Designing your PCB has to be the most crucial part of an electronics engineers job. To design the layout of your PCB board you require a design software which will help you to lay out the electrical circuits. But choosing the right design software is also extremely important.
There are a lot of factors to consider before you settle for a PCB design software. You need to find out whether it will do what you need and what support is available. You need to see whether the software works best in designing a single layer, two layered or multi-layered PCB boards. Will the software be easy to use? Are there chances of error while designing? Here we will discuss the top ten PCB design software and their key features for you to choose from. (Keep in mind that these are not listed in order)
DipTrace is a PCB design software for educational and professional use. DipTrace has many features and is easily accessible. It includes an auto-router option if your design is not so complicated or you can use manual routing in designing your layout. Engineers prefer this software because of its direct circuit to board designing capabilities and its back annotate feature.
- Real-time DRC
- Shape-based auto-router
- 3D Preview and STEP export
- Multi-sheet and hierarchical schematics
- Smart manual routing tools
- Wide import and export capabilities
- DipTrace Full: $995 (unlimited pins, Unlimited signal layers)
- DipTrace Extended: $ 695 (2000 pins, 6 signal layers)
- DipTrace Standard: $ 395 (1000 pins, 4 signal layers)
- DipTrace Lite: $ 145 (500 pins, 2 signal layers)
- DipTrace Starter: $ 75 (300 pins, 2 signal layers)
PCBWeb is another design software supporting both schematics and PCB layout. It not only simplifies hardware designing but allover has some neat features and tools to help with your design. And did we mention this software is completely free?
- Route multi-layer boards with support for copper pours and DRC checking.
- Integrated Arrow Parts Catalog with Bill of Materials Manager.
- Design multi-sheet schematics with our fast and easy-to-use wiring tool.
KiCad EDA is an open source software suite for EDA (Electronic Design Automation). It has a schematic editor to create your design without limit and a 3D viewer to inspect your design. This design software is also free and easily available.
- Up to 32 copper layers
- Draw your track while KiCad pushes forward traces that are in the way or reroutes tracks around obstacles.
- Push and shove router makes sure your DRC constraints are respected
- Footprint editor (GAL)
DesignSpark is a 3D CAD modeling software. It enables users to create their files through the direct modeling approach. It is easy to use especially because of the idea to take concepts and design PCB boards and layouts. This software is also free to use but requires registration.
- Seamless integration into existing design workflows
- No limitation on the schematic size
- Use as many layers as needed for PCB designs
- The maximum size of PCB is 1m x 1m
- Create your own parts models in the library editor or access the ready-to-use embedded libraries
- Prepare unrestricted Gerber and ODB++ files to order PCBs or let Design Spark’s PCB quote service build it for you
Autodesk Eagle is a powerful and easy-to-use PCB design and schematic software used for its rich yet simple interface. It has intuitive PCB layout tools and easily accessible library content.
- Easy-to-use schematic editor.
- Use of routing engine to speed through complex layouts with modern PCB routing tools
- Modular design blocks
- Escape ball grids arrays in seconds.
Cost: Free trial available
- EAGLE Standard Subscription: $15/month or $100/year
- EAGLE Premium Subscription: $65/month or $500/year
CircuitMaker is an EDA software for PCB designing. It has an identical schematic capture and design as Altium Designer. It has a number of features to create diverse designs. It is also available free of cost.
- Ability to design high-quality schematics and PCBs
- Includes a community of creative workers to help invent and promote projects
- Allows for collaboration on designs
ExpressPCB is a PCB design software that has an incredible user-interface. It is easy to learn and is especially useful for beginners. You can benefit from the online community and get help in creating your designs. It is also available free of cost.
- Available for XP, Vista, and Windows (7, 8.1, 10)
- Fully functional and has a standardized user interface
- Design two to four layer boards
- Allows instant quotes
- check allows you to check for problems before the manufacturing process
EasyEDA is a cloud-based EDA software. It is easy to use and helps designers create their own designs as prototypes. It is suitable for all users. There is a single platform for all the PCB manufacturing process and it has an open source library. It is available for free.
- online PCB design
- Powerful PCB layout with libraries of schematic components, PCB footprints and packages.
- Import PCB and Schematic files from Eagle, Altium, KiCad and LTspice
- Create PCB designs with multiple layers and pads
Proteus is an intuitive PCB design software. It has several modules for schematic capture and PCB layout. It has a shaped auto-router, and allows 3D visualization, automatic net tuning, and a powerful design rule system.
- Nearly 800 microcontroller variants for simulation from schematic
- Professional PCB layout and designing
- Complete functionality with a clean user interface
- Proteus PCB Design Level 1: $248 (500 pins)
- Proteus PCB Design Level 1: $487 (1000 pins)
- Proteus PCB Design Level 1: $652 (2000 pins)
- Proteus PCB Design Level 2+: $982 (1000 pins)
- Proteus PCB Design Level 2+: $1642 (2000 pins)
- Proteus PCB Design Level 2+: $2022 (unlimited pins)
NI Multisim is a circuit design software for analog, digital, and power electronics and in the research sector. It integrates industry standards SPICE stimulation and has an intuitive interface. It can be used for education as circuits teaching application and can be used by engineers for analysis and PCB prototype designing.
- analyze analog, digital and power electronics
- integration with embedded targets
- Simplified design
- Over 6000 new components from leading manufacturers
- Multisim Base Edition for Windows: $1,617
- Multisim Full Edition for Windows: $2,826
- Multisim Power Pro Edition for Windows: $4,186
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