How much should you spend on PCB design software? Is free really a good deal? I recently needed to find a package on a budget for my personal work so I set out to see what was available. I’ve used packages like PADS, OrCAD, and Altium Designer for a long time but they were out of my price range. It was apparent after I went through many of my previous projects that most of the designs I’ve done only use a small portion of the features that those packages offered. In fact, I would guess that 90% of those designs could be done with a basic entry level tool so I decided to start there.