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PCB Interconnection Options: Plated Through Hole vs Vias

Tue March 12, 2024

Plated Through Hole VS Via

When designing a printed circuit board (PCB), selecting the right interconnection methods is critical for effective implementation. Two common interconnects are plated through holes (PTH) and vias. These play a vital role in creating electrical connections between PCB layers and components. While both serve similar purposes, there are key differences between plated through holes vs vias that impact their applications and functions.

Defining Plated Through Holes vs Vias

Plated Through Hole (PTH):

  • A hole with copper plating throughout
  • Provides electrical connections between layers or components.
  • Constructed with complete copper plating in the hole.
  • Available as single-sided, double-sided, or multi-layer PTH.


  • An electrical connection between PCB layers.
  • Establish connections between layers.
  • Constructed with a copper pad connect layers through the hole.
  • Types include through-hole via, blind via, buried via.

Comparing Plated Through Hole vs Via

There are several notable differences when examining plated through hole vs via:

  • Components can mount directly into PTHs but not vias.
  • PTH offers higher conductivity due to complete plating.
  • PTHs are larger to fit components, vias are smaller for signals.
  • PTH suits components needing strong mechanical links.
  • Vias connect signal and power traces between layers.

Applications of Plated Through Holes vs Vias

Understanding the applications of plated through holes vs vias in PCB design is important:

  • PTHs span entire board to connect layers and mount components.
  • Vias connect same layer or components on one side.
  • PTHs needed when components require robust connectivity.
  • Vias used when interconnecting traces between layers.
  • High conductivity PTHs for power delivery to components.
  • Smaller vias route signals between layers.
  • Dense boards use more vias to conserve space.
  • High-voltage boards need more PTH separation.

Considerations for Using Plated Through Holes vs Vias

Here are some considerations when selecting between plated through holes vs vias in your design:

  • Evaluate conductivity needs – PTH offers higher conductivity.
  • Check mechanical connectivity requirements – PTHs anchor components.
  • Assess signal speeds and routing constraints – vias conserve space.
  • Determine layer connection needs – vias for same layer or side.
  • Review component mounting and spacing – PTHs accommodate components.
  • Consider board density – vias allow compact routing.
  • Analyze manufacturability and costs – PTHs are simpler to fabricate.

In summary, plated through holes and vias serve distinct interconnect purposes in PCBs. Understanding key differences in construction, conductivity, size, and usage enables selecting the right option for your design requirements.

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