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Best Raspberry Pi kit 2021: Top starter and pro kits

CanaKit and Vilros are dominating the Raspberry Pi kit market.

With most countries still going in and out of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, millions are stuck home looking for ways to pass the time. Raspberry Pi kits are a great way for both children and adults to learn about coding. 

Raspberry Pi kits -- which generally come with electronic components that can be transformed from a simple monitor or LCD into a working PC -- were first created in the UK in 2012. The Raspberry Pi Foundation wanted a way to teach computer science in schools, and since then, more than 30 million Raspberry Pi boards have been sold. 

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They are now very popular among computer scientists and children trying to learn programming languages like Python and Java. 

An average Raspberry Pi has a microcomputer board about the size of a credit card that comes with a keyboard, mouse, monitor ports, RAM, and a processor. 

The latest version of the Raspberry Pi board to be released is the Raspberry Pi 4 -- and that is the most popular in 2021. The Raspberry Pi 4 was released as a revision of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. Many come with memory cards of varying sizes, with some carrying MicroSD cards of 16GB or more.

Also: Raspberry Pi 4 Model B review: A capable, flexible and affordable DIY computing platform

Often the operating systems come loaded onto your microSD card, but it is also fairly simple to install an operating system yourself. What makes Raspberry Pi kits fun is that there is no standard -- each one is different in its own way and depends completely on the preferences of the builder. 

Many kits for sale by retailers are tailored to specific markets of people interested in Raspberry Pi kits for certain tasks. The computers built using Raspberry Pi kits run on a Linux-based OS system that is the Raspberry Pi OS.

Here are the best Raspberry Pi Kits in 2021.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 starter kit 4GB

Features a 64-bit quad-core processor running at 1.5Ghz

canakit-raspberry-pi-4-starter-kit-4gb-best-rasberry-pi-kit.jpg
Amazon

Size: 4GB RAM | Storage: 32GB EVO+ Memory Card | Cables: 6-ft Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable | Price: $99.99 


At $99.99, the Raspberry Pi 4 comes with a 64-bit quad-core processor running at 1.5Ghz, and the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter Kit includes a Raspberry Pi case as well as a Samsung 32GB EVO+ Class 10 MicroSD pre-loaded with NOOBS.

It also comes with an integrated fan mount, the CanaKit low-noise bearing system fan, a 6-ft Micro HDMI to HDMI cable, and more.

There are also cheaper versions that come with 2GB or 1GB RAM. The quick start guide is also praised in reviews by current users. CanaKit produces many of the top-selling Raspberry Pi kits and each one comes with a different array of tools and add-ons.

Pros:

  •    64-bit quad-core processor 
  •    Samsung 32GB EVO+ Class 10 MicroSD pre-loaded with NOOBS

Cons:

  •   Video on LCD monitors sometimes blanks out with HDMI video
  •   Some say the fan is not the best

Vilros Raspberry Pi 4 complete kit

There are 2GB, 4GB and 8GB versions available

vilros-raspberry-pi-4-complete-kit-best-rasberry-pi-kit.jpg
Vilros

Size: 4GB RAM | Storage: 32GB EVO+ Memory Card | Price: $99.99


The Vilros Raspberry Pi 4 Complete Kit comes with a case, fan, 3-amp power supply, 32GB SD Card, guide, heat sink, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.,0 and a micro HDMI Cable. There are 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB versions available on Amazon. 

There is an on/off switch attached to the USB-C Raspberry Pi 4 compatible power supply that's built specifically for the Raspberry Pi 4 model.

Vilros compared the model to entry-level x86 PC systems and said it offered various improvements compared to previous models like increased processor speed, multimedia performance, and connectivity. In addition to a built-in fan, there are also a set of four heat sinks.

The kit is a bit more advanced than others but offers more opportunities to build a wider variety of things, ideal for both hobbyists and beginners.  

Pros:

  •    Detailed user guide 
  •    USB-C 5V 3A power supply with on/off switch
  •    Built-in fan and four heat sinks
  •    Aluminum alloy case

Cons:

  •   Some users have said the case does not last long

Labists Raspberry Pi 4 4GB complete starter pro kit

Well-regarded kit for beginners and professionals

labists-raspberry-pi-4-4gb-complete-starter-pro-kit-best-rasberry-pi-kit.jpg
Labists

Size: 4GB RAM | Storage: 32GB Class 10 MicroSD Card  | Price: $99.99


Labists' Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Complete Starter PRO Kit comes with a 1.5GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 CPU and is able to deliver a 500Mhz speed for stronger processing power.

The Bluetooth 5.0 has expanded the kit's range and speed while dual-band 802.11 b/g/n/ac wireless LAN allows for better reception thanks to quick wireless networking. There is support for 4K/60fps thanks to the dual micro-HDMI ports as well as H.265 4Kp60 hardware decoding.

There are two USB 3.0 ports and a thick 5-ft USB-C power supply that comes with a noise filter and an on/off switch. The kit is also equipped with three copper heat sinks and a mini silent fan. Labists even included its own screwdrivers along with a quick-start guide.

Pros:

  •    Detailed user guide 
  •    USB-C 5V 3A power supply with on/off switch
  •    Built-in fan + 4 heat sinks
  •    Aluminum alloy case

Cons:

  •   The fans are loud
  •   The sinks are cumbersome

V-Kits Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ starter kit

Designed for those looking to build games

v-kits-raspberry-pi-3-model-b-starter-kit-best-rasberry-pi-kit.jpg

Size: 8GB RAM | Storage: 32GB Evo Plus (Class 10) Micro SD Card  | Price: $89.99


Vilros' V-Kits is tailored toward beginners interested in things like gaming. The kit comes with a March 2018 Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and a 64-bit SoC at 1.4Ghz.

In addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, there is a built -n Samsung 32GB Evo Plus (Class 10) Micro SD Card Preloaded With NOOBS as well as a micro SD-USB adapter.

Vilros included an aluminum case that is self-cooling and acts as a heat sink. Like other kits, Vilros' is equipped with a 2.5 Amp USB power supply with a micro USB cable and an on/off switch. A noise filter and 5-ft HDMI cable are included. The company also offers users a one-year subscription to its customer support channel.

Pros:

  •    Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity 
  •    Ease of use

Cons:

  •  Tailored to beginners

Neego Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (B Plus) ultimate kit

Comes with a 800 x 480-resolution screen

neego-raspberry-pi-3-b-b-plus-ultimate-kit-best-rasberry-pi-kit.jpg
NeeGo

Size: 1GB RAM | Storage: 32GB Micro SD Card  | Price: $89.99


The Neego Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (B Plus) Ultimate Kit is a bit pricier than the other options but comes with a 64-Bit quad-core CPU, built-In Wi-Fi, and a 7-inch touchscreen display. The screen has a resolution of 800 x 480 and can connect through a GPIO or USB, making it ideal for gaming.

The 32GB card has a Raspberry Pi 3 Compatible Version of NOOBS preloaded and an SD adapter card. The heat sink comes as a two-piece set and the kit is equipped with a 6-ft HDMI cable as well as a 2.5A Power Charger. 

Pros:

  •    800 x 480 screen 
  •    6-ft HDMI cable 
  •    Built-in Wi-Fi

Cons:

  •    A number of reviews cite faulty hardware sent to them

What is a Raspberry Pi?

Created in 2012 by the UK-based Raspberry Pi Foundation, the small single-board computers were initially built for educational purposes. Despite the modest expectations of the foundation and co-founder Ebert Upton, demand for the kits skyrocketed. Upton planned to sell 10,000 and has now sold more than 38 million as of March.

Its applications expanded quickly beyond education and it is now used by organizations like the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Oracle. People have used them to build their own private clouds, tablets and more. 

What is the difference between the foundation's Raspberry Pi 400 and the kits on this list?

The Raspberry Pi Foundation offers its own $100 version of the Raspberry Pi through sellers like CanaKit, Vilros, and others. 

The Raspberry Pi 400 comes with the Raspberry Pi 4 hardware, an official keyboard, mouse, and micro HDMI cable. 

Like many of the kits on this list, the Raspberry Pi 400 has a quad-core 64-bit processor at 1.8Ghz, 4GB of RAM, wireless networking, dual-display output, and 4K video playback.

Every kit comes with different accessories, add-ons, detailed guides, and more that help for specific tasks. Each different kit gives you a chance to surf the web, watch videos, program, edit documents, build games, and more. 

How much RAM do I need?

The amount of RAM you need is based on the kind of things you plan to do or build with your Raspberry Pi. Each generation of Raspberry Pi has increased the amount of RAM available and now the maximum is 8GB for most models.

For most beginners, 4GB is enough to handle most tasks. 

How did we choose these Raspberry Pi kits?

This list was compiled through extensive research, discussions with industry experts, and examinations of bestseller lists compiled throughout 2021. 

A range of factors was considered when choosing this selection, and the majority were chosen for their price relative to the market as well as the add-ons in each kit, the RAM, and the case.

What other Raspberry Pi kits are worth considering?

Both CanaKit and Vilros offer a slate of different kits for each generation of Raspberry Pi. The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 basic kit 8GB and CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 extreme kit 8GB are both well-regarded. Other popular models include: