Whether you just bought a Raspberry Pi (or other single-board computer) or left one sitting in a drawer somewhere, the add-on kit can be just the inspiration you need to start a new project. These Pi accessories range from fun to extremely practical.
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a portable monitor
When you need to interface with your Pi’s operating system, you can connect it to a monitor from your existing workstation or even an available TV. However, that’s not always convenient, especially when it means plunging yourself into an absolute jungle of cables or losing access to the PC you were using for project instructions. That’s where an affordable and portable monitor can be a great convenience.
You have plenty of options, including a multipurpose travel monitor and a minimal touchscreen monitor. If touch is a priority, you can get the official Raspberry Pi touch screen. Combine that with a monitor case and you’ve got something resembling an all-in-one PC.
light travel monitor
ZSCMALS 15.6 Inch Full HD Portable Monitor
This ultra-slim monitor has a folding cover that doubles as a stand, so you can store it on a shelf until you need it, or slip it into a backpack when you’re on the go.
official touch screen
Official Raspberry Pi Touch Screen
The touchscreen monitor made by the Raspberry Pi is small but great for integrating into projects. It plugs into your GPIO board so you don’t need an HDMI cable.
RELATED: What is GPIO and what can it be used for?
A combination of keyboard and trackpad
If you’re like me, you only occasionally need a keyboard or mouse to interact with your Pi. When the time comes, you should either borrow them from another setup or find a dedicated keyboard and mouse in a back closet. You can cover your peripheral needs in a compact unit with a combination keyboard and touchpad.
Generic combos are easy to find, but Virlos makes several units with the Pi in mind, including wired and wireless options, plus a mini-portable version. They even sell a keyboard hub meant to give you a single unit experience like the Pi 400, but with bonuses like battery power and cable storage.
Freedom on a keyboard
15-inch keyboard with touchpad
The wireless version of this keyboard designed for the Raspberry Pi stays compact for easy storage and eliminates the need to carry a mouse.
Pi 400 conversion box
Vilros Keyboard + Touchpad Hub
If you prefer to move as a single unit, install your Raspberry Pi in this keyboard hub with a built-in touchpad and cable storage for maximum mobility.
Do you plan any Pi projects that involve storing files? Whether you’re hosting a cloud backup, playing through a large ROM collection, or running a media server with your Raspberry Pi, extra storage can only be a good thing.
You probably want your setup to stay compact and low-profile, so a small form factor is ideal. Your options don’t get much smaller than a Samsung Fit Plus USB drive. However, your storage space is limited to not much more than what your SD card could already hold.
To grow in terms of disk space, a full external drive might be what you need. The WD Elements portable hard drive, for example, gives you terabytes of storage while maintaining a relatively small form factor. If you prefer to go solid state, the SanDisk Extreme gets even more compact (but at an SSD price). Or, you can get one or two internal SSDs and set up your Pi with a drive mount as a minimalist NAS build.
Note that other than the 4B, most Pi models only support USB 2.0. That means you won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits that USB 3.0 or higher provides (although you can certainly use drives that support those standards).
Samsung Fit Plus – 256GB
Our favorite USB flash drive, the Fit Plus, is ultra-fast with a compact build that doesn’t forget your key ring. It is also resistant to water, shock, magnets and X-rays.
portable hard drive storage
A portable gaming case
Gaming, especially retro gaming, is a ubiquitous genre of Pi projects. Gaming on the couch is relatively simple to achieve, with a monitor or TV to connect to, plus a gamepad and storage to hold your ROM collection. Of course, you can’t forget about a sweet retro case. But what if you want to go mobile?
The Retroflag GPi case can take a Pi Zero (or a CM4 with the GPi 2) and turn it into a Gameboy-like handheld mobile unit, complete with battery and an on/off switch that can be programmed for safe shutdowns. It has built-in speakers and a 3.5mm audio jack, and the IPS display features adjustable brightness.
Other larger Pi models are compatible with Waveshare’s gaming HAT handheld, which is built more like a DIY Gameboy Advance. You have to remember that these devices are bring your own battery and bring your own ROMs, so they are not completely standalone accessories.
hand retro fun
Retroflag GPi Case
This GameBoy-style Pi carrying case doesn’t forget the details, like side buttons and a programmable power switch.
Waveshare Wearable Gaming Hat
Don’t forget about the battery with this portable DIY case for the Raspberry Pi. Reviewers report that it’s fun to play, but you might not like the design.
A surge protector
Running a server or smart home monitor with your Pi means plugging it in for the long haul, putting your device at risk without a surge protector. It’s a smart investment for almost any device, but protecting your Pi is paramount now with how expensive they’ve become to replace.
A low-profile option like the LVETEK Outlet Extender can offer the protection your Pi needs without breaking the bank. However, if you have a lot of devices to protect, you can invest a little more in our favorite surge protector, the Tripp Lite TLP1208TELTV. Its twelve outputs likely cover your entire array, plus its modem and coax ports add plenty of versatility and utility.
If you want surge protection and uninterrupted power from blackouts, you’ll want to look for a reliable UPS. However, they can be expensive, and if yours is limited in capacity, you’ll likely prioritize other devices, like your router and primary workstation.
Compact surge protection
The best all-round surge protector
Don’t forget the essentials
If you’re new to the Pi world, your options for decorating your single-board PC may seem overwhelming, but don’t let that distract you from the basics.
For one, you need to start with a high-quality power supply. An old phone charger can result in an unsatisfactory experience leading to crashes and reboots that are difficult to fix. And it’s especially important when you have accessories that add power consumption. You can’t go wrong with the official Raspberry Pi USB-C power supply for newer models or a well-rated Micro USB charger for Pi models that still use Micro USB.
A good SD card is also non-negotiable. Booting up a Pi is one of the rare exceptions on storage cards when quality can make or break your experience. Cards like the SanDisk Ultra and Silicon Power 3D NAND microSD are tried and true options for Pi users.
You can’t forget the HDMI cable either, though it’s generally fine if you don’t spend a lot of money here. You can also save yourself some hassle setting up your Pi’s internet connection by getting an Ethernet cable long enough to reach your router. Take care of those essentials and you’ll be ready for any project.