Difference between Nodemcu ESP8266 and ESP32

Today we are going to see the comparison between NodeMCU ESP8266 & ESP 32. Before that, we have known the basics of NodeMCU ESP8266 and ESP 32.

NodeMCU and ESP 32 are two popular platforms used in electronics and programming projects, but they differ significantly in terms of hardware, programming, and other factors. Here are some key differences between NodeMCU and ESP 32.

Nodemcu ESP8266 vs ESP 32

What is Nodemcu ESP8266??

Nodemcu is an open-source development board used to build embedded & IoT-based Applications that required internet-based connectivity. Nodemcu consists of firmware that runs on the ESP8266 Wi-Fi SoC from Espressif Systems, and hardware that is based on the ESP-12 module. ESP12E has ESP8266 as a microprocessor which is 32-bit with a clock frequency of 80 MHz & in-built Wi-Fi features. Nodemcu has a flash memory of 4MB with SRAM of 128 kb & EEPROM of 512 bytes. Nodemcu has 16 general-purpose input-output (GPIO) pins & 1 Analog pin to measure analog voltage in the range of 0-3.3v. Nodemcu ESP8266 has a built-in LED connected to the D4 pin of the board along with a Wake pin which is a D0 pin that is used to wake the Nodemcu board from deep-sleep Mode.  Nodemcu uses various communication protocols such as four pins for SPI communication (Serial Peripheral Interface), two UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) Interfaces UART0 (RXD0 & TXD0) and UART1 (RXD1 & TXD1). Nodemcu also provides I2C communication functionality. For I2C communication Nodemcu has GPIO 5 (D1) for SCL and GPIO 4 (D3) for SDA pins, for SPI communication we have GPIO 14 for SCLK.

Nodemcu ESP8266

Nodemcu has a reset button to restart the Nodemcu & flash button to program the esp8266 chip but usually, we don’t need a flash button as we have a micro USB to program esp8266 also Nodemcu board contains an onboard USB TTL Converter IC to program esp8266 & Power on the board. The Nodemcu board has a Voltage regulator to main 3.3 voltage across the Nodemcu board. The VIN pin in Nodemcu can be used to directly supply the ESP8266 to power the ON board.  NodeMCU can be powered or turned ON using a Micro USB jack and VIN pin (External Supply Pin) such as a 9v battery. Nodemcu has an operating voltage of 3.3v & a current consumption between 15 µA to 400 mA. Under deep sleep conditions, Nodemcu has a very low current consumption of 0.5 µA. Nodemcu can be used in wearable devices that are battery-operated as Nodemcu consumes less power than Arduino.

Different types of Nodemcu ESP8266 boards

  • NodeMCU v0.9: This is the first version of the NodeMCU development board. It includes the ESP-12 module with the ESP8266 SoC. However, due to the large size of the board and some design flaws, it was quickly replaced by version 1.0.
  • NodeMCU v1.0 (NodeMCU V2): The most common and widely used version of the NodeMCU, this board includes the ESP-12E module and addresses many of the flaws found in the previous version. It is also known as NodeMCU V2.
  • NodeMCU v2.0 (NodeMCU V3): This version uses the ESP-12E core and has similar capabilities to the V1.0 but in a slightly larger size. It's also known as NodeMCU V3, but it's not as common as the V1.0/V2 version

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 Nodemcu ESP8266 vs ESP32

Boards Nodemcu ESP8266 ESP32
CPU single-core processor Quad-core Cortex-A72
RAM 64KB 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB
Internet Connectivity Built-in WIFI both Built-in WIFI & Ethernet port
Bluetooth Connectivity not present present
Price cheaper than ESP32 higher
Operating Frequency 80 MHz (can be overclocked to 160 MHz) 160 MHz (can be overclocked to 240 MHz)
Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) 10-bit 12-bit
GPIO 17 34


In summary, the choice between the NodeMCU ESP8266 and ESP32 depends on the specific requirements of your project. For simple IoT applications, the ESP8266 can be a cost-effective choice, while the ESP32 provides more capabilities for more complex or demanding applications.

"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."

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