The Guide to Bluetooth Modules for Arduino

This article was last modified on 14 December 2016.

The control of your robot becomes easier through a Bluetooth module. In this post, I explore the best and cheapest Bluetooth modules Arduino compatible with a range of several meters.

Wireless communications become a key driver of innovation for roboticists. Today, more than ever, you can easily use mobile devices to control and receive data from a robot.

A Bluetooth module and Arduino is basically what you need to create a communication channel with a robot. Inspired by some projects I’m working on now, in this post, I explore the best and most accessible Bluetooth modules compatible Arduino.

Probably the best four books about Arduino and Bluetooth connections:

HC-05

The HC-05 Bluetooth module

The HC-05 Bluetooth module

The HC-05 module is the most popular Bluetooth module in the DIY community for wireless communication. It is cheap (Amazon) and you can find tons of tutorials and resources on using it. With the signal coverage of 9 meters (30ft), the JBtek HC-05 module can build a connection to other modules in two ways: as a master or as a slave. For example, a robot can be designed to be a master connected to a slave Bluetooth module or as a slave board to make a wireless connection with a PC.

HC-06 RS232 TTL

The HC-06 RS232 TTL module

The HC-06 RS232 TTL module

After HC-05, the HC-06 module (Amazon) is also popular and very simple to set up with an Arduino board. The module is suitable where wireless data transmission is needed in slave mode. The board can be accessorized with a USB to TTL serial cable to connect to your PC. Like the HC-05, the HC-06 module can reach a range of up to 9 meters (30 ft).

If you need a Bluetooth module to talk to your smartphone and an Arduino board, the HC-06 would work fine. But if you want to talk with another Arduino development board, the HC-05 module is the way to go.

BLE Mini

The BLE Mini Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) module

The BLE Mini Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) module

If you want to control a robot with an iPhone, iPad or iPad mini, or the latest iPod generation, you have to use a BLE Mini board. Of course, the board is also compatible with any Android devices with BLE hardware.

The Bluetooth module is easy to setup with an Arduino board and has a range of 50 meters (164ft). You are allowed to develop your own iOS application using the open-source SDK provided by the Red Bear company.

Engineered with the Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) technology, the module requires only a serial port for communication. This feature makes the Bluetooth module compatible with some of the most popular prototyping boards, including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black etc.

BlueSMiRF

The BlueSMiRF and Bluetooth Mate

The BlueSMiRF and Bluetooth Mate

Connecting with other devices does not take much and it is truly simple.

The BlueSMiRF from Sparkfun (Amazon) is one of the modules Arduino compatible that have a Bluetooth transceiver on it. This means that the wireless module can send and receive data from up to 100 meters (328ft).

The BlueSMiRF worked right out of the box and is compatible with other Bluetooth devices that support SPP. The wireless module is perfect for applications that require a distance up to 100 meters (328ft).

JY-MCU

The JY-MCU module

The JY-MCU module

The JY-MCU module (Amazon) can connect devices and robots that generate massive amounts of data. Compatible with Android devices, the Bluetooth board can cover a distance of 9 meters (30ft) between the master and slave devices.

Designed for faster connections between an Android gadget and any Arduino board, the Bluetooth module can be up and running in minutes.
In addition, you can find step-by-step tutorials that show you how to interface the module with the Arduino microcontroller.

ITEAD BT

The ITEAD BT Bluetooth shield

The ITEAD BT Bluetooth shield

The BT Bluetooth module is a stackable shield with serial ports based on the HC-06 module. The shield can be connected directly to the Arduino UART port for wireless communication. Without obstacles or other interference, the Bluetooth shield can communicate in a range of 10 meters (32ft).

Shield Bluetooth with RN-42

The Bluetooth Shield with RN-42

The Bluetooth Shield with RN-42

This Bluetooth shield with RN-42 is awesome for just about any project you would like to use an Arduino microcontroller. But unlike the HC-05 and HC-06, it has a price of 28.00€. The shield has a stackable design and works in a range of maximum 20 meters (65ft).

Bluefruit EZ-Link

The Bluefruit EZ-Link module

The Bluefruit EZ-Link module

The easiest way to describe Bluefruit EZ-Link is – a combination of all modules described above. With a range of 10 meters (32ft), the Bluetooth module doesn’t need additional software or custom hardware to communicate wirelessly with other Bluetooth system.
The Adafruit module is designed to work on a serial console or a sort of FTDI-like cable.

Unlike other Bluetooth modules, the EZ-Link is featured with automated detection of the COM port.

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14 comments » Write a comment

  1. Thank you for the review,

    which Bluetooth module has the capability to change its output Bluetooth signal power?

  2. Hello, I’m looking for a Classe 1 bluetooth module which will fit on my arduino uno.
    Does anyone know if the BlueSMiRF is the chip I’m looking for?

    Thanks

    Lloyd (I’m French…)

  3. hello , i want a BT device which can give me a range just about 10 meters and give me a decent data rate . currently im using a HC 05 module of which the rage specified is around 9 meters but i hardly get 2 meters ! can it be because of the high data rate im generating ? can u suggest be a good BT module for my requirements ?

  4. Hello, I’m Yusron Fadhli from Indonesia.
    I’m in progress for final project in one of Electronic Institutes in Surabaya. I need to excerpt some sentences from this article. May I get your permission for it ?
    Thanks.

  5. Which Bluetooth module is best suited for wearable applications, in fact a wearable wireless air qaulity monitor ? And is there Bluetooth modules with boards combined

  6. Hi,
    Even after reading several documents about BT and BLE, I still have problems understanding some things about their roles. From this modules, could you tell me which ones would work as slave, while using a PC as master? I think maybe the idea of central and peripheral device is better for BT. I just want to send commands from my PC using BT (with a BT dongle, for example).

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