Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

Best Raspberry Pi - Which Should You Buy? (2022)

Find out which Raspberry Pi devices and kits are best for your needs. Learn about the differences in the most popular Raspberry Pi models available and which items are required to start.

Raspberry Pi 4 Vishnu Mohanan / Unsplash

Last Updated: January 4, 2022

Written by Brandon Jones

Raspberry Pi devices are used to do neat projects or learn to program. Whether you're a student, programmer, or just someone who needs to set up a low-energy and low-cost computer setup, this tiny and affordable computers are for you.

Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized computer that plugs into a monitor or TV and uses a standard USB keyboard and mouse. It can do everything you'd expect from a desktop computer, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing light games. It is a great device that enables people of all ages to explore computing and learn how to program in various languages.

Once you know what your needs and projects will be, it'll make it easier to know which one to choose. Below I show my favorite Raspberry Pi kits and describe which ones are best for what needs.

The Best Raspberry Pi Kits I Recommend

Section Link

Deciding which Raspberry Pi is best to buy for your needs can be tricky since many options and kits are available. To help, here are my recommended Raspberry Pi kits for starting your new projects.

After selecting which one is best for you, check out my list of accessories and devices required to get started.

Raspberry Pi 400 All-in-One

The Raspberry Pi 400 is the best out of the three in terms of overall performance and use/setup. This Raspberry Pi has a slightly faster processor than the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B. It also runs marginally cooler due to the narrow board design. If you're planning to push your Raspberry Pi to its limits, this is the device to get.

The Raspberry Pi 400 is the easiest to get up and running, as it has Raspberry Pi OS pre-loaded and is fully assembled. There is no assembly required, so this is a good choice if you want something easier to get started on projects right away. The Raspberry Pi board in this unit is built into the keyboard, making it very portable.

Raspberry Pi 400 All-in-One Raspberry Pi 400 All-in-One Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
  • Raspberry Pi 400 specs:
    • 1.8 GHz quad-core 64-bit processor
    • 4 GB RAM
    • Supports dual-band (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz) Wi-Fi
    • Bluetooth 5.0
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
    • Two USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port
    • Two micro-HDMI ports (supports 4k resolution)
    • 40-pin GPIO port
  • The "case" on the Raspberry Pi 400 is also the keyboard.
  • The Raspberry Pi 400 All-in-One comes with a mouse, 16 GB microSD card pre-loaded with Raspberry Pi OS, power supply, 3 ft micro HDMI to HDMI A Cable, and a beginner's guide.
  • Find the Raspberry Pi 400 All-in-One on Amazon (affiliate link).

Raspberry Pi 4 (Model B) Extreme Kit

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is an excellent option if you don't want the keyboard of the Raspberry Pi 400 but want something with more flexibility and faster performance than the Raspberry Pi Zero W.

The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B kit requires some assembly, so it's a good choice if you want the experience of putting it together. It's also easier to customize if you're going to modify it later with a different case or in other projects.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Extreme Kit CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Extreme Kit Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
  • Raspberry Pi 4 Model B specs:
    • 1.5 GHz quad-core 64-bit processor
    • 4 GB RAM
    • Supports dual-band (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz) Wi-Fi
    • Bluetooth 5.0
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
    • Two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 ports
    • 40-pin GPIO port
    • Two micro-HDMI ports (supports 4k resolution)
  • The Raspberry Pi 4 Model B kit comes with a black case, fan, power switch, heat sinks, 6 ft micro HDMI cables, power supply, a 128GB microSD card, and a microSD card reader
  • The included microSD card comes with "New Out Of Box Software" (NOOBS) for installing Raspberry Pi OS.
  • Find the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Extreme Kit on Amazon (affiliate link).

Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) Starter Kit

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is the lowest-cost and smallest kit option that's good for starting out. It has a slower processor and less RAM than the other two Raspberry Pi devices.

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is useful for projects such as robots since it requires less power. However, having fewer ports and lower speeds than the other Raspberry Pi devices may not have as much flexibility for a broader range of projects.

Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) Starter Kit Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) Starter Kit Check Price on Amazon Amazon Affiliate Link
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W specs:
    • 1 GHz single-core processor
    • 512MB RAM
    • Supports dual-band (2.4GHz and 5.0GHz) Wi-Fi
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • No Ethernet port
    • One micro-HDMI port (720p resolution or below recommended)
    • One micro USB port
    • 40-pin GPIO port
  • The Raspberry Pi Zero W Starter Kit comes with a white/red case (3 interchangeable lids), 16 GB microSD card, USB OTG adapter, mini HDMI adapter, heat sink, and power supply.
  • The included microSD card comes with "New Out Of Box Software" (NOOBS) for installing Raspberry Pi OS.
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) Starter Kit on Amazon (affiliate link).

Required Items to Start

Section Link

Some Raspberry Pi kits include most items that are required for starting. With that said, it's best to make sure you have all that you need.

Below is a list of all that is required to begin. I've also included some recommended products to make it easier to choose.

USB Power Adapter

Depending on the model, you will need either a micro USB or USB C power adapter to use your Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi 4B uses a USB C power adapter. The Raspberry Pi Zero W uses a micro USB power adapter.

Raspberry Pi 4B Power Supply on Amazon (affiliate link)

Raspberry Pi Zero W Power Supply on Amazon (affiliate link)

MicroSD Card

Lower capacity microSD cards ( 8 GB) will work for most projects, but a 32 GB or higher microSD card is recommended since there's not much price difference. A larger microSD card would allow you to repurpose the Raspberry Pi in the future or use it for multiple tasks.

I recommend the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC Memory Card on Amazon (affiliate link) if you don't already have one and aren't getting one in a kit.

Ethernet or Wi-Fi

The Raspberry Pi 400 and 4 Model B both have an Ethernet port and Wi-Fi capability. The Raspberry Pi Zero W only has Wi-Fi.

Using Ethernet, which requires an Ethernet cable, may provide a slightly faster response time for some projects and a more stable connection than Wi-Fi. However, you most likely won't notice much of a difference between the two.

Mouse and Keyboard

To first set up your Raspberry Pi, you will need a USB keyboard and USB mouse. After setting up your Raspberry Pi, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse if you want to instead.

If you need a keyboard, I recommend Mechanical Keyboards on Amazon (affiliate link) for the most enjoyable experience.

If you need a mouse, I recommend getting a Logitech Wired USB Mouse on Amazon (affiliate link).

TV or Monitor

You will need a TV or monitor to view the Raspberry Pi OS desktop environment.

Check out my other articles for Choosing the Best Monitor for Programming and How to Choose a Gaming Monitor.

HDMI to Micro-HDMI Cable

To connect a display that has an HDMI port to the Raspberry Pi, you will need an HDMI to micro-HDMI cable or adapter.

I recommend the UGREEN 10FT Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable Adapter 4K 60Hz on Amazon (affiliate link) if you don't already have one and aren't getting one in a kit.

Headphones or Speakers

If your project involves anything with sound, you will need either Bluetooth headphones or speakers.

I recommend the OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker on Amazon (affiliate link) if you want a small Bluetooth speaker.

If you want some headphones, check out my other article: Are Noise-Cancelling Headphones Worth the Added Expense?

A Case

If you aren't getting a Raspberry Pi kit, which includes a case, you may want one to provide protection and easier portability. Getting a case is optional, and your Raspberry Pi will still be usable without one.

Keep in mind that there are different versions of cases depending on which model of Raspberry Pi you are going to get.

Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Cases on Amazon (affiliate link).

Raspberry Pi Zero W Cases on Amazon (affiliate link).