Top / Best DIY Electronic Stores & Suppliers

Top / Best DIY Electronic Stores & Suppliers

Over the last few years I have ordered countless items online for various electronics and DIY projects. Ordering stuff can be a pain - tedious, frustrating, and often, overly expensive. This is the first Instructable you should read before beginning any electronics-centric project!

Each step has specific details about the stores.

These are just my opinions based on my experience. This is in no way definitive. I encourage you to leave comments about each store based on your experience so we can build a stronger evaluation. I can potentially add more stores upon request - I know I left many out.

ELECTRONICS

MECHANICAL, MATERIALS & MANUFACTURING

This list is (as you can probably tell) North America specific.

Step 1: All Electronics (allelectronics.com)

The Good

  • Amazing prices on tools and small components
  • Good selection
  • They have a storefront

The Mediocre

  • Surplus parts are sometimes a bit odd

The Not-So-Good

  • No datasheets and limited part descriptions
  • Slow shipping

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Step 2: Futurlec (futurlec.com)

The Good

  • Amazing prices!

The Mediocre

  • Site search and navigation is a bit odd

The Not-So-Good

  • Some knock-off and bogus products
  • Slow shipping to USA
  • I have seen others leave terrible ratings and reviews

Step 3: Adafruit (adafruit.com)

The Good

  • Great resources and code samples
  • Unique products
  • Strong community

The Mediocre

  • Small inventory
  • Customer service
  • The Not-So-Good

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Step 4: Sparkfun (sparkfun.com)

The Good

  • Great resources and code samples

  • Unique products

  • Strong community

  • Open Source

  • The Mediocre

  • The Not-So-Good

  • Some of the small parts and components are insanely expensive

Step 5: Sure Electronics (sureelectronics.net)

The Good

  • Holy hell they have some cheap stuff
  • Unique items

The Mediocre

  • Very unusual inventory

The Not-So-Good

Step 6: Newark/Element14 (newark.com)

The Good

  • Customer service
  • Fast shipping
  • HUGE selection
  • Rasberry-Pi

The Mediocre

  • Pricing
  • Searching and filtering
  • DIY community
  • The Not-So-Good

Step 7: Digikey (digikey.com)

The Good

  • Holy hell they have fast shipping
  • Good customer service
  • HUGE selection
  • Great prices for ICs
  • Lots of datasheets

The Mediocre

  • Searching and filtering
  • Interface
  • Photos of products

The Not-So-Good

  • Some stuff is just insanely overpriced
  • No community, resources, coding samples

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Step 8: Radio Shack (storefront)

The Good

  • They have a storefront! All over the country.

The Mediocre

  • Selection is limited

The Not-So-Good

Step 9: Mouser (mouser.com)

The Good

  • HUGE selection
  • Many unique ICs
  • Lots of datasheets

The Mediocre

  • Searching and filtering

The Not-So-Good

  • No community
  • Unreasonable shipping rates
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Step 10: Octopart (octopart.com)

Not a store, rather, a search engine.

Very handy when searching for specific parts!

Step 11: Findchips

Another parts search engine, similar to octoparts. Findchips.com tends to have better search results than octoparts at times. I use both equally.

Step 12: Pololu (pololu.com)

The Good

  • Great selection of motors and motor controllers
  • Lots of details and descriptions
  • They offer laser cutting services

The Mediocre

  • Shipping is a bit pricey

The Not-So-Good

Step 13: Solarbotics (solarbotics.com)

…have yet to order from here yet but heard great things.

Please share your experiences in the comments.

Step 14: AliExpress (aliexpress.com)

…have yet to order from here. Appears you can get some amazing deals. I am planning to make an order very soon.

Please share your experiences in the comments.

Step 15: Seed Studio (seeedstudio.com)

…have yet to order from here. Looks like a great site!

Please share your experiences in the comments.

Step 16: Electronics Goldmine (goldmine-elec.com)

Step 17: McMaster Carr (mcmaster.com)

The Good

  • HUGE selection
  • Super fast shipping
  • Great customer service
  • Amazing website. The best online shopping experience I have ever had.
  • Download almost every part (2D and 3D)

The Mediocre

Step 18: Ponoko (ponoko.com)

The Good

  • Great material selection
  • Laser cutting and 3D printing services
  • Good customer service
  • Track the progress of your design

The Mediocre

  • The selling thing has not really taken off yet
  • Pricing

The Not-So-Good

Step 19: Inventables (inventables.com)

…only made one small order here. Not much to say yet. Seems quite expensive, but they have a great selection.

Please share your experiences in the comments.

Step 20: Shapeways (shapeways.com)
…have yet to order from here.

Please share your experiences in the comments.