Understanding PCB Pricing
By working with PCB Genius, you’re probably already saving a ton of money on your PCB prototypes. But have you ever wondered what the most important factors of PCB pricing are? It’s actually quite simple and can be broken down into 6 main factors:

1.Layer Count

This is an extremely important factor. The number of layers in a PCB is an indicator of not only the amount of labor required, but also the level of technology required. This means that 99% of the time, an 8 layer PCB will always be more expensive to manufacture than a 2-layer PCB.

2. Board Dimensions

PCB Genius doesn’t build individual boards. For the sake of automation and repeatability, our machines are setup to handle uniformly-sized “panels” of material. No matter the size of your single PCB or array, we start making it by using an 18″ x 24″ panel. Therefore, the cost of your board depends heavily on how many pieces we can fit on a panel. The beauty of PCB Genius is that you only pay for the space you use, not for the whole entire panel. This allows us to offer quantities as low as 1. The figure below illustrates how a quantity of 12  4×5″ PCBs would fit onto a standard PCB panel.

PCB Genius Board Dimensions

3. Material

The type of materials used in your PCB is also very important. This includes the material of the board as well as the surface finish, soldermask color, and legend color. Gold is worth more than tin, which is why ENIG surface finish will be more expensive than Tin/Lead solder. Even the color of your PCB can definitely affect the final cost of manufacturing. The most common PCB has green soldermask and a legend, so that’s the most readily available option found in any given PCB factory. So if your board design absolutely requires a white soldermask and a hot pink legend, be prepared to pay more for that deviation.

4. Quantity

As you probably already know, quantity influences PCB pricing a great deal. The more PCBs you want, the more material, labor, and technology it’s going to take, but luckily, per unit costs tends to decrease as quantity increases. At PCB Genius, we focus on making low volume PCBs for low prices. Our entire operation, from quoting to delivery, is based on that principle. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t save more by buying more with PCB Genius.

5. Quality

As the age old adage goes, “You get what you pay for”. Many of our customers love the fact that we make our boards in America because they know U.S. PCB manufacturers are held to higher quality and ethical standards than some of our offshore competitors. We are fully committed to producing to the strict standards set forth by the industry.

6. PCB Manufacturer’s Profit Requirements

When all the dust finally settles and the cost to make the PCB is determined by the factors above, PCB manufacturers usually add a profit margin percentage on top of everything to come up with a final price. This is perhaps the main reason why PCB pricing seems to be all over the place. At PCB Genius, we’re founded on the belief that high quality PCBs should be affordable for designers on any budget.