The Raspberry Pi Zero, and the newer wireless-enabled Zero W, have always come without a pre-soldered header block. This is something that can come as an unpleasant surprise for people that have previously only used the full-sized Raspberry Pi which comes with the pre-installed headers. But at the tail end of last week, this changed, with the arrival of the Raspberry Pi Zero WH.
The lack of headers on the original Pi Zero wasn’t an oversight, it was by design. All the other components on the Zero are surface-mount, adding through hole headers would significantly up the bill of materials for the board, and increase the cost—and the Zero was always intended to be as cheap as possible. It was meant to be something unprecedented, given away on the front cover of a magazine.
But if you weren’t sure of your soldering, even before the announcement last week of the Zero WH, it was possible to pick up a Pi Zero, or Zero W, with pre-soldered headers as some resellers would sell them for a premium. Or, alternatively, you could use solderless “hammer” headers which simply required a jig and few taps with a hammer to fit.
Due to the cost of soldering through hole components during production, and just like those boards with after market headers marketed by resellers, the new Pi Zero WH will cost more than a traditional Pi Zero W.
While the Pi Zero W sells for $10—or just $5 if you have a local Micro Center—and despite rumours to the contrary, it has been confirmed that the new Zero WH will retail at $14 in the United States. So if you think your soldering is up to fitting your own headers, it’s probably still going to be cheaper to buy the Zero W without headers and then solder your own. That said, what’s the price of convenience?