Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (2023)

The main differences between Capacitors and Inductors are discussed considering several features such as the current flow, calculation of saved energy, the fundamental definition, their behavior in both DC and AC diagrams, their unit, the difference in the forms of capacitors and inductors, their resistance to various modification in applications, and the relationship between current and voltage.

Regardless of the differences between capacitors vs. Inductors, two of the most broadly utilized electronic instruments are inductors and capacitors. Both are constructed to save energy and perform as fundamental energy resources. However, if you want to know what makes them different, this post presents you with a clear comparison between them to explain Capacitor vs. Inductor completely.

Find out More about Eectrical Device & Equipment in Linquip

Click HERE

Introduction to Capacitor vs. Inductor

Capacitors and inductors are special kinds of passive components that save and send energy into the circuit but do not use it. Both of the instruments are mainly employed in particular applications related to AC setups, particularly in signal filtering. The considerable difference between the capacitor and inductor is that capacitor is related to dV/dt (the abrupt change in voltage), while the inductor is related to dI/dt (the abrupt change in current).

In addition, capacitors save energy based on the electric field (1/2CV2), while inductors store energy based on the magnetic field (1/2LI2). This post is presented to show the fundamental differences between inductors and capacitors according to units, types, applications, etc.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (1)

The capacitor and inductor are electrical instruments employed to detect variations in current in the electrical circuits. These devices are passive elements, which employ power from the system, and then discharge it. The applications of both instruments are generally utilized in alternative current and signal processing.

The basic difference to identify the capacitor vs. inductor is that an inductor is employed to apply the energy depending on a magnetic field, while a capacitor operates based on the electric field. This link presents the important features of two physical effects that are used in electrical circuits to demonstrate the Capacitor vs. Inductor clearly.

What are a Capacitor and an Inductor?

The capacitor is an electrical instrument that is constructed from two particular conductors covered by insulators. An electric field is created and electric charges are saved when a potential variance is presented to both terminals. The capacitors are typically used to design electronic systems according to their properties.

Find out More about Measurement, Testing and ControlDevice & Equipment in Linquip

Click HERE

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (2)

Some of the common dielectric substances used in their construction are Mylar, Teflon, mica, porcelain, and cellulose. A capacitor is introduced according to the material selected like a dielectric or electrode. The dielectric substance is generally applied to help in storing electric power. The capacitor’s amount can be evaluated by the position of the two terminals, their size , and the type of materials used.

Capacitors and Capacitance

Capacitance shows itself wherever a conductive substance is divided by an insulating cover. Capacitive formats can save energy as the electric field; when a capacitive structure is modeled as the electrical section that has a particular value of capacitance, it is introduced as a capacitor.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (3)

We utilize the charging and discharging for capacitors to detect, respectively, a condition in which the instrument is obtaining power and a state in which the device is providing power. As presented in the figure, we can charge the instrument using a battery. The voltage forces the current to move, and this current provides an electric charge for the capacitor.

The value of charge forms a voltage within the capacitor that immediately increases when the current flow in the circuit reduces. If the capacitor is disconnected from the source and connected to an instrument like a resistor, it operates as an alternative source due to the saved energy in the electric field. It can transform accumulated storage into a usable charge or electric current.

The voltage and current are related together and their behavior can be evaluated by the curves in the next figure. It should be considered that the time axis is based on the “RC” method; this uses the RC time coefficient: a value of time that is related to the capacitance value of a capacitor improved by the resistance in a series arrangement.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (4)

The capacitance of a device is a noticeable parameter of designing a circuit because it can affect the rate of voltage or current variations during the charging process or discharging. More capacitance means that the voltage in the capacitor increases too slowly when it is in the charging process and reduces slowly if it is in the discharging step.

Inductors and Inductance

If you have some information about the main concepts of capacitance, it can generally help you for understanding inductance, because these two effects are very similar, even though they can be introduced as “equal but opposite” phenomena. For instance, A capacitor saves power based on the electric field, but an inductor operates according to the magnetic field.

An inductor is a particular choke or coil which has a two-terminal structure and is utilized to build different circuits. The basic performance of an inductor is the energy stored in the magnetic fields. It includes a wire, typically assembled as a coil. If current moves within this coil, it can be stored in that coil.

A perfect inductor operates like a short circuit to direct the current and provide an alternative force that is based on the frequency of the current. The condition of a current flow of an inductor is proportional to the frequency of that current through it. These instruments are introduced as “Coils” because most of their construction is modeled based on the section of the wire and coil. The next figure shows the structure of magnetic field lines clearly.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (5)

When a capacitor is combined with a voltage source, its voltage can increase, so its current gradually reduces; when an inductor is attached to a voltage supply, its current rises and its voltage gradually drops.

The rate of charging and discharging is determined by the RC time coefficient with a capacitor, but we employ the RL time constant with an inductor, and the inductance (L) can be improved by the resistance arrangement in a series format.

When the inductive circuit is disconnected from the power source, the inductor can generally save the current. It can be said that capacitors resist variations in voltage and inductors resist modifications in the current.

All conductors, including component pins and wires, consist of inductance. To form an inductor, we utilize particular techniques that improve the magnetic field and increase inductance immediately. A complete inductor is a twisted wire simply.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor

To contrast Capacitor vs. Inductor, we should consider different aspects as mentioned below:

Capacitor Uses

  • Capacitors with high-voltage electrolytic can be used in power industries.
  • The axial electrolytic capacitors are employed in lower voltage applications of smaller sizes where great capacitance values are required.
  • Disk ceramic capacitors that have high voltages, small sizes, and special capacitance are suitable for applications with particular tolerance features.
  • The Metalized Polypropylene type of capacitors has good reliability and small size and is desirable for values up to 1µF.
  • The surface mount capacitors are relatively high values suitable for various applications covering several layers. They operate as a parallel arrangement of numerous capacitors.

Inductor Uses

Inductors are extremely employed in AC applications such as radio, TV, etc.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (6)
  • Chokes: The fundamental feature of an inductor is used in power source circuits where AC provides supply management to be modified to a DC source.
  • Energy store: It is utilized to design the spark that provides fire of petrol in automatic engines.
  • Transformers: Inductors with a particular magnetic value can be employed to create a transformer.

Unit of Measurement

The value of capacitors is detected in Farads introduced by F. It can be evaluated based on Ampere per second Volt. Because the Ampere is equal to the Coulomb second, it can be said that F = CV.

Otherwise, the inductance is the value of the inductor and it is calculated in Henries (H). Generally, it is the SI unit of this value and is based on the Volt per second Ampere.

Types of Capacitors and Inductors

The main types of capacitors are categorized into three forms; tantalum, ceramic, and electrolytic.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (7)

The main kinds of inductors are sorted into four types; including coupled inductors, multilayer inductors, ceramic core inductors, and molded inductors.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (8)

Relationship between V & I in Linear Circuit

  • Voltage shifts behind Current in a capacitor by π/2
  • Voltage shifts forward Current in an inductor by π/2

Short Circuit

A capacitor operates as a short circuit for alternating current, and the inductor has the same operation for direct current applications.

Characteristics of Capacitor and Inductor

  • Capacitors arranged in parallel configuration operate like resistors in a series arrangement.
  • Capacitors in series arrangement perform similarly to the parallel configuration of resistors.
  • Inductors in series form operate like a series configuration of resistors.
  • Inductors in parallel arrangements work such as resistors in parallel forms.

As a result, these are all considerable tips about the features to contrast capacitors vs. inductor completely. We hope that you understand better information from this post. The next diagram will give you a brief comparison between capacitor vs. inductor in a compact form.

Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip (9)

Key Difference Between Capacitor and Inductor

The Key Differences to provide a complete comparison for Capacitor vs. Inductor issue are as follows:

The Capacitor performs similarly to a short circuit in AC systems. The inductor works in direct current circuits like a short circuit. On the other hand, capacitors perform as an open circuit in DC systems to the steady-state situation, while inductors show the short circuit condition to the steady situation in DC circuits.

Energy saved in capacitors is evaluated based on voltage, and 1/2CV2 formula according to the electric field. Whereas power stored in inductors can be calculated according to the current, magnetic field, and 1/2LI2 equation. Capacitance is identified with Farad unit (F), while Inductance is determined in Henry (H).

The current is more than the voltage by 90 degrees in the AC system for capacitors and lags voltage by 90o in the inductors. In their internal structure, capacitors resist the voltage variation while inductors resist the current modifications.

There is no current flow within the plates of capacitors, but current can pass through the coil in the inductors. Capacitors perform as special insulators for DC devices, while inductors operate as a conductor in a DC circuit.

In the system with an inductor, when it is combined with a series arrangement of resistors, the amount of current is low at the start section but it will increase gradually with time. However, when the capacitor is combined in a series configuration with resistors in a DC diagram, the current immediately become great but it falls to 0 later.

Buy Equipment or Ask for a Service

By using Linquip RFQ Service, you can expectto receive quotations from various suppliers across multiple industries and regions.

Click Here to Request a Quotation From Suppliers and Service Providers

Read More on Linquip

  • Difference Between Resistance and Impedance- Resistance vs. Impedance
  • Principal Difference Between Active and Passive Filters
  • Difference Between Condenser and Capacitor in a nutshell 2021
  • What is a Polarized Capacitor
  • What is Ceramic Capacitor: compact in size with great charge storage


Difference between Capacitor and Inductor | Linquip? ›

One of the main differences between a capacitor and an inductor is that a capacitor opposes a change in voltage while an inductor opposes a change in the current. Furthermore, the inductor stores energy in the form of a magnetic field, and the capacitor stores energy in the form of an electric field.

What is difference between capacitance and inductance? ›

Capacitance, as we now know, is the ability to store energy in the form of an electric field. Inductance, which is measured in henries and denoted by the letter L, is the ability to store energy in the form of a magnetic field.

What is the use of inductor and capacitor? ›

Answer: Inductors conserve current by storing energy in a magnetic field, whereas capacitors preserve voltage by storing energy in an electric field.

Is inductor better than capacitor? ›

Conclusion. In short, capacitors store energy in an electric field, while inductors store energy in a magnetic field. Capacitors are perfect for high-frequency signals because they can quickly change their stored energy into electrical current, whereas inductors work better with low-frequency signals.

What is the advantage of inductor over capacitor? ›

Capacitors preserve voltage by storing energy in an electric field, whereas inductors preserve current by storing energy in a magnetic field. One result of this is that while capacitors conduct best at higher frequencies, inductors conduct best at lower frequencies.

What are 3 important differences between a capacitor and an inductor? ›

Table of Differences between Capacitors and Inductors
Resists Voltage or CurrentVoltageCurrent
Conducts a CurrentNoYes
AC CurrentVoltage LagsCurrent Lags
DC CurrentCurrent Decreases Over TimeCurrent Increases Over Time
2 more rows

What is the function of the inductor? ›

A. An inductor has the functions of developing electromotive force in the direction that reduces fluctuation when a fluctuating current flows and storing electric energy as magnetic energy.

Does inductor stop AC or DC? ›

The inductor stores electrical energy in the form of magnetic energy. The inductor does not allow AC to flow through it, but does allow DC to flow through it.

What does an inductor do to AC current? ›

An inductor can oppose or block the passage of alternating current through it. The inductor either acquires the charge or loses the charge. The current across the inductor changes to equalize the current passing through it.

What happens if we replace capacitor with inductor? ›

An external inductor replacing the capacitor won't change the phase angle of current in the start/run coil - it will be the same phase (or thereabouts) as the current in the main coil and there will be no rotation of field.

Why inductors are not preferred? ›

3. Why inductors are not preferred for audio frequency? Explanation: At audio frequencies, inductor becomes problematic, as the inductors become large, heavy and expensive.

When would you use an inductor in a circuit? ›

Inductors are typically used as energy storage devices in switched-mode power devices to produce DC current. The inductor, which stores energy, supplies energy to the circuit to maintain current flow during “off” switching periods, thus enabling topographies where output voltage exceeds input voltage.

What is the disadvantage of inductor? ›

A disadvantage of this type of inductor is that hysteresis loss is still present as well as eddy current loss, even though they are low.

What is the benefit of inductor? ›

Inductors can store energy for a small period of time because the energy which is being stored as a magnetic field will be gone when the power supply is removed. Uses of inductors can be seen in computer circuits where power supplies can be switched.

Can we use inductor in place of capacitor? ›

Inductor: If you have unwanted noise, you can use an inductor in series in a similar way to a capacitor in parallel (shunt).

Why capacitor blocks DC? ›

Because the capacitor's electrode plates are separated by an insulator (air or a dielectric), no DC current can flow unless the insulation disintegrates. In other words, a capacitor blocks DC current.

Why don t we use capacitors and inductors in DC circuits? ›

The resistance of a capacitor in a DC circuit is regarded as an open connection (infinite resistance), while the resistance of an inductor in a DC circuit is regarded as a short connection (zero resistance). In other words, using capacitors or inductors in an ideal DC circuit would be a waste of components.

What is inductor in layman terms? ›

An inductor is a passive electronic component that temporarily stores energy in a magnetic field when electric current flows through the inductor's coil.

Why are inductors used in AC circuits? ›

Inductors are used for reducing current in AC circuits without any loss of electrical energy. When resistors are used, electrical energy is wasted in the form of heat.

What is the old name of inductor? ›

An inductor, also called a coil, choke, or reactor, is a passive two-terminal electrical component that stores energy in a magnetic field when electric current flows through it.

Does an inductor store current or voltage? ›

Inductors Store Energy. The magnetic field that surrounds an inductor stores energy as current flows through the field. If we slowly decrease the amount of current, the magnetic field begins to collapse and releases the energy and the inductor becomes a current source.

What happens when DC flows through inductor? ›

When DC is used in a circuit having an inductor the inductor will offer no impedance/resistance and it will behave as a short-circuited path. If we use an inductor in a DC circuit it will only increase the cost of the system when a simple wire can do the same job.

What happens when a capacitor is open? ›

Capacitors become open circuits, which means that there is a break in the circuit, in D.C. steady state, while inductors become short circuits, which means they become a wire, in D.C. steady state. A good way to remember this is to understand why this occurs. Capacitors store charge in a electrostatic field.

What not to do with a capacitor? ›

Precautions for Your Safety
  1. Do not charge by higher current or higher voltage than specified. ...
  2. Do not reverse placement of (+) and (-). ...
  3. Do not solder directly to the capacitor. ( ...
  4. Keep capacitors out of children's reach. ...
  5. Do not heat, disassemble, nor dispose of in fire. ...
  6. Do not discharge by force.

Do I need a capacitor for a 1000 watt amp? ›

The general rule is to add 1 Farad of capacitance for every 1000 watts RMS of system power. Note that it does not hurt to use more capacitance than this rule and many systems use 2 or 3 Farads per 1000 watts RMS.

Should you touch a capacitor? ›

A charged capacitor can be very dangerous, so it's important that you avoid coming into contact with the terminals at all times. Never touch the capacitor anywhere but on the sides of its body. If you touch the two posts, or accidentally connect them with a tool, you could get badly shocked or burned.

What is the symbol for an inductor? ›

Inductor Unit and Symbol

The SI Unit of Inductance is henry (H) named after the American scientist Joseph Henry.

Does TV have inductors? ›

Inductors are extensively used in alternating current (AC) applications such as radio, TV and communications equipment, and in these systems, how inductors react to AC signals of different frequencies is very useful.

Does an inductor lead or lag? ›

Pure inductive circuit: Inductor current lags inductor voltage by 90°. If we were to plot the current and voltage for this very simple circuit, it would look something like this: Pure inductive circuit, waveforms. Remember, the voltage dropped across an inductor is a reaction against the change in current through it.

Can both capacitor and inductor generate energy? ›

Inductors and capacitors are energy storage devices, which means energy can be stored in them. But they cannot generate energy, so these are passive devices. The inductor stores energy in its magnetic field; the capacitor stores energy in its electric field.

Can you combine inductors and capacitors? ›

You can combine a capacitor and an inductor in series with a resistor to form voltage divider circuits, such as the two circuits shown in Figure 7.2. A circuit that contains resistance (R), inductance (L), and capacitance (C) is referred to as an RLC circuit.

Why can't capacitors replace batteries? ›

Why can super capacitors not replace conventional batteries? Main reason is energy densities of supercapacitors are far below that of batteries. They have high power delivery not possible by battery, but energy storage being very low, they cannot replace batteries easily.

Why do inductors have no voltage? ›

In steady state, when the current flowing through an inductor is constant, there is no voltage drop across the inductor. This makes sense, since an inductor is essentially a spool of wire wrapped around a conductor.

What is the most common failure in an inductor? ›

The only common failure mode of an inductor is overheating, which can be from too much current (saturation) or too wide of a pulse width. The insulation burns at the core and shorts out the magnetic field.

Do inductors reduce voltage? ›

The inductor, always opposing any change in current, will produce a voltage drop opposite to the change's direction. With that in mind, how much voltage the inductor will produce depends on how rapidly the current through it is decreased.

What is one danger to a circuit with an inductor? ›

The following are some hazards peculiar to inductors and magnets: The ability of an inductor to release stored energy at a much higher voltage than that used to charge it. Stray magnetic fields that attract magnetic materials.

Are inductors only used in AC circuits? ›

Resistors can be used in both AC and DC circuits whereas inductors can only be used in DC circuit. No worries!

Does an inductor increase current? ›

As an inductor stores more energy, its current level increases, while its voltage drop decreases.

Do inductors stop current? ›

The changing magnetic field creates a back emf which acts to oppose the current in the inductor. This back emf will not stop the current completely, but it will slow it down. Eventually, the current in the inductor reaches full strength (as governed by the resistor and the voltage by Ohm's Law).

Is it safe to touch an inductor? ›

Milliseconds after the current is cut off, the inductor has discharged its energy, and although that might be a dramatic affair with an exciting flash, it's over and the inductor is safe to handle. Not so with a capacitor, which can retain its charge for weeks.

Do inductors affect voltage? ›

Inductors react against changes in current by dropping voltage in the polarity necessary to oppose the change. When an inductor is faced with an increasing current, it acts as a load: creating voltage as it absorbs energy (positive on the current entry side and negative on the current exit side, like a resistor).

Is a transformer an inductor? ›

A transformer is a device made of two or more inductors, one of which is powered by AC, inducing an AC voltage across the second inductor. If the second inductor is connected to a load, power will be electromagnetically coupled from the first inductor's power source to that load.

Does an inductor deliver power? ›

The inductor takes power from the circuit when storing energy and delivers power to the circuit when returning previously stored energy. A practical, nonideal inductor has a significant resistive component, as shown in Figure 6.

Can inductor store AC voltage? ›

Therefore, the Inductors do not store the voltage.

Can the voltage drop across the inductor or capacitor? ›

Yes; the voltage drop across the inductor or the capacitor in a series LCR circuit can be greater than the applied voltage of the a.c. source beacuse as VC and VL have opposite faces, VC or VL may be greater than V.

What can I replace an inductor with? ›

After some research I found out that inductor can simply replace by a choke.

What is the relationship between inductance and capacitance? ›

Inductance and capacitance are independent properties of two different electrical components. While the inductance is a property of a current carrying conductor to build a magnetic field, capacitance is a measure of the ability of a device to hold electrical charges.

How is inductance and capacitance related? ›

IT consists of two charged plates. Therefore, inductance is the property by virtue of which a material resists the change in current through it while capacitance is the ability of a material to store charge on it. Note: Inductance and capacitance are constant quantities.

What is the main difference between inductive and capacitive reactance? ›

If the reactance releases energy in the form of a magnetic field, it is called inductive reactance whereas if the reactance releases energy in the form of an electric field, it is called capacitive reactance.

What is the difference between capacitive and inductive current? ›

Capacitive load is similar to that of inductive load. In capacitive loads also, current & voltage are out of phase with each other. The only difference is that, in capacitive load current leads the voltage by 90 deg. Whereas, in inductive load current lags behind the voltage by 90 deg.

Can a capacitor have inductance? ›

All modern capacitors (whether plastic or electrolytic) have series inductance of between 10 nH and 100 nH, so their impedance becomes inductive as frequency rises.

Can an inductor have capacitance? ›

All practical circuit elements such as inductors, diodes, and transistors have internal capacitance, which can cause their behavior to depart from that of ideal circuit elements.

What happens when inductance equals capacitance? ›

When the inductive and capacitive reactances are equal, a number of things happen: This condition is known as resonance. Both the inductive and capacitive reactances depend on frequency, with the inductive reactance proportional to frequency and the capacitive reactance inversely proportional to frequency.

How do you tell if a circuit is inductive or capacitive? ›

If the impedance at the load has the form of Z=R+jX, where R and X are positive real numbers, then then network is called inductive. If Z=R−jX, then the network is called capacitive.

Does inductance allow AC or DC? ›

Resistors can be used in both AC and DC circuits whereas inductors can only be used in DC circuit.

Does inductance work on AC or DC? ›

The inductor stores electrical energy in the form of magnetic energy. The inductor does not allow AC to flow through it, but does allow DC to flow through it.

What is reactance in simple words? ›

Reactance is a form of opposition generated by components in an electric circuit when alternating current (AC) passes through it. The term reactance applies only to AC circuits -- both serial and parallel -- not to direct current (DC) circuits. You can measure reactance in ohms (Ω) and symbolize it with X.

What is the difference between impedance and resistance? ›

Resistance is a measure of voltage divided by resistance in a resistor. Impedance is the generalized notion of voltage divided by current for any component. For the specific case of a resistor, the ratio of voltage to current is called resistance instead of impedance.

What is meant by the term impedance? ›

Impedance, represented by the symbol Z, is a measure of the opposition to electrical flow. It is measured in ohms. For DC systems, impedance and resistance are the same, defined as the voltage across an element divided by the current (R = V/I).

Are cables inductive or capacitive? ›

A cable, consists of an inner and a sheath conductor with an insulating material with semiconductor layers in between, and is therefore predominantly capacitive. Cable capacitance and inductance per unit length differ from the values of overhead lines.

What happens to voltage and current in a capacitive circuit? ›

Voltage lags current by 90° in a pure capacitive circuit. As you might have guessed, the same unusual power wave that we saw with the simple inductor circuit is present in the simple capacitor circuit, too: In a pure capacitive circuit, the instantaneous power may be positive or negative.

Is capacitive better than resistive? ›

Capacitive touchscreens deliver brighter, higher contrast images due to the makeup of their panels. Displays with capacitive touch screens are more durable than resistive touch screens because they are designed with cover glass on their top layer.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Allyn Kozey

Last Updated: 07/27/2023

Views: 5456

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Allyn Kozey

Birthday: 1993-12-21

Address: Suite 454 40343 Larson Union, Port Melia, TX 16164

Phone: +2456904400762

Job: Investor Administrator

Hobby: Sketching, Puzzles, Pet, Mountaineering, Skydiving, Dowsing, Sports

Introduction: My name is Allyn Kozey, I am a outstanding, colorful, adventurous, encouraging, zealous, tender, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.