Retailers With Similar Prices to eBay? (China-based or Other)

Hello, all!

EDIT: Re-reading my OP, my overall question may not be plain enough (I often give a lot of extra information that readers need to wade through, unfortunately...). Here's my question, in a more concise form: I'm wondering if there is a China-based retailer that has prices on-par with those found on eBay. In my mind, the advantage of this would be that they would not have the minimum $0.99 sale price imposed, thus allowing them to sell in even smaller quantities (so for example, rather than $1.39 for 100x 2N2222 transistors, they could sell 25x for $0.50).

I'm just starting out with Arduino/electronics in general, and I have decided to go the DIY-kit route over buying a kit... Just looking at them, they all seem to be rather overpriced for the parts that you get (I'm guessing that's in part because they include official Arduinos included... I'd like to get an official Arduino Uno, but unfortunately that'd be about half of my budget (I'm living on a stipend). I plan on my next Arduino being official in order to support the project.).

I've decided to put together a kit based on the Earthshine Design kit (because of the free PDF manual) and the Vilros kit (because the manual is $3 + $2 shipping).

Anyway, are there any cheap places to get parts other than eBay? I've gone through and made a spreadsheet of a few dozen parts from a couple of eBay stores, and aside from noticing that I'm $20-40 over my budget (not including some cool sensors I'd like to get in addition to the contents of those kits), I've also noticed that it appears that they can't sell individual parts any cheaper than they do because of eBay's minimum price + fees, rather than just because the parts cost that much to make. There are a bunch of parts that they sell like 5 for $0.99, then they sell 10 for $1.28 (or in the case of 2N2222 transistors, they start selling 100 at $1.39). Having more parts than I could imagine using in the quite a few years would be nice, but since I'm on a budget, I'd prefer to be able to purchase in somewhat lower volumes, even if it's only a bit less (over the course of a few dozen parts, it adds up).

I've checked some of the oft-recommended shops, and all of them are a lot more expensive than eBay. I can't seem to find one that comes close to eBay in terms of price.

As just an example, I'll compare the prices of the 74HC595 Shift Register:
Mouser: 1x for $0.62, 10x for $4.77 - http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Texas-Instruments/SN74HC595N/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMtYFXwiBRPs0%2FIH3le0%2bbd7
DigiKey: 1x for $0.63, 25x for 11.55 - http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/SN74HC595NE4/296-36142-5-ND/1571270
FutureElec: 1x for $0.50, for 25x 10.50 - http://www.futurlec.com/74HC/74HC595pr.shtml
...And eBay: 5x for $0.99, 10x for $1.26, 20x for $1.84 - http://www.ebay.com/itm/20pcs-2-0-6-0-V-TOP-5Pcs-SN74HC595N-74HC595-8-Bit-Shift-Register-DIP-16-IC-/400831413345?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d5369fc61

And yes, I would assume that the eBay ones aren't as high-quality, but for non-life-threating applications (in this case learning and experimentation) is having that extra quality necessary, given the far higher cost? Both of the two main sellers I have been checking out prices with have 99.6%+ positive with many thousands of reviews, so it doesn't sound like they're selling absolute garbage.

Another example, the 2N2222 transistor... This one makes me really wonder what's up:
Mouser: 1x for $1.79, 10x for $16.00, 100x for $128.00 - http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Central-Semiconductor/2N2222/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMutncetXCRkfr9ya76sGO0s
DigiKey: 1x for $1.80, 10x for $17.92, 100x for $144.00 - http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/2N2222/2N2222CS-ND/4806844
Futurelec: 1x for $0.29, 25x for $6.25, 100x for $23.00 - http://www.futurlec.com/cgi-bin/search/qty_price.cgi?part_no=2N2222
...And eBay: 100x for $1.39 - http://www.ebay.com/itm/100Pcs-NPN-Transistor-TO-92-2N2222A-2N2222-/251541557864?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a910b9268

These are just two examples... However, this has held true for the other parts that I have checked on as well.

Now, seeing as how it appears that the limiting factor for lower prices on individual units on eBay is the $0.99 policy, it makes me wonder if there is an online China-based retailer that sells at lower costs for individual (or lower numbers of) items.

TL;DR: Are there any China-based (or other) eStores that offer lower volumes (such as individual units), and sell at prices consistent with eBay?

Thanks!
ElectroPulse

P.S. I'm currently located in Palau (teaching as a student missionary, hence the low budget), so shipping from anywhere is expected to be slow, so as long as it gets here before spring break I'm good.

My advice would be to do one project at a time, instead of trying to define in advance a kit that might enable you to do multiple projects.

order a part from ebay and mouser...

they /should/ be identical and mostly are ... there is a chance you can be supplied a clone or stock that's been bought cheap froma liquidation sale...

a lot of people refuse to use ebay for that reason... while I prefer not to be ripped off and take the risk, others love to pay 10x more for everything to eliminate the small risk you take....

Thank you for the replies!

@michinyon: If I were in the States, I would consider that route. However, the problem with that idea for my locale is that shipping will take 2-4 weeks... Then if I forget a part, that's another 2-4 weeks before I could work on the project.

As for locally-available components, I don't know that there are any available... I've asked around, and nobody seems to have heard of an electronics store that sells components. I'll keep checking, but don't know that I will find one (and even if I do, the prices are very likely to be outrageous...).

@cjdelphi: Yea, that's what I was figuring... I haven't read of anyone getting burned buying on eBay, so figured at those big discounts I'd take the risk.

Re-reading my OP, my overall question may not be plain enough (I often give a lot of extra information that readers need to wade through, unfortunately...). I'm wondering if there is a China-based retailer that has prices similar to eBay. In my mind, the advantage of this would be that they would not have the minimum $0.99 sale price imposed, thus allowing them to sell in even smaller quantities (so for example, rather than $1.39 for 100 2N2222 transistors, they could sell 25 for $0.50). I'll add this to the OP.

Most of the price on ebay in the 2 dollar range goes on postage, 50c would not cover it I suspect...

I always check every part I want against multiple sources. Sometimes, Digikey actually has the best price, especially if you want a hundred, especially if you want it this week, especially considering shipping. Some of the best Chinese eBay retailers for components (hkutsource, gc_supermarket, polida2008) end up charging $4 for shipping which is just about the same as Digikey does for me, though I am only 2 states over from them. So I always check eBay, Digikey, Mouser, Futurelec, even Jameco for certain things that I know they do well (old microprocessors and certain hardware and headers) and just get the best price per product. Also, make sure to have a sampling relationship with every manufacturer that offers samples.

A couple of good places (not so much for small components, tho):

http://www.nkcelectronics.com/

Most of the time, for single components that don't need to be brand new, or the latest/greatest - I go with surplus outlets. My "goto" top 3:

http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/

Beyond that, I also shop at a local place here in Phoenix, AZ called "Apache Reclamation and Electronics" - they've been around for decades.

Maybe Tayda ?

Taydaelectronics

Erni:
Maybe Tayda ?

Taydaelectronics

Yikes, I meant to add that to my list. I always check them too. Great guys.

This is duplicating several earlier threads on suppliers.

Do we need a sticky?

This is certainly a subject that could use a sticky... Probably with some good pros and cons of each of the well known well used suppliers. They've all got pros and cons and for some, going the Mouser or Digikey route is the only way to go (time/auditable ROHS certifications) and others Tayda is the only way to go (price/sterling reputation/can wait an extra week) or Ebay is the way to go (price/not risk averse/can wait a month)...

To the OP, I highly recommend Tayda if they have what you're looking for. Outside of resistors (min 10, but they're a penny each!), you can order just about anything in low quantities, their prices aren't always as low as you might find on some of the Ebay Super Sellers, but they're very very reliable. They do have a minimum ship of $5.00, but that's for the whole order, not just one item. They also do an excellent job packaging your order so that even if you're not an expert at reading resistors and cap codes, each product is clearly marked in its own container. About they only feature they don't have that I wish they did was a customer note for each product (Mouser and Digikey will let you attach your own part number or customer comment to each item you order, which can be helpful when assembling a kit).

Prices vary significantly more than other vendors and sometimes day-by-day...
https://avnetexpress.avnet.com/

ElectroPulse:
Thank you for the replies!

.... If I were in the States,

.....As for locally-available components,......

well, you would have to tell us what 'local' is for you.,

go on to an e-bay seller who sells lots of the parts you want.
then ask them for your shopping list and tell them what you want to pay.

I would think that you will get a response that is favorable.

the one link I did not see is one I have seen a few times.. it is not 'good deal', but something like that, I think it has 'good' as part of the name. they sell a lot of the stuff you see on e-bay, with free shipping, but from their site.

found it.... http://www.banggood.com/

ElectroPulse:
Thanks!
ElectroPulse

P.S. I'm currently located in Palau (teaching as a student missionary, hence the low budget), so shipping from anywhere is expected to be slow, so as long as it gets here before spring break I'm good.

Bottom of OP ::slight_smile:

If you are out in the pacific, your cost will probably be mostly shipping. Ordering from ebay is probably the best for small quantities. I ordered the below and the current price is $.78 including shipping. Can't come anywhere close to that in the US.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261420488934?_trksid=p2060778.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Just a minor hint. When quoting eBay links, remove the question mark and all following. The extra detail relates only to your own search history.

Also - you can usually clip the country code - such as ".au" from the ".com" to get the US advertised version. You will often also find that using the US version of the search gives many more results.

I know I'm a brand new user, but I'd recommend Tayda Electronics as well. They're great except they have a $5 minimum which can be hard to meet when you buy components per-project! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you for all the responses, everybody!

The funny thing about shipping things here, is that it isn't much more expensive to (and sometimes exactly the same to) ship things here than somewhere in the US. Palau used to be a protectorate of the US, so the postal system here is part of the USPS. It just takes a long time to get things here.

After looking through the various stores, I'm really liking Tayda Electronics! That is pretty much exactly the kind of store I was was looking for... One that sold in small quantities at low prices. For example, if I went with buttons on eBay, I would be spending $2 on a pack of 20 of the same ones. Whereas on Tayda, I can spend the same amount (or even less) and get a variety. Funny thing about Tayda... I went to set up an account to create a wishlist on there (I'm loving the wishlist there that allows you to set quantity and write notes) and it turned out I had bought some connectors from them a couple of years back. From what I remember it was a good experience! (I had forgotten where I got them)

Banggood also has some good prices on a couple of items I like as well.

This summer I'll probably get a couple of those grab bags from Electronic Goldmine and have some fun sorting through them... The shipping there is fairly costly.

For now, it looks like I'm going with a mixture of eBay (probably two different sellers, so like a total of $4 shipping), Tayda, and BangGood. In addition, I was just telling a friend about Arduino and showing him some example code, and it sounds like he'll want to go in on the order as well, so the low-cost-per-unit-but-higher-than-necessary-quantity items won't be so bad now.

polymorph:
This is duplicating several earlier threads on suppliers.

http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=122206.0

http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=165543.0

http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=152048.0

Do we need a sticky?

Not quite... Those are general requests for good retailers, and in fact the first one was location-specific (looking for ones in the UK). My request was more specific (I take it you didn't read the OP?).