Not all switches use a mechanical method of operation. In addition to mechanical switches, there are touch switches. While they are both designed to control a circuit, only mechanical switches have moving parts. Touch switches are circuit-controlling devices that respond to touch. Among the most common types of touch switches are capacitive and piezo. What’s the differences between a capacitive and piezo touch switch exactly?

What Is a Capacitive Touch Switch?

A capacitive touch switch is a type of touch switch that uses capacitance to circuit a control. It will generate an electric charge over the key or button while simultaneously measuring it for changes.

Because the human body is a conductor of electricity, touching the key or button with a bare finger will draw some of this electrical charge to your body. The capacitive touch switch will then respond by opening or closing the circuit.

What Is a Piezo Touch Switch?

A piezo touch switch is a type of touch switch that uses piezoelectric technology to control a circuit. They feature a layer constructed of a piezoelectric material. This layer is typically placed directly underneath the key or button.

Piezoelectric materials are able to convert mechanical energy into electricity. Touching the key or button on a piezo touch switch will result in the passage of mechanical energy. You’ll transfer mechanical energy to the piezoelectric touch switch. The underlying layer made of a piezoelectric material will then convert this energy into electricity so that it can open or close the circuit.

Differences Between Capacitive and Piezo Touch Switches

Neither capacitive nor piezo touch switches use a mechanical method of operation. They are known as “touch switches” because they respond to touches without any mechanical or moving action. With that said, capacitive and piezo touch switches are different in several ways.

Capacitive touch switches generally only work with a bare finger or while wearing thin gloves. They require contact with a conductive object to open or close the circuit. If you wear thick gloves, your finger may fail to absorb the capacitive touch switch’s electrical charge, meaning it won’t open or close the circuit. Piezo touch switches, on the other hand, don’t require a conductive object. You can use them with a bare finger or while wearing thick gloves.

Piezo touch switches are typically more expensive than capacitive touch switches. Capacitive touch switches have been around for a longer length of time, and with their simpler construction, they tend to cost less. If you’re on a budget, you may want to choose capacitive touch switches rather than piezo.