If you are an electronic hobbyist or electronic engineer, having a way to test your projects quickly and easily before you finalise them will greatly speed up the prototyping phase.

This is where the breadboard lends its helping hand! 

You might be on the lookout for a breadboard for prototyping your circuits and wondering how many types of breadboard there are and which is the best option for you.

The breadboard comes in two varieties.

So, what are the two basic types of breadboard? When it comes to breadboards, you have two common types of breadboard ; Solderless and Solder breadboards. Solder breadboards require the use of soldering and solder as the name suggests. Solderless breadboards do not require the use of soldering or solder. Solderless breadboards are commonly used for prototyping and testing circuits. 

A deeper look at the two basic types of breadboard

So, you might be on the lookout for a breadboard or you might already have one and are looking to get another type of breadboard. 

Let’s take a deeper look at the breadboard and the two most basic types available.

A breadboard is a piece of equipment that contains rows and columns of holes, which allows you to create and test your circuits quickly and easily. 

As I have mentioned earlier, there are two basic types of breadboards; Solder and Solderless.

Let’s take a closer look at them individually. 

Breadboard Type #1 : Solderless

The first of the two basic types of breadboards is the solderless breadboard. 

This kind of breadboard is the most common type of breadboard used for prototyping and testing electronic circuits without having to solder components.

They are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and ratings.

The circuits that are built on solderless breadboards are temporary and are mainly used to test the functionality of a circuit before finalising its design onto a Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

Solderless breadboards are composed with rows and columns of holes big enough to accept most wire gauges and component leads. If a component lead does not fit into the hole, a wire can be soldered onto the lead that will fit in the hole. 

Advantages of using a solderless type breadboard

Using a solderless breadboard has many advantages. Below are a few of them.

If you have an idea that you want to test quickly to check its functionality, a solderless breadboard is your best option. You can easily set up your circuit in minutes to validate your idea.

You do not need to do any soldering. You do not need to go through the whole process of soldering which can be time consuming and annoying, if all you need to do is test the functionality of your circuit. 

If your circuit is not working as it should be, you can easily find issues and rectify them. Components do not need to be desoldered. They can be taken out and replaced easily. 

Disadvantages of using solderless type breadboard

Everything that has its advantages, has its disadvantages too. A solderless breadboard isn’t any different. 

Below are some of its disadvantages. 

One of the biggest disadvantages of using a solderless breadboard is that components can come loose when the breadboard is moved or nudged. So, if you are using a solderless breadboard to test out a robot (or any project that involves movement), this could be an issue as things could come loose. 

Using a solderless breadboard comes with high parasitic capacitances. This is due to the capacitances between components due to them being close to each other. 

Also, solderless breadboards are limited to frequencies of 10 mHz and under. 

Breadboard Type #2 : Solder

While solderless breadboards are temporary in nature, solder breadboards provide a more permanent setup for your electronic circuits. 

Solderless breadboards can get quite annoying as things can come loose with slight movement. A solder breadboard provides a more robust setup.

It consists of holes for components (much like a solderless breadboard) but with copper tracing. You will need a soldering iron to solder these components to the solder breadboard which will create an electrical connection with the copper tracing. 

To form a circuit, jumper wires need to be separately soldered between components to create a path to allow current to flow (the connections of the circuit depend on schematic).

Solder breadboards also come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on your needs. 

Advantages of using a solder type breadboard

Solder breadboards come with a couple notable advantages. 

The first advantage of a solder type breadboard is that it is robust. If you need to test your circuit in a scenario where there is a lot of movement, your circuit will be more secure on a solder type breadboard as opposed to a solderless type breadboard. 

Second on the list is aesthetics. If you are presenting a project at your next work meeting, to a client or potential investor, but haven’t yet finalised a Printed Circuit board, a solder type breadboard gives your project a more professional look. 

The next advantage is that it is low cost to create a one-off permanent circuit. If you require just one circuit, going through the whole process of designing a PCB and then paying for it to be manufactured will cost you time and money. A solder breadboard is a cheaper option, and will save you a lot of time. 

Disadvantages of using a solder type breadboard

Solder breadboards come with its disadvantages as well. 

One of the biggest disadvantages is that the process of setting up a circuit can be quite cumbersome. Thought has to be put into the placement of power rails, components and jumper wires. 

Also, things rarely go as planned, and your circuits are going to have mistakes that will need to be fixed. Fixing them requires using ‘Desoldering’, which gets annoying too. 

The last disadvantage is that the solder breadboard cannot really be reused. It is meant for one-off purposes.

Which type of breadboard is the best option for you?

Choosing from these two basic types of breadboards and deciding which is the best option for you depends on your needs and the applications that you will use them for.

As you saw the advantages and disadvantages for both types of breadboards earlier, you can choose one accordingly.

If you want to quickly test a circuit without going through the hassle of designing a PCB or soldering, the solderless breadboard will be your best option.

However, if you want to test your circuit under conditions that involve a lot of movement (like a robot) a solder type breadboard will provide a more secure setup for your circuit. 

Is it beneficial to have both the two types of breadboard?

You might want to have both types of breadboard and are wondering if it is worth it.

The answer is Yes! 

Both of the two basic types of breadboards serve a specific purpose and have its place in your electronic workshop.

The solderless type breadboard can be used for the initial stages of prototyping, when you are testing the functionality of your project.

The solder type breadboard can be used when you want to test your circuit under conditions that simulate the end use of your project.

Also, if you need to present your project to your boss, client, potential investor, etc, the solder type of breadboard is a great option.

Which of the two basic types of breadboard is better?

As I mentioned earlier, each of the two basic types of breadboards has its advantages and disadvantages. 

Also, choosing the one that is best for you depends on your needs and the applications. The same can be said for the question of which is better.

One is not better than the other. It all comes down to how it will be used as each has its pros and cons depending on the application it is being used for.