Want to get started with coding, electronics or the Arduino? Most people will naturally recommend the Arduino UNO to get started due to its various features and functions. In addition, they are also commonly used within makers and well documented which makes it suitable for beginners with many tutorials available.

However, feel that the Arduino UNO price is slightly higher or interested in other models or alternatives? No worries as here are some Arduino UNO alternatives! This blog will cover:

  • Arduino UNO Alternatives:
    • Seeeduino V4.2
    • Arduino Nano
    • Seeeduino Nano
    • PocketBeagle
    • NodeMCU v2
  • Make your own Arduino!

Arduino UNO Alternatives

With Arduino open-source design, there are many other similar boards and devices similar to the Arduino UNO which offers the same performance or better performance often at a lower cost. Without further ado, here are some Arduino UNO alternatives!

Seeeduino V4.2 ($6.90)

  • Seeeduino V4.2 is an Arduino-compatible board, which is based on ATmga328P MCU.
  • Seeeduino V4.2 is based on the Arduino UNO bootloader, and with an ATMEGA16U2 as a UART-to-USB converter, which means that the board can basically work like an FTDI chip.
  • You can program the board via a micro-USB cable, if you have an Android phone, you can find a micro-USB cable easily. Also, you can power the board via a DC Jack input, 7 to 15V is acceptable. There’s a switch to choose the system supply voltage, 3.3V or 5V, which is very useful if you want to set the system to 3.3V to save power.
  • In addition, the Seeeduino V4.2 has three onboard Grove interface that can make your board connect to Grove modules easily.
    • For those who do not know what is Grove, Grove is Seeed’s very own modular electronic platform for quick prototyping. Every module has one function, such as touch sensing, creating audio effect, etc.
    • Many configurations can be assembled without the need for soldering or breadboarding. Just plug in the modules, and you are ready to go!
    • Our standardized Grove connector allows users to assemble Grove units with a building block approach, compared to the jumper or solder based system, it is much easier to assemble or disassemble, which simplifies the learning system for experimenting, building, and prototyping.
  • Compared to the Arduino Uno, the Seeeduino V4.2:
    • Uses a micro USB to power and program the board instead of a regular USB
    • 3 onboard Grove connectors
    • 3.3 / 5 V system power switch
    • DCDC circuit instead of LDO which improves efficiency
    • Improved Circuit
  • Compared to the Arduino Uno, the Seeeduino V4.2:
    • Uses a micro USB to power and program the board instead of a regular USB
    • 3 onboard Grove connectors
    • 3.3 / 5 V system power switch
    • DCDC circuit instead of LDO which improves efficiency
    • Improved Circuit
    • Cheaper at only $6.90

Arduino Nano v3 ($45.90)

  • The Arduino Nano is a small, complete, and breadboard-friendly board based on the ATmega328 (Arduino Nano 3.0).
  • It is a compact board similar to the UNO but differs in its pin-configuration, features and size.
  • Due to the Arduino Nano size and also reliability they are easily integrated into many projects like wearables, mini robots and many more!
    • Interested in the Arduino Nano? You can check out our other blog on the 20 Best Arduino Nano Projects to see some projects you can do with this small Arduino!
  • The difference between the Arduino Uno and the Arduino Nano are:
    • Size. The Arduino Nano is small and compact compared to the Arduino Uno. Due to its small size, it lacks a DC power jack and uses Mini USB support instead of regular USB which the Uno uses.
    • The nano has 2 extra analog pins compared to the Arduino Uno with 8 pins instead of 6.
    • Arduino Nano is breadboard friendly but the Uno isn’t.

Seeeduino Nano ($6.90)

  • The Seeeduino Nano is a compact board similar to the Seeeduino V4.2/Arduino UNO, and it is fully compatible with Arduino Nano on pinout and sizes.
  • Similarly to the Arduino Nano, it is similar to the Arduino UNO specs but differ in pin configuration, size and features.
  • However, it is not entirely the same as the Arduino Nano!
    • It has a USB Type C which is symmetrical and reversible to power and program the board instead of a Micro USB
    • Additional Grove I2C connector
    • Less than half of the price at only $6.90
  • The difference between the Arduino Uno and the Seeeduino Nano are:
    • Additional Grove I2C connector
    • Uses a USB type C support compared to the Uno regular USB.
    • Lacks a DC power jack.
    • The nano has 2 extra analog pins compared to the Arduino Uno with 8 pins instead of 6.
    • Price. The Seeeduino Nano only costs $6.90.

PocketBeagle – OSD3358ARM Cortex-A8 512MB RAM ($25.00)

  • Even though the Pocketbeagle has more in common with the Raspberry Pi, its features are similar to the Arduino as well.
  • Being able to run Linux right out of the box and programmed through your web browser, there is no doubt that this is a single-board computer (SBC).
  • However, it has 5 analog inputs with 44 GPIO pins and a microSD slot which makes it flexible and versatile and able to function like an Arduino while having a full onboard operating system!
  • The difference between the Arduino Uno and the Pocketbeagle are:
    • Has a better processor: Octavo Systems OSD3358 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8 which has a 512MB RAM compared to 2KB of RAM on the Arduino Uno
    • Uses a USB OTG instead of a regular USB on the Uno.
    • Has 8 analog inputs compared to 6 on the Uno.
    • Has 44 Digital GPIO compared to 14 on the Arduino.
    • Harder to use and does not have a community as robust as the Arduino Uno.

NodeMCU v2 – Lua based ESP8266 development kit ($8.20)

  • The NodeMCU also known as the ESP8266, is an Arduino-compatible dev board with built-in Wifi that is the same size as the Arduino Nano.
  • The NodeMcu is an open-source firmware and development kit that helps you to prototype your IOT product within a few Lua script lines or using the Arduino IDE software.
  • It has an Arduino-like hardware IO which can dramatically reduce the redundant work for configuring and manipulating hardware. You can also Code like Arduino, but interactively in Lua script.
  • Imagine an Arduino with built-in wifi and ability to program Lua directly on the board that is under $10. That is the NodeMCU V2!
  • The difference between the Arduino Uno and the NodeMCU are:
    • The NodeMCU uses a micro USB port compared to a regular USB on the Uno
    • NodeMCU comes with more RAM of 128KB RAM compared to 2KB RAM on the Arduino Uno
    • It has lesser pinouts compared to the Arduino Uno.
    • Has built-in wifi compared to the Arduino Uno, where to connect it to Wifi, it will require additional shields and cost.
    • Documentation and community not as robust as the Arduino.
    • NodeMCU has 4Mbytes of ROM compared to the Uno with 32 KB which means the NodeMCU can store more code.

Make your own Arduino!

Do not want to buy a new Arduino or just want to try your hand at building your own Arduino? There is one last alternative for the Arduino Uno which doesn’t involve you buying a microcontroller which is to build your own Arduino!

For any electrician that uses an Arduino, this will defintely be a fun and informative project!

What do you need?

Interested? You can find the full tutorial on MakeUseOf!

Summary

Even though the Arduino Uno still remains as one of the best boards to get started with electronics and coding due to its documentations and community, currently, there are also many variations and alternatives that you can consider besides the Uno that are cheaper and also offer better performance!

What do you think of all these alternatives? Do let us know about your thoughts in the comments down below!

Interested in more Arduino Products? You can check out all the Arduino boards we offer here and also our Seeeduino compatible boards here!

Interested in more Arduino related content? You can check out:

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