Best Arduino Starter Kit - Buyer’s Guide

Gareth Otwell By Gareth Otwell · Last Updated August 19, 2018

Anyone interested in designing and creating electronics must have heard of Arduino . In this article, we will provide you with two things; the list of top five Arduino starter kits and a buyer's guide. The list should save you hours of research time, for it consists of best starter kits that are currently available on the online market.

On the other hand, our buyer's guide will help you understand the product category; what is the Arduino starter kit, what every starter kit should have, what is the best kit for beginners, and so forth. If you are interested in Arduino, we highly suggest that you go through this article!

Best Arduino Starter Kits to Buy in 2018

Product Name # Lessons Included User-Friendliness Quality Price
Arduino Starter Kit 15 High High Highest Check Price
Vilros Ultimate Starter Kit 12 Low Medium Medium Check Price
Elegoo EL-KIT-003 22 Medium Medium Medium Check Price
Kuman K4-US 23 Low Medium Lowest Check Price
Elegoo EL-KIT-008 35 Medium High High Check Price

Arduino Starter Kit - Best All-Around Arduino Starter Kit

Made and distributed by Arduino, this starter kit includes everything a beginner needs, from guides to parts. Most notably, the package consists of a DC and servo motor, multicolor LEDs, sensors, and other vital components.

More importantly, this kit is perfect for beginners because it includes 15 beginner-friendly projects , through which you can learn the basics of programming and hardware. It will provide you with the essential knowledge and tools that will enable you to turn your creative ideas into a reality.

Some of the projects are:

  1. Light The RAM - you will learn how to make a musical instrument that you can play by motioning your hand
  2. Digital Hourglass - a convenient and helpful hourglass that you can use to regulate your activities
  3. Tweak The Arduino - this invention will allow you to control your PC via your Arduino
Naturally, there are other projects you can make with this kit. Both hardware and software are straightforward to use and flexible, allowing you to unleash your creativity. As you pick up the basics, you can also use the kit to create your projects. Most importantly, this package does an excellent job of introducing a novice into the world of Arduino hardware and software.

This kit is excellent for children and adults alike because it is immersive and fun! It doesn't guarantee that your kid will become the next Elon Musk , but it sure does teach them the basics of electronics and programming. The Arduino Arduino kit is also an excellent educational tool for technical schools, but it might be a bit too expensive for them.

The included booklet is understandable and user-friendly. But, some people might struggle with understanding several aspects of coding and firmware. Then again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing simply because it "forces" you to use the internet and solve problems. Having that in mind, you can also look at this kit as an excellent problem-solving tutorial.

It is the most expensive package on our list, but also the one with the best instructions, quality materials and plenty of projects; if you want the best, go with Arduino.

Pros
  • abundant and quality kit
  • well-written educational booklet with 15 projects
  • excellent problem-solving package
  • perfect for kids that are into electronics and programming
Cons
  • the most expensive item

Vilros Uno 3 Ultimate Starter Kit - Best Arduino Board For Kids

Ast the name suggests, the Vilros ultimate starter kit includes the original Arduino Uno 3 board, one of the most popular boards for beginners. Note that you can choose between three options when buying Vilros kits:

  1. The Ultimate Starter Kit, which includes tools and a booklet
  2. The Ultimate Starter Kit with the instructional CD that helps you learn the basics more rapidly and efficiently
  3. The Ultimate Arduino with Ethernet, the most massive package that allows you to learn extensively andcreate hundreds of projects
Note that the price grows as you select #2 or #3 option. The Vilros kit includes approximately 200 parts, including USB cable, board, DC and small servo motor (among other things.) The booklet is terrific, packed with useful data across 72 pages. While experienced programmers can use this kit, it is recommended for people who want to learn the basics of Arduino programming.
Some users noted that this kit should be used in schools to not only teach the kids on the basics of programming but also how to read and follow instructions. Indeed, the booklet is very well-written, featuring colored instructions and images that help kids or adults connect the dots on their own. You can also opt for the +CD kit to make the learning process audiovisual and entertaining.

You receive a genuine Arduino Uno 3 board, which is one of the main reasons why this kit is a bit pricey. The booklet includes 12 projects that will help complete beginners learn and adapt to their new hobby or potentially a new career (hey, you never know, right?)

The breadboard does feel a bit cheap, but it performs adequately. The wire and LEDs are a bit difficult to hook and screw in, but they are durable and functional. We should also say that the booklet doesn't contain any Arduino code. Instead, you will have to download the ZIP file should you decide to start one of the 12 featured projects.

All in all, the Vilros kit offered everything a beginner needs. Everything is functional and works as described, but it may be a bit difficult to get everything working on your first attempt. We suggest that you download the zip file to make your projects successful and fun.

Pros
  • features an original Uno 3 board
  • excellent educational tool for kids
  • includes 12 projects for beginners
  • you have the option to select the +CD kit
Cons
  • somewhat expensive
  • the booklet doesn't contain any code

Elegoo EL-KIT-003 UNO - Best Arduino Kit For School

The EL-KIT-003 is inexpensive, substantial and kid-friendly. The kit includes an easy to read CD that consists of a PDF booklet with 22 lessons for newcomers and coding libraries that make programming less frustrating and more entertaining. You can also download the Elegoo's beginner's guide from their official website (the manual is approximately 500 MB.)

Most importantly, Elegoo kit is compatible with Arduino software and hardware. This kit works well with Arduino boards (microcontrollers), as well as with their IDE. With this kit, you can make plenty of devices that interact with your PC, cameras, speakers, and so forth. It is highly functional and entertaining.

This kit will teach you (or your kid) the basics of Arduino software and hardware and will help you understand sensors and how they operate. According to Elegoo, anyone above ten years of age should be comfortable with using this kit. Of course, younger kids can use it too as long as adults supervise them.

Most notably, this kit uses the 74HC595 chip. The chip is inexpensive and efficient, perfect for a starter kit. It does run the LEDs slower than some other, more expensive modules (500k/sec vs. 8Mill/sec.) Nevertheless, running the LEDs 500 000 times per second is much faster than the human eye can perceive. Most importantly, if you buy it for your child or grandchild, they won't care that much about the chip's speed!

The included LCD is also very convenient and user-friendly. The LCD1602 Module features 4-digit with seven segments and a dot on the right bottom side. The display is perfect when you are building applications that require displays. For example, you can make anything from simple digital clocks to more advanced and sophisticated timers, or better yet, an electrical rolling dice.

We were shocked with the quality of this package. To be honest, we expected something cheap, but the package had everything you need to enter the world of Arduino. Elegoo made sure that the kit is packed with quality material and easy to follow instructions, allowing you to master the basics of Arduino with a straightforward package.

Pros
  • value for money package
  • comes with an instructional CD
  • features 22 lessons for beginners
  • recommended for schools (due to a low price and excellent quality)
  • quality parts
Cons
  • the CD tutorial could have been more descriptional
  • the case is somewhat small, making it hard to arrange all the parts once you open it

Kuman K4-US - Best Budget Arduino Kit

The Kuman K4-US kit is the most inexpensive product on our list, perfect for people who seek affordable Arduino kit. This particular kit is the upgraded version of the Kuman's original Arduino kit. This one includes:

  1. a PDF booklet with 23 lessons for novices.
  2. an instructional CD that explains the vital features of Arduino (such as the code and circuit). It also provides a general overview of the kit and its uses.
  3. 44 pieces, of which the most notable ones are UNO R3, 5V stepper motor, LEDs, etc.
This kit is inexpensive, not cheap, which is why the Arduino community has well accepted it. The package includes most common electronic parts that will help you embark on a new chapter of your life. Note that you can also contact the Kuman via email and ask for instructions, source code or information regarding their kit (do try it, they are amiable and helpful!)

We also have to commend the included CD because it contains all the necessary data for beginners. In it, you will find an Ebook, instructions, and plenty of representative projects that will help you transfer from theory to practice.

The plastic case, the one that holds all these compartments in one place is sturdy but a bit too small. Because of that, it will be difficult to put everything back in the case once you opened it. Also, not all parts are built to last (so to speak.) For instance, the jumpers are a bit slower than we expected them to be, and the mini breadboard may malfunction at times.

Despite these minor issues, the Kuman kit is definitely worth obtaining, due to its low price and ease of use. We suggest it for children, but also for adults that are looking for a new hobby. However, we can't recommend it to experienced users due to the mentioned issues with functionality.

If you are looking for an inexpensive Arduino kit to get your kids off their gaming consoles and phones, this might be the product for you. You won't spend too much money on it, but you'll enjoy most of the benefits of other, more expensive kits.

Pros
  • the most inexpensive kit on our list
  • the instructional CD is packed with useful and helpful data
  • amiable customer service
  • the package includes everything a beginner needs
Cons
  • not the most quality-made parts
  • the plastic case could have been larger

Elegoo EL-KIT-008 Complete Ultimate Starter Kit - Best Arduino Kit For Experienced Users

The Elegoo kit (EL-KIT-008 for future references) is a premium Arduino kit, featuring more than 200 quality components. It features a CD that contains a PDF manual with 35 lessons and a general overview of the package. This is an upgraded and more expensive version of the Elegoo's EL-KIT-003.

The EL-KIT-008 features plenty of helpful and useful tools for beginners and experienced users alike:

  1. The included MEGA 2560 board features pin header with marks, allowing simpler and more convenient using
  2. Beautiful and quality-made controller
  3. The DS3031 chip for more speed and smoother functionality
Elegoo ensured that all their components are sturdy and made of quality plastic, for safety and durability purposes. Most of the parts arrive pre-soldered, guaranteeing that novices don't have to struggle with soldering and assembly. Heck, even experts will love the time-saving benefits of pre-soldered components!

While we loved virtually all compartments in this kit, we were most impressed with LCD1602 Display module. It displays digits in two rows allowing you to showcase up to 32 figures, 16 in each row. The LCD features white characters on the blue background and is intended for displaying text and numbers.

The EL-KIT-008 is arguably one of the best starter kits for those that want a comprehensive introduction to the world of programming and electronics. The instructions are rigidly translated, but we are confident that you'll get the hang of it once you start your first project. You will encounter some misspelled words, but you'll also notice that Elegoo put their soul and body into this kit.

This is also the most expert-friendly kit on our list because of the quality-made and numerous components. If you are looking for a kid's kit, this might not be the best choice, due to a relatively high price and the lack of step-by-step instructions.

If you just started learning Arduino and electronics, be patient with this kit, and it will reward you in the near future. It is a bit more advanced than other packages on our list, which is why we recommend it to people who seek a challenge and not "a walk in the park."

Pros
  • the most comprehensive kit on our list
  • quality and components
  • well-written instructions
  • tons of compartments, sufficient for several projects
  • most parts are pre-soldered
Cons
  • a bit pricey
  • not an ideal package for kids

Buyer's Guide

In this section, we will talk a bit more about the product category, rather than a specific product on our list. Specifically, we will speak of Arduino and Arduino starter kits and why you should or shouldn't obtain it for yourself or as a gift.

What Is Arduino?

As we mentioned in the introduction, Arduino is an open-source software/hardware. It was designed with a purpose of bringing the complex and challenging worlds of programming and electronics to the general public, allowing amateurs and beginners to get acquainted with the programming and electronics.

The official Arduino hardware and code is developed and distributed by Arduino (#1 product on our list.) But because it is open-source software, all other companies are free to create and clone the Arduino's original hardware. They are also permitted to develop their own code, as long as the code is written in Arduino and is compatible with Arduino hardware.

Main Features Of Arduino Software

Arduino's syntax is similar to that of C and C++ programming languages (but mainly C.) Why? Well, C is a programming language that works closely with the hardware, allowing you to have direct communication with the machine. Also, Arduino is compiled before running and features its own IDE.

It is a cross-platform IDE , working with Windows, Linux, and iOS systems. The IDE is written in JAVA, which is another programming language of the C family. The Arduino IDE allows you to write in both C and C++ syntax, which is excellent if you want to learn both languages simultaneously.

Should You Buy The Starter Kit?

If you are even remotely interested in programming and electronics, obtaining the Arduino starter kit is always a recommended thing. Unlike conventional methods of learning programming and about electronics, Arduino starter kit carefully lures you into the world of software and hardware with its abundant packages and beautiful lessons.

We also mentioned that the Arduino starter kit is an excellent educational tool for kids and adults alike. The packages often include lessons, instructions, PDF manuals and CDs that help kids and adults learn rapidly and efficiently. More importantly, the Arduino kit is an entertaining and unconventional method of learning, which is what we need in the 21st century.

Arduino kit is an excellent product for two groups of people (mainly, others can buy it too):

  1. Adults that want to expand their current experience with electronics and programming, or for those that are looking for a new hobby.
  2. Arduino kit is an excellent learning tool because it helps children learn more about problem-solving, instruction-following, electronics, and programming.

What Is The Best Arduino Kit?

Pinpointing the best product on our list is hard. If we had to pick one, it would be the original Arduino starter kit made by Arduino. But, what if you just want to try out the Arduino projects? Naturally, if you're going to experiment with Arduino, you should then obtain the Kuman K4-US because it is the most inexpensive product on our list. To help you select the optimal product, here are the things you should pay attention to:

Value

How do you determine the value of the Arduino kit? Well, make sure that the package meets your needs. For example, if you already have some experience with engineering, programming or electronics, you shouldn't go with the cheapest kit. Instead, go with Arduino Starter Kit or Elegoo EL-KIT-008 because they have the best parts.

Then again, if you are in need of a budget kit, one that you'll use to lure your kids in the Arduino world, go with the Kuman K4-US or the Elegoo EL-KIT-003.

User-Friendliness

Yes, all the products on our list are starter kits, and they are all intended for novices. But, some have included lessons. Also, some kits feature an easy to read instructions, while others require that you do a lot of research on your own. Obviously, both features have their advantages and downsides.

Struggling to find a solution to a problem is often rewarding and will stick to your memory better than the information you receive on a silver platter. Then again, some of you probably want to finish your first project just so can experience and witness your first creation.

Quality And Durability

Beginners will have a hard time determining the quality of the parts. But, you can always refer to our comparison table to see the overall quality of the kits we reviewed. The good news is that all products on our list are quality made.

Even the most inexpensive Kuman K4-US comes with quality made parts that are built to last. Of course, some boards, sensors, motors and so forth are more sophisticated than others, but that is to be expected. If you are looking for top quality, you should probably go with Arduino or Elegoo EL-KIT-008.

The original Arduino kit will always have a special place in our hearts because it was the one that started the Arduino project. But, Elegoo is an excellent company too. We were really impressed with their EL-KIT-008 for it contained more than 200 tools and hardware pieces, all of which were quality made.

Conclusion

We could probably spend hours and hours talking about Arduino software and hardware, but we mustn't forget that this article is intended for beginners and people who are interested in finding the starter kids for themselves of their kids. Schools should also consider obtaining one of these kits for themselves if they want their students to learn a thing or two about electronics and programming.

Also, parents that would like to spend more time with their kids and get them off their phones should (seriously!) consider getting one of these kits because they involve creation and fun! And all of you who seek a new hobby should undoubtedly enter the world of Arduino. Never forget that you can always use Google or Youtube to find free instructions and Arduino project ideas.

Gareth Otwell

About Gareth Otwell

Gareth Otwell is a 28-year-old tech geek. Currently working at a big IT company. He chooses to widen the topics he writes about so as to provide his readers with an all-in-one go-to platform that they can use to research for just about anything. Read more

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