Not all touchscreens use the same technology. While they all support touch commands, some of them are powered by different technologies. Capacitive, for instance, is the world’s most popular touchscreen technology. Statistics show that over nine in 10 touchscreens are powered by capacitive technology. The world’s second-most popular touchscreen technology is resistive. Resistive touchscreens support touch commands as well, but they use a different technology to detect touch commands.

What Is a Resistive Touchscreen?

A resistive touchscreen is any type of touchscreen device that uses multiple electrically resistive layers to detect touch commands. Most of them contain two layers. Each of these layers is made of an electrically resistive material, and they feature electrodes. By default, the layers are separated by air or inert gas. Touching the display interface, though, will press the top layer into the bottom layer.

How Resistive Touchscreens Detect Touch Commands

Resistive touchscreens detect touch commands by leveraging patterned electrodes. As previously mentioned, the layers in a resistive touchscreen feature electrodes on them. When the electrodes on the top layer come into contact with the electrodes on the bottom layer, a circuit is formed. The resistive touchscreen will then register a touch event in this area.

Resistive vs Capacitive Touchscreen

Based on their appearance, resistive touchscreens may look the same as capacitive touchscreens. Most people can’t tell the difference between them — at least not by looking at them. Nonetheless, resistive and capacitive are two different types of touchscreens.

Resistive touchscreens are characterized by the use of electrically resistive layers with patterned electrodes. Capacitive touchscreens are characterized by the use of an electrostatic charge. In other words, capacitive touchscreens generate an electrostatic charge, which they use to detect touch commands. Resistive touchscreens don’t generate an electrostatic charge.

Reasons to Choose a Resistive Touchscreen

Why should you choose a resistive touchscreen exactly? For starters, they are durable. You can use them in hot, humid and otherwise harsh environments without fear of them succumbing to damage. The durable properties of resistive touchscreens make them a popular choice for business-related applications.

You can also control a resistive touchscreen with a stylus or while wearing gloves. Other types of touchscreens may only work with a bare finger. Many capacitive touchscreens, for instance, require direct contact with a bare finger. If you use a stylus or wear gloves, they won’t register your touch commands. Resistive touchscreens essentially use a pressure-based method to detect touch commands, so you can control the with a bare finger, a gloved finger or a stylus.