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Tools Review: The 10 Best PCB Design Solutions

PCB design solutions are software tools that automate many of the tasks that EDEs previously performed manually over the course of designing an electronic circuit. There are variety of tools available for you so making a decision which solution to use can be a challenge. To make your decision easier, we have reviewed different tools and listed below the 10 Best PCB Design Solutions available in the marketplace today.

1. Zenit PCB
This is the ideal PCB design tool for students, individuals and semi-pros. It's free. Overall, it’s a great, simple and easy to use PCB design tool to get you started designing circuits fast.

2. FreePCB
This is a free and open source PCB design editor. On the plus side, FreePCB is open source and was written for Microsoft Windows. On the down side, to get it to run on Linux or Macintosh computers requires Wine for Linux, or VirtualPC for Macs. While its source code is copyrighted, FreePCB was released under the GNU General Public License (version 2 or later).

3. TinyCAD
This is a basic electronic circuit drawing solution that's supported by extensive symbol libraries to facilitate PCB layout tasks. What's nice about this tool is that you can use it as front end to other PCB layout tools. It also has the ability to check for design circuit flaws.

4. Osmond PCB
This is a PCB design solution for Mac computers. It has an excellent spatial resolution of 10 nanometers. It's easy to use in metric or imperial units. And its editing tools makes it easy to design and tweak your circuits. It's free for small projects yet inexpensive for larger ones.

5. BSch3V
This is a schematic capture tool for use on Windows Vista/7/8. It's the third generation of Suigyodo's schematic capture software. It's a basic schematic editor and can't handle complex tasks. It's free. For a basic tool, the price is right.

6. ExpressPCB
This is a basic PCB design and layout tool that's easy to install, easy to learn, and easy to use. It can work with multilayer PCBS up to 4 layers. It's a great tool for rapid prototyping and small production runs.

7. Kicad
This is an open source software suite containing programs for Schematic Capture, PCB Layout and Gerber file output. It has more horsepower than a basic schematic capture tool and it is specifically designed for multiple tasks needed in Electronic Design Automation. It can handle PCB layouts up to 32 layers and even includes a 3D viewer so you can review your design with rotate and pan inspection capabilities.

8. gEDA
This is a comprehensive Electronic Design Automation suite and toolkit that runs on Linux. It's free and capable of performing schematic capture, attribute management, BOM generation, analog and digital simulation, and PCB layout.

9. Fritzing
This is PCB layout tool that is uniquely supported by a community website and services for teaching electronics. It is meant to be a creative platform that's easy to use and has similarities to Processing and Arduino.

10. DesignSpark PCB
DesignSpark PCB is a very popular, easy-to-learn schematics capture and PCB layout tool for electronic design automation. It has a broad range of users from students to professional EDEs. It is free and can create 3D views so you can to visualize your design in real time.

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