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5 Best Places To Buy Ferric Chloride (And Which Type To Get)

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Here are the 5 best places to buy ferric chloride:

  1. Amazon: Convenience
  2. Walmart: The most variety 
  3. eBay: Lowest prices but the quality may be low 
  4. MicroMark: Pro-Etch etching solution
  5. RadioShack: PCB Etchant Solution

For most folks, etchant solution like this type found on Amazon will do the trick nicely.

Let’s explore the types of ferric chloride you can get from these places.

1. Amazon

Amazon has a few ferric chloride brands, but products are sometimes sold out. Here’s a list of some products:

2. Walmart

Walmart is a gold mine for ferric chloride because they have various prices and sizes. They have options for all budgets while still providing great value for money to those wanting to buy in bulk. Here’s more information about their brand offerings and prices.

MGchemicals

MGchemicals is the go-to brand for most people wanting ferric chloride. They’ve been making ferric chloride for decades, and their quality is second to none. MGchemicals is also one of the most affordable on the market. Here’s what you can expect to pay according to the different brands.

  • MG Chemicals Ferric chloride 1oz (29.5ml): $6.75
  • MG Chemicals Ferric Chloride 475ml (16oz): $21.99
  • MG Chemicals Ferric Chloride Copper Etchant Solution Dark Brown 945ml (32oz): $26.99
  • MG Chemicals Ferric Chloride Copper Etchant Solution 4lt (1 gallon): $54.99

Cesco Solution

Cesco Solution Ferric Chloride is an inorganic compound used to etch copper circuit boards. It is a very common etchant used in electronics, and it is inexpensive. Here’s a breakdown of the prices.

  • Cesco Solutions Ferric Chloride 32oz (946 ml): $29.99
  • Cesco Ferric Chloride (2 pack) 1 gallon (3.7 lt): $79.99

Carolina

Carolina Ferric Chloride Etching Solution is a simple and effective etchant for copper, brass, and nickel. This solution will not corrode copper or damage plastic. The solution and the etched metal can be safely disposed of down the drain. Below are the prices and sizes their ferric chloride comes in.

  • Carolina, lum, 6-Hydrate, Reagent Grade 500g (17 oz): $31.35
  • Carolina Anhydrous, Reagent Grade 100g (3 oz): $14.05

Alpha Lab 

Alpha Lab PCB Etchant 42 % is a liquid you mix with water. It makes board etching easy and fast. They offer only one size for their ferric chloride.

  • PCB Etchant 42 % 120 ml (4 oz): $14.95

If you decide to buy ferric chloride from Walmart, get the Cesco or MG chemicals brand because they offer various sizes allowing you to have more value for your money. 

3. eBay

If you do have to buy your etchant from eBay, be sure that it gives you enough information to make an informed purchase decision. The most common problem with using eBay to purchase products is that they are often sold without any brand or quality information. Therefore, it’s always good to buy your etchant from a reputable supplier.

If the seller can’t tell you what brand they’re selling or its specific gravity, you’re most likely getting an inferior product. When buying ferric chloride from a seller, make sure they can deliver to your location at a reasonable cost, so you don’t spend a lot on delivery fees. 

eBay is an excellent choice for ferric chloride because they have the product in various forms; powder and liquid. Here’s a list of ferric chloride from different sellers on eBay.

  • JCSSUPER Ferric Chloride 500g (17 oz): $17.00 
  • Iron (III) Chloride 6-Hydrate (Ferric Chloride) 5Kg: $144.05
  • Ferric Chloride Stain Remover/Cleaning Solution PCB Etching: $39.30

4. MicroMark

The Micro-Mark Pro-Etch is an etching solution containing various ferric chloride, water, and additives to protect the etching solution from unwanted contamination. You can also use it in various applications, including the etching of printed circuit boards. It is only offered in one size of 16 ounces (473ml) at $11.95.

5. RadioShack

RadioShack carries a product called “PCB Etchant Solution.” This is a clear liquid sold in 1-gallon plastic jugs. It contains ferric chloride dissolved in hydrochloric acid. It’s the same solution other companies sell for much more money, so this may be the least expensive way to buy good quality PCB etchants. 

Even though they only offer one option, it’s still good value for $13.99 for 16ounces (473ml).

Alternatives to Ferric Chloride

Copper Sulfate

If you’re looking for an alternative to ferric chloride, copper sulfate can be a reasonable yet effective option. When used for etching purposes, it’s usually mixed with table salt to activate the etch. 

Copper sulfate comes in either crystal or powder form, and like ferric acid, the prices vary according to size. Here’s a list of copper sulfates from Walmart.

  • Southern Ag 2921 1 lb (450g) Copper Sulfate Granular Crystals – Pack of 12: $54.99
  • Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate Crystals -100% Water Soluble 50 Pounds: $289.99
  • Copper Sulfate Crystals – 10 Lbs( 4.5kg).: $34.95. 1Lbs (450g): $11.05
  • Copper Sulfate Powder Pentahydrate – 5 Lbs (2kg).:$ 23.10

Hydrogen Peroxide With Muriatic Acid (Hydrochloric Acid)

A peroxide/acid mix is an excellent alternative to ferric chloride. It’s relatively strong, so you have to be more careful when using it. But it doesn’t stain as ferric chloride does, and it’s just as effective in most circumstances. Hydrogen peroxide mixed with muriatic acid will etch copper quite well. 

The other thing is that the hydrogen peroxide must be concentrated. The safest way to mix these chemicals is in a large plastic pitcher or a large glass jar with a lid. Wear gloves and safety goggles when handling these chemicals and ensure the room is well ventilated (preferably outdoors). 

When making a solution from these two ingredients, add the hydrogen peroxide to the acid; otherwise, it’ll fizz up. The resulting liquid can be kept in a closed container indefinitely until all of it is used up.

Copper Chloride With Muriatic Acid

Another option you can opt for is the copper chloride in an aqueous hydrochloric acid solution. Copper chloride dissolves in hydrochloric acid to form a green solution which will etch copper, but not brass or bronze. 

This solution is also less corrosive than ferric chloride. You can make your PCB etchant by mixing hydrochloric acid (or muriatic acid) with water and adding enough copper chloride to make it green.

For more, check out What is the Best Metal for a Sword?

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