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Best Raspberry Pi 3 kits: 8 options for beginners and experienced makers

The Raspberry Pi is an incredibly flexible little computer. You can use it for a wide range of projects ranging from the pragmatic to the innovative to the nostalgic—the same hardware can power a retro gaming setup as readily as an ad-blocking server. But if you’ve never handled a circuit board in your life, getting started with a Raspberry Pi may seem intimidating.

Well, fear not: There are special kits out there that make it easy for you to get started. The basic ones bundle together a Raspberry Pi board and necessary components (minus the keyboard, mouse, and monitor). More advanced options come without a Raspberry Pi board and instead focus on the specialized hardware needed for a particular project.

We’ve sifted through the options to find the best Raspberry Pi kits on the market. Our top picks include something for everyone, whether you want to build a simple secondary PC or dive right into advanced maker-style projects.

Pi Desktop

Retailer: Element 14
Price: $50
Board included: No

pidesktop angle e14Element 14

We’re kicking off this list with a kit that doesn’t include all the bells and whistles. Visually similar to Intel’s Windows-based NUC kits, the Pi Desktop is a big square box that comes with an add-on board that connects to the Raspberry Pi via its GPIO pins. There’s also a variety of PC-like innards including an mSATA interface, power controller, system clock, and heat sink.

All you need to bring is a Raspberry Pi 3 board, an SSD up to 1TB capacity, and a DIY can-do attitude. In no time you’ll be up and running with your own snazzy looking Raspberry Pi desktop PC.

CanaKit Basic

Retailer: CanaKit via Amazon
Price: $50
Board included: Yes

canakit basic starter kit CanaKit

Raspberry Pi kit maker CanaKit offers a basic kit with only the essentials included. It comes with a Raspberry Pi 3 board, charger, case, and two heat sinks. The heat sinks aren’t strictly necessary, but they’re a nice touch.

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