Design guidelines for fractional-N phase-locked loops with a high spectral purity of the output signal are presented. Various causes for phase noise and spurious tones (spurs) in integer-N and fractional-N phase-locked loops (PLLs) are briefly described. These mechanisms include device noise, quantization noise folding, and noise coupling from charge pump (CP) and reference input buffer to the voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) and vice versa through substrate and bondwires. Remedies are derived to mitigate the problems by using proper PLL parameters and a careful chip layout. They include a large CP current, sufficiently large transistors in the reference input buffer, linearization of the phase detector, a high speed of the programmable frequency divider, and minimization of the cross-coupling between the VCO and the other building blocks. Examples are given based on experimental PLLs in SiGe BiCMOS technologies for space communication and wireless base stations.