How much more does Digikey/etc cost vs ebay/etc ?

Thread Starter

DarthVolta

Joined Jan 27, 2015
509
So just off the top of your head, if a transistor or IC costs $1 on ebay, what would the real thing cost from the common vendors like digikey in NorthAmerica ?

IDK, I only bought 2-3 things legit before, the rest was ebay/unknown
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
6,792
So just off the top of your head, if a transistor or IC costs $1 on ebay, what would the real thing cost from the common vendors like digikey in NorthAmerica ?

IDK, I only bought 2-3 things legit before, the rest was ebay/unknown
An important differentiator here is the reliability of the components. And what is that worth to you. Components from eBay/others are often fakes, manufacturing rejects or otherwise inferior. An image stuck in my head is of a large electrolytic capacitors can, with a much smaller capacitor inside.

So you have to also consider the time you spend tracking down a fake/inferior component. The cost and shipping of re-ordering and the possibility of a component failure at some later time in your circuit.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,558
What you pay for at a distributor vs fleaBay or AliX is provenance. Distributors provide manufacturers parts with the manufacturers backing and service. Which you will not find elsewhere. In other words, you get what you pay for. I would never use anything but a recognized distributor for Commerical use. For my own personal hobby use, I am a cheapskate and take my chances and lumps.
 

dendad

Joined Feb 20, 2016
3,602
Buying from an accredited distributor gives you backup if things go awry, it may not work so much from some Ebay stores.
Some years ago, we purchased some thousands x DB139 transistors from an official source. Before we go to use them, they contacted us to explain the transistors had been packaged back the front. They still worked and I was actually tempted to use them just to spread a bit of confusion, but in fact, they replaced them.
And, more recently, I do not remember if it was Mouser or Digikey, but a batch of large graphic LCD I had purchased dies one by one. When I contacted them, and sent a sample back, it was discovered there had been a problem at the factory and all were faulty. A full refund followed. It was a pain, all the problems, but at leas I was not out of pocket many hundreds $.
That is not always the way from Ebay.
That said, I have not had much trouble with Ebay parts. Usually, the sellers are quite helpful with problems. And I do but quite a few parts from Ebay.
One big problem is the often over a month wait, but some parts even have a long lead time from proper sources.
Often, one can but good excess stock of quality parts on Ebay, so I would not just wipe Ebay totally.
I take each purchase one bu one, depending on need.
 

upand_at_them

Joined May 15, 2010
510
For microcontrollers, Digi-Key is always cheaper in my experience. Keep in mind that Digi-Key is a huge supplier. eBay vendors often have to mark up prices to make a profit. I rarely buy components on eBay. The components that *are* cheap could be fake, or factory rejects. I purchase things like protoboards on eBay and BangGood.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,143
So just off the top of your head, if a transistor or IC costs $1 on ebay, what would the real thing cost from the common vendors like digikey in NorthAmerica ?

IDK, I only bought 2-3 things legit before, the rest was ebay/unknown
Isn't this a question that is answerable by simply comparing prices from the various options? DigiKey doesn't keep their prices secret -- just go to their website and look up how much it will cost to buy it from them, including any shipping charges.

The much harder part is considering the non-monetary costs associated with the various sources. Today, knowing that you are dealing with a vendor that makes serious effort to source legitimate parts has significant added value. But even before the days of runaway counterfeit everything, this was an issue and the answer is extremely context dependent.

When I was an undergrad and a grad student I used the DigiKey catalog (and watched it grow ever thicker and thicker) as a reference from which to identify parts I needed/wanted and then the search began to find a source that didn't charge DigiKey's outrageous prices. So I would spend hours calling and/or driving to all of the (at that time many) electronics surplus houses in the metro area. After all, what Radio Shack sold for $1.19 and DigiKey sold for $0.99 I could get for $0.19 at the surplus house. But this was when I was a broke college student whose time was essentially worthless. Once I had a real job getting paid real money, things shifted. At first it was still somewhat the same in that I spent hours trying to find other sources, like Allied, that had much better prices IF they carried it, IF they had it in stock, and IF they would sell it in onesies/twosies. But it didn't take long to realize that DigiKey was actually extremely cost competitive -- they almost always carried it, they almost always had it in stock, and they almost always sold it in single quantities. It took just a bit of time with a pencil and paper to confirm that I was wasting my employer's money by trying to find better prices, so DigiKey (and to a lesser degree Mouser because in those days their product lines were pretty different and Mouser wasn't a great match for us) became the first source for everything and we only looked elsewhere if DigiKey/Mouser didn't have it (which was rare and became increasingly rarer every year). That carried over into my hobby stuff -- my time now had value, at least to me, and I had sufficient resources that exchanging some of my earnings for the time saved was a worthwhile trade. When and if I retire, that situation might well revert back to the broke-college-student model.

EDIT: Fix typos.
 
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Thread Starter

DarthVolta

Joined Jan 27, 2015
509
Yeah I guess I'm still being too cheap, and $15 shipping discourages me from most sites, when the part costs less than shipping.

IDK, the last few things I ordered from China/ebay are just showing up months and months later. I lost a few things, but that's it.

But I have plenty of cheap parts, it's just, it would be nicer if they were all brand name...so time to start replacing some stuff, like getting real 1% resistors.

I still want to get quality SMD resistor/cap kits, all the prices I've seen just gouge low volume user tho.
 

andrewmm

Joined Feb 25, 2011
572

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,485
So just off the top of your head, if a transistor or IC costs $1 on ebay, what would the real thing cost from the common vendors like digikey in NorthAmerica ?
There is no correlation.

Stuff on eBay is of unknown origin and authenticity. For static sensitive parts, you don't even know if it was handled properly.

If you buy from a legitimate source, they only buy from manufacturers or authorized distributors. Some provide certification of authenticity; something you'll never get from an eBay seller. Unfortunately, even with legitimate sources, mishandling occurs but reputable sources will make it right.
 

OBW0549

Joined Mar 2, 2015
3,545
I would never use anything but a recognized distributor for Commerical use.
Same here. And I wouldn't buy a commercial product I knew to contain components purchased on eBay or other such source.

For my own personal hobby use, I am a cheapskate and take my chances and lumps.
About 95% of my hobby parts are bought on Digi-Key, the remaining 5% on Amazon (mostly resistor & capacitor kits).
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
21,402
I buy the odd thing on Amazon/ebay but I generally wait until I have a list to make it worth while with Digikey, I don't mind the extra CAN$8. shipping and the next day air delivery, duty free.
Max.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
5,039
Bought a bunch of LED's from Amazon. Their Kathode marking was on the wrong end. They still worked, but they were obviously factory rejects that someone bought for 10¢ on the dollar and then sold them at a 50% discount over MSRP. Thought I was getting a deal.

I still have them in a jar. Have used only 20 so far. Like I said, they do work. They're just backwards.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,558
Back when Arrow was providing free shipping, they got almost all of my parts business. Having to pay a large shipping fee for onesies and twosies is a dealbreaker. Now, china has been raising their shipping prices. It used to be pennies, now it is dollars. When you start sorting for the lowest prices you will find that the low price has higher shipping charges. The playing field is being leveled and with the total lack of provenance or any real support, china is losing big time these days. I have one vendor in particular that I prefer in china for components but I have received quite a few bad parts from them and learned to test everything I receive from them which is mostly chips which I report and do get reimbursed for. Caveat Emptor when it comes to china trade!
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,906
Digikey shipping is very reasonable if you select USPS. I haven't ordered in a while and this might have changed due to the pandemic, but if I order parts from Digikey and use priority mail, shipping is only a few dollars and I usually have it in a few days.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
5,039
Just ordered a bunch of capacitors from DK. The shipping price for standard shipping was $8.99. The USPS would deliver it for a shipping cost of $4.99 IF the weight did not exceed 14 oz. If it DID exceed that then the cost for the USPS would be $8.99. Shipping time was the same either way in my case. From DK to Utah. And if it did exceed 14 oz then it would have cost me the same to ship with all of the standard methods offered. Overnight was higher and I don't recall the prices.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,485
I bought from Tayda Electronics about a year ago (tube of ULN2803 and an Arduino Uno clone) and shipping was $2.48. Tayda says they only buy directly from manufacturers.
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SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,558
Yup I started a wish list on Tayda and I've done the $5 USPS on DK. I sure do miss the free overnight from Arrow though. Patience is a virtue that I am short of. With my poor memory these days, by the time I get parts from china I have forgotten just why I needed them oftentimes.
 
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