I am a relative beginner at using electronics, and am tight on money for my first load of electronics that I am going to buy.

I was wondering if I should get some inductors now or wait for a bit later when I need them.

In other words: Are inductors used frequently enough to warrant buying a couple in advance?

Also, important to note: I live in a rural area, and the nearest RadioShack is at least a 45-70 min drive away, and I do not have legal access to a car (I’m under 16), so I would have to wait on delivery from Amazon or Adafuit.

Thanks for any help! Have a good day!

P.S. I have no projects in the near future that will likely need an inductor.

  • \$\begingroup\$ what kind of projects are you thinking of doing? \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m planning on doing rc projects and projects with 7-seg displays and text based LCDs. I do also have the capability of getting enameled wire pretty easily in case I need an ok inductor \$\endgroup\$
    – Nutmeg
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Inductors are "reasonably frequently used" BUT their are many different possible parameter variations (inductance, current rating, frequency, ...) that it would be impossible to buy just a few before you had a degree of application are known. However, you can wind your own in quite a few cases, and parts from surplus equipment can be exceedingly useful. Old (dead or about to be dead) TV sets are a good source of parts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:56

2 Answers 2


While inductors are fairly ubiquitous in electronics equipment the typical electronics hobby enthusiast is best off waiting to buy them until he/she has a specific need.

Most of the typical Arduino, op-amp, sensor, blinking LED etc. type intro to electronics circuits don't need inductors. But they usually require resistors and capacitors. Capacitors can be stocked in advance because values like 0.1uF/50V ceramic and 10uF/25V electrolytics are so commonly used. Inductors tend to be more application-specific in terms of construction, value, current rating and other parameters. I have literally hundreds of inductors on the shelf but almost every project that uses an inductor it seems like I have to order yet another.

Good luck, enjoy the hobby!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I shall enjoy the hobby very much. Have a good day/night! \$\endgroup\$
    – Nutmeg
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, does the same apply to fuses? I would presume that it should, knowing how specific/different each battery can get and whatever you are using them for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nutmeg
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ To first order fuses have a form factor and a current rating and are slow or fast acting. At some point you might standardize on a form factor in your projects and you might buy a selection of them. From your descriptions above I'm guessing you're best off waiting. \$\endgroup\$
    – 65Roadster
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's actually easier to find a relevant selection of fuses than inductors. Inductors are probably the least optimal component as far as the weight and size it takes for the desired amount of function, so you tend to select a specific inductor for a specific project. The only field of endeavor that violates this rule is amateur radio equipment, where you'd buy a selection of ferrite and iron-powder cores and custom-wind your inductors. \$\endgroup\$
    – TimWescott
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ And, if you're sticking with stuff that's powered by dry cell batteries or wall-warts, you don't need fuses. \$\endgroup\$
    – TimWescott
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 0:40

You can go quite a long way without inductors. I wouldn't bother with them as a first step.

But if you find the need ... another consideration is, unlike resistors and capacitors, it's reasonably easy within certain constraints, to make your own. (You need some understanding of the physics, however).

For example, if you want to experiment with buck or boost converters, it would be reasonable to buy a couple of ferrite core toroids and a reel of enamelled copper wire, rather than worrying about stocking a range of values. Use a spreadsheet or online calculator to calculate the inductance and saturation current for N turns on your chosen toroid, (from its datasheet values) then just wind your own. You can add windings to make a transformer etc. (Usual warnings : don't mess with mains power and home made components!)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I will take this into consideration when I need to make inductors. Have a good day! \$\endgroup\$
    – Nutmeg
    Commented Jan 19, 2020 at 15:43

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