The 8 Best Raspberry Pi and Kits of 2017

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Best Raspberry Pi for the Money
Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Best Buy Raspberry Pi Kit
Best Raspberry Pi with Touchscreen

The Raspberry Pi is a capable little computer which can be used for various electronics projects. It’s basically a credit-card-sized computer that can do many things that your desktop PC does like browsing the internet, word processing or playing games. Developed in the United Kingdom, the Raspberry Pi has become more popular than initially anticipated getting more uses than expected like for robotics, to name just one example.

One of the most important uses is in education. There’s a lot of interest, especially from schools in the private sector to provide a basic computer and act as a teaching aid. Another interesting use for this mini computer is in the home automation sector as many programmers are making efforts to turn the Raspberry Pi into a cost-effective solution for monitoring energy and power consumption. Other notable uses are for industrial automation for the creation of industrial computer modules and for commercial products. There’s a digital camera called OTTO which incorporates a Raspberry Pi Compute module. You might also want to read our articles about the best stick pc and the best hard drive docking stations.

Children from around the world can get their hands on a very affordable device to learn programming and digital making. Adults as well can find a lot of potential in this miniature bundle of capable computer power. If it caught your interest and you’re thinking about purchasing one then maybe this selection will help you. In here you will find the best Raspberry Pi available as well as various kinds of kits that make use of the Pi’s processing power for users who prefer a more convenient approach and want to get started quickly.

These kits are designed to help beginners and those who prefer to buy everything needed all at once because the Raspberry Pi requires certain accessories to work. The kits don’t have absolutely everything required to get the Raspberry up and running, you will still need a HDMI display to connect it to and a mouse and keyboard to control it. Also, it depends on your particular project what other accessories you’ll need, but the kits represent a good starting point to be able to quickly take advantage of this amazingly small computer’s capabilities.

In making this list, the essential aim was to get the most benefits from a Raspberry Pi kit for what you spend. They have been thoroughly researched and analyzed and only eight candidates remain. The kits found in this article are the most user-friendly and comprehensive in terms of features and the Raspberry models are the most performant and valuable for their prices. You can rest assured that you will find the best Raspberry Pi equipment in here.

Best Raspberry Pi for the Money

1. Raspberry PI 3 Model B

The latest installment in the Raspberry Pi project, the 3 Model B, keeps getting better as it improves lots of things over its predecessor. This one represents the flagship board for the Raspberry Pi foundation and we’ll take a closer look at the each of the upgrades for the Pi 3 Model B.

The first important modification that is worth talking about is the new generation of processors integrated. Thanks to the Quad Core Broadcom 64-bit ARMv8 processor, the speed increase goes from 900 MHz of the previous model to 1.2 GHz on the Pi 3.

Another essential upgrade, which is a bit more exciting, is the addition of a WiFi chip built-in to the Raspberry Pi. You can say goodbye to WiFi adapters as the board is now fully WiFi ready. There’s also Bluetooth Low Energy, for more connectivity options. The final upgrade over the Pi 2 model is the better power source which goes from 2 Amps to a maximum of 2.5 Amps. With this improvement, the new Pi can power some more energy-demanding devices over its USB ports.

These are pretty much the only changes over the previous Raspberry Pi so the good news is that all the nice goodies like the shape, connectors, and mounting holes remained the same. A slight difference is in regards to the placement of the LEDs. Somewhere around 99% of cases and accessories are still fully compatible with this new model.

In terms of performance, the Pi 3 seems to be noticeably speedier than the Pi 2 though the difference won’t really have an effect considering that this is not intended for intense computational tasks. It does depend a lot on what you want to do with a Raspberry Pi and this is where the fun part begins because you can unleash your creativity.

There are a lot of accessories needed to work right and that includes the Pi 3 Model B. This shouldn’t be a problem if you are a computer hobbyist and wish to tinker with it and do some exciting projects like a computer for kids, or a very basic email and Web-browsing machine. With such a small price, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is a very valuable asset in the hands of any creative mind.

Key Features:

  • 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 4 USB ports
  • 802.11n Wireless LAN
  • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core
  • Full HDMI port

Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kit

2. CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit – 32 GB Edition

If you don’t wish to bother with getting the right tools to bring your Raspberry Pi project to life, many companies offer some amazing kits to help you get started much quicker. This one from CanaKit is a very comprehensive value bundle for beginners containing many essential components and a quick-start guide. The price is very reasonable so it’s definitely worth checking it out.

The kit includes the fastest model from the Raspberry Pi family, the one previously reviewed, the Pi 3 Model B. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi and is capable of making Bluetooth connections. This one is pretty much the best you can get in terms of performance per price.

To jump right in the exciting world of these fun little computers, you get a high-quality case specially designed for Raspberry Pi 3. For a more simplified plug and play process, there’s a 32 GB Class 10 MicroSD card supplied complete with NOOBS, the quick and easy system installer that contains Raspbian, an operating system based on the Debian Linux distro.

When you’re booting it up for the first time, the setup will guide you to install Raspbian although you can always install other operating systems as well. If you have a wired Internet connection, you can use it to add popular Media Center platforms. These can be installed using the NOOBS menu.

CanaKit provides a specially designed and tested for this Raspberry Pi model power supply. It comes with a noise filter to offer the best level of stability. There’s no keyboard and mouse provided so keep in mind you are going to need these for configuration.

CanaKit delivers a great combination of useful parts besides the Raspberry Pi 3 for a fair price. This package offers a very convenient way to get started in your projects more efficiently. It’s recommended for starters, the included guide should help you with the setup but if you want something more advanced there are other kits in this list which could be more up your alley.

Key Features:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Quad-Core
  • 32 GB Micro SD Card
  • Premium Quality HDMI Cable and case
  • Comes pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • 2.5A Micro USB power supply

Best Buy Raspberry Pi Kit

3. Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Essentials Kit

The Raspberry Pi 3 essentials kit offers great value and has a great configuration which is a total blast to use and learn with. Vilros threw in everything needed to get a cool project with the Raspberry Pi 3 started. For a relatively low price, this Vilros kit should satisfy many computer hobbyists.

The tiny Raspberry Pi 3 is included in the package, a very performant handheld device for the size. The Pi 3 comes with a better processor and built-in Wi-fi as well as featuring Bluetooth connectivity for more possibilities.

The main attraction from this kit is the powerful Micro SD card. After careful consideration and multiple speed tests, Vilros decided that the Samsung Evo Plus is the best solution for the job. With 32 GB of storage, you also get a decent amount of space. NOOBS comes preloaded to quickly install the desired operating system.

Another interesting addition for this Raspberry Pi kit is the UL listed 2.5 Amp power supply that’s created to work in the most efficient manner possible and comes with a very capable noise filter. A premium black case can also be found in this kit and it provides convenient access to all the ports. The cover can be removed to access the row of GPIO pins. Two sets of heatsinks are included and a high-quality HDMI cable that’s CEC enabled.

With all these components at your disposal, you can get the Raspberry Pi 3 up and running in just a few minutes. The guide included in the box is not very clear at times as it’s made just for the board and not for this particular kit.

For any amateur enthusiast who wants an inexpensive kit loaded with essential items needed to get the Raspberry Pi 3 running quickly, this product from Vilros is an ideal option. Just for the highly capable 32GB microSD card alone, this kit is worth every cent.

Key Features:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Quad-Core
  • Samsung 32 GB Evo Plus Micro SD Card
  • Pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • UL Listed 2.5 Amp USB Power Supply
  • High Quality 5 FT CEC Compatible HDMI Cable
  • Black case

4. Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit – Clear Case

Vilros makes some of the best Raspberry Pi 3 kits on the market so it’s no surprise to find another kit from this manufacturer on this list. This time, it’s a complete starter kit which comes with a stylish clear case which allows you to see the components. Priced very fairly for what it offers, this Raspberry Pi 3 kit should help many beginners wishing to enter the creative world of this little computer.

As with all the kits in this article, this one too includes the latest installment in the Raspberry Pi series, the Pi 3 Model B powered by a strong processor running at 1.2 GHz. Many interesting upgrades should please enthusiasts including the WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy on board.

One of the most interesting items from this kit is the enclosure case which is clear and includes a mounting slot and screws for attaching a Raspberry Pi camera module which isn’t included in the kit though. The case seems sturdy enough and snaps shut tightly as all the components fit nicely together. Besides the 16GB microSD card preloaded with NOOBS, you also have a handy SD card Adapter available.

Other goodies worth mentioning are the 5 feet long USB power supply and the premium quality HDMI cable for connecting the computer to a display that supports it. A set of two heat sinks for the is also provided. The step-by-step instructions from the quick guide come in handy and if you make use of the provided adhesive, the installation process will go very smoothly.

The final verdict for this Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 starter kit is a highly positive one. The clear case is not of the most amazing quality but it does a solid job for the price. It’s easy to set everything up correctly and without any hassle. For this price point, this kit is strongly recommended to anyone looking to start a cool project with the Raspberry Pi 3.

Key Features:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Quad-Core 1 GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity
  • Original SanDisk 16GB Micro SD Card
  • UL Listed 2.5 Amp USB Power Supply
  • Operating System

Best Raspberry Pi with Touchscreen

5. NeeGo Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter Kit

For those looking to build a minicomputer at home, beginners and pros alike, this kit from NeeGo is the ultimate starter pack for Raspberry Pi 3 as it contains a generous amount of quality items including a fancy touchscreen display. Thanks to this supplied display, you are no longer required to find a mouse and keyboard to operate the small device.

The last Raspberry Pi model, the fastest, is included in this kit and is highly capable to deliver the processing power for any educational or fun projects.

Besides the 7 inch touchscreen display, you have many tools at your disposal to help you craft the right gadget. NeeGo provides a noise-filtered power source, a HDMI cable, and a 16GB microSD card. Complete with heatsinks and a fancy protective case which fits the Pi 3 perfectly, this is a very cost-effective solution if you want a fully equipped starter kit.

The display is good for what you need to pay. It’s not extremely hi-res but it offers a decent viewing experience. The installation of the Raspberry Pi 3 unfolds quite smoothly but if you are a beginner make sure you carefully document before connecting things because there’s the possibility of frying the board if you mess something up.

One thing that’s a little inconvenient is the way the case won’t allow you to remove the microSD card out without unscrewing and taking the back panel out each time. This is only a slight issue if you plan on switching microSD cards very often.

If you are the type who enjoys a DIY process, working with this kit and assembling everything will be a satisfying experience. Through this bundle, NeeGo offers a pleasant exploration into the world of creative building with a Raspberry Pi 3. There are lots of things to get excited about in this kit, including the convenient touchscreen so if you have the extra budget, it’s a valuable choice.

Key Features:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 model B motherboard
  • 7” touchscreen display
  • 16GB micro sd card
  • 6-Foot HDMI Cable
  • Official Case Enclosure
  • 2-Piece Heatsink Set

6. Noza Tec Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit

Noza Tec’s starter kit for Raspberry Pi 3 is a flexible option as it incorporates lots of useful components and it comes with some variants to choose from according to your preferences. There are two variants with a 32GB microSD card and two without one and each of these come with either a black or a white case. Basically, you can choose however you like, maybe you prefer a black case or you want to buy your own microSD card.

As expected, the price for the sets with the microSD card is higher. It’s important to note that all of them have the latest Raspberry Pi 3 Model B which has already proven its capabilities as it can perform well in various educational or recreational projects.

The first sets, those without SD cards are pretty basic, low-cost options just focused on the essentials as they both have a simple case, a power supply, a set of two heatsinks and thermal grease. The latter helps with keeping under control the CPU and LAN temperatures, maintaining a cooler overclocked environment for such an enclosed space.

The sets with the 32GB microSD card also have an adapter for connecting it to a PC. The case, whether black or clear, has all the ports easily accessible to simplify the job of setting up the Raspberry Pi. Thanks to a smart way of designing, there’s also a good level of protection provided for the Pi’s delicate components.

Overall it offers some interesting goodies that look promising to any Raspberry Pi enthusiast. This kit has the potential to exceed your expectations as the Raspberry Pi 3 works flawlessly right out of the box. Getting the setup process right can take a while but it’s a very rewarding experience in the end. An excellent product for the money and an essential tool in the hands of any techie.

Key Features:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 model B Quad-Core
  • WiFi, Bluetooth connectivity
  • Case with all ports accessible
  • UL Listed 2.5A Micro USB 3 power supply
  • Comes with Raspberry Pi 3 heatsinks and thermal grease

7. Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 RetroPie Arcade Gaming Kit

Vilros continues to make waves on the market for Raspberry Pi 3 kits. This model was designed specifically for retro gamers looking for a cheap way to relive a fun experience and bring back those awesome feelings. In the package, you will find pretty much all that’s needed to start gaming as quickly as possible including a set of two classic USB gamepads and detailed instructions to transform the Raspberry Pi 3 into a retro gaming machine.

The first essential component of this kit is obviously the Raspberry Pi 3 which is the most advanced model in the series so far as it comes with powerful processing abilities, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy on board. There are some high-quality items added in this kit and the main point of attraction is represented by the two gamepads which are actually very similar in style to the NES originals.

In this pack, you can find a microSD card with a generous 32GB capacity and an included adapter. NOOBS is preloaded on the microSD card for a convenient installation of the operating system. The enclosure case for this kit is a clear model, which does a good job providing access to all the ports and looks pretty cool too. Other notable things you will need that this kit provides, are the 5 feet long HDMI cable and the micro USB power supply. To keep it from overheating, a set of two heatsinks should nicely take care of the cooling work.

To jump quickly into your favorite retro games, the kit includes a handy user guide for retro gaming. An added advantage is the fact that RetroPie, a capable emulator for these games, comes preloaded though it needs some tweaking to get all the old games to work right. Also, you need to install your own games as Vilros doesn’t provide any.

All in all, this kit has everything you need to play retro games with ease on a Raspberry Pi. It can also make an excellent surprise gift for anyone with a passion for vintage gaming. With such an affordable price, this kit is superior to an NES Classic as it adds a new level of flexibility.

Key Features:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B included
  • 2 Classic USB Gamepads
  • 32 GB Micro SD Card preloaded with NOOBS
  • 2.5A USB Power Supply
  • Clear Case
  • HDMI cable
  • Vilros Retro Gaming User Guide

8. LoveRPi Raspberry Pi 3 Media Center Kit with 32GB microSD card

 

LoveRPi created a very good Media Center kit which combines a Raspberry Pi 3, the latest and most powerful model, with many helpful items geared towards achieving the ultimate in home entertainment. The 32GB microSD card included in this kit is optimized for the Pi 3 and comes with the latest version of Raspbian OS. The price is quite balanced considering what valuable components are featured in this kit.

As the Raspberry Pi 3 is more performant than the previous generation, it consumes more power and overheating could become a serious problem. Thankfully, with this kit, you won’t have to worry about that as LoveRPi supplies a pair of their exclusive heatsink set which is capable of reducing hot spot temperatures and increase the overall stability of the Raspberry Pi 3 when the CPU has some very demanding tasks.

With a new level of convenience, this kit will provide a MicroUSB power switch which will be very appreciated when you want to quickly power it up and down. Together with the 2.5A MicroUSB power adapter, you’ll be getting the most out of your devices and accessories.

This kit is geared towards those who wish to create a Media Center. As such, it’s pretty much ready out of the box to install Kodi on it and to take advantage of advanced features offered by platforms like HDMI CEC or Flirc for achieving a perfect experience in home entertainment.

The special case is slim and sleek and feels quite durable adding a certain elegance and simplicity fitting wherever you place it. It’s very practical too, as it protects the Raspberry Pi. The only drawback is that it doesn’t fit that well over the memory card slot which can be a bit difficult to get out once you’ve screwed on the case.

Considering everything that’s been said about this Raspberry Pi 3 kit, the final impression is a positive one. LoveRPi managed to design a solid starter kit for someone who wants to transform the Pi into a Media Center. If you truly want to do that though, it’s recommended to get a good remote instead of the keyboard/mouse combo which doesn’t fit so well. This is a very recommended kit taking into account the price bracket to which it belongs.

Key Features:

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
  • 32GB MicroSD Card
  • Media Center Case
  • 2A MicroUSB Power Adapter
  • Exclusive MicroUSB Power Switch