Arduino or Raspberry Pi: Which is best for beginners?

Arduino or Raspberry Pi: Which is best for beginners?

Raspberry Pi or Arduino boards?
Image by : Modified. CC BY-SA 4.0. Original images from Adafruit and Wikipedia.

So you want to get started with hobbyist electronics? The world is rich with options, two of the most prominent being the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino. But which one makes sense for you?

As we continue our celebration of open source and hardware this week on, many of our readers may be inspired to get started. To help you make your decision, we look back at this great summary from contributor Ruth Suehle, which posed some important questions you should ask yourself which may help you make your decision:

  • Is this for a child? Consider not only that child's age, experience, and patience, but also your own. How much time are you willing to spend working with the child on the projects?
  • Are there parts you'll need that are easier to obtain for one than the other? There's a vast Arduino community that has created shields (add-on parts that perform specific roles) for just about anything you can imagine. The Raspberry Pi community is large and growing, but you may find is easier to find particular parts for a given project for one than the other.
  • Do you need or want any/all the built-in goodness of a Raspberry Pi, like HDMI and USB ports?
  • What's your final goal? Are you hoping to learn programming? Do you want to play with a device for a while and then repurpose it? (The Arduino is good at doing one thing at a time, but not so good at multiple functions if you decide you want to move on to a more complicated project without buying a new board.)

Whichever you decide, we hope you'll make use of the vast quantity of open source guides, tutorials, and code samples out there to build something unique awesome. And once you do, be sure to share your story with us here on!

About the author - publishes stories about creating, adopting, and sharing open source solutions. Follow us on Twitter @opensourceway.