Are you trying to decide between a resistive or capacitive touchscreen device? Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, human machine interface (HMI) or any other touchscreen devices, these are the two most common forms of touch-sensing technology. Both capacitive and resistive technology have been around for decades, providing consumers and business owners with high-quality touchscreen devices. And while both rely on touch-based commands as a primary form of input, there are some key differences between the two technologies and how they function.


You’ll find that capacitive touchscreen devices are more responsive than resistive devices. This is because capacitive touchscreen devices identify touch commands by measuring capacitance, whereas resistive touchscreen devices rely on pressure to identify touch commands. With a capacitive device, hovering a bare finger directly over the desired area of the device should register a touch command. In comparison, resistive devices require you to physically press down on the interface to register a touch command.


Both resistive and capacitive touchscreen devices are accurate. Of those two, however, the former comes out on top. Resistive touchscreen devices offer the highest level of accuracy, with the ability to pinpoint the precise location of your touch commands. Projected capacitive devices come in second, followed by surface capacitive in third place.


When manufactured by a reputable, trusted company, both capacitive and resistive touchscreen devices will last for a very long time. In fact, many have a average lifespan of hundreds of thousands or one million plus touches. For the average user, that’s a very long time. With that said, capacitive touchscreen devices typically last longer than resistive devices simply because they don’t use pressure to identify touch commands. And without pressure being placed against the interface, resistive devices are less susceptible to wear and tear, resulting in a longer lifespan


Perhaps one of the biggest differences between resistive and capacitive touchscreen devices lies in the way in which they function. If you’ve ever attempted to control a capacitive smartphone or tablet while wearing gloves on your hands, you’ll probably noticed that they won’t register your commands. All capacitive touchscreen devices require direct contact with your finger. Otherwise, your body won’t absorb the device’s electrostatic field, nor will the device register your command. This isn’t an issue with resistive touchscreen devices, however. Whether you’re using a bare finger, gloved finger or stylus, you can rest assured knowing that it will register your touch commands.