The In Practice Pages

UK Component and Tool Suppliers

Where to buy components and tools, and how to order them.

The list is expanding, and contact details are frequently changing - look for items!


I try to make this an accurate and up-to-date list of UK component and tool suppliers. Please tell me if there are any suppliers you think I should add, or if any suppliers change their contact details or terms of business.

US suppliers - check out the 'UK virtual storefront' for Mouser Electronics.
With Free Fedex delivery on all orders above £50 + VAT, this service puts many UK companies to shame!

The 'Big Five'

(in alphabetical order)

... and my personal




There are other large component distributors in the UK, but these are the five you're most likely to wish to deal with. (Some of the others are in the list below.)
  • CPC, Faraday Drive, Fulwood, Preston PR2 9PP
    Tel: 08701 20 25 30. Fax: 08701 20 25 31

    CPC used to be a trade-only supplier but now offers 'trade prices' directly to the public. The website now displays prices both with and without VAT. Registration for online ordering and payment is very simple. 

    CPC's main strength is in consumer electronics. Although the catalogue is enormous, some items may fall out of production and no longer be available. The range of electronic components is quite small (CPC is part of the Farnell group, but there is very little overlap between the two separate catalogues).

    Credit/debit cards accepted. Handling charges and delivery: currently
  • Farnell, Canal Road, Leeds LS12 2TU
    Order line 0870 1200 200

    Farnell is one of the two biggest component distributors in the UK (the other being RS). Farnell welcomes online orders from private individuals. Registration for online ordering and payment is quite simple: in the drop-down lists that ask about your 'Primary job role' and 'Primary use for the products', select the last option - Other.

    Since Farnell is primarily a business supplier, remember that list prices do not include VAT.

    Credit/debit cards accepted for orders above £20. Small order charges may apply (check total in 'shopping basket') but delivery isfree. Also note that any order containing "US stock" items will have a further surcharge of £15 + VAT.
  • Maplin Electronics, PO Box 777, Freepost NEA9433, Barnsley S73 0BR
    Order line 0870 264 6000

    Maplin sells mainly consumer electronics but has a strong history of hobby and component sales. The website shows VAT-inclusive prices.

    Credit/debit cards accepted. Small order charge: £2.99 inc VAT on orders up to £35 inc VAT; free above £35 inc VAT.

    Maplin has many branches throughout the UK; although not all branches carry the full line of stock, you can order in advance for collection within a few days.

  • Rapid Electronics, Severalls Lane, Colchester  CO4 5JS
    Tel: 01206 751166
    Web:  E-mail:

    Rapid Electronics stock a broad range of electronics components - not as much choice as Farnell or RS, but often better prices (for example, check out the kits of resistors and capacitors). Rapid are happy to deal with private individuals, and all price lists are selectable to include or exclude VAT. Registration for online ordering and payment is quite simple: all business-related details can be left blank.

    Credit/debit cards accepted. Small order charge: £4.95 + VAT on orders up to £30 + VAT; free above £30 + VAT.
  • RS Components (private individuals online only)

    RS is one of the two biggest component distributors in the UK (the other being Farnell). RS will accept online orders from private individuals.

    Credit/debit cards accepted. M
    inimum order £20 + VAT plus private order charge: £4.95 + VAT.





Which to choose?

For electronic components, I continue to recommend Farnell. They have huge stocks and treat all customers the same.

I am still reluctant to recommend RS for private orders because of their less welcoming attitude.

For ready-made items, I recommend CPC as your first port of call because of their huge range. Maplin are struggling to keep up.

Tip: It's worth remembering that connecting leads are often much cheaper as ready-made items. If you can't find exactly what you want, it may still be cheaper to buy a ready-made lead and cut off the unwanted connector!

CPC have a vast range of ready-made leads; but Maplin are better for short lengths of cable.

Worth a Look

  • Rapid Electronics have a narrower range of stock, but also carry some unique products and often have better prices.
  • Mouser Electronics are a large US distributor with a superb 'UK virtual storefront' which makes them look exactly like a UK supplier. Prices are in UK£ with free Fedex delivery on orders over £50 + VAT. See below for details.


Other suppliers

(in alphabetical order)

If there are any other distributors that you'd particularly like to recommend,
please tell me.

This is a very broad list including many suppliers of tools and mechanical items. The descriptions  highlight the particular strengths of each supplier.

Use Ctrl-F in your browser to search for the type of product.

  • Aerial-Parts of Colchester, Carlton House, White Hart Lane, West Bergholt, Colchester CO6 3DB
    Tel 07957 449 542

    John Lemay G4ZTR offers a useful range of specialist antenna and tower hardware, and also VHF/UHF power combiners.
  • Altec Products Limited, Unit 4 Riverway Ind. Park, Alton GU34 2QL
    Tel 0845 359 9000

    Laboratory supplies, including tools and plastics (PTFE).
  • Arrow Electronics

    The current name for the long-established STC/ITT Components... but will only deal with UK registered companies.
  • Axminster Tools, Chard Street, Axminster EX13 5DZ
    Tel: 0800 371 822 (sales), 01297 33656 (enquiries)

    Power and hand tools, mostly woodworking but some metalworking.
  • Barenco - distribution via Martin Lynch, and at rallies.

    A range of well-made mast and antenna fittings.
  • BEC Distribution, Unit 5, Coronation Grove, Harrogate HG2 8BU
    Tel: 0845 4900 405

    Formerly Bonex, and now the main UK importer for TOKO products. Their full TOKO catalogue is on the website, and BEC also stock a general range of components.
  • Chronos, Unit 14, Dukeminster Estate, Church Street, Dunstable LU5 4HU
    Tel:  01582 471 900. Fax: 01582 471 920.

    Model engineering tools and parts.
  • The DX Shop, Dingle Cottage, Churchstoke, Montgomery, Powys SY15 6TJ
    Tel: 01588 620 126

    High-end equipment and supplies for the VHF/UHF DXer, from Roger Banks GW4WND.
  • Electromail used to be the retail branch of RS, but closed many years ago.

    Often confused with:
  • Electrovalue of Egham and Manchester... who have also closed.
  • ESR Electronic Components, Station Road, Cullercoats, Tyne & Wear NE30 4PQ
    Tel: 0191 251 4363

    General components including some that are difficult to find in small quantities.

  • Folkestone Engineering Supplies, 62 Canterbury Road, Hawkinge CT18 7BP
    Tel: 01303 894611

    Wide range of metal, fasteners and taps/dies at competitive prices.
  • GH Engineering, East Cottage, Chineham Lane, Sherborne St John,
    Hants  RG24 9LR
    Tel: 01256 869603

    Specialises in a range of power amplifiers, preamps, semiconductors etc. for the low microwave bands. Good source for GaAsFETs, MMICs and Mitsubishi PA modules.
  • Harrison & Greenwood, Mill Lane, Halifax HX3 6TR
    Tel: 01422 329003
    Web:      E-mail:    Maybe sometime later this century...i>

    Custom designed transformers - typically 1kVA upwards.
  • Mainline Electronics, 192 Little Glen Road, Leicester LE2 9TT. Tel: 0116 278 0980
    Credit/debit cards accepted. Postage and Packaging charge for UK orders is £3.75.

    General range of components with a bias towards RF/microwaves, and also some surplus. Now the makers of the Jackson Brothers line of capacitors, dial drives, switches etc.
  • Mallard Metal Packs, 53 Jasmin Croft, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 5AX Tel/Fax: 0121 624 0302
    Credit/debit cards accepted. No minimum order. Postage and Packaging charge for UK orders starts at £4.00+VAT, for orders up to £10.00+VAT.

    Online and mail-order suppliers of metals for small users (also taps & dies etc, and some plastics including PTFE rod). Useful downloadable catalogue, prices fixed for calendar year.
  • Mega Electronics, Mega House, Grip Industrial Estate, Linton, Cambridge CB1 6NR
    Tel: 01223 893 900

    Specialists in supplies for prototype and low-volume PC boards and photo-printed panels and signs. Mega manufacture much of the PCB equipment and chemicals you see in other UK catalogues, but their direct prices are often better. Also their own catalogue contains many items that you won’t see anywhere else.
  • Metals 4U, online only
    Contact/enquiry form:
    Shipping free on large orders over £75; smaller orders by quotation.

    Many engineering metals in tube, bar and sheet, including aluminium tubing shipped in lengths up to 5m.
  • Mini-Circuits
    Tel: (UK) 01252 832 600
    You can now order from the US website, and prices in GBP appear when you select UK. Quoted prices do not include delivery or VAT, which are added later.

    A huge range of mixers, MMICs, filters, couplers and other circuit modules. Mini-Circuits products are often specified in advanced amateur RF designs, for their high performance and predictability.
  • Mode Components has closed down.
  • Mouser Electronics - highly impressive 'UK virtual storefront' for this major US supplier.
    Web: aims to present itself exactly like a UK-based supplier. All prices are in UK£ (based on reasonable conversion rates from their US$ prices). You pay VAT in the normal way, so all orders are pre-cleared with UK Customs for faster delivery with nothing more to pay - about 3 days later the order simply arrives on your doorstep .

    Free Fedex delivery on all orders above £50 + VAT
     This level of service puts many UK companies to shame!
  • Radio Structures, TRS Complex, Gatelodge Close, Round Spinney Industrial Estate, Northampton  NN3 8BR
    Tel: 01604 790005

    Mostly professional towers, masts, cables, connectors and accessories, but also a source for galvanised and stainless steel hardware, including U-bolts in a range of shapes and sizes. (For cheap ss nuts and bolts, also see Screwfix.)
  • Screwfix Direct, Freepost, Yeovil BA22 8BF
    Tel: 0500 41414. Fax: 0800 056 2256.

    All kinds of DIY tools and products, at very competitive prices.  
  • Shesto Tools and Hobbies, Unit 2, Sapcote Trading Centre, 374 High Road, Willesden NW10 2DH
    Tel: 020 8451 6188

    A wide range of modelling and craft tools, many of which are very useful for electronics.
  • SP Wound Components - now called simply Wound Components

    Custom designed transformers - mains, audio and pulse up to 750-1000VA. Expert service from Geoff Budden G3WZP.
  • Spectrum Communications, 12 Weatherbury Way, Dorchester  DT1 2EF
    Tel: 01305 262250

    A wide range of amateur radio kits, with associated components and useful crystals available separately. Spectrum Communications also offer a range of TOKO inductors and pin compatible substitutes. Tony Nailer G4CFY.
  • Squires Model & Craft Tools, 100 London Road, Bognor Regis, PO21 1DD
    Tel: 01243 842424

    A wide range of modelling tools and soldering materials, many of which are very useful for electronics. Also a range of electronic components.
  • Sycom 

    Sorry to report that Robin G3NFV has closed the business, following a mild stroke.
  • TABmica, TAB Components Ltd, Unit 3, Plot J, Cavalier Road, Heathfield, Newton Abbot TQ12 6TQ
    Tel: (+44/0) 1626 833 470

    Manufacturer of high-quality transmitting silvered mica capacitors, individually made to order. The 'amateur radio' range on this page are commercial units in a lower-cost encapsulation.
  • TLC Direct, nationwide mail order and many branches in southern England
    Mail order tel: 020 8646 6866 

    Electrical wholesalers, will deal with personal customers too. Low prices on cable, and on branded and own-brand mains fittings. Good online catalogue, with useful information on wiring regulations, cable sizes etc.  Prices exclude VAT. Small order charge: £4.99 + VAT on orders up to £150 + VAT; free above £150 + VAT.
  • W H Westlake West Park, Clawton, Holsworthy EX22 6QN
    Tel: 01409 253758

    A familiar figure at rallies, Henry Westlake supplies a range of cables and antenna wire at good prices, and also general accessories. Excellent personal service.
  • (formerly Scientific Wire Company), 18 Raven Road, London E18 1HW
    Tel: 0208 505 0002

    Exactly what the name implies - all kinds of wire for technical and scientific purposes, including resistance and thermocouple wires, and many exotic metals.
  • Wound Components, Unit 12, Stanley Green Crescent Ind Estate, Poole BH15 3TH
    Tel: 01202 682828

    Custom designed transformers - mains, audio and pulse up to 750-1000VA. Expert service from Geoff Budden G3WZP.
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Last updated 24 October, 2013
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