How do you Know which Raspberry Pi model you Have?

How do you Know which Raspberry Pi Model you Have? (Flowchart)

You bought a Raspberry Pi a few months or years ago and have no idea which model it is?
This is quite annoying because you often need this information to order the corresponding accessories or install a new operating system for example. No worries, you are at the right place, I’ll help you find it easily.

The easiest way to know which Raspberry Pi model you have is to look for an invoice or email confirmation. Two other methods are to read the model name on the board, or get the processor information from the operating system.

But, that’s not always possible…
The goal of this post is to help you to get this information and then deduct which Raspberry Pi model you really have. I will start with a comparison of all Raspberry Pi models, then I will show you how to get each information, and will give you a flowchart to make everything obvious to you.

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What are the different models of Raspberry Pi?

In this first part, I think it’s a good idea to start with a list of all Raspberry Pi models available on the market (current and old models).
I will not give you the full specifications for each one, but just the ones we may have to use later.

Raspberry Pi 1

Let’s start with the first model that was released by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
They were released between 2012 and 2014 (if it helps you).
Here are the useful specifications to know :

AStandard1x USB
256 MB
A+Compact1x USB
256 / 512 MB
2x USB
256 / 512 MB
4x USB
256 / 512 MB
Standard = rectangular (85 x 56 mm), Compact = almost square (65 x 56 mm)

Raspberry Pi 1 A has 256 MB memory, the others have been released with 256 MB but upgraded to 512 MB in 2016.
So if you have no idea of the purchase date, the exact memory amount will not help so much here.
And for information, none of them can connect to a Wi-Fi network.

Raspberry Pi 2

There was only one model of Raspberry Pi 2 available on the market : the Raspberry Pi 2 B (in two versions as they upgraded the CPU in 2016).

4x USB 2.0
1 GB

As you can see, there is almost no difference with a Raspberry Pi 1B+ if you have it in your hand, so it will be difficult to know which one you have just with this information.

Raspberry Pi Zero

The Raspberry Pi Zero is unique with its small format (half of the compact size), so it will be easy to identify this family.
But there are 3 versions available on the market:

Zero / W / WHZero1x Micro USB
512 MB
Zero 2 WZero1x Micro USB
512 MB
Zero is the smallest format with 65 mm x 30 mm

As all the Raspberry Pi Zero models share the same specifications, here are the differences between them :

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  • Raspberry Pi Zero: No Wireless
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W and Zero 2 W: Wireless
  • Raspberry Pi Zero WH: Wireless and pre-soldered GPIO header

The Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is more recent, and is the only one from this series with a quad-core CPU.

Raspberry Pi 3

The Raspberry Pi 3 are more recent (2016-2018) and all of them have a built-in Wi-Fi card.

A+Compact1x USB 2.0
1 GB
4x USB 2.0
1 GB
4x USB 2.0
1 GB

The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ has a better processor (1.4Ghz vs 1.2Ghz) and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Raspberry Pi 4 / 400

And finally, the Raspberry Pi is only available since 2019, so you probably remember it if you have this one:

2X USB 2.0
2X USB 3.0
2x Micro-HDMI
1 / 2 / 4 / 8 GB

The main visible difference with all the other ones is the USB 3.0 and Micro HDMI ports.
I’ll show you in the next part on to recognize them.

More recently, the Raspberry Pi 400 has been released in 2020, but I doubt you need help to identify it. Currently, it’s the only one built into a keyboard:

Raspberry Pi 400

If you don’t know how much RAM you’ll need for your projects, you should probably start by reading this comparison I did: Raspberry Pi 4 : Do you really need 8 GB? (vs 4 GB).

What do I need to know about my Raspberry Pi model?

You now have all the information, but it may not be enough to really help you find the model you have in your hands (or remotely connected).
That’s why I will give you more details here, on all the information you need to have about your Raspberry Pi before going further.

As you’ll see in the chart at the end, there is two main cases to identify a Raspberry Pi :

  • You have the board in your hands, but there is no system or even no SD card to help you find the information
  • Your Raspberry Pi is already up and running, maybe remotely, and you want to find the information on the system (via SSH for example)

Read this if Raspberry Pi OS is already installed

The easiest way to find which Raspberry Pi you have, is to have Raspberry Pi OS installed.

So, on a Debian system you have several files in the /proc folder.
For example, “cpuinfo” contains information about your processor, “meminfo” is for the RAM, etc.
My first idea was to look for the exact CPU model and RAM quantity.
But there is an easier way 🙂

When checking the “cpuinfo” file, I noticed that the Raspberry Pi was written clearly at the end of the file!
So, you just have to open the file and check the last line
Or you can display it directly with :
cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep Model

Here is what you’ll get :

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep Model
Model : Raspberry Pi 4 Model B Rev 1.1

This should give you the answer directly, no need to analyze multiple specifications details to find your Raspberry Pi model 🙂
If it doesn’t work for you, you’ll probably need to check the next part.

Are you a bit lost in the Linux command line? Check this article first for the most important commands to remember and a free downloadable cheat sheet so you can have the commands at your fingertips.

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Read this if there is no system on it

If you don’t have any SD card or operating system on your Raspberry Pi, and just want to check quickly if it’s worth using, you can guess it by following this.

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Model name on the board

The easiest way with the Raspberry Pi in your hands is to check if there is something written on it.
Here is an example on my Raspberry Pi 3B+ :

I don’t have all the Raspberry Pi models, but for those I have I get the model name (and version) written on it.
So, I suppose it can help you find the model easily.

Display port(s) available(s)

If for any reason, reading the model name on the board is not possible, we will need to try other things to find the exact model.
I tell you right away, it’s not the easiest way to do this, and there is no guarantee as some models share some of these specifications.

So in this section and the following, I will show you a few things that may be useful to identify a Raspberry Pi model.
I recommend you to check everything, take note of this, and then try the flowchart at the end of the post.
(If you already have a good level, you can go directly to the flowchart)

The first thing to note is the display port available on your Raspberry Pi.
There is three possible types, as you have seen in the first part :

  • HDMI
  • Mini HDMI
  • Micro HDMI

Here are what these ports look like in the same order:

If you have a Mini HDMI, your model is a Raspberry Pi Zero. But you need to go further to know which version.
If there are two Micro HDMI ports, it’s a Raspberry Pi 4 B. Currently, there is no doubt about this.

USB ports

The second information you may need is the number of USB ports, and their types.
The first Raspberry Pi had only one USB port, but they quickly add additional ports to the new models.
The last model currently, the Raspberry Pi 4 B has 4 USB ports (2x USB 2.0 and 2x USB 3.0).

USB 3.0 are faster than the USB 2.0.
So, if you have this model, you should plug your mouse and keyboard on the black ports, and your SSD disk on the blue ones.
Here is a picture to help you understand what I mean :

How many ports do you have on your Raspberry Pi?

  • Only one port ⇒ you have a model A or A+.
  • Two ports ⇒ It’s a Raspberry Pi 1 B.
  • Blue ports ⇒ It’s a Raspberry Pi 4 B.
  • In other cases ⇒ you’ll need to get all the information and use the flowchart to help you determine the Raspberry Pi model you have.

Ethernet Port

Not every Raspberry Pi models have an Ethernet port on it.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation continue to release Raspberry Pi models without any Ethernet port to have a cheaper option available if you don’t need it.
Luckily, most of them now have a Wi-Fi card included, so you can still connect them to your network and Internet.

Anyway, for now just check if your Raspberry Pi has an Ethernet port, and remember this.

Raspberry Pi Zero: GPIO Pins

The last two things only apply to the Raspberry Pi Zero models.
So, if you know you have a Raspberry Pi Zero (Mini HDMI port), you will need them.

The first one is to check if you have GPIO pins on it or just holes.
If you have GPIO pins, and you have not soldered them previously, it’s a Raspberry Pi Zero WH.
If not, you need to check if there is a Wi-Fi card or not.

Raspberry Pi Zero: Wi-Fi card

Finally, the last thing to check, and only if you have a Raspberry Pi Zero, is the Wi-Fi card.

Indeed, the first Raspberry Pi Zero model had neither network card nor Wi-Fi card.
On the next versions, they added the Wi-Fi card on it (but still no Ethernet).

So, you need to check if there is a Wi-Fi card on your model.
Here is the card location circled in red:

Don’t see it? You have the first Raspberry Pi Zero model.
If you have it, this is a Raspberry Pi W (without GPIO pins) or WH (with them). It may also be a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W if you got it recently, check the exact model name with the previous methods.

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Flowchart : find your Raspberry Pi model

As I recognize all these specifications are not easy to read and analyze, I have spent a little time to build a chart that should probably be easier for you than all this information.
Just take your notes with you, and follow the chart below.

Start at the top and answer each question (by reading again the previous part if needed):

Flowchart to find your current model of Raspberry Pi

In most cases, you’ll find the model name written on the board, or thanks to Raspberry Pi OS (ex Raspbian).
I didn’t note it on the chart, but as I told you in the previous part, if you arrive at the “Raspberry Pi B or B+” point, you can also check the number of USB ports and formats to find the oldest ones :

  • Raspberry Pi model A or A+
    • 1x USB port :
      • Standard format : Raspberry Pi 1 A
  • Raspberry Pi model B or B+
    • 2x USB port : Raspberry Pi 1 B

Unfortunately, if this doesn’t help you, you have to install Raspberry Pi OS and check the processor information, as explained earlier.

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That’s it, you now know how to find which Raspberry Pi model you have
If you have Raspberry Pi OS on it and can log in, it’s straightforward.
If not, you can try to find it by checking a few things on it (or installing Raspberry Pi OS^^).

If I made a mistake somewhere, or if you are in a case where this post doesn’t help you, please leave a comment in the community, I will try to fix this.

Whenever you’re ready, here are other ways I can help you:

The RaspberryTips Community: If you want to hang out with me and other Raspberry Pi fans, you can join the community. I share exclusive tutorials and behind-the-scenes content there. Premium members can also visit the website without ads.

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The Raspberry Pi Bootcamp: Understand everything about the Raspberry Pi, stop searching for help all the time, and finally enjoy completing your projects.

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  1. Brilliant layout for a noobie to understand what they have or for someone planning to buy one for a project!

  2. Thank you for this structured info.
    Unfortunately, the command you suggest

    cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep Model

    is returning a void result.
    Instead, I found the RPi’s model by executing

    cat /sys/firmware/devicetree/base/model

    which producced (in my case): Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Plus Rev 1.3

    1. It’s still working on my Pi 4, but maybe it’s different on some models now, I need to try again on my Pi 3 to see the command return.

      Anyway, thanks for the alternative, I didn’t know that one :-).

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