AliExpress Opinions

macardoso

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2018
Messages
1,176
Hi All,

I just had the world of AliExpress opened to me. I bought a DRO that came recommended by many and I am excited to see if it was worth what I paid. Now I am curious if I should be considering AliExpress a reasonable source for other tooling.

I buy most of my mid quality tools from Shars, with a handful of high end name brands where it is justified (test indicators for example). I have bought a lot of my indexable lathe tooling from eBay sellers who probably just drop ship from China, real cheap stuff but it all works perfectly. The biggest concerns I see are unknown quality.

Is AliExpress a viable supplier? The protection to the buyer seems comparable to eBay and the prices are quite good. I am ok with slow shipping for items I am not in immediate need of. Are there any tips I should know about? I've been told to mostly buy items that have high counts of being sold.

Thanks! Mike
 

Bamban

Active User
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
1,013
I buy most of my Chinese carbide bits and bit holders from AliE, Banggood or eBay.
 

Tolerent

Registered
Registered
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Messages
104
I find AliExpress to be a good source. Some failure to deliver. Most long delay to delivery. A fair amount of utter misrepresentation with stainless steel arriving as chromed plastic etc. I consider shopping there an adventure and I don't buy a load of anything I have not sampled. I love shopping there more often than I hate it.

Ali-Express and Ali-Baba have lots of storefronts on e-Bay and Amazon that you would not have recognized last month and you will recognize them now.
 

Suzuki4evr

Registered
Registered
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,003
I bought my DRO there and lots of other tooling. I also buy the on eBay alot but lately tend to go to Ali first. My biggest problem is communication. Lots gets lost in translation. But overall it is good. I do trust Banggood all that much for the reason of bad reviews on them.

Michael
 

macardoso

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2018
Messages
1,176
Thanks so much for the feedback. Do you guys have any sellers you might recommend for general shop tooling (mill and lathe)?
 

MontanaLon

Registered
Registered
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
662
I've used Ali and BG for some purchases where 1. I wasn't in a hurry. 2. The price was significantly cheaper.

But to be perfectly honest, I will be curbing much of my purchases based on the product being from china. It is time for everyone to step up and support manufacturing in whatever country they reside in. If it just isn't available anywhere but from china then I may choose to go without or hold my nose and buy it.
 

MrWhoopee

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
1,650
When I got into machining as a hobby, 20 years after I sold my business, I assumed I would be using a lot of HSS and brazed carbide. Then I discovered that there had been some changes in the world of inserted tooling. I took a chance and spent $20 on some turning tools and inserts from Aliexpress. I was sold. I have been able to fully tool my lathe and mill with tooling I could have never afforded. For two or three hundred dollars I have purchased tooling that would have cost thousands from the big names. Would I have preferred to buy domestic? Yes. Do I feel bad about having bought Chinese for my hobby shop? No.
 

matthewsx

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
1,577
Yes it works well if you're not in a hurry and you can deal with the occasional disappointment. I would love to buy all domestic and for some things I do. But when the price differential is 50:1 I need to remember this is a hobby and if stuff doesn't perform as well or last as long as the premium I may have to just deal with it.

I just ordered an OXA QCTP from eBay and was (so far) pleasantly surprised that it came from All Industrial Tool Supply based right here in California. Ordering from Ali Express might have saved me 10 bucks but not having to wait, and doing business with someone who I can easily communicate with is worth the small premium. They have the primo stuff too if I hit the lottery so I think I'll be using them again (eBay price was less than their website BTW).

Mr. Whoppee has it right about the inserts though, hard to beat the AliExpress pricing.

Cheers,

John
 

greenail

Registered
Registered
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
99
I've used aliexpress quite a lot over the last 2 years. If I can wait it is almost always cheaper than Amazon or Ebay. I have only been shafted a few times, i'd guess i'm happy with 90% of what i purchase but I do the research and always look at the volume/order count as an indicator of the customer base. A lot of these guys just make a new "store" if they get bad reviews. Keep you expectations for customer service low and check the reviews for indications on how things are packed when shipped. The biggest problem I've seen is the crappy packaging. A lot of the time the items survive but if they have a reputation for bad packaging you may want to pick a different vendor. I've bought a ton of carbide, tooling, electronics components (buttons, commodity chips, smd resistors etc). Anything expensive I may go with Amazon for the return policy and amazing customer service. One hint about Amazon is that you should buy from Amazon as the seller whenever possible. They have most of their problems with 3rd party sellers. If you do buy 3rd party look at the seller ratings. If it is breakable you may want to stick with Shars since they do a good job with QA and packaging (but you pay more for it). Something like a toolpost holder isn't going to break in shipping. Final word is that if you need accuracy you are rolling the dice. I ordered some things like er16 shafts/er32 collet blocks from a few different vendors and the difference in quality is striking but the price points do not diverge that much. My recent roll of the dice was a gerardi type 5" vise. The packaging was total garbage and it arrived with all the parts clearly clattering around for most of the trip and the side of the MDF box almost completely busted out. The vise seems to have survived ok and while I initially thought it had issues with perpendicularity it turned out to be my mill column alignment. I paid $380 for it. Shars had the 6" version for sale for 375 and shipping was $75. The 5" is actually too big for me and I didn't need the 6" girth but I think I would have bought it from Shars if they had the 5" version.
 

7milesup

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2016
Messages
542
I've used Ali and BG for some purchases where 1. I wasn't in a hurry. 2. The price was significantly cheaper.

But to be perfectly honest, I will be curbing much of my purchases based on the product being from china. It is time for everyone to step up and support manufacturing in whatever country they reside in. If it just isn't available anywhere but from china then I may choose to go without or hold my nose and buy it.
I don't care for China any more than the the next guy, but buying American on a hobby budget is very tough to do. For example, I was looking at sine plates the other day. I went to Suburban Tool's website (because I love their videos) and lo and behold, their sine plates and vises are only just about what I paid for my 1022 lathe. If I opt for the bigger simple sine plate, it costs slightly more than my Taiwanese built 833T mill.

The ship sailed about 20 years ago on affordable new American products. No politician will change that with tariffs or any other method.

I have found very good products out of Czech and Eastern Europe. I also buy old American, but only on auctions. It is the only way I can afford it.
 

MontanaLon

Registered
Registered
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
662
I don't care for China any more than the the next guy, but buying American on a hobby budget is very tough to do. For example, I was looking at sine plates the other day. I went to Suburban Tool's website (because I love their videos) and lo and behold, their sine plates and vises are only just about what I paid for my 1022 lathe. If I opt for the bigger simple sine plate, it costs slightly more than my Taiwanese built 833T mill.

The ship sailed about 20 years ago on affordable new American products. No politician will change that with tariffs or any other method.

I have found very good products out of Czech and Eastern Europe. I also buy old American, but only on auctions. It is the only way I can afford it.
Yeah, I get that. I've seen some Indian stuff that doesn't seem horrible. And I like the auctions, when I can get to them. And I like the used machine place here as well. I'd rather buy old American than new chinese but it seems a lot of people think the same way. But there are still deals to be had. I picked up 6 brazed carbide cutters for .25 each and they turned out to be NOS USA made. There were more there so I will eventually get back and get more. For .25 each, I can skip the chinese inserts for a while, though it would be nice to have a diamond wheel to touch them up, I just have diamond stones and they work but they are slow.

The thing I find is most of the tooling there is commercial shop size. Big inserts, big holders, and I have a smallish set of machines. But at some point I will figure out a way to use some of it.
 

7milesup

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2016
Messages
542
There is certainly a step up in quality when going to Taiwan vs. China. Indian, I avoid if at all possible, I must have been burned a few times. Or maybe it was my pre-calc teacher that was an Indian and a complete A-hole. LOL.

Yep, the auctions are nice if you can find like you mentioned.... NOS and made in USA. Those are fun to find. ;)
 

4ssss

Registered
Registered
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
721
One other thing to note: If whatever you're buying has/needs an instruction or users manual, be prepared for it not to be with the item or if it is, find a way to learn Chinese.
 

Suzuki4evr

Registered
Registered
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,003
It is time for everyone to step up and support manufacturing in whatever country they reside in
I get why you are saying this,but if you can see it from my point of view for the sake of argument. When I buy say for instance a Mitotoyo test indicator from Aliexpress or Ebay, I pay about three to four times less for it that I would have here in my country. Therefore I hardly buy anything for the shop localy anymore,wich is actually sad,but I don't have a choice really. Availability is also an issue sometimes. You don't have to buy brand names with everything, it depends on what the tool is.
 

greenail

Registered
Registered
Joined
Aug 31, 2018
Messages
99
One other thing to note: If whatever you're buying has/needs an instruction or users manual, be prepared for it not to be with the item or if it is, find a way to learn Chinese.
Google translate app for your phone can use your camera to read Chinese, it is a very cool application of augmented reality. You just point the camera at the text and it displays English overlaid onto the camera display.
 

4ssss

Registered
Registered
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
721
Google translate app for your phone can use your camera to read Chinese, it is a very cool application of augmented reality. You just point the camera at the text and it displays English overlaid onto the camera display.
Nice. Thank you for the tip.
 

matthewsx

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
1,577
I get why you are saying this,but if you can see it from my point of view for the sake of argument. When I buy say for instance a Mitotoyo test indicator from Aliexpress or Ebay, I pay about three to four times less for it that I would have here in my country. Therefore I hardly buy anything for the shop localy anymore,wich is actually sad,but I don't have a choice really. Availability is also an issue sometimes. You don't have to buy brand names with everything, it depends on what the tool is.
If you're buying a Mitotoyo test indicator for 1/3 or 1/4 of the regular price it's probably counterfeit. It might work fine but if I'm taking my chances with a low cost tool from an unknown supplier I'll skip paying the premium price for branding that's likely suspect. Many local supply houses do carry Chinese tools for close to what you pay online, it's worthwhile to check what they have available IMHO.

John
 

aliva

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
576
I've bought more items from Aliexpress than Banggood. Generally reasonable quality. I will not purchase any of their electronics, as I'm concerned about future service and or warranty claims. Would be rather difficult to return items to China. China post has lost one of the items I ordered from Aliexpress. I contacted Ali, they said it arrived in the destination country, and gave me tracking #. Contacted Canada post they advised the # was international and they couldn't help. Contacted China Post they said it's in Vancouver Canada. So lost some ware, never did get it. Fortunately it was only worth about $10.00. I bought a watch from Banggood. It wasn't functioning when I received it, complained to Banggood, they advised to contact the seller, was advised it was out of warranty, all thought warranty card said it covered for 1 year. I asked them were I could at least sent it for service, never got an reply. I'll stick Aliexpress.
 

Suzuki4evr

Registered
Registered
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,003
If you're buying a Mitotoyo test indicator for 1/3 or 1/4 of the regular price it's probably counterfeit. It might work fine but if I'm taking my chances with a low cost tool from an unknown supplier I'll skip paying the premium price for branding that's likely suspect. Many local supply houses do carry Chinese tools for close to what you pay online, it's worthwhile to check what they have available IMHO.

John
I get that you might think it is counterfeit, but it really is smooth and good quality, and have two of them and they are performing perfectly sofar, so IMHO I think the one I got is authentic, box and all. But yes a while ago I purchased one that LOOKED like Mitotoyo,but closeup it says "Miloloyo" :big grin: ,but I knew that when I purchased it. But you are right in the sense that you must be careful to purchase something thinking it is authentic and just may be a dud.
 

MontanaLon

Registered
Registered
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
662
For the record, the widely advertised and available $250 dividing head with accessories from China is a thing of beauty.
Yes it is. And the DRO is as well. My one shot lube pump works like a charm too.

I'm not saying the products are not nice, just that I would rather be supporting my neighbor before supporting a communist dictatorship.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Winegrower

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2014
Messages
696
Yes, MontanaLon...but my neighbors, who maybe could make low volume consumer/ hobby stuff, don’t. They write software for social media companies, do virtual reality systems, fix my plumbing, make rocket ship parts, etc.

Before we can buy locally, somebody needs to make locally. I don’t see business plans getting funded where the big idea is to make product same as the imports but at integer multiples of price.

I do not see much of this business ever coming back until Asian wages rise and ours effectively shrink until an hour of skilled labor is worth the same in the competing companies. I will neglect business climate, taxes, governmental controls, etc. that of course also factor in.

My neighbors are trying for new businesses with new products.
 

Ken from ontario

H-M Supporter - Silver Member
H-M Supporter - Silver Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
1,196
There is certainly a step up in quality when going to Taiwan vs. China. Indian, I avoid if at all possible, I must have been burned a few times. Or maybe it was my pre-calc teacher that was an Indian and a complete A-hole. LOL.

Yep, the auctions are nice if you can find like you mentioned.... NOS and made in USA. Those are fun to find. ;)
I have seen a few above average quality tools from India, (DP vise, clamps) , , I'm glad to see "LOL" at the end of that sentence so I'm sure you were joking.
 

MontanaLon

Registered
Registered
Joined
Mar 15, 2019
Messages
662
Yes, MontanaLon...but my neighbors, who maybe could make low volume consumer/ hobby stuff, don’t. They write software for social media companies, do virtual reality systems, fix my plumbing, make rocket ship parts, etc.

Before we can buy locally, somebody needs to make locally. I don’t see business plans getting funded where the big idea is to make product same as the imports but at integer multiples of price.

I do not see much of this business ever coming back until Asian wages rise and ours effectively shrink until an hour of skilled labor is worth the same in the competing companies. I will neglect business climate, taxes, governmental controls, etc. that of course also factor in.

My neighbors are trying for new businesses with new products.
I'd look for that to change in the future. It will start with medical supplies, there will be laws passed mandating at minimum a certain percentage of product be manufactured domestically so we don't lose the entire manufacturing base. I think we will see it in other parts of the world as well. china may have just awakened a sleeping giant in the entire rest of the world.
 

Winegrower

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2014
Messages
696
Perhaps. I hope you are correct. Agree, the medical market is still accessible to US manufacturers. And this could get too political for us hobby machinists, so I am cutting myself off here. :)
 

Aaron_W

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
1,001
I get that you might think it is counterfeit, but it really is smooth and good quality, and have two of them and they are performing perfectly sofar, so IMHO I think the one I got is authentic, box and all. But yes a while ago I purchased one that LOOKED like Mitotoyo,but closeup it says "Miloloyo" :big grin: ,but I knew that when I purchased it. But you are right in the sense that you must be careful to purchase something thinking it is authentic and just may be a dud.
Counterfeit Mitutoyu is a thing, they have a page on their company page mentioning it.

Here is a video showing some ways to identify a real one from a fake.

 

Suzuki4evr

Registered
Registered
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,003
I am just not going to strip my analog DTI to check if it is fake,too much hassle and chance of it not working when I am done after it worked perfectly well, but you made your point and there is always someone out the tho scam us out of our hard earned money. Thanks for the chat Aaron.

Michael
 

Aaron_W

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
1,001
I am just not going to strip my analog DTI to check if it is fake,too much hassle and chance of it not working when I am done after it worked perfectly well, but you made your point and there is always someone out the tho scam us out of our hard earned money. Thanks for the chat Aaron.

Michael
If it works it works. It sounds like some of the fakes are still pretty good and so long as you didn't pay brand name prices then what are you out?


I recently decided to upgrade from the cheap digital caliper I started out with and Mitutoyo seems to be rated very highly for digital devices. When I started shopping I was surprised to find out counterfeit Mitutoyo was such an issue. I knew about the "off brands" Mitetoyo and such, but had no idea there were actual counterfeits that put quite a bit of effort into trying to look the part.
 

MrWhoopee

H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter Gold Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
1,650
I do not see much of this business ever coming back until Asian wages rise and ours effectively shrink until an hour of skilled labor is worth the same in the competing companies. I will neglect business climate, taxes, governmental controls, etc. that of course also factor in.
Most of us are old enough to remember when Japanese products were the cheap stuff that was stealing American jobs, then Taiwan, now China and India. As the labor force matures expectations (then wages) rise. The workers want to be able to buy the products they are making. Production then moves to the next cheap source of labor. The pool of available labor is huge in China and India, but the same forces are at work.

[/RantMode=On]
The thing that is frequently overlooked is that automation is taking those jobs too, probably in greater numbers. The product that used to require the labor of 5 people in the U.S. now requires the labor of 1 person and several robots in China. This eliminates all of the messy complications and expenses associated with human workers, and it's much easier to move automated production than to train a new workforce. Here in the U.S., ongoing automation has been continuously reducing the requirement for skilled labor, resulting in the long-term wage stagnation we have experienced over the last 30 or 40 years. We are now at the point where semi-skilled jobs that cannot be off-shored are being automated. In the world of the average consumer, it started with ATM machines. Now it is self-checkout at big box and grocery stores. Coming soon (already here in some places) are ordering kiosks at fast-food places.

For myself, I have never used an ATM. In the beginning this was not an ethical/moral decision, it was just a simple way to control my spending. When self-checkout appeared at HD, I loved it, being able to get out the door much more quickly. Having since recognized the long-term implications, I no longer use them. I recently found myself in HD, needing some small item. When I got to the checkout, the only manned register was the contractor checkout and it had a long line. I put my item down on one of the self-checkouts, drove to Lowes and bought it there. I emailed HD corporate and told them of my experience, pointing out that when all of the jobs have been eliminated the computers that took those jobs will not be shopping in their stores. I'm sure it fell on deaf ears.
[/RantMode=Off]
 
It can take up to an hour for ads to appear on the page. See our code implementation guide for more details. If you already have Auto ad code on your pages there's no need to replace it with this code
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock