Why Are Raspberry Pis So Expensive? (+Tips to get one cheap)


The Raspberry Pi company has slightly increased the price of their devices recently, but it doesn’t explain the excessive prices you currently see on some web stores. I will give you the official prices that you are supposed to pay and explain why it’s currently hard to find a Raspberry Pi in stock at these prices.

An increase in Raspberry Pi demands coupled with supply chain constraints following the pandemic explains why Raspberry Pi devices are currently hard to find at their normal price. Unofficial resellers have greatly increased their price as demand is still high.

With all of these concurrent issues, it might be hard to find a Raspberry Pi at a decent price currently. I will give you some tips to successfully get a Raspberry Pi as soon as possible. Let’s start by checking the real price of a Raspberry Pi, the one you should pay.

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Why are Raspberry Pi prices so high currently?

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Raspberry Pi prices: 3 main reasons for the increase

There are three main reasons why Raspberry Pi devices are more expensive now than a few years ago:

  • Prices have been increased by the Raspberry Pi company. It doesn’t explain everything, but the official price for a Raspberry Pi has climbed up a bit. For example, a Raspberry Pi 4 with 2 GB is now $45 vs $35 in 2021.
  • Demand increased. The Raspberry Pi is becoming more and more popular, which is a good thing but also adds some tension to the supply chain. Resellers seeing this increase in sales can be tempted to increase their price (and that’s what they did).
  • Supply chain constraints. Following major events in the world (pandemic, war, etc.), the supply chain has been exposed to many challenges. And as for any “smart” devices, getting chips has become harder than ever.

Resellers having Raspberry Pi in stock, seeing an increase in demands and slower shipments, have chosen to raise their price to a point where they can still sell them at nearly 3x the normal price.

This is why you might find that Raspberry Pi devices are so expensive. However, you can still find them at their normal price. There is a huge difference between official retailers and the other ones (like Amazon sellers).

Official prices vs Amazon prices

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The Raspberry Pi company has a partnership with a few resellers in each major country. These resellers must sell the devices at their official prices. They are generally much cheaper than what you can find on Amazon or with other various retailers.

Same model, different prices (Amazon vs PiShop.us)

Due to the difficulty of finding Raspberry Pi in stock, some companies will sell you their stock up to 3 times their normal price on platforms like Amazon. You have a choice to make between getting a Raspberry Pi quickly or getting one at their normal price. But don’t say that Raspberry Pi are expensive, it’s no true.

Raspberry Pi official prices

Here are the official prices you should pay when you buy a Raspberry Pi computer:

Raspberry Pi modelOfficial price
Raspberry Pi 400 Kit$100
Raspberry Pi 4 (8 GB)$75
Raspberry Pi 4 (4 GB)$55
Raspberry Pi 4 (2 GB)$45
Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W$15
Raspberry Pi 3B+$35
Raspberry Pi 3A+$25

As you can see, Raspberry Pi devices are pretty cheap in theory. You can’t say that a Raspberry Pi is expensive. It might be the case currently on Amazon, but not with official resellers.

Keep in mind that a Raspberry Pi is one of the cheapest computers you can find on the market.

Why are Raspberry Pis out of stock everywhere?

The Raspberry Pi Foundation explained that even if they are increasing their production, they can’t keep up with the upwards trends in demand since the start of 2021. And the supply constraints on electronic components is not helping them to match up the speed.

Here is what Eben Upton was saying in April 2022 about this issue:

“Demand for Raspberry Pi products increased sharply from the start of 2021 onwards, and supply constraints have prevented us from flexing up to meet this demand, with the result that we now have significant order backlogs for almost all products.”

EBEN UPTON – Chief Executive, Raspberry Pi Trading

So, stock shortage and price volatility are currently the real issues for buyers. What can you do about it if you want to get a Raspberry Pi at the best price? Read the following sections to find out the tips I have for you.

Where can I buy a Raspberry Pi in stock?

Raspberry Pi devices are still in production and there is no definitive stock shortage. There is just more demand than they can produce. My advice is to be patient, check the resellers’ websites often, and consider different Raspberry Pi models if possible.

Be patient

As with anything, when there is more demand than the supply available, you have to be patient. Raspberry Pi devices are selling more than ever. There are just more customers than devices available, if you are lucky, you can still get one.

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To find the official resellers, you can visit this page, choose a product, and click on “Buy”.
You can then choose your country and see the approved resellers for your country:

What you can do is to keep a bookmarks folder in your web browser, with all the direct links to the product pages. Check the pages regularly and you’ll hopefully find one in stock one day (and at the best price).

Try this tool

Another option is to use a tool to do this task for you. Instead of checking if there is one Raspberry Pi in stock every day, you can use rpilocator to list the ones currently in stock.

It’s a free service that scans the sellers’ websites regularly and displays the current status on one page. This way, you can see which ones are available and order one if it’s the model you want. You can also subscribe to their Twitter or RSS alerts to be notified when something new is in stock.

Consider other models

Another method to get a Raspberry Pi quickly is to consider other models. There isn’t only one Raspberry Pi model, and some of them are easier to get than others. Raspberry Pi 4 are generally harder to get than Raspberry Pi 400 or Pico, so maybe you can try these instead.

A Raspberry Pi 400 is basically a Raspberry Pi 4 hidden in a Raspberry Pi keyboard (as explained there), so you can do the same thing with it. Especially if your goal is to use it for desktop usage or programming, it’s a great choice.

The Raspberry Pi 400 is in stock more often than other models, and even on Amazon, it’s not as expensive as the other options (check the current price and availability).

A Raspberry Pi 3 (A+ or B+) might be enough for some projects, and the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W is excellent too (check my review here). So, don’t stay stuck with one model in mind, explore other options, and you’ll find a way to get started sooner.

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Raspberry Pi alternatives to consider

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All computer brands have similar issues with the shortage in components. But some brands are less popular than Raspberry Pi, so you might be able to find decent alternatives in their products. Here are a few options.

Asus Tinker Board 2S

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Asus has a nice Raspberry Pi competitor, named the Tinker Board. Running on ARMv8 too, it supports Android and can do similar tasks than a Raspberry Pi. That might be a great option for some projects.

Rock Pi, Banana Pi, Odroid & co

You can also check for other brands that try to copy or even improve some Raspberry Pi models. It doesn’t mean it will be easier or cheaper to get, but it gives you other options.

Here are a few examples you can consider:

  • Rock Pi 4 – 4 GB: Looks like a Raspberry Pi 3B+, with more RAM and a quad-core ARM processor.
  • Banana Pi with M2 slot: 2 GB, 2 USB ports but with a SATA port and a built-in 8 GB eMMC.
  • Odroid C4: Another alternative, very similar to the Rock Pi 4 (4 GB, ARMv8 64-bit, 4x USB, …).

These are not Raspberry Pi, and some projects, distributions, or apps might not be compatible. Make sure to do your own research before buying one.

CrowPi

The last option to consider is to buy a kit including a Raspberry Pi device in it. For example, I recently tested the CrowPi computer kit from ELECROW, and you can choose a version of their kit with a Raspberry Pi 4 included.

They still have stock for these versions, and I got one with my delivery, so I suppose you can still get one now. Obviously, this will be more expensive than buying the mainboard only, but you get all the great things I love in their kit.

That might be something to consider if you are just getting started and want to get all the hardware quickly. You can find my review here for more details about this kit.

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You can also find all my recommendations for tools and hardware on this page.


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Patrick Fromaget

I'm the lead author and owner of RaspberryTips.com. My goal is to help you with your Raspberry Pi problems using detailed guides and tutorials. In real life, I'm a Linux system administrator with a web developer experience.

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