Raspberry Pi vs Arduino: Which is Best for Your Project?

When it comes to single board computers and do it yourself projects, two of the most popular choices are the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Both of these devices have their own unique advantages, and picking the right one for your project can make a big difference. In this tutorial, we will go over the Raspberry Pi and Arduino in fine detail, highlighting their pros and cons, and helping to guide you on making a decision between these single board computers for your project and its specific needs.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • Choosing between the Raspberry Pi and Arduino
Raspberry Pi vs Arduino: Which is Best for Your Project?
Raspberry Pi vs Arduino: Which is Best for Your Project?
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Raspberry Pi; Arduino
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Raspberry Pi vs Arduino

When it comes to single board computers, the Raspberry Pi is probably the biggest name in the scene. Everyone seems to know about it, and it is often the go-to choice when someone needs to buy a tiny PC. But there are a lot of alternatives to the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino being one of many. In the sections below, we will compare the strengths and purposes of the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, which should help you decide which device would be the best for your project. Since each device has a different scope, one can be advantageous over the other for certain tasks.

Raspberry Pi – All Purpose, Mini PC

The Raspberry Pi is, essentially, a tiny personal computer. It can be used in the same way as a normal desktop PC, albeit with less processing oomph due to its micro sized hardware. Despite its small size, it can still accomplish most normal tasks for a much cheaper price and less physical space than an ordinary computer or server. Many users choose to use the Raspberry Pi for interesting tasks like a retro gaming machine, a home theater computer, a firewall or router that can monitor network traffic, and other things.

The Raspberry Pi can also be used as a daily driver if you do not do any resource intensive tasks (think video encoding or modern PC games) on a regular basis. The Raspberry Pi is supported by a lot of various Linux distributions, including its own Raspberry Pi OS and popular distros like Ubuntu Linux or Fedora Linux. Suffice it to say that you have a lot of flexibily with the Raspberry Pi, and it is suitable for the majority of ordinary tasks, save for the most resource intensive of them.

As for hardware, newer models of the Raspberry Pi accommodate a wide scope of setups, offering HDMI support, microSD, USB 3.0, WiFi and Bluetooth integration, etc. This makes it easy to get started using the Raspberry Pi, as users can usually plug in all of their existing peripherals and do not need anything extra just for the tiny device.

Arduino – Hardware Integration and Microcontrollers

The Arduino has a much different purpose to the Raspberry Pi. While the Raspberry Pi is a general purpose PC that can cater to many different tasks, the Arduino outshines it at interfacing with various hardware components like sensors and acuators. Built for those who love to tinker, the Arduino is user friendly enough that even novices can wrap their head around how to integrate the device with other small pieces of hardware.

The Arduino is a more specialized single board computer than the Raspberry Pi. While the Raspberry Pi is more versatile in its range of useful applications, the Arduino does a few things but does them very well. Arduino is ideal for projects where we need to translate inputs into specific outputs. For example, reading an input in order to turn on a light or activate a switch.

Although it can also be used as an ordinary PC and accomplish a lot of the same tasks, the Arduino’s biggest strength is its ability to integrate with other hardware and applications, making it ideal for robotics, or internet of thing (IoT) devices, and similar fields.

Making a Choice Between Raspberry Pi and Arduino

When making a final decision between these two products, it will mostly boil down to the specific needs of your project. Identifying the needs and end goal of your project will be the most crucial part of your decision making process between the Raspberry Pi and Arduino.

If you will need a flexible and versatile device that can run the most of the same operating systems and software as a traditional PC, then the Raspberry Pi is going to be the better choice. This is also the best choice if you need to use a wide range of peripheral devices, since Raspberry Pi has many types of ports built in, as well as wireless connectivity for a broad range of consumer electronics.

On the other hand, if your project requires real time control, integration with other electronics like sensors and switches, the Arduino will excel in these types of situations. The Arduino can simplify such tasks and get your project up and running much more quickly or with less of a headache. While seemingly more complex, its presentation is straightforward and user friendly that anyone can get started with the device.

Closing Thoughts

In this article, we saw a comparison of the Raspberry Pi and Arduino single board computers. This rundown of the two devices, as well as the highlights of their strengths, should help you when making a decision about which product would be the best for your project. We would not say that one device is inherently better than the other, only that one device is sometimes more targeted for certain do it yourself projects than its counterpart.

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