Raspberry PI vs Arduino: All you need to know [2016-2017]

Raspberry PI functions basically like a computer with several versions like Raspberry Pi Model B+, Raspberry PI2, Raspberry Pi and it has its own processor, output for audio, memory, video output, HDMI composite RCA, power source USB ports etc It works perfectly with Linux software’s when installed on it. Raspberry PI has its own operating system known as Rasbian(A Linux based operating system) and It is designed in such a way that other attached operating system such as windows 10 version of Raspberry PI, Android RISC, Ubuntu mate can also be installed on it to work perfectly. Raspberry PI is just like a complete computer embedded in a chip.

Arduino on the other hand is less powerful when compared with Raspberry Pi. It does not basically need a specific operating system before it can work. Perfectly it is usually coded in c language and can be regarded as just a part of a computer. Arduino boards includes Arduino UNO, Arduino Mega, Arduino PRO and so on. It is mainly used for electronics project where some line of codes are written to control the operation of a hardware.

Even though Arduino and Raspberry PI have many similarities, Only Professionals and experts have full knowledge of their differences and their area of applications as amateurs such as students often get confused about facts like their differences, which board to use for which projects and which board is easy to learn with. Arduino and Raspberry Pi are popular single board computers in the world today. This write-up compares Arduino and Raspberry Pi considering tips for making the right choice of selection.

Some of the similarities between Arduino and Raspberry Pi in terms of their creation is that they are both invented by European teachers as Arduino was developed in Italy in 2005 while Raspberry Pi was created in the UK in 2012 with the sole aim of enhancing electronics hardware skills amongst their students. Massimo Banzi developed Arduino as Eben Upton created Raspberry Pi.

An Arduino is just like the motherboard of a computer that can run a program at a particular time recurrently but a raspberry Pi can run multiple programs at once, hence it’s more complicated than an Arduino. Another interesting thing about the Raspberry Pi microprocessor is that even though its operating system is Linux it can be coded in several languages like java, python etc which you may be familiar with already. It’s even possible to compile already written codes in another language without making alterations on Pi but Arduino deals with sketches written in C. It also has its own libraries and classes which can be reused and adapted to suit your desired operation.  Basically, the differences between Arduino and Raspberry Pi can be fully understood from their area of application, some of the advantages of Arduino over Raspberry Pi can be viewed from the following points.



Further expansion

This is where Arduino outshines Raspberry Pi as you might want to expand your practical skills beyond the basics and try projects more techy, even though both devices can help you with several things, Arduino possesses many chips called shields that is easy to install on the Arduino and can enhance its functionalities with things like Wi-Fi, cameras, graphics, speakers, motor control, speakers, microphone and so on while the Raspberry Pi is an all in one board that doesn’t make use of chips hence, limited expansion functionalities.

Maximum power drawn

Arduino consumes less power and can be powered with just batteries but Raspberry Pi requires maximum uninterrupted power supply of 5volts, because of its continuous requirement of steady 5volts, it cannot be run on batteries.

Performance in unexpected conditions

Arduino can be put ON or OFF at any time without the fear of getting spoilt, In other words when Arduino is being repowered, it starts exactly from where it stopped when it was OFF. Raspberry Pi on the other hand runs on an operating system, hence it has to be properly shutdown in any case to avoid disruptions in software’s running on it and the crashing of Raspberry Pi.


Arduino is less expensive than Raspberry PI based on the versions of Arduino.

Less complex

Arduino codes unlike Raspberry Pi don’t need user to have full knowledge of Linux OS before it can be used, its code is basically written in C language and the techniques and syntax are easy to learn and understand.  Raspberry Pi requires downloading and installing software’s and libraries before Analog inputs readings can be obtained while Analog sensors and motors can be easily interconnected with the Arduino with the help of few block of codes.



Arduino is not completely the best when compared with Raspberry Pi as the usefulness of both hardware’s depends on their area of usage. The power requirements, cost and easiness to use is the main advantage of Arduino over Raspberry Pi. Some of Pi’s advantages over Arduino are discussed below


The Arduino is mainly designed to store only codes that are necessary for its current program hence it is left with onboard storage capacity of 32KB while Raspberry Pi isn’t designed with any onboard storage capacity, it uses an external SD card with as much storage capacity as you like to store videos, Pictures, apps and so on.

Network and Connectivity

In terms of networking, external shields need to be connected to the Arduino and series of codes needs to be written to interface them before Arduino can function in the same way as Pi making the process an uneasy one, where as Pi has an inbuilt Ethernet port to help it connect with several network. For example, internet can be connected to Pi with the help of USB Wi-Fi dongles.


Raspberry Pi has features of a computer like USB ports, HDMI ports, memory and so on hence it is 40 times faster than Arduino making you perform several  functions like playing games, watching videos, browsing the internet and so on at the same time. It uses FTP to share files and unlike Arduino it doesn’t require external hardware to perform most of it functions.

Ease of swapping OS

Another advantage of Pi is the ease of swapping OS i.e with the aid of an SD card, you can install the OS hence, making it possible to switch the OS by just replacing the SD card.

Just Basic Knowledge of Electronics required

You don’t really need to be solidly grounded in embedded system coding and Electronics before you can handle Pi, just a basic knowledge of electronics is enough but for Arduino, you definitely need good background in electronics to work with it.


Pi has abilities to multitask effectively, it is suitable for building complex projects that involves automation and controlling things via the internet, it is easily adapted as a database or VPN server and so on. It is 40 times faster than Arduino. While Arduino is a perfect choice for controlling a single buzzer, Raspberry Pi is suitable for controlling several buzzers over the internet at a time.


You should consider using Arduino if you have maximum urge to learn about electronics, you are an expert in the field of electronics, you are not too familiar with the Linux environment or not a computer guru, in addition to this, If your project doesn’t deal with networking and it’s easy to implement, if involves more of electronics and less software involvements for example Automatic temperature recorder, Automatic door lock, Automatic burglar alarm, Speech recognition system, building a wake up light, motion detection alarm etc. Arduino is the perfect choice. Arduino performs excellently when used to control small devices like lights and sensors.

You should also consider using Raspberry Pi if you are not a guru in the electronics world or if your project has to do with networking thereby requiring applications like Webserver. You can also consider using Raspberry Pi if you have great strength working in the Linux environment with its software’s, Raspberry Pi basically help to teach people how to code because you’ll need adequate coding knowledge to use it.

There are also situations where the two hardware’s are interfaced to achieve greater efficiency like Pi handling the networking allocation of data and reading it to the Arduino to control devices automatically. For example, an energy management system where Raspberry Pi collects data over the network and sends command to the Arduino to control electrical home appliances thereby properly managing energy at home.

Arduino performs function like Automatic sounding of an alarm when it senses an intruder but Raspberry Pi does more complex functions like tripping on an alarm whenever a specific person is sensed. It is a valuable hardware when we talk about Internet of things as it automatically controls the operation of machines without human intervention.

Raspberry Pi is very effective in projects like filtering spam calls or putting a type of captcha as a form of verification of human callers on the internet while Arduino can only be effective in projects like automatic call answering with an already recorded message.

I believe an amateur can either start with Raspberry Pi or Arduino based on the nature of project he/she wants to work on. The decision of choosing between the two is a matter of choice and experience but there are some factors you need to consider when choosing between the two hardware for your project.

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