The Arduino and Raspberry Pi are single-board microcomputers you can use to build your projects. They have many similarities, but their differences are pretty crucial. Microcontrollers are small computer processors that you can program to perform specific tasks. These microcontrollers are used in various applications, from robots to home automation systems to musical instruments.
Raspberry Pi is can be used as a portable media player, an internet gateway, or even a cheap way to connect sensors to your computer’s network. It has an ARM CPU with 512MB of RAM and can run Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X. The main selling point of this device is that it is cheap and easy to use.
Arduino is similar in many ways to Raspberry Pi but offers more features than just being able to play music on your computer network. It comes with an operating system that allows you to use its programming language (Ethernet), making it possible to create programs that control other devices, such as motors and lights. This gives you more creative freedom when designing your projects.
If you’re curious whether Arduino or Raspberry Pi is best for your use case, follow along as we break them down below.
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: Full Comparison
The Italian microcontroller, Arduino, and the British single-board microprocessor, Raspberry Pi, are both mini-units of the tech industry. They are very popular worldwide. DIY projects in hardware and software are steadily increasing, prompting tech hobbyists around the globe to test their skills. The tech hobbyist does this by inventing common devices in their homes, such as:
- Controllers for a thermometer reading
- Remote control for door opening and closing
- Smart robots
- Drones, etc.
And, to create these DIY gadgets, there are unique hardware components involved. Different companies manufacture the hardware components that are used. These hardware components are usually designed in compact forms and they come at affordable prices. Thereby making them more accessible for many tech lovers to practice their skills.
Now, with that briefing on DIY projects, you can understand why we are talking about Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Many people regard Arduino and Raspberry Pi as competitors in the same field. Meanwhile, they both function differently.
Arduino, on the one hand, is a microcontroller that runs only compiled C-Code. This makes it suitable to carry out tasks that involve basic output and single-thread inputs, like turning the lights off or on, opening the door, etc.
On the other hand, Raspberry Pi is a microprocessor that also functions as a stand-alone system, making it the better option for carrying out more difficult tasks that demand different outputs and many programs, such as:
- Controlling robots
- Website development
- Internet posting, etc.
Arduino and Raspberry Pi have varied usage. However, they are both still widely used by DIY tech hobbyists and experts around the globe.
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Price Range||$18 to $65||$35 to $75 (Raspberry Pi Zero W priced at $5)|
|Storage||Flash memory of 32kb||USB and Micro SD Card|
|Microcontroller/CPU||16MHz ATMega 328P||1.5GHz quad-core ARM V8 – A|
|Power||6 – 20V through DC input||5V 3A|
|RAM||2kb SRAM||1GB to 8GB|
|GPIO||14, inclusive of 6 Analog inputs and 6 PWM||40|
|Network/Connectivity||Demands the use of Arduino Shield||5GHz AC, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Gigabit Ethernet|
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: What’s the Difference?
So, we would be starting our comparison based on their price. Currently, a Raspberry Pi board costs around $35 to $75 USD. The cost depends on the variation of the model you wish to get. While an Arduino board costs around $18 to $65 USD, depending on the model type.
Their price is determined by the increase or decrease of the RAM capacity in either of the models. An increase in your RAM causes an increase in the price and vice versa. Despite this board price, the Raspberry Pi’s smallest model — Raspberry Pi Zero — is priced at a minimal $5 USD. But, this Raspberry Pi Zero has reduced functionality.
So, as for the price, Arduino is the winner because it presents a lower price for its boards than the Raspberry Pi.
Arduino UNO Rev 3
- Clock speed of 16Mhz
- 32Kb flash memory and 2Kb SD RAM
- 14 GPIO pins
- Operating voltage of 5V
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B
- Clock speed of 1.5GHz
- 4GB eMMC memory (Embedded Multi Media Card)
- 40 GPIO pin
- Operating voltage of 5V
When you look at their specs, you will notice that they both share some things in common. Still, Raspberry Pi seems to have the upper hand in areas like speed, where Raspberry Pi runs 100 times faster than Arduino.
The Arduino is smaller than a Raspberry Pi but more expensive, while the Raspberry Pi is larger than an Arduino but much less expensive. Other differences exist between these two devices, such as their operating systems or how they connect to your computer (through Wi-Fi or USB).
Open-Source vs. Closed-Source Architecture
Another difference is that the Arduino features an open-source design, while the Raspberry Pi is a closed design. This allows developers to develop software for it but not the hardware itself.
The open-source design of Arduino means that anyone can download the software and hardware designs, modify them, and use them to create their projects. This makes it easier to find parts, tools, and resources to make all kinds of cool stuff with your new Arduino or Raspberry Pi.
Another difference between the two is the Raspberry Pi uses an ARM processor while the Arduino uses an Atmel processor. This means that if you want to do something advanced on your Arduino or Raspberry Pi — like write code for games or apps — you’ll need a different chip than either one supports directly. But, if you want to do a simple project with lights or sensors that need some computing power (like controlling lights with music or making coffee), then either one will do just fine!
Data Processing Unit of the Two Boards
Another major difference between Arduino and Raspberry Pi is that Arduino is a microcontroller and it uses a physical circuit that can be programmed. Raspberry Pi is a mini computer-based board that uses a microprocessor to perform Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) operations.
The CPU, RAM, and ROM are all embedded in the Arduino board’s microcontroller. At the same time, its included hardware is specified for programming, IO network, and power supply. On the other hand, the Raspberry Pi SBC board serves like a computer because it presents features like:
- A graphics driver
The Raspberry Pi’s complex nature requires an operating system (OS) backing to run it. Preferably Linux, as recommended by the Raspberry Pi group. The Arduino board, being a microcontroller, is not as complex as the Raspberry Pi. So, it does not demand an OS to run it in carrying out tasks.
Power Supply and Management
In terms of the power supply of the two boards, they are both powered by a USB. Raspberry Pi utilizes a USB Type C or a micro-USB power supply channel. Arduino, however, utilizes a USB Type B power supply channel.
As a result of the complexity of Raspberry Pi, it demands a greater current for its power supply. On the other hand, Arduino can use a computer USB port to serve as a power source. This Arduino’s ability is because it is not as demanding as the Raspberry Pi.
As for power management, using Raspberry Pi should be carefully considered against power interruption. Fluctuation of power can cause damage to either:
- The software
- The hardware
- The application itself in Raspberry Pi
So, employing an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) is a good habit because it can protect the system from potential power interruption damage.
Arduino, however, is unperturbed by power breaks because it can pick up easily after any sudden power interruption. Not just picking up, it can restart its working process without any challenges. Therefore, Arduino is the better option regarding power supply and management.
Ability to Perform Task
Raspberry Pi functions extraordinarily in application software development using Python. In contrast, Arduino is a good option for connecting sensors and manipulating motors and LEDs. Nevertheless, Raspberry Pi can also carry out Arduino functions. That is why it comes with a 40-pin General-Purpose Input/Output (GPIO). This 40-pin GPIO helps to support inquisitive minds in learning how programming works by the control of the hardware.
Raspberry Pi uses GPIO pins to link electronic units like LEDs, sensors, buttons, motors, etc., to its board. On the other hand, Arduino can also include some specific features on its board using Arduino Shields. Features like an SD card reader, touchscreens, cameras, ethernet connection, Wi-Fi, and a motor driver can be included with Arduino Shields connected to the Arduino pin headers.
Although Raspberry Pi is a stand-alone board, it is easy to include external hardware like:
- RGB panel
So, in terms of functionality, Raspberry Pi is the better option.
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Raspberry Pi’s operating system was formerly known as Raspbian, a distinct form of standard Linux. However, currently, it is called Raspberry Pi OS.
- Arduino does not have a complete operating system but uses its Firmware to interpret written codes.
- Raspberry Pi contains a Broadcom CPU embedded within a chip, SoC that is accompanied by an integrated ARM CPU (Central Processing Unit), and a GPU on a chip.
- Raspberry Pi uses Python IDLE, Eclipse IDE, and any Linux-supported IDE for code development. Arduino, however, uses only Arduino IDE to develop codes.
- Simultaneous performance of several tasks is possible with the Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi does this because it utilizes a strong processor and a Linux-based operating system.
Arduino vs. Raspberry Pi: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Use?
After looking at the variants of the two boards, it is without a doubt that Raspberry Pi is the better option, considering its advantages like (but not limited to):
- An outstanding processing speed
- Improved supported internet services
- The ability to carry out complex tasks
Thereby making it capable of meeting the demands of its users without any other assistance. However, Arduino is also a great pick because it has a very easy-to-use interface and solid power management for an affordable price.
It’s important to note that your kind of project determines the kind of board that suits you. So, be sure that you are clear on your uses before making a decision.