Vias vs. Through Holes

Vias vs. Through Holes

Vias and through holes are very similar in that, ultimately, they are both holes that are drilled into your PCB. You could argue that a through hole is just a special case of a via.

But they typically have different purposes and properties and are therefore treated separately in Upverter.


  • Vias are plated holes that connect signals and traces from one layer to another. Generally speaking, component pads are not directly connected to via holes (though via-in-pad BGAs are an exception).
  • Their geometry can be specified and organized using via classes to make it easy to place many vias of the same kind.
  • Vias don't have to be drilled through the entire board (ie. blind and buried).
  • Vias can be tented (ie. covered in soldermask), which is especially useful to prevent unintentional solder bridging.
  • The shape of the pad is always a circle and can't be changed.

Through Holes

  • Can be plated or non-plated. Holes are plated if an electrical or thermal connection is needed between layers. In contrast, holes are typically non-plated to accommodate purely mechanical connections.
  • It is almost always intended that a component is directly connected to a through-hole. The connection might be electrical or mechanical (ie. mounting screws).
  • Through holes are always drilled through the entire board.
  • The pad shape can be changed from a circle to a square, rectangle, etc.