How to choose an external PCB manufacturer

Thread Starter

Dawud Beale

Joined Feb 10, 2012
Hi everyone, I am looking at taking a PCB layout design and getting it manufactured externally.

I was wondering what factors to consider when deciding on a company to manufacture your PCBs?

I have previously used PCB train when I have worked with an Electronics company. I just had a look and got a quote. The three main factors appear to be how many layers, the x,y dimensions of the PCB, and how quickly you want the PCB.

For 10 day delivery (the latest they had available) and 1 layer with a 200mm by 200mm PCB they wanted £138.92 excluding delivery.

I felt this was a little bit excessive personally.

What are some of the best options people can recommend for PCB manufacture and are there any other factors to consider such as quality of the PCB manufacture when selecting a company to build your PCB?

I take it that I am better off soldering the components on myself if I know how to use a soldering iron and have some suitable through hole components at home? They offer assembly but that just seems like its unnecessarily adding on costs unless you can't solder or there is some tricky soldering involved e.g. surface mount components.

Any advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks.


Joined Oct 15, 2009
For prototype quantities this places pricing can't be beat.. Quality is also excellent. I get all my proto boards from them and have never had an issue..
Delivery is approx 2-3 weeks since they are in China and I'm in the US..

To choose a board house, one might look at pricing, delivery, UL/ISO certifications, capacity, lead times, location,etc...
And yes if you have the skills/tools/parts then its cheaper do solder the components on yourself.


Joined Mar 16, 2016
actually, it is usually about 3-7 days deliver time via DHL, isn't it?
it is possible to get pcb in 4-6 days from China. like PCBGOGO just $13 to get 10 pcs pcb in 1 week.
it could provide 24 hours express day.normally, about 2-3 days regular production.
for shipping , there is always about 3-5 days delivery could it be 2-3 weeks?


Joined Mar 31, 2012
And yes if you have the skills/tools/parts then its cheaper do solder the components on yourself.
Note that this is assuming that your time is cheap. For hobby stuff, this is often a reasonable assumption. But if you are working a paying project (or one that is under a deadline and you have other things to do on it), then paying for assembly can be much cheaper than doing it yourself. But reading between the lines it appears that you aren't in a hurry and your time has low value (in this context).


Joined Aug 30, 2013
The first step is design rules, specifically, the smallest traces and the minimum clearance they can manufacture. Next is the layers and the finishing. Most SMD designs are at minimum 2 layers. Mine (PCB Power based in India) manufacturers upto 24 layers. 4 layer is minimum needed. Also they should be able to do the ENIG gold finishing if your board is for long term usage. Many of them do not support plated slots so watch for that if your designs incorporate that. Apart from these delivery times, promptness, communication etc will always be important.

If you are in the EU then look at Eurociruits. If you are in the US then OSH Park is awesome for small and medium runs. They are very cost effective and really good quality boards. Adafruit gets its boards done from 4pcb (now Advanced Ciruits) I think. Some other names are Seeed studio, and Sunstone PCB. Here is a list that Ladyada had compiled which is also useful:


Joined Dec 26, 2015
You could try Pcb Shopper [dot] com. Just input your requirements and choose the provider which suits you best!