Jay Carlson gathered 21 different microcontrollers — all less than $1 — to find out which ones were good in various applications.
These MCUs were selected to represent their entire families — or sub-families, depending on the architecture — and in my analysis, I’ll offer some information about the family as a whole.
If you want to scroll down and find out who the winner is, don’t bother — there’s really no sense in trying to declare the “king of $1 MCUs” as everyone knows the best microcontroller is the one that best matches your application needs. I mean, everyone knows the best microcontroller is the one you already know how to use. No, wait — the best microcontroller is definitely the one that is easiest to prototype with. Or maybe that has the lowest impact on BOM pricing?
I can’t even decide on the criteria for the best microcontroller — let alone crown a winner.
What I will do, however, is offer a ton of different recommendations for different users
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.