Which Raspberry Pi Case is Best For You?

Updated 06 February 2017

What’s even better than the world’s most popular microcomputer sitting on your desk? When it’s sitting there in a case which protects it, makes it easier to use, and gives your desk some style.

If you buy a Raspberry Pi it’s well worth buying a case for it as there are sensitive components on the board which are vulnerable to both physical and static damage, so time spent handling the board directly should be kept to a minimum. That being said, not all cases are created equal, and many are designed to serve different purposes. For example, some cases are designed to completely enclose the Raspberry Pi, allowing access to only the HDMI, audio, power, USB and Ethernet ports which are suited to a media centre where you only need access to those ports which you use to connect to a TV or server. Or perhaps you plan on using your Pi to tinker and prototype with and want access to the LCD and CSI ports, as well as the GPIO pins, whilst keeping your board protecting and secure. Many factors come into play when deciding on a case to house your beautiful new Raspberry Pi in. So let’s take a look at some of our favourite Raspberry Pi cases, and which one is right for you. Bear in mind that all of the cases below are for the Raspberry Pi 3 which has the Model B+ form factor.

Pimoroni PiBow/Coupe

 Pimoroni PiBow Coupe case

First off the blocks we have the Pimoroni PiBow cases. There are two different versions of the PiBow, the standard, and the coupe. Both are made using Pimoroni’s layered, acrylic cut panels and are stylish, easy to put together, and come in a wide range of colours. The regular PiBow fully encloses the top of the Pi and has room to mount heatsinks inside the case, whereas the Coupe is lower and has a cut-out for the GPIO pins, as well as a cut-out for a protruding heatsink. Both the Coupe and the regular PiBow are available in a range of colours, check out some of the other PiBow flavours here. The other really nice thing about this case is the functions for each GPIO pin are laser etched into the top panel of the enclosure which makes hooking up to your circuits even easier.

The PiBow Coupe is our personal go-to for prototyping with the Raspberry Pi due to the easy access to all the peripherals and headers, as well as being sturdy, durable and simple. 

Raspberry Pi Official Case

Raspberry Pi Official case

This is the official case made by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, so the production directly supports the continuation of Raspberry Pi. But as a case, it’s pretty good. It’s a modular design which has a removable top which means you can fully enclose the case only allowing access to the outside facing ports such as HDMI, USB, power etc. however if you remove the top, you can access the rest of the board. It does have room to mount heatsinks with the top panel on, however even when you remove said top panel, the GPIO pins still aren’t as easily accessible as other cases. Unlike many of the other cases, this one only comes in the Raspberry Pi Red and White, and the great design and feel of the case lends itself to a mini-desktop or media centre where visual appeal is required over internal access.

Adafruit Raspberry Pi Model B+ Case

Adafruit Raspberry Pi case

Here we have Adafruit’s best Pi case offering. They’ve designed it using high gloss polycarbonate with different colour options to choose from for the top plate. It’s nice and spacious which allows for heatsink mounting and good airflow. One of the nice things about this case is that it has thin cut-outs to allow a ribbon cable to be passed into the Pi, while still enclosing the whole board. The downside to this is that if you want to connect the CSI, LCD, or GPIO connectors, you have to open the case up rather than being able to access the directly. That being said it’s a great looking case, allows you to see all the insides, and gives fairly decent access to all the ports and peripherals. It’s a good in-between for higher level prototyping vs standalone functions.

Fan Cooled Case for Raspberry Pi

Fan cooled Raspberry Pi case

This is the only case on our list to include a built in fan. This is especially important for running super high loads on the Pi 3 and/or overclocking which can get warm, sometimes too warm in an air restricted environment like an enclosure. The fan helps to move everything around and regulate the air flow. This case doesn’t allow any access the internal CSI, LCD or GPIO connectors so, like some of the other cases, it’s best suited as a media centre or gaming emulator where accessing the internals isn’t as important.

Pimoroni 7” Touchscreen Case

Pimoroni case for 7" touchscreen

We’ve included this case, because whilst serving a different purpose to the above cases, if you’ve ever used the Official Raspberry Pi 7” touchscreen display, you’ll know that it can be a pain to hold the display while in use. This layered, acrylic case mounts the display and the Raspberry Pi while still allowing access to all of the ports and board internets. It’s great to use as a photo display or touch interface but will add a layer of protection.

Tower Mount Enclosures for Raspberry Pi

Tower Mount Enclosure 4x

Bringing up the rear is the mighty behemoth which is our cluster-style, tower mount enclosures which allow you to stack multiple Raspberry Pi boards vertically to create your own Pi farm. We've got the 4x and 10x versions in stock, but the great thing about them is that they're modular so you can just add as many layers as you need to. These clusters are super stylish, whilst allowing for completely access to all ports and peripherals, as well as room to mount heatsinks and an open design for maximum air flow. When you look at the GFlops obtainable with a Raspberry Pi cluster, especially for the price, you could easily implement a networking switch in one of the slots to connect them all up via Ethernet, it's undeniably one of the coolest cases on this list

So there you have it, our thoughts on some of the best Raspberry Pi cases around, which ones will suit your needs best, and how they perform in different situations. So grab a case for your Pi, and go forth and create!

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