Top 5 Arduino Starter Kits in 2024


The Top 5 Arduino Starter Kits

Wondering what the best Arduino starter kits for 2023 are? Arduinos are at the heart of electronics prototyping, and have taught countless beginners an introductory course to hardware and embedded systems. I use Arduino constantly in my projects, and I thought it would be useful to rank the best starter kits available. I will be ranking them by value and the quality of the supplementary materials, after all, you want a good deal on the kit, and you want to be able to follow the directions keenly to learn.

This ranking has a special place in my heart, because I consider an Arduino kit to be the single product that has had the most impact on my life. Personally, my very first kit was #2 on this list, but read on to find why I thought #1 was better.

#5: Official Arduino Starter Kit K000007

Value for price: Low
Quality and diversity of components: Fair
Supplementary & instructional materials: Fair
Price: $114.90 (2023)
With a price tag this high, it's hard to defend this kit, but I think it deserves some extra consideration for being an official kit with native English instructions and a genuine Arduino Uno, the mid-tier model, and this explains (albeit arguably does not justify) thirty dollars' worth of the price tag on this kit. Adjusting for the highly-priced Arduino, we're still left with around $85.00 to justify, and this kit really can't quite do that, having only a small but well-picked assortment of cheap components. 

Where this kit does shine is with a few unique projects and one of the better project guides I've seen. It still doesn't help me get over the price though. A full list of components included can be seen here

You can support Christopher's Factory by viewing or purchasing this Arduino kit from the official Arduino Amazon storefront HERE

#4 SunFounder 3 in 1 IoT/Smart Car/Learning Ultimate Starter Kit

Value for price: Fair
Quality and diversity of components: Good
Supplementary & instructional materials: Fair

This Sunfounder Uno-based kit is very fairly priced when it is on sale, as it almost always is for $59.99. If it were always $59.99, I think I'd be fanatic about this kit. At $89.99, I'm content with it, but even though I try to review items at the list price, this kit is on sale more than it is not, and this did play a part in the rating. 

I love kits that have a clear direction, rather than a seemingly randomly chosen assortment of sensors and actuators. This kit, in addition to having everything you need to build an IoT smart car, also contains the components you'd need to build some common beginner projects, for example the soil moisture sensor and mini water pump to make a self-watering plant setup. 

The instructions on this kit are a little barebones (I would be hesitant to give this kit to anyone under 13 or so), but can be followed along nonetheless. Speaking from experience, making an RC car from scratch is extremely rewarding for beginners, and I like this kit a little more for that. 

You can support Christopher's Factory by viewing or purchasing this Arduino kit from the official Arduino Amazon storefront HERE

#3: ELEGOO UNO Project Super Starter Kit with Tutorial

Value for price: Good
Quality and diversity of components: Fair
Supplementary & instructional materials: Good+

It's no surprise to see Elegoo on this list, but it may be a surprise that they aren't higher up. I personally got my start with an Elegoo kit, but I think they purposefully price this one a little higher than it deserves to attract people to their Arduino Mega kit. This kit comes with an Uno R3, which Elegoo is second only to Arduino themselves for quality. The variety of components leaves a little to be desired. I wish they would substitute the CD for some more sensors and the breadboard power supply for some modules. 

Elegoo makes up for themselves with some darn good instructional materials, complete with great pictures and English that is good enough to follow along. This kit would be higher if it came with a Mega, or if the price came down $10 or so. Like the SunFounder kit, Elegoo Uno kits are eternally on sale, and I took the sale price into consideration when ranking. 

You can support Christopher's Factory by viewing or purchasing this Arduino kit from the official Arduino Amazon storefront HERE

#2: ELEGOO Mega R3 Project The Most Complete Ultimate Starter Kit

Value for price: Good
Quality and diversity of components: Good
Supplementary & instructional materials: Good+
Price: $65.99 (2023)

Elegoo's Mega starter kit fixes most of the qualms I have with their Uno starter kit. The breadboard power supply makes sense in this kit because they actually give you a AC-DC adapter as well. In addition, this kit adds several of the more interesting sensors, including a gyroscope, accelerometer, RFID, motion detector, a sound sensor, and a membrane push-button keypad, and a soil/moisture sensor. These add quite a bit of value to the project kit, and this is evident in just how much longer the project documentation is for Elegoo's Mega kit over their Uno kit. 

Mega is the name Arduino has given to their higher-end board, which comes with more addressable pins for expanding project inputs and outputs, and runs on a larger, faster processor, and have a few more additional safeguards than the Uno in ensuring that novices don't accidentally ruin their board through user error. 

This kit also comes with a breadboard shield and a full-size, standalone breadboard, which is crucial for the prototyper's toolbox,  and it's quite disappointing to not see even a half breadboard in Elegoo's Uno kit -- no doubt intentional, to encourage buyers to go for the Mega kit. 

You can support Christopher's Factory by viewing or purchasing this Arduino kit from the official Arduino Amazon storefront HERE

#1: KEYESTUDIO 48 Sensors Modules Starter Kit for Arduino

(Their name, not mine)

Value for price: Great
Quality and diversity of components: Great
Supplementary & instructional materials: Good+
Price: $54.98 (2023)

KEYESTUDIO is also no stranger to the maker world, but perhaps not the first name that comes to mind. I was blown away by their 48-in-1 Sensor Kit. It has one small drawback that is arguably better, though, and I'll explain later. One of the best things about this kit is that everything on it is on a visually appealing and well-thought-out breakout board that can be plugged right into a breadboard. Yes, some of the other starter kits have components on breakout boards as well, but KEYESTUDIO took it to the next level with this kit. Everything is laid out for you; they did a great job in the module design as well as in the supplementary material in explaining what goes where, how to hook things up, and how to interface components with one another. 

This makes the entire kit (and the idea of learning Arduino altogether) significantly less intimidating. The color scheme makes this kit look almost more like a fun game, and the variety of modules and sensors provided in this kit surpasses the standard collection that has become commonplace among competitors. I could tell just from the project manual that this kit was better thought out, part of that being in the hidden treasure disguised as a drawback of this kit as well: there is no Arduino in the box.

Why would they leave out the actual prototyping board? I was actually ecstatic to see that. Often times, what happens with these kits is they include their own brand of Arduino (since Arduino is open source, anyone can make their own according to the source spec) at a significant markup. In the case of the Elegoo kits, there might be certain sensors and actuators you want that are only in the Mega kit, but to get them, you also have to pay for the beefier Arduino.

KEYESTUDIO said with this kit, "Here's the good stuff; here's the stuff you want. Go get your own Arduino," and I love that. 

If you have a 3D printer, maybe buy a three-pack of the cheap Arduino Nano and make embedded projects without worrying about the cost of the board inside. If you don't know what you want, get the stalwart Uno. If you know you're going to want to make more complex projects, get a Mega. 

The point is that this kit gives you all the most fun and exciting components without ripping you off, and allows you the freedom to pick whichever Arduino(s) suit(s) you. 

You can support Christopher's Factory by viewing or purchasing this Arduino kit from the official Arduino Amazon storefront HERE

So here's what I would do if I were you:

KEYESTUDIO also has a 37-sensor kit. If you want to save a few bucks, get that one instead.

Then decide if you want to buy an Arduino Nano, Uno, or Mega (I'd check the prices, usually a Mega isn't that much more than an Uno, and both are around the same price as a 3-pack of Nanos)

Then, get a breadboard or two, and check Aliexpress for anything you might want two months from now (since that's how long the shipping often takes). 

All of these kits (with the exception of #5) come at a great value and will bring endless entertainment and education to the user. 

For someone who has no electronics or STEM experience whatsoever, I might be more inclined to get them Elegoo's Mega (#2) kit, as it comes in a durable and nicely organized box, and the kit is more of an all-in-one package. In fact, I was really close to tying #1 and #2 for first place. The value and quality are great on both, it's more a matter of intended customer.

KEYESTUDIO (#1)'s kit comes at a slightly better value, and has a more unique assortment of components, and this combined with its excellent instructions is what won me over.