The Differences Between Through-Hole And Surface Mounted Technology

In PCB design, there are a few different technologies used and they each have their own benefits. One of these technologies is surface mounted technology which has been becoming a lot more popular over the past few years. SMT technology has started to replace through-hole mounting although this is still used in some applications. Here, we’ll talk you through the main differences between through-hole and surface mounted technology so keep reading if you’d like to find out more.

The Pin Count

In surface mounted technology, you’ll find that the pin count is a lot higher than the count that you’d find in through-hole technology. This is something to consider when choosing which technology, you’ll use for your PCB design.


When you make use of surface mounted technology, there are no leads as the components are directly mounted to the PCB. In comparison to this, through-hole components are connected using lead wires which pass through holes that have been drilled.

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In the past, through-hole technologies have been preferred but it is interesting to notes that they are often more expensive than surface mounted technology. You can find out more about this over at Altium if you trying to choose a technology for your PCB design.Their blog post “Why Use Through-Hole Technology in PCB Design?” goes into a lot of detail about the pros and cons and the components involved.

Circuit Speeds

When you are designing a circuit, you want to make sure that it runs as fast as possible. Another important difference is the fact that with surface mounted technology, you can actually acquire a higher circuit speed. This is because SMT is smaller in size and so the speed is faster.

Bulky Components

If you are working with large, bulky components, you’ll find that through-hole mounting technology is actually a lot more desirable. This is also true for those parts which require a high-power or high-voltage, so this is something to consider carefully.

High Volume Production

When it comes to high volume production in PCB design, surface mounted technology is actually a lot more suitable than through-hole technology. This is because it actually lends itself to assembly automation and it can be made at a much lower cost.

Packing Density

For through-hole mounting, you’ll find that the packing density is not quite as high as it is for surface mounted technology. This is because the components in surface mounted technology are a lot more compact and so you can pack a lot more in.

The Skill Required

The final difference between through-hole technology and surface mounted technology is the level of skill, design and production that is required to use them. When it comes to surface mounted technology, you’ll find that a more advanced understanding and technology is required so this is definitely something to think about.

Final Thoughts

There are so many differences between these two technologies that it can be hard to choose the right one for your project. It does, however, seem that the advantages for SMT outweigh the advantages for through-hole technology so make sure to take this into consideration.

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