Resistive and Capacitive Touch Screen – What’s the difference?

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Resistive and Capacitive Touch Screen – What’s the difference?

Oct. 29, 2022

If you are looking for a clear-cut answer to the above, sorry – it’s not that simple… (but it’s capacitive in our book). Both forms of touchscreens are good at certain things in certain environments, but maybe that doesn’t make either one better (unless it’s a capacitive screen).

You may have spotted we have a favourite among the two options, but this is only because we (and you) most likely use a capacitive touch screen daily.


Resistive and Capacitive Touch Screen – What’s the difference?


Resistive Touch Screen

A resistive touch screen is made of a glass substrate as the bottom layer and a film substrate (normally, clear poly-carbonate or PET) as the top layer, each coated with a transparent conductive layer (ITO: Indium Tin Oxide), separated by spacer dots to make a small air gap. The two conducting layers of material (ITO) face each other. When a user touches the part of the screen with finger or a stylus, the conductive ITO thin layers contacted. It changes the resistance. The RTP controller detects the change and calculate the touch position. The point of contact is detected by this change in voltage.


Capacitive Touch Screen

Projected capacitive touch screen contains X and Y electrodes with insulation layer between them. The transparent electrodes are normally made into diamond pattern with ITO and with metal bridge.

Human body is conductive because it contains water. Projected capacitive technology makes use of conductivity of human body. When a bare finger touches the sensor with the pattern of X and Y electrodes, a capacitance coupling happens between the human finger and the electrodes which makes change of the electrostatic capacitance between the X and Y electrodes. The touchscreen controller detects the electrostatic field change and the location.


Resistive and Capacitive – What's the difference?

In simple forms, it is in the name. A resistive touchscreen uses resistance in the form of minor downward pressure on a screen. A resistive screen has two layers, a hard plastic or glass top layer and a bottom layer that conducts charge. The 2 layers are separated with spacers and when pressure is applied there is a change in charge in that location, which allows the software to recognise point of contact (touch).

A capacitive touchscreen works differently. The glass on a touchscreen is usually coated with ITO (Indium Tin Oxide), which is both transparent and conductive. Beneath the screen in 4 corners, there is usually four electrodes which maintain a voltage across the glass. When you touch the glass, sensors detect the change in voltage and can determine precise positions. Your own physical touch has altered the voltage as we are naturally conductive.


If you would like to know more about our touchscreens, please get in touch with us today to discuss your specific requirements.