Can you explain the differences between through-hole and surface-mount board-to-board connectors?


In the evolving world of electronics, achieving efficient and reliable PCB (Printed Circuit Board) interconnects is crucial. Board-to-board connectors play a vital role in ensuring robust electrical connections between different circuit boards. Among the plethora of options available, through-hole and surface-mount connectors stand out as popular choices. This article delves into the intricacies of these two types, helping users make an informed decision based on their specific needs.

What are Through-Hole Connectors?

Through-hole technology involves inserting the connector’s pins through pre-drilled holes on the PCB, which are then soldered to pads on the opposite side. This method ensures a strong physical bond between the connector and the board, providing stability and reliability.

Advantages of Through-Hole Connectors


The mechanical bond formed between the connector pins and the board makes through-hole connectors highly durable. They are well-suited for applications that require resistance to physical stress, such as vibration or heavy loads.

High Power Handling

Thanks to their robust connection to the board, through-hole connectors can handle higher current levels compared to surface-mount connectors. This makes them ideal for power-intensive applications.

Better for Prototyping

The ease of manual assembly and the ability to rework through-hole connectors make them preferable for prototyping and small production runs. They offer flexibility and convenience for testing and modifications.

Disadvantages of Through-Hole Connectors

Space Consumption

Through-hole connectors tend to take up more space on the PCB, which can be a drawback for designs that require high component density.

Complex Assembly

The soldering process for through-hole connectors is more labor-intensive and time-consuming, potentially leading to higher production costs.

Higher Cost

The additional material and labor involved in assembling through-hole connectors typically result in a higher cost compared to surface-mount options.

What are Surface-Mount Connectors?

Surface-mount technology allows connectors to be placed directly onto the surface of the PCB, without the need for holes. This results in a more compact and streamlined design.

Advantages of Surface-Mount Connectors

Space Efficiency

Surface-mount connectors help maximize the available space on a PCB, contributing to smaller and lighter electronic devices.

Faster Assembly

The assembly process for surface-mount connectors is more automated and quicker than that of through-hole connectors, resulting in increased production efficiency.


Generally, surface-mount connectors are more cost-effective due to reduced material requirements and faster assembly times.

High Signal Integrity

The shorter paths of surface-mount connectors can lead to better performance at high frequencies, ensuring optimal signal integrity.

Disadvantages of Surface-Mount Connectors

Mechanical Strength

While surface-mount connectors are sufficient for many applications, they may not provide the same level of mechanical strength as through-hole connectors.

Limited Power Handling

Due to their smaller size, surface-mount connectors may not be suitable for high-power applications.

Challenging Rework

Once soldered onto the board, surface-mount connectors can be difficult to rework or replace without specialized equipment.

Selecting the Right Connector for Your Application

Choosing between through-hole and surface-mount connectors requires careful consideration of various factors, including mechanical stress, power requirements, available space, assembly process, and cost. Understanding the specific needs of your application is crucial to making the right decision.


Through-hole and surface-mount connectors offer distinct advantages and disadvantages, influencing the performance, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of electronic applications. By weighing the pros and cons of each type, users can select the connector that best meets their requirements, ensuring a successful and efficient electronic design.

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LXW Connector specializes in providing a wide range of board-to-board connectors, catering to diverse applications and industries. We are committed to delivering high-quality and reliable connector solutions, ensuring optimal performance and longevity. If you are in search of the perfect board-to-board connector, or if you need expert advice to make the right choice, do not hesitate to reach out. Send your inquiries and get in touch with us at [email protected], and let us assist you in finding the ideal connector solution for your needs. Your satisfaction and success are our top priorities!