In recent years, surface acoustic wave (SAW) touchscreens have become increasingly common. They don’t use capacitance or pressure to detect touch commands. Rather, SAW touchscreens use sound waves to detect touch commands. As a result, SAW touchscreens offer some surprising benefits that distinguish them from other touchscreen technologies.

The Basics of SAW Touchscreens

Before revealing the benefits of SAW touchscreens, let’s first take a closer look at how they work. SAW touchscreens are typically designed with an array of sound-projecting modules and corresponding sensors along the edges of the display interface.

The sound-projecting modules emit ultrasonic sound waves that travel across the display interface to the appropriate sensor. When you touch the display interface, you’ll disturb the sound waves in that area. The sensor will detect this disturbance, and it will respond by registering your touch command in that area.

Image Clarity

In terms of image clarity, SAW touchscreens outperform most other touchscreen technologies, including capacitive and resistive alike. The panel used in SAW touchscreens is made entirely of glass. Therefore, it offers exceptionally clear images.

Increased Brightness

Not only do SAW touchscreens produce crystal-clear images; they also produce bright images — more so than other types of touchscreen technologies. Again, this is because the top layer is made entirely of glass. Plastic and other materials tends to reduce the amount of light that passes through the top layer, resulting in dimmer images. SAW touchscreens don’t suffer from this problem since they are made of an all-glass top layer.

Stylus Support

You can control a SAW touchscreen using either your finger or a stylus. In fact, you can actually use any physical object to control a SAW touchscreen. As long as the object is able to disrupt the device’s ultrasonic sound waves, it will work. Capacitive touchscreens, on the other hand, require the use of a conductive object, such as a bare finger. If you use a standard stylus, the capacitive touchscreen won’t register your touch command.


SAW touchscreens are also long-lasting. They don’t contain moving parts that are susceptible to degradation. Rather, they feature a flat, non-moving panel that leverages the use of ultrasonic sound waves to detect touch commands. And since they don’t contain moving parts, SAW touchscreens typically last longer than other types of touchscreen technologies. There are just a few reasons why SAW touchscreens have increased in popularity over the past years.