You know that the Arduino is one of the most popular open-source microcontrollers. Computers, robots, home automation systems, textiles, drones, Internet of Things (IoT), and so many other fields are using this open source hardware – Arduino. There are millions of Arduino devices and projects are in daily use and make our life easier and better. But, we do not forget that with such a great service of Arduino boards and Arduino starter kits, there are some top-class Arduino alternatives available in the market which can give same or better performance than Arduino at the same or cheap price. Today, we will look at some of the best microcontrollers which can be listed as the great Arduino alternatives. Go through the list below and get your suitable microcontroller for your DIY project.
Best Arduino Alternatives
1) Particle Photon
Particle Photon is a web development kit which will help to make your IoT (Internet of Things) projects and designs easy. It comes with an integrated WiFi and is one of the top Arduino alternatives till the date. If you want to build a prototype product, DIY home project, scaling any of your device, or anything related to robotics and computing, the Particle Photon will help you to done your project easily and quickly.
- The Particle Photon is easy to set up and will get you go online within a few minutes
- Easy-to-use, powerful, and cloud-connected
- It comes with 120MHz Cortex ARM M3 processor
- Desktop IDE, Web IDE, and Console development tools with the access to the Particle app will help you to learn IoT in the easiest way
- You will get access to over 450 projects with full documentations
The ESP8266 is a WiFi capable microprocessor which is gaining popularity among the electronic enthusiasts. It is available at a cheaper price than Arduino and has the capability of programming with the Arduino IDE. With a cheap microcontroller price, this Arduino alternative is tough to compete, but one thing you should remember that it operates on 3.3V, not 5V.
- A lot of documentation available to help you with your designs
- Integrated WiFi with TCP/IP protocol
- Comes with a built-in power regulator and a number of IO pins
- Only a USB connection is needed for power/programming, and you will get it working easily
- You can use it as a UART or Serial Interface
- If you are familiar with the Arduino environment, then this could be an excellent choice for you to write the code, connecting the board, upload, and get going
The Teensy microcontroller is one of the top-rated Arduino alternatives which helps you to build almost all types of DIY electronic devices and projects. It is a breadboard-friendly development board which comes with a bootloader to allow you program it using the USB connection.
- It is great for USB-MIDI and all the other HID projects as you can emulate it as any kind of USB device you want
- Digital audio interface and high-resolution ADCs make is perfect for media center devices and projects
- It comes with 180MHz ARM Cortex M4 processor
- 256K RAM and 4K EEPROM make it an optimal performer board
- It is compatible with the Arduino IDE, so if you know the programming with Arduino, you will love to tinker with this board
The ARM Cortex-V8 processor with 700MHz frequency and 256MB DDR2 RAM with 4GB onboard flash storage make the BeagleBone Black a great competitor to the Arduino board. This single core development board is easy to use for your DIY projects.
- Works on different Operating Systems like Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Android, etc.
- Comes with a microSD card reader, so you can connect it with a bootable card to directly use your Operating System
- A USB port can be used for power or Ethernet or connect with another computer
- Available in two different models; Classic BeagleBone and BeagleBone Black
The MSP430 is a great cheap Arduino alternative which comes with three Ti support; CCS Cloud, Code Composer Studio, and Energia IDE. The visual design is much like an Arduino board, and it comes with different booster pack to make it a perfect Launchpad.
- The MSP430 comes with example programs for getting started with Energia and creating various design easily
- It is an ultra-low power microcontroller which consumes very low power and gives 16-bit MCU performance
- It is a perfect choice for the low-budget applications in the safety and security, remote controls, intelligent sensors, etc.
- The synchronous protocols make it capable of built-in communication
- It provides a great platform to launch your MSP430 based applications based on the USB developments and experiments
STM32 is a 32-bit low-cost microcontroller from STMicroelectronics which is one of the top Arduino alternatives today. It is a quick start evaluation board which delivers an IDE support from either Keil, Atollic, and IAR with the help of ST-LINK programmer or debugger.
- It is powerful than the other low-budget microcontrollers available in the market
- It comes with the ARM Cortex 32-bit M3 processor at 24MHz speed and 8KB RAM
- It has small support community and documentation which gives a little bit of challenge to the programmers and electronic geeks who are going to use it
- The development support is ideal for big-platform projects as well as for small projects
- Other features include low-power, digital signal processing, full integration support, etc.
- It provides a great platform for home appliances, entertainment products, industrial tools, and equipment, etc.
Arduino is a cross-platform DIY hardware which is compatible with almost all types of Operating Systems including Windows, Linux, and Mac. And all the Arduino alternatives listed here are not less featured than it. They will be definitely useful for your DIY projects and circuits. These top 6 Arduino alternatives offer a friendly programming environment to provide an integrated system with software and hardware support. If we have missed any other well competitive board to Arduino, then please mention it below in the comments with your thoughts on it.