Digi-Key vs. Jameco vs. Mouser

I found myself in the unenviable position of having to place a small parts order from one of the larger electronics distributors. Often you find a decent price on the component, only to get hit by an outrageous shipping charge. I usually try to wait and group my items so as not to be hit too hard.

Here’s the little item I needed, a little 1mW Digi XBee for a project I’m working on (similar to this):

xb24-api-001Here is the pricing for one, shipped to the northeastern U.S. via USPS:

  • Digi-Key: $19.00 + $2.92 shipping = $21.92 *
  • Mouser: $19.00 + $4.99 shipping = $23.99
  • Jameco: $24.95 + $2.43 shipping = $27.38

The more expensive option (Jameco)  is almost 25% more than the cheapest (Digi-Key).  Sometimes it’s worth shopping around a little bit.

Have you found a good (and inexpensive!) source for electronics components?

* I did a little research and found that Digi-Key will give you free shipping if you mail in an order form with a check or money order:

When a check or money order accompanies your order, Digi-Key pays all shipping and insurance (our choice for method of shipping) to all addresses in the U.S. and Canada.

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “Digi-Key vs. Jameco vs. Mouser”

  • Matt W1MST:

    Thanks for those, Arne!

    Sparkfun – $22.95 + $3.69 shipping = $26.64

    Adafruit – $22.95 + $4.16 shipping = $27.11

    Seeedstudio – $27.90 w/ free shipping (but out of stock)

  • Joe KB3PHL:

    I know what you mean, when I want to order just a few parts it is REALLY aggravating that the shipping charges end up being higher than the few items I’m buying. But that’s the unfortunate reality of todays higher shipping prices.

    Joe KB3PHL

  • Donn VA7DH:

    I live in Victoria BC Canada and when I order anything from the US I usually run the problem of things getting shipped by one of the courier companies who tack on a high charger for preocessing crossing the border. I ran into a time problem trying to get parts to make up some morse code osc kits for ham students. I checked with Digi Key and they had what I wanted. I ordered on line and they arrive the next afternoon and the price for parts and shipping was astoundingly low and delivery time amazingly short. Wow, they had me hooked. So, DigiKey definitely has my vote. I have talked to others who related the same sort of story.

  • Louis W3VVV:

    arrow.com offers free shipping in the USA for all orders. Even a 10 cent resistor gets free shipping.

  • Shirley Dulcey KE1L:

    Revisiting this question in 2020…

    The Digi-Key order form is still on the site if you follow the link, but it’s otherwise impossible to find. Either that no longer works, or the company makes it deliberately hard to find. It’s hard to imagine that they actually want people to submit paper order forms, since those involve additional work on their part, run into the possibility of parts being out of stock (not an issue if you order online), and are error prone.

    The cheapest shipping option you can easily find on Digi-Key is $4.99 for First Class mail.

    Mouser’s lowest cost shipping option cost $7.99. Normally that would be UPS Ground, FexEx ground, or Priority Mail, but they currently have a promotion that is offering second day shipping at that price.

    Arrow now has a $50 minimum for free shipping, and you have to join their loyalty program to get it. But that gives you free two-day air.

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