Nano is from 2008, and micro from 2012. Micro seems better on every parameter, in particular in having a better (I think) microcontroller, ATMega32u4, over ATMega328P.

However, all the shops I've checked out, both local and online, sell the Nano, and only some sell Micro. And Nano is always more expensive than Micro. E.g. at RS-Online 26GBP for Nano (link) and 16GBP for Micro (link).

Why do many shops only sell the inferior product?

Why is the older and less capable Nano more expensive?

Why would anyone buy the Nano over the Micro?

  • And why can I tag my question with "arduino-nano", but not with "arduino-micro"? Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 7:57
  • To create a tag, you'll need a reputation of at least 150. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 10:15
  • Actually I know, but thanks :) What I meant is, obviously people on this site are asking questions more questions about Nano than about Micro. Obviously it could be because it has been around for longer, but still surprising to me, when Micro seems better in every aspect, and cheaper too. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 10:44
  • It seems like there are lots of Nano clones, eg 6euros at DX.com. And I haven't seen any Micro clones. So if using clones, Nano is in fact much cheaper. Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 11:31
  • Look on ePrey. There are plenty of 5V Micro clones, cheaper than Nano clones. In fact, you have to go through about 100 Micro clones until you find a Nano clone (if you sort by lowest price), and maybe 80 5 volt Micros until you find a 3.3 volt Micro... Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 13:34

3 Answers 3


The main difference between the ATmega32u4 and the ATmega328P is that the 32u4 has onboard USB. When ATmega328P are used in an Arduino they are often coupled with an FTDI USB to serial chip. The FTDI chip is about $5 so this may be where the extra cost comes in.

Having the USB chip separate is actually not a bad thing:

  • The Atmega328P consumes less power than the ATmega32u4
  • FTDI chips are common, so the drivers are on most computers, whereas the 32u4 requires an .inf file to be loaded on Windows.
  • The FTDI chip uses the FTDI vendor and product ID and thus can be used in large-quantity commercial projects whereas the ATmega32u4 would require purchase of a vendor id and product id from the USB group. (My conclusion after reading around the net a bit, please correct if wrong).

I'd buy the NANO and STEER CLEAR of the micro with that 32u4 chip. The good ol' 328p chip also has a FTDI chip to handle USB to serial while the other chip handles it on its own. The problem is that the Micro's bootloader ONLY allows trying to program it with USB and requires a special driver. With Linux, only a few select versions have the needed driver. If your Linux version doesn't have the driver, you're out of luck. In that case, take it back or donate it to a hackerspace. You will NEVER make it work.

I was at the arduino.cc site about this and tried everything only to get increasingly annoyed about that lemon of a card. You know it's time to give up when you get flamed.

  • Nice to know about the Linux problems. I have programmed both Micro and Nano from Ubuntu without problems, but maybe I've been lucky this far. Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 8:09
  • However, if you need a 3 Volt device then you are obliged to go for a Micro, rather than a Nano. Commented Mar 14, 2015 at 13:37

It depends on what's your focus on. From pure microcontroller view, the 328P compared to the 32u4

  • is 4MHz faster
  • has two Touch Channels more
  • has picoPower technology
  • has an RTC
  • has a lower minimum supply voltage

If one or more of these features are essential for your project, the Nano may be the better choice.

Regarding the price:
I'm not sure if it can have such a high influence, but there may have been a technology shrink. That's why a modern 32bit micro is cheaper than an old-fashioned 8 or 16bit micro, at least in B2B pricing.

  • 1
    According to arduino.cc/en/Products.Compare, they are both 16MHz. Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 12:43
  • I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "technology shrink", could you explain? Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 12:44
  • 4
    The Arduino boards may both have a 16MHz oscillator populated, however the AtMega328P itself can be driven at up to 20MHz, according to Atmel's product comparison page. "Technology shrink" means a change in the production process to smaller silicon structures. For example, the Freescale S12 (16bit CPU) was built using 180nm process, Renesas uses a 40nm process for the new RH850 (32bit CPU). Smaller structure = less silicon (plus other benefits). That's one reason why the RH850 is cheaper than the S12, but has much more features.
    – mic
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 15:29

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