What is a breakout board for Arduino?

If you are looking to use a sensor or an IC with Arduino in an effective way, then using a breakout board can be a viable option. The breakout boards are the PCBs that have sensors and ICs soldered on them which can be connected to the terminals of the Arduino board.

Moreover, these boards are of different types as each board has different sensors on it, also these boards made it easy to interface the sensors with Arduino by reducing the number of wires of the circuit. If you are interested in breakout boards for Arduino, then read this guide as I have thoroughly explained what is breakout board for Arduino?

Breakout board for Arduino

The Breakout are mainly the boards having different sensors and integrated circuits without header pins soldered with them. Normally every sensor has its breakout board which can have its own pins for sending the output, receiving the input and pins for connecting the sensor with power supply.

Benefits of using a breakout board

There are multiple benefits of using breakout boards and some of them are:

  • Make it easy to interface sensors with Arduino boards
  • Make the circuit more compact
  • Reduce the use of wires for connecting sensors

Difference between a breakout board and Arduino shield

You might be wondering that if breakout board types are divided based on different sensors, then what are the Arduino shields and how do they differ from breakout boards. So, the table below gives a complete comparison of both to address your concerns:

Break out board/th>

Arduino shield
They can be used with microcontrollers other than Arduino boards. They can also be used with Raspberry Pi Arduino shields are only designed to work with Arduino boards only
The breakout board have a small form factor The Arduino shields have a bigger form factor
The breakout board normally come with unsoldered header pins Some Arduino shields have soldered header pins
The Breakout board is designed for specific purpose only Arduino shield can be used for multiple purposes
The breakout boards shrink the size of the circuits The Arduino shields are used to extend the pins of Arduino board
The breakout boards have less cost due to lesser number of components The Arduino shield are quite expensive
The breakout board has only a specific sensor on it The Arduino shield is a complete Arduino board

The below contains breakout board of temperature sensor on the left side and Arduino relay shield on the right side:

Things to remember while using the breakout board with Arduino

If you are thinking of using a breakout board with Arduino, then keep in mind a following things:

  • See the voltage specifications required by the breakout board as some of the boards require 3.3 volts for operating
  • First find the user manual on the internet before buying the specific breakout board as there is no information one can find regarding some of the boards
  • Before buying, check if the pins of the breakout board are labeled or not because in case of unlabeled pins there will be difficulty in connecting it with Arduino.


Breakout boards are small size sensor boards having integrated circuits that can be used with Arduino to reduce the wire count in the circuit. Moreover if you are thinking of using breakout board then read guide as the breakout board for Arduino is explained in detail.

About the author

Aaliyan Javaid

I am an electrical engineer and a technical blogger. My keen interest in embedded systems has led me to write and share my knowledge about them.