Arduino Tutorial: ESP8266

Do you intend to integrate an ESP8266 module into your project? Then read this post to find out which ESP8266 Wi-Fi development board is best suited for your project requirements.

The ESP8266 is a low-cost Wi-Fi module whose inputs and outputs you can control with an Arduino and, along with the newer ESP32, is probably the most widely used Wi-Fi module around Arduino. If you have worked with Arduino before, you can easily get used to working with ESP8266 as it is compatible with Arduino IDE.

ESP8266 modules in comparison

At the moment, there are a lot of development boards with the ESP8266 that differ in the number of GPIOs, antennas, size, breadboard compatibility, etc. The right choice of an ESP8266 development board mainly depends on your project and the goal.

Below is a table of the most popular ESP8266 boards with their specifications:


ESP8266 12-E NodeMCU

WeMos D1 Mini


4 (incl. TX and RX) 11 11

ADC pins

1 1 1

Flash memory

1 MB 4 MB 4 MB

Plug-in board friendly

no yes yes

USB to serial converter

no yes yes


€€ €€

ESP8266 12-E NodeMCU Kit

The ESP12-E NodeMCU kit is one of the most widely used ESP8266 development boards. It has 4 MB of flash memory, access to 10 GPIO pins and an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with a resolution of 10 bits. The board has an integrated voltage regulator. You can power up the module via the mini-USB connector or the Vin pin.

Uploading code to the board is as easy as uploading code to the Arduino. No FTDI programmer is required as it comes with an integrated USB to serial converter.

The board is very versatile and is great for beginners. So if you are working with ESP8266 for the first time, this module is a good choice.

>>> You can find this and other ESP8266 modules here!

WeMos D1 Mini

The WeMos D1 Mini offers 4 MB of flash memory, 11 GPIOs and 1 ADC pin in a small setup. So if you need something power efficient for an economical project, this is a good option.

In addition, the community has developed a variety of shields for the D1 Mini Board that allow you to create small and simple setups that require almost no wiring.

The WeMos D1 Mini Board is also a good choice for beginners. However, the board does not come with soldered header pins. So you have to solder them yourself.

>>> You can find this and other ESP8266 modules here!

ESP8266 ESP-01

The ESP-01 is very small and fits into many cases, so it is perfect for closed projects. The updated version has 1 MB of flash memory (the previous version had 512 KB). The module provides four GPIOs for controlling and connecting peripherals (two of them are TX and RX for serial communication). So if you need more peripherals in your projects, you might want to use one of the previous boards. The board does not have an integrated voltage regulator.

Therefore, you will need to use a 3V3 power source or add a voltage regulator to lower the input voltage to 3V3. Also, no USB-to-serial converter is included. Therefore, you will need an FTDI programmer to upload custom firmware.

The ESP-01 is great for applications that require only a small number of peripherals. However, if you are using the ESP8266 for the first time, we recommend that you purchase one of the previous boards. These are more beginner friendly and more versatile.

>>> You can find this and more ESP8266 modules here!

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