Different Types of Resistors Play Different Roles in Circuit Manufacturing

The number of common items in which resistors are used can be surprising to someone not familiar with basic electrical science. It would indeed be difficult to function effectively without the household appliances or other equipment that make use of these electrical units designed to help control currents moving through a circuit. Home heating systems, appliance such as toasters and stoves and even light bulb filaments all make use of various types of resistors. Knowing what the different kinds of resistors do can help businesses determine which type will work best in the products they manufacture.

A current sense resistor, also known as a shunt resistor, assesses the amount of current flowing across the resistor. When the current is higher than it needs to be, the shunt resistor divides the current so that only the amount needed is directed to the proper circuit. In this way, the resistor helps ensure that the circuit doesn’t exceed the voltage rating of the device in which it is used. This type of resistor is an essential component of the circuitry of the device, helping the device perform as needed and increasing its lifespan.

Another kind of resistor important to electrical devices is the precision resistor. Manufactured to stand up to necessary changes in temperature, precision resistors won’t undergo structure degradation that might occur in other types of resistors exposed to the same conditions. A precision resistor offers a number of additional benefits, including a size that works well in circuit design. Handling several different kinds of stresses is one the reasons a precision resistor is important in so many manufacturing and commercial applications.


The surface mount resistor is the type of resistor most often used on printed circuit boards today. Manufacturers rely on surface mount resistors to make the electronic circuit boards for devices such as USB flash drives. This kind of resistor can be manufactured to a very small scale, in part because no wire leads are needed. The surface mount resistor is becoming more common as electrical components get smaller and smaller.

A high power resistor must be able to stand up under a higher power rating than would typically be normal for other kinds of resistors. This kind of resistor must also be able to eventually expend the high levels of power so that the device’s circuitry isn’t damaged. This is accomplished in the most efficient way by removing the heat generated through either air or forced liquids. High power resistors often must be designed to fit into some very small spaces. Well-designed high power resistors are found in many kinds of electric motors.