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Kicad vs Altium Choosing the Right PCB Design Software in 2024

kicad vs altium


When it comes to PCB design, choosing the right software can significantly impact your workflow and project outcomes. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between two popular options: Kicad and Altium.

Overview of Kicad Vs Altium

Kicad vs Altium: A Comparison

Kicad and Altium are two prominent PCB design software options, each with its own set of features and advantages. Kicad is an open-source software known for its affordability and community support, while Altium is a premium solution offering advanced functionality and professional-grade features. The choice between the two ultimately depends on factors such as budget, project requirements, and personal preference.

Pricing of Kicad Vs Altium

Cost comparison and features

Kicad is free to use, making it an attractive option for hobbyists and small businesses with limited budgets. In contrast, Altium requires a substantial investment but offers a comprehensive suite of tools and features, making it suitable for larger enterprises and professionals seeking advanced capabilities.

User Interface

Ease of use and learning curve

Kicad boasts a user-friendly interface with intuitive tools, making it accessible to beginners and experienced designers alike. Altium, while powerful, has a steeper learning curve due to its extensive feature set, requiring more time and training to master.

Functionality of Kicad Vs Altium

Features and capabilities

Kicad provides essential PCB design features such as schematic capture, PCB layout, and component footprint libraries. Altium offers a broader range of tools, including advanced routing options, 3D modeling, and simulation capabilities, catering to complex design requirements.

Schematic View of Kicad Vs Altium

kicad vs altium

kicad vs altium

PCB Layout of Kicad Vs Altium

kicad vs altium

kicad vs altium

Community Support

Resources and assistance available

Kicad benefits from a thriving community of users who contribute to its development, providing ample resources such as forums, tutorials, and libraries. Altium offers professional support services, including training programs and technical assistance, ensuring users receive prompt and reliable help when needed.


Speed, stability, and reliability

Kicad is known for its stability and reliability, offering consistent performance even with large and complex designs. Altium, while powerful, may experience occasional performance issues, especially when handling extensive projects or utilizing resource-intensive features.


Operating systems and file formats

Both Kicad and Altium are compatible with major operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux, ensuring flexibility and accessibility for users. Additionally, both software packages support a wide range of file formats, facilitating seamless collaboration and integration with other tools and platforms.

Industry Application

Suitable industries and use cases

Kicad is well-suited for a variety of industries and applications, including electronics prototyping, academic research, and small-scale production. Altium, with its advanced features and professional support, is commonly used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, and telecommunications, where precision and reliability are paramount.

Pros and Cons

Comparison of strengths and weaknesses


  • Pros: Free, open-source, community support
  • Cons: Limited advanced features, longer learning curve


  • Pros: Advanced functionality, professional support, comprehensive feature set
  • Cons: Expensive, steep learning curve

Case Studies

Real-world examples and success stories

To illustrate the capabilities of both Kicad and Altium, let’s explore some real-world case studies highlighting successful projects and applications in various industries.

With this comprehensive comparison of Kicad vs Altium, you’re equipped with the knowledge to choose the right PCB design software for your needs. Whether you prioritize affordability and community support or advanced functionality and professional-grade features, both options offer unique advantages to enhance your design workflow and project outcomes.


In conclusion, the decision between Kicad and Altium ultimately boils down to your specific requirements, preferences, and budget considerations. Whether you opt for the affordability and community support of Kicad or the advanced functionality and professional-grade features of Altium, both options offer valuable tools and resources to streamline your PCB design process and achieve your project goals.

What is difference between kicad and altium designer?

The main difference between KiCad and Altium Designer lies in their pricing and features. KiCad is open-source and free, making it ideal for hobbyists and small businesses. Altium Designer, on the other hand, is a premium software with advanced capabilities suited for professional use but comes with a higher cost.

Does altium work in kicad?

No, Altium does not work in KiCad. Altium Designer and KiCad are separate PCB design software programs with different file formats and functionalities, so they are not directly compatible with each other.

Why dos altium update schematic symbol in kicad?

Altium does not update schematic symbols in KiCad. Altium and KiCad are distinct PCB design software with their own libraries and file formats, so changes made in Altium are not automatically reflected in KiCad.

Which is better, Kicad or Altium?

Both Kicad and Altium have their strengths and weaknesses, so the choice depends on your specific requirements and preferences.

Is Kicad suitable for professional use?

While Kicad is often used by hobbyists and small businesses, it can also be utilized in professional settings, especially for projects with modest requirements.

Can I switch from Kicad to Altium or vice versa?

Yes, it’s possible to transition between Kicad and Altium, although there may be differences in workflow and features that require adaptation.

Does Altium offer a free trial?

Yes, Altium provides a free trial period for users to explore its features and capabilities before making a purchase decision.

Are there any alternative PCB design software options?

Yes, there are several alternative options to consider, including Eagle, OrCAD, and DesignSpark PCB, each with its own unique features and pricing.

How can I learn more about Kicad and Altium?

To deepen your understanding of Kicad and Altium, explore online tutorials, forums, and documentation provided by the respective communities.

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