Last updated: August 14, 2021

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Have you ever wondered how dispensing machines, facial recognition, sensors and robots work? Are you a fan of robotics or creating electronics and want to program specific functions? Well, you've come to the right place as we'll tell you everything you need to know about arduinos.

We want you to always be informed about the products you are interested in buying and to function as a guide for your purchase, so you can always count on a review explaining in detail the features, functions, purchase criteria and much more of each product. But without further ado, join us!




Summary

  • The Arduino is an electronic platform based on both hardware and software and is capable of reading and recording almost any recorded command to generate actions based on prior feedback. This product facilitates the automation of electronic devices making life easier for many users.
  • There are several types of Arduino and each has different features and level of complexity. For example, there are, on the one hand, basic models that are used for educational or recreational activities, and on the other hand, enhanced and IoT models that are used in much more work-related environments.
  • The criteria and purchasing factors that you need to consider before buying an Arduino are of utmost importance for you to be satisfied with your purchase. Some criteria include what you want to use the Arduino for, how much programming knowledge you have, the presentation of the product and your operating system.

The Best Arduino: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about the arduino

We will now explain what the Arduino is, how it works, what its main features are and what benefits it provides so that you can understand what it does and what kind of projects you can do with one. We will also cover topics such as price, where to buy it and much more. Read on.

The Arduino is an electronic platform based on both hardware and software and is capable of reading and recording almost any recorded command to generate actions based on prior feedback.
(Source: Lenaerts/ Pixabay.com)

What is the Arduino?

The Arduino is an electronic platform based on both hardware and software components that can read and record almost any action or command that is programmed. This command reacts to multiple situations or actions e.g. light, sound, touch or any trigger that represents a reaction.

If the above explanation was a bit technical, don't worry, not all of us are electronics experts, have you ever wondered how the fingerprint reader works? Or for example, have you ever wondered how some people can turn on the lights in their house with a clap of their hands? Well, roughly speaking, thanks to products like the Arduino.

It should be noted that it works in two stages, first the electronic tablet (hardware) is connected to the desired device and then it is programmed by means of a platform on your computer (software). This way you can write and overwrite the different actions you want your device to do depending on the circumstances.

What are the advantages of an arduino?

The Arduino offers many advantages and most of them are invisible to the naked eye, for example, the facilitation of tasks. Nobody considers that there are many functions of electronics that facilitate or shorten our tasks and that is the main advantage. The Arduino allows us to make electronics think the way we want them to.

But that is not the only advantage of the Arduino, it also promotes innovation in technology and supports user creativity in the fast growing fields of electronics and robotics. Anything you can create is within your possibilities, so you could create something that changes the way we live.

Advantages
  • Multi-platform functionality
  • Simple programming
  • Encourages constant automation of devices
  • Boosts human creativity
Disadvantages
  • Price
  • Complexity of use for those who are not technologically advanced
  • Non-uniform voltage across different models

Basic, Enhanced, IoT Arduinos - What should you pay attention to?

If there is one thing you should pay attention to, it is the different types of Arduino that exist. Each one has different functions, with some having more action capabilities than others. If we were to go through each model we wouldn't finish the review, so we've separated them into three main groups; basic, enhanced and IoT.

Basic. Mainly the UNO, Leonardo, 101, Esplora, Micro, Nano and the starter kit. All these Arduinos are part of the basic category as their functions are quite simple to manipulate even for children and teenagers. The projects they are used for are more educational and recreational in nature.

Enhanced. Unlike the basic ones, this type of Arduino is used for professional and even research work. Some of the models considered enhanced are: Mega 2060, Zero, Due, M0 Pro, MKR Zero, Motor Shield, Proto Shield, MKR Proto Shield, among others. The variety of stock options is huge.

IoT. Finally the remaining type of Arduino is the famous IoT, if you've been wondering what that is, it's nothing more than the abbreviation of "Internet of Things" and just as the name says, they work through internet connection. Within this group are the models: YUN, Ethernet, Industrial 101, MKR GSM 1400, UNO WiFi, among others.

Basic Basic Enhanced IoT
Models UNO, Leonardo, 101, Esplora, Micro, Nano, Starter Kir Mega 2060, Zero, Due, M0 Pro, MKR Zero, Motor Shield, Proto Shield, MKR Proto Shield, MKR Connector Carrier, MKR USB Host Shield YUN, Ethernet, Industrial 101, FOX 1200, WAN 1300, GSM 1400, WiFi 1010, WiFi UNO, MKR Vidor 4000
Usage Educational and recreational Professional (electronics and robotics) Professional (electronics and robotics)

What projects can be done with Arduino?

Something that is not fully understood is the projects that can be done if you have an Arduino, especially for those who are just starting out. Basically any reactive function can be programmed in a device as long as the conditions exist to perform the action, but the most popular ones are the following.

3D printing. If you are not surprised by all that 3D printing can do then we don't believe you. These printers have undoubtedly revolutionised the way we create items and products but in order to work they require products such as Arduino (especially enhanced and IoT) to function and realise the designs.

Automation in products. Basically anything that involves an action due to a reaction, for example a soft drink vending machine. When pressing a button the Arduino will send the order to release a soda. The same case with the alarms that when an hour is reached, they sound (even though it is still 5:00 am unfortunately).

Facial, fingerprint and voice recognition. This is almost like something out of a science fiction movie. Many homes are already implementing electronic locks that open when they identify your fingerprint, eye, face or even voice. Well, for the lock to open it needs an Arduino to generate the action so you can get in without any problems.

How much does an Arduino cost?

Now we are going to touch on the price of this product which has a somewhat high price depending on the model. First of all you need to know that there are several prices and these are determined by the capacity to generate more actions, the power of the Arduino, if it has internet or not, among other factors.

The cheapest Arduino you can find is 300 MXN and it is one of the most basic and simple to use. Mainly in this price range you will find those that are used for educational and even recreational functions. There are other Arduino models that are around 400 MXN and are also considered cheap.

However, there are also high priced ones and they are generally used for work or research purposes due to the power they have. A high priced Arduino is around 1,000 MXN to 1,300 MXN. It is a matter of cost-benefit ratio but we assure you that all of them are worth it.

Buying criteria

Finally, we will explain in detail what are the factors and criteria you need to consider before buying an Arduino. Keep this information in mind and if you can make a note of it, do so, as it can make the difference between being satisfied or not with your purchase. Ready to move on? Get on with it.

Product usage

Let's get straight to the first criterion you need to consider and that is the intended use of your Arduino. This is very important because if you don't take it into account you could buy a model that doesn't meet the minimum required for your project or on the contrary, you could end up buying one that exceeds your needs.

Education. Let's take the example that you are a teacher in primary, secondary or high school and you want to make your students understand the process of creating commands and actions. Having an Arduino plus a device that works with it can make your class a success and inspire kids to pursue a career.

Leisure. However maybe you like to have fun with technology, maybe you want to make your own dispatch machine, or maybe you just want to show off to your friends and dim the lights in your living room with a single clap. If this is the case you may not want a very complex Arduino as you will be spending money in vain.

Work. The opposite is the case if you have a 3D printing business or only work in the area of electronics or robotics. In this case having Arduinos of the highest quality and power will have a direct impact on your work. Remember that you can always read the product features on the product page.

There are several types of Arduino and each has different features and level of complexity.
(Source: Mikołajczyk / Pixabay.com)

Level of product knowledge

How difficult can it be to use an Arduino? Little to very difficult, depending on your knowledge in electronics or robotics and on your programming skills. That's why we wanted to elaborate three groups where you're going to place yourself, depending on that is why we'll recommend certain Arduino models before you get around to buying one.

Basic level. If you have little or no knowledge about electronics, robotics and programming, whether you are young or old, then there is no better way to start than with the simplest Arduinos that do not have upgrades or internet, in fact, there are starter packages that will help you understand how it works.

Intermediate level. If you have taken some classes or courses on programming but you are not a programmer then you can consider yourself an intermediate level. The use of the Arduino is not that complex once you understand the basics of programming so you just need to read the manual to know how to use the Arduino.

Advanced level. If you work in this field then you can buy any Arduino and you will have no problem making it work. We don't have much to add here because you know what you need and how it works. However, it's worth mentioning that you're better off with an enhanced or IoT type.

Software and operating system

As we mentioned in this review, for the Arduino to work you need a computer and software to program it and enjoy it. But the type of operating system your computer has will determine whether or not you can use certain Arduinos. There are three main platforms today: Windows, MacOS, Linux.

Windows. To run the Arduino software you will need to have Windows Installer on your computer if you have Windows XP or later and the Windows App if you have Windows 8.1 or later. Make sure you have these requirements, otherwise you will not be able to use any Arduino.

MacOS. In the case of computers that use MacOS operating system, you need the X 10.8 Mountain Lion update or higher, this will allow you to program any Arduino that is available, if you have not updated your Mac or you have no way to update it you will have no way to download the software.

Linux. Finally, in the case of Linux, you will need to have Linux 32 bits, 64 bits, Arm 32 bits or Arm 64 bits to use Arduino. However, consider that if you have Linux then the Arduino YUN will run much more smoothly as it is designed with Linux compatibility making it easier to program.

The Arduino will allow you to program almost any device, for example a remote control car. (Photo: Tiki Shabudin / Pixabay.com)

Presentation

Finally, the Arduino's packaging is another factor you need to consider before buying your Arduino. Nowadays there are several ways to purchase your Arduino, it may come in a starter package with various accessories, it is also possible that it comes only with the user guide or you can buy it on its own, either way, consider it.

Package. If you don't have much idea of how to get devices that work with your arduino we recommend that you see if the one you are interested in comes in a package. These usually come with a few devices so you can program your Arduino on them and practice programming before jumping to more complex devices.

Guide included. Also consider that there are some Arduinos that come with a user guide included, this will help you know what to do step by step so you can program it and then use it in a device. You know what they say, always read the manual (even if it's a bit lazy).

Solitaire. Be careful with this, many times Arduinos are ordered without a user guide, leaving the user without the possibility of understanding how their new acquisition works or forcing them to download it from the internet. If they don't guarantee that it comes with a guide, we don't recommend you to buy this product.

So now you know, the next time you want to buy an Arduino, remember what you learned in this review. We say goodbye but first we invite you to keep reading or visit our other product reviews, we will be happy to guide you through your purchase. See you next time!

(Featured image source: Kanetsu/ Pixabay.com)

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