The Raspberry Pi Pico and the Arduino Uno are two microcontrollers that are constantly pitted against each other, ever since the Pico’s release in January 2021. A debate like this one can only go on so long because of how many factors are involved in the decision.

Indeed, there can be hundreds of things to consider when you’re choosing which microcontroller to buy. Neither the Raspberry Pi Pico nor the Arduino Uno is a bad choice by any means, but there are meaningful differences.

Here are just a few things that vary between the two:

  • CPUs
  • Energy Consumption
  • Programming Languages and Ease of Use
  • Memory
  • Pins & I/Os

Unfortunately, you won’t always know what you’ll end up needing until you’re knee-deep in an IoT project. We hope to help you avoid that catastrophe by outlining the most important details and specs for both the Raspberry Pi Pico and the Arduino Uno.

Raspberry Pi Pico vs Arduino: Side by Side Comparison

Raspberry Pi PicoArduino Uno R3
Cost$4.00$26.79
Size2” x 1.3”2.7” x 2.1”
ProcessorDual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ 133MHzATmega328P 26 MHz
Memory264 KB SRAM, 2 MB Flash2 KB SRAM, 32 KB Flash, 1 KB EEPROM
CodingMostly MicroPython, with C/C++ for advanced usersC++, can use Arduino IDE
Pins & I/Os26 GPIO Pins: 2 SPI, 2 I2C, 2 UART, 3 12-bit ADC, 16 PWM
8 PIO (Programmable I/O)
Analog pins: 6 (DIP) or 8 (SMD)

Digital I/Os: 14 (6 with PWM output)
USBYes (USB 1.1)Yes
Reset Button?No (reset button for sale separately)Yes
Sale
Seeed Studio Raspberry Pi Pico Flexible Microcontroller Board Based on The Raspberry Pi RP2040 Dual-core ARM Cortex M0+ Processor for Gamecube, 1pc.
  • Notice: We only provide after-sales service purchased from Seeed Studio
  • 🌱【High-Performance CPU】Raspberry Pi Pico features Dual-core ARM Cortex M0+ processor, flexible clock running up to 133 MHz. With 264KB of SRAM, and 2MB of on-board Flash memory.
  • 🌱【Multiple Software Support】Pico has rich and complete software support, it comes with a complete Rasberry Pi official C/C++ SDK, Micropython SDK.
  • 🌱【Rich Hardware Interface】Raspberry Pi Pico has 26 × multi-function GPIO pins, 2 × SPI, 2 × I2C, 2 × UART, 3 × 12-bit ADC, 16 × controllable PWM channels.
  • 🌱【Build Project in Tiny Size】Only 2.1cm*5.1cm ( as small as your thumb). Pico has been designed to use either soldered 0.1" pin-headers or can be used as a surface-mountable 'module'.

Raspberry Pi Pico vs Arduino: What’s the Difference?

Now that you have a basic idea of where the Raspberry Pi Pico and Arduino Uno diverge, let’s take a deeper look at their differences.

Arduino Uno Overview

The parent of the Uno microcontroller, Arduino, is an open-source electronics platform. It was launched in 2005 with the concept of being an easy prototyping tool for just about everyone. 

Moving forward, Arduino microcontrollers have largely dominated the market for brand-name controllers. Small hobbyists, students, and even corporations have been making use of Arduino products for years.

Arduino Uno has long been championed as their most popular microcontroller (and an incredibly popular one in general), but it is a little faded at this point. It was released back in September of 2010. Still, the Arduino Uno is far from obsolete. There are plenty of applications where the Uno comes in handy, especially for students and hobbyists.

Arduino Uno Specs and Features

In some ways, the Arduino Uno isn’t a fair comparison to the relatively new Raspberry Pi Pico with regards to size, price, or newness. But its specs do come surprisingly close, and it holds its own in certain contexts. 

For example, programming an Arduino is considered easy to learn because of its beginner-friendly IDE (integrated development environment). All Arduino devices use a variation of C++. This means the Arduino Uno’s code runs quickly and seamlessly.

The Arduino Uno isn’t particularly large or small in microcontroller terms. It’s 2.7” x 2.1”, which hits a good middle ground between lightness and convenient mounting. The size makes it comfortable to secure the Uno to whatever project you have in mind, which can be a little trickier with smaller boards that have fewer mounting holes.

Arduino Uno’s processing power and memory aren’t anything special. For IoTs and other inventions that are essentially “off” most of the time, this shouldn’t pose a problem. The exact CPU is an ATmega328P 26 MHz processor. For memory, the Uno has 2 KB SRAM, 32 KB Flash memory, and 1 KB of EEPROM.

Hand in hand with the weaker processor, the Arduino Uno uses very little in the way of power consumption. This can be extremely relevant with the limited energy source which is battery power.

Pins can really make or break a microprocessor design, and the Arduino Uno wouldn’t have been a popular choice if it lost a lot of ground here. It has 6 DIP (dual in-line package) or 8 SMD (surface mount device) analog pins combined with 14 digital I/Os. Out of these input/output pins, 6 have PWM output capability.

Raspberry Pi Pico Overview

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is well-known for its Raspberry Pi microcomputers. The Raspberry Pi Pico is their first foray into the world of microcontrollers, also referred to as MCUs. 

But don’t be fooled– just because it’s their first microcontroller doesn’t mean they’re inexperienced or untrustworthy. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has already established itself as a high-quality source with its microcomputers.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is a very new addition to the Raspberry Pi lineup. Seeing as it was only released in early 2021, the hype surrounding its release is just starting to die down. But this hype isn’t without reason. The Raspberry Pi Pico introduced some amazing features to the microcontroller market.

Raspberry Pi Pico Specs and Features

The tiny Raspberry Pi Pico can easily fit in any project you want to put it in. With dimensions of 2” x 1.3”, it’s a convenient package that doesn’t sacrifice usability. It still has four mounting holes, so you’re not losing out on anything there.

From a physical design perspective, the Pico has another advantage over the Arduino Uno. It uses a 40-pin DIP style board. In other words, it’s a board with rows of pins with rectangular housing soldered on. There are castellations all around the perimeter for easy soldering.

The advantage here is that the Raspberry Pi Pico can be attached to a variety of project pieces. You can combine it with a breadboard or surface-mount it. You can solder it to a carrier board or add on new headers. With the DIP layout, the Pico is a dangerously effective tiny package.

Processing power is much better on the Pico than it is on the Arduino Uno. The Raspberry Pi Pico uses a Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ 133MHz processor and memory of 264 KB SRAM and 2 MB Flash. As far as microcontrollers go, these specs make the Pico a beast.

Programming on the Raspberry Pi Pico is easier than on the Uno in some ways and more difficult in others. Like most members of the Raspberry Pi’s suite of products, the Pico uses MicroPython as a coding language. It’s easy to pick up, but it compiles slower as a high-level language that needs an interpreter.

Technically, you can use C and C++ on the Raspberry Pi Pico. It’s just not recommended unless you’re already at an expert level. The Pico also lacks the convenient IDE that every Arduino device has easy access to.

One area that the Raspberry Pi Pico really shines is its PIO pins. PIO pins, standing for programmable I/O pins, can be used to put together basic assembly programs. They can simulate peripherals and communication protocols. This unique feature is completely absent from the Arduino Uno.

Sale
Arduino UNO REV3 [A000066]
  • This board is your entry to the unique Arduino experience: great for learning the basics of how sensors and actuators work, and an essential tool for your rapid prototyping needs
  • Arduino UNO Rev3 is the most used and documented board in the world
  • "Uno" means one in Italian and was chosen to mark the release of Arduino Software (IDE) 1.0, now evolved to newer releases
  • It 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
  • Arduino is an open-source hardware, software, and content platform with a worldwide community of over 30 million active users

Raspberry Pi Pico vs Arduino: # Must-Know Facts

  • The Raspberry Pi Pico’s stronger processor means it has higher power consumption than the Arduino.
  • Both the Raspberry Pi Pico and the Arduino Uno have variations with WiFi.
  • The Raspberry Pi Pico uses mostly MicroPython but can use C/C++.
  • The Arduino Uno uses mostly C++, but you can program it through Arduino’s IDE.
  • Processing power is a clear win for the Raspberry Pi Pico, as is the cost.

Raspberry Pi Pico vs Arduino: Which is Better?

There isn’t an easy answer as to which microcontroller is better. The Raspberry Pi Pico and the Arduino Uno both have their own drawbacks and benefits.

Generally speaking, though, the Pico is the stronger microcontroller. It has a better processor, more pins, and a truly impressive DIP design that makes things very easy for even beginners to use. Plus, the PIOs tip the scales in the Raspberry Pi Pico’s favor.

All that being said, though, the Arduino Uno is still a great microcontroller. If you already program in C++ and enjoy the Arduino IDE, then it makes sense to purchase the Uno. Many projects will never need the Pico’s better features, so it could end up being a case of overspecing.

It comes down to personal preference at the end of the day, with the Raspberry Pi Pico being slightly in the lead overall. We suggest you purchase the one you think you’ll feel the most comfortable programming in, so long as they both will work for your project needs.

Last update on 2022-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Raspberry Pi Pico vs Arduino: Which is Better? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is Raspberry Pi Pico better than Arduino Uno?

The Raspberry Pi Pico is better than the Arduino Uno in processing power and cost. It also has PIOs (programmable I/Os), a more convenient physical DIP design, and more pins. That being said, the Pico isn’t necessarily better since the Arduino and the Pico use different programming languages.

It could be that you vastly prefer C++ and you aren’t going to use the Pico’s “better” features, effectively making them a waste.

Which is better between Arduino and Raspberry Pi?

Arduino products and the Raspberry Pi can’t be directly compared, since the former company sells microcontrollers and the Raspberry Pi is a computer. With regards to specs and features, the Raspberry Pi has a better processor, easy WiFi, and can complete tasks that are more complicated. It can also run multiple processes at once with ease.

That being said, the Arduino microcontrollers are fundamentally meant for physical computing projects and really aren’t in the same category.

How fast is the Raspberry Pi Pico?

The Raspberry Pi Pico has a Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ processor that works at 125 MHz. The actual cap for the Pico is all the way at 133 MHz, though, and you can run it at less than 125 MHz if need be.

What is the difference between Pico and Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a SBC, or a single-board computer. The Pico is a microcontroller. Whereas SBCs have operating systems (the Pi uses Linux), almost always have WiFi access, and can complete complex tasks, microcontrollers aren’t really meant for that. Instead, they’re used for IoT projects and other physical projects like robotics.

About the Author

Follow Me On:

LinkedIn Logo

More from History-Computer

  • Tom's Hardware Available here: https://www.tomshardware.com/features/raspberry-pi-pico-vs-arduino
  • Raspberry Pi (1970) https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/projects/getting-started-with-the-pico#:~:text=A%20Raspberry%20Pi%20Pico%20has,some%20creative%20physical%20computing%20projects.
  • The Pi Hut Available here: https://thepihut.com/products/raspberry-pi-pico
  • Tom's Hardware (1970) https://www.tomshardware.com/news/raspberry-pi-pico-reset-button
  • Arduino Documentation (1970) https://docs.arduino.cc/tutorials/uno-rev3/intro-to-board
  • Digikey (1970) https://www.digikey.com/en/articles/understanding-the-real-energy-consumption-of-embedded-microcontrollers