Key Takeaways

  • For beginners: EasyEDA, KiCad, Inkscape

  • For professionals: Altium Designer, Mentor Graphics Expedition, Cadence Allegro PCB Designer

  • Consider: Features, ease of use, support, cost

Free PCB Design Software Options

Free PCB design software offers a range of features to meet diverse user needs. Beginners seeking a user-friendly interface may prefer EasyEDA, while professionals requiring advanced capabilities will find Altium Designer a comprehensive solution.

1. EasyEDA

  • Ideal for beginners with its simple interface

  • Cloud-based, allowing for easy collaboration

  • Includes a library of components and footprints

  • No installation required, accessible via a web browser

2. KiCad

  • Open-source and free software with a growing community

  • Supports advanced features like hierarchical designs

  • Requires some technical knowledge for full utilization

  • Plugins and extensions extend its functionality

3. Inkscape

  • Primarily a vector graphics editor, can also create simple PCBs

  • Suitable for designing small, single-layer PCBs

  • Easy to learn and use, with a focus on visual editing

  • Lacks advanced electrical design capabilities

Professional PCB Design Software

Professional PCB design software offers comprehensive features and support for complex projects. While these options may require a learning curve, they provide a robust platform for advanced design and manufacturing.

4. Altium Designer

  • Industry-leading software with a wide range of features

  • Used by professionals in various industries

  • Includes a powerful schematic editor, board layout, and simulation capabilities

  • Supports complex designs with multi-layer PCBs and HDI boards

5. Mentor Graphics Expedition

  • Another professional software with advanced capabilities

  • Supports high-speed and RF designs

  • Offers a comprehensive set of tools for design, simulation, and analysis

  • Used by engineers in automotive, aerospace, and consumer electronics

6. Cadence Allegro PCB Designer

  • A powerful tool for complex PCB designs

  • Includes advanced features for high-speed and EMI analysis

  • Supports collaborative design environments

  • Used by engineers in a wide range of industries

Factors to Consider

When selecting free PCB design software, consider the following factors:

  • Features: Identify the specific capabilities required for your projects.

  • Ease of Use: Choose software with an intuitive interface if you’re a beginner.

  • Support: Look for software with active community support or professional assistance.

  • Cost: While free software offers significant value, some professional tools may require a subscription or purchase.


Choosing the best free PCB design software depends on your needs and experience level. For beginners, EasyEDA and KiCad offer a user-friendly platform, while professionals can leverage the advanced features of Altium Designer, Mentor Graphics Expedition, or Cadence Allegro PCB Designer. Consider the factors discussed to make an informed decision that supports your PCB design journey.

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