pcb assembly cost estimator

How to Determine and Cut Down on PCB Assembly Cost


Do you want to design the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) for your next electronic products? Have you considered your budget because that is one factor that will influence the outcome of the design?

Indeed, many electronics makers are having difficulties in determining the manufacturing cost estimation for PCB assembly. We believe you are having the same challenge.

If so, you have come to the right place. We have the details of all you need to know about PCB assembly cost. So, read on to learn all you need to know about finding out the actual cost of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) you want to design.

What Affects the PCB Assembly Cost?

You shouldn’t be looking for ways to reduce the cost of designing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) without finding out the factors involved.

The first step will be to determine or find out the factors that affect or contribute to the cost of assembling PCBs. It is when you understand those factors that it becomes possible for you to unearth the ways to control the spending cap.

Without much ado, here are some of the primary factors that contribute to increments in the cost of assembling Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs):

1. Component Placement

By now, you know that there are many types of PCB components. Each of them has different ways they aid in the functioning of the board.

Of course, the type of placement that the components receive will either reduce or increase the costs of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

Understandably, you are wondering which component placement can save you some costs. We have an idea of the ones that will do that.

Here they are:

  • Double-sided PCB assembly
  • Top layer PCB assembly

2. Components Package

What are the properties of the components? The package also has a role to place in determining the price of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

Out of the entire five and more components package, the one you should prioritize the most is the reels.

Aside from the reels, here are the other properties of the components that can influence the PCB assembly cost:

  • Loose in a bag
  • Tube
  • Cut strip
  • Tray

3. Special Parts

Depending on the PCB needs, you may require additional parts. If that is the case, the special part preparation requirements are another factor that can influence the cost of the PCB.

Here are some of those special parts that can increase the PCB assembly cost:

  • Spacing
  • Lead length
  • Height min/max

4. Testing Requirements

Some Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturers are in the business because of the last-mile testing they offer. In most cases, these manufacturers offer testing requirements designed to help you check if the board is working as it should.

Here are some of the aspects of the PCB that are tested:

  • Thermal cycling
  • Power up
  • In-Circuit Test (ICT)

Aside from the above, there are many other ways of checking for low cost PCB assembly. Here are some of them:

  • Compliance of the designed Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with the assembly requirements.
  • The entire cost of the Bill of Materials (BOM)
  • Shipping and delivery costs
  • The processes used in the designing phase. Some of the popular processes are hand solder, Through Hole auto inspection, general assembly, Surface Mount Technology (SMT) pick and place. Others are wave solder, selective solder, and Through Hole slide line.

How Much Does PCB Assembly Cost?

PCB manufacturing and assembly cost

What is the cost of designing and manufacturing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB)? This is an important question to ask because you may budget for less if you were not aware.

The first thing you should have in mind is that there is no specific cost of designing and manufacturing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB). Instead, the price of the board tends to vary depending on the specifications.

That notwithstanding, we have some tips to inspire you. The placeholder you should be budgeting with is between $10 and $50.

We must mention that the above PCB assembly cost isn’t always tenable because different manufacturers have different price tags. Also, the estimated cost above doesn’t include the costs of setting up or designing the board to the fullest.

How Much Does Advanced Circuits Cost for PCB Assembly?

Like the cost of PCB assembly, you may not fully dictate the overall or final cost of the advanced circuits. And like the PCB assembly too, you can always find a placeholder to inspire you.

After thorough research, we figured out that the actual cost of the advanced circuits for PCB assembly is determined in many ways. You are looking at the number of boards and the turnaround time.

Ideally, if you have more Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) to be designed, the cost may vary. The same applies to the number of advanced circuits that will be used on the board.

Having considered that, you must understand that some price tags must be considered when you want to design an advanced circuit. For example, it can cost as high as $300 to design a single 2 layer advanced circuits board.

What Is the Average Cost of Placing an SMT Component in PCB Assembly?

The Surface Mount Technology (SMT) provides an impressive outline for the design cum manufacturing of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). Hence, it must be considered when you are looking for the cost of PCB assembly.

Of course, the cost of placing the Surface Mount Technology (SMT) component on the board must be considered.

There are different ways to check the average cost of the SMT. Have in mind that the variety of options doesn’t offer a specific cost. You only have to consider them and then proceed to use the information to find the low cost PCB assembly.

Calculation 1

The first method of calculating the average cost of the Surface Mount Technology (SMT) is to compare the available placement counters against one another.

For example, you want to compare the placement number specified by the manufacturer against the number you got at the end of the placement.

Calculation 2

You can also determine the average cost of the Surface Mount Technology (SMT) when you check the number of hours.

The general rule is to find out how many SMT components were placed on the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

You don’t have to bother much about how to do that because the counter on the machine will help you check the placements in real-time.

How to Calculate PCB Assembly Cost

How can you determine, check, or calculate the actual amount you will spend to design a Printed Circuit Board (PCB)?

We advise that you check with the manufacturer. As much as the PCB industry has some guidelines and requirements, some PCB manufacturers may have a separate one.

When you check with the PCB manufacturer, you will find it easier to determine the PCB assembly cost.

The best way to uncover this cost is by using the PCB assembly cost estimator provided on many manufacturers’ websites. Also called the PCB Assembly Calculator, the estimator checks the specifications of the PCB you want and gives you the quote.

Effective Ways to Reduce PCB Assembly Cost

Do you want to learn the ways and strategies you can bank on to cut down on the costs of having your PCB designed?

While you are looking to cut down on the costs, ensure that you also consider the quality. Depending on the budget you have, the quality of the PCB may be sacrificed in exchange for lower costs.

With that in mind, we want you to understand some of the ways you can cut down on the costs of designing and manufacturing PCB at the manufacturers.

1. Prepare a Comprehensive BOM

The Bill of Materials (BOM) is an important consideration when looking to reduce the cost of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) you want to design.

As you may know, it means that the cost of the PCB correlates to the comprehensiveness of the Bill of Materials (BOM).

It is for that reason that you must consider preparing the Bill of Materials (BOM) ahead of time. Also, ensure that it is comprehensive so the PCB manufacturer will have an idea of what you expect at a glance.

Have in Mind

Do not subscribe to the opinion that making and compiling the Gerber files will take more time than the BOM would. On the contrary, you will spend more time to prepare the Bill of Materials (BOM) because that is one of the places where most mistakes are made.


Understandably, you don’t want to make the same mistakes that many others have made. Hence, you must use the tips we have offered below to prepare a comprehensive Bill of Materials (BOM) for onward upload to the PCB manufacturer’s website.

The first tip is that you should ensure that the important and relevant materials /items are included in the BOM. Some of the materials that should be on the list include but are not limited to:

  • BOM Level
  • Quantity
  • Part number
  • Footprint/points
  • Package/case
  • SMT method
  • Reference designator

2. Adjust Your Order

How many Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) do you want to be designed? The more PCBs you design, the less money you will spend.

Because of this order form, you may not always find it favorable, especially if you are looking to design only a few quantities.

For that reason, consider adjusting the order you wanted to make. To do that, ensure that you have contacted the PCB manufacturer to get important details, such as the order volumes. The order volumes have to do with the low, medium, and high order quantities that you can opt for.

Of course, different PCB manufacturers have different order quantities. For example, the low or Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) of Manufacturer A might be 100, as compared to the 200 of Manufacturer B.

3. Calculate the Lead Time

The lead time is more like the waiting time. It is the number of hours, days, and weeks that you have to wait pending the completion of your PCB design.

If you are in a hurry to get the PCB design done, long lead time may not be ideal. You will rather be aiming for the short variant.

While you are looking to calculate the lead time, you must also consider the specifications of the manufacturer. For example, some manufacturers may calculate the lead time in a way that is different from another manufacturer.

Some of the areas you can rely on when checking the lead time of the PCB design are:

  • The starting point of the lead time: When does the manufacturer start calculating?
  • The endpoint of the lead time: This is the time that the manufacture places a hold on or stops the lead time.

Hint: Some PCB manufacturers start calculating the lead time the moment you commit part or full payment for the Printed Circuit Board (PCB). Some other manufacturers start the calculation when the order for the PCB design is placed via the website.

In some other cases, the calculation of the lead time is determined by the date of delivering the components to the PCB manufacturer. It can also be calculated by the number of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) that will be designed.

Final Words

Designing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) takes time and effort on the part of the PCB manufacturer. On your part as the client, you have to provide the needed information in good time. Also, ensure that you have prepared and delivered the relevant materials that the PCB manufacturer will need to make the job a success.

Also, do your homework well to be sure that the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) project you are giving to the PCB will be feasibly delivered in a good time and in high-quality too!

Above all, the cost of the PCB design should always be placed a premium on so you can have the correct estimate to work with.

What are the factors you consider when checking the PCB assembly cost?

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