Buyer's Guide for Top PCB Design Software

Found our list of PCB Design Software helpful? We’re here to help you make the right choice and automate your business processes. Let’s discover some of the essential factors that you must consider to make a smarter decision!

Buyers Guide Content

  1. What is PCB Design Software?
  2. Major Features of PCB Design Software
  3. Benefits of PCB Design Software
  4. Key Factors to Consider when Buying PCB Design Software
  5. Top 5 PCB Design Software

What is PCB Design Software?

Electronic engineers use PCB design software to create circuit board layouts. Engineers use this application to collaborate on design projects, retrieve circuit board component designs from PCB libraries, and check circuit schematic designs.

Engineering businesses and teams who are involved in product development are most likely to use PCB design software. Product and machine design software, as well as general-purpose CAD software, frequently include PCB design modules.

Major Features of PCB Design Software

  1. Ready to use: PCB software is easy to use and set up. An oscillator, a serial connection interface, a burner, an LED, a microcontroller, and a 5V regulator are all included on this circuit board. One doesn’t have to think about the connection when developing with these components. Simply plug it into a USB port on your computer and you're done!
  2. Reliability: For both simple and complicated electronic applications, PCB design software boards are more dependable. The output and input ports are already soldered on this board.
  3. Interface customization: This feature of PCB design software makes editing more convenient. In fact, there is no better way to edit models than with PCBs. It also makes arranging software tools for accessibility a lot easier.
  4. Open-source hardware: Open-source hardware feature in PCB design software allows designers to build electronics projects. A variety of digital and analog pins are available on this circuit board.
  5. Collaboration: Collaboration tools are among the most important components in PCB design software. PCB designers often need to collaborate on the same board in real-time using collaboration tools. Users can make edits to a design and leave comments and feedback.
  6. 2D&3D Visualization: Most PCB design software includes 2D schematics as well as full 3D representations of PCBs. Users can use 3D computer-aided design to alter components. This feature allows designers to quickly see errors in 2D schematics and it provides a realistic image of the finalized printed circuit board.
  7. Component Library: Users can access prebuilt components through component libraries. This feature allows users to select portions of a PCB design from a library rather than having to create each component from scratch.
  8. Autorouting: Routing is the process of connecting wires on PCBs from one component to the next. Some best PCB design software connects circuit board points automatically. Users need to select the nets they want to connect, and the router will do the rest.

Benefits of PCB Design Software

  1. Reduced design complexity: The most important advantage of PCB design software is that it reduces design complexity. Users have the option to design circuits on multiple-layer or single-layer boards with many components using industry-standard notations, schematics, and dimensions.
  2. Reduction in turn-around-time (TAT): The majority of PCB designer software includes simple interfaces and electrical templates that are used by designers to reduce production timelines and time to market at the time of product launch. Engineers may easily select and put electronic components in any 3D environment, or switch between diverse designs to find the best model.
  3. Cost-cutting in manufacturing: PCB design software helps save money on production expenditures on physical prototypes. Rapid virtual prototyping helps manufacturers to dedicate their efforts and resources to a cost-effective, ideal model for the final product.
  4. Design error minimization: Electronics design software detects faults and validates electrical and physical design standards such as separation, gap and trace widths, and layout. It indicates flaws at each stage of the design process so that users may act fast; also, the software allows users to compare the finished design to the original schematic for consistency.
  5. Save time & money: Industrialists get a chance to design the board online, test it in a virtual environment, and have it double-checked before ordering a prototype to use. Since the software helps in the reduction of complexities, they spend less time in the design back and forth. Thus, PCB layout software allows for saving both time and money.

Key Factors to Consider when Buying PCB Design Software

If someone is planning to buy a PCB design software, he should look for certain essential factors, which are listed below:

  1. Essential features: When it comes to high-end design software, features are crucial. It's pointless to invest in software that lacks the features that organizations will need to expand and succeed in the business. They will need to delve deep and make a list of all the features they would want and need, as well as features they'll require as the business grows.
  2. Customization: Due to the adaptability of printed circuit boards, circuit designers must be able to customize the software to develop effective circuit boards. This is only achievable if PCB design software can be adjusted and adapted to the circuit designer's current project. They need to also think about the software's scalability because their clientele is likely to grow in the future.
  3. Cost: Finding affordable PCB design software is a must. However, one should be able to balance pricing and requirements. When it comes to design, organizations shouldn't compromise on quality or productivity to save money.
  4. Easy-to-use: What should users keep an eye out for? While using PCB design software, one should be able to integrate and start designing right away with user-friendly modules.
  5. Schematic editor: The schematic editor is found in every top PCB design software. On a schematic page, this feature allows users to create and edit components, graphical items, and electrical objects.
  6. Design rule check: PCB design software frequently includes a number of design rule checking features. Users can utilize this function to spot design flaws that cause power integrity, signal integrity, and EMI/EMC problems. Simulation tests are frequently used to check design rules.

Top 5 PCB Design Software

  • Altium PCB Design Software: Altium designer is one of the most comprehensive PCB design software, and it's the preferred choice of engineers and designers all over the world. Altium empowers a unified design environment, unifying teams worldwide at every step of the PCB design process.
  • Autodesk PCB Design Software: Autodesk is one of the world leaders in the PCB software category that specializes in 3D design and manufacturing. With the help of Autodesk PCB design software, users can foster innovation, optimize and enhance their models, save money and time, improve product quality, communicate plans, and cooperate with others.
  • Eagle PCB Design Software: Eagle offers a user-friendly interface and a powerful schematic diagram feature. It is not free, but the cost is reasonable. It includes advanced features such as online positive and negative annotation, batch command execution script file, copper cladding, and an interactive follower. Furthermore, this software has a large library, and scripts can be utilized, as well as CAM tools.
  • Altera PCB Design Software: Altera includes an integrated design environment as well as device programming and synthesis. Users can mix and match design files to get the perfect fit for their projects. In the field of placement algorithms, Altera is a market leader. It also provides a wide range of complementary technologies, including power management.
  • Arduino PCB Design Software: Arduino PCB design software is an open-source printed circuit board that is used in electronic project development. These boards are built on software and hardware that are simple to use. They are made up of a microcontroller, which is a physically programmable board, and software. The actual board is programmed using Arduino boards.

Author: Kalpana Arya

Best PCB Design Software in 2022

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Autodesk Fusion 360

By Autodesk

4.5 (3 reviews)

Price On Request

Autodesk Fusion 360 is a 3D designing software that offers sketching tools for helping engineers with designing sketche... Read More About Autodesk Fusion 360

Last Updated on : 01 Oct, 2022

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FAQs About PCB Design Software

Altium, Autodesk, Altera, Eagle, KiCad EDA, Proteus, and Fusion 360 are some of the best software for PCB designing.

KiCad, OrCAD, PCB Artist, DipTrace and PartSim are some of the easiest online PCB design software for designers.

Altium Designer, OrCAD, Pulsonix, CS Eagle, KiCAD, DipTrace, PCB Wizard, and Eagle can be used for PCB.

Yes, AutoCAD is used for PCB design and drawing. The PCB design is determined by the type of holes and the number of layers.

As per a few references, Apple uses Altium Designer as it allows them to undertake an advanced PCB design. However, the company has not confirmed it officially. 

Eagle, KiCAD, Fritzing, EasyEDA, and ZenitPCB are some of the most preferred professional PCB design software. 

You may create higher-quality goods at a reduced cost by using PCB design software. PCB design software supports in the reduction of production time by letting users to reuse models, leading to saving time and money.

Architects, electronic engineers, teachers, engineering students, and designers use PCB design software.

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