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8 Best PCB Design Software You Can Try in 2020

To achieve your unique design, handy PCB design software is essential. Here listed 8 PCB design software you could try in 2020, which includes free and paid ones, in random order.


“Best Free Software for PCB Layout”

A free open-source (GPL) software for schematic and printed circuit board design, originally launched by French Jean-Pierre Charras in 1992, it is now maintained by the KiCAD developer team.

There is too much software available on the market, but you can hardly find a PCB design software like KiCAD that has almost all the features and is free, and regularly provides updates for new features.

It is the best choice to explore design skills. Compared with other PCB design software, it has many design compatibility features, such as DRC settings, impedance calculation, easy-to-set layer stacking functions, and many other free features.

KiCAD is compatible with Windows and Linux systems, and its simple graphical interface will help you get started faster.


“PCB Design Anytime, Anywhere”


Integrated PCB design software for schematic capture, SPICE circuit simulation (based on Ngspice) and PCB layout. Other features include creating BOM, Gerber files, and pick-and-place files.

Because it is based on web browsers, no installation is required, so users can start designing anytime, anywhere, without system restrictions. The online nature of EasyEDA also means that it provides cloud storage and updates are automatic.

Because the user interface is simple and easy to use, this PCB design software is good for students and beginners.


“One of the Best PCB Design Software on The Market”

ExpressPCB for PCB design

It has a very user-friendly interface and fully feature-support, and the price is affordable.

ExpressPCB allows copying and pasting between multiple instances of the application, providing a simple and fast interface for working with multiple modules at the same time.

However, there is currently no support for automatic routing, and it is difficult to perform complex multi-layer design at the same time, so it is more suitable for beginners.


“The Choice of 80% of Chinese PCB Factories”

Supports complete PCB design process, including import from the schematic netlist, interactive layout, and routing driven by rules, DRC / DFT / DFM verification, and analysis, until the final production file (Gerber), assembly file and BOM output, which ensure PCB engineers can complete design tasks efficiently.

PADS is also easy to learn and use, which is one of the reasons why it is widely used, but the price of PADS is more expensive, making it difficult to appear in the personal designer’s device.


“Easy to Use for Schematic Capture”

OrCAD is an ancient PCB design software whose development dates back to the 1980s, but this does not prevent it from providing up-to-date schematic capture support. One major aspect that distinguishes OrCAD from low-end PCB design software is the PSpice add-on, which enables full circuit simulation.

Compared to entry-level software, Orcad does require considerable effort to learn, but if you are proficient, OrCAD will save a lot of your time.
Is Orcad out of date? Different people, different views. That’s true it does lack support for 3D, and its multi-window operation is slightly more complicated.


“The Standard of Industrial Design”

Allegro Series PCB Design Software

Allegro provides powerful support to meet the needs of any industrial design. Its strict design specifications allow you to avoid exporting any design errors. It is one of the top choices for PCB design software from Apple, Cisco, Huawei, and other giants, recognized as NO.1 high-end PCB design software.

Allegro series software is not only powerful in PCB design but also provides excellent support in the design front end and manufacturing end. If you are proficient in this, it can provide faster design speed and better design quality than other software, and of course, the high price of Cadence software makes it only appear in the list of large companies.


“Best PCB Design Software for Learning”

Autodesk Eagle

Eagle enables printed circuit board (PCB) designers to seamlessly connect schematics, component placement, PCB routing, and Gerber export.
It is simple and easy to understand, suitable for multilayer single-sided and double-sided panels, probably the best entry software for beginners and hobbyists with a limited budget.

Eagle is currently widely used in many large communities, so you can share and collect opinions from others, which will provide you with a richer component library and experience.

Since there are fewer options in the command bar, Eagle’s operation may be slightly more complicated. And its basic features still need to be improved, there is still a long road to go before becoming a professional-level PCB design software.

Nowadays, Eagle has been acquired by Autodesk, it is believed that it will have great progress in the future.


Altium Designer

“Widely Use Professional PCB Design Software”

Altium Designer

Established PCB design software has been the first choice of circuit designers for decades. Its strong ease of use and compatibility make it a teaching tool, and some schools also have special learning courses.

AD integrates all the features you can think of and provides a one-stop PCB design solution. It is the PCB design software that most circuit designers have ever contacted or are using.

For small and medium-sized companies, AD and PADS are both the best choices.

For small projects below 1-6 layers, AD performs perfectly, but when it comes to the complex high-speed circuits, AD may not be able to enter the preferred list. Moreover, AD requires special hardware configuration, in the lower configuration, the 3D performance is limited.


In Summary

The above is the PCB design software we recommend to try in 2020. Of course, there is much other excellent software, they are not here only because of the space limitation.

The above list can cover almost all levels of requirements. If you have more questions or additional suggestions, please feel free to contact us. PS Electronics is a veteran PCB manufacturer and assembler that can turn your excellent design into high-quality mass production at any time.

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