Best Way To Find And Buy Electronic Parts
Whether it’s for professional projects or just your own personal enjoyment, there are times you might need to find and buy electronic parts. You could be looking to repair a printer or copier at work and keep it running longer to save the business money, or maybe you’re building a dream gaming computer at home to blast aliens and vanquish the enemy with incredible resolution and a frame rate that makes your buddies jealous.
Whatever the case may be, you need to know the best way to find and buy electronic parts. That’s not going to be the same answer for everyone, but there are four primary ways to go about it. They are listed in this article, with their pros and cons so you can figure out the avenues that suit your situation best.
Local Brick And Mortar
Most population centers have an electronics and appliance store somewhere in their community. Prior to the Internet, many consumers had to head to independent retailers, Radio Shack, Circuit City, or similar places as their only option. They’re not as prevalent as they used to be, as many Radio Shacks have closed or switched to selling mostly wireless phones and plans. Best Buy is still around, but Walmart has eaten into their market too.
Pro: You can buy what you need immediately. You just get in the car, walk, bike, or take public transportation before walking in the door, getting what you need off the shelf, paying for it, and heading back to work or home. Also, most products are going to come with a warranty as well as a time period you can return them for a full refund.
Con: The two disadvantages here are going to be price and selection. You will find a few pieces and parts, but many categories might only have one or two selections. Also, they have to cover their payroll and overhead, so markups are as high as anything on this list.
Online E-Commerce Sites
The Internet has really taken over the world of commerce, and it’s the most evident in cases like electronic parts. Millions of enthusiasts love building their own computers http://www.directics.com/xilinix-fpga/, especially gamers, and there are thousands of websites catering to them.
Pro: Two huge benefits here are selection and price. Online prices at e-commerce sites sometimes only get beat by online prices at used consumer goods sites, discussed next. In short, if something exists, it’s for sale online. You can head to Best Buy and find a great video card for gaming, but you can find it for cheaper online before you find six other video cards that are even more powerful and cost less.
User reviews are also another great perk of such sites. Many gaming enthusiasts love sites like NewEgg for the detailed feedback many can leave, including verifying who actually owns what they’re reviewing. The Q&A feature with existing users also makes it easy to select particular products.
Con: There are three things to consider here. The first is shipping and handling, which can run up a price tag on your shopping cart. Most electronics parts and pieces don’t weigh much or come in huge packages, although a desktop case can stick out, so shipping charges shouldn’t be much. Having said that, they need to pack adequately in order to survive transit given their delicate and often fragile nature. In all shipping cases, you do have to wait for it to arrive, and if it comes by postal mail, you might not have an up-to-date tracking number like with UPS or FedEx.
Second, the source of the site has to be considered. If it’s a third-party site selling affiliate materials or things coming from overseas, you might face shipping delays, border fees, and even the possibility of scams or substandard merchandise.
Third, returning something for a refund might not be free. You might have to pay shipping and even a restocking fee. Also, warranties are all over the place.
Amazon and eBay
Amazon does more than books these days, and eBay has stores on top of its traditional auctions. You can find many electronic parts from individual sellers here that don’t run their own site.
Pro: Incredible prices can be had at both sites, either through a great auction or by applying Amazon’s many great discounts, especially if you’re a member of their Prime service. You also get to check the feedback on the individual seller to see who has a reputation for great customer service and who doesn’t.
Con: You have to make sure you’re buying something new. You might be fine buying used or refurbished parts, but the devil is always in the details. Also, warranties can be highly variable here, if they apply at all. Some international sellers also build up a solid reputation on eBay before scamming quite a few people out of their money at once.
Expos, Conventions, And Trade Shows
Computer and electronics shows do tour states, regions, and even the country from time to time.
Pro: Dealers with excess inventory might be looking to liquidate, so prices can be temptingly low. It’s also a good day to just hang out with other enthusiasts, learning and possibly trading parts and pieces.
Con: These events are irregular and might not even come near where you live. Also, it’s quite possible they don’t have anything that you need, so you could walk away empty handed. Worse yet, if the parts are defective or not what you need, they’re often sold as-is with no chance of return, refund, or warranty.
There are other ways here and there to find and buy electronics parts, but these four represent your primary methods. Which one is best will depend on your budget, your personal preferences, how soon you need a part, and how specific a part or component you are looking for. Weigh the pros and cons of each to find out what works out best for you.