Some services lock you into using just their hardware or transport - Adafruit IO is agnostic about what it is that’s connecting. In theory, anything that can send messages over the Internet will work. But we do have some recommendations.


The Adafruit Feather line of microcontrollers are low cost, have built-in networking and battery charging, and are easy to program with our Arduino libraries.

If you are planning to use WiFi, the Adafruit Feather HUZZAH with ESP8266 is a common choice for ultra-low cost, but has few GPIO. 

Adafruit Feather HUZZAH with ESP8266 is our take on an 'all-in-one' ESP8266 WiFi development board with built in USB and battery charging. Its an ESP8266 WiFi module with all the extras you need, ready to rock!

For more power but still keeping the built-in WiFi, the Adafruit HUZZAH ESP32  is an upgrade with more pins and a beefier chip.

The Adafruit HUZZAH32 is our ESP32-based Feather, made with the official WROOM32 module. We packed everything you love about Feathers: built in USB-to-Serial converter, automatic bootloader reset, Lithium Ion/Polymer charger, and just about all of the GPIOs brought out so you can use it with any of our Feather Wings.

The Adafruit Feather M0 WiFi w/ATWINC1500  board gives you SAMD21 ARM Cortex with a separate WiFi module, good if you need native USB, or have existing ARM code to run and don’t want to use a different core chipset. These would be programmed in C.

And of course, you can also use Bluetooth Low Energy and tether using our Bluefruit App. For that, we recommend our nRF52832 or nRF52840 Bluefruit Feathers, and you’ll also need an iOS or Android phone that will stay on all the time to perform the data transfer.


If battery life and portability isn’t as important, Raspberry Pi computers and other single-board computers are also a great choice. These tend to have Ethernet as well as WiFi built in. The Linux operating system will take care of all of the networking for you, so it’s incredibly easy to get started, and you can use Python which is higher level and easier to use than C.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ boasts a 64-bit quad core processor, 5GHz wireless LAN and faster (300mbps) Ethernet. If you'd like to have a beefier hardware platform to use with Adafruit IO and possibly some more intensive libraries (such as OpenCV) - this is the ideal hardware platform for your project.. 

The Raspberry Pi Zero W offers all the benefits of the full-sized Pi and built-in WiFi. This board is perfect for Adafruit IO projects which require a small form factor.

For more information on using Adafruit IO with our Feather Huzzah ESP8266, please check out this learn guide!

This guide was first published on Mar 14, 2019. It was last updated on Apr 20, 2024.

This page (What Hardware or Transport to Use) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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