What’s most important to you when deciding on a PCB manufacturer?

Is price your decisive criteria or quality and capabilities?
How about customer reviews?

When you search for “PCB manufacturer”, the number of search results can be overwhelming. To make it easier and less time-consuming to sift through the results, it would be ideal to know your selection criteria. Will you make your choice based on price, value, reliability, capabilities, responsiveness, what customer reviews say, or a combination of these factors.

Ultimately, you have to decide without knowing all you want to or need to know. So, you have to trust that your selected vendor lives up to their claims and does not unpleasantly surprise you with additional cost, or quality, or reliability issues.

Comparison table of 8 PCB manufacturer's capabilities

What’s the best way to determine the trustworthiness of a PCB manufacturer?

Essentially trustworthiness has three components:

  1. Competence – does the manufacturer have the required capabilities, knowledge, and expertise
  2. Reliability – is the company dependable; do they do what they say
  3. Honesty – is the truthfulness in their communication

To help you in your selection process, we have compiled the table below, which shows some of the manufacturing capabilities and information about customer reviews for eight primary PCB manufacturers.

Criteria Advanced Circuits/4pcb.com Sunstone Circuits Bay Area Circuits allpcb.com jlcpcb.com pcbgogo.com pcbway.com Camptech
# of Google reviews 6 9 3 12 reviews on Trustpilot 151 Facebook reviews 17 reviews on Trustpilot 57 reviews on Trustpilot 9
Avg. review rating (out of 5) 3.2 4.2 5 3.2 4.5 3.6 3.8 4.6
Extensiveness/depth of the information offered in reviews Poor Fair Fair Good Good Good Good Good
Overall do the reviews seem trustworthy No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Controlled impedance Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Minimum hole size 0.1 mm .15 mm .08 mm 0.2 mm 0.2 mm .15 mm 0.1 mm 0.05 mm
Trace width/Trace Spacing 3 mil 3 mil 3 mil/3 mil 4 mil 5 mil/5mil 3 mil/3 mil 3 mil/3 mil 3 mil/3 mil
Aspect ratio 12:1 15:1 12:1 20:1 12:1
Routing tolerance ± .15 mm ± .08 mm ± 0.15 mm ± 0.2 mm ± 0.2 mm ± .15 mm
Min. SMT Pitch 0.25 mm .1mm 0.4 mm .15 mm
Blind & Buried vias Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Via in pad Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Stacked micro-vias Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Flexible PCB No No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Location U.S U.S U.S China China China China Canada
Overall score based on fabrication capabilities, quality & customer service reviews (10 being highest) 6 6.5 7 7 7 8 8 9
Advanced Circuits/4pcb.com Sunstone Circuits Bay Area Circuits allpcb.com jlcpcb.com/ pcbgogo.com pcbway.com Camptech

 

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