# Trouble understanding buying quantity of capacitors "tape" and "reel" terms?

#### SiCEngineer

Joined May 22, 2019
357
I am on a stage of my first proper engineering project, and am looking to buy some cermaic capcitors for the input of my buck converter.

On the Mouser website, it states the buying options are "tape" and "reel". I have attached a photo.
What does the term tape and reel mean, in terms of the amount of capacitors I would be buying?

It looks as though they sell these by the capacitor, for "1 cut tape" it is £8.84. Does this mean that this is almost £9 per capacitor, and £78.60 for 10 capacitors?

This seems a bit steep but I don't really have experience buying like this so I have no clue whether I am being silly?

Thanks.

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#### ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,213
Not silly, an honest question.

When being fed into automatic insertion equipment most parts like caps and resistors come on a reel (think reel to reel recording tape) where the parts sit on in wells in a paper carrier with a plastic cover to keep them in place. As they are fed into the machine the plastic cover is striped back piece by piece to get one part at a time.

So the reel is loaded with a long piece of tape that can hold hundreds or thousands of individual parts.

If you only need a few parts the vendors will cut the tape to hold as many as you order, down to one single part. As this entails more handling you have to pay more per part.

So the reel price is for every part on the reel, and cut tape is for lesser quantities.

BTW, cut tape makes it easier to keep and sort these tiny tiny parts.

#### Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
12,444
They seem a lot cheaper here.

#### dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
13,815
It looks as though they sell these by the capacitor, for "1 cut tape" it is £8.84. Does this mean that this is almost £9 per capacitor, and £78.60 for 10 capacitors?

This seems a bit steep but I don't really have experience buying like this so I have no clue whether I am being silly?
That's what it means. Unless you really want that particular cap, look for a better price.

#### jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
When ordering small parts, I usually get "cut tape". The Mouser description is a bit vague. Digikey shows "minimum" which shows how many are on a reel (often 1000 to 3000 devices/reel)). With cut tape, there are price breaks at 10 to 25, 50, etc. Parts can also come in tubes, trays, and bulk. For SMD small parts like caps and resistors, cut tape is really nice, and it helps keep them organized.

From Alec_t's post for cut tape:

The "Extended price" is the total. Capacitors right now are quite expensive. Just a few years ago they were a fraction of that cost. Several years ago, there were some good deals on eBay. I am reluctant to buy IC's from that source (counterfeits exist), but there were good deals on name brand caps, like Kemet, and I got some partial reels of 0.1 and 1.0 ceramics for very good prices. I would not buy from an overseas source. Those deals seem to have largely disappeared, but some may still exist. Worth a look.

Joined Feb 20, 2016
3,982
I once purchased some parts, (100 x SMT diodes, in tape) from one of the big suppliers. My expectation was a strip of 100, as it normally comes. But what turned up was 100 anti-static bags with one diode in a single place cut tape. I showed it to their sales rep next time he dropped in and he just shook his head in amazement. maybe they had a work experience student there????
Most SMT parts I have are on full reels and that is very handy. But buying parts in the 5000 lots, while saving quite a few dollars overall, may be a bit excessive. But as they say, "Nothing exceeds like excess"

#### Veracohr

Joined Jan 3, 2011
763
Are you stuck with using the 3640 size (9110 metric) and C0G dielectric? That same capacitor in US$is$11.17 but Mouser also has the same value and voltage rating, in an 1812 size (4532 metric) and X7R dielectric, for $0.95 each, or$0.721 each for 10-99 quantity.

#### SiCEngineer

Joined May 22, 2019
357
Are you stuck with using the 3640 size (9110 metric) and C0G dielectric? That same capacitor in US$is$11.17 but Mouser also has the same value and voltage rating, in an 1812 size (4532 metric) and X7R dielectric, for $0.95 each, or$0.721 each for 10-99 quantity.
No, I’m not! Thanks for pointing this out. I’m not really sure about the size of the capacitors... why is one so much cheaper than the other?

#### jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
The 3640 size is relatively huge and probably not used as often as smaller sizes. Price varies with sales volume and size.

As a hobbyist doing hand soldering, you might find the 1206 size (3.2 mm x 1.6 mm) cheaper and still easy to handle. Perf board is usually 0.1" (2.54 mm) on center. The 1206 will solder neatly between pads. I use the 805 (2.0 x 1.25)routinely. Some people go even lower. If you are young and have steady hands, even the 603 can easily be done.

What you need to consider are the wattage and voltage ratings.