Year over year, Arduino has consistently released new development boards to add to the Arduino line up, which means there are a lot of options to choose from.
However, the large number of different devices can be intimidating for makers and that’s why I decided to give you a short overview of a few Arduino boards that are worth taking a look at.
In this article, I'll cover good Arduino boards for beginning, intermediate, and experienced makers. If you want a briefer overview, check out the table at the end of this article that compares all of these boards.
Note: All board images courtesy of Arduino.
Arduinos for Beginners
These development boards might be just right for those of you trying to find a starting point. All the boards mentioned in this category are readily available, cheap, and easy to work with.
The Arduino Uno
The best board to start with when you are new to the platform is the Arduino Uno. It’s reasonably sized which makes it easy to handle and it offers a lot of interfacing options. Furthermore, it’s the most robust and most documented board in the line-up.
The Arduino Nano Every
A great smaller option is the Arduino Nano Every. It's based on the Arduino Nano, which has been around for quite a few years and, therefore, it's easy to find a lot of resources online.
It's cheap and the smallest official Arduino board. Those are the two reasons why I often choose it for my projects. Furthermore, it’s breadboard-compatible which makes it easy to test your project and experiment with it.
Arduinos for Intermediate Users
While the devices mentioned above are more aimed at beginners, there are a few boards that you can use when you have some experience with electronics and tinkering.
Arduino Nano 33 BLE
The Arduino Nano 33 BLE is a new series of boards that got introduced in 2019. They are based on the same form-factor as the Arduino Nano and they support multithreaded and real-time programming. The Sense model also comes with a variety of built-in sensors, making it perfect for experienced programmers and makers.
The Arduino Due
A more established device, that fits in this category, is the Arduino Due. It features a 32-Bit CPU and 66 usable I/O ports which make this board perfect for large-scale DIY projects.
IoT-enabled Arduino Boards
None of the devices discussed so far can connect to the internet without external hardware. Luckily, there are a few Arduino boards that have the hardware built-in, making these boards the perfect ones to start with if you work on a connected project.
The Arduino Yun Rev. 2
This is the only official Arduino device that natively runs a Linux operating system. It can also connect to any Wi-Fi network right out of the box which makes this the perfect entry point to the platform for users, that have previously worked with a Raspberry Pi.
The Arduino Nano 33 IoT
The Yun is a great board, but it doesn’t come with on-board Bluetooth support. If you need or want to communicate with your Arduino via Bluetooth, then the Arduino Nano 33 IoT is one way to go.
As the name suggests, it’s based on the popular Arduino Nano which means, that you can easily upgrade an old project that used the standard Nano.
Arduino Boards for Advanced Users
These boards are aimed at advanced users and professionals.
The Arduino Mega 2560
This board is often used in large projects and it can even be found in a few commercially available products — for example, in 3D printers. The fact that the Arduino Mega 2560 has over 70 independent GPIO pins makes this the go-to board for large projects.
The Arduino MKR Vidor 4000
This board was released in 2018 and it is somewhat exotic. It’s the only Arduino that not only has a microcontroller but also contains an on-board Intel Cyclone 10CL016 FPGA. Furthermore, it also supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth natively.
While the device can certainly be used by beginners, I think advanced users will have more fun with it.
Arduinos for All Skill Levels
As you can see, the official Arduino line-up is huge and every maker, regardless of their experience level, can find the right board. The following table compares the most important specs of each board.
MCU and Speed
Most Notable Feature
ATMega 328P 16MHz
32KB Flash; 2KB SRAM; 1KB EEPROM
Lots of online resources
ATMega 4809 20MHz
48KB Flash; 6KB SRAM; 256b EEPROM
Small, cheap, and breadboard compatible
Nano 33 BLE
$19 - $29.50
nRF 52840 64MHz
1MB Flash; 256K RAM
RTOS features. Sense model: different sensors
512KB Flash; 96KB RAM
32-Bit ARM CPU and lots of I/O ports
Yun Rev. 2
32KB Flash; 2.5KB RAM; 1KB EEPROM
Linux-based with on-board Wi-Fi support
Nano 33 IoT
SAMD21G18A up to 48MHz
256KB Flash; 32KB RAM
On-board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
ATMega 2560 16MHz
256KB Flash; 8KB SRAM; 4KB EEPROM
Over 70 I/O ports
MKR Vidor 4000
Intel Cyclone10 CL016 and ATSAMD21
256KB Flash; 32KB RAM
FPGA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, RTC, and USB-Host included