ESP32 vs ESP8266 – Pros and Cons

- Sep 13, 2018-

In this post we’re going to do a comparison: ESP32 vs ESP8266.

The ESP32 and ESP8266 are cheap Wi-Fi modules perfectly suited for DIY projects in the Internet of Things (IoT) field. These modules come with GPIOs, support for a variety of protocols like SPI, I2C, UART, and more. Best of all, they come with wireless networks, which sets them apart from other microcontrollers like Arduino.That means you can easily remotely control and monitor devices over wi-fi, and the price is low.

Specifications: ESP32 vs ESP8266

The ESP32 is the ESP8266 successor. It adds a CPU core, faster Wi-Fi, more GPIOs, and supports Bluetooth 4.2 and Bluetooth low energy.In addition, the ESP32 comes with touch sensors, built-in hall effect sensors and temperature sensors.Both boards are cheap, but the ESP32 is slightly more expensive.

The following table shows the main differences between the ESP8266 and the ESP32 processors.

the main differences between the ESP8266 and the ESP32 processors

More GPIOs on the ESP32

The ESP32 has more pins than the ESP8266, and you can decide which pins are UART, I2C, or SPI – you just need to set that on the code. This is possible due to the ESP32 chip’s multiplexing feature that allows to assign multiple functions to the same pin. 

Wrapping Up

So, at this point you should be asking: Should I get an ESP8266 or an ESP32?

It really depends on what you want to do. There is space for both boards, and both have pros and cons.

The ESP8266 is cheaper than the ESP32. Although it doesn’t have as much functionalities, it works just fine for the majority of simple DIY IoT projects. Additionally, because it is “older” it is much more supported in terms of software, and you might find help easier. However, it has some limitations when it comes to the GPIO mapping, and it might not have enough pins for what you intend to do. If that’s the case, you should get an ESP32.

The ESP32 is much more powerful than the ESP8266, contains more GPIOs with multiple functions, faster Wi-Fi, and also supports Bluetooth. Many people think that the ESP32 is more complicated to deal with than the ESP8266 because it is more complex. In our opinion, it is as easy to program the ESP32 as the ESP8266, specially if you intend to program it using the Arduino language.

However, the ESP32 has some cons too. First, it is more expensive than the ESP8266. So, if you’re making a simple IoT project, the ESP8266 might do the trick for a lower price. Additionally, because it is more recent than the ESP8266, not all software has been developed to take the most out of the ESP32 functionalities, there is less support, and more bugs. But on the long run these issues will be fixed, and there will be space for both boards.

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