A Guide to Various Types of Resistors

Resistors are fundamental components in electrical and electronic circuits, playing a critical role in controlling current flow and adjusting signal levels. They come in various types, each with unique properties and applications. In this blog, we will discuss how all the different types of resistors can help ensure optimal performance and reliability in your electronic projects.

Understanding Types Of Resistors

1. Fixed Resistors

Fixed resistors are one of the most common types, being widely used in electronic circuits to limit current and divide voltages due to having a set resistance value that does not change. They are typically made of carbon, metal oxide, or metal film, each material offering distinct characteristics. Carbon film resistors are known for their cost-effectiveness and stability, making them suitable for general-purpose applications, while metal oxide resistors provide better temperature consistency and are often used in high-power circuits. Finally, metal film resistors provide precise resistance values and low noise, making them ideal for precision applications such as audio equipment and measurement instruments.

2. Variable Resistors

Variable resistors, which include potentiometers and rheostats, are used in applications where the resistance needs to be fine-tuned or varied, such as in volume controls, dimmer switches, and tuning circuits. Potentiometers typically have three terminals and can function as a voltage divider, while rheostats are usually two-terminal devices used to control current flow directly. The ability to adjust resistance makes variable resistors invaluable in applications requiring user control and calibration.

3. Thermistor Resistors

Thermistors are resistors whose resistance changes significantly with temperature, and they come in two main types: Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) and Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) thermistors. NTC thermistors decrease in resistance as temperature increases and are commonly used in temperature sensing and protection circuits. Conversely, PTC thermistors, which increase in resistance with rising temperature, are often employed in overcurrent protection and self-regulating heating elements. Therefore, the sensitivity of thermistors to changes in heat makes them crucial in applications where precise temperature monitoring and control are required.

4. Light-dependent resistors (LDRs)

Light-dependent resistors (LDRs), also known as photoresistors, change their resistance based on the intensity of light falling on them, having high resistance in the dark and low resistance in bright light. Their ability to respond to changes in light intensity makes them ideal for creating circuits that react to environmental lighting conditions. They are widely used in light-sensing applications, such as automatic street lighting, light meters, and security systems.

5. Wire-Wound Resistors

Wire-wound resistors are made by winding a metal wire, usually made of nichrome or a similar alloy, around a ceramic core. Known for their high power handling capability and precise resistance values, they are commonly used in applications such as power supplies, motor controls, and audio equipment. Moreover, the robust construction of wire-wound resistors allows them to withstand higher temperatures and currents, making them suitable for demanding environments.

6. Surface-Mount Resistors

Finally, surface-mount resistors are designed for use in modern electronic devices where space is at a premium, typically appearing as small, rectangular components mounted directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards (PCBs). They come in a variety of sizes and resistance values, offering flexibility in circuit design. Their often compact size and ease of automated assembly make them the preferred choice for high-density electronic circuits, such as those found in smartphones, computers, and other compact electronic devices.


In conclusion, resistors come in a wide range of types, each suited to different applications and environments. If you are in the market for reliable linear resistor products, non-linear resistor items, or other similar parts, look no further than Broadline Automation. This website has 2 billion diverse components from trusted manufacturers, ranging in condition from factory-new to obsolete to fit various needs. When you find anything of interest, you can easily request quotes for your comparisons through our online RFQ service and forms. With this in mind, kick off procurement today to see how we can seamlessly address even your most complex requirements.

Posted on July 10, 2024 george easterlin Aerospace

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