Picking an ESP32 dev board

There are a bunch of ESP32 dev boards out there, and if you don’t want to make your own, you probably just want to pick one that just works well & is cheap. But which one is for you? Learn from my failures in picking boards.

Updated December 2020 (well, that’s when this was written)

For most use cases, these boards are equivalent and differ by pin count, board size, lipo support, USB port, and random accessories. If you just need an ESP32 (say for ESPHome / Home Assistant), here’s how I’d pick a board. Links to Aliexpress for your buying pleasure. (Need more to be indecisive? Here’s one big list, and another list). My recommendations on top, the others follow. YMMV.

ESP32 DevKitC v4

This is the defacto standard board, designed by Espressif (maker of ESP32). It’s available in a bunch of processor configurations (unless you know you want one of these, you can probably ignore the details and just get any). Note the ESP32 antenna leans out of the board. 

Options: ESP32-WROOM-32E, ESP32-WROOM-32UE, ESP32-WROOM-32D, ESP32-WROOM-32U, ESP32-SOLO-1, ESP32-WROVER-E, ESP32-WROVER-IE , EN / Boot buttons, 4MB Flash, ca 2016, CP2102N USB, microUSB, 27.9mm x 54.4mm

There are a few older versions of this board below.

Links: Espressif, esp-overview schema, pins, pins

WEMOS / LOLIN D32

A popular version with Lipo support. Want to run from battery? This is your board. I don’t know how WEMOS / LOLIN interact as companies, I suspect it’s all the same with different branding. Note that the battery connector is in the same direction as the USB port. 

ESP32-WROOM-32, Rev 1, 4MB SPI Flash, 240 MHz, 22x Digital, 6x Analog in, 2x Analog out, CH340 USB, 25.4mm x 57mm, Lipo PH-2

WEMOS, schema, pins

WEMOS TTGO Mini D1 / MH-ET Live ESP32 mini kit

This is a smaller version. It’s not suitable for breadboards (2 rows of pins), but nice for small spaces. As far as I could tell, the original is from MH-ET called “Live ESP32”, it’s commonly cloned (it’s open-source) as the “WEMOS TTGO Mini D1”.

ESP-WROOM-32, Dual-core, 160MHz, ca 2017, 4MB Flash, 4MB PSRAM, 3x UART, 3xSPI, 2x I2S, 18x ADC, 2x DAC, 2x I2C, CP2102.4 USB, 31mm x 39mm, not breadboardable, 3v-5.5v

pins, easyeda, repo, riot, mh-et, schema

Others

ESP32 DEV KIT DOIT v1 - 30 pin / 36 pin (DevKitJ v1)


There are two versions of this, one with 30 pins, one with 36 pins. AFAIK they’re otherwise the same. These are based on the Espressif DevKitJ v1 design (note the antenna is on-board), and replaced by the DevKitC v4 above. The specs are:

ESP-WROOM-32, 240 MHz, dual core, 4MB Flash, 520KB SRAM, 7-12v in, 25x Digital I/O, 6x Analog in, 2x Analog out, 3x UART, 2x SPI, 3x I2C, 30x GPIO, 36x GPIO, EN / BOOT buttons, CP2102 USB, ca 2014, SIZE?

30 pin: platformio , pins, schema, schema, thread

36 pin: pins post, pins, platformio , schema, schema, thread

WEMOS D32 Pro

This is the bigger version of the WEMOS D32. It has connectors for Lipo, Micro-SD card, I2C connectors, and a big TFT connector. If you want everything, this board is for you. For most things, it’s overkill.

ESP-32-WROVER Rev1, 16MB/4MB Flash, 4MB PSRAM, I2C port, TFT Port, Micro SD, 22x Digital I/O, 6x Analog in, 2x Analog out, 25.4mm x 65mm, CH340 USB

WEMOS, schema, pins

WEMOS LOLIN32

This is the older version of the WEMOS LOLIN D32. Note the Lipo connector is to the side. Just get the newer D32 version instead.

ESP-WROOM-32, 240MHz, 4MB SPI Flash, 32x I/O, 26xDigital, 18xAnalog in, 12x? Analog in, 3x UART, 3x SPI, 2x I2S, 2x DAC, 2xI2C, Sleep: 5uA, Hall sensor, 10x cap-touch, CP2104 USB, 24.5mm x 58mm, PH-2 battery

schema, pins, platformio,

WEMOS LOLIN32 Pro

This is the older version of the WEMOS LOLIN D32 pro. It has a microSD card and support for lipos. Just get the newer D32 Pro instead, if you need a microSD, or get the D32 if you don’t.

ESP32-WROVER rev1, 4MB Flash, Lipo, MicroSD, SP2104 USB

WEMOS LOLIN32 Lite

A small version of the LOLIN32. Lipo connector & small, what more could you want? Well, it has no 5V on the board, so if you need something with 5V (and plan to power via USB), don’t get this.

ESP32-DOWD6Q Rev 1 / ESP-WROOM-32, Dual core, 4MB SPI Flash, no 5V, 21x I/O, , 19x Digital I/O, CH340G USB, 25.4mm x 50mm, retired

pins, schema

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