Touchscreens are defined by their ability to detect touch commands. They don’t contain physical keys or buttons. Rather, they feature an interface that you can touch with a finger or stylus. Not all touchscreens use the same technology to detect touch commands, however. Some use resistive technology, whereas others use capacitive technology. What is a capacitive touchscreen exactly?

The Basics of Capacitive Touchscreens

A capacitive touchscreen is a type of touchscreen device that uses capacitance to detect touch commands. It works on the principle that when two conductive objects touch each other, they’ll share their respective electrical charge.

Capacitive touchscreens generate an electrostatic field on the interface. When you touch the interface, your finger will draw some of its electricity, thereby lowering the electrostatic field. The capacitive touchscreen will identify this electrical reduction as a touch command.

Advantages of Capacitive Touchscreens

It’s estimated that over nine in 10 of all touchscreens use capacitive technology. Capacitive touchscreens are popular for several reasons, one of which is their ability to respond more quickly to touch commands than other types of touchscreens. With a capacitive touchscreen, you don’t have to press or tap the interface forcefully. Rather, you can gently place your finger on the interface.

Capacitive touchscreens are considered more durable than other types of touchscreens. This is because they don’t use moving parts to detect touch commands. All capacitive touchscreens measure capacitance to detect touch commands. Since they don’t contain moving parts, they are exposed to less stress during regular usage. Therefore, capacitive touchscreens typically last longer than other types of touchscreens.

Disadvantages of Capacitive Touchscreen

Because they measure capacitance to detect touch commands, capacitive touchscreens may not work with a stylus. The human body has conductive properties, so touching a capacitive touchscreen with a bare finger will absorb some of its electrical charge. Styluses, on the other hand, are usually made of plastic, which isn’t conductive.

There aren’t many disadvantages associated with capacitive touchscreens other than the fact that they may not work a stylus. Even then, there are certain styluses that are designed for use with capacitive touchscreens. Known as capacitive styluses, they are constructed of a conductive material.

Capacitive styluses mimic the properties of the human body by conducting electricity. When you press a capacitive stylus against a capacitive touchscreen’s interface, it will absorb some of the device’s electrical charge. The capacitive touchscreen will then register this reduction as a touch command — just like it would if you used a bare finger to perform the command.