Although the Raspberry Pi 4 is a versatile and powerful mini-computer capable of a vast array of applications, it’s quite particular when it comes to power requirements. Supply the wrong voltage, and the small but mighty Pi 4 may peter out and struggle to reach its full potential.
While there are several ways to power the Raspberry Pi 4, the simplest, most cost-effective, and popular route is via a dedicated power supply. Not just any power supply, though, but one specifically designed for the Raspberry Pi 4. As with most RPi accessories, there’s a vast world of options out there, from an official power supply to low-cost third-party alternatives. Which one is the best?
In our guide, we’ll endeavor to answer that very question by pinpointing some of the best power supplies on the market that are guaranteed to keep the Raspberry Pi 4 topped up with sufficient juice to power the most creative projects.
Products at a Glance
As long as a dedicated Raspberry Pi power supply has the correct specifications and has a decent build quality, it’s mainly comparable to any other on the market, with only the finer details setting it apart. These include cable length, additional features such as a switch, protection functions, and, of course, the asking price.
Scouring the market for power supplies that check the right boxes, we’ve hand-picked four of the best Raspberry Pi 4 power supplies out there. Rest assured, our picks don’t include any cheap, shoddy power supplies that will stumble weeks into their lifespan. These are all winners when it comes to funneling power to the Raspberry Pi 4.
Below, you’ll find a brief review of each, introducing you to what each has to offer and highlighting any potential issues. We’ve included a ‘Things to Consider’ section at the end with a few pointers to keep in mind when shopping for a Raspberry Pi 4 power supply. Let’s dive in.
Best Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply in 2021
Official Raspberry Pi product
15.3 Watt 5.1V / 3.0A output
1. 5 M cable
Available in black or white
Slight premium for the RPi name
No additional niceties
The Raspberry Pi 4 Official PSU is a no-frills power supply that excels at the fundamentals, which is to source the Raspberry Pi 4 with a steady flow of power for it to flourish whatever the project.
The power supply comes from the very company responsible for designing and manufacturing the Raspberry Pi and, as such, is designed specifically for the Pi 4. Expect to pay a slight premium for the Raspberry Pi name compared to third-party alternatives. Still, the peace of mind that comes hand in hand with buying what is essentially the official Raspberry Pi 4 power supply is worth the extra cost.
The Raspberry Pi 4 Official PSU is a 15.3 Watt power supply that delivers a 5.1V and 3.0A output – the perfect specs to power the RPi 4. Alongside, it’s a solid little unit that can take its fair share of rough handling despite what is a somewhat bland presentation, which adopts a cube shape with the familiar Raspberry Pi logo etched onto the top plastic layer. Raspberry Pi proposes the Raspberry Pi 4 Official PSU in one of two color schemes – black and white – for those that want some choice when matching it to a case or other Pi accessories.
Per the requirements of the Raspberry Pi 4, the power supply features a fixed USB Type-C cable that measures a decent 1.5 meters, giving makers some flexibility in how far they can place the Pi from a socket or a power strip.
Given Raspberry Pi’s aim of offering a simple, work-horse power supply, the Raspberry Pi 4 Official PSU doesn’t have any added niceties such as a switch to toggle it on and off, but it does include short circuit, over-current, and over-temperature protection, and is available in US, UK, AU, and EU power socket variants.
Product from a respected name in the Raspberry Pi world
18 Watt 5.1V / 3.5A output
1. 5 M cable
Simple and reliable construction
Pricier than other third-party power supplies
No on/off switch
While the Raspberry Pi 4 Official PSU is a sure bet as it comes from the Raspberry Pi Foundation itself, it’s possible to save a few dollars and still obtain an equally reliable and well-built power supply – the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply. CanaKit is among the most popular and respected third-party manufacturers of Raspberry Pi accessories and parts, and their reputation extends to this excellent power supply.
Designed specifically for the Raspberry Pi 4, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply has precisely the correct specifications to deliver a clear and steady power source: 18 Watt 5.1V / 3.5A output. It is a little higher than the official Pi 4 power supply, which makes it a strong option for products that require a little more juice for HATs or a particularly power-hungry screen. Additionally, CanaKit has included a noise filter in the unit for a welcome boost to stability. It’s also UL listed, so you get the quality assurance that comes from UL’s officially tested and verified stamp of approval.
Much like the Raspberry Pi 4 Official PSU, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply’s looks won’t win any innovation awards. Still, it has a simple, no-nonsense all-black rectangular design that’s built to last. The insulated USB Type-C cable is fixed to the power supply and offers 1.5 meters of cabling to work with, which, like the official Raspberry Pi 4 PSU, allows for some leeway with where you link up the Pi and a power socket.
The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply is cheaper than the official Raspberry Pi alternative but has a higher asking price than other third-party power supplies. Once again, the extra cost is well warranted, and it’s worth paying a little more for quality and no-compromise compatibility with the Raspberry Pi 4. Finally, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply doesn’t ship with an on/off switch. However, CanaKit remedies this with an option that does, as we’ll cover just below.
Includes a PiSwitch on/off switch
18 Watt 5.1V / 3.5A output
1.5 M cable
More expensive due to the switch add-on
As we noted above, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply’s only negative is that it doesn’t ship with an on/off switch. Presumably sensing the demand among Pi users for an easy way to switch the Raspberry Pi 4 on and off without having to yank the USB cable out of the board or unplug the power supply altogether, CanaKit offers the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with PiSwitch. As the name implies, it features a power supply and a PiSwitch from one of the most respected third-party Pi accessory companies out there.
The PiSwitch is an inline switch designed specifically to work with the Raspberry Pi 4. The switch plugs directly into the Pi on one end and the power supply on the other. It’s housed in a small black box with a pleasant high-gloss finish. There you’ll find a two-way switch to toggle the Pi on and off easily. Alongside, there’s an LED to indicate whether the Pi has power or not. CanaKit uses high-quality materials to keep electrical resistance to a minimum, making the PiSwitch a convenient and durable add-on to the UL Listed PSU.
Turning to the power supply, it’s fashioned to work perfectly with the Raspberry Pi 4 with 18 Watt 5.1V / 3.5 Amps, has an insulated 1.5 meter USB cable, and a noise filter to up its stability credentials. In action, the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with PiSwitch is as reliable as it gets and is designed to maximize the performance of the Raspberry Pi 4.
The addition of the PiSwitch does mean a slight price bump compared to a standalone PSU, but if we factor in the cost of buying a straight power supply then sourcing a switch alongside, the price is virtually the same. In other words, a cost-effective way to pick up a top-quality switch.
5V / 3.0A output
Includes On/Off switch
Multi-protection against over voltage, short circuit, etc.
1.2 M cable
Stepping down the pricing later involves some cut corners, but with the GeeekPi Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with On/Off Switch, it’s possible to pay a few dollars less and still walk home with a quality power supply.
With an output of 5V and 3.0A, the GeeekPi Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with On/Off Switch is designed specifically to fuel the Raspberry Pi 4 with just the right amount of clean and reliable power for top performance. It includes a 1.2-meter cable with a lamp cord-style on and off switch to easily power up or down the Raspberry Pi 4 without fumbling with main sockets or yanking out the USB cable after each tinkering session.
And, if you’re juggling multiple project Pi projects that employ the previous-gen Raspberry Pi 3 Model B or Model 3B, the Geek Pi Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with On/Off Switch includes a useful USB Type-C to MicroUSB adapter, which grants full compatibility with those older Pi models.
The GeeekPi Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with On/Off Switch is well served with multi-protection features, including over-voltage protection, under-voltage protection, temperature protection, over-current protection, and short circuit protection. It also has FCC, TUV, and RoHS certifications, guaranteeing a tried and tested product fit for purpose.
The build quality and overall looks aren’t quite on par with the premium options from Raspberry Pi and CanaKit, but they are still a significant upgrade over the dirt cheap, nondescript power supplies that flood retailers like Amazon and the like. Another slight negative to consider is that, unlike the PiSwitch above, the switch is built into the USB cable and cannot be removed. Should the switch peter out, the power supply is effectively destined for the trash pile, too. However, given the quality of the product, the chances of this happening in practice are low.
Things To Consider
Raspberry Pi Model Power Requirements
Power requirements differ slightly between models. It’s vitally important to check that the power supply you’re eyeing up is indeed fit for purpose. As our guide is focused solely on power supplies suited to the Raspberry Pi 4, we’ll focus on this model. Per official documentation from Raspberry Pi, the RPi 4 requires a 15.3 W USB Type-C power supply with a DC output of 5.1 volts with a minimum of 3.0 Amps.
While it may be tempting to fish out any old USB charger you have lying around, we’d warn against it. If the specifications don’t align with the requirements of the Pi 4, notably the voltage requirements, or the charger is of poor quality, doing so may cause irreparable damage to the Pi board or, worse, start an electrical fire. Or slightly less daunting and more common, it won’t provide sufficient power for the mini-computer to work correctly, coughing up a bevy of errors and performance issues and causing all manner of hair-pulling frustration.
To err on the side of caution, we always recommend using a dedicated Raspberry Pi 4 power supply. If you’re moving away from official Raspberry Pi products towards third-party options, look out for listings that clearly specify, free of any shadow of a doubt, Raspberry Pi 4 compatibility.
Other Ways To Power The Raspberry Pi 4
A power supply is by far the most common way to fuel the Raspberry Pi 4 with enough juice to run, but there are other options out there, one of which may help in a pinch or offer more flexibility and mobility.
These include powering the Raspberry Pi 4 via a USB port on a PC/laptop, power bank, or some USB hubs. More adventurous makers use less typical power sources such as solar panels, Lithium Polymer batteries, and Power of Ethernet via special add-on HATs.
The Raspberry Pi 4 Official PSU is without a doubt our top pick among Raspberry Pi 4 power supplies. Nothing beats a power supply made by the people behind the Pi itself and designed specifically for the Raspberry Pi 4: the perfect voltage, top build quality, and a cohesive overall look in both black and white color schemes. The lack of a switch may put some off, but a third-party one can be obtained relatively cheaply.
Another top option is the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply. Among third-party purveyors of Pi parts and accessories, CanaKit rubs shoulders with the most reputable. Simple, reliable, and practical, it’s a clever way to avoid the slight premium stamped on the official Raspberry Pi option and still end up with a quality power supply. Once again, no switch with this one, but CanaKit has you covered with our following recommendation.
The CanaKit Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with PiSwitch is exactly the same as the one just above but packaged alongside CanaKit’s excellent PiSwitch, which is made specifically to work with the Raspberry Pi 4 and deliver a simple way to power the Pi on and off without unplugging any cabling. If a switch is a priority, you can’t go wrong with this pick.
Finally, you can save a bit of money and opt for the Geek Pi Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with On/Off Switch. This comes with a slight downgrade to build quality and looks, but when it comes to powering the Pi, the Geek Pi Raspberry Pi 4 Power Supply with On/Off Switch is just as reliable as the power supplies above. It also includes a built-in switch as an added benefit.
With that, we’ll call an end to our guide to the best Raspberry Pi power supplies out there. Have any pressing questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions? Feel free to get in touch via the comments section just below.