Finding Reliable PCB Distributors for Your Electronic Hardware Design

A person holding out a PCB chipReliable distributors are vital to the success of any PCB project. Without reliable PCB distributors, designers couldn’t create new prototypes, be made aware of changes in the supply chain, or predict what the PCB markets might do next. A project’s choice of distributor can determine whether that project succeeds or fails, and it is not a decision to be made lightly. Designers should use as much data as possible to select a distributor that best suits the needs of their project.

Why are Reliable Distributors Important to Electronic Hardware?

Reliable distributors should supply easily accessible and robust, quality components for electronics projects. What marks a distributor as reliable, is not just the level of quality of the components they provide. Reliable distributors know planning is important and communication is crucial, so failing to plan for problems or to communicate openly during issues could motivate their clients to look elsewhere for components. The right distributor can help designers manage disruptions in their supply chain by keeping them informed of any problems. A good distributor will take responsibility for any problems encountered, even during a crisis, and maintain trust with their clients through flexibility and transparency.

Client-focused distributors can help designers pick the best components by suggesting components that meet their requirements. This helps designers compare component prices and create backup plans using other components that can suit their needs. Reliable distributors understand how important it is for designers to balance all considerations for their design, and don’t push their clients to adopt components that aren’t ideal. When distributors can guide designers to technical information that backs up their recommendations, designers can trust their distributor is working off of reputable data.

How Can Designers Find Reliable PCB Distributors?

As when finding components, data is vital to finding reliable PCB distributors. In the digital age, there is a wide variety of distributors to choose from, and disreputable distributors have become more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Designers need the ability to do their own research when looking for a distributor and should analyze many of the same things one would look for when searching for components. Questions a designer might consider when researching distributors include:

  • How long has the distributor been in business? 
  • Is the distributor accredited by the Better Business Bureau (or a similar organization that can vouch for their integrity and reliability)? 
  • Is the distributor respected in the electronics industry, and do they have any significant contracts?
  • Does the distributor have a record of communicating about unexpected changes to its clients? 
  • Have communication problems cost the distributor major projects? 
  • What is the distributor willing to do to regain a client’s trust if a problem occurs?

These questions are only the start of those a designer should ask when looking for a reliable distributor. An accredited, well-connected distributor, for example, still wouldn’t be reliable for a project if a designer wanted components the distributor didn’t have in stock. An otherwise reliable distributor could be a bad choice for a project if they had a minimal selection of alternative parts for a project, didn’t carry updated versions of components, or didn’t have the infrastructure in place to meet a client’s needs. When selecting a distributor, it’s critical the designer keeps in mind the needs of the project, and considers how a distributor can meet those unique needs.

A small PCB held between two fingersWhat Makes Ultra Librarian a Source for Reliable Distributors?

The choice of a reliable distributor can be a difficult one, especially since disreputable distributors can put up a good face to lure designers in. Ultra Librarian has a mission to be a one-stop resource for electronics designers, and this includes partnerships with verified, reliable distributors—all of which have decades of experience serving customers in the electronics industry. Through partnerships with DigiKey, Texas Instruments, and Maxim Incorporated, Ultra Librarian is able to offer UltraBOM® for DigiKey, the newest Texas Instruments components in the Ultra Librarian search engine, and high-quality reference designs from Maxim Incorporated.

Hand picking up a PCB

Ultra Librarian connects designers to many reliable distributors for electronics and gives designers the tools they need to find distributors of their own. Working with Ultra Librarian takes the guesswork out of preparing for your next great device and puts your ideas on the road to success. Register today for free.


The Ultra Librarian Team

Ultra Librarian offers the world’s largest PCB CAD library, putting cutting-edge materials at your fingertips so you can build better products faster—all for free.

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