Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit Review: No Nonsense Quality

Great for newcomers and seasoned Raspberry Pi veterans, alike.
Michael Michael (115)
0
4.5 - Our Rating

In a world full of various Raspberry Pi starter kits, what makes a kit like the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit stand out? Is this a good kit for beginners? For veterans? What's included? Those are just some of the questions that I'm going to address in this comprehensive review of the Canakit for the Raspberry Pi 4.

My first kit

I'm going to begin this review by saying that this Canakit starter kit was my introduction to the world of Raspberry Pi. It's important to note that because, when I mention how easy it was to assemble and learn, you'll know that sentiment is coming from a true beginner.

Starter kits aren't just for beginners. Veterans can benefit from starter kits too.

Who should buy a starter kit?

Beginners

Obviously, beginners or those just starting their Raspberry Pi journeys should begin with a starter kit because they likely don't know what they need to get started. A Raspberry Pi starter kit will have everything they need and will, hopefully, make it easy for them to get up and running.

Veterans

But starter kits aren't just for beginners. Veterans can benefit from starter kits too. As my fellow howchooer, Zach, points out in his video below, the benefit of a starter kit—even for a veteran—is that you don't have to purchase each component separately, which can be a hassle. It also ends up costing about the same if you did purchase everything separately.

And a kit is a great starting point for a new Raspberry Pi project. You can see the Canakit in action in another howchooer, Tyler's, guide on running Bitcoin full node on a Raspberry Pi.

How to choose a starter kit

Howchoo Pi-veteran, Zach, has an awesome guide detailing how to choose a Raspberry Pi starter kit. He cites the most important things in the kit being:

  • Raspberry Pi computer version
  • Power supply and switch
  • MicroSD card
  • Heatsinks
  • Case

So I'm going to be sure to touch on each of those in this review, as well as other details about the kit.

I highly recommend you check out Zach's video on choosing a starter kit, where he even showcases the Canakit:

Now, let me tell you all I know about the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit.

Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter KitCanakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit ×1
Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB) Starter KitCanakit Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB) Starter Kit ×1
Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 (8GB) Starter KitCanakit Raspberry Pi 4 (8GB) Starter Kit ×1

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Pi Version Case Power Supply Fan Heat Sinks MicroSD Card Software Power Button
Raspberry Pi 4 (2GB, 4GB, 8GB) High-gloss plastic 3.5A USB-C (US Plug) Included; Built-in fan mount Yes; Aluminum; Set of 3 32GB Samsung Evo Plus w/USB MicroSD card reader NOOBS pre-installed No; Includes On/Off Power Switch
Canakit Raspberry Pi 4

The Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit serves as a great introductory starter kit for a newcomer to Raspberry Pi. Because of the quality of each of its components (Samsung SD card, low-noise fan, power supply, etc.), it also makes a perfect kit for anyone needing those components for their next Pi project.

It's the kind of thing that I would have been thrilled to receive as a youngster!

For a kid?

I noticed, too, that many parents who reviewed the Canakit on Amazon cited the fact that it was a great gift for their kids. Even their kids managed the installation without a hitch. The NOOBs software package includes lots of fun games and introductory lessons to get kids started with Scratch and Python programming and other cool Raspberry Pi skills. It's the kind of thing that I would have been thrilled to receive as a youngster!

Pros

  • Easy to assemble (the "quick start guide" does a decent job of walking you through the steps)
  • Quality components (Canakit does not skimp like some other kit manufacturers with a low-quality SD card for example)
  • Very little noise (even with the fan installed and running programs)
  • Power supply is specific to the Raspberry Pi 4 (some manufacturers simply reuse older versions).
  • Good price for what's included

Cons

  • Does not include a touchscreen (though this is true for most kits out there).
  • Installing the fan can be slightly tricky and the guide skips a few key steps.
  • Some users have cited issues with the Canakit fan not working properly.
  • SD Card download speed leaves a little to be desired.
Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Contents

Here's everything that the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 includes (clockwise from bottom left):

  • High-gloss plastic case for the Raspberry Pi 4
  • Quick-start guide booklet
  • USB MicroSD Card Reader
  • 32GB Samsung Evo+ MicroSD card
  • Canakit cooling fan with wiring
  • Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable (6ft)
  • Set of 3 aluminum heatsinks
  • 3.5A USB-C Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply
  • CanaKit 3.5A USB-C Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply
  • Wiring guide
  • On/Off switch

What's not included

It's important to note the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 does not come with:

  • A mouse
  • A keyboard
  • A screen (monitor or touchscreen)

So you'll want to make sure you have some kind of external monitor in which to hook up your Raspberry Pi 4. (I used my TV at first!)

Raspberry Pi 4

The Canakit that I'm reviewing is for the Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB). The other Raspberry Pi 4 Canakit options include the 2GB and 8GB versions.

I don't want this to become a review of the Raspberry Pi 4. If you want that, check out our guide on it.

I will say, however, that many users of the Raspberry Pi 4 note that it has a tendency to run a little hot. For that reason, even if you don't plan heavy-use of the Raspberry Pi 4, I would make sure you install the included heat sinks and fan.

Canakit Raspberry 4 Power Supply
Model Amps Voltage
DCAR-RSP-3A5C 3.5A 5.1V

Canakit specifically designed their power supply to work with the Raspberry Pi 4, so you don't have to worry too much about whether the voltage or amps are correct.

Just in case, the new Raspberry Pi 4 requires a minimum of a 3-amp, 5.1-volt power supply.

Power button?

There is no power button with the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4. What is included, however, is a toggle switch for turning the Raspberry Pi 4 on and off. We recommend you check out our guides on how to safely shut down and reboot a Raspberry Pi and how to add a power button to the Pi.

Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 MicroSD card

The Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter kit includes a Samsung 32GB EVO Plus MicroSD card and the pictured USB MicroSD card reader.

Storage Read Speed Write Speed
32GB 95MB/s 20MB/s

Is it a good MicroSD card?

In terms of overall quality, yes, it is a good card. And 32GB is enough to handle most Raspberry Pi related projects and uses.

Many independent users of the card note, however, that the manufacturer's listed read and write speeds don't hold up in practice. The actual speed of the MicroSD tends to be on the slower side, which is important to note if you'll be using it for large files like movies or photos.

Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Heatsinks

The Canakit includes 3 aluminum heatsinks for the Raspberry Pi 4 that should be installed to keep your Pi running cool.

Type of Adhesive

While the industry standard for quality seems to be 3M double-sided adhesive, Canakit uses Theragrip Thermal tape.

Is the adhesive good?

After a bit of research, I found that Theragrip Thermal tape is specifically designed to be used for heatsinks in computer and robotics projects. Many leading robotics companies use the tape, which leads me to conclude that the tape is of high-quality.

Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Case

The Canakit case came in a thick, glossy-black plastic that felt solid enough to protect the Raspberry Pi 4. There's a built-in internal mount for the fan and a small Raspberry Pi-shaped vent. The bottom of the case is well-ventilated as well. The overall look is very minimal but attractive enough.

Everything snaps together easily and holds (even when dropped).

The drop test

I didn't intend to drop the Canakit for the Raspberry Pi 4 in order to test the strength and durability of the case. I promise!

But I did drop the case with the Raspberry Pi inside from a height of about 5 feet and immediately checked to make sure it still ran okay.

  • There were no issues running the Pi.
  • There was no damage to the case.

It seemed important to mention this, as this seems to be the basic function of any case—to protect! And the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit did just that.

Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Installation

The Canakit was easy to install and took me all of 10 minutes to put together. The Raspberry Pi 4 fits into the case perfectly and safely. Everything snaps together and holds as you would expect.

Overall, I would have appreciated a few more images to help guide me along.

Quick start guide

This is not the best guide in the world for someone who does not have any electronics background. They do simplify the wiring for the fan some with their wiring map, but, overall, I would have appreciated a few more images to help guide me along. It makes me think I need to make that guide myself!

Included fan

The fan is a nice addition since the Raspberry Pi 4 notoriously runs hot, but it's either always on or always off. We prefer to wire up the fan so that it turns on only when needed (when the core temperature rises), and we've written a guide to show you how to control your Raspberry Pi fan temperature.

Installing the fan

Speaking of making guides, a more image-based guide for the Canakit fan installation would have been helpful. Many reviewers cited having issues installing the fan in the mount. I'd imagine that a more experienced Raspberry Pi-case user might intuitively pick up on the fan placement, but for newcomers, you might find yourself looking for help on Google.

The price of the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 is excellent and in line with competitor's prices. There are cheaper kits available, but you should look carefully at what's included in those kits. Often, they will be lacking things like a MicroSD card or fan. You should also check the quality of the parts. It's hard to compete with the Canakit's quality.

There are three versions of the Raspberry Pi 4—a 2GB version, a 4GB version, and an 8GB version. So there are three versions of the Canakit for the Raspberry Pi 4, each with its own price. Here are the current prices on Amazon:

2GB 4GB 8GB
$89.99 $99.99 $119.99

I absolutely recommend the Canakit Raspberry Pi 4 Starter Kit due to the ease of assembly and the quality of the components.

If the point is to get started using the Raspberry Pi 4 safely and quickly, then this kit does just that—at a price that's certainly reasonable.