminates the mess and patience needed allowing you to make simple electric circuits with those of a younger age.
Since I already have a fairly comprehensive snap-circuits set, I was looking into some of the other sets: The detective lab, chem set, and the air engine.
Reviews are difficult to find on all 3.
Savings on the mothership appear to mainly be in the form of shipping, since the list prices are barely lower, but the vendors on Amazon do not participate in prime shipping:
Air Engine: (save $9 from ship) http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-Air-Engine-Car-Helicopter/dp/B008GW8KVU/
Detecto lab ($13+$9 ship, save $9 from ship) http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-EDU-7080-Detectolab/dp/B000GG0U8U
reviews for detecto lab: http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-Detectolab-Crime-Scene-Investigator/dp/B000EOXDEC
Super Chem 120 ($32, ss/prime, save $8) http://www.amazon.com/Power-Tech-Super-Chem-120/dp/B000TFBO7Y/
So, these prices are worthwhile even for a single purchase, saving about $4, and will get better with multiple purchases. However, it is difficult to find detailed reviews on any of the chem sets.
Snap Circuits are a great buy, but I haven't compared prices recently, but for comparison, the 300 piece kit (which I have) is currently $45:
I have seen some of the smaller sets already copied by Chinese manufacturer sites, but what you save in product cost there, you get back in quality. I haven't tried the Chinese versions of Snap Circuits yet, when I first discovered them I remember the prices being not that much of a savings, added onto the typical 1 month shipping time.
Most any of these should be a good gift for the inquisitive 9-12 year old, or those whose mental age have regressed to that level (like me). I've done several of these types of experiments with my niece and nephew (8, 6), which they enjoy, but are still a bit too young to fully hold their attention for that length of time, A little bit older, and I think they will appreciate the experiments a bit more.