If you own a Raspberry Pi and plan on making your project more permanent then one of the first things you’ll need is a case for your project. There are tons of cheap Raspberry Pi cases out there and they all are very unique and can give your project some character. Your new Raspberry Pi case will give that rectangular piece of tech some personality. Today I will be showing you 6 of the best Raspberry Pi cases you can pickup for under $20. The cases are in no particular order but they all offer great quality and durability. I tried to pick a list of cases which are all different from each other and pick cases that are practical as well.
Might as well start the list off with the Official Raspberry Pi 3 case. This case is the official case from the Raspberry Pi Foundation and comes with a removable top lid and side panels. The removable top lid will give you easy access to the camera and display ports. The official Raspberry Pi case comes in multiple colors and the one I have pictured is a White/Red combination which really pops out and has a modern feel to it. Since this was designed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation your Pi will fit perfectly in the bottom and will be a snug fit. Unlike some of other cases which screw the Pi down, this one just pops into the plastic inserts.
The one downside is the ventilation isn’t the best. This case doesn’t include any heat-sinks and you might want to invest in some heat-sinks to put over the two processors on the board to help dissipate some of the heat that is generated when using the Pi. If you are just using your Raspberry Pi as a small server or not doing any crazy computing on it, which will use a lot of power and generate more heat, then I think you will be okay with the heat. If you are worried about ventilation you can pop off the removable side panels to get the air flowing inside of the case.
Another complaint about this case is that it does not have key-slots on the bottom of the case for wall-mounting. If you don’t plan on hanging the Raspberry Pi on the wall then this really isn’t an issue. You can also just use some Velcro and it will hang on the wall with no issues. This is what I ended up doing for my Raspberry Pi server and it works with no issues.
Overall, I think if you are looking for a cheap case and like the White/Red combination then this is a decent Raspberry Pi case. It may not be the coolest case on the block but it gets the job done and will protect your project from getting damaged.
Click here for more information about the Official Raspberry Pi 3 Case
The KuGi is a clear acrylic clear transparent Raspberry Pi 3 case. Whats special about this case is that it will also fit your older Raspberry Pi 2 Model B & Pi Model B+ with no issues or making any adjustments. The case allows easy access to all the GPIO pins as well as the camera and display ports. The top of the case easily pops up giving you easy access to the Raspberry Pi. The KuGi transparent case is an all around cheap reliable quality built Raspberry Pi case.
The case is only two pieces, a top and a bottom, which snap together. The case doesn’t feel cheap and has a nice slick feel to it when holding it. What’s great about this case is the bonus accessories that come with the case like the heat-sink and rubber feet. The case comes with two heats-sinks that you can put on top of both processors on the Raspberry Pi. They are attached with some double sided tape that you simply peel off. The rubber pads are great, simply attach them to the bottom of the case and the case will not slide around when plugging in your power cord or HDMI cord. The rubber feet make this case feel like an all around solid case.
Another thing that I like about this case is that unlike the Official Raspberry Pi case where the Raspberry Pi just snaps into the bottom part of the case, the KuGi case comes with four screws that you screw the Pi down into the bottom part of the case. This keeps your Pi safe and sound and you don’t have to worry about it popping out or shifting around inside the case if you are moving it around. Another feature this case has are the key-slots on the back of the case that you can use for mounting the case on a wall. The only issue is that the key-slots are cut directly into the case which means you can not use anything metal to hold your case on the wall because the metal can cause the Raspberry Pi to short circuit. Simply use a thumbtack or some kind of plastic if you decide to hang it on your wall, I just used good old Velcro on my project with no issues.
Overall for the price of this case it comes with a lot added bonuses like the heat-sinks and the rubber feet. This is my go-to cheap case. You can show-off your Raspberry Pi in a nice clear case all while not breaking the bank and keeping overall project costs down.
Click here for more information about the KuGi Transparent Raspberry Pi 3 Case
With all the rage around the new NES Classic, which allows you to play old NES games on one system legally, they are sold out everywhere and many people are building their own Raspberry Pi emulators using RetroPie to play all their old school games. If you want to make your Raspberry Pi look retro then this is the case for you. Its a small NES Classic lookalike with a movable front lid just like the original one which flips open and allows you to plug in your USB connections or ethernet cable.
One issue off the bat is that if you are running your Pi over ethernet then cosmetically it will not look good since you will have a big ethernet cable coming out of the lid which takes away from the look and feel of this case. Same thing goes for if you are plugging something into the USB ports like a mouse or keyboard. The only suggestion for this would be to use WiFi and to use a Bluetooth connection for the keyboard and mouse. If you are using this case as a retro emulator than you should invest in a Bluetooth controller to begin with. There are many great old school controller replicas out there that are compatible with the Raspberry Pi.
The front lid on this case is movable but the power and reset buttons are just decorative so unfortunately you will not be able to power on the Pi with the front buttons. The top and bottom of the case bolt together with 4 screws and your Pi snaps into place inside. I found that even though you just snap the Pi in place it doesn’t seem to move and it’s a nice snug fit. The case overall feels like a cheap plastic.
The case does come with 2 heat-sinks which you can put on the 2 processors on the Raspberry Pi. You’ll need them because this case doesn’t have much vent holes. There are just a few slots on top which I found don’t dissipate the heat very well. If you are using this to emulate some NES or Sega games then the processors won’t be getting super hot to begin with. There is some clearance in the case if you would like to install a small fan inside.
Overall the case fits well with an emulation build and you will definitely get some nice compliments. The ports are all easily accessible besides the GPIO pins, which you will need to open the case to get to. The micro-SD slot is easily accessible and you can remove the card with no issues. Again, I would highly recommend using WiFi with this case as to not run cables through the front lid when its open. It will also fit the older Raspberry Pi 2 and B+ with no issues.
Click here for more information about the NES Raspberry Pi Case
Here’s a Raspberry Pi case that will address your over heating needs. This case comes with a fan which you can use to pull cool air into the case or to pull the hot air out depending on how you face the fan. The fan directly plugs into the GPIO power pins and turns on when you plug the power in. The case itself is not the best quality and simply snaps together with 2 pieces but overall is a great cheap budget case. Doing some comparison testing will show that this case will run the core temp of the main processor 10°C cooler. The case also includes 2 heat-sinks which seems to be a standard with many cheap cases.
As mentioned before the case is a little cheaply made and just snaps together. The Raspberry Pi also just snaps into place and isn’t the tightest fit. The case does offer easy access to all the ports around the Pi with no issues accessing the HDMI / USB / micro-SD ports. The case really is a great budget case which offers a fan on the cheap. There’s nothing special about it and it wont be a conversation starter but if you are running the Raspberry Pi in a closet or running the processors hot doing lots of computing this case will cool down the Pi and extend its life.
Overall I recommend this case if you have overheating issues or don’t like running your Raspberry Pi hot. It will cool down your Pi by over 10°C with no issues and the fan does run fairly quiet which is nice. The fan doesn’t secure with any screws, it just snaps in to the top of the case which causes it to vibrate a bit which is something I wish was addressed, but again this is a case that comes with a fan and heat-sinks for under $15 so you can’t complain too much.
Click here for more information about the Makerfire Raspberry Pi Case with Fan
The Raspberry Pi Lego case is one of the most popular cases around. Now, its not actually made of Lego’s unlike the original Lego case, but it is made of 2 pieces of plastic which snap together. The top and bottom can have actual Lego pieces attached to them as you can see in the image above, so you can build a small house on top of your case or make a watch tower to have a Lego figurine watching over your case. Another great feature is that the case is stackable, If you have multiple Raspberry Pi’s you can put them in this case and stack them on top of each other since the top of the case can connect to the bottom of another case. You can try building a small pyramid with the cases.
The case doesn’t have much ventilation so it can get warm inside the case. It doesn’t come with any heat-sinks so you may want to pickup 2 small heat-sinks for the processors. There are 2 small slots in the top part of the case if you need to connect the camera ribbon cable or any other cables for the GPIO pins. The Raspberry Pi snaps inside the case and I found that it does sit fairly tight inside the case with no shifting around inside the case. I would prefer screwing the Raspberry Pi down but the snap in’s work with no issues. The case overall is durable and made of high quality plastic and does snap together fairly easy.
Overall the case is decent and a great conversation starter. The top and bottom of the case are made so that you can attach actual Lego pieces and build things on top of the case which is fun. You can have Darth Vader guarding your Raspberry Pi like in the photo above or somehow incorporate the Raspberry Pi in a Lego project. For the price I definitely recommend this case if you like Lego’s.
Click here for more information about the Raspberry Pi Lego Case
This is a fun Raspberry Pi case which is made from 7 colorful pieces of high quality acrylic. The top and bottom of the case are transparent and held together with a nylon bolts. The case itself is very sturdy even though its held together with nylon bolts and is a bunch of acrylic pieces. All the ports on the Raspberry Pi are easily accessible and there is a slit in the top of the case for the camera ribbon cable to feed thru. The case has some small holes drilled into top which features the Raspberry Pi logo.
The case itself is very easy to put together and requires no tools. It really stands out in the crowd with its bright colors. The heating inside of the case is not too bad even though the case does not come with any heat-sinks. I would definitely pick up some heat-sinks if you can for this case.
Overall I think this is a fun case that pops out and stands out in the crowd. It is very colorful and is full of character. It’s a fun case to put together and you can mix and match the colors so each PiBow case will look different and the combinations are endless.
Click here for more information about the PiBow Raspberry Pi Case
These are just 6 of my favorite cases. There are hundreds of cases out there and these are just a few of my favorite cheap Raspberry Pi cases. Each one has it’s own character and is fun to put together. A good case puts some fun to your Raspberry Pi and makes each Pi unique. Definitely check out some of these cases and find your own case for your project that represents a little bit of you and suits your project. If you have some cool cases that you found post a link to them in the comments below.