What s The Difference Between PCB And Breadboard

Posted by

What is a PCB?

A printed circuit board (PCB) is a flat board made of insulating material, typically fiberglass or composite epoxy, with conductive copper traces etched onto its surface. These traces form the electrical connections between components mounted on the board. PCBs come in various sizes and can have multiple layers, allowing for complex circuit designs.

Advantages of PCBs

  1. Durability: PCBs are sturdy and can withstand vibrations and impacts better than breadboards.
  2. Compact size: PCBs allow for a more compact circuit design, as components can be placed close together and on both sides of the board.
  3. Reliability: The soldered connections on a PCB are more reliable and stable than the temporary connections on a breadboard.
  4. High-frequency performance: PCBs are suitable for high-frequency circuits due to their Controlled Impedance and reduced parasitic capacitance.
  5. Mass production: PCBs are designed for mass production, making them cost-effective for large-scale projects.

Disadvantages of PCBs

  1. Higher initial cost: Designing and manufacturing a custom PCB can be more expensive than using a breadboard, especially for small quantities.
  2. Modifications: Once a PCB is fabricated, making changes to the circuit is difficult and often requires a new board to be made.
  3. Longer development time: Designing and manufacturing a PCB takes more time than assembling a circuit on a breadboard.
Request PCB Manufacturing & Assembly Quote Now

What is a Breadboard?

A breadboard is a solderless prototyping board used for building and testing electronic circuits. It consists of a plastic board with numerous holes arranged in a grid pattern. These holes are connected by metal strips underneath the board, allowing components to be inserted and connected without the need for soldering.

Advantages of Breadboards

  1. Quick prototyping: Breadboards allow for quick and easy assembly of circuits, making them ideal for prototyping and experimenting.
  2. Reusability: Components can be easily removed and reused on a breadboard, making it cost-effective for testing and learning purposes.
  3. No soldering required: Breadboards eliminate the need for soldering, which can be advantageous for beginners or those who prefer not to work with soldering tools.
  4. Flexibility: Circuits can be easily modified on a breadboard by rearranging components or adding new ones.

Disadvantages of Breadboards

  1. Limited size: Breadboards are generally smaller than PCBs, which can limit the complexity and size of the circuits that can be built on them.
  2. Less reliable connections: The temporary connections on a breadboard are less reliable than soldered connections on a PCB, especially for high-frequency circuits or projects that require long-term use.
  3. Prone to errors: Incorrect component placement or loose connections on a breadboard can lead to circuit errors and malfunctions.
  4. Not suitable for permanent installations: Breadboards are primarily used for temporary prototyping and are not recommended for permanent or high-reliability applications.

Comparing PCB and Breadboard

To better understand the differences between PCBs and breadboards, let’s compare them based on various factors:

Factor PCB Breadboard
Construction Copper traces on an insulating substrate Plastic board with metal strips
Connections Soldered Temporary, push-in
Durability High Low
Reliability High Moderate
Size Can be compact Limited by board size
Flexibility Limited once fabricated High, easy to modify
Cost (small quantity) Higher Lower
Cost (large quantity) Lower Higher
Development time Longer Shorter
Suitability Permanent installations, high-reliability apps Prototyping, testing, learning

When to Use a PCB

PCBs are the preferred choice in the following scenarios:

  1. Permanent installations: When a circuit is intended for long-term use or will be installed in a device, a PCB offers better durability and reliability.
  2. High-frequency circuits: PCBs are designed to handle high-frequency signals with minimal interference and signal loss.
  3. Compact designs: If space is limited, a PCB allows for a more compact circuit layout compared to a breadboard.
  4. Mass production: For large-scale production, PCBs are more cost-effective and easier to manufacture consistently.

When to Use a Breadboard

Breadboards are the go-to option in these situations:

  1. Prototyping: When developing and testing new circuits, breadboards provide a quick and easy way to assemble and modify the design.
  2. Learning and experimentation: Breadboards are ideal for students and hobbyists who are learning electronics and want to experiment with different circuit configurations.
  3. Temporary setups: If a circuit is only needed for a short period or will be frequently modified, a breadboard is a convenient choice.
  4. Low-frequency circuits: Breadboards are suitable for low-frequency and low-speed circuits that do not require precise Signal integrity.


  1. Q: Can I directly transfer a circuit from a breadboard to a PCB?
    A: While the circuit design may be similar, transferring a circuit from a breadboard to a PCB requires additional steps, such as creating a schematic, designing the PCB Layout, and fabricating the board.

  2. Q: Are there any alternatives to breadboards for prototyping?
    A: Yes, there are other prototyping options, such as perfboards (which require soldering) and solderable breadboards (which combine the ease of breadboards with the ability to solder components for a more permanent setup).

  3. Q: Can I use a breadboard for high-voltage circuits?
    A: Breadboards are not recommended for high-voltage circuits due to the risk of arcing and the limited current-carrying capacity of the metal strips. It is safer to use a PCB or specialized high-voltage prototyping boards for such applications.

  4. Q: How do I choose between a single-layer and multi-layer PCB?
    A: The choice between a single-layer and multi-layer PCB depends on the complexity of your circuit, the required signal integrity, and the available space. Single-Layer PCBs are simpler and cheaper but may not be suitable for dense or high-speed circuits. Multi-layer PCBs offer better signal integrity and more routing options but are more expensive and complex to design.

  5. Q: Can I reuse a PCB after desoldering components?
    A: While it is possible to desolder components from a PCB and reuse the board, the process can be challenging and may damage the PCB traces or pads. It is generally more cost-effective and reliable to use a new PCB for each project.


PCBs and breadboards are both essential tools in electronic circuit design, but they serve different purposes and have distinct advantages and disadvantages. PCBs offer durability, reliability, and compact size, making them suitable for permanent installations and mass production. On the other hand, breadboards provide flexibility, quick prototyping, and ease of use, making them ideal for learning, experimentation, and temporary setups.

When deciding between a PCB and a breadboard, consider factors such as the purpose of the project, the required durability and reliability, the circuit complexity, and the available budget and time. By understanding the differences between these two tools, you can make an informed decision and choose the most suitable option for your electronic projects.