Difference between Arduino vs ESP 32

Today we are going to see the comparison between Arduino & ESP 32. Before that, we have known the basics of Arduino and ESP 32.

Arduino and ESP 32 are two popular hardware platforms used in electronics and programming projects. While they both serve similar purposes, they differ significantly in terms of hardware, programming, processing power, and other factors. In this article, we will explore the key differences between Arduino and ESP 32 to help you choose the right platform for your next project.

Arduino vs ESP 32

What is Arduino??

Arduino is an open-source development board that is used to build electronic gadgets, embedded designs, and wearable devices, robotics & IoT projects. Arduino is a platform where one can hobbyists, beginners, students, or programmers can develop projects, and devices by connecting multiple sensors, and motors. Arduino board consists of ATmega328P 8-bit microcontroller which has 0-13 digital pins, these pins are used for both digital input to read from the device & digital output to send data to the device from Arduino. Out 0f 13 digital pins Arduino has 6 ~ PWM pins used to vary the output voltage. Arduino has 6 analog pins to read analog values from the sensor. Arduino has a 5v operating voltage with a current consumption of 45-80 mA; in deep sleep, it consumes 35 mA. Arduino board has an operating frequency of 16 MHz which means 16 million instructions are carried out per second. Arduino can either be powered through the USB connection from the computer, from a 9V battery, or from a power supply. Arduino has a barrel jack to power on board and a USB port for code upload.

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It's designed to make it simple for hobbyists, designers, and professionals to create interactive projects that can sense and control the physical world.


Arduino has a flash memory of 32kb, SRAM of 2kb & EEPROM of 1kb. Flash memory and EEPROM memory are non-volatile (the data is still present even after the power is turned off). SRAM is volatile means information will be lost when the power is cycled. Arduino uses SPI, I2C communication & UART communication protocols to communicate Arduino with another device. Arduino boards are able to read inputs - a light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output - activating a motor, turning on an LED, or publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board, this set of instructions is written in the Arduino programming language (which is based on Wiring), and the Arduino Software (IDE), based on Processing. 

Arduino is widely used in thousands of different projects and applications. The platform is a great tool for making interactive objects, taking inputs from a variety of switches or sensors, and controlling a variety of lights, motors, and other physical outputs. Arduino projects can be stand-alone, or they can communicate with software running on a computer (e.g., Flash, Processing, MaxMSP). Arduino boards can be built by hand or purchased pre-assembled.

 There are different types of Arduino boards available

  • Arduino Uno: This is the most common Arduino board, great for beginners and simple projects.
  • Arduino Mega: It's like the Uno, but with more pins and memory - great for bigger projects.
  • Arduino Leonardo: Similar to the Uno, but with a different microcontroller that allows for different functionalities.
  • Arduino Nano: A small, breadboard-friendly board.

What is ESP32??

Esp32 is a low-cost development board with WIFI & Bluetooth chips embedded in it. The main feature of ESP32 that makes it better than other development boards is that it is dual-core 32-bit with an ESP-WROOM-32 LX6 microprocessor. ESP32 plays an important role in developing IoT-based applications as it consists of two wireless technology such as WIFI and Bluetooth. ESP32 has an operating voltage of 2.2v to 6v with the onboard regulator to provide stable voltage and an available output current of more than 500 mA. ESP32 has a dual-core processor which runs independently of each other. 1 core at 240 MHz, 2 cores at 240 MHz adjustable clock frequency. Esp32 has a flash memory of 4 MB which makes ESP32 faster. it has a built-in hall effect sensor.

ESP32 is a low-cost, low-power system on a chip (SoC) series with Wi-Fi and dual-mode Bluetooth capabilities. It's built around a Tensilica Xtensa dual-core processor, running at 160MHz (overclockable to 240MHz). With 520KB of SRAM, 34 GPIO pins, and integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the ESP32 is designed for simple, cost-effective, and power-efficient IoT applications. While it doesn't have built-in USB ports, it can be programmed via USB-UART, and while it doesn't include onboard storage, it does support microSD and SPI flash. It is developed by Espressif Systems. The ESP32 can be programmed using the Arduino IDE, ESP-IDF (IoT Development Framework), MicroPython, JavaScript, Lua, and more. ESP32 operates at 2.7V - 3.6V and has a wide operating temperature range from -40°C to 125°C.

ESP 32

The ESP32 includes a Tensilica Xtensa LX6 microprocessor in both dual-core and single-core variations and includes built-in antenna switches, RF balun, power amplifier, low-noise receive amplifier, filters, and power management modules. ESP32 is already integrated with antenna switches, RF balun, power amplifier, low-noise receive amplifier, filters, power management module, and advanced adaptive biasing for low-power operation. It supports a variety of Bluetooth features such as classic Bluetooth, Bluetooth low energy, and Bluetooth 4.2 specifications. ESP32 includes both RAM and flash memory, the size of which depends on the specific variant. Typically, an ESP32 variant has 512KB of SRAM and 4MB of flash memory. The ESP32 chip has 34 GPIO pins which can support functions such as ADC (Analog to Digital Conversion), DAC (Digital to Analog Conversion), I2C (Inter-Integrated Circuit), UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter), CAN 2.0 (Controller Area Network), SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface), and more.

The ESP32 is widely used in IoT devices, wearable electronics, smart home applications, and many other scenarios due to its features, low cost, and ease of use. It provides a high level of integration, and its extensive protocol support makes it a very versatile chip for building connected devices.

Both Nodemcu ESP8266 and ESP 32 belong to the ESP family NodeMCU ESP8266 and ESP32 are both popular choices for IoT projects, but they serve different needs and have different capabilities.

Types of esp32 development board

  • ESP32-DevKitC
  • ESP32 Thing
  • SX1278 ESP32 (LORA)
  • ESP32-CAM
  • ESP 32s

Comparison between Arduino vs ESP32

  • Processing Power and Memory: The ESP32 is significantly more powerful and has more memory than the Arduino Uno. This makes it capable of handling more complex tasks and managing multiple operations simultaneously.
  • Operating Voltage: Arduino Uno operates at 5V, while the ESP32 operates at 3.3V. This could impact the selection of compatible components for your project.
  • Built-in Connectivity: The ESP32 comes with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, making it an excellent choice for IoT projects. On the other hand, Arduino Uno doesn't have built-in connectivity, but you can add these capabilities using shields.
  • Analog Input Pins: The ESP32 has more analog inputs, making it a better choice for projects requiring multiple analog sensors.
  • Ease of Use: Arduino is generally considered easier to get started with and has a vast community and a lot of resources, which can be helpful for beginners.
Boards Arduino ESP32
CPU ATmega328P Tensilica Xtensa LX6
Internet Connectivity Ethernet Shield both Built-in WIFI & Ethernet port
Bluetooth Connectivity not present present
Software C/C++ languages micro python, Python, C, C++
Operating System No Required (Raspbian (Debian-based), Ubuntu)
Operating Voltage 5v 3.3v
Operating Frequency 16 MHz Up to 240 MHz
Flash Memory 32 KB Typically 4MB (can vary)
Cost cheaper expensive
Family Atmega Family ESP Family
Ease of use Easy and Simple for beginners Complex and Hard to learn for beginners
GPIO 14 (6 of which provide PWM output) 34
Analog Input Pins 6 18

Advantages of Arduino Uno over ESP 32

  • Extreme Community support
  • More number of GPIOs both analog & digital pins with PWM capabilities
  • It’s completely open-source
  • Beginner friendly

Advantages of ESP 32 over Arduino

  • More Processing Power: ESP32 has a more powerful CPU. It features a dual-core Tensilica Xtensa LX6, which can run up to 240 MHz, while the Arduino Uno runs an ATmega328P at 16 MHz and the Mega runs an ATmega2560 at 16 MHz.
  • More Memory: ESP32 comes with significantly more RAM (520KB) compared to typical Arduino boards (2KB for Uno, 8KB for Mega). This allows for more complex applications.
  • Wireless Connectivity: One of the major advantages of the ESP32 is the built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 (including BLE), which is crucial for IoT projects. Arduino boards don't have built-in wireless connectivity, requiring additional components or shields.
  • More GPIO: The ESP32 has more general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, allowing it to interface with a larger number of sensors and devices. The ESP32 has 34 GPIO pins, while the Arduino Uno has 14, and the Mega has 54.
  • Analog Inputs and Outputs: ESP32 has more analog input channels and also features two 8-bit DAC channels, which Arduino Uno lacks.
  • Lower Operating Voltage: ESP32 operates at a voltage of 3.3V, which is beneficial when working with sensors or devices that also operate at 3.3V.
  • Deep Sleep Mode: The ESP32 has a deep sleep mode for power saving, consuming less than 10uA, which makes it a better choice for battery-powered projects.

Conclusion -

The choice between Arduino and ESP32 depends on the specific requirements of your project. For simple tasks and ease of use, an Arduino could be a good choice. But for tasks requiring more processing power, memory, or built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the ESP32 would be a more fitting choice.

"I hope you find this IoT blog very helpful to you. In the upcoming lesson, we will see more about IoT till then bye. See you all in my next blog."

Close Menu