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Difference between Raspberry Pi and Arduino

Updated Jan 15, 2020

If you are interested in tinkering with electronics, you might have come across Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Both of them are electronic circuit boards that can be programmed to develop hardware and software projects. Over the years, these have become popular options for hobbyists and engineers as they are budget-friendly.

Let us delve into their details to get a better understanding.

Raspberry Pi vs. Arduino

Raspberry Pi is a low cost computer that has the size of a credit card. You can program it as per your requirements. Moreover, you can easily connect it to a monitor and keyboard to operate it. Arduino is a microcontroller motherboard. It is capable of running one program at a time. So, it can be considered a part of Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi is great for developing software projects. On the other hand, Arduino will make your life easier while doing hardware projects.

Common areas of use

  • Raspberry Pi is useful if you require a fully functional computer. It can be used for performing complicated tasks such as controlling a robot or a motor. It can also be programmed to play video games and movies.
  • You can also write code to develop a small computer that can perform calculations.
  • Arduino is very efficient for handling repetitive tasks. You can program it to perform operations like opening or closing of a door or switching on/ off lights. You can use it along with an IoT device and record the temperature. The information can be stored and used.
  • You can also send instructions to a simple robot.


  • You can easily connect Raspberry Pi using WiFi dongles or by a USB port. It also lets you connect with Bluetooth devices easily.
  • On the other hand, Arduino needs additional hardware to connect to the internet or Bluetooth devices. Shields and HATs (Hardware Attached on Top) will help you enjoy internet connectivity. Shields are modular circuit boards that let you connect to devices such as a camera, touchscreen, or an Ethernet. If you want to transform your Arduino into a rover, you will find a shield for that too.
  • Shields can also be added to Raspberry Pi to extend its capabilities. But it lacks the massive number of options Arduino has.


  • In terms of speed, Raspberry Pi is almost 40 times faster than Arduino. For example, Raspberry Pi 3 has a CPU of 1.2 GHz. So, it is capable of handling many tasks at once. This is due to its Broadcom BCM2837 SoC (System on Chip). This will help you to build complex projects with ease. So playing videos, music and web surfing is fast.
  • As Arduino has a processor of only 16 MHz, actions that require high speeds are not possible. Multitasking is not easy in Arduino.


  • Raspberry Pi does not offer you with onboard storage. It has a micro SD card slot. Here, you can use your SD card for storing data.
  • But, Arduino has onboard storage facilities. You can use the 32 Kb of storage space to store the code. This code will help you perform the tasks.

Plug and Play

  • Raspberry Pi is not a plug and play device. So, you need to shut the system down properly. This will help to avoid cases of file damage or corruption.
  • Arduino is a plug and play device. Therefore, when you supply the power to the system, it will start running. If the power is disconnected, it will shut down by itself.

Languages used

  • The commonly used programming language is Python for Raspberry Pi. Other languages like Scratch, Ruby, C, C++ are also pre-installed with Raspberry Pi.
  • In the case of Arduino, the commonly used languages are C and C++.

What is Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi is a small computer that can be easily connected to a TV or a mouse. You can tweak and program it to develop cool technical projects. It is widely used in many schools and colleges to teach students about the basics of computing and programming.

The computer has the necessary features of a regular desktop computer. It comes with the following features:

  • A dedicated memory
  • Processor
  • Graphics card
  • HDMI port
  • A USB port
  • It runs on a Linux based operating system called Raspbian.

Although it does not have internal storage, you can use your SD cards. This gives you more flexibility to experiment with different operating systems. It will also help you during debugging. Moreover, having a Linux based operating system, you can easily use the Linux API. So running multiple programs at once is possible.

Furthermore, Raspberry Pi can be set up using SSH or by transferring files through FTP. This is possible as the computer has independent network connectivity. Raspberry Pi has four ports available to connect to different devices.

Types of Raspberry Pi

The different types of Raspberry Pi models are the following:

  • Raspberry Pi B
  • Raspberry Pi A+
  • Raspberry Pi 2
  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • Raspberry Pi Zero WH
  • Raspberry Pi 3 B+
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+
  • Raspberry Pi 4

What is Arduino?

Arduino is essentially a micro-controller that is used for developing hardware projects. It is open source and consists of the following parts:

  • A circuit board that you can program
  • An Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment)
  • Required libraries

Unlike other programmable circuit boards, Arduino does not need separate hardware called programmer to load the code. You can load the necessary code by using a USB cable. Moreover, as the IDE uses a more accessible version of C++. So you can quickly learn to program it.

But as it is not a computer, it does not have an operating system. Therefore, code is executed as per the firmware’s interpretation.

Components of Arduino

The Arduino comes with the following elements:

  • USB
  • Various pins for connecting wires
  • LED indicator for power
  • Reset button
  • The primary Integrated Circuit (IC)
  • A voltage regulator
  • A TX LED for transmission
  • An RX LED for receiving inputs

Arduino is capable of accepting digital and analog signals from the sensors. It can then convert these signals into functions such as activating a machine or turning off an LED. You can send these instructions in the form of signals using the Arduino IDE.

The Arduino board is designed for interacting with sensors and devices. So, it will be high accepting sensor readings and providing input manually. Furthermore, Arduino is great for interacting with actuators. This is because an operating system may be difficult for handling read and response functions. Arduino has only one port to connect to the computer.

Types of Arduino

The different types of Arduino boards are as follows:

  • Arduino Uno (R3)
  • Red Board
  • Arduino Leonardo
  • Arduino Mega (R3)
  • LilyPad Arduino


Both Raspberry Pi and Arduino are becoming popular among people who want to do exciting technical projects. But to select the best device, you have to be clear about your requirements. If you are doing a project that interacts with sensors and other external devices – Arduino is the way to go ahead.

But in case you are developing a robot and have to write complex code, Raspberry Pi is a perfect choice. This is because Raspberry Pi will give you maximum flexibility for handling complicated code.

If you are looking for a simple device to perform repetitive tasks efficiently, Arduino will suit you the best. But if you want to multitask with ease, you have to use Raspberry Pi. Therefore, it all depends upon the type of project you are working on.