Arduino Uno vs Arduino MKR Series

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The Arduino Uno board has been a staple in the maker and professional development industry, having a huge reliable online community and resources to tackle any developmental obstacle. While the Uno board is diverse in its application to many industries, Arduino has a specific series that is meant to tackle the growing industry of IoT development – the Arduino MKR series.

The MKR series may be the go-to-boards for IoT development even for people that have minimal previous experience in networking, but the Uno is a strong option. We’ll look at the advantages of each board so you can decide which board is best suited to your project.

MKR Series Form Factor & Details

Most people know the size for the Uno (being 2.7” x 2.1”), but since the MKR series are built for IoT development, its form factor is efficiently packed to fit in almost any design with its 2.42” x 0.98” frame for all MKR boards.

If cost is a factor in your development, it can range from board to board as the MKR series have 5 (6 if you include header/non-header versions) boards in its series. The Arduino Uno comes in at around $19.99 while the MKR series can range from $24.24 to around $71.00 depending on which board you buy.

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A000066 | Arduino Uno Rev3

Arduino Corporation Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

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Arduino MKR1000 WiFi (with headers) | ABX00011

Arduino Corporation RF/Wireless Development Boards and Kits View

Arduino Board Connectivity Comparison

This is where you’ll see the biggest differences between all the boards.

We’ll start off with the easiest and most familiar board, the Uno R3. It comes with 14 digital I/O pins (with 6 of them having PWM) and 6 analog input pins. The Uno R3 doesn’t come with wireless connectivity right out of the box, but you can add a Wi-Fi Shield to get this feature. There are hundreds of Shields that can be used on the Uno R3, ranging from a Relay Shield, a Motion Shield, and even unique Shields like Integreight’s 1Sheeld+ for iOS and Android.

The MKR series have the same number of I/Os across all their boards. They come with a total of 22 digital I/O pins with 12 being PWM pins. They also include 7 analog input pins and 1 analog output pin. While they are not compatible with Arduino Uno Shields, you can plug in your MKR into the MKR2UNO, where it allows you to turn your Arduino Uno Shields into a MKR based one, so this is great for people that have existing Uno Shields (though note that not ALL Shields are compatible)!

As of right now, there are a few MKR “Shields” where you can plug in your MKR, like the MKR Relay Proto Shield that gives you the ability to work with relays and also provides space to add other components to your project with its small prototyping area.

Wireless connectivity is the strong point of the MKR series. With its design tailored to IoT development, the MKR series has a variety of ways to connect wirelessly.

The Arduino MKR1000 is meant to connect to Wi-Fi, specifically using its WINC1500 low-power 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi at 72 Mbps.

The Arduino MKR GSM 1400 provides the popular SARAU201 GSM module to add this MKR global GSM connectivity.

For Lo-Ra WAN connectivity, the Arduino MKR WAN 1300 will be your board, with its added Murata CMWX1ZZABZ Lo-Ra module.

The Arduino MKR FOX 1200 gives the MKR the capabilities to connect to a SigFox network with their low-power data sharing capabilities. It comes with a free 2-year subscription, with up to 140 messages a day. Do note that as of the time of this writing, that this MKR has services in Europe only.

Not all MKRs are designed to have wireless connectivity though, as the Arduino MKR Zero is better used as a great educational tool for learning about 32-bit application development.

See related product

Arduino MKR GSM 1400 | ABX00018

Arduino Corporation Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

See related product

Arduino MKR WAN 1300 (LoRa Connectivity) | ABX00017

Arduino Corporation Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

Processing Power

The Arduino Uno is based on the ATmega328P, running at a clock speed of 16 MHz. In terms of memory, the Uno comes in at having SRAM of 2 KB, EEPROM of 1 KB, and a flash memory of 32 KB of which 0.5 KB is used by the bootloader.

All the MKR series come with the same microcontroller, the SAMD21 Cortex – M0+ 32-bit low-power ARM. This microcontroller has a clock speed of 48 MHz and a real-time clock of 32.768 kHz. Its memory is also impressive compared to the Uno, having SRAM of 32 KB and flash memory of 256 KB. Unfortunately, there is no EEPROM on the MKRs. 

See related product

ABX00012 | Arduino MKR ZERO

Arduino Corporation Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

Arduino Uno vs. MKR Series: A Side-by-side Comparison

The table shows a side-by-side comparison on the Uno and the MKR series:


In conclusion, picking the right board is dependent on what you are trying to achieve.

If you need wireless connectivity that works on a certain connectivity platform (Wi-Fi, Lo-Ra, GSM, or SigFox) and need to quickly start on development, the MKR is going to be your board, especially with the ability to use most Shields with the MKR2UNO board. The Uno is a solid versatile board with its hundreds of compatible Shields, cost effective solution, and familiarity.

Liked this article? Check out our other Arduino articles!

Check the comparisons on the Arduino Uno, Mega, and Micro.

Learn more about the Arduino MKR series.

Not sure what an Arduino Shield is? Check this video out!


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