It’s not too challenging to find a resistor through Google or on Amazon, but there are a few online retailers that reliably cater exclusively to makers and their projects. These sites not only sell Arduino, Raspberry Pis, and accessories, but they also help shoppers discover cool new projects by featuring interesting sensors, kits, and books. Below is my top five list (plus one) of great online retailers for electronics makers.
Spark Fun Electronics and Maker Shed
Spark Fun and Maker Shed are very similar sites – both worth checking for a given project. They both carry great curated selections of books, Arduino-related supplies, other components, Raspberry Pis, and kits. Noting its affiliation with Make Magazine, Maker Shed has more in the way of kits and educational materials while Spark Fun is perhaps stronger in components. Both are great sites with whom I’ve had very positive customer experiences.
Adafruit grew as an electronics kit developer, but has grown into open source hardware development since that time – today they sell branded Arduino shields, and it recently developed the Arduino Micro in conjunction with Arduino. Its products include kits and components for Arduino, mbed, Raspberry Pi, XBee, and other platforms. On a side note, Adafruit’s founder was behind the $3,000 challenge to develop open source Kinect drivers which I applaud.
Whereas Spark Fun and Maker Shed are curated shops where almost every item is exciting to consider buying, BGMicro is more of a warehouse with a deep inventory of those random pieces you might need someday. It sells everything from resistors and transistors to heatsinks and imaging devices. Head here if you know exactly what you need.
As its name indicates, ServoCity specializes in every piece of gear relating to servos – not only servos and motors, but mounts, power supplies, gears and wheels, RF controllers, and software. Among the servos, there is a wide variety of types, torques, and speeds for both light- and heavy-duty projects.
Bonus: Dangerous Things
This online store is new and only has a tiny specialized inventory, but it’s so cool I had to include it. DangerousThings.com specializes in RFID, and implantable-RFID in particular. I’ll echo their warning that it’s implanting foreign objects in your body has risks – which in this case have not been fully determined, but it’s worth checking out.