The Arduino Platform is the largest open-source hardware and software platform in the world and offers infinite possibilities on what you can achieve using simple microcontroller-based products.
Arduino Starter Kits are useful for beginners in electronics and programming as all the hardware and software is open source and you can use these kits even if you have no experience in electronics and programming.
Why you need a Starter Kit.
The primary advantage of Arduino kits is cost. Because the hardware that they’re based on is so common, the kits tend to be inexpensive and allow you to do a number of projects without worrying that you’ll max out your credit card.
Arduino kits are also expandable meaning that you can buy more cables, sensors and servo-motors depending on the size of the project you choose to tackle. But you can start out small and work your way to more ambitious goals.
What you should know before buying a kit.
One of the worst mistakes I made as a beginner with Arduino was buying a kit hurriedly just to make my first project only to find myself having to keep on buying individual sensors and other hardware to be able to do more interesting projects which in the long run became very expensive. However that experience forced me to do more research on Arduino kits and I now have a number of them and can give enough advise on the subject.
The first thing to consider is the microcontroller board. Most of the kits usually use an Arduino UNO R3 board which is the flagship board of the Arduino platform. There are some kits that use other variations of the Arduino UNO R3 board. In that case, you should check to ensure that the microcontroller board in question is fully compatible with the UNO R3.
Secondly, you have to check the number and kind of electronic components and parts that the kit has. The more passive and active components in the kit, the better. This way you will be able to do many projects using the same kit.
Lastly, as a beginner you probably don’t know much when it comes to doing hardware connections and programming the Arduino board. Therefore, you need some guiding hand in the form of online beginner tutorials, a connection manual or a tutorial book. A good Arduino starter kit should have some manual or guidebook that you can use during the learning process.
The four best Arduino Starter Kits.
Now that you know what you need in an Arduino starter kit, let me share with you my recommended Arduino starter kits on the market.
Official Arduino Starter Kit
Designed by Arduino, for beginners. It has a wide array of components that enable you learn all you can about the Arduino open source hardware. The starter kit is based on the Arduino UNO R3 board.[amazon box=”B00UET6VJ6″]
The kit has over 200 other electronic components and parts including LEDs, sensors, a servo, a motor, LCD screen, potentiometers, resistors and transistors among many other components.
In addition to the hardware, this kit also comes with a project book from Make Magazine. The book, titled Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform Paperback, contains projects that guide beginners on the path of understanding the Arduino platform. This way, you are able to get comprehensive training.
Elegoo UNO Project Super Starter Kit
This is one of the lower priced Arduino Starter Kits available today. It comes with a CD with a PDF file in it, which includes more than 22 tutorials.[amazon box=”B01D8KOZF4″]
There are slightly advanced components like Joy Stick, IR Receiver and Remote, which might be little bit complex for beginners but once you are done with the basic projects, implementing these will not be an issue.
Designed for Arduino beginners and experts alike. It is based on the Sunfounder UNO R3 board which is compatible with the official Arduino UNO R3 board so whatever you learn using this kit is applicable on the official Arduino boards.[amazon box=”B087BFP3JN”]
This kit has a 63-page project book and DVD that provide detailed tutorials that you can follow with projects progressing from the easiest beginner-level tutorials to more complex tutorials for advanced users.
This kit is based on the SainSmart UNO R3 board that is compatible with the Arduino UNO R3, with the exception of a few small pinout features, such as the inclusion of analog pins A6 and A7 and the inclusion of SDA and SCL pins next to the AREF pin. However, it works the same way as the official Arduino UNO R3.
The SainSmart arduino starter kit also has more than 16 tutorials on projects for beginners and professionals. The tutorials are detailed and have project introductions and source code. These tutorials as well as online tutorials available on the SainSmart website and blogs will provide you with enough material for your learning needs.
From the reviews given above and from personal experience the best choice is the Official Arduino Starter Kit. Reason being it has over 200 components which is more than we can say for most of the other kits. Moreover, it comes with a hardcopy tutorial book – Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform Paperback.
However due to the price of the Official Arduino kit, of recent the Elegoo Super Starter Kit has become a fan favorite for many Arduino hobbyists and as such I would also recommend this kit as an alternative since it is relatively cheap and has many components with a tutorial book.
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