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5 Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits of 2021: Build Your Own Computer

5 Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits of 2021: Build Your Own Computer

Raspberry Pis are small computers that are a great starting point for children and students to learn a programming language, or for anyone interested in trying their hand at computer science. These computers are for more than just hobbyists, however, with practical applications like building your own controller for a smart home set up.

To get your start with Raspberry Pi, there are any number of project instructions available for free on the internet. In addition to that, though, there are all sorts of additional components necessary to build yourself a functioning computer, server, or whatever else you may have in mind. 

For this reason, many interested in Raspberry Pi purchase a starter kit, offering everything you need in one convenient package. In this guide, we researched the five best Raspberry Pi starter kits. Buy one as a gift, or for yourself to unlock the wonderful world of DIY computer programming.

Our Top Picks

You don’t need to be Bill Gates to use the Raspberry Pi starter kits we reviewed.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4Best Overall: CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4.
Whether for a laptop replacement or a VPN server, the best Raspberry Pi starter kits come from CanaKit.
Vilros-Raspberry-Pi-4Runner-Up: Vilros Raspberry Pi 4.
Another great option is the Vilrose complete kit: A Raspberry Pi starter kit that won’t get bogged down.
ELEGOO-Mega-R3-ProjectFor Beginners: ELEGOO Mega R3 Project.
For children or the absolute beginner, we like Mega R3 starter kit from ELEGOO.
Freenove-Ultimate-Starter-KitWith Keypad: Freenove Ultimate Starter Kit.
The ultimate starter kit from Freenove is the best choice when projects require a keypad.
NEEGO-Raspberry-Pi-3-B-UltimateWith Monitor: NEEGO Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Ultimate.
For projects with a monitor, our pick is the Raspberry Pi kit from NEEGO.
 

A Closer Look: Best Raspberry Pi Starter Kits

Keep reading for more information about the best Raspberry Pi starter kits to buy.

1. CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4

The best Raspberry Pi starter kit overall.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4

Brand: CanaKit | CPU: 1.5 GHz 64-Bit Quad Core | Size: 32 GB | Features: 3.5A USB-C | Price: 💰💰💰

Except for a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, those new to Raspberry Pi get almost everything else they need to get started with the CanaKit Raspberry starter kit, our pick for the best Raspberry Pi starter kit to buy. 

Additionally, this CanaKit product is secure, reliable and inexpensive, according to those who have used it: An amazing system that many were able to get up and running in minutes. And once it is operational, CanaKit subs in nicely for a laptop, while others powered their VPN with it. 

Add an SMB and a node, and it’s practically a server, with sufficient enough power to browse the web and check email.

  • Runs quietly
  • Nice kit, works great; good for beginners
  • Start here, beginners; you won’t go wrong
  • Slow downloads
  • Insufficient video power, some say

2. Vilros Raspberry Pi 4

The best raspberry pi starter kit for beginners.

Vilros Raspberry Pi 4

Brand: Vilros | CPU: 5 GHz Wireless LAN | Size: 4GB of RAM | Features: Fan Cooled Case | Price: 💰💰💰

Another great option for anyone interested in trying their hand at Raspberry Pi is the Raspberry Pi 4 complete kit from Vilros.

With nearly as much RAM as the average laptop, this Pi kit won’t get bogged down, and works well right out of the box. One consumer who was new to Raspberry Pi called the kit great, with easy heatsink installation, an easy-to-plug-in fan, and a chipset included in the case. And best of all, It’s almost as fast as a Mac or a PC for basic stuff like email and browsing the web, we learned. 

According to reports, it’s a wonderful package, great for hobbyists but also a practical and low-cost substitute for a Linux desktop.

You will eventually need some basic coding knowledge to get all the features up and running, but otherwise, the package is relatively inexpensive, and overall great for beginners to learn on, according to reports.

  • Very easy for beginners
  • Clear case a cool feature
  • Good quality power supply
  • Loud fan
  • A little bright at night
  • Video issues reported

3. ELEGOO Mega R3 Project

The best kit for beginners.

ELEGOO Mega R3 Project

Brand: ELEGOO | Features: MEGA R3 Dev Board | Module: CD 1602 | Power: 74 HC 595 Serial to Parallel Converter | Price: 💰💰

With a robust free tutorial and plentiful YouTube instructional videos, the next pick in our ranking is the best choice for a kid or for anyone who is truly new to computer science. 

Nicely, everything comes in a well-organized plastic box, and according to an actual child who used it to begin learning about computer science, the board is quality, offering great bang for the buck, with several different types of motors, LED displays, alphanumeric display, and a number of different sensors included with purchase.

It’s exactly what another consumer was looking for to get started with Raspberry Pi programming and operating environment, and it comes with everything you’ll need for Arduino programming and simple circuits.

  • Comes neatly packed
  • No soldering required
  • Clear instructions, good tutorials
  • Uneven component quality
  • Register color difficult to discern
  • Included USB cable could be longer

4. Freenove Ultimate Starter Kit

The best Raspberry Pi kit with keypads.

Freenove Ultimate Starter Kit

Brand: Freenove | Languages: C, Python 2 and 3, Java, and Scratch Compatible | Features: Solderless Breadboard Keypad | Price: 💰💰

For Raspberry Pi projects requiring a numeric keypad, we recommend the Freenove Ultimate Starter Kit. This comprehensive package has everything you need to get started, although the Raspberry Pi board itself is sold separately, which is not uncommon. 

According to one teacher that uses the kit in his class room, the variety and quality of the components included in the kit is excellent, such as a motor, sensors, a large LCD, and buttons, switches, and even a GPIO replicator.

Otherwise, the Freenove kit is great for learning Python and circuit building, with a manual that is easy to understand and parts and pieces that are nicely machined and interesting to use, based on feedback.

  • Good for beginners
  • PDFs included with copy and pastable code
  • Includes card for simple resistor color identification
  • Manual has a lot of spelling errors
  • Reports of inconsistent performance
  • Some additional parts required to purchase

5. NEEGO Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Ultimate

The best Raspberry Pi starter kit with monitor.

NEEGO Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Ultimate

Brand: NEEGO | CPU: 64-Bit Quad Core | Size: 32GB | Features: 7″ Touch Screen | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Not only does the next Raspberry Pi starter kit in our list include a monitor, it’s a touch screen monitor. This, among many other reasons, makes it the best Raspberry Pi starter kit with a monitor, according to our research. 

Also included in the package are two heatsinks, a power supply, and a 32GB micro SD card among other useful components. There’s also a NEEGO keyboard.

All combined, the kit is quick and easy to assemble, according to reports, and it’s compatible with multiple programming languages. The command line wireless keyboard works great, and after assembling all the parts you’ll have a running, hand-sized computer. 
According to one consumer, the ultimate kit from NEEGO is an effective learning tool and a geek’s cool gadget, offering plenty of flexibility to experiment.

  • Nice package for NOOBS
  • Screen clear and bright, good video
  • Works as a smart home controller and media server
  • Weak power supply
  • Some ship with missing pieces
  • Documentation could be better

Our Process

For this guide on the best Raspberry Pi starter kits, our team spent 5 hours researching the 25 most popular options from brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each kit. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 5 Raspberry Pi kits on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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