Why is Raspberry Pi used for IOT devices?

Why is the Raspberry Pi the preferred choice for IoT devices, what makes it so versatile, and how does it compare to other single-board computers?

Delve into the world of IoT with the Raspberry Pi, a credit card-sized computer revolutionizing how we build connected devices. Discover why engineers and enthusiasts alike favor this versatile, cost-effective solution for IoT projects. From its affordable price tag and extensive programming options to robust connectivity and powerful hardware capabilities, explore how the Raspberry Pi empowers users to innovate across various applications, from home automation to industrial solutions. Join us as we uncover why the Raspberry Pi stands out as the ultimate tool for learning, creating, and deploying IoT solutions globally.

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Jun 26, 2024    By Team YoungWonks *

Why is Raspberry Pi used for IOT devices?

To build IoT devices, engineers often use small, affordable computers called single-board computers. One very popular single-board computer is the Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer that can do many of the same tasks as a regular desktop or laptop.

So why do so many people use the Raspberry Pi for their IoT projects instead of a normal computer? Well, there are quite a few compelling reasons!

Low-Cost and Small Size

One of the biggest advantages of using a Raspberry Pi is its very low cost. The basic Raspberry Pi board only costs around $35, which is much cheaper than buying a desktop or laptop computer. Its tiny size around a credit card also makes it extremely portable and great for IoT projects where you need a compact computer.

The affordable cost and small form factor of the Raspberry Pi means hobbyists, beginners, students, and enthusiasts can easily get started with computer science, programming, robotics, and creating cool Internet of Things projects without spending too much money. This is why the Raspberry Pi (RPI for short) is the perfect affordable computer, even featuring an HDMI port to connect a monitor.


Despite being low-cost and palm-sized, the Raspberry Pi is surprisingly versatile. It can run several different operating systems like the Linux-based Raspbian OS (which comes pre-installed), Ubuntu Mate, Windows 10 IoT Core, and more. There are even ways to run Android on Raspberry Pi for experimenting with mobile apps.

The ability to run different operating systems gives you flexibility in choosing the right software environment for your particular IoT project. Raspbian is the official operating system supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation and comes pre-loaded with lots of useful software and programming tools. But you can use the Raspberry Pi for a huge variety of applications beyond just IoT too. People use it for web browsing, word processing, playing games, machine learning, bitcoin mining, and even as an inexpensive desktop computer replacement running Windows or Linux.


For an IoT device to work properly, it needs to be able to connect to the internet and communicate with other smart devices and sensors. The Raspberry Pi has excellent connectivity options including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth support built-in.

Having network connectivity allows your Raspberry Pi IoT project to share sensor data, receive software updates, and communicate with smartphones and other smart devices in real time.

Hardware Capabilities

One of the standout hardware features of the Raspberry Pi is its general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins. These GPIO pins allow you to connect and interface with all kinds of sensors, motors, lights, displays, and other electronic components and actuators directly to your Raspberry Pi.

Being able to easily integrate sensors and control electronics like that is absolutely perfect for building home automation systems, robotics projects, weather stations, and IoT gadgets that interact with the physical world.

Some of the higher-end Raspberry Pi models like the Raspberry Pi 3 also have a decent amount of processing power thanks to their quad-core ARM CPUs running at over 1 GHz. The Raspberry Pi uses Broadcom system-on-a-chip (SoC) processors. The extra CPU horsepower gives you enough muscle to do data processing and basic data analysis right on the Raspberry Pi itself instead of offloading that computation to another computer.

The Raspberry Pi is often compared to microcontrollers like Arduino boards. While Arduinos are great for basic electronics projects, the Raspberry Pi offers much more processing power and functionality as a full Linux computer. However, Arduinos can still integrate with Raspberry Pis nicely for more advanced IoT projects requiring both simplicity and power. Lower power consumption is another hardware advantage of the Raspberry Pi compared to normal desktops or laptops. This allows your IoT devices to be more energy efficient.

Programming Options

When it comes to programming and giving instructions to make your IoT devices work with the Raspberry Pi, you have a wide variety of programming language options and flexibility. Some of the most common coding languages used are Python, Java, C/C++, and even simple visual languages like Scratch. Python in particular is one of the most popular choices for IoT development on the Raspberry Pi due to its simplicity, large library of code modules, and strong community support. It's a great programming language option for beginners just getting started.

For younger kids who want to learn coding basics in a fun and visual way, the Scratch visual programming language is perfect to use on Raspberry Pi. It allows you to snap together code blocks instead of typing everything out. The huge variety of supported programming languages, combined with the Linux-based Raspbian operating system, gives the Raspberry Pi a robust software ecosystem very similar to normal desktop Linux distributions like Debian and Ubuntu.

Getting started on a Raspberry Pi project is also very easy. All you need is the Raspberry Pi board itself, a micro SD card to load the operating system on, and some basic peripherals like a keyboard/mouse/monitor, and you're ready to start coding! The affordability of just needing an SD card instead of a hard drive is another cost-saving benefit.

Open Source and Large Ecosystem

Speaking of the ecosystem, the Raspberry Pi has developed a massive global ecosystem of support from makers, educators, hobbyist groups, companies, and even large enterprises creating accessories, add-on boards (HATs), cases, and other peripherals.

You can find a nearly endless supply of tutorials, project guides, code examples, and online discussions dedicated to using the Raspberry Pi for all sorts of use cases - the Internet of Things, robotics, home automation, retro gaming, media servers, and much more.There are also many add-on boards and HATs (Hardware Attached on Top) that expand the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi even further by adding sensors, motors, displays, and other components. This aligns perfectly with the do-it-yourself (DIY) mindset and ease of creating custom IoT projects with Raspberry Pi.

Having such an enormous ecosystem around it is a huge advantage for learning and building your own Internet of Things projects with the Raspberry Pi. It provides excellent documentation, learning resources, guides, and a massive community for troubleshooting issues or getting advice.The Raspberry Pi itself is also based on open-source software and is produced by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a UK-based charity that aims to promote computer science education.

Cost-Effective for Companies Too

While the Raspberry Pi's low cost and simplicity make it great for hobbyists, students, and beginners, it is actually used by many companies and enterprise businesses for professional IoT applications as well.

Large companies are often attracted to using Raspberry Pis because they are so cost-effective compared to more expensive industrial computers or PLCs (programmable logic controllers). Raspberry Pis can be deployed for a fraction of the cost. The processing power of the higher-end Raspberry Pi models is also sufficient for many real-world IoT use cases like data logging, monitoring machinery, controlling industrial sensors, and automation systems. Many businesses leverage Raspberry Pi's capabilities for industrial IoT applications to reduce costs and improve efficiency across their operations and products.


Whether you're a beginner just starting to learn about the Internet of Things, or an experienced developer, the versatile, well-supported, and extremely affordable Raspberry Pi is an excellent gateway into programming, electronics, and building your own connected devices and IoT solutions. Its unique combination of price, size, capabilities, and massive ecosystem can't be matched!

*Contributors: Written by Prarabdh Joshi; Edited by Alisha Ahmed; Lead image by Shivendra Singh

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