20 Different Types of Resistors

Different Types of Resistors

A resistor is one of the most commonly used components in electronic circuits. There are different types of resistors engineers use in the production of electronics.

However, the quality of these resistors varies. So, it’s essential to choose the right kind of resistor for each design to get excellent results.

This article discusses the different types of resistors available.

What is a Resistor?

A resistor is an electrical component that regulates the electricity flow. It also sets a voltage for an active device, like a transistor that needs it.

We can find resistors in much electronic equipment. As separate parts, practical resistors comprise various materials and shapes.

The resistance of a resistor determines how it works with electricity. Standard commercial resistors come in more than nine size orders, which is a lot.

Further, the resistance’s nominal value is in line with the manufacturing tolerance on the part.

Types of Resistors

Each resistor type comprises several materials and shapes. They all have their unique characteristics as well as their disadvantages.

Here are the different types of resistors.

Fixed Value Resistors

Fixed resistors are resistors that have a specific value and are very common. Some fixed resistors come in axial leaded and surface mount packages. An ideal fixed resistor has the same resistance in all situations.

However, the resistance of practical resistors changes a little bit with temperature. Further, a fixed resistor has two terminals, and we use these two terminals to connect with the other parts.

Types of Fixed Value Resistors

Carbon Composition Resistor

A carbon composition resistor is a passive component that stops the flow of electricity at a certain level. This fixed resistor used to be common in the past, but there are now cheaper and more effective ones.

It comprises a cylindrical resistive element with metal end caps built into the end of the piece. The cylindrical part of this fixed resistor consists of carbon powder and ceramic.

Wire Wound Resistor

This type of resistor is typically used in high-power applications. They made these resistors by winding wire on a former with much higher resistance. So, the metal wire serves as a resistive element to the electric current.

As a result, the electric current is limited by the metal wire. The non-conductive substance is the metalcore. So, electric current cannot pass through it.

Metal Film Resistor

The resistor works by putting a thin film of conductive material atop an insulating core. We can quickly get the desired resistance value of a metal film resistor by reducing the thickness of the layer.

We can also get it by cutting helical grooves of appropriate pitch along its length.

Carbon Film Resistor

People mostly use carbon film resistors in electronic circuits. Compared to carbon composition resistors, carbon film resistors emit less noise.

Carbon film resistors work by applying a carbon film to a ceramic substrate. The carbon layer is a resistive element to the electric current, but the ceramic substrate is an insulating medium.

Metal Glaze Resistor

The metal glazing resistor is among the different types of resistors that uses a mixture of glass powder and metal particles.

This resistor limits the flow of electric current to a specific level. However, the Temperature Coefficient of Resistance (TCR) is low in metal glaze resistors. TCR refers to how a material’s resistance changes as the temperature rises.

Metal Oxide Film Resistor

Metal oxide film resistors are almost identical to metal film resistors. However, the only variation is the type of material utilized to make the film.

Metal film resistors use metals such as nickel and chromium to create the film. In contrast, metal oxide film resistors use metal oxides such as tin oxide to make the film.

Foil Resistor

Foil resistors are the most precise and reliable parts for limiting the flow of electricity to a certain level. Another name for these resistors is high precision resistors, and they have a very low TCR. Further, it makes less noise than other types of resistors.

Variable Resistors

Variable resistors are resistors whose value may change by turning a shaft or a screwdriver in pre-set pots. It is a variable resistor with three terminals. The wiper is the pin with the arrow in the middle, where the resistance changes.

There is a resistive semicircular bar or coil. When you wipe the contact, you change the resistive element’s length. Therefore, it changes the resistance.

A slider taps onto the main resistor element, and a fixed resistor element make up variable resistors. So, a variable resistor is a potentiometer with only two instead of three wires that connect to it.

Types of Variable Resistors


The potentiometer has three terminals, two of which are fixed, and one can change. The potentiometer has two fixed terminals that link to both track ends. The third terminal connects to the slider, moving the slider or wiper up and down.

Moreover, the resistance of the potentiometer changes by sliding the slider along the resistive track.


A humistor is a variable resistor whose resistance changes as the humidity of the air changes. We can also call a humistor resistor a Humidity-sensitive resistor.

The humistor’s resistance depends on the concentration of absorbed water molecules.

Also, the number of water molecules absorbed by the humistor increases as humidity rises. Therefore, it makes the humistor becomes more electrically conductive. As a result, the humistor’s resistance lowers.

However, when the humidity level drops, the number of water molecules absorbed by the humistor drops.

This makes the humistor becomes less electrically conductive. As a result, the humistor’s resistance increases.


A thermistor resistor is among the different types of resistors. It changes its resistance value as the temperature changes.

In general, the resistance of most thermometers decreases as temperatures rise. Most of the time, these consist of semiconductor materials.

Thermistors can have resistance up to a few million ohms, and they can look for small temperature changes.

The reason is that any temperature change would make a big difference in the resistance value.


The rheostat’s structure is virtually identical to that of a potentiometer. The rheostat has three terminals, like the potentiometer. However, we use two terminals in a rheostat to execute the function.

Also, an electric rheostat’s resistance depends on how long an electric current element moves.


There are two types of photoresistors: intrinsic and extrinsic, and they are both made of the same materials.

Other names for photoresistors are light-dependent resistors, semiconductor photoresistors, and photoconductors.

The photoresistor’s resistance changes as more light energy enter it. So, its resistance changes as well.

However, photoresistor resistance decreases when the intensity of the light that is being put on it increases.

Magneto Resistor

A magneto resistor is a type of resistor that changes resistance when we apply a magnetic field to it. In other words, when an external magnetic field gets to the magneto resistor, the flow of electric current through it varies.

Force-sensitive Resistor

A force-sensitive resistor is a material that alters its resistance in response to a force or pressure. A conductive film is an example of a substance that resists force. Simply put, a force-sensitive resistor is a sensor that detects physical pressure.

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