10 Best Microcontroller Boards for Engineers And Hobbyists

Best Microcontroller Boards

Are you an engineer or a hobbyist looking for the best microcontroller for your projects? If yes, then read on.

A microcontroller is a compact integrated circuit designed for operating a specific task in a system. Microcontrollers can be found everywhere, from cars to robots, and they are widely used in different robotics and engineering projects.

However, when it comes to buying a micro controller board, the market has a lot of options to offer. Also, different boards are used for different purposes.

Hence, to make it extremely easy for you, let me just talk about the best micro controller boards available in the market.

So here we go:

10 Best Microcontroller Boards

1. Raspberry Pi 4

micro controller boards

Raspberry Pi 4 is one of the most popular single board computers available out there. It is a credit card sized electronic board that can be used for a variety of purposes. Like you can use it to run a full fledged desktop, create an entertainment system, NAS, and so on.

Moreover, it can also power up different engineering and hobbyist projects. The board was launched back in 2019, and it can power up 1.2A current for USB devices.

Raspberry 4 is available as 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB option. Also, you will get other features like 2. 4 GHz and 5. 0 GHz IEEE 802. 11B/g/n/ac Wireless LAN, Bluetooth 5. 0, double-true Gigabit Ethernet, and so on.

Also, if you are starting up with Raspberry Pi for the first time, I would urge you to go for a Raspberry Pi kit. As it will have everything included for you to get started easily.

2. ARDUINO UNO R3

best microcontroler

Arduino Uno R3 is one of the best microcontroller for robotics and other projects that you can buy. Even it is one of the cheapest yet best microcontroller boards you can purchase. This broad can be used for different projects.

Also, if you are planning to learn how sensors and actuators work, this board will help you out. The board is getting used by billions of people around the globe for prototyping needs, engineering projects and so on.

The board has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, a 16 MHz quartz crystal, a USB connection, a power jack, an ICSP header, and a reset button.

Also, it is open source hardware, software, and content platform, and it is backed by a great community.

3. ESP32 Microcontroller Board

best development board

ESP32 is a small microcontroller board for IoT projects. This one is a low cost system on chip SoC series created by Esperessif Systems. The board comes with wifi and Bluetooth capabilities and has an ultra low power consumptions, and it works perfectly with Arduino IDE.

The board also supports LWIP protocol and Freetos. As well as it supports three modes AP, STA, and AP+STA. Overall, the board is extremely safe, reliable, scalable, and can be used with a variety of applications.

4. Raspberry Pi Zero W

best microcontroller for robotics

Raspberry Pi Zero W is also one of the best microcontroller that you can use. This board was developed to extend the Pi Zero Family and it was launched back in 2017.

The board has all the functionalities of the Pi Zero, but it comes with some of the added features. Like you are getting 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.1, 1GHz, single-core CPU, 512MB RAM, Mini HDMI, and USB On-The-Go ports and so on.

Talking about the implementation, the board can be used for creating a drone, robotic projects, prototyping, and so on.

5. BeagleBone Black

best microcontroller board

Up next, I have the BeagleBone Black. This is one of the cheapest development boards available out there. It is a low cost community supported development board.

You can easily boot Linux on this board under 10 seconds and get started with development. Talking about the specification, it comes with 512MB DDR3 RAM, 4GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage, 3D graphics accelerator, 2x 46 pin headers, Ethernet, and so on.

The board also offers you software compatibility for Debian, Android, Ubuntu, Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library, and many more. For usages and implementations, you can check out the BeagleBone Black projects page.

6. STMICROELECTRONICS STM32F3DISCOVERY EVAL KIT

is arduino a microcontroller

Up next, I have the STMICROELECTRONICS STM32F3DISCOVERY EVAL KIT. It is a programmable microcontroller for your engineering projects. It allows you to develop applications with the STM32F3 Series mixed-signal microcontroller based on the Arm® Cortex®-M4.

Also, the best part of this microcontroller is that it includes everything that a beginner or experienced user might need to get started quickly. As far as the features are included, it comes with a 256‑Kbyte Flash memory and 48‑Kbyte RAM in an LQFP100 package, USB FS, ST MEMS motion sensor, 3-axis digital output gyroscope and so on.

7. MSP430G2 LaunchPad Development kit

The MSP-EXP430G2ET LaunchPad Development Kit is one of the easy to use microcontroller development board that you can use. It has low power consumption and comes with an inexpensive price.

The board also offers you on board emulation for programming and debugging. Plus, it features 14/20-pin DIP socket, on-board buttons, and LEDs & BoosterPack Plug-in Module pinouts that support a wide range of modules for added functionality such as wireless, displays and so on.

Moreover, the board also supports MSP430G2xx2, MSP430G2xx3, and MSP430F20xx devices in PDIP14 or PDIP20 packages.

8. Teensy 4.0

cheapest microcontroller

Teensy 4.0 is one of the fastest microcontroller available in the market today. Also, it comes with a really compact size, which makes it an ideal project for many DIY projects. Plus, getting started with this microcontroller is extremely easy. You can simply give commands via two USB ports to the board, and it can be programmed by Arduino IDE with a little Add-on.

As far as the features are concerned, it comes with 2 USB ports, both 480 MBit/sec, I2S Digital Audio, ARM Cortex-M7 at 600 MHz, 1024K RAM (512K is tightly coupled), 2048K Flash and so on.

9. Adafruit Gemma M0

small microcontroller

Planning to work on wearable technology project? Then the Adafruit Gemma M0 is an ideal choice for you. It is a miniature wearable electronic platform and a super small microcontroller board.

It can be used for creating many simple projects. The board comes with 32 KB Ram, 256KB flash, and backed by a 48 MHz 32 bit processor, which makes it quite powerful. Along with that, you are getting native USB support for every OS. Also, getting started with this board is pretty easy, and it can be used with Arduino IDE or CircuitPython. 

10. Arduino Pro Mini 328 – 3.3V/8MHz

fastest arduino

In the end, I have the Arduino Pro Mini 328 – 3.3V/8MHz. This is also the best microcontroller available in the market. The main idea behind this board was to power up applications and installations where space is premium, and projects are made as permanent setups. However, it can only support applications up to 5 volts.

Moreover, the board also comes with 14 digital input/output pins (of which 6 can be used as PWM outputs), 6 analog inputs, an on-board resonator, a reset button, and holes for mounting pin headers. A six pin header can be connected to an FTDI cable or Sparkfun breakout board to provide USB power and communication to the board.

FAQ’s

Is a raspberry pi a microcontroller?

No Raspberry pi is not a microcontroller, but it is a single board computer that comes with an SoC or System On Chip. It includes a multicore processor, GPU, ROM, RAM, Ethernet port, USB ports, and display port.

Which is the best microcontroller for robotics?

Arduino Uno R3 is the best microcontroller for robotics. It comes with a whole development suite for your projects and backed by a great community. Plus, you will find lots of tutorials and Arduino project ideas online to get started instantly.

Which microcontroller is best for IoT?

For IoT Projects, both the Raspberry Pi and Arduino Uno R3 is an ideal choice. Both of these boards are open source and backed by a huge community of contributors online and offline. Their website also has lots of helpful resources to get you started instantly.

Is arduino a microcontroller?

Arduino isn’t a microcontroller nor a microprocessor: It’s a simple and easty-to-use development board that is relying on a microcontroller in it.

Wrapping Up

So those were some of the best microcontroller for engineering and hobby projects. Also, if I missed any microcontroller or you have any questions to ask then do feel free to comment below.

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