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KiCAD vs Eagle – A Comprehensive Comparison of PCB Design Tools

Are you looking for the best PCB design tool to bring your electronics projects to life? If so, then you’ve likely come across two of the most popular options: KiCAD vs Eagle. But which one should you choose?

In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive comparison of KiCAD vs Eagle so that you can decide which is right for your project. We will discuss their features, pricing, ease of use, customer support and more. So read on if you want to find out which PCB design tool is better suited for your needs.

Table of Contents

What is KiCAD?

KiCAD
KiCAD

KiCAD is an open source, PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design tool. It is a free PCB layout design software that allows users to design their own circuit boards with ease. KiCAD has an active community of users who provide support and assistance. Its key features include the following:

  • A schematic editor with a graphical editor suited for the creation and editing of electronic schematics.
  • A PCB layout editor.
  • 3D viewer for effective visualization. It further helps in noting down any potential collisions and conflicts between components.
  • Component libraries include 3D models, footprints, and symbols.
  • Design Rule Checking that counterchecks designs against user-defined rules.
  • Gerber-file generation to meet PCB manufacturing standards.
  • Cross-platform compatibility. It works on Linux, MacOS, and Windows.

What is EAGLE?

EAGLE
EAGLE

EAGLE (Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor) is a professional-grade software package used for PCB design. It has been in the market for more than two decades and is widely used by hobbyists, engineers, and even large corporations for PCB design. Its key features include the following:

  • A schematic editor.
  • A PCB layout editor.
  • Component libraries are pre-built and customizable for the user.
  • Design Rule Checking. Automated design rule checks to guarantee design constraints are met by the layout.
  • Simulation. Users can carry out simplified electrical simulations that can assist in analyzing circuit behaviors.
  • CAM processor. CAM is an acronym for Computer-Aided Manufacturing, which is a processor that can create industry-standard Gerber files. This is a prerequisite for PCB manufacturing.
  • Cross-platform compatibility. EAGLE works effectively across different platforms including, Linux, MacOS, and Windows.

Eagle vs. KiCAD – What is the Difference?

Eagle and KiCAD are two of the most popular printed circuit board (PCB) and electronic circuit design tools available today. While both platforms offer a range of features and capabilities, they have distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on your purpose. To help you make the best design decision for your project, let’s take a comprehensive look at KiCAD vs Eagle:

Cost
While KiCAD is open-source software that anybody can use for free, EAGLE is a commercial variant that one has to pay for. Nonetheless, you can get a free version of EAGLE, which is limited in functionalities. 

User Interface
Both platforms have unique user interfaces. The choice of which one to use depends on personal preferences. According to users and experts, EAGLE has a more modernized interface, while KiCAD has a dated version. 

Library Availability
EAGLE has a longer history and a larger user base. On the other hand, KiCAD has a growing library but allows users to create their personalized libraries too. 

Cross-Platform Support
Both platforms work in multiple operating systems, which makes them accessible to different sets of users. 

Development and Updates
As KiCAD is an open-source tool, it depends on a community of contributors for updates and development. On the flip side, EAGLE is a commercial version maintained and updated by its parent company Autodesk. 

Community and Support
EAGLE relies on a large user community with numerous forums, resources, and tutorials for users. While KiCAD also has a widespread community, it is not to the extent EAGLE has.

Is KiCAD Better than EAGLE?

KiCAD vs Eagle are popular PCB design tools, and each has unique advantages. While KiCAD has a strong open-source community and easy-to-use design tools, EAGLE offers powerful capabilities and a wide components library. 

Is KiCAD Better than EAGLE
Is KiCAD Better than EAGLE

So, which one should you choose? Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs and project. To help you choose KiCAD vs Eagle, here’s a comprehensive comparison: 

Cost
EAGLE needs a paid subscription while you can use KiCAD for free.

User Interface
This will vary depending on a specific individual. While KiCAD has a more conventional interface, EAGLE’s interface is modernized. 

Functionality
The specific needs of your project will determine whether the functionality features of KiCAD or those of EAGLE suit you best. 

Community and Support
While KiCAD has a vibrant open-source community, EAGLE equally has an extensive network with dedicated customer care support. 

Ecosystem and Integration
Check on how well the software you pick integrates with other tools within your workflow. Depending on your current tools, KiCAD or EAGLE may be a better option.

Which Software is Best for PCB Design?

When analyzing KiCAD vs Eagle, there are several factors to focus on, including the cost, user interface, and features. KiCAD and EAGLE are two of the most popular software programs used for printed circuit board (PCB) design. Both offer a variety of features and allow you to make complex designs. But which one should you choose?

KiCAD vs Eagle are both tools for designing PCBs, and which one is best for you depends on your needs and preferences. KiCAD is an excellent choice if you prefer open-source options or have a tight budget. On the other hand, if you already know how to use EAGLE or need more advanced features, then it might also be worth considering.

Which PCB Design Software is The Best

How to Choose the Best PCB Design Software?

Choosing a PCB layout software, like is the case for KiCAD vs Eagle will depend on the following factors:

  • Features and functionality. The software you choose should meet your design needs.
  • Ease of use. Check on the user interface and ensure it’s easy to use. Good software should be user-friendly and make the design process a breeze.
  • Integration and compatibility. The software should be compatible with your OS and work well with file formats within that industry. Integration with other tools within your design workflow should also be a factor to consider.
  • Design Rule Checks and Simulation. The software you pick should easily spot errors and meet industry standards. It should equally support simulation features such as thermal analysis, signal integrity analysis, among others.
  • The availability of component part and libraries. The software you choose should have an extensive library.
  • Support and community. The tool should have a robust community and customer support network to assist you when stuck.
  • Licensing and price. Consider the price and licensing to ensure that it resonates with your needs and budget.
  • Reviews and recommendations. This can guide you on how to use the tools or whether they will fit your needs.

Conclusion

It’s clear that KiCAD vs Eagle are powerful PCB design tools, but they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, choosing KiCAD vs Eagle depends on your needs and preferences. 

If you find yourself stuck in choosing one over the other, it may be wise to consult IBE, which specializes in helping companies select the right software for their projects. With IBE’s expert advice and years of experience, you can trust them to provide unbiased recommendations tailored to your specific requirements. So if you’re looking for help deciding which tool best suits your project – contact us today!

FAQ

KiCAD is an open source, PCB (Printed Circuit Board) design tool. It is free software that allows users to design their own circuit boards with ease. KiCAD has an active community of users who provide support and assistance.

EAGLE (Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor) is a professional-grade software package used for printed circuit board (PCB) design. It has been in the market for more than two decades and is widely used by hobbyists, engineers, and even large corporations for PCB design.

KiCAD vs Eagle are popular PCB design tools, and each has unique advantages. While KiCAD has a strong open-source community and easy-to-use design tools, EAGLE offers powerful capabilities and a wide components library.

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