What Is the Smallest Raspberry Pi Model?

Raspberry Pi Pico W board

The Raspberry Pi is a popular single-board computer that’s often used for DIY projects or embedded applications. It was originally created to get more kids interested in computer science, but it’s also been adopted by professional engineers and developers. The Raspberry Pi is an incredibly versatile platform, thanks to its vast ecosystem of accessories and add-ons.

Since the first Raspberry Pi model, there have been several iterations of the popular single-board computer in various sizes. Here we’ll explore the smallest Raspberry Pi boards to date, arranged in descending order.

What Classifies a Raspberry Pi as Small?

If you’re familiar with them, you know Raspberry Pis are already pretty tiny, so small that they are commonly described as credit card-sized computers. The Raspberry Pi 4 measures 3.4 x 2.2 x 0.6 inches and weighs only 0.1 lbs (45 g).

Since the standard, fully featured Model B boards, including the Pi 4, are among the larger Raspberry Pi models, we’ve excluded them here. So, how tiny does a small Raspberry Pi have to be? Below is a list of all Raspberry Pi boards less than 0.1 lbs (45 g) in weight.

Raspberry Pi A+

Image Credit: Adafruit

The Raspberry Pi A+ is a smaller, cheaper, and more power-efficient version of the original Raspberry Pi. It succeeded the original Model A in November 2014 and is scheduled to remain in production until 2026. The Model A+ measures 2.6 × 2.2 × 0.4 inches and weighs only 0.04 lbs (23 g), making it one of the smallest Raspberry Pi SBCs.

The Model A+ comes with a number of improvements over the original Model A, such as a microSD card slot (in place of a full-size SD slot), an increased number of GPIO pins, decreased power consumption, and better audio performance.

The Raspberry Pi Model A+ itself now comes in two versions. The Pi 1 Model A+ has a 700MHz single-core processor, while the upgraded Pi 3 Model A+ has a considerably more powerful 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core processor. Both have 512MB of RAM.

Despite some limitations, including just a single USB port and the lack of onboard Ethernet, the Model A+ can be used in projects such as stop-motion animation, motion sensing, or even robotics.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, 1 GB variant (Lite)
Image Credit: Adafruit

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 is a system-on-a-module product intended for industrial and embedded use. The Raspberry Pi CM4 shares similar specs with the Raspberry Pi 4 and is available in 32 variants.

It comes with up to 8GB of RAM and onboard eMMC flash memory. The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 is much more flexible than the Raspberry Pi 4 as it gives you access to more features depending on the development board you choose.

The development board adds weight, but the base module is considerably smaller than the Raspberry Pi 4. It measures 2.2 × 1.6 × 0.2 inches and has negligible weight. This device, however, takes much more effort to get running than the Pi 4 and should be a better fit for experienced tinkerers.

Even so, the Raspberry Pi CM4 can do practically everything a Raspberry Pi 4 can do, such as these Raspberry Pi projects for beginners.

Raspberry Pi Zero Series

Image Credit: Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi Zero is a series of the smallest and lowest-cost single-board computers from Raspberry Pi Ltd. The original Raspberry Pi Zero was first released in November 2015 for just $5. At 2.6 × 1.2 × 0.2 inches and weighing just 0.3 oz (9 g), this mini Raspberry Pi is half the size of the A+.

Other features include 512MB of RAM, a microSD card slot, a mini-HDMI port, and a 40-pin GPIO header. Note that there is just a single micro-USB port, so you will need an adapter and a USB hub to connect multiple peripherals. Alternatively, you can run it headless and connect to your Raspberry pi remotely via SSH.

While the original Pi Zero lacks built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, this is added on the Pi Zero W model. Both versions come without GPIO pins; you can either solder on a header yourself or buy the Pi Zero WH model with pre-soldered pins.

The latest Pi Zero model is the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. It has the same form factor as the others and is priced at around $15. With an upgraded processor, it is up to five times faster than the original Pi Zero and comes with built-in Bluetooth (BLE) and Wi-Fi.

If your project requires a Raspberry Pi SBC with a tiny footprint, the Raspberry Pi Zero should be your top choice. Managed to snag a Raspberry Pi Zero? Our getting started with Raspberry Pi Zero guide should provide you with all the information you need to start making your own projects.

Raspberry Pi Pico Series

Image Credit: Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi Pico is the smallest computing product from Raspberry Pi. It is only 2 x 0.8 x 0.04 inches and yet is powerful enough to run many electronics projects.

Note that unlike the other products on this list, the Pico is actually a microcontroller and not a single-board computer. This means that the Pico is not intended to serve as a complete computer and cannot run an operating system. Instead, it works to send instructions to other components in an electronic system.

The Pico is Raspberry Pi Ltd.’s first product featuring the company’s very own homemade chip: the RP2040 runs at 133MHz, and it supports up to 16MB of off-chip flash memory.

There are four variants in this series: the regular Pico, the Pico H, the Pico W, and the Pico WH. Each of the variants adds a new feature to the plain Raspberry Pi Pico. The “H” stands for pre-soldered GPIO header pins and the “W” variants come with onboard Wi-Fi.

The Raspberry Pi Pico has a strong competitor in the ESP32 microcontroller. Be sure to check out our comparison of Raspberry Pi Pico vs. ESP32.

The Raspberry Pi Pico: The Smallest Raspberry Pi Model

The Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller is the tiniest, most compact computing product from Raspberry Pi Ltd., with a form factor of 2 x 0.8 x 0.04 inches. This makes it smaller than an average adult’s thumb. The Raspberry Pi Zero single-board computer is the closest runner-up, measuring 2.6 × 1.2 × 0.2 inches, about the size of a thumb drive.

These small Raspberry Pi models may be of more use in embedded projects as they give you more space to fit in more components and come in handy when you are working with a pre-molded enclosure. The most incredible part is that you don’t have to make any tradeoffs between size and power/performance.

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