Buying Electronic Components - Favorite Sources?  


DroneBot Workshop
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 466
2019-07-25 1:37 pm  


I just received a message from a viewer asking where the best place is to purchase parts, Arduino boards and the other goodies the t we use in our projects. Like myself, he is in Canada.

I was about to answer the inquiry but then I thought this might be a good forum topic. We have readers from across the globe and purchasing parts is something that we all need to do.

I'm sure many of you have parts sources in your own location, or that deliver quickly and cheaply to where you live.

So I'd like to hear about where YOU purchase parts in your location.  Please let us know, and let us know what country you are in. Naturally, our American friends have the best selection, but even so, there are great electronics stores all over the world.

I'll start:

I'm in Canada and I buy both locally and online.

  1. Amazon and eBay are the obvious ones. I have Amazon Prime, so I can usually get stuff from them the next day with free shipping. Most eBay stuff ships free as well, although it can take months to get here from China.
  2. RobotShop is one of my favorites, they have a good selection and, as they are located just 30 Km from me, I get the shipment the next day. It's free shipping if you but over 75 dollars (Canadian) of stuff
  3. Abra is a local store here in Montreal that has a really good selection, it's a great place to shop as everything is out in the aisles and you can browse forever. Nice and knowledgeable staff as well. They ship to Canada and the US, but unfortunately, it isn't free shipping.
  4. Addison is an institution here in Montreal, I remember going there as a kid when I was into building amplifiers and guitar effects boxes.  They also ship to Canada and the US, but it's really more of a store that you want to browse as they have a lot of surplus stuff.
  5. is a place I just ordered from yesterday for the first time, and they seem to have a good selection. Despite their name, they are not just a source of Raspberry Pi Parts.
  6. Universal Solder is an online shop out in the prairie province of Saskatchewan, which should be of interest to my viewer as he is in Regina (which is the capital city of Saskatchewan, if you didn't know that already). In addition to the standard components, they make some cool shields for the Arduino. I ordered from them about a year ago and was very impressed. They ship to Canada and worldwide.
  7. ElectronicGeek used to be a great parts source, but they are now focusing primarily on 3D printers. In fact, right now they seem to be selling off all of their electronics parts.
  8. Pimoroni is one of my very favorite stores, a real pleasure to deal with. They are in the UK, but their shipping rate to Canada is very reasonable.
  9. Gearbest is in China, unlike other Chinese companies they ship very quickly as they use DHL instead of China Post.  I've made a few orders there.


I've also ordered directly from Adafruit, Sparkfun, and ServoCity in the US. I love all three companies but unfortunately ordering from the United States is very expensive - the shipping and duty charges are often as expensive as the items I'm ordering.  I find it frustrating that it is much cheaper to order an Adafruit part from Pimoroni in the UK than it is directly from Adafruit in New York City.  Especially as New York State is just 50 Km south of me, you can actually SEE the mountains in Vermont and New York from here!

So what are your favorite parts stores?



"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak

Eminent Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 37
2019-07-25 6:41 pm  

I'm in the U.S. and have generally ordered from the following places:

If I need something quickly or the price is the same no matter where you get it, such as a Raspberry Pi, then I get it from Amazon.  I can often get things the next day, but for some components you may pay 2-3 times more than a site like BangGood which has great deals on a components like the MPU6050 and TP4056.  It used to take about 6 weeks to get it from Banggood but it seems like they are now drop shipping some products to the U.S. in bulk, so I can now get some things in as little as 10 days.

So most of the robotics and 3D printer world does things in metric, which becomes very problematic if you live in the U.S.  Go to your local hardware store and you'll pay 3 times more for a 6mm bolt as you would a 1/4 incher.  So I highly recommend the online store Bolt Depot.  They have a great selection, good prices, and reasonable to free shipping (non-sponsored recommendation). 

This post was modified 9 months ago by mjwhite

Estimable Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 215
2019-07-25 7:08 pm  


I do similar as well. Slow boat for cheapy items to try/play with and need now Amazon other or onshore.

I have looked at Bolt Depot a few times but never ordered.  For hardware like that, I order kits and boxes from China and stockpile what I use a lot of like M2-M4. I have had some luck at hardware stores for metric larger though, never smaller than M5 🙁


Eminent Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 37
2019-07-25 7:18 pm  


Yes, I also get the box kits for the M2-M4 stuff, but there's always that one length that you run out of, so I refill that size when I order the bigger stuff on Bolt Depot.

New Member
Joined: 8 months ago
Posts: 1
2019-07-29 12:05 am  

I did end up using Universal Solder, which is just a few hours away.  I needed  an Uno to prototype a project for my home office. Everything turned out great and I am looking forward to move it from prototype to real life.

Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 24
2019-11-11 4:13 pm  

Interesting to stumble on this post.

I am in UK and have ordered some 300 items from China for my Arduinos via a range of sources on eBay in the last three years, with most arriving in 14-21 days. Then in August of this year I noticed that three items had never arrived - and all in the previous 12 months.

But then things got worse and I found I was waiting more than 40 days for 6 items, two of which never arrived. And now I have another two missing after 40 days.

Looking back I see that some of the missing items I bought in auctions, or by making an offer. One outfit claimed to re-post a missing item, but that never arrived either, so I think something underhand is going on.

I cannot believe that postal staff are risking their jobs by stealing items at 2-3 dollars. So are some eBay suppliers trying to make ends meet by not posting?

I would be interested to hear other people's experiences.

Member Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 517
2019-11-11 4:56 pm  


I'll assume ? you've read Bill's first post in this topic, so since you are in the UK have you tried Pimoroni?  I myself usually go the Amazon route.  Being a Prime member means I never pay shipping and most items arrive the next day or the day after.  Yes I guess I pay a little more in the long run, but the extra cost saves me from never getting some items, or worse yet, when it does arrive after weeks of waiting, I not left wondering, "Now what was it I ordered this for?"  ? 

And Amazon is building an enormous warehouse within about 5 miles of where I live, so maybe I'll be getting deliveries within just a few hours of the order that are delivered by drone! 

Welcome to the group!


Prominent Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 970
2019-11-11 5:50 pm  


I would blame HMC&E.

I have heard many stories of them not allowing goods from China into the country. And they don't bother informing the recipient!

This post was modified 5 months ago by Pugwash

SteveC - Topple Rudd Poltman

Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 24
2019-11-12 7:23 am  


Thanks for the welcome!

Afraid I have ethical problems with Amazon as they shut down our High Street Shopping areas, but my wife says I should have similar problems with slave labour purchases from China.

Yes, I have looked at Pimoroni and it is a bit of a shock. As an experimenter I have been used to buying multiple items on eBay for 0.99 GBP which come from China by Air mail, and that price even includes the postman walking down my drive. To have to pay 10x that would have severely limited my horizons!

However I can identify with your "Now what was it I ordered this for?" - or more accurately "Where can I find the notes I made of how this thing works?"

Eminent Member
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 24
2019-11-12 7:34 am  


[For those who don't know HMC&E is UK Customs]

Thanks for the comment, but

a) How do people know who is not allowing goods from China to come in if they don't inform the recipient?

b) How come I had a 0% loss rate for some 200 items in my first 2 years, followed by 3% losses in the whole of last year, stepped up to 25% in the last three months?

c) The supplier who claimed to have re-posted a missing item clearly lied because a short time after saying that they offered to refund? And they had done that once before. And in any case neither arrived.


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