Best Raspberry Pi 3 OS – Top Operating Systems Reviewed


You are reading this article, means you already owned the best Raspberry Pi starter kit and are ready to rock. From a general-use desktop computer to a complex IoT platform, you can implement your any idea with the help of super-powerful hardware platform i.e. the Raspberry Pi. You just need a perfect Operating System for your Pi 3, and then there is no any hurdle between your idea and its implementation.

best raspberry pi 3 operating systems

If you have bought a full Raspberry Pi 3 kit which comes with a preloaded Operating System on an SD card, then you need to worry about. But if you have made a single board purchase, then you need to check out this post which contains review list of the RPi 3 OS.

Top Raspberry Pi 3 Operating Systems


1) Raspbian

Coming with all the basic programs and utilities, the Raspbian is the official Raspberry Pi Operating System. This Debian-based OS is specially optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware configurations. It has more than thirty-five thousand packages to tinker with.

  • You will get tools like a web browser, LibreOffice (an office suite), and email program, and much more to learn the technical and programming skills
  • This OS is based on the Debian distribution which means it is lightweight to use and do not acquire much space on the SD card
  • The specially included Minecraft version will help to create something different
  • A number of guidelines and troubleshooting options with dozens of YouTube videos available for understanding and using Raspbian OS
  • If you are using Linux for the first time, then you may find it a bit confusing, but it is the most popular Raspberry Pi Operating System today


The latest and upgraded version of RISC OS is called as RISC OS Pi. It offers and alternative desktop environment with the help of Raspberry Pi 3. It is a different OS than the traditional options as it is not Linux based and not supporting to the electronic prototype projects.

  • RISC OS Pi is based on the BBC Microcomputer System which is simpler than the conventional
  • If you love to tinker with your Pi, then you will enjoy using this new concept as it works on its own
  • It comes with a Universal Storage Platform which is super-responsive
  • The minimized version named as RISC OS Pico with the size of 3.5MB is for those who want a minimized version, especially for hackers and modders
  • You need a 2GB micro SD card to install the RISC OS Pi

3) Kali Linux

Among the advanced penetration platforms, Kali Linux is the most useful and handy version for the Raspberry Pi support. It is based on Linux distribution and comes with various tools for penetration testing, reverse engineering, and forensics.

  • The Kali Linux is a new face of popular BackTrack Linux
  • It is a completely free platform
  • It provides comprehensive support to your different devices and networks
  • You will need an 8GB SD card to install and run Kali Linux on Raspberry Pi as it can be extended down to the Kernel level
  • Not only it can perform the information security operations mentioned above, but can also be used for general purpose

4) Windows 10 IoT Core

This is the special version of Windows that made for the Raspberry Pi. One thing you should keep in mind that the Windows IoT Core is not a full version of Windows OS but is a development platform that is meant for the coders.

  • After installing the Windows 10 IoT core, you need to install Visual Studio to control your Pi
  • If you want a prototype development for connected devices, then this OS is best for you
  • Not only for Pi 3, but the Windows 10 IoT Core also works on Raspberry Pi 2, MinnowMax Boards, and DragonBoard 410C
  • You can easily and successfully complete projects like smart gadgets design, home automation system, automated robots, etc. with the help of this OS on your Pi device

5) Ubuntu Mate

A stable yet simple OS which gives a configurable resource of the MATE desktop to the Pi users. If you are looking for a perfect OS for a less specific hardware of Pi device, then you should test this Operating System.

  • It offers to use inbuilt wallpapers to choose your favorite scene
  • It requires a 16GB SD card, but the installation is quite easy and simple
  • Ubuntu Mate is a full package of comprehensive set of useful programs
  • If you want to blink the LEDs, then you will find the Ubuntu Mate a much easier to use than Raspbian
  • Though Ubuntu Mate OS doesn’t give full concepts of educational projects and circuit designs as Raspbian gives, it is an OS that is fully rounded for your Raspberry Pi desktop


The Open Source Media Center (OSMC) is a Kodi (XBMC) based media center software. But compared to Kodi, it has an easy setup and use.

  • OSMC is one of the easiest Raspberry Pi media center software
  • If you are a non-technical person, then you should go nowhere else than the OSMC
  • You may feel confused by seeing its cleaner yet totally different interface than the familiar Kodi media center
  • You can install and use the Kodi plug-ins which you find helpful and Debian-based

7) RetroPie

If you want to turn your Raspberry Pi into a full gaming console, then RetroPie is the perfect Operating System you can go with. It supports different gaming controllers to provide a systemized control.

  • RetroPie will help you to turn your Raspberry Pi 3 into a fully functional Retro gaming machine
  • There is no need of separate SD card for it; you can directly install it on your existing Raspbian OS
  • After a successful built, you can play games from over fifty gaming systems with the help of RetroPie

The best way to test out a Raspberry Pi 3 OS is to get the help of NOOBS. Probably you have seen my other articles compiling the best Raspberry Pi kits, their accessories, and projects that can change your surroundings and daily life. It is ok if do not love Pi as much as I do because there are some Raspberry Pi alternatives too like an Arduino, Beagle Bone Board, etc. which also can help you build your awesome circuit designs. But we can’t just ignore the possibilities and creativity that can be done using this tiny circuit board. And the perfect Raspberry Pi OS can help a great for making it enable for general purpose computing.

Which OS you will use for your Raspberry Pi and what are the designing ideas you have in mind? Just hit the comment section below to share your thoughts with the world.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here