Single Sided Vs Double-Sided PCBs – What is the difference?

By Mer-Mar Electronics Date posted: Last updated: October 17, 2022
Single Sided vs Double Sided PCBs

There is no doubt about the fact that PCB is a highly valuable technology that finds extensive use in a wide range of applications. Depending on the appliance involved, the use of the type of PCB differs. While single-sided circuit boards are widely used in simpler appliances, in slightly higher technology electronics, double-sided circuit boards find use.

While single sided and double-sided PCBs are similar in some respects, both of them offer their own distinct advantages. Let us look at both of them in some detail:

What are Single sided PCBs?

Single sided printed circuit board is a kind of PCB that has conductive copper and components that are mounted on one side of the board and the conductive wiring connected on the other side. These are simple, basic and find extensive application in devices such as:

  • Camera systems
  • Printers
  • Calculators
  • Radio Equipment and more

Basically, the working principle behind single sided PCB is that it specifically isolates the copper foil’s conductive layer. The isolation happens on the surface of the base insulating material. This ensures current can flow in the components and several tasks such as attenuation, demodulation, amplification, and encoding are effectively performed.

What are Double Sided PCBs?

Double sided PCBs are similar to single sided ones, however the key difference as the name suggests, lie in the fact that they have two sided traces. In these boards, components can be mounted on both sides. The advantage that it offers is that there is a high density of circuits without any need of point-to-point soldering. While these may be more difficult to produce as compared to single sided PCBs, its advantages far outweigh the complexity of production. Some of the applications where double-sided PCBs find application include:

  • Lighting Systems
  • Amplifiers
  • Vending Machines, and more

Advantages of Single Sided PCBs

The major advantages of single sided PCBs include:

  • They are extremely cost-effective. This is made possible on account of their simple design and the fact that they are low density.
  • They are relatively easy to manufacture, as there have been very few issues during the manufacturing stage due to their simple design.
  • They work well for high volume orders on account of their cost-effectiveness.
  • Repairs are relatively easy for this set of PCBs.
  • They are also made of several different materials, thereby suiting multiple requirements.

Advantages of Double-Sided PCBs

Used in complex circuits, double-sided PCBs offer the following benefits:

  • The big advantage of double-sided boards is that there is an added layer where components can be added. This increases the density of the circuit. Typically, as appliances become smaller, the extra layer goes a long way in terms of increasing the flexibility of design.
  • They tend to offer complex circuitry are as well suited for advanced electronics.
  • Since you can effectively use both sides, the size of the board can be reduced. Hence, they are highly effective for miniaturized appliances.

Difference between single sided and double-sided PCBs

The primary differences between single sided and double-sided PCBs include:

  • Single sided PCBs have a single substrate layer while double sided PCBs have more than one layer, although they have fewer layers as compared to multi-layer PCBs.
  • In terms of cost, single sided PCBs are cost-effective.
  • When it comes to size, double-sided PCBs come with reduced circuit board size as components can be added to a relatively small space.
  • The use of single sided PCBs is restricted to simpler electronic items while double sided PCBs find use in more complex appliances.

Clearly then the choice of single sided versus double sided PCBs is determined by factors such as the kind of electronic appliance and the cost you are willing to pay.

Of course, for highly complex appliances, especially ones where size is of major constraint, multi-layer PCB assemblies are printed circuit boards of choice, as they come with the following advantages:

  • They are inherently smaller than other PCBs
  • They are known for their light weight
  • They offer increased durability
  • They offer enhanced flexibility
  • They offer greater capacity and speed

It is imperative, therefore, that all of these factors are weighed in in making the choice of the right PCB.

Mer-Mar Electronics is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) compliant manufacturer that delivers multilayer printed circuit boards with specialized support, reliable testing, and multi-functional features. Our consistent quality and quick turnaround time endear itself to our customers, who look at us as a one-stop shop for all their PCB requirements. Get in touch with us, if you are looking for custom PCB assembly for your next project.

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