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Comparison of Chinese PCB Manufacturers by Size/Layers/Finish

Where's the Domestic Manufacturers?

That's a great question. Unfortunately, they're simply not even in the same price ballpark as the Chinese manufacturers. This likely comes down to two characteristics: 1) volume; 2) most domestic companies don't do anything that isn't high end, as that's where the margin really is.

There's a project I'm working on that I'm trying to figure out the right PCB size for. To do that, I figured I'd take a look at various parameters and how they impact the pricing with the two biggest Chinese PCB makers: PCBWay and JLCPCB. The parameters I'm comparing are:

  1. Dimensions
  2. Layer count (2 and 4 layers)
  3. Surface finish (HASL v ENIG)

This is a pretty big spreadsheet, and you can find it here: pcb-manufacturer-pricing-comparison.xlsx , but here's the top-level results:

Spreadsheet comparing pricing for PCBWay and

A few observations that stand out for me:

  1. JLCPCB is never more expensive than PCBWay, and often less than 1/2 the price. Given a recent comparison, it's hard to see why PCBWay is so much more.
  2. The delta between HASL finish and ENIG for JLCPCB is much less, making it far more attractive. In fact, JLCPCB w/ENIG is almost always cheaper than PCBWay with HASL. 🤯
  3. There's a definite cost hit the minute you go over 100mm in any dimension. This likely has something to do with their overall size and how they put various orders together. The cost then drops per cm2 after that.

A few things that weren't really considered:

  • Difference in shipping. Both offer a lot, and they seemed to be about the same pricing.
  • Solder mask color. Both offer more than green, and sometimes they're free and other times the combination costs money. White on green is a good baseline.

Comments or Questions?

If you have any comments, questions, or topics you'd like to see covered, please feel free to either reach out to me on Mastodon (link below) or open an issue on Github.