Circuit Simulation software comes in handy while designing and testing complex systems in a cost-effective manner. But, it is challenging to choose the best circuit simulation software, given the vast number of options that range from free software to paid ones. In this article, we will discuss 10 of the best circuit simulation software with pros and cons of each software
List of 10 Best Circuit Simulation Software:
- NI Multisim
- Autodesk Eagle
- CEGAR Logic Simulator
- Tina TI
Which is the overall best software?
Proteus easily takes the crown of the overall best circuit simulation software. It has an all-in-one tool kit that enables users to design circuits, run simulations and even create PCBs. This software contains an ISIS suite that is responsible for designing circuits and execution of the real-time simulation.
Which is the best paid software for circuit simulation?
Proteus also qualifies as the best-paid simulation software. This is because of the great capabilities this software has. Apart from the ISIS suite, it also offers the ARES suite that is used to design PCBs and also has 3-D viewing features.
Which is the best free circuit simulation software?
Tina-TI would be our pick for the best free circuit simulation circuit. It is a great tool that even allows you to check for errors before running a simulation.
This software is majorly used by education institutions for teaching and research of analog, digital, and power electronic circuitry. It uses the original SPICE-based simulation software that gives highly accurate results that are comparable to real-world testing.
It offers four packages. They include the Education, Base, Full, and Power Pro tagged at $628, $1869, $3267, and $4838 respectively.
- Simulation results are very accurate.
- High number of testing instruments.
- Over 35 virtual instruments
- Over 55,000 components
- Online simulation is available.
- The interface is difficult to navigate and looks outdated.
- Many microcontrollers are missing.
- Only 4 virtual instruments are available for the cheaper option.
Eagle stands for Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor. The software utilizes the Ngspice tools to run its circuit simulations. Other than the simulation capabilities, this software offers a PCB editor capable of designing up to 16 layers of PCB with board sizes up to 4m^2.
This software is generally used by small electronic makers, hobbyists, and industry experts. The layout is user-friendly since there exists a large community, resources, and tutorials on how to use it.
The Autodesk Eagle comes in three packages, standard and premium packages that cost $100, an annual package costing $500 and a monthly package costing $15 or $60. It also has a free version with limited capabilities.
- Free version with limited capabilities is available.
- Easy to use and lots of resources and tutorials.
- Capable of 3-D modeling.
- Does not have signal and power integrity solution.
- Creating custom component is challenging.
- Lacks components and the library navigation is difficult.
This software comes with a highly reputable SPICE simulator coupled with a waveform capture and schematic capture platform. It’s a free software with no hidden costs but comes with a restriction that users are not allowed to work with Analog device products. This software comes packed with an advanced algorithm that enables it to carry out simulations faster than most paid circuit simulation software.
Pros of LTspice:
- The software is free with no limitation to its usage.
- Gives accurate results.
- Has fast simulations.
Cons of LTspice:
- It does not have a PCB editor.
This is a simulation software that specializes in the simulation of power electronics and motor drives. The software is not limited to these functions since it can also simulate other electronic circuitry. It has an embedded code generator as well as a thermal simulation to compute switching and conduction losses of switching devices.
It offers three packages that include student, annual academic license, and Education Pro package that is similar to the annual academic package but with lifetime access for $99, $300, and $ 1500 respectively.
- Fast and accurate simulations.
- Capable of thermal simulation.
- Wide variety of models for power electronics.
- Have models for renewable energy systems and energy storage systems.
- Paid software
- Less testing equipment compared to other products.
This is a web-based EDA tool kit with a simulation and is fully functional. It is ideal for students and hobbyists since it does not have any commercial licenses. It can generate a BOM, has a PCB editor, and is capable of converting schematics into a PCB. It is one of the cheapest simulation software offering three packages.
The first package is freeware, the second a professional package tagged at $4.9 per month, and finally an enterprise package priced at $9.9 per month.
- The price is less as compared to others.
- No non-commercial licensing.
- Unlimited private projects.
- No need to install any software.
- Limited components.
- Internet connection is required.
- Has limited features.
KiCAD is free software with some added advantages. You can modify the software to your liking by editing the source code. It comes with a 3D viewer that allows visualization of PCB. It runs simulations using the ‘ngspice’ which is a free SPICE tool.
It is great for making PCB layouts since it does not have a limit to the board size, number of pins, or number of layers.
- Free software with no limitation.
- Powerful 3D viewer
- No limitation to the board size or number of layers.
- No auto-routing features.
- Complex component library.
This is an open-source circuit design and simulation software. It can be used for circuit simulation, analysis, and design. It allows you to create circuits from a variety of devices such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, transistors (BJT and FET), op amps, comparators and Z80 microprocessors.
You can add them to a circuit using standard schematic symbols or by entering the component’s parameters directly. You can then run a simulation to determine the output voltage or current at any point in a circuit. The results of your simulations are plotted on graphs which you can print out using the built-in printer support.
- Free software.
- Supports .ic circuit format.
- Not as fast as other simulators.
- Minimal components.
Tina-TI is a free circuit simulation software that is not only capable of designing and simulating circuits but also allows you to check the circuit for errors before running the simulation. On top of this, you are able to perform DC, AC, Transient, and Fourier analysis.
You will also find almost all the components that you need for circuit design.
- Has great analysis tools.
- Error checking before running simulation.
- Intuitive schematic entry and capture screen.
- Limited components available compared to other products.
This software is capable of both electrical and electronic circuit simulation. You can load a design circuit in the ‘.ic’ format for simulation.
- Free software with no hidden costs.
- Implementation of varying parameter values to test the effect on circuit performance
- Provide instant feedback on the effects of design changes, such as switching between different topologies or changing resistors and capacitors values
- Minimize power consumption with low power mode by shutting down idle parts of the circuit while running at high speed.
- Not many components present
It is the best available paid circuit simulation software. It is feature packed with over 15 million parts in its component library, as well as features like Raspberry Pi microcontrollers, group length matching, differential pair routing, and remote front panel design for Arduino just to mention a few.
This software is capable of handling design and simulations with ease due to its refined features over the years.
Proteus offers three packages which include an Enterprise package for $6592, a platinum package for £8003, and a custom package starting from $248. The custom package allows the user to select only the components that are essential to their needs.
Pros of Proteus:
- More than 15 million components are present in library
- Availability of microcontrollers like Raspberry Pi, PIC, Arduino
- A great variety of analysis tools
- Easy to learn interface
Cons of Proteus:
- The packages are extremely expensive.
- No free version of the software is available.
In conclusion, choosing the correct circuit simulation software is not easy. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. From the discussion, we can agree that there is no such software that fits all your needs. According to your requirement, you can select between expensive feature-packed software and free/cheaper solutions with limited capabilities.