Selecting the right Wi-Fi modules for your IOT Project.

Since IOT intruded into the hacker space with its super cheap modules,the ESP’s has turned to be every IOT hackers companion. With new versions being launched frequently, and the extensive support being received from different platforms like Arduino, NodeMCU etc coding  in these versions has turned out to be simpler than ever before.

But, Do these huge number of variants confuse you when you feel like kicking out the IOT Maker in you?  Well,then you found the right blog !

Lets not get bored with introductions!

The selection of the right ESP Module completely depends on the complexity of your project. It can depend on the number of lines of code or the number of devices or modules that has to be controlled with your ESP. Lets just take a look at the little ones in store.For not confusing you with all the 16 ESP variants, a few good ones have been already filtered out.




The Little One!

The game changer !!! . He was the first one to come into the market.

Why should you own the first one?

  • Pretty Small                    ( If size matters)
  • 2 GPIO                               (Sufficient for small and beginner projects)
  • Usable with Arduino IDE or Nodemcu
  • Cheaper than others
  • Can be a Standalone or Shield

Why not?

  • 2 GPIO                                         (if the project is big enough)
  • Not breadboard friendly
  • VCC needs external circuit   ( AMS1117)


ESP-01  best suits if you are a beginner who needs to get introduced to IOT, or if your project is small enough or if it needs lesser GPIO Pins.





A smaller version of the ESP-01. If all what you need is the Wi-Fi features then this is the perfect one for you.

Why own him?

  •            Smaller Size
  •             Breadboard friendly

Why not?

  •              No ADC
  •              No GPIO
  •              No LED indications
  •              Application as Wi-fi Shield Only
  •              Needs separate power supply(3.3v)

If GPIO doesnt mean anything to your project then this one can be a good choice!





A better outcome from the ESP Series!!With more GPIO Pins than its predecessors ESP-07 has found its place above ESP01 and ESP05.

Why Own The 7th in the Series?

  • 9 GPIO pins
  • Easy to integrate into PCB circuits
  • Can act as a Standalone
  • Arduino or Nodemcu Compatible

Why not?

  • Not FCC or CE Approved
  • Needs separate power supply(3.3v)

The 7th one is ideal for most home automation projects as it has 9 gpio pins unless they are your hobby projects.




The widely used one!! With more GPIO pins and SPI communication pins (as in ESP12E) ,the ESP 12 Series serves to be a better version for larger projects.

Why #12?

  •             11 Gpio 
  •             FCC AND CE approved
  •             SPI Communications pins
  •             Better flash memory
  •             More stable

Why not?

  •             Cost
  •             Not breadboard friendly
  •             Needs separate power supply(3.3v)




A breakout board with access to all GPIO pin of ESP8266.

Why Olimex?

  • Access to all GPIO pins
  • More flash memory (2MB)
  • 20 Active pins
  • Pad for Connecting UEXT Connector

Why Not?

  • It costs more than the ESP Modules


Adafruit Huzzah ESP8266 breakout


The common one with a difference!

Why Huzzah?

  •             11 Gpio 
  •             FCC AND CE approved
  •             SPI Communications pins
  •             Better flash memory
  •             More stable
  •             Sleak


SparkFun Thing




Sparkfun Thing is Yet another amazing development board .Being similar to Olimex doesn’t keep the “thing” back.

Why “Thing”?

  • Access to all GPIO pins
  • FTDI serial header
  • Micro-USB socket for power
  • Li-ion battery charger


                           Nodemcu v1.0

The one innovation for hackers!

Why NodeMcu?

  •  Inbuilt programmer
  • Inbuilt Power Supply
  • 11 GPIO pins
  • SPI pin out
  • FCC AND CE approved
  • Easy wiring for developers


Some other modules which may help!

Name LEDs dimensions (mm)            Notes
Bolt IoT Yes 30 × 40 Comes with an on Board SD card and technologies like Lib-Discovery and Fail Safe Mode. Has its own cloud for IoT.
Olimex MOD-WIFI-ESP8266[14] Yes Only RX/TX are connected to UEXT connector
Olimex MOD-WIFI-ESP8266-DEV[15] Yes All available GPIO pins are connected, also has pads for soldering UEXT connector (with RX/TX and SDA/SCL signals)
NodeMCU DEVKIT Yes Uses the ESP-12 module, includes USB serial interface
Adafruit Huzzah ESP8266 breakout[16] Yes 25 × 38 Uses the ESP-12 module
SparkFun ESP8266 Thing[17] WRL-13231 Yes 58 × 26 FTDI serial header, Micro-USB socket for power, includes Li-ion battery charger
KNEWRON TechnologiessmartWIFI[18] Yes 1 RGB 25.4 × 50.8 CP2102 USB bridge, includes battery charger, micro-USB socket for power and battery charging, 1 RGB LED and USER / Reflash button
WeMos D1 Yes 53.4 × 68.6 Uses the ESP-12F module, Micro-USB socket
WeMos D1 R2[19] Yes 53.4 × 68.6 Uses the ESP-12F module, Micro-USB socket
WeMos D1 Mini[20] Yes 25.6 × 34.2 Uses the ESP-12F module, Micro-USB socket
ESPert ESPresso Lite[21] Yes  26.5 × 57.6 Uses the WROOM-02 module. Produced in limited quantity as beta version.
ESPert ESPresso Lite V2.0[22] Yes  28 × 61 Improved design and feature to ESPresso Lite.
In-Circuit ESP-ADC[23] No 22.9 × 14.9 Uses the ESP8266EX



Still Confused?

Finalizing the board depends totally on your application. If you need to just check out the ESP Series or play around with it then the ESP-01 or Nodemcu can be shortlisted.

If cost is an issue then we recommend the ESP-01 series as it can do almost all the functions except ADC.The ESP-01 would need an FTDR Programmer or a CP2102 module  to interact with your PC. The CP2102 is a cheaper but good enough version which can do the programming and data transmission pretty well. Go for the FTDR if you find it attractive. Both does the basic functions all the same. Driver support is available for both the versions.PL2303 can be found as a cheaper version programmer than the two,but it has got fewer driver support.

With cost not being an issue the NodeMCU development board can serve the best purpose for all your needs. With 11 GPIO Pins ,SPI Pins, Inbuilt Programmer, inbuilt ADC and Inbuilt Power Supply it needs no other modules for operation or testing.

Selection of the other modules depend on your application.If your application includes installation at a location without eternal power supplies then the Sparkfun “Thing” would be the best of all.


Found this helpful? Did we miss out something?Feel free to share what you feel!



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