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Best Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kits 2019 – Buying Guide

Best Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kits 2019 – Buying Guide

Do you want to get started with the Raspberry Pi? Read this article to figure out the best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits to choose from, how to get started and what you can do with a Raspberry Pi board.

Raspberry Pi Logo Divider: Best Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kits

The Raspberry Pi is a small computer board about the size of a credit card. It was developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote teaching of basic computer science in schools. Since its first general sale in 2012, more than 25 million Raspberry Pi boards have been sold.

The Raspberry Pi has become popular not just among kids but also among electronics hobbyists, experienced makers, tinkerers, and even computer scientists.

Why are we writing this article? We (Rui Santos and Sara Santos) are the authors of “20 Easy Raspberry Pi Projects: Toys, Tools, Gadgets, and More!” book and the owners of the Random Nerd Tutorials blog.

Many of our readers ask us what do they need to get started with the Raspberry Pi. The obvious answer is “A Raspberry Pi!”. However, there are many starter kits to choose from, so we’ve decided to make a compilation with the Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits.

In this article you’ll also find out some additional information about the Raspberry Pi and resources to get started.

Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits – Comparison

The following table shows our choices for the best Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Starter Kits and their features.

Continue reading this article for a more detailed analysis of each Raspberry Pi starter kit, and to learn more about the Raspberry Pi board.

Figure
Name
Price
Links
MicroSD Card
HDMI Cable
Case
Other Accessories
CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter Kit
$$
32GB with NOOBS
Black case with built-in fan
Heat sink, PiSwitch, MicroSD Card Reader, Getting Started Guide
CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Basic Starter Kit with Fan (4GB RAM)
$
x
Clear case with fan
Heat sink, PiSwitch, Getting Started Guide
Vilros Raspberry Pi 4 Complete Kit (4GB)
$$
32GB with NOOBS
Clear case with built-in fan
Heat sink, Power Switch, MicroSD Card Reader, Getting Started Guide
Vilros Raspberry Pi 4 Basic Kit with Fan Cooled Case (4GB)
$
x
HDMI (female) & Micro-HDMI (male) Adapter
Clear case with built-in fan
Heat sink, power switch, Getting Started Guide
CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Ultimate
$$
32GB with NOOBS
Clear case
Electronics assortments, heat sink, extra wires and interfaces, and more
V-kits RPi Kit with Touchscreen and Keyboard
$$$
32GB with NOOBS
x
Heat sink,
keyboard, touchscreen display, MicroSD reader

Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits quick links:

Recommended reading: Best Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming Kits

What’s a Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-size microcomputer board that you can get for approximately $35. It has everything a normal computer has: a processor, RAM and ports to plug a monitor, mouse and keyboard, and to connect to the internet.

Raspberry Pi 4 Board: 1GB, 2GB, 4GB RAM features specifications overview
Raspberry Pi 4 (Photo from raspberrypi.org)

Raspberry Pi 4 vs Raspberry Pi 3 B+

The Raspberry Pi 4 is the most recent revision of the Raspberry Pi board after the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. You can take a look at the following table for a comparison between the Raspberry Pi 4 and the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

RPi Model
Rpi 3 B+
Rpi 4
Architecture
ARM v8-A 64-bit
ARM v8-A 64-bit
SoC
Broadcom BCM2837B0
Broadcom BCM2711
CPU
1.4 GHz 64-bit
quad-core ARM Cortex-A53
1.5 GHz 64-bit
quad-core ARM Cortex-A72
RAM
1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM (depending on model)
Wireless LAN
2.4GHz and 5GHz
2.4GHz and 5GHz
Bluetooth
Blutooth 4.2 and BLE
Blutooth 5.0 and BLE
Supports PoE
(requires separate PoE HAT)
(requires separate PoE HAT)
GPIOs
40
40
Ports
HDMI, 3.5mm analogue audio-video jack, 4x USB 2.0, Ethernet, Camera Serial Interface (CSI), Display Serial Interface (DSI)
2x micro HDMI, 3.5 mm analogue audio-video jack, 2x USB 3.0, and 2x USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet, Camera Serial Interface (CSI), Display Serial Interface (DSI)
Where to Buy?

The Raspberry Pi 4 offers a choice of memory capacities. You can get a Pi with 1GB, 2G or 4GB of RAM.

There are some significant differences between this and previous models. However, they all work in a similar way, so previous projects are still compatible with the newer board.

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Raspberry Pi Accessories You Need to Get Started

There are MANY Raspberry Pi accessories out there, but you just need a few to quickly get started.

Raspberry Pi Accessories You Need to Get Started
  • 3A 5V power supply (USB-C) to power up your Pi.
  • microSD card (8GB or more, class 10) to store your files and the Pi’s operating system. The Pi doesn’t have an hard drive, so everything you do on your Pi is saved on the microSD card, even the operating system. You can get a microSD card with the operating system pre-loaded or install the operating system yourself (which is not difficult).

These are the two essential accessories you need to use your Raspberry Pi. However, there are also other useful accessories you may consider getting like an HDMI cable to connect a TV or monitor to your Pi or a Raspberry Pi case to protect your board.

The new Raspberry Pi 4 uses micro USB-C for power (previous boards use USB-B) and comes with dual display output through two type-D micro HDMI connectors. This means that your accessories from previous boards like power supply, cases, and HDMI cable to connect a monitor are no longer compatible with this one. If you want to re-use your old accessories, you can get a USB-B to USB-C adapter for the power supply and an HDMI adapter.

If you’re looking for Raspberry Pi accessories, take a look at these Top 10 Raspberry Pi Accessories.


Raspberry Pi Starter Kits

1. CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Starter Kit – 4GB RAM

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This kit from CanaKit comes with the new Raspberry Pi 4 board and with the all necessary accessories to get started quickly. This includes the RPi 4GB RAM version, but you can select 2GB or 1GB (that are cheaper).

It comes with a microSD pre-loaded with NOOBS, so that you can install the Operating System quickly. Something really handy that comes with the kit is the PiSwitch. It is an on/off power switch with LED indicator for the Raspberry Pi. This way, you don’t have to plug and unplug it from the wall socket to turn it on and off.

You also get an HDMI to micro-HDMI cable to connect a monitor, and an heat sink and a case with a built-in fan to prevent your Pi from overheating.

What’s included in this kit?

  • Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Model B (4GB RAM)
  • 32GB Samsung EVO+ Micro SD Card (Class 10) pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • CanaKit Premium High-Gloss Raspberry Pi 4 Case with Integrated Fan Mount
  • CanaKit Low Noise Bearing System Fan
  • Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable – 6 foot (supports up to 4K 60p)
  • CanaKit 3.5A USB-C Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with Noise Filter – Specially designed for the Raspberry Pi 4 (UL Listed)
  • CanaKit USB-C PiSwitch (On/Off Power Switch for Raspberry Pi 4)
  • Set of Heat Sinks
  • USB MicroSD Card Reader
  • CanaKit Quick-Start Guide
  • CanaKit GPIO Reference Card

If you want to save a few bucks, you can select the Raspberry Pi with 1G or 2GB of RAM. Alternatively, you can get the basic starter kit (without microSD card).

Last updated on October 12, 2019 9:16 pm

Recommended readingGetting Started with Raspberry Pi


3. Vilros Raspberry Pi 4 Complete Kit with Clear Transparent Fan Cooled Case (4GB)

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This Vilros kit includes everything you need to get started with your Pi. It is very similar with the previous kit, bringing all the same accessories. This is also a top rated product, but some people complain about the fan.

What’s included in this kit?

  • Raspberry Pi 4 4GB Model B (4GB RAM)
  • Vilros Raspberry Pi 4 clear transparent case fully vented with preinstalled fan
  • Vilros Raspberry Pi 4 compatible power supply with on/off switch
  • Vilros micro HDMI cable (5ft)
  • Class 10 32GB Samsung EVO+ Micro SD card preloaded with NOOBS
  • Micro SD to USB adapter
  • Heatsink for Raspberry Pi (set of 4)
  • Vilros Raspberry Pi Quickstart Guide

There’s also a basic version of this kit without microSD card and without HDMI cable (it comes with an adapter).

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5. CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Ultimate Starter Kit – 32 GB Edition

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This Ultimate Starter Kit from CanaKit comes with everything you need to start, plus some electronics components to start playing with the GPIO header, like LEDs, pushbuttons, resistors, jumper wires and a breadboard.

This is the best option, if you want to build electronics projects with your Pi. This kit comes with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

What’s included in this kit?

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
  • 32GB microSD card (Class 10) pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • CanaKit 2.5A Micro USB Power Supply with Noise Filter (5 ft cable)
  • Raspberry Pi 3 case
  • HDMI Cable with CEC support (6.5 ft cable)
  • 2x Heat sink
  • GPIO and resistor colors quick reference cards
  • CanaKit GPIO to breadboard Interface board
  • GPIO bibbon cable
  • Full-Size large breadboard
  • 32x M/M jumper wires
  • 10x M/F jumper wires
  • 10x LEDs: RGB, Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue
  • 2x Pushbutton switches
  • 15x Resistors: 220 Ohm and 10K Ohm
  • CanaKit general guide for beginners to electronic components
  • CanaKit general assembly guide

6. Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (Plus) Complete Starter Kit with 7″ LCD Touchscreen Monitor, Mini Keyboard

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Besides the essential components, this kit also comes with the official Raspberry Pi touchscreen and a wireless keyboard/mouse. This makes the Pi very versatile: the mouse/keyboard can be very useful if you want to set up your pi as a media center and control it using the keyboard (like a remote control).

The touchscreen can be used to turn your Raspberry Pi into a tablet, or set it as a mini desktop computer. This kit comes with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ .

What’s included in this kit?

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
  • Offical Raspberry Pi 7″ touch screen display
  • 2.4G Wireless Keyboard & Mouse (keyboard Measures 6×2.4×0.5 inches)
  • Samsung 32GB Evo Plus (Class 10) Micro SD Card pre-loaded with NOOBS
  • MicroSD card to USB adapter
  • 2.5A USB Power Supply with ON/OFF Switch & Noise Filter
  • High Quality 5 ft Compatible HDMI Cable (To be used with other screen if desired)
  • 2x heat sinks

What can you do with a Raspberry Pi?

With a Raspberry Pi, you can do most things you do with a regular computer like web browsing, watching videos, editing documents, playing games, coding and much more. The figure below shows the Raspberry Pi 3 set as a full desktop computer.

Raspberry Pi: What you can do, uses and applications
Raspberry Pi 3 set as a desktop computer

The Raspberry Pi board has one special feature that normal computers don’t: General Purpose Input Output Pins (GPIOs). These GPIOs let you to interact with the real world allowing you to build great electronics projects.

Raspberry Pi Control LED example
Control an LED with RPi

Uses for Your Raspberry Pi

The uses for your Raspberry Pi are endless, but we’ll give some ideas:

Uses for Your Raspberry Pi
Example of home automation system with Raspberry Pi
  • Create your own programs as it comes with a good set of free tools for writing software. If you make a mistake, don’t worry you can wipe your Raspberry Pi and start over.
  • Create your own electronics projects. The Pi board has GPIOs that allow you to connect sensors and other electronics devices to interact with the real world. You can create useful things and have your projects running 24/7 without using much electricity.
  • Retro gaming console to play the old arcade games;
  • Supercomputer built with several Pi boards;
  • Cloud server to store and access your data;
  • Media center to organize and play media on your TV;
  • Home automation system to control and monitor your home – learn how to build a complete Home Automation System.
  • Awesome and useful robots like farming robots and autonomous robot cars.
  • Home Surveillance System – learn how to build a DIY CCTV system with Raspberry Pi.

You can do endless projects with your Raspberry Pi. This is just a snapshot for those new to the board. You can also check 11 Clever Uses for Your Raspberry Pi to explore more ideas.


Raspberry Pi and Operating System

The Raspberry Pi doesn’t have a hard drive, so you need to install its operating system on a microSD card. There are many Operating Systems (OS) you can install in your Raspberry Pi.

For beginners, it is recommended to get started with NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software), a simple operating system installer that contains Raspbian (a Linux distribution for Raspberry Pi – recommended for normal use). Many starter kits already come with NOOBS pre-loaded.

There are other Linux distributions you can install in your Raspberry Pi for specific uses. For example:

  • OSMC (Open Source Media Center) and OpenELEC (Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center): turn your Raspberry Pi into a Kodi media Center.
  • MotionEyeOS: ideal to build a surveillance system with your Pi.
  • Retropie: Turn your Raspberry Pi into a retro console.
  • and much more…

Can you install windows on Raspberry Pi?

There is a Windows Operating system (Windows IoT Core) build specially for the Raspberry Pi. But it is different from the Windows OS you usually run on your computer. This operating system is used to build prototypes of IoT devices and you need another PC running Windows 10 with Visual Studio.

Looking for inspiration to get started?

Do you need tutorials to get inspired and build your first project? We have free tutorials on how to get started:

We also recommend the following books:

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To find the best books to learn Raspberry Pi, we recommend reading our review about Best Raspberry Pi books for beginners.

We (Rui Santos and Sara Santos) are the authors of the “20 Easy Raspberry Pi Projects: Toys, Tools, Gadgets, and More!“. This book is a compilation of 20 beginner-friendly electronics projects, perfectly suited for kids, parents, educators, and hobbyists looking to level up their hardware skills. By purchasing the book you are supporting our work.

Wrapping Up

In this post we’ve shown you the Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits that you can get in 2019. These are all good alternatives depending on what you intend to do with your Pi or depending if you already have some of the Pi’s accessories.

The first two kits (CanaKit, Vilros) are similar and are both good choices. If you already have some of the accessories it may be more advantageous getting a basic starter kit.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit (4GB RAM) – If you want to get started with the brand new Raspberry Pi 4, we recommend the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter kit with 4GB of RAM. It comes with all the essential accessories to quickly get started including NOOBS pre-loaded on the microSD card for an easy installation of the operating system.


You might also like:

Thanks for reading.


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