If you’re ready to jump into the world of Raspberry Pi, then you’re going to need a kit and some components to get started. But, with so many different boards and models, which Raspberry Pi kit should you buy?
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a total NOOBS, here are 5 of the best Raspberry Pi kits you can buy in 2019 that are sure to keep you busy for hours on end!
1. RaspTank Wireless Smart Robotic Tank with Arm
First up, we have the RaspTank Wireless Smart Robotic Tank with Arm. This kit looks like something from the future. You’ll have to pick up a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and a pack of 18650 batteries in addition to this kit, but for under $150, it’s an affordable intermediate platform for prototyping mobile robots.
If your sole focus is improving your coding skills, then it’s a good idea to find a kit with a solid chassis, electronics, and drivetrain configuration. Then you can focus on developing algorithms rather than debugging the mechanical design.
The RaspTank kit includes a 73-page PDF manual and sample Python code to get you started. There’s also a graphical user interface (GUI) designed for the RaspTank that you can use for FPV driving and analysis.
Overall, if you’re looking for the next step after building your first mobile robot, then this would be the kit I’d buy next. You’ll start to learn more concepts in computer science, which is useful if you have an interest in this field as both a hobby or as a profession.
2. Crawling Raspberry Pi Robot Kit
If you’re looking for a creepy-crawling robotic spider kit, then you’ll want to check out the Adeept RaspClaws Hexapod Sider Robot for Raspberry Pi. This is not just any robotic spider project; you can do more advanced functions including object recognition, face-tracking, and motion detection using OpenCV. There’s also real-time video transmission for FPV control.
This kit is designed for the intermediate or advanced maker; however, if you’re willing to put in the work to learn Raspberry Pi, this kit could keep you busy for hours. If your goal is focusing more on robotics programming rather than building a robot, I highly recommend picking up a RaspClaws kit.
Once you buy the RaspClaws kit, you can download the free Resources and PDF tutorial guide, below.
3. On-the-go Learning with Raspberry Pi CrowPi
Next, the best Raspberry Pi kit for 2019 is the ELECROW CrowPi kit. This kit is a compact way to learn Raspberry Pi without needing to cart around an extra monitor and peripherals. CrowPi is an educational tool to help people learn electronics, programming, and the basics of computers.
No matter if you’re a beginner looking to get started with Raspberry Pi, or a more advanced maker, this kit is awesome because it folds up into a convenient hard case.
CrowPi includes a 7″ HD touchscreen, a camera, Raspberry Pi, and an electronic learning lab (breadboard, LCD, sensors, etc.) built into the base. Spend less time wiring up components and more time learning how to prototype with them. This kit is legit!
4. Retro Arcade Gaming Kit for Raspberry Pi
If you’re a gamer or want to get into Retro Arcade games, then you’ll want to check out the Retro Arcade Gaming Kit for Raspberry Pi. It’s pretty common to make old gaming consoles with Raspberry Pi because it’s nostalgic and affordable.
The instructions are extremely easy to follow, and some users were able to install more than 5,500 games plus the Kodi media center. On the other hand, I wouldn’t purchase this kit if you’re looking to learn how to code games on Raspberry Pi.
The Retro Arcade games kit comes with a classic retro gaming case, old-school USB game controllers and a 32 GB SD card preloaded with NOOBS & RETROPIE. All you need are some ROMs (games) and you’ll be on your way to playing classic games.
You can even enhance this kit by building your custom retro gaming center with the Raspberry Pi 3 B+.Snag your Retro Arcade Gaming Kit on Amazon.
5. Raspberry Pi AI Robot
Lastly is the Raspberry Pi AI Robot kit with facial recognition. This kit is a modified version of the pan-tilt face tracking project that runs completely on the Raspberry Pi. With this kit, you’ll learn the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) through the provided example projects and tutorials. You’ll use OpenCV to solve problems such as color detection, QR code recognition, face recognition, alarms, and more.
The kit also features an expansion board which makes it easy to add external speakers, motors, servos, and other components without having to rewire everything. In addition to the kit, you’ll need to supply a Raspberry Pi, Heatsinks, and an SD card.
If you’re excited about AI and want to dive into the world of algorithms for robots, then this is the kit I recommend picking up. You’ll focus less on constructing the robot and more on actually writing code.
To get the most out of this kit, users should have prior experience using the Raspberry Pi and programming in Python. The kit is designed for adults, but I’d imagine students with previous programming and robotics experience (like my Build Arduino Robots course) would have a blast with this project. This is an intermediate robotics platform and not a robotics toy, so for the price, it’s a nice way to practice real engineering skills for an affordable price.
You can check the price of the Raspberry Pi AI robot on Amazon.
Which is the Best Raspberry Pi Kit in 2019?
In this article, we explored the five best Raspberry Pi Kits you can buy. The best Raspberry Pi kit depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re a 100% beginner to Raspberry Pi, I always recommend picking up the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Ultimate Starter kit because it includes some simple I/O to get you working with the GPIO pins. You can also pick up any of the myriads of Raspberry Pi boards (Raspberry Pi 3 B+, Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi 4) and some sensors to get started.
On the other hand, if you’re planning to make a Raspberry Pi robot, I highly recommend selecting the Smart Robot Tank, RaspClaws, or AI Robot kits. You can always swap out your Arduino controller for a Raspberry Pi on an existing robot. However, if you want something that will test your programming skills, these kits will help you learn robotics coding skills by doing. Which, I happen to be a huge proponent of.
Furthermore, if you want to use the Raspberry Pi to build a retro arcade or a media center, there are plug-n-play kits for that. These typically require minimal coding or making, but could be a cost-effective alternative to buying an old-school gaming console or AppleTV.
And lastly, there are Raspberry Pi kits for home automation. Buy an Automation Hat to control lights, switches, and alarms. Moreover, you can take it a step further and pick up a netPI RTE 3 for Industrial IoT Gateways. This works with Industrial Ethernet networks (PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT as a slave). NetPI is based on Raspberry Pi 3 but made to run any custom applications of Edge Automation.
Regardless of what kit you end up buying, the Best Raspberry Pi kit in 2019 is the one you’re going to use for your next project.