Parts sourcing, or where to buy what


Sourcing parts and figuring out where to get what can be difficult. There are many things to consider before purchasing from different vendors. The scarcity of some parts and the increase in both prices and transit times, both caused by the ongoing pandemic situation, throws yet another wrench in that complicated problem. This post discusses where different components can be acquired from. Links to the different vendors are provided at the end of the article.

Caveat: the prices mentioned below were taken from each vendor's website on July 10th 2022, and are in Canadian dollars EXCEPT for Tayda Electronics which uses US dollars.

Selecting a vendor

1) Vendor location

Yes, this is important. Knowing where your vendor is doing business from and where they are shipping from is vital to make an informed decision. In Canada, if you purchase from a vendor who has established offices in Canada, you do not have to pay for import duties if the items are shipped from a different country. If you can, try to purchase locally to help your neighborhood economy, but sometimes the local prices can make it difficult to justify the purchase.

2) Parts origin and authenticity

If you order from US and Canadian stores, authenticity is usually never a problem. I've never got a fake part from Mouser or Digi-Key, however certain Asian providers will happily sell you parts of dubious origin. Sourcing parts from eBay can get tricky because of this: most cheap parts are from China, and sell for way under what an original would cost. Do they work? Yes, most of the time. Are they reliable? I wouldn't bet money on that, although I didn't see any reliability issues (yet) from the dubious parts I got and subsequently used.

Most serious vendors will provide you the part's datasheets, environmental and product compliance documents, and sometimes ECAD models. That way you can be sure that you get the right part.

3) Parts quality

Not all Alpha potentiometers are created equal (this goes for every other parts as well). Although it might bear a specific brand, some vendors have specially-made parts just for them with slightly different tolerances or specification. The 0.59$ Alpha potentiometer you get from Tayda Electronics is NOT the same one you can get from a different vendor. The overall quality is similar, but there are some differences. It's something to be mindful about when comparing seemingly identical part from different vendors.

4) Parts cost

That one is obvious. If a part is really, really cheaper from one vendor than all the others, something's afoot. Still, a low cost doesn't mean the part is of dubious origin or durability, but it's something to consider.

5) Shipping

Obviously, shipping costs and transit times are important and can make a big difference on whether it is worth to purchase from a specific vendor or not. Coming back to the first criteria, location can have a huge impact on shipping costs and duty fees.

Both Mouser and Digi-Key offer free shipping on orders over 100$. For smaller orders, Mouser's rates are 20$ and for Digi-Key, it depends where you are ordering from: Canadian orders will be billed 8$, while US orders will be billed 20$. Since they are established Canadian businesses, there are no import and duty fees if they ship from, say, United States. 

Tayda has dynamic shipping quotes with FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Thailand Post, where FedEx is routinely under 10$ (but you have to pay import and duty fees). For example, if you are ordering 12$ worth of parts from Tayda, shipping via FedEx will be - oddly enough - your cheapest option, usually around 8$ or 9$. However, you will have to pay import fees: FedEx will bill you 10$ for the disbursement costs and whatever CBSA says you need to pay in taxes. All in all, the shipping on your 12$ order will cost you somewhere around 25$.

Where to get what?


When Mouser had their Xicon-branded "200 for 3$" bags, I'd say buy these. Now that they apparently don't sell them anymore (bulk Xicon is between 11$ and 20$ for 200), the next best thing is Tayda Electronics. You can't really beat their prices.

Hear me out: you don't need to spend 0.15$ per resistor. The 0.015$ (yes, one-and-a-half cent) Royal Ohm resistors from Tayda are just as good as anything else. Messing up a resistor is something that is quite difficult to do and the failure rate on these is equivalent to the failure rate of Yageo or Xicon. Unless you need some very specific resistors (fire retardant, moisture resistant, MIL-spec, etc), Tayda  is your best source. They have a very handy "easy ordering page" for ¼W metal film resistors where every value they carry is listed. Specify how many you need for each and click "Add to cart". No need to search for every single values manually.

Buy from: Tayda Electronics, except if Mouser Electronics has their "200 for 3$" bags of resistors for sale again.

Capacitors (electrolytic, film box, MLCC)

Mouser and Digi-Key are ex-aequo, just because they carry more brands and values than Tayda. Their prices is tad on the high side, but their shipping policies can offset that fairly easily if you have a big enough order. While Tayda carries some good quality brands (like Nichicon, Panasonic, WIMA, and Kemet), they do not have many different values for them. Their "house-brand", so to speak, is JRB Capacitors. They are not bad, but they aren't particularly good either. I'd say they're "OK": good for prototyping, but perhaps not for "production" use.

Buy from: Mouser Electronics or Digi-Key Electronics.

Diodes, transistors, and ICs

Tayda had some issues with fake semiconductors a while back, and it still happens from time to time. However, their prices are ridiculously low. For example, a CD4047 monostable multivibrator is 0.30$ at Tayda. The same IC is 1.20$ at Mouser and 1.30$ at Digi-Key. Same situation with most opamps and diodes: Tayda will undercut Mouser and Digi-Key by 75%. There's still a risk that you may not get genuine Texas Instrument, Fairchild, or ONSEMI parts, though...

Buy from: It depends. Price-wise: Tayda Electronics. Authenticity-wise: Mouser Electronics or Digi-Key Electronics


This one is a no-brainer. Tayda has some of the brightest 5mm LEDs I've had to work with. They're cheap, durable, and I love them. Prices are between 0.03$ and 0.10$ each for the Water Clear Ultra Bright LEDs. Their 5mm chrome LED holder bezel is also a must-buy at 0.17$ each.

Buy from: Tayda Electronics.

Off-board components

This is something Tayda wins hands down. Let's break it up a bit per component.

Buy from: Tayda Electronics, unless you can find cheaper.


Tayda has their own brand that produce perfect copies of 1590B, 1590BB, 125B, and many other sizes of Hammond enclosures. The prices for each of the three listed sizes are below 6$, with many color options for maybe 1$ more. They also have a drilling service AND a silk screen printing service. Most other vendors out there are selling Hammond enclosures at around 15$.


Tayda carries their own Alpha-branded potentiometers that are 0.59$ each (yes, fifty-nine cents each) and they are wonderful. They also have their Tayda-branded potentiometers that are just as great and cost only 0.39$. They do sell Alpha-style pots covers for 0.05$ each, a must-have for everyone that uses potentiometers in confined spaces.

Input/output jacks

I love the REAN Neutrik NYS-229 and NYS-230 open back 6.35mm jacks. They are nice and sturdy, and surprisingly easy to find. They are between 1.50$ and 2$ from almost every vendor I found. Similar ones from other brands usually go for less than 1$ and are just as good.

DC jacks

Tayda's 0.16$ enclosed frame 2.1mm external DC jack is hard to beat. It's not a Switchcraft, but it does the job well enough that I'm using it almost exclusively. I like the fact you can install it from inside the enclosure, and that it sticks out, leaving you more space inside for switches, potentiometers, or anything else you'd need to fit.

Switches, toggle switches, and footswitches

Tayda has a great selection of Dailywell toggle switches (same factory that produces E-switch) for less than 2$ each. Most of them are between 0.50$ and 1.30$. I've used them in multiple projects and they are as sturdy as the more expensive ones.

Their 3PDT switches are between 2.50$ and 3.99$, and they have footswitches with embedded LEDs that are great. They carry Alpha, Dailywell, and their house-brand. I tried all three of them and they are all of equivalent quality. Mouser sells the same 3PDT switches for more than 5$.

Specialty parts

By "specialty parts", I'm referring to parts that are either not produced anymore and only available as NOS (new old stock), PCBs, or parts that are usually not available everywhere. Unless specified, these vendors are based in the US and the prices mentioned are in US dollars.

For vactrols, specialty opamps, synthesizer, audio processing, and bucket brigade chips, CabinTech Global is the place to buy from. Their MN3207, MN3008, and MN3102 are genuine Panasonic/Matsushita and they go for about 4.50$ each.

For PCBs, has a good selection and most are priced under 10$. Stock up on the 3PDT Vari-Brite helper board, and the Buff N' Blend board. They are a godsend. AionFX also sells most of their PCBs for under 12$, and they also sell kits at around 90$.

Germanium transistors and diodes can be purchased on when they have stocks. Other than that, your other option is eBay. SH Halbleiter is a Germany-based electronics store that has an eBay shop and they carry some great Telefunken germanium transistors from time to time. Russian and German germanium transistors are also relatively easy to find in large batches from European sellers on eBay.

Transistor sockets are notoriously difficult to find. TO-5 sockets are sold on Digi-Key for about 2$CAD each (these are the sockets I got). For standard TO-92 transistors, a cuttable socket strip is good enough, but that is available anywhere.

Amplified Parts is another interesting vendor. They do sell resistors and capacitors, but also all sorts of guitar parts, amplifier parts, pedal parts, vacuum tubes, and many other things you never thought you'd want need. 

NextGen Guitars is similar to Amplified Parts as they sell more or less the same thing. Their prices are usually slightly higher, and their shipping is atrociously expensive for something shipped within the country (starting at roughly 15$), but they do sell some hard-to-find instrument and amplifier parts. Chances are it'll be cheaper on Amplified Parts, even after factoring in currency conversion.

Special mention

Small Bear Electronics seems to be restocking their full catalogue. They carry a lot of interesting items and their prices are usually fair.


For most off-board components and resistors, Tayda Electronics is hard to beat. Sometimes you may find similar parts locally or from Mouser or Digi-Key for similar prices, but these instances are few and far between. Even if the shipping and import duties can be steep, it's well worth it. You just need to place an order big enough to justify the full shipping cost.

Unless you absolutely need to have an authentic <insert brand here> semiconductor, most of what Tayda is selling is legit and good enough for everyday use. If you intend on selling your creations, it's understandable to put the extra money to ensure that the semiconductors are genuine. For the hobbyist, it doesn't make that much of a difference. At the end of the day, it's most likely going to be your wallet that make the decision.

I purchased from all the vendors discussed in this post (except Small Bear Electronics), and they all have their pros and cons. Mouser and Digi-Key are more expensive, but the shipping is lightning fast and you know the parts are genuine. Tayda is a lot cheaper, you may get a fake part (mostly semiconductors). Shipping takes also longer (since it ships from Thailand), and is more expensive than Mouser's 20$ flat-rate shipping when all is accounted for. For other vendors mentioned in this article, the shipping rates are great (usually under 10$), but the transit times are slower (between 2 and 6 weeks) since they use Canada Post, USPS or UPS Mail Innovation.


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