How to get a Raspberry Pi 4 was the question when we decided to experiment with Home Assistant as Raspberry Pi boards are hard to get in 2022. A a lot of stores state that new supply will arrive in 2023, unless you are willing to pay an excessive price (2 to 4 times the price a year ago). But we want to start using Home Assistant installed on a Raspberry Pi 4 now and not somewhere next year… Luckily we managed to get 2 Raspberry PI 4’s with 8Gb RAM within a few days in The Netherlands.
This article explains the cause for the supply shortage, provides hints and tips how to get a Raspberry Pi 4 board and how we managed to get two Raspberry Pi 4 (8Gb) boards.
2. Reasons for the supply shortage of Raspberry PI 4’s
The CEO of the Raspberry Pi Trading company, Eben Upton, indicated in a statement (Production and supply-chain update) published on 4 April 2022 that the shortage of Raspberry Pi units is caused by several factors:
- the current worldwide semiconductor shortage
Linked to supply chain disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic impacting labor availability, lockdowns and logistics. At the same time the increasing demand for all sorts of consumer electronics (which requires chips).
- commercial customers are given priority
According to Raspberry Pi Trading to assure the livelihoods of the companies depending on Raspberry Pi’s. An example of this is the upcoming Homey Pro (2023 edition), which uses an embed Raspberry Pi CM4.
- high demand for Raspberry Pi units
Be aware that the supply shortage is not only for the Raspberry Pi 4, but for almost all Raspberry Pi unit types.
To make it even worst it is known that bots are involved in making automatic purchases as soon as stock becomes available. These Raspberry Pi units are than often reselled at a higher price via non-approved Raspberry resellers. Approved resellers are bound to sell at stated prices (at least if the law allows this, which officially is not the case in The Netherlands). Also approved resellers have implemented single unit limits or even two-factor authentication to prevent automatic purchases by bots.
3. How to get a Raspberry Pi 4?
To get in the possession of a Raspberry Pi multiple options are available:
- Pay a hefty markup via non-approved resellers
- Use Sources Like Rpilocator to Find Pi Models in Stock
Our experience is that listed available stock outruns very fast.
- Order and wait till it gets delivered in future
It is claimed that approved resellers should receive supplies faster.
- Buy One of the Raspberry Pi Clones
There are several alternative SBCs that are much cheaper than the Raspberry Pi. Unless you are particular about the brand, Raspberry Pi clones are often cheaper, easier to find, and may even perform better than the original. Some of these alternatives include NanoPi, BananaPi, OrangePi, and so many others. It is up to you to find the one that suits your needs and budget.
4. Our approach
We were interested in a Raspberry Pi 4 with 8Gb of RAM to be prepared for possible future/intensive use. We started monitoring Rpilocator for stock becoming available within Europe as we live in The Netherlands. After a week monitoring Rpilocator we discovered that if there was stock available somewhere we always spotted it too late or the store was quickly out of stock. As we refuse to pay a hefty price markup it was decided to place an order at two different stores and wait patiently when a Raspberry Pi 4 would arrive (i.e. option 3 above).
When the two orders were placed we still kept monitoring now and then the Rpilocator site. When we saw Raspberry Pi 4’s with 4Gb coming along we visited online the specific store in Germany www.welectron.com and found out they had the Raspberry Pi 4 with 8Gb RAM on stock as a so called Cooler master kit for €139, which includes:
- Raspberry Pi 4 8Gb board
- a 64 GB micro-SD card
- a Cooler Master Pi Case 40 V2 aluminium case
- a power supply
- 1 meter micro-HDMI cable
When looking for accessoires at the online store Kiwi Electronics (based in The Netherlands but expanding throughout Europe) we discovered they had a Raspberry Pi 4 with 8Gb RAM on stock! So we quickly ordered one. We now received 2 Raspberry Pi 4’s with 8Gb RAM each within a few days after ordering, about 1.5 weeks after we started looking for a Raspberry Pi 4. We cancelled the orders placed at the two other stores.
To summarise our approach:
- Don’t rely on Rpilocator as it is almost impossible to grab available stock unless you are the whole day monitoring the site. Use it as a guidance for possible stores to order from if they frequently seem to have stock.
- Make browser favorites to stores which can deliver to your home and monitor them frequently.
- As backup already place an order by one or more stores were you can cancel / return orders and get your money back. This is within Europe legally the case.
We hope this article helps you to answer the question “How to get a Raspberry Pi 4”.