Get ready for Battlebots 2022


Season 6 of Battlebots is HERE!

Battlebots is a battle of wits, engineering talent, design prowess - and of course carnage! The 2022 season is about to be underway and Design 1st is excited to participate by supporting Team Lucky - a fierce Battlebot competitor for the past several years.

The new 2021 Battlebot season 6 will feature over 100 robots and was filmed live in Las Vegas, Aug 23 - Sept 4. The season will air on Discovery Channel starting January 6, 2022.

To get ready for Season 6, we have put together some common Q&A on Battlebots:

1) What is Battlebots?

2) How do Battlebots matches work?

3) Where is Battlebots filmed?

4) How to build a Battlebot?

5) How are Battlebots Powered?

6) How heavy are Battlebots?

7) How must does it cost to build a Battlebot?

8) Where to watch Battlebots 2021?

9) What is new for the 2021 Battlebots season?

1) What is Battlebots?

Battlebots is the UFC of robot-to-robot combat, where mass destruction, carnage, and mayhem can happen in every match.

Competitors in Battlebots are teams made of up a mixture of product design, engineering, software, electronics, and robot enthusiasts who design, build and test their robots.

Over the past 20 years, Battlebots has amassed thousands of passionate fans, fierce competitor rivalry and dozens of remote-controlled robots built for destruction.

Battlebots has been around since 1997 but has gone through a variety of organizational changes, starts, and stops. The current version of Battlebots is an offshoot of the original American version called Robot Wars.


Battlebots Arena before live match

2) How do Battlebots matches work?

Each match is three minutes long where two robots go head-to-head intent on immobilizing and destroying one another.

The matches take place inside the 48’ x 48’ arena, equipped with safety precautions to protect the audience, referees and drivers from flying shrapnel, fire and charging robots. The arena has a steel floor, steel-framed walls, and a bulletproof polycarbonate plastic roof.

Several arena hazards are set up to make the match unpredictable and exciting for fans. Previous year’s hazards included:

  • Spike strips: inward-pointing 5-inch long sharpened steel spikes
  • Pulverizers: pneumatic powered, 150 lbs. mallets
  • Kill saws: circular saw blades that rise up from slots in the area floor
  • Hell raisers: 15-degree tilt pneumatic ram that can launch competitors

For 2021, the Battlebots format will change from single elimination to fight card matchups, where the last remaining 16 bots will fight for the Giant Nut trophy.

Battlebots 2016 season tournament bracket

  1. 3) Where is Battlebots filmed?

The 2021 season of Battlebots was filmed in Las Vegas over the course of two weeks in August, 2021. You watch the matches on The Discovery Channel starting January 6h at 8pm (EST)

Episode dates for the 2021season below:

  1.  Episode 1: Thursday, January 6th
  2. Episode 2: Thursday, January 13th
  3. Episode 3: Thursday, January 20th
  4. Episode 4: Thursday, January 27th
  5. Episode 5: to be announced

You can view full details on each episode including match-ups here:

Battlebots Tournament Arena

Battlebots Tournament Arena

4) How to build a Battlebot?

Building a Battlebot takes a variety of skills, experience and creativity. Each year the match hazards, competitors, weaponry, and rules can change so teams need to prepare well.

And while many of the robots and teams - like Lucky - have been around for years, there is an opportunity for competitors to apply and build a Battlebot. Full details on the entry process, rules and requirements can be found here:

You can also catch a glimpse of the development effort behind Lucky below:


Video: The design and build process for Battlebot Lucky

5) How are Battlebots Powered?

Most Battlebots are battery powered, but internal combustion engines and nitrogen pneumatic systems are also allowed .

For the 2021 competition, design rules on Battlebots power systems state:

  • For battery-powered systems, maximum voltage anywhere in the bot to 240 volts.
  • Internal combustion systems must use a self-starter and fuel system must be well vented and protected to prevent explosions during combat
  • Pneumatic systems bust use Nitrogen gas and maximum storable pressure is 3000 psi.
  • Each bot MUST have one independently powered weapon that can do serious damage to an opponent
  • Flames? Allowed. But for showmanship only, flame must not exceed 4 feet.
  • Projectile Weapons? Allowed. But they must not use explosives
  • Spinning Weapons? Yes! But cannot weigh more than 80lbs and be able to fully stop within 60 seconds

The batteries used to power the robots must be commercially-available and well protected to prevent catching fire during combat - something that has happened in the past.

You can read the full Battlebots 2021 Design Rules guidelines here.

Inside the Team Lucky workshop before competition

6) How heavy are Battlebots?

The 2021 Battlebots design rules set a maximum robot weight of 250 pounds - but “flying bots” are limited to a maximum of 10lbs.

Prior to matches, a Battlebot's 'official weight' will be measured on tournament scales. Similiar to a UFC/Boxing weigh in.

In previous years (Seasons 1- 5) Battlebots were separated into 4 weight classes ranging from 60 lbs to 340 lbs - but for 2021 there is just the one open class.

7) How much does it cost to build a Battlebot?

The general rule for Battlebot costing is $100 per pound, for a 250lbs robot this equals $25000. The total price range can be much higher depending on materials, components, prototyping facilities, custom fabrication, and shipping. That is why many of the successful Battlebots you see every year are backed by sponsors and volunteers.

For any Battlebot there are four key areas of cost:

  1. Raw Material: $2000 - $8000, depending on what material you use (Carbon Fiber, Titanium etc. can drive up this price significantly)
  2. Components: $3500 - $10,000 (include motors, switches, gearboxes, magnets, compression tanks etc.
  3. Prototyping: $5000 - $10,000+ (Costs can be lower/higher if you have in-house equipment OR sponsors)
  4. Time: FREE (If you have a passionate Battlebots crew of experts)

CHOMP, a Battlebot from Glendale, CA published their Bill of Materials (BOM) for a previous year's build itemizing the 368 parts that went into the build. The BOM includes part numbers, weight, materials, and quantity giving a good perspective on the complexity of building a Battlebot.

View Chomp's Battlebot BOM below:

8) Where to watch Battlebots 2021?

The 2021 season of Battlebots will be broadcast on The Discovery Channel and Science Channel starting Thursday, January 6th at 8pm (EST)

The show broadcasts in over 150 countries, full broadcast details can be found here:


Battlebots Season 6 - Show Dates

Watch the Battlebots Season 6 Trailer below:

View some of our favorite clips from the 2016 Battlebots season below:

9) What is new for the 2021 Battlebots season?

For 2021, Battlebots made a number of changes to the tournament style and matches that are sure to bring about more gear-grinding mayhem and destruction than ever before. The recent changes include:

  • 16 Episode series premiering on Discovery
  • New match format with fight cards that move away from the single-elimination tournament
  • As fights progress, results will be tallied and top 16 bots will fight elimination-style for the coveted Giant Nut trophy.
  • During each episode, the creators of the machines will be interviewed

Stayed tuned for more info on when and where to watch Battlebots this Spring! We will be updating this page and Design 1st social media accounts with show times when they become available.

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