Best pin choices on an esp32


I am looking to solder up a proto board for my ESP32-DevKitC’s like how I did with my 8266 d1 mini’s and I was wondering if someone could give me a list of the best pin choices for pixel data, mic, buttons, and an IR remote.

My goal is to have several options on the shield for a verity of use cases. Most of all I would like 6 (or 8) good pins for the pixel data. Everything else is basically bonus material.

-Thanks for any help you are able to provide.


Would I be correct in assuming that for digital LED data it is fine to use any of the pins listed in the table on that site that say OK and that the green OK’s would be a better option?

If that is the case I am confused with why Aircookie lists ‘ESP32: 1, 2, 3, 4, 16’ as defaults. at: Getting Started - WLED Project

On that reference site you linked it says that:
-pin1 is a yellow ‘ok’ (just guessing that’s not as good as a green ‘ok’? lol
-pin 2 is connected to the onboard LED (so I would think that would be one to skip if someone wanted to turn off the onboard led)
-pin3 also yellow ‘ok’
-pin4 green ‘ok’
-pin16: green ‘ok’
I’m guessing that 4 &16 would be the best options? I don’t understand why the other 3 are listed as defaults if other green ‘ok’ listed pins are available.

The ESP32 doesn’t have the restrictions of the 8266 in terms of pin choices. :wink:

I do not see why this seems complicated.

Do you need GPIO1 or GPIO3 for serial communication? Do you expect GPIO pins to have a default and/or static value at boot? Do you need GPIO low at boot? Do you need GPIO high at boot?

All these questions contribute to the selection of color next to GPIO number. If it says OK to use then it is OK to use but you’ll need to see if any of the above contradicts to that particular GPIO requirements.

I really do thank you and everyone that helps out with the WLED project(s).

Addressable LED’s are cool and something that has interested me for quite some time. The problem I always had was the cost of the whole setup. Now with WLED and all of it’s integrations that cost has been reduced to a more manageable level for the everyday diy savvy person like me. However I am not a programmer or electronics major person. So forgive me if I am asking questions that you see as uncomplicated. I have done my best to read over the content at and have watched a good number of Dr. Zz’s videos among other things… However that all seems to be ever evolving information and sometimes outdated to some degree. As this project has advanced I understand it must be hard to keep the documentation up to date. So I have asked the question as to what the best pins would be for different uses. I know that there once was a time (or still is for some controllers) that it made a big difference of what pins were chosen. bit-banging and what-not…

Being a regular person and not an electronics wizard, I’m sorry but I don’t have the first clue about how the data flows/is processed on the different pins. Thus why I asked the question. I understand there is a bit of trial and error with all this and I was trying to avoid blindly soldering things together only to find out later that I should have done this or that… Again why I asked for help from anyone that could provide me the knowledge to reduce the chance of making bad pin choices.

Anyways from the sounds of things (I hope) I should be ok using any of the ‘ok’ pins as long as they also don’t list something that may conflict with what I plan for the pin to do. Like don’t use one that says PWM on boot for digital led’s and don’t choose ones that say Input Only.

Thanks again for your time.

Yellow means conditionally.
You have to know your conditions. There is no way around it. If you do not know your conditions then it is best to stick with green ones and do whatever you like.

Sorry if the tone was sublime it was not meant to be.