Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits

Review & Comparison, Last Update January 9, 2020
Raspberry Pi starter kits are these flexible little computers that cost less than most toys and are able to do almost everything that full-fledged PCs can do. The best Raspberry Pi starter kits let you easily build the most flexible, adaptable, and versatile platform to perform various tasks and complete different projects. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Kit Contents
CPU
RAM
Storage
Interfaces
Warranty
 
PROS

The three aluminum heat sinks will work wonders dissipating heat from the CPU and the board. At the same time, the low-noise fan will have no issues keeping the components cool enough to prevent overheating. The PiSwitch is able to minimize electrical resistance, keeping the system stable and secure. 

CONS

The case does not allow for using the pins.

OUR VERDICT

The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit is the only platform on this list that, in some ways, has the capacity to tussle with budget desktop PCs. You'll be able to connect and use two monitors at the same time. The high-performance hardware will enable juggling multiple demanding apps simultaneously.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Raspberry Pi 4, Case with an integrated fan mount, Fan, Micro HDMI to HDMI cable, Power adapter, PiSwitch, 3 heat sinks, USB microSD card reader

CPU

ARM Cortex A72 (Quad-core, 1.5 GHz) 

RAM

4 GB

Storage

32 GB microSD card included, Preloaded with NOOBS software

Interfaces

USB-C for power supply, 2 x micro-HDMI out, 1 x AV-out, 1 x LAN (RJ-45), 4 x USB ports, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The supplied jumper wires will enable you to better manage the circuits built into the breadboard. You'll be able to spread out the components, allowing easier access to these components. The jumpers will also let you lay these components out in a much more logical fashion.

CONS

Some might find one heat sink to be not enough. 

OUR VERDICT

The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter Kit is all about that "ultimate" part in its name there. In other words, this is the most complete and versatile bundle within this lineup. The resistors will let you change the current amount flowing through specific components, protecting them from overcharging.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Raspberry Pi 3, Case, HDMI to HDMI cable, Heat sink, Power adapter, GPIO to Breadboard interface board, Ribbon cable, Full-size breadboard, 32 x male-to-male jumpers, 10 x male-to-female jumpers, 9 x LEDs, 15 x resistors, 2 x push-button switches 

CPU

ARM Cortex A53 (Quad-core, 1.2 GHz)

RAM

1 GB

Storage

32 GB microSD card included, Preloaded with NOOBS software

Interfaces

MicroUSB for power supply, 1 x HDMI out, 1 x AV-out, 1 x LAN (RJ-45), 4 x USB ports, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The see-through case looks quite sleek. The case makes sure that the ports are easily accessible. You'll be able to view the components without opening the case. You'll also be able to attach the case onto walls and different displays' back panels, freeing up valuable space.  


CONS

The Bluetooth module could use some improvement. 

OUR VERDICT

The Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Kit will let you explore various projects and provide new learning perspectives. Using this platform, you'll be able to learn basic programming and even make standard TVs smart. You should be able to easily piece the supplied components together.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Raspberry Pi 3, Case, HDMI to HDMI cable, 2 heat sinks, Power adapter

CPU

ARM Cortex A53 (Quad-core, 1.2 GHz)

RAM

1 GB

Storage

Memory card required

Interfaces

MicroUSB for power supply, 1 x HDMI out, 1 x AV-out, 1 x LAN (RJ-45), 4 x USB ports, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The 32-gigabyte microSD card will provide enough storage space for basic needs. Pre-loaded with the NOOBS software and OS, the platform streamlines interactions with various apps and quickly runs/loads most data/information elements. 

CONS

The USB microSD card reader is impractical. 

OUR VERDICT

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Complete Starter Kit is pretty complete too. You'll be able to use the platform 24/7 since its electricity consumption is minimal. The high-strength ABS three-piece plastic case will let you transport the platform, protecting the components against shock damage.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Raspberry Pi 3, Case, HDMI to HDMI cable, 2 heat sinks, Power adapter, USB microSD card reader

CPU

ARM Cortex A53 (Quad-core, 1.2 GHz)

RAM

1 GB

Storage

32 GB microSD card included, Preloaded with NOOBS software

Interfaces

MicroUSB for power supply, 1 x HDMI out, 1 x AV-out, 1 x LAN (RJ-45), 4 x USB ports, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The updated Wi-Fi module supports the latest 802.11ac wireless protocol, meaning that you'll be enjoying stable, high-speed connections without taking the distance between the platform and the router into account. The Bluetooth 4.2 module will let you quickly share data and comfortably use different gadgets wirelessly. 

CONS

There's no HDMI cable in the kit. 

OUR VERDICT

The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter Kit will be able to take both literal and proverbial heat. The platform will make sure various applications run as smoothly as possible. You'll have no issues connecting different devices and gadgets to the platform. The plastic case is sturdy yet lightweight.

detailed parameters
Kit Contents

Raspberry Pi 3, Case, 2 heat sinks, Power adapter, PiSwitch

CPU

ARM Cortex A53 (Quad-core, 1.4 GHz)

RAM

1 GB

Storage

Memory card required

Interfaces

MicroUSB for power supply, 1 x HDMI out, 1 x AV-out, 1 x LAN (RJ-45), 4 x USB ports, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

Warranty

1 year

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4

Switch It Up

The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit is an excellent package. There are no bells and whistles here. That being said, the kit is comprehensive and complete enough to make various projects work.

First things first, the premium-quality ABS 3-piece plastic case is flexible and rugged enough to protect, support, and sustain the hardware. The case has been specifically designed for the Raspberry Pi 4 with GPIO access. The high-gloss case looks about as sleek as these Raspberry cases get.

Plus, the case comes equipped with this integrated fan mount that will be able to streamline building the setup. At the same time, the case does not allow for using the pins, so there are some limitations here.

The company's low-noise fan, on the other hand, will be able to keep the system nice and cool without producing too much noise.

What we're really excited about though is the PiSwitch. The switch lets you easily manage/manipulate the power supply for the entire system. You can quickly turn everything on and off. Plus, there's also this convenient LED indicator on the switch that tells you whether the system is working or not.

Also, the switch incorporates the same high-gloss finish, bringing aesthetics to the table too. Its high-quality build minimizes electrical resistance, which is crucial because low-quality in-line switches are prone to creating high electrical resistance and reduced voltage.

Review of CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit

Tussle with Legit Rigs

Setting the switch aside, what separates this kit from its direct competition and the entries on this list is its 4-gigabyte RAM setup.

As you would imagine, with so much RAM, the system will let you multitask and juggle multiple demanding applications at the same time, which is not necessarily something that you can usually say about Raspberry PI computers.

We can also extend the same sentiment towards the quad-core ARM Cortex A72 processor running at 1.5 GHz.

These components make the system much beefier than you'd expect and will let you realize various advanced maker-style projects.

Apart from that, the circuit board uses USB-C for power supply, an upgrade compared to MicroUSB no matter how you slice things.

Aside from everything we've reviewed above, the kit packs the standard suspects, including micro-HDMI to HDMI cable, power adapter, three heat sinks, and this awesome USB microSD card reader.

Bottom line, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit will be able to tussle with legit budget rigs. There's very little this system won't let you do.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate

The Ultimate Package

The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter Kit delivers on the "ultimate" premise more than any kit we've looked at. There's so much here crammed into the kit that the price makes very little sense. Of course, first comes the case. The see-through case is not necessarily as elegant and attractive as its competition from the same company that we've reviewed here.

At the same time, it is arguably much more practical. As the see-through part implies, the case will let you easily put things together and see what's working and which part should be replaced.

The supplied 32-gigabyte microSD memory card comes pre-loaded with the NOOBS software and operating system, so you'll be able to load info quickly and easily. The 2.5A MicroUSB power supply features a surprisingly effective noise filter that keeps the system running quiet, while the 5-feet USB cable will let you design various projects without errors.

As it is usually the case, the system has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 incorporated into the onboard circuitry, so you won't have to attach Wi-Fi/Bluetooth dongles to the board.

There are also four USB ports that will let you connect various devices to the system.

The supplied hardware is pretty standard, including the quad-core ARM Cortex A53 running at 1.2 GHz and 1-gigabyte RAM.

Review of CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter Kit

Making the System Accessible

We've seen these components before. They're necessary but not enough to constitute the "ultimate" kit promise. That's where the full-size breadboard, the GPIO-to-breadboard interface board, and the ribbon cable come into play. Using these components, you'll be able to fully utilize the 40-pin GPIO interface.

Apart from that, the kit comes supplied with 32 male-to-male jumpers and 10 male-to-female jumpers. With these jumpers, you'll be able to connect various devices/circuits/components to the system.

There are also nine LEDs that will let you streamline the system and make the build accessible to beginners.

Some components are unable to handle large currents. That's where the 15 supplied resisters will come in handy. These resistors will enable you to change the amount of current flowing through various circuit parts, protecting these parts from overcharging.

Last but not least, the product supplies you with two push-button switches. You can program these switches to automatically run different programs and activate/complete various tasks.

The only component we haven't covered is the one heat sink that some might find not enough. Apart from that, again, what we have here is the most complete kit and an ultimate system for beginners.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Ultimate Starter Kit in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Vilros Raspberry Pi 3

Enough to Make Do

The Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Kit is not as complete as its CanaKit competition. You will have to purchase multiple extra components to make the system flexible enough for various tasks. At the same time, the platform has its advantages too. First off, the transparent case looks pretty sleek.

The case keeps all the ports accessible, lets you view the contents, and makes sure to protect these contents without making interactions with the system more difficult than they should be. Also, you can attach this case to walls and even various displays' back panels, keeping the platform accessible yet ensuring that you're not sacrificing precious space.

Hardware-wise, the quad-core ARM Cortex A53 1.2 GHz CPU is standard as far as these Raspberry Pi platforms go. The same can be said about the 1-gigabyte RAM stick. Needless to say, these components won't let you run multiple demanding apps simultaneously. However, these hardware pieces will be enough to develop various prototypes, implement different solutions, and realize varying simple projects.

Review of Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Kit with Clear Case

Varying Interfaces

As far as connection interfaces are concerned, this bundle is as good as most Raspberry Pi kits. There are four USB ports that you can use to hook different devices to the platform. The HDMI output will let you connect the system to most screens. The AV output will enable you to plug various electroacoustic transducers (speakers, headphones, etc) to the platform.

Of course, the LAN (RJ-45) port will make sure you're able to secure a wired Internet connection. At the same time, the Wi-Fi module will provide wireless Internet access possibilities, while the Bluetooth module will let you connect different devices to the system wirelessly.

Some customers complain that the Bluetooth module could use some improvement since the connection is sometimes pretty unstable but that's quite often the case with these Raspberry Pi kits.

Apart from that, the bundle adopts two heat sinks that you can use to prevent the system from overheating. There's an HDMI-to-HDMI cable supplied with the package too, so you won't have to purchase one separately. As you would imagine, using this cable, you'll be able to connect the platform to various HDMI-enabled devices, including A/V receivers, different displays, and more.

Long story short, the Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Kit will let you create. Using this bundle, you'll be able to learn how various consumer electronics work and build a platform that can be utilized in many different ways.

Vilros Raspberry Pi 3 Kit with Clear Case in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Pre-Loaded OS

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Complete Starter Kit will be able to do more than you'd expect considering its hardware. Sure, the hardware is not necessarily bad. The quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU runs at 1.2 GHz, which is more or less standard as far as Raspberry PI kits are concerned. The 1-gigabyte RAM stick won't let you manipulate large databases.

Of course, you won't be able to comfortably manage high-res images using apps like Photoshop. You will, however, be able to run large and complex spreadsheets, which is pretty impressive considering these kits' basic architecture.

More often than not, what separates these so-called "complete" and "universal" starter kits from basic kits is the supplied components. First and foremost, the separation exists here courtesy of the 32-gigabyte microSD card that will let you store various data. At the same time, the card comes pre-loaded with NOOBS software that streamlines the platform's interactions with different apps and lets you quickly load information.

Having said that, you can install pretty much whatever operating system you want (except for the latest macOS and Windows versions since those require much beefier hardware compared to what this platform houses).

Review of Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Complete Starter Kit Desktop Barebone

The Right Case

We've seen the company's premium-quality ABS 3-piece plastic case before, so we won't be focusing too much on this component. Needless to say, the case provides excellent heat dissipation and protects the components from shock/drop damage, so you will be able to transport the platform with ease. There are also two heat sinks supplied with the bundle that will let you make sure the system never overheats.

Setting these sinks aside, the product bundles an HDMI-to-HDMI cable and a USB microSD card reader. The cable will let you link the system with different TVs and monitors, while the reader will let you use SD cards to share data between the platform and different devices.

Some find the reader somewhat impractical because it is relatively difficult to access but the fact that it is there, present in the first place is good enough considering the price.

Plus, you don't have to use the reader at all. The board comes fitted with four USB ports and a Bluetooth module, so you will be able to transfer data and connect multiple gadgets/drives using various protocols/interfaces.

Last but not least, the supplied 2.5A MicroUSB power adapter features an effective noise filter and a 5-feet cord to make the system adaptable and flexible enough.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Complete Starter Kit Desktop Barebone in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
NEW Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit #Unboxing

What customers say about this product

Features

Appreciated the HDMI cable being included. I used my big screen TV to get started. This all worked well.

Processor

It is fast! I was browsing photo heavy web sites without too much lag

Memory

A USB hard drive works, but I was also able to NFS mount my main desktop over wireless (N) and stream both large and small movies from there without a problem.

Connectivity

The case does a good job of protecting the raspberry pi while still allowing unfettered access to all the ports. The microSDHC and HDMI cable are great additions that makes the price more than worth it for me. No complaints at all.
 

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+

Stable Wireless Connection

The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter Kit is, in most ways, the most basic kit within this lineup. It is far from basic though compared to most starter kits. In fact, the kit is less basic and more incomplete than the bundles on this list.

The package comes without an HDMI cable, which is nothing to cry about though since you can always purchase those separately, these cables are available everywhere and cost pennies.

The fact that the platform is not fitted with an SD card's a shame though. Considering the bundle's price, you'd think that the people behind it would make sure to add the standard 32-gigabyte microSD storage solution, but they haven't. Again, these are not expensive and you can purchase these cards pretty much anywhere and everywhere but that's somewhat beside the point.

Of course, the kit has its strengths too, otherwise, we would've easily been able to replace this product with a different starter kit.

First and foremost, the Wi-Fi module that the platform is packing is superb, supporting the latest 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless protocols, so you'll be able to utilize the most stable and reliable connection even with the router located far from the system.

The updated 4.2 Bluetooth module is excellent too, letting you quickly copy and paste data and comfortably use various wireless devices.

Review of CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter Kit with Premium Clear Case

The Improved CPU

The transparent case that houses the board is everything these cases are supposed to be: strong, sturdy, and convenient. You'll have no issues accessing the platform's components and various ports.

The ports are pretty standard. You have four USB ports since it is the most widespread protocol and will let you connect most modern-day devices. You have an HDMI port that will let you connect different displays to the platform. You also have the standard 3.5-mm jack that enables you to hook various headphones and loudspeakers to the system.

You can put aside the router and use the LAN (RJ-45) interface to connect the platform directly to the Internet.

On the hardware and extra components fronts, the biggest contributor is the updated quad-core ARM Cortex A53 processor. Running at 1.4 GHz, this CPU will be able to compile different programs and even tackle small-time data mining.

The supplied PiSwitch will enable you to easily turn the system on and off, while the two heat sinks will make sure the system avoids overheating.

To sum this up, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter Kit will be able to provide stable and secure operation regarding various different projects.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter Kit with Premium Clear Case in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Raspberry Pi Starter Kit?

Sometimes, systems can look somewhat complicated yet be anything but when you barely look into them. That's pretty much the case with Raspberry Pi starter kits. What you have here are bundles that supply you with the necessary hardware, parts, and components to build a flexible little computer.

Sounds complicated, right? That's not the case though. These bundles always come with detailed instruction manuals. Everything that's required to piece these components together is usually supplied with the package. More often than not, even the operating system and the necessary apps are pre-loaded onto the supplied SD cards.

When you put these pieces together, these flexible little machines will let you do much more than you'd expect considering the $50-100 price range. You can use them to browse the web. These platforms can be used to learn various programming languages. You can use these systems to learn how different consumer electronics work. The machines can be even used as home automation systems, to build network monitoring tools, and establish different servers.

As you would imagine, these basic computers are great for schools too since kids will be able to learn, while the school won't have to fork over major dough.

Sometimes, these bundles are not fitted with HDMI cables and USB cables, so we would recommend purchasing them separately as soon as possible.

What Features to Compare

Hardware

These little machines are still computers and computers are all about the supplied hardware. More often than not, these systems come fitted with decent CPUs (something along the lines of the quad-core ARM Cortex A53) and somewhere around 1-2 gigabytes of RAM.

As you would imagine, that's not enough to run multiple demanding apps but more than enough to browse the Internet, handle emails, stream HD videos, and perform basic computing.

Sometimes, these platforms come equipped with better processors and more RAM though. When that's the case, you're able to use these systems to manipulate large databases, encode videos (depending on the GPU though), mine data, compress and decompress information, and more.

Storage

More often than not, Raspberry Pi starter kits these days come equipped with 32-gigabyte microSD cards. These cards are packing enough capacity-wise to let you store enough crucial data.

At the same time, these cards often come pre-loaded with an operating system and NOOBS software to make these platforms accessible to beginners and let you use them from the get-go without setting anything up.

When that's not the case, you will have to purchase some storage solution separately and install an operating system yourself.

Components

What separates these platforms first and foremost are the supplied components. Sometimes, these systems come packing only the basics: the board, the case, maybe a power adapter. Other times, these systems come loaded with various extra components, including different cables, push-button switches, fan mounts, heat sinks, LEDs, jumpers, resistors, card readers, breadboards, everything you need to make the system as flexible and versatile as possible.

Interfaces

Setting the components aside, interfaces determine these platform's quality first and foremost. At the same time, there's not that much variation between these systems regarding interfaces.

More often than not, Raspberry Pi platforms come fitted with multiple USB ports. Needless to say, these ports let you connect various devices with the system.

The HDMI output is crucial too because without that port you won't be able to connect the machine to most displays, which is why these machines seldom come without the port.

Other than that, these systems rarely come without Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules, so you'll be able to connect different gadgets wirelessly too. You'll also have no issues accessing the Internet using the Wi-Fi module or the standard LAN (RJ-45) port.

Did you know?

Raspberry Pi platforms are ridiculously flexible and adaptable considering how cheap these systems are. You'd think that the price would limit these systems' range of applications but that's not even remotely the case. In fact, using these platforms, you're able to do much more than one would expect. Though we urge you to discover these things yourself, here's a shortlist of some of the things you can do using these systems.

Replace Your Desktop PC

Of course, the hardware these platforms are packing won't let them tussle with mid-range PCs, which's natural considering that those cost ~10-15 times more than these platforms. Having said that, these flexible little computers have no issues performing basic computing and doing most basic things that PCs are able to do. Provided you've purchased one of the prospects that comes with an SD card and an HDMI cable, all you have to do is use that cable to connect the platform to any display. More often than not, the aforementioned SD cards with these kits come pre-loaded with NOOBS software, which's a packet that includes the Raspbian operating system too, so you won't even have to set anything up software-wise.

Print

Most printers nowadays are able to print wirelessly from various gadgets and devices using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc. They're even sometimes able to print directly from Cloud services. Legacy printers, however, cannot do that. You will be able to print with these printers using these Raspberry Pi computers though. Download the right software (the Common Unix Printing System app should be able to do the tick more often than not) and hook the printer to the platform using the USB ports. If the printer doesn't have a USB connection, you can purchase an adaptor.

Game

Sure, these systems are usually housing relatively unimpressive hardware, so you obviously won't be able to run triple-A titles, that would be absurd considering that these systems cost less than 100 bucks. That doesn't mean you cannot use these systems to play various video games though. In fact, Recalbox and RetroPie can be turned into retro gaming machines seamlessly. Other systems can be used too, provided you've purchased a controller separately. You can emulate various classic gaming platforms and play your favorite childhood games.

Make Videos

Sometimes, these systems come equipped with camera modules. When that's the case, you can use different scripts to make timelapse videos. Set whatever delay feels right and take single frames, let the aforementioned scripts put these frames together, and enjoy the footage.

Broadcast FM Stations

Sure, broadcasting using the frequency modulation (FM) tech is illegal without the required FM license. No one's saying you cannot play around with the idea though. Plus, these systems are only able to broadcast over short distance anyway, so we're not talking about the practical application here and more about exploring the possibility. You will also require some portable battery solution and soldering skills to make it work but that somewhat goes without saying.

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Publish Date: 2020-01-09 11:42:51