There are plenty of great beginner Arduino projects that you can use to get started, but you’ll need an Arduino and some components first. Here’s our pick of 4 of the best starter kits for any beginning Arduino enthusiast.
This kit includes everything you need to get started with electronics using an Arduino, and a lot of things that will take you from a beginner to an enthusiast. It includes all of the basics: a Funduino UNO board, breadboard, cables, LEDs, resistors, and pushbutton switches.
But it also packs a lot of other things that will help you build some really fun things: temperature, flame, and infrared sensors; light-dependent resistors; a stepper motor; two sizes of seven-segment display; an LCD display; and even a joystick.
Funduino is Chinese company, so their instructions are badly translated and you will need to do a bit of research to find project instructions. Because of this, a little electronics or programming experience might be beneficial, but it’s not necessary. I used a Funduino board to build the Pomoduino timer, and was able to do so with little experience and a few online searches. This is the best value kit by far, but perhaps not suited to complete beginners who would prefer a precise walkthrough of the basics.
On the other hand, this one is a great kit for absolute beginners. The kit comes with numbered project cards that walk you through the creation of 15 unqiue projects from a blinking LED to an RGB light dimmer. One of my favorite things about this kit is something that’s very under-appreciated when it comes to electronics kits — each piece is clearly labelled.
Could you pick out an IR remote control sensor, an ambient light sensor, or a specific type of resistor without help? If not, then these labels will be extremely helpful.
While this kit comes few less components, you’ll definitely have enough to get started. LEDs, a micro servo and a small motor, 8-segment LED, push buttons, and a few sensors provide plenty of versatility.
The kit also comes with a prototyping shield as well as a breadboard, which means you could easily solder down one of your creations into a more solid piece of electronic kit.
Although you don’t get nearly as many components as you would if you spent $84 on a cheap starter kit and a sensor pack or two, the 123D Arduino basic kit comes with a high-quality project book with some really fun project ideas — you’ll create a musical instrument, make a spaceship interface panel, build a motorized pinwheel, and even craft a magic crystal ball.
In addition to all of the components you need for these projects, the kit comes with cardboard cutouts to make your projects more colorful. (It’s possible that this is meant for children, but I think it’s awesome.)
The basic kit also comes with access to 123D’s online project lessons through their platform Project Ignite. One of the nice things that’s included in this kit is a wooden plate to which you can mount your Arduino and a small breadboard; it’s a great way to keep things together and make your projects more portable.
And with over 150 components, you’ll have enough knowledge and parts when you’re done with the included projects to start building your own Arduino devices.
Like the 123D basic kit, the ARDX pack doesn’t include with as many parts as some, but it’s tough to beat when it comes to high-quality instructions. Not only does it have 11 different projects of increasing complexity for you to complete, but it also has breadboard layout sheets that you can cut out and lay over your breadboard, showing you exactly where to put your cables and components – great for those worried about wiring things in wrong.
This kit also includes an acrylic holder that you can mount your Arduino and breadboard to – not a necessity, but definitely nice for keeping things tidy.
Because the components that come with this set are rather basic—though it does include a cool force / touch sensor—you might outgrow this kit fairly quickly. You will however be familiar with the basics of prototyping and Arduino programming by the time you get through the instruction book, which is after all what a starter kit is for. In fact, it’s with one of these ARDX kits that our own DIY Editor James got started many years ago.
When you’ve outgrown it, you can easily upgrade with another component set or Arduino shield for $30 or $40 that will dramatically expand the possibilities.
Taking on your first electronics project can be intimidating, but if you work your way up from the basics, you should have no problem getting into this really fun hobby. Buying an Arduino starter kit is a fantastic way to get the pieces you need for your first project, and the four kits above won’t break the bank, either.
Ready to take the next stop? Why not try building your own Arduino?
Which Arduino starter kits have you used? Would you recommend them? Share your favorites below!
Image Credits:Introducing Arduino by Viq111 via Shutterstock