The Raspberry Pi shortage is extremely bad. As a site that covers a lot of topics related to the Raspberry Pi I’ve actually seen a major decline in traffic because people are having such a hard time getting these.
Stock on Amazon is limited and it’s being scalped with prices such as $99 for a Zero 2 W and $187 for a Pi 4 8GB. Those are absurd prices.
There are some Pis that are smarter to buy right now than others that you may not be thinking about. Today I’d like to cover additional places to get your Raspberry Pis during the shortage as well as recommend an alternative Pi (a more powerful one actually) you may not necessarily be thinking of!
Best Sources for Raspberry Pis
Official Resellers – rpilocator tool
The first place you should check is the rpilocator tool located here. This is the site that is featured in the screenshot at the top of the article.
It checks all of the official sources for Raspberry Pis. These are approved resellers. To be an approved Pi reseller you have to agree to sell at a certain price point to prevent scalping. Because the Pi Foundation requires this commitment from resellers they are absolutely the best place to buy your Raspberry Pi from.
You will notice the availability is pretty poor even in my screenshot I took for the article. The way the tool is meant to be used though is you will typically need to refresh it every once in a while and watch for stock to drop. If you refresh periodically throughout the day you will get chances to buy these.
A source not often given enough consideration is AliExpress but people have usually heard of it. I’ve used it for many years as I’ve found I can find international sellers far undercutting anything you can find almost anywhere else. I recommend using the tool above over this although if you are willing to pay above official reseller prices (but lower than anywhere else) there is plenty of stock available.
This has long been the case (10+ years at least) and many readers will be familiar with AliExpress regardless of what they think about it. The truth is it’s a lot like eBay. Many of the sellers are smaller sellers and just like eBay the quality of those sellers varies widely.
You should think about AliExpress more like eBay than something like Amazon. Look at the seller and their reputation/stars and see if this person looks like it’s worth your time to transact with. You’ll often find that many of these are “power sellers” that sell tons of these. That is who it’s usually worth buying from.
I’ll provide some listings here to bigger, safer sellers that are showing as a lower price than other places. I’m going to give comparative flash prices at time of writing as these will change probably almost every day. It’s more to give an idea of how much you’ll save on average.
The Raspberry Pi Zero W is the wireless-capable version of the Pi Zero. It has a much smaller form factor than a full size Pi making it ideal for use in projects that benefit from a very small form factor while having a fully capable Linux PC.
Alternative Pi to Consider
The Raspberry Pi 400 kit includes everything you need for a full Pi 400 desktop build. The Pi 400 is the fastest Raspberry Pi ever released and comes in the form factor of a keyboard!
Very astute readers may have noticed in my previous links that yes you can get a Raspberry Pi 400 for as low as $100. This is even available on Amazon pretty widely as people either do not seem to be as familiar with the Pi 400 or don’t realize that at current prices it probably makes far more sense to get a Pi 400.
The Raspberry Pi 400 is the most powerful Raspberry Pi they have ever released to consumers. It is several hundred megahertz faster than the Pi 4’s CPU. It comes in the form factor of a keyboard. I’ve had one for a long time and here’s an action shot:
These are essentially 4GB Pis. Would you rather pay $150 for the 4GB Pi 4 model*? The one with a less powerful CPU that costs 50% more? I certainly wouldn’t right now unless you have no choice due to needing the smaller form factor.
If it’s going to be doing anything where it can sit on a desk the power consumption is identical to a regular Pi 4 (the power adapter included with the Pi 400 is the same size). Even for a PiHole setup this makes far more sense at current prices.
Any usage where it’s going to sit on a desk or a shelf will be fine and that is exactly what mine does most of the time. It is very convenient to connect a monitor and already have the keyboard right in place. It’s far less of a pain than connecting a headless Pi 4 (which you’ll need a keyboard for) to a monitor and I find myself doing this far more often with a Pi 400 than I would otherwise.
The Pi 400 would be great for a lot of people’s use case. They’re really cool and I really like mine. It’s also the only one that isn’t being sold at complete scam / scalper prices. It’s actually available for the $100 and I strongly recommend this for those who it is an option!
Unless you can’t use it due to form factor the Pi 400 is the Pi to be getting right now. It does not make sense to pay literally 50% more money for a Pi 4 with a slower CPU and the same amount of memory. There’s never been a better time to choose a Pi 400 instead!
For those of you who *do* need the smaller form factor then rpilocator is your best friend to find them at retail. If you need to just acquire one at the lowest possible price don’t forget to check AliExpress listings as there is often stock available for slightly or even moderately cheaper prices in some cases.
What strategies are you using to get Pis during the shortage? If you spot any deals don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll even update the article/highlight any really great deals/sources you’ve found!
For an alternative board around $35 check out my Orange Pi Zero 2 review here
See all of my available SBC reviews here for some other ideas for available boards
To use a SSD with the Pi check out which storage adapters and SSDs work best with the Raspberry Pi
My 2022 Raspberry Pi Storage benchmarks show the fastest and most popular SSDs to use with the Pi
For headless configuration check out how to headlessly configure the Pi with the Pi Imager