10 Best Raspberry Pi 3 Cases 2017
Protection and Style for Your Pi
There is a wide variety of cases and enclosures available for the Raspberry Pi 3, its been out for a while now so quite a few companies have put their design departments to work coming up with cases that both look great and can be used in a wide range of applications. Maybe you’re all about the style and look, perhaps your running processor intense software and need a little cooling with your case or you could just be looking for a case to protect your Pi, no matter what your needs I am confident that one of these cases will do the job perfectly.
1. Official Raspberry Pi 3 Case
What better place to start than with the Pi case created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation itself, this case provides protection from dust and minor spills that may damage the device. As you would expect from the officially licensed product it’s a perfect fit for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. The case arrives partially assembled but it needs to be disassembled to install the motherboard. There are no instructions provided, but with only five pieces assembly is pretty intuitive.
The motherboard will only fit in the bottom one way and the top has tabs that hold it in place when snapped together. One of the side panels fits snugly over the power, HDMI and audio ports, the other side panel is solid but can be removed to gain access to the GPIO pins. This case has been designed with HAT’s in mind and the top cover is easily removed for access to the motherboard and the camera/display ports. Access to the SD card is also good allowing you to easily insert and remove the non-spring loaded slot.
This case has the added advantage of providing openings that allow visibility of the power and activity LED’s.
This case also comes in a Red/White color variant and delivers a simple and functional enclosure for your Pi.
2. SB Components Clear Case
This is a good quality case for the price that has been well designed with functionality in mind, the cutaway for the GPIO pins makes all the difference if you are making external connections to your Pi, it makes those all important pins easily accessible.
Other similar cases tend to have a slot rather than a full opening meaning that they are more suitable for the installation of a ribbon cable. This large opening means that you are able to remove any jumper cables by the plug rather than being forced to pull on the wires.
With this case all of the USB, LAN, HDMI ports, etc. on your Pi are easily accessible and there are pass-through slots in the top for connecting the camera and display cables if required, again given that this is a clear case it also has the advantage of allowing visibility of the power and activity LED’s.
3. KuGi Case with Heat Sinks
This case is the epitome of form and function, a high quality, inexpensive plastic case that is very well made, putting the case together involves a simple two-part assembly with small screws to secure the Pi board, this provides great protection and no risk of the board moving around inside the case.
The cutouts have been well positioned to allow for easy access to all the various ports while providing enough ventilation for the Pi to work well at normal room temperatures. If however your asking a bit more of the processor and find that your Pi is running hot, this case comes with the added bonus of two small heatsinks that can be placed on the main chips to provide enhanced cooling.
This case can also be found in clear and white variants and all come with small silicone rubber feet to stop the case sliding around on hard surfaces.
4. Eleduino Raspberry Pi Acrylic Case
This Eleduino enclosure is a 5 layer, laser-cut acrylic case that does a great job of protecting your Pi, the five layers add some nice weight to the case and give it the feeling of being very solid. The cutouts and design of this case allow for easy access to all the ports and with the two included heat sinks there’s no fear of overheating. If you really like overclocking your Pi then you could also look to the updated version that includes a super quiet fan mounted on top.
The Eleduino is a strong, functional and really a beautiful case but one small complaint I have about it is making sure that you get all of the layers in the correct order, there should be two pieces below your Pi and three above, so when you are unpacking the case make sure to take note of the order that the pieces come out of the box and keep them in that order to prevent headaches later.
5. Flirc Raspberry Pi Case
The Flirc case construction is a little more outside the box (pardon the pun), it consists of a very solid aluminum body with a plastic top and the bottom. The unique part of the Flirc case is the way that they have used the whole aluminum body as a heat sink, this means that even under the heaviest processing load the Pi still maintains an acceptable operating temperature.
The main body and top come assembled with a metal cube extending down to meet the top of the main processor chip on the Pi, to this cube you apply a thermal pad and then using four screws mount the base and your Pi to meet the thermal pad.
On the downside, this case is not designed to provide easy access to the camera or display ports but there is a thin opening in the bottom to allow cables to be connected to the GPIO header. Like many other cases that were designed originally for Pi 2B, when put together there is no visibility of the power and activity LED’s.
Given that this is a full metal enclosure there is also some degradation to the WiFi and Bluetooth performance. It should also be noted that the SD card sits flush with the case which can make it difficult to remove in the non-spring-loaded Pi 3.
In the end, the Flirc Raspberry Pi case was designed as a good looking, functional and inexpensive case for Raspberry Pi users that want to turn their Raspberry Pi board into a media center with Kodi and if that is what you are planning to use it for then it’s few shortcomings are really not an issue.
6. Eleduino Aluminium Alloy Case with Heat sinks
If your looking for a sleek and professional case for your Raspberry Pi then the aluminum alloy case from Eleduino is the ideal choice, this case is very well designed, it is solidly constructed with clear labeling on the ports, it includes two heat sinks and a screwdriver.
All these good looks have meant that there are some compromises, there are no cutouts to access the camera and display ports and only a thin slot to support a ribbon cable connection to the GPIO ports. While the case does include the heat sinks there are almost no ventilation openings in the case so using it for any project that involves a high processor load may still lead to overheating concerns.
On the upside the cutout for the SD card is large enough that it can be inserted and removed without the need for any other tools, there are two openings at the rear of the case so that the LED’s can be seen and there is less blocking of the WiFi and Bluetooth signals for a metal enclosure.
All in all, this is one of my favorite cases for projects where my Pi is going to be moved around a lot, not only is it very strong with a high build quality but it comes in a range of colors so you can choose one that suits your style.
7. Zebra Wood Case with Raspberry Inlay
This case is from the passively cooled Zebra series but I think this one really stands out, it has a very attractive Raspberry wood inlay with a Philippine mahogany layer, the other layers are made from acrylic. Like other similarly layered cases, this one provides excellent access to all of the main ports on the Pi, there is a pass-through slot for the GPIO, camera and display ribbon cables as well as holes on the underside for convenient mounting.
This case is supplied with rubber feet, 3 heat sinks and has excellent airflow to allow for passive cooling. Your Pi board is firmly locked into the middle of the case, which ensures it is going to not move around throughout use.
There is a wide range of Zebra case colors and styles available so you can be sure that you will find one that suits your tastes.
8. Zebra Virtue – Black Ice
The Zebra Virtue series of cases all come with active cooling in the form of a very quiet 5-volt top-mounted fan, again this is a layered acrylic style case that keeps your Pi is well protected. The active cooling in this case will ensure that your Pi 3 runs cool even under the heaviest of processing loads.
The top and bottom plates are custom-etched with sleek graphics that frame the fan, again this case is supplied with rubber feet, 3 heat sinks and your Pi board is firmly locked into the middle of the case.
There is a pass-through slot for the GPIO, camera and display ribbon cables as well as holes on the underside for convenient mounting. There is a range of different styles and finishes in the Zebra Virtue range and as with other cases from C4 labs they all have a very high built quality and finish. Just make sure that when you pull the parts out of the packaging that you keep them in order to minimize any frustration when it comes to assembly.
9. The Invasion
The Invasion is one of the coolest cases I have ever seen, both literally and figuratively. The styling is great and the design allows enough airflow for passive cooling at moderate workloads, when you add the included fan and 3 heat sinks the active cooling of the Pi board is incredible.
The case is made of matte black acrylic and is really designed to be used as a housing for a media center, access to the camera and display ports is through a slot in the rear, if necessary the GPIO ports are accessible through the large opening in the side but this may not be practical if you have also installed the fan.
All the other ports are very easy to reach including the SD card slot and the onboard LED’s are easily visible. This is a much larger case than many of the others that I have reviewed here but it is also a case that would not look out of place sitting next to your TV in the living room.
While it comes with assembly instructions it’s not exactly simple to put together, the reason for this is because the parts are made to surprisingly tight tolerances, but once put together, they all fit perfectly. The top plate is also reversible with a matte black finish on one side and the Invasion logo printed on the other.
Overall, this really is a beautiful case, it’s not heavy duty by any means but it has great desktop appeal and functions very well.
10. The Bel-Aire
The Bel Aire is the hot rod of Raspberry Pi cases, made completely from wood and with a two-tone laser finish this is a beautifully crafted case. It comes in 4 pieces that snap together with 4 screws to securely hold your Pi in place. Just like the Invasion, this is a larger-sized enclosure that as well as providing good protection is meant to be seen.
The top piece of the box is held in position purely by friction so this is not the case that you want to throw in a bag and take with you, there is good access to all the ports and a slot to allow a ribbon cable to the GPIO ports.
This slot is large enough that you could also connect the camera and display ports if you want to and route them out the same slot. The vent holes on the side and rear give this case good airflow and it comes with a heat sink included in the package.
This is another case from the guy’s at C4 Labs in the US so you can expect a high build quality, attention to detail and excellent customer service, but keep in mind that this case is made from wood and can be fragile so make sure you take care when putting it together.
There is a huge variety of Raspberry Pi cases available these days to suit the wide range of projects and applications that people put this powerful little microprocessor to work on, this is just a small sample of what I consider to be some of the best. No matter what your project you are sure to find a case that suits you both for functionality and style.
If you have any thought’s about this article, improvements or errors let me know in the comments below and if you found this helpful, why not share it with others.