In this article we will investigate the cost of the Arduino Starter Kit and whether or not it is worth the cost. We will also investigate whether or not it is possible to get the [better] components cheaper!
The Arduino Starter Kit is basically an Arduino board supplied with a project book, components to build those projects and a few extras.
I will start by saying that I am in total support of the Arduino ecosphere. A very long time ago I also bought my first Arduino-based electronics starter kit and I began my journey in electronics.
This led me into a 10 year career in manufacturing printed circuit boards and working in the electronics industry before finally setting up my own business, which you guessed it… uses Arduino!
So I can say for sure that it is worth getting started in Arduino but the question is should we get an Arduino Starter Kit or get the parts separately?
This article is not trying to be yet another “what’s the best Arduino Starter Kit” post. The question we want to answer today is…
Is The Arduino Starter Kit Worth It, OR Should We Buy Parts Separately?
The first thing I will do is take the list of parts found in the official Arduino Starter Kit and find the price for each of the individual parts.
In the following table starting on the left (you can scroll if you are on mobile), the first column shows the quantity found in the official Arduino Starter Kit as per what is written on their website and the next column just describes the item.
In the third column I have provided a link to the Amazon page where I got the individual item price from. You can use this link to check the latest price or the price in your region.
The next columns give the price at Amazon for the particular item and the quantity of the time that would be purchased at Amazon.
Next the unit price is the price that you are paying for each unit from Amazon. For example if you purchase 10 push buttons for $6.99, the unit price will be $0.699 per button.
The final column multiplies the quantity found in the official starter kit by the Amazon unit price. This column will give a theoretical comparison between the Arduino Starter Kit price and the price to buy seperately.
In some cases, such as for LEDs and resistors, it was economical to purchase a kit that contained multiple components that cover what is in the starter kit and more. In these cases there is just a single price for a series of items in the table.
Unfortunately as not all parts cannot be bought in multiples of 1, it is not possible to buy the exact quantities from Amazon.
This table simply serves as a calculation to tell us whether or not the Arduino starter kit is worth it.
|Qty With Starter Kit||Description||Check Latest Price||Price At Time Of Writing||Qty||Unit Price||‘DIY’ Starter Kit Price|
|1||Breadboard 400 points||[Amazon]||$6.29||5||$1.258||$1.258|
|70||Solid core jumper wires||[Amazon]||$4.71||140||$0.034||$2.355|
|1||9V battery snap||[Amazon]||$2.99||4||$0.748||$0.748|
|1||Stranded jumper wires (black)||[Amazon]||$13.99||60||$0.117||$0.117|
|1||Stranded jumper wires (red)||[Amazon]||(see above)||60||$0.117||$0.117|
|1||Temperature sensor (TMP36)||[Amazon]||$7.99||1||$7.99||$7.99|
|1||Alphanumeric LCD (16×2 characters)||[Amazon]||$5.99||1||$5.99||$5.99|
|1||LED (bright white)||[Amazon]||8.98||40||8.98||8.98|
|1||LED (RGB)||[Amazon]||(see above)||40|
|8||LEDs (red)||[Amazon]||(see above)||40|
|8||LEDs (green)||[Amazon]||(see above)||40|
|8||LEDs (yellow)||[Amazon]||(see above)||40|
|3||LEDs (blue)||[Amazon]||(see above)||40|
|1||Small DC motor||[Amazon]||$8.98||6||$1.497||$1.497|
|1||Small servo motor||[Amazon]||$10.99||4||$2.748||$2.748|
|1||Piezo capsule (PKM22EPP-40)||[Amazon]||$8.39||5||$1.678||$1.678|
|1||H-bridge motor driver||[Amazon]||$8.99||10||$0.899||$0.899|
|1||Mosfet transistor (IRF520)||[Amazon]||$5.95||10||$0.595||$0.595|
|3||Transparent gels (red, green, blue)||[Amazon]||$15.99||16||$1||$3|
|1||Male pins strip (40×1)||[Amazon]||$4.99||10||$0.499||$0.499|
|20||Resistors 220 Ohms||[Amazon]||$10.99||20||$10.99||$10.99|
|5||Resistors 560 Ohms||[Amazon]||(see above)||20|
|5||Resistors 1 kOhms||[Amazon]||(see above)||20|
|5||Resistors 4.7 kOhms||[Amazon]||(see above)||20|
|20||Resistors 10 kOhms||[Amazon]||(see above)||20|
|5||Resistors 1 MOhms||[Amazon]||(see above)||20|
|5||Resistors 10 MOhms||[Amazon]||(see above)||20|
Is It More Expensive to Buy The Arduino Starter Kit or Separate Components?
So what does all of this data in the table tell us? Is our ‘DIY’ starter kit better value than buying components separately?
If we were to purchase the whole shopping list above from Amazon, it would cost a whopping $216.90!
Albeit we could probably make a numerous start up kits if we did this!
However in many cases we are buying a lot more than we need, for example the 10 kOhms potentiometers come in a pack of 10 but we only need 3.
If we could buy these parts from Amazon in the exact quantities that we require, we would be paying the total price in the ‘DIY’ starter kit column.
Even then the total price for everything would come to $99.67 if it were theoretically possible to buy those items from Amazon in the correct quantity.
That is still slightly more than the retail price of $96.50 for the Arduino Starter Kit.
Also not forgetting that the Arduino Starter Kit comes with a (now plastic) stand and project book, which was not included in our Amazon shopping list above.
I even surprised myself with the results of this small study! It seems that the Arduino Starter Kit is certainly worth it, even at retail price!
Can Buying Separate Components For Arduino Be Beneficial?
With all of that said it still might be worth considering buying separate components and there are some other points that you might want to consider.
Here are some scenarios where someone still might want to buy parts separately.
Teachers / Educational Institutes
Firstly, if you wanted to make multiple starter packs (for example, you are a teacher and you want many starter packs for a number of students) then you may find that it starts to become cheaper to buy parts separately and in bulk.
However the Arduino Starter Kit is clearly aimed at the individual who wants to get started in Arduino and electronics.
There are Arduino kits that are more geared up to teacher and student environments that may be better for such a scenario.
For example the Arduino Education starter kit is suitable for up to 8 students, making it a considerably cheaper option than purchasing 8 x Arduino Starter Kits.
You can check the latest price of the Arduino Education starter kit on the official Arduino Amazon store by clicking here.
Quality of Included Parts
You may also want to consider the quality of the parts that come in the starter kit.
Let’s be honest, we live in a capitalist world, the parts in the kit are going to be cheaper so that the profits from the kit are higher.
Let’s take the servo for example, you can see the datasheet for the actual component included here if you are interested. We can see the specification in English over on the Servo Database.
Unsurprisingly the gears are plastic and there is a plastic bushing. This is a budget servo and there is nothing wrong with that.
I believe the parts in this kit are perfectly adequate for the intended purpose.
However if you value higher quality parts or intend to use the parts beyond the intended use in the kit, you might want to consider buying parts separately and choosing a higher quality.
This would also teach you to source components, a very valuable and overlooked skill to have, especially if you wish to work in the electronics industry!
If you do plan to piece together your own Arduino Starter Kit and include higher quality parts, you won’t have the included booklet but you can follow the projects on YouTube.
Getting Started with the Arduino Starter Kit
I hope this article has helped you decide whether or not the Arduino Starter Kit is right for you!
So where to go from here?
Once your Arduino Starter Kit is on order, why not check out some of the tutorial videos on the official Arduino YouTube. The best place to start is here…
In this article we have conducted a little study to compare the price of the Arduino Starter Kit to what it would cost to buy the components separately.
We have found that the Arduino Starter Kit is priced very competitively and seeing as it also comes with literature to get you started, it is probably worth buying in order to get started in Arduino!
If you would like to learn more about Arduino, my recommendation would be to go ahead and pick something from this list!