There is no doubt that Arduino has the most comprehensive ecosystem of motor shields for creators and hobbyists. Sure, countless embedded microcontrollers are available with their shield compatible connectors, ranging from several dollars and up to tens of dollars, and you’ll hear evangelists on all sides swearing that their choice is the best. But Teensy, DFRduino or any other embedded microcontrollers don’t hold a candle to Arduino for its ecosystem, ease of use, community, documentation and support.
It’s no wonder that creators and hobbyists have built thousands of projects on its sturdy back, or that so many hackers would never dream of using anything else. For the sake of this article, let’s lay out a guide of the best DC motor, stepper motor, and servo motor shields in a range of prices to suit pretty much any budget.
- L293D chipset, 0.6A (1.2A peak drive current), can run motors on 4.5V DC to 36V DC, 4 DC motors or 2 stepper motors or 2 servos, compatible with Arduino Mega, Diecimila, Duemilanove; $5.39 from TheRobotSource
- L293 chipset, up to 1A current each way, two 7-12V DC motors, compatible with Arduino Duemilanove and Arduino Mega; $9.90 from DFRobot
$10 – 20:
- SN754410NE chipset, two DC motors; $10.99 from NkcElectronics
- VNH2SP30 chipset, 5A (30A peak drive current), motor supply voltage 5.5V DC to 16V DC; $13.23 from DX
- L298P chipset, 2A current each way, 6.5V DC to 12V DC from VIN Power Supply, 4.8V DC to 35V DC from external power source, compatible Arduino UNO R3; $16.50 from DFRobot
- A4988 chipset, 2A output current per coil, motor supply voltage 8V DC to 35V DC, control 2 stepper motors, compatible with Arduino UNO R3, Leonardo, Mega; $19.50 from DFRobot
- 1.6A per bridge (2A peak), motor supply voltage 5V DC to 15V DC, drive two DC motors or a step motor; $19.50 from RobotShop
- 14A per bridge (30A peak), motor supply voltage 16V DC to 41V DC; $19.94 from DX
$20 – 30:
- H-Bridge shield, motor supply voltage 5V DC to 12V DC; $24.31 from AndreGoncalves
- L298 chipset, 2A per bridge (3A peak), the new version of this shield allows for either 3.3 or 5V DC logic; $24.95 from SparkFun
- A4954 chipset, 0.6A, 1.2A, 2A per channel, motor supply voltage 8V DC to 40V DC; $28.00 from FreeTronics
- 2.8A peak current operation, motor supply voltage 8V DC to 30V DC, compatible with Arduino Uno, Duemilanove, and Mega; $29.95 from Rugged-Circuits
$30 – 40:
- L6470 chipset, 1.5A per channel, motor supply voltage 12V DC or 24V DC, compatible with Arduino UNO; $37.56 from ALTElectronics
- H-bridge, 13A (30A of current at up to 28V DC), motor supply voltage 5V DC to 28V DC, compatible with Arduino Uno or Duemilanove; $39.99 from RobotShop
- H-bridge, 35A per bridge (50A peak), motor supply voltage 6V DC to 35V DC; $64.99 from RobotShop
- L298P chipset, 2A per channel or 4A max (with external power supply), motor supply voltage 5V DC to 12V DC; $65.05 from Amazon
The Final Point
We are regularly looking for the most valuable Arduino shields on the market. If you have plans to release one of them, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org — we would like to support you on Into Robotics.
(Image credits: TheRobotSource, DFRobot, NkcElectronics, DX, SparkFun, FreeTronics, Rugged-Circuits, ALTElectronics, RobotShop, Amazon)
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.