5 Best Arduino Boards in 2020 – Expert Guide

Choosing the best Arduino board for your project can be quite a challenge, especially if you are new to the subject. Thanks to the wide range of Arduino boards available, this process can be rather arduous and tiring. But don’t worry – we’re here to help!

If you are a beginner, by the end of this article, you will get to know the Arduino board in detail, the types of boards available, the difference between the boards, what they are capable of, and more. With all this information, you will be able to choose the board that is best for you.

What is an Arduino Board?

Arduino is an open-source, microcontroller-based platform that can be programmed to carry out various tasks. It is designed to work with multiple types of electronic equipment such as sensors, LED lights, motors, and more, making it a perfect choice for small projects.

A board can be programmed to work exactly as you want it to, as well as allowing you to make modifications according to your requirements. To make an Arduino board run, software called Arduino IDE is required. This is a simple-to-use program which you can use to write Arduino programs and get started with Arduino projects on your own.

All the features provided by Arduino, along with its simple usability, have made it quite famous among students and professionals. This leaves us with a big question: what is this microprocessor capable of? Let us take a look.

Things to do with an Arduino Board

If you are looking to create an Arduino project of your own, you should know that the possibilities are limitless. All you need to do is open your imagination and be creative. You can connect various types of modules to the board and program them to work according to your requirements. Use devices like GSM modules, GPS modules, temperature sensors, proximity sensors, infrared sensors, motors, switches, and more to come up with projects of your own.

For a beginner, it would be ideal to start with the DIY project tutorials available online. Once you know how this device works, you can create your own projects.

How to select the Perfect Arduino Board for your project

How to select the Perfect Arduino Board for your project

Many manufacturers make boards with Arduino microprocessors, as it is based on an open-source platform. However, it is highly recommended to get an original Arduino board for your project. To confirm the authenticity, always check that the board bears the Arduino brand name.

However, you don’t need to worry about authenticity for now, as we will be talking only about original Arduino products later in this article. But the real question is, how do you decide which product is perfect for you?

The first deciding factor should be your experience with Arduino boards. Are you a beginner or have you already worked with Arduino boards? You will also have to factor in the requirements of your projects, like how many inputs or outputs the task requires. How many modules need to be connected? Some Arduino boards are even designed for specific purposes, such as boards with GSM modules, boards with GPS modules, and so on.

Next, we will be taking a look at the best Arduino boards that you can buy. We will be comparing the boards based on the microprocessor power, usability, i/o pins, and other important features.

Here are the Best Arduino Boards

  1. Arduino Uno R3
  2. Arduino Nano
  3. Arduino Mega
  4. Arduino UNO WiFi REV2
  5. Arduino Due

Arduino UNO R3

The most popular, most used, and most documented Arduino board globally is the UNO R3. It is one of the most basic boards and is commonly used by students and beginners. This board is great for loads of DIY projects that are available on the internet. These projects are readily available, complete with codes, equipment requirements, and instructions.

This board has 20 GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) pins, including 6 Analog pins and 14 Digital pins. Serial Communication devices can be connected to this board, too, through Rx and Tx pins. You can also define an additional pair of Rx and Tx pins from the GPIO pins. The connectivity options available on this board will be sufficient for the majority of Arduino projects that you will find online.

These and other features of the Arduino UNO, including a power jack, ICSP header, USB B connectivity, LED indicators, and a reset button make it a perfect solution for students and beginners, all fired by a 16 MHz quartz crystal.

If you need a microprocessor and you are just getting started in this area, the UNO R3 is the perfect board to begin building projects with. It can also be useful for many intermediate-level users who have already worked with Arduino projects, as this board is compatible with a large number of projects.

You can also find several starter kits for your Audrino UNO R3 on the internet. These kits include various devices, modules, sensors, wires, and more, using which you can work on multiple projects. Some of them also come with instructions for various projects that can be done using the items provided. Moreover, you get to be a part of a worldwide community of more than 30 million users.

Pros

Easy to operate
Can be used in loads of Audrino projects

Cons

Not suitable for big projects

Arduino Nano

As it is evident by its name, the Nano is a tiny board perfect for small and portable projects. The device might be small, but it packs a lot of punch. It is also compatible with a large number of Arduino UNO projects. However, it has its own set of limitations. With a size of just 18 mm x 45 mm, it is the tiniest in the Audrino board range.

The Nano could be the right choice for students, beginners, as well as experienced users working on portable projects or small IoT (Internet of Things) projects. It consumes very little power, so the only power source is through a USB port. It also has a modest footprint and can be quickly assembled on a breadboard.

The Audrino Nano is based on the ATmega328 chip, which is pretty efficient. This board comes packed with all of the above-mentioned features and costs less than 20 USD.

Just like the Audrino Uno, you can program it through the Audrino IDE software by connecting the board to your PC through USB.

This particular board can only be powered through USB and lacks the power jack that is available in the UNO. Due to this restriction, you can only use it to create projects that consume low power. Apart from that, it is quite a useful Audrino board used by many students and intermediate users.

Pros

Tiny in size and highly portable
Efficient board for small and portable projects

Cons

Can only create breadboard-based projects
No power jack: only USB-powered

Arduino Mega

The Arduino Mega is for enthusiasts as well as professionals who indulge in larger and complex projects. The full name of this board is the Arduino Mega 2560 Rev3. The key feature of the board is that it has more GPIO pins and Analog pins than the Arduino UNO. Moreover, it has a powerful microprocessor with a RAM and ROM of greater capacity compared to other models. These features, along with others, make it an excellent choice for more significant projects.

If you are going to be involved in such a project, you will know beforehand how many pins you will need on your microprocessor board. The Mega houses 54 General Purpose Input Output pins along with 16 Analog pins. This is a substantial increase in the number of pins from the Audrino UNO. These pins enable you to work on complex projects such as robotics and 3D printing.

The Mega is also compatible with almost all shields (devices, sensors, and so on) that work with the Arduino UNO.

The setup is based on an 8-bit AVR Microcontroller named ATmega2560, hence the name. Rev3 stands for the third revision of the chipset. All the operations on the Mega are powered by an 8 KB SRM and a 256 kb ROM.

Pros

Suitable for big projects
Powerful
50+ GPIO pins
16 analog pins

Cons

A bit pricey
Overkill for small projects

Arduino UNO WiFi REV2

The UNO WiFi REV2 can be categorized as a high performance and high utility Audrino board. Its features make it most suitable for advanced users as well as professionals. Unlike the above mentioned Arduinos, this one comes loaded with sensors and other advanced features that can be used to create complex projects and devices. Its main highlight is its capability to connect with WiFi networks. You can wirelessly connect it to the internet, making it ideal for IoT (Internet of Things) applications. It also has Bluetooth connectivity, making it possible for the Arduino to communicate with mobile devices like phones and tablets.

Unlike the Mega, this board does not have many GPIO pins. However, the provided pins are enough for carrying out standard projects. If you need more pins, it can be modified by using shields and codes to increase the number of pins.

Speaking of the features of this board, it comes with various modules attached. It has a temperature sensor and an embedded 6-axis accelerometer/gyroscope. These sensors can be beneficial for detecting fire, detecting movements, counting steps, making door alarms, and more.

This Arduino board has a vast range of uses and can be used in projects involving smart homes, electronics, agriculture, automotive, data logging, and a lot more. The scope of work is almost limitless thanks to all the features provided by this package.

Pros

Connect wirelessly to the internet via WiFi
Connect to mobile devices through Bluetooth
On-board sensors
Perfect for IoT projects

Cons

Occasional conflicts when connecting to WiFi

Arduino Due

The Arduino Due is one of the most advanced Arduino boards available today. Just like the Mega, it has a large number of GPIO and Analog pins. Moreover, it is powered by a more powerful processor as compared to the Mega. It also operates at a relatively higher voltage. With that being said, it is suitable for advanced projects, making it the right choice for advanced users.

There’s a lack of on-board sensors, but the extra pins make up for the lack of pins as you can connect sensors externally.

As mentioned earlier, it has a total of 54 GPIO pins, 16 Analog pins, 2 DAC (Digital to Analog converters), a CAN bus port, 4 UARTs (Universal Asynchronous Reciever/Transmitter), and 2 TWI (12C) communication ports. It also comes with SPI bus functionality using which you can communicate with several devices that work at different speeds. You will also find two micro USB ports on the Due that enable faster native USB communication and serial communication and programming. Other essential features include a switching voltage regulator, powerful RAM, and ROM.

The set runs on a 32-bit ARM microprocessor and features 96 KB of RAM and 512 KB of ROM.

Pros

50+ GPIO pins
Additional useful ports
Dual USB port
Operates at 3.3 V
Suitable for advanced projects

Cons

No on-board sensors
A bit expensive

Closing Words

Although there is a wide range of Audrino boards available these days, these are the five best options. These Arduinos cater to a variety of different users, and you should choose the best one for you based on your own unique requirements. The Arduino UNO is the board that most beginners, students, and learners would be satisfied with. However, you can select other boards mentioned here according to your needs and requirements, even if you are a beginner. All you have to do is assemble the parts correctly and load the right program into the microprocessor.

We hope that your questions about the best Arduino were taken care of in this article. If you have any questions or are still confused about anything, feel free to drop us a note in the comments.