Chip surplus

  • Good default

  • Good default

  • More PLC type stuff, but sometimes chips

  • Occasionally have found things there

  • Haven't had much luck there, but others have

  • Surplus, but tends to be more commodity stuff

Online industrial auction

Hopefully people who run these sites will see this at some point

What I want from the website:

  • Give me reasonable pictures. Seriously, if you ask $100,000 for something you can take at least 1 picture, and should probably take more than that
    • I do not bid on any items that doesn't have at least one useful picture. Period
    • Data plate is often helpful
  • Low starting bid. This attracts me to the site and makes me more willing to bid on things
    • PASS: disposition services
    • PASS: BioSurplus
  • Don't list completed lots in search results. Its just spam
    • FAIL: BioSurplus
  • Let me search your auctions
    • FAIL: Branford Group. You can only search within auctions, not across them
    • I can't believe some people fail this
  • Help me find stuff I want
    • Include the data plate in the listing
    • Include a general type of equipment (ie microscope)
    • I realize some of this can be hard if you are listing a lot of auctions and/or aren't familiar with the equipment
  • Must be able to search by location
    • At least be able to do it by city
    • It should be intuitive
    • Ideally I can search for lots within X miles of a zip code (“give me items containing word microscope 100 miles of 94040”)
  • Let me be able to somehow search for auctions only (ie no private treaty sales)
  • I must be able to easily link to item listings
    • FAIL: disposition services. They use iframes that you have to know how to bypass
  • After I win items I should be able to see what I've won
    • FAIL: disposition services
  • Include a list of shipping companies
    • Makes me much more willing to bid on remote assests
  • If I search for two keywords I mean A and B, not A or B
    • IIRC some people still fail this. Seriously…


Random stuff, its strength is its sheer size

SV disposition

they also have an eBay store

Branford Group

When I wnet to register it directed to:

The registration form was buggy. I had to fiddle with the fieds: it claimed first name was something it didn't like, but it was actually display name.

I'm also not clear what the opening bids are, it makes it very difficult for me to plan an auction portfollio ahead of time

Their search also seems buggy…sometimes it returned with no results and I had to do it multiple times

Images in hte auction display are also distroted. It appears that they are not necessarily the right ratio but are forced to a common display resolution

Hilco industrial

Similar to DoveBid but the website is much easier to use

You need to arrange your own pickup/shipping, sometimes through a special process

Tip: if you try to serach *just* by location it won't let you without a keyword search term. Put in any empty space to wildcard it

Bentley's Auction

Seems to have a mix of precious metals and industrial. Seems like their big thing is they may have a long term contract with Los Alamos labs and some others to handle all of their disposition

Uses mystery meat navigation where it has a standard layout for each auction (“video”, “photo gallery”, “catalog”) but they aren't always there and you have to hover over each item and/or try to click on them to see whats actually availible

They do not always post pictures. They also use an annoying image hosting company that has lots of popups.


05/20/2014: hadn't visited in some time and looks like the website was redone. Much easier to use and I'll start using them now

seems more professional than need be to the point of getting in the way of things but some people have luck with them. I've never bought anything from them because my experience looking around the website have been so negative

Often has low opening bids and high reserves which can make bidding on items annoying since you never know what the real asking price is

You need to arrange your own pickup/shipping, sometimes through a special process

If you are a seller, looks like they are good to go with if you have time to squeeze more out of the customer: auction minimums are often high and they do a lot of private treaty sales

Silicon Valley Disposition

Their website is not searchable which makes it hard to find items


Starting bids are now much higher since Disposition Services acquisition and don't seem to be moving very much stuff. Hopefully things will pick up again in time if they are just slowed down by the acquisition.

Somewhat related, I tried to buy something from FabExchange and wasn't terribly impressed dealing with them. When quotes were higher than my price range they do not call me back. This is disrespectful to prospective buyers

Gov deals

Less stuff than below but does search other marketplaces which could be of interest

Government Liquidation

A mix of stuff but I've found lapping machines and other things of interest listed as they have quite a lot of stuff

Their Google map auction finder is fairly nice. I was able to quickly locate items in my area. Havne't tried any more advanced searching

I saw some items listed in associated with DoveBid.

GSA Auctions

Their website has some problems:

  • Bug where images of different sizes cause the navigation to resize when hovering, hovering over a new image and making browser go crazy
    • Workaround use lightbox to view images one at a time
  • Hard to get auction URLs out of it making it difficult to share information on auctions


Seems to have a pretty large inventory at first glance, but the problem is that they mix in completed auctions to artificially inflate their inventory list Still, they have a good selection of industrial equipment (not strictly biotech)

Starting prices vary: some are fire sale auction, some have high starting bid


combines a number of auction sites:


stuff all over us


think this is online, haven't checked it out yet



Disposition Services

2014-12-01: defunct :( . They got bought by FabExchange and seem to have now become just another online equipment dealer. The auction site is now closed (“The site you requested has been disabled. Please call NextLot if you believe this is in error.”)

Later: they started doing auctions again, it just took a while

Sort of moved here:

but they don't seem to have equipment auctions like they used to. Starting bids are now much higher and don't seem to be moving very much stuff. Hopefully things will pick up again in time if they are just slowed down by the acquisition.

Somewhat related, I tried to buy something from FabExchange and wasn't terribly impressed dealing with them.

Old info for archival purposes:

Generally they are my favorite as they are reasonably close to me (about 40 min drive), have low starting prices, a good stream of items, and a reasonable website.

Seem to add pictures as the auction gets closer, may be < 1 week to close

Often has low opening bids which makes it attractive to browse around

Main complaint is if you go from main website ( it will put you in an iframe that does two things:

  • Eats up most of your item browsing screen real estate with featured items, news, etc
  • Removes linkability: since navigation is inside the iframe you can't save/share links to items by copy and pasting from address bar

Instead go to the second URL above and browse around from there

Seems they bought or partnered with

I've found it difficult to figure out what items I've won after an auction. They really should automatically e-mail out a “you've won X” e-mail instead of waiting until the invoice which can be some time later. In theory there is a “My Lots” list in your profile but traditionally it hasn't worked (it did work for a recent FabExchange auction).

They prefer wire transfers but you can also pay PayPal (with an added fee) or cash. The FabExchange may be wire transfer only.


Defunct? I've never actually seen any auctions but their website is up

SF based. Good starting prices. Closely related to bidspotter

Online surplus dealers

Despite the name I don't think they bid


Chinese surplus outlet.

They don't ship internationally but you can buy through a broker. Some brokers I've heard are okay:


Shipping/handling will be high and the process might be somewhat painful but could be worth it depending on the item.

SF Bay Area brick and mortar

Weird Stuff

Mostly computer equipment. Reasonably well organized and prices seem fair (not dirt cheap, but reasonable)

Their online store is not the same as the brick and mortar. You can get things delivered there for local pickup but it will be at least a day (my CNC microscope motors were bought from their online store that I wanted that day to work on it)

Halted Supply Corporation (HSC)

The most chaotic of the bunch. Focus on electronics / test equipment but has assorted industrial equipment as well

I rarely feel I get a good deal when I shop there and have for the most part stopped going

Excess Solutions

Generally well organized. Somewhere between weird stuff and HSC: general surplus of electronic components and industrial equipment. Large warehouse

Electronics flea market

Alan Steel & Supply Company

I visited sometime in 2014 and they have cleaned up a lot. There isn't much surplus electronics anymore, now its just metal and some machinery.


Gateway Electronics

St Louis, Missouri

Never been there but saw a YouTube video. Mostly looks like small components rather than devicesS

equipment/acquiring.txt · Last modified: 2020/04/08 21:07 by mcmaster
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