Best IoT development kits for developers and hobbyists

IoT technology is currently making our homes, gardens and even cities a lot smarter. Have you got a home improvement project or simply a fun IoT experiment you want to get off the ground?

When choosing the right kit for you, you can select between microcontroller-based boards, Single-board Computers (SBC), System on Chip (SOC) boards, and purpose-built boards supporting Smart Bluetooth and WiFi.

For developer pros to dabbling hobbyists, we've compiled a list of the best starter kits to welcome you into the Internet of Things.

For a full description of IoT see: What is the internet of things? See also: 12 best uses of IoT in the enterprise.

Read next: Seven best single-board computers 2018

SensiBLE IoT

SensiBLE IoT

Aiming to ease the design process for developers, SensiBLE v2.0 Single Chip (MCU+BLE) comes packed with pressure, relative humidity and temperature sensors, a microphone, an accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light sensor and it has Bluetooth integrated.

You'll also be able to take advantage of its single core (SOC) system-on-chip, low power ARM 32-bit Cortex-M4 CPU with FPU and keep secure with its Link Layer of AES-128 for encryption and decryption.

And because the firmware, Bluetooth and profiles are already integrated, you'll be able to create usable prototypes pretty quickly.

Buy here.

Grove Starter Kit Plus IoT Edition

Grove Starter Kit Plus IoT Edition

Grove provides a number of different IoT kits - some in conjunction with big names like Azure and Intel.

The Grove Maker Kit for Intel Joule is one of the best, with an embedded Linux system, and many features including sound, light, touch and temperature sensors.

Ideal for hobbyists, this kit only requires you connect the sensors you want to get going.

Buy here.

Mongoose OS IoT starter kit TI CC3220

Mongoose OS IoT starter kit TI CC3220

The Mongoose OS IoT starter kit comes with the TI CC3220 board and is ideal for creating low-cost IoT applications.

In this kit, you'll get an onboard Bosch accelerometer, a temperature sensor, and universal buttons.

It also comes with a wireless microcontroller and full integration with Google Cloud. To top it off, its online documentation is pretty vast, providing useful tutorials and FAQs.

More information here.

Microsoft Azure IoT Starter Kits
© Supermechanical

Microsoft Azure IoT Starter Kits

Microsoft Azurehas teamed up with Adafruit to bring us six IoT kits that include 'Azure Certified for IoT' single board PCs, sensors and actuators. Most kits include a Wi-Fi board, sensors, SD card and coloured LEDs.

Some are aimed at expert makers, so here we list the four more suited to novice IoT enthusiasts:

Adafruit Raspberry Pi Kit

Adafruit Feather M0 Kit

Adafruit Huzzah Feather ESP8266 Kit

SparkFun Thing Dev Kit

Tessel 2

Tessel 2

Ideal for developers with experience in JavaScript and Node.js libraries, the Tessel 2 comes packed with everything you'll need to create basic IoT applications and prototypes.

Included in this board is two USB ports, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, 64MB of RAM, 32MB of Flash and a microUSB port.

You'll also be able to integrate lots of other modules including accelerometers, GPS, RFID and cameras.

Buy here.

BrickPi

BrickPi

Looking for a fun IoT project? Look no further than the BrickPi3.

This starter kit allows users to connect to the Raspberry Pi and transform it into a Lego robot. This kit offers a single board computer, motors, micro SD, Lego sensors and a wireless dongle (to name a few).

Buy here

VERVE2
© Myinxus

VERVE2

This kit is aimed at complete novices, with no programming knowledge required. You use their app to convert information from sensors into text (or other) commands. It also enables users to collect data from the sensors and save it as CSV files which can later be saved online.

The sensors can be fitted to fridges or lights and tell you how often a fridge or cupboard door was opened or how often the lights are switched on in real-time. VERVE2 runs an open API so the data can be read in different programming languages.

More information here

Kinoma
© Kinoma

Kinoma

Kinoma is a ES6-powered device with integrated Wi-Fi, BLE, touchscreen, speaker, and microphone. It houses two products ideal for both fun and serious IoT projects: the Create and Element boards.

Branded as a scriptable hardware kit, Kinoma Create uses JavaScript to connect to sensors, and create IoT devices.

Alternatively, the Element board is another option, described by Kinoma as the 'smallest JavaScript-powered IoT product platform'.

This board comes with a pair of eight-pin expansion ports, 512KB of RAM, 200 MHz ARM Cortex M4 and built-in Wi-Fi.

Buy here

Avnet IoT Starter Kit

Avnet IoT Starter Kit

Avnet IoT Starter Kit includes an Arduino form-factor baseboard and SoC module, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity plus the ARM Cortex M4 Microcontroller.

This kit is also supported by Cypress's WICED SDK which includes integration with Amazon Web Service's and IBM Watson's development environment, making application development easier.

More information here.

Helium Starter Kit

Helium Starter Kit

The 'HeliumStarter Kit' includes its 'Element Access Point' for connectivity and the Atom prototyping module, with onboard sensors for temperature and pressure related tasks.

Helium will also provide developers with access to the Helium cloud which features unlimited storage, security patches, firmware updates and secure network access.

You'll be able to take advantage of Helium's dashboard which lets you configure, monitor and update your deployments.

Buy here.

Gemalto Cinterion Concept Board

Gemalto Cinterion Concept Board

The Gemalto Cinterion Concept Board is an easy to use and more importantly, expandable M2M and IoT development board.

If you opt for this kit, you'll get an onboard Java module, Penta-band antenna, mini sim card shield interface, 8 GPIO lines with level shifters, 4 ADC inputs and a USB cable to connect your board to the PC.

Because the board is so expandable, it is suitable for anyone, from hobbyists to professional developers.

Buy here.

mbed C027 Cellular Kit
© u-blox

mbed C027 Cellular Kit

This is a starter IoT development platform that allows you to quickly prototype applications for the internet of things.

Its features include a Cortex M3 microprocessor, Compatible with a standard based form factor with expansion board options, Free online mbed compiler and libraries, 22 GPIOs with SPI, I2C, UART, and I2S interfaces and USB drag-n-drop programming.

This kit is also supported by the opensource Arm Mbed development platform, which provides a wealth of information for would-be makers including free software libraries and online tools.

Buy here.

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