Zero WH: pre-soldered headers and what to do with them

If you head over to the website of your favourite Raspberry Pi Approved Reseller today, you may find the new Zero WH available to purchase. But what it is? Why is it different, and what can you do with it?

Raspberry Pi Zero WH

“If you like pre-soldered headers, and getting caught in the rain…”

Raspberry Pi Zero WH

Imagine a Raspberry Pi Zero W. Now add a professionally soldered header. Boom, that’s the Raspberry Pi Zero WH! It’s your same great-tasting Pi, with a brand-new…crust? It’s perfect for everyone who doesn’t own a soldering iron or who wants the soldering legwork done for them.

What you can do with the Zero WH

What can’t you do? Am I right?! The small size of the Zero W makes it perfect for projects with minimal wiggle-room. In such projects, some people have no need for GPIO pins — they simply solder directly to the board. However, there are many instances where you do want a header on your Zero W, for example in order to easily take advantage of the GPIO expander tool for Debian Stretch on a PC or Mac.

GPIO expander in clubs and classrooms

As Ben Nuttall explains in his blog post on the topic:

[The GPIO expander tool] is a real game-changer for Raspberry Jams, Code Clubs, CoderDojos, and schools. You can live boot the Raspberry Pi Desktop OS from a USB stick, use Linux PCs, or even install [the Pi OS] on old computers. Then you have really simple access to physical computing without full Raspberry Pi setups, and with no SD cards to configure.

Using the GPIO expander with the Raspberry Pi Zero WH decreases the setup cost for anyone interested in trying out physical computing in the classroom or at home. (And once you’ve stuck your toes in, you’ll obviously fall in love and will soon find yourself with multiple Raspberry Pi models, HATs aplenty, and an area in your home dedicated to your new adventure in Raspberry Pi. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Other uses for a Zero W with a header

The GPIO expander setup is just one of a multitude of uses for a Raspberry Pi Zero W with a header. You may want the header for prototyping before you commit to soldering wires directly to a board. Or you may have a temporary build in mind for your Zero W, in which case you won’t want to commit to soldering wires to the board at all.

Raspberry Pi Zero WH

Your use case may be something else entirely — tell us in the comments below how you’d utilise a pre-soldered Raspberry Pi Zero WH in your project. The best project idea will receive ten imaginary house points of absolutely no practical use, but immense emotional value. Decide amongst yourselves who you believe should win them — I’m going to go waste a few more hours playing SLUG!


ThePrivateGeek avatar

Excellent addition to the PiZero, very convenient.

lolo avatar

The pHAT ultimate friend ;)

Andrew Oakley avatar

If you’ve got a headerless Zero, we can fit a Hammer Header for you FREE thanks to Pimoroni, at our family-friendly Raspberry Pi event on Sat 27 January in Cheltenham (UK). Also workshops on updating & backing-up your Pi, Minecraft coding, LED & button coding. Free tickets from

Zak Zebrowski avatar

$.02 – tried the hammer header, didn’t like it for two reasons. One – sore thumb after being hit with hammer. Two – (possibly related to one) – connection seemed to be “loose”, as compared to soldered headers.

Geoff Harmer avatar

I disagree.
I watched the Pimoroni YouTube video that shows exactly how to install the pins and it was easy to do and 100% perfect.

far easier than installing with solder a traditional pin set.

Patrick Van Oosterwijck avatar

The Pi Zero will unfortunately stay pretty much a “paper product” as long as retailers such as Sparkfun are not allowed to sell you more than one… pretty much in your lifetime.

I wish it wasn’t a subsidized marketing stunt to undercut competition but a real product with a real (sustainable) price instead.

Jeffrey Findley avatar

Odd. I’m pretty sure you can buy as many as you want here in the US at a Microcenter store, but the first one is the cheapest. I usually only buy one Pi Zero W at a time when I’m there due to the way they price them:
Zero W:
1 at $5.00 each
2-5 at $14.99 each
6+ at $19.99 each

1 at $5.00 each
2-5 at $9.99 each
6+ at $14.99 each

Kenneth Coley avatar

I would love to know where you can find a Pi Zero W for $5.

Richard Collins avatar

I don’t think they are in need of any kind of marketing stunt. I have 9 in various projects, they are very easy to get hold off. :-)

ray avatar

Recently most places I buy them from say 1 per customer but they have not stopped me putting 2 or 3 in the online cart before check out.

For Xmas I got 4 in one order for Xmas gifts, that order went OK.

It was only back when the W first launched the supplier that had them would not let me buy more than 1, I even sent them an email to say I wanted an extra one for a gift (which was true) but they refused, simple got a friend to order one for me.

Patrick Van Oosterwijck avatar

I guess Microcenter may be a good source because they can’t track you in a retail environment. I tried to buy a Pi Zero W from Sparkfun and they told me they were not allowed to sell one to me because I had previously ordered a Pi Zero…

El Patron avatar

enter store, buy RpiZW, exit store, repeat until purchase all :P

Vascofazza avatar

Ehm… If I’m able to solder contacts directly to the pads on the headerless, I should be able to solder the header itself essentially for “free”, right?
I’d instead suggest to produce an headerless Raspberry Pi 3

Richard Collins avatar

Yes, I have thought a depopulated RPi3 would be nice. I guess it’s so bespoke it can’t be done without causing extra costs and having a knock on affect on the other products. Plenty of ‘how tos’ on youtube. I’ve been waiting to get a hot air gun so I can do mine own. :)

Don isenstadt avatar

Is this at the same cost as the pi0W? For many projects I only have use for a few of the pins..and by just soldering on a wire or two I keep the profile flat…but there are sometimes where I use the whole header..hopefully you will continue to sell the pi zero without the headers as well…

Stephan avatar

Please make the Raspberry Pi Zero faster, like a Pi 2 or 3. This would be amazing!

Richard Collins avatar

The RPi2 and 3 has the ram on the board, unlike the other single core boards (Zero, A+, B+) which have the ram on top of the chip. I would expect there are technical issues such as heat that prevents the ram being sat on the chip. And so as I am sure to can understand, no room at the mill. :)

What are the uses that you have in mind?

Mike Redrobe avatar

Does this article forget to mention the main point ?

The WH version is available in quantity of more than 1 per customer !

PaulP avatar

Raspberry Pi Zero WH: the pi for makers, that can’t make.

Richard Collins avatar

We all have to start somewhere, making comments like this makes the community seem unwelcoming. This is lowering the ‘cost’ of admission. That is you can now do RPi zero projects without needing to be able solder or not allowed too, if you’re as young as I was when I started.

The soldering can come later, when they are hooked.

bsimmo avatar

It also doesn’t void the warranty this way.
Soldering headers does.

Scott Leibrand avatar

Yeah, too bad I (a maker who has never soldered in my life, and has no desire to) can’t make anything with my Raspberry Pi – not even an artificial pancreas (OpenAPS –

Not all “makers” want to focus on electrical components: some of us make a bigger difference focusing on software, algorithms, or even open source community organizing.

This announcement is very welcome, and very well timed, as the hardware folks I’m working with are about to start production of the Explorer HAT, and now can buy the Pi Zero WH and not have to solder a header onto every Pi Zero W.

Mark avatar

Some of us are software “makers” not hardware “makers”.

Christian Herden avatar

Nice idea, another zero! But it would be better if it would be possible to buy more than one at the stores. The limitation is not good.

drich avatar

And what about a PiZero with BCM2837 ?

mahjongg avatar

same answer as the question from Stephan (making it faster) a few questions above. The (quad core) SoC does not have the ability to use PoP (package on package) RAM, so RAM must be mounted either under the SoC or next to it. But It cannot be under it, (no dual sided mounting for this price), so it must be next to it, which would make this PI zero considerably larger.
Also it would not meet the requirement of “A functional PI for the price nearest to Zero dollars”.

Milliways avatar

To be accurate you should point out that if this is a standard size header (as it appears to be) it WILL NOT fit in the official case with the camera top or the plain top.

I fitted a non-standard header (without the base and using slightly shorted pins) which does fit.

Ben Jones avatar

“If you like pre-soldered headers, and getting caught in the rain…” This cracked be up! Well done. Have some more:
If you’re not into YQL, if you have half a brain
If you like writing code at midnight, in the afternoons in your cave
I´m the Pi that you´ve looked for, buy me, and escape

Ben Jones avatar


Alex Bate avatar

I’m so happy somebody noticed! I had that one line stuck in my head all weekend.

Robby avatar

I have shaky hands due to arthritis. So a soldering iron is hard for me to work but do-able. So this is neat. But what would cool, is if you could add and remove headers like Legos. But then you probably lose the lower profile.

Mark avatar

I’ve always thought that a female header would have been a better choice for the whole Pi range.

1. because it is lower profile

2. because you can poke solid wires in without the need for soldering

Fred avatar

Still now it’s impossible to find the RPI Zero in Japan, expect in the form of expensive bundle kits. WTF?!

Alex Bate avatar

Please follow the links on our products page to approved resellers who supply the Raspberry Pi Zero W to Japan.

Holger avatar

As I see it, the concept selling the Zero w/ as well as w/o headers makes sense, as the soldering of the header could be a problem, not for “the maker”, but for beginners in the field.

And there are that much brilliant HATs and pHATs on the market allowing nearly anyone to build some cool project, without having been ever in contact with an soldering iron.

The Pi is not about being an electronics guy, but an option to learn, build and play with technology.

Christian Herden avatar

I tried to order more than one zero at the distributers recommends.
The zero (all kinds of it) is limited to one per cusotmer / household. Seems it is sold out at some shops.
Not really satisfying situation.
Just think about the environment, with two or more zeros in a parcel, the pollution would be fewer than delivering just one.
At the starting of raspi zero, I thougt there will be enough zeros one day – but when will be the day?

Bert avatar

In the netherlands i’m not allowed to buy more than one, re-order got cancelled

mahjongg avatar

Kiwi’s site has a button where you can adjust the number of PI Zero WH’s you want to buy, you can buy a hundred of them if you want. see

Garry Hayne avatar

While I appreciate that not everyone wants to solder a header I find that £3.80 more compared to the standard W is hefty, that is just short of 40% more expensive!

mahjongg avatar

the Raspberry PI Zero WH is about €4 more expensive than the Zero W, which is almost exactly the price of a dual-row 40-pin gold plated pin-header.

Mícheál avatar

I pay $5 US to buy rPi zero W. The same store sells the rPi zero WH for $14. It took me ~10 minutes to solder on a header that I paid ~50¢ US for. I think the WH might be over priced.

ras_ter avatar

Except that someone has to solder the header.
These parts, header or no, are ridiculously cheap for a working computer. Not for volume perhaps, but that’s a different question.

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