Before you start designing your PCB, you need to decide whether you will use a double-layer or a single-layer PCB. We widely use both of these in everyday electronic devices. The kind of PCB you use primarily depends on what you are using it for. If you intend to use your PCB in a complex device then you should go with double-layer and if you intend to use it in a relatively simpler device then you should go with a single-layer. The aim of this article is to explain the fundamental differences between the two and how to choose between them according to your requirements.
You can also use a double layer board which commonly has two layers. These boards have one substrate layer like the single-layer boards. However, double-layer boards have two layers of conductive metal, one on each side. We can place the components on both sides as well.
Components on one side of double-layer PCB are connected to the components on the other side by using two different methods.
Single-layer PCBs have a conductor material on one side and the components are placed on the other side. These boards have only one layer of conductive material which is mostly copper. A single-layer board has a conductive material, a substrate layer, a protective solder mask, and then the silkscreen. We mostly use these boards in simple electronic devices.
In this method, we drill small holes through the board. Then we feed the wires, known as leads, through them. After that, we solder them to the correct component.
- Surface Mounts
In this method, we solder the leads directly to the board. So, the board starts acting like the wiring surface for the components. Therefore, circuit implementation requires lesser space.
Comparison between the Single-Layer and the Double-Layer PCBs
Now we will compare these two types of PCBs by looking at their Pros and Cons.
Pros of Single-Layer PCBs
- Lower Cost
Single-layer PCBs are much simpler than double-layer PCBs. Therefore, they require fewer resources to manufacture them. Hence, they are cheaper to produce.
- Simpler Design and Production
Single-layer PCBs are simple to design and produce in comparison to the double-layer PCB. Therefore, we can design and manufacture them easily. So, we won’t need specialized equipment and skilled labor.
- High Volume
Since we can easily design and manufacture these PCBs hence we can do their mass production without facing any issues. This will further decrease the manufacturing cost.
- Short Lead Time
Single-layer boards have an easy manufacturing process. Therefore, they have a relatively small turnover time. So, they are the right pick when we immediately need PCBs in bulk quantities.
Pros of Double-layer PCBs
- Increased Durability
Since these boards have more layers hence they are thicker. So, they are more durable in comparison to single-layer PCBs. This improved durability allows the PCBs to last longer and withstand rough conditions.
- Useful for More Complicated Projects
Complex devices that involve more components often need a double-layer PCB. The double layers ensure that you have sufficient space for placing more components and connecting them. Hence, double-layer devices are ideal for advanced devices.
- Smaller Size and Lighter Weight
Double-layer PCBs are lightweight and smaller in size. This is because layers are stacked over each other hence we can compress more components in a much tighter space. This smaller size leads to a reduction in weight.
Cons of Single-layer PCBs
- Simplistic Design
The simplistic design of single-layer PCBs is their substantial limitation. A single-layer PCB won’t suffice when we need to make complex devices. The devices will not function properly if the wires cross each other. Hence, the board should have sufficient room for accommodating everything.
- Slower Speed and Low Capacity
The speed and power of these boards are also affected by their limited number of connections. They have a low operating capacity and therefore they don’t have enough power for certain applications.
- Larger Size
If you want to improve the capacity of a single-layer PCB then you will have to increase its dimensions. If you increase the size of the board then the finished product will have an increased overall weight.
Cons of Double-layer PCBs
- Higher Costs
It is more expensive to use double-layer boards and it requires more resources. On top of that, we need skilled labor and sophisticated equipment.
- Complicated Designing and Manufacturing
It is more complicated to design and manufacture double-layer boards. So, if you lack the resources then you might face many problems throughout the manufacturing process.
- Longer Lead Times
Since double-layer boards are more complicated therefore they have a longer turnover time. If you make a mistake during the manufacturing process or if there is a flaw in the design then it will be very difficult to rework. Also, it will increase the overall cost.
- Complex Repairs
Double-layer PCBs are very reliable, however, if they get damaged then it is very difficult to repair them. This is because of their complex design. A large number of components and their connections make it very difficult to identify and fix the problem.
Deciding Between Single-Layer or Double-Layer PCBs
If you want to determine whether you should go with single-layer or double-layer PCBs, then you should consider your requirements and which type of PCB is more suited for them. You may do so by asking yourself these five questions.
- What level of functionality would I need?
You should go with double-layer PCBs if you need them for complex applications.
- What is the maximum size the board can be?
Double-layer boards have a smaller size and they have improved performance.
- Is durability a major priority?
You should go with double-layer PCBs if the answer is Yes.
- What is my budget?
If you have a modes budget then single-layer PCBs are the best choice.
- How quickly do I need the PCBs?
Single-layer PCBs have a shorter turnover time in comparison to double-layer PCBs.
MOKO Technology is a renowned name in the PCB industry. We have large manufacturing set up and we have mass production capacity. MOKO Technology specializes in manufacturing both the single-layer and double-layer PCBs. Feel free to reach out to us if you want a quote or if you have any questions.