STM32 vs. PIC32: Which is Better?

STM32 vs. PIC32: Which is Better?

Are you trying to decide between the STM32 and PIC32 microcontroller families for your project? It can be a difficult decision, as each option offers unique benefits depending on what type of application you are developing. Our blog post will break down both STM32 and PIC32 microcontrollers, the potential uses, software support, system flexibility, and cost considerations so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your needs. Read our comprehensive comparison guide to help choose the best solution for whatever project you’re embarking on today!

What Is STM32?

STMicroelectronics manufactures a range of 32-bit microcontrollers called STM32. They are based on the ARM Cortex-M architecture, and are designed for use in embedded systems.

The STM32 line features many different packages, memory sizes, clock speeds, and features that make it suitable for a wide range of applications, such as automotive, industrial automation and consumer electronics. The STM32 also has a wide range of analog and digital peripherals, including timers/counters, communication interfaces (USB, CAN), and more.

What Is STM32?

The various lines of STM32 microcontrollers offer good performance at competitive pricing points. For instance, the low-power STM32L0 series offers up to 2.5 MIPS/MHz performance, while the higher-end STM32F7 series offers up to 216 MIPS/MHz. The STM32 also features advanced power management and low-power modes, making them suitable for battery-operated devices. [1]

What Is PIC32?

PIC32 is a 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) family developed by Microchip Technology.

It belongs to the “peripheral interface controller” (PIC) line of products and is based on the MIPS32-architecture. The PIC has become popular due to its versatility, cost efficiency, and ease of use. Its main advantages are its low power consumption, wide variety of peripherals, and highly configurable core components.

Pros of STM32

The STM32 series of microcontrollers offer a wide range of features that makes it ideal for many applications. Here are some key advantages of the STM32 series:

  • Low Power Consumption – STM32 microcontrollers are ideal for battery-operated devices as they consume low power and can function on minimal power.
  • High Performance – The STM32 series is capable of running at high speeds and has multiple clock frequencies available, allowing it to meet the requirements of most applications with ease.
  • Flexibility – The flexible design of the STM32 allows it to be easily adapted to different types of projects, including those requiring complex system control or communications tasks.
  • Wide Range of Peripheral Support – The STM32 series is designed with a wide range of peripherals, such as USB, Ethernet, CAN and SDIO, making it suitable for a variety of uses.
  • Ease of Use – The on-board development tools for the STM32 are user friendly and can be used to develop applications quickly and easily. [2]

Cons of STM32

  • Cost – The STM32 series of microcontrollers tend to be more expensive than other microcontroller types, making them less accessible for hobbyists or those on a budget.
  • Limited Memory – While the STM32 is capable of running applications with higher requirements, its memory can become limited when compared to some other systems.
  • Less Popular – While the STM32 series of microcontrollers are widely used in industrial and commercial applications, they are not as popular among hobbyists and embedded developers as other options such as the PIC32.
  • Documentation – Some users have reported that documentation for the STM32 is not always easy to find or understand, which can make programming and debugging more difficult.

Ultimately, the decision of which microcontroller is best for a given application depends on what needs it must fulfill. The STM32 series of microcontrollers offers users many advantages, but its higher cost and lack of popularity among hobbyists are important factors to consider. It is important to weigh all the pros and cons before making a purchasing decision in order to ensure that you get the right device for your project’s requirements.

Pros of PIC32

PIC32 microcontroller offers several advantages when compared to the STM32.
One of the main benefits of the PIC32 is its performance and low power consumption, making it ideal for applications that require high-speed processing or require minimal power draw. The PIC32 also has a wide range of peripherals such as timers, UARTs, PWMs, I2C/SPI communication interfaces, and analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), allowing you to easily interface with other devices and systems. Its memory management unit (MMU) allows you to use virtual memory mapping which can be used to protect data in critical operations.

Pros of PIC32

Additionally, the PIC32 comes with built-in debugging features such as a background debug mode (BDM) and a picture-in-picture (PIP) debugger, which makes it easier to develop and test your embedded applications. The PIC32 also supports the popular MPLAB development suite which allows you to rapidly prototype and deploy code.

Finally, the PIC32 is available in a variety of packages such as TQFPs, SOICs, PDIPs, PLCCs and other surface mount packages, making it easy to find one that fits your design requirements. [3]

Cons of PIC32

On the downside, PIC32 microcontrollers are not as widely available as STM32 ones, which may make them difficult to find in certain regions. Additionally, PIC32 does not have a large community of developers who are familiar with the platform, so it may be more challenging for beginners to get up and running quickly.

Finally, the cost of the PIC32 can be higher than other microcontrollers on the market, making it more expensive to use in some applications.

Overall, while PIC32 has several advantages over STM32 microcontroller chipsets, only you can decide which one is best for your application based on your individual requirements and budget. Make sure to weigh all factors carefully before deciding.

STM32 vs PIC32

This debate is often framed as a battle between two of the leading makers in the industry: STMicroelectronics and Microchip Technology. On one side, you have the STM32 family of 32-bit ARM Cortex-M cores from STMicroelectronics, and on the other side you have Microchip’s PIC32 family based on their proprietary MIPS M4K core.

At first glance, it can be difficult to decide which architecture is better for your application.
However, by understanding each microcontroller’s strengths and weaknesses, you can make an informed decision when considering which chip is right for your project.

STM32 has several advantages over its competitor. For starters, STM32 is based on ARM technology, which has been around for decades and offers a wide range of cores for different needs. This means that developers have access to powerful processor core options such as the Cortex-M4, Cortex-M7, and even the more recently released Cortex-M33. This variety of cores gives STM32 users flexibility when choosing the best core for their application.

In addition, STMicroelectronics’ chips offer various peripherals such as capacitive touch sensing, accelerometers and gyroscopes, USB host/device ports, SD card support, audio CODECs, LCD displays controllers and many other features. You can also find specialized versions built especially for motor control applications, for example.

PIC32 also has some interesting features. It is based on the MIPS M4K core, which is a relatively new architecture designed to offer good performance while consuming very little energy and featuring built-in security features such as hardware encryption, trusted boot and secure debug support.

STM32 vs PIC32

In addition, PIC32’s low power mode can be used to reduce power consumption during sleep or idle periods and its large selection of analog peripherals makes it suitable for automotive applications. The chip also offers multiple memory options including internal Flash memories, SRAM memories and EEPROM memories. [4]

Where to Use STM32?

The STM32 microcontroller is a good choice when looking for a low-cost and power-efficient solution. It is ideal for applications that require minimal processing power and memory, such as IoT devices, wearables, smart home products, appliances, medical devices and more. Its modular design makes it easy to configure and customize the device for specific needs.

In addition to its low cost and low power consumption, the STM32 also offers several on-board peripherals that make it suitable for many different types of applications. Peripherals like UARTs (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter), CAN BUS controllers (Controller Area Network Bus) and USB OTG ports (On The Go) enable connectivity with external hardware and other microcontrollers. The STM32 also offers a wide selection of timers, PWM (pulse width modulation) generators, and analog-to-digital converters.

Where to Use PIC32?

The PIC32 is a popular choice for low-power applications. It has been used in devices such as thermostats, alarm systems, and handheld computers.

Its small size and low power consumption make it ideal for embedded applications where space and energy are limited. Additionally, the PIC32 supports many features that are beneficial to developers and end users, including high speed I/O, plenty of internal memory, robust communications protocols like Ethernet and USB, advanced analog features, and an extensive library of available software components.

How to Use STM32?

The STM32 family of microcontrollers is one of the most popular and powerful 32-bit architectures available today. It boasts a wide range of features, with multiple choices for communications, memory and peripherals as well as a large selection of tools designed to make development easier.

Using an STM32 involves the following steps:

  1. Select Your MCU – Find the right model based on your application’s needs. This will depend on factors such as memory size, speed, I/O requirements, etc.
  2. Design Your Hardware – Build a custom board that supports the chosen microcontroller or purchase an existing evaluation kit from STMicroelectronics or another provider.
  3. Install an IDE – Choose an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that is compatible with the STM32 and supports your development language of choice. The two most popular are Keil MDK-ARM and IAR Embedded Workbench, but there are others available as well.
  4. Download Firmware Library – Obtain the relevant Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) libraries from the STMicroelectronics website or other sources to help you write to hardware registers, manage interrupts and so on.
  5. Program Your App – Use your chosen IDE to write code for your application in whatever language you have selected, such as C/C++, Rust, Python etc., taking care to make sure it is optimized for the STM32 family.
  6. Debug and Test – Connect your device to a debugger and then run tests on it to ensure that your code works as intended. Once everything has been validated, you can then deploy your application.

By following this process, developers can create high-performance applications that are tailored to their specific needs by taking advantage of all the features available from the STM32 microcontroller family. This makes STM32 an excellent choice for almost any embedded system project! [5]

How to Use STM32?

How to Use PIC32?

PIC32 microcontrollers are used for a variety of applications, from industrial automation to consumer electronics. As with any type of microcontroller, there are certain steps that must be taken in order to use them effectively. To get started with PIC32 programming and development, follow these steps:

  1. Select an appropriate development environment. Before you can begin designing software for your project, you must first select the right software development environment. Popular choices include MPLAB X IDE and Microchip Studio.
  2. Get familiar with the hardware setup and architecture of the PIC32 chip. Take some time to become comfortable with the pinout and inputs/outputs available on your device, as this will help guide your development process.
  3. Learn the MPLAB X IDE and other tools for programming in C/C++. The MPLAB X development environment is used to write, debug, and program PIC32 microcontrollers with C/C++ code. Take some time to become familiar with this interface, as it is essential for effective coding.
  4. Install all necessary drivers and libraries for your PIC32 chip model. Different chips may require different sets of drivers and libraries, so make sure you have everything you need before proceeding any further with development.
  5. Write code using MPLAB X and compile it in order to create a .hex file that can be loaded onto your device using a compatible programmer or debugger. Once you have written your code and compiled it, you are ready to begin testing and debugging.

By following these steps, you can program and develop applications for the PIC32 microcontrollers with ease. Keep in mind that there is still a learning curve involved when it comes to programming these devices, so take some time to get familiar with all of the tools available before starting your project. With proper preparation and knowledge of PIC32 development, you can achieve success quickly and easily. [6]

How to Use PIC32?

STM32 vs PIC32: Cost

When it comes to cost, STM32 and PIC32 offer a range of pricing options. STM32 microcontrollers are typically more expensive than their PIC32 counterparts; however, the cost difference is relatively minimal. For example, an STM32F4 family device may cost about $3-4 compared to a PIC32MX series device costing around $2-3. The costs for both families also vary depending on the feature set needed for your application and device complexity.

Generally speaking, when budgeting for a project either controller should be taken into consideration due to the small cost differences between them.

STM32 vs PIC32: Cost


What is the difference between STM32 and PIC?

The STM32 family of microcontrollers are based on ARM cores while the PICs are based on 8-bit Harvard architecture RISC processors. The main differences between the two architectures lie in their instruction sets, power consumption and flexibility of development. Which is better, STM32 or PIC? That depends on your application and needs. Both families offer advantages and disadvantages depending on what you want to accomplish with your project. Generally speaking, however, the STM32 platform is more powerful compared to the PIC because it a greater range of peripheral options and more advanced features such as support for RTOS libraries and multithreading capabilities. On the other hand, PICs have low energy consumption and are relatively easy to learn and program.

What kind of applications can I use STM32/PIC microcontrollers for?

You can use both types of microcontroller for a variety of applications including home automation, robotics, automotive systems, medical devices, industrial control systems and more. Generally speaking, the flexibility of the STM32 architecture makes it better suited for complex embedded system applications while PICs are better suited for cost-sensitive projects such as hobbyist or educational projects.

How much memory does an STM32/PIC have?

The amount of memory available on each type of microcontroller will vary depending on the model you choose. Generally speaking however, STMs tend to offer more memory than PICs. The STM32F7 series, for example, offers up to 512KB of flash memory while the PIC32MX family range from 16KB to 64KB of flash memory.

Do I need a special programmer to use an STM32/PIC microcontroller?

No, both types of microcontrollers can be programmed using common programming languages such as C and Assembly. Some models may require specialized tools or software depending on the application you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are developing a complex embedded system with an STM32 platform then you will likely need an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) such as ARM Keil uVision or Atmel Studio in order to develop your code.

Why is STM32 used in industry?

STM32 is often used in industrial applications due to its wide range of features and capabilities. STM32 microcontrollers are designed to provide high performance, low power consumption, and easy integration with other components. These features make them ideal for use in a variety of industrial applications such as motor control, auto-diagnostics, factory automation, and medical devices. The STM32 family of microcontrollers also offers a number of advantages over PIC32 microcontrollers. For example, the STM32 family has an adjustable voltage regulator which allows users to adjust the output voltage from 1V to 3.6V depending on their needs. This feature can be especially useful for applications that require precise measurement or control.

Is a PIC microcontroller better than Arduino?

Arduino microcontrollers are usually considered better than PICs for hobbyist projects and entry-level applications due to their ease of use, low cost, and wide range of available tutorials. However, when it comes to industrial applications, PICs may be the more suitable choice. This is because PIC microcontrollers are typically faster and more powerful than Arduinos, which makes them ideal for complex projects that require higher processing power. Additionally, some PIC microcontrollers also have built-in features such as memory protection or hardware debugging capabilities which can provide greater security and debugging options for industrial applications.

How powerful is STM32?

The STM32 family of microcontrollers is known for its high performance and low power consumption. It offers a variety of 32-bit ARM Cortex processors, which are generally more powerful than 8-bit PIC microcontrollers, allowing them to handle data-intensive tasks with ease. Additionally, the STM32 also supports advanced features such as real-time clock, watchdog timer, and digital signal processing capabilities, making it an excellent choice for complex projects.

What are the disadvantages of a PIC microcontroller?

PIC microcontrollers have a few disadvantages when compared to other microcontrollers such as the STM32. For example, they are generally less powerful than ARM Cortex processors, which can limit their usefulness in some applications. Additionally, PIC microcontrollers typically require proprietary development tools which can be expensive and difficult to learn. Finally, since PICs are 8-bit microcontrollers, they lack certain advanced features such as memory protection or hardware debugging capabilities that may be available on higher-end processors.

Useful Video: STM32 vs PIC32, Which is Best for Manufacturing?


In conclusion, when it comes to embedded microcontrollers, both the STM32 and PIC32 offer a variety of features and strong performance. The choice between the two ultimately depends on what your project requires. If you need more memory or peripherals, the STM32 is generally the better option. However, if cost is a major factor, the PIC32 might be worth considering due to its affordability. Ultimately, you should carefully consider all of your options before making any decisions about which platform to use for your embedded project. No matter which microcontroller you choose, with careful planning and design techniques you can ensure that your project runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.