Do Resistors Have Polarity: Mini Blog Post

In our Mini Blog series, we answer the question: do resistors have polarity?

A number of resistors.  Our blog answers the question "do resistors have polarity?"
Resistors. CC by 2.0 from Wikipedia.

It’s easy to understand why you might be concerned. After all, many capacitors, which are sometimes confused for resistors, are polarized and must be placed properly within a circuit.

But resistors have no polarity. Current passes equally through from either direction. That means you can’t install them backward. One less concern. Yay.

And if you ever have trouble determining whether a component is a resistor or a capacitor, there are several ways to differentiate between the two. Take a look at our longer blog post on identifying circuit board components for more information.

A Note on Current Flow and Polarity

Even though it doesn’t matter which way you place your resistor, current flows from positive to negative. While resistors don’t have their own polarity they will typically be part of a circuit that does, thanks to other components like capacitors.

In a DC circuit, the current will always flow in only one direction. One pole is always negative, the other always positive. AC circuits are trickier. The poles alternate between negative and positive. As they change, the direction of the current changes, too. But–and this is a big deal–current only flows in one direction at any particular time.

Are you having trouble sourcing PCBs for industrial automation equipment during this challenging time? Talk to our team today! We provide surplus and refurbished industrial components for companies around the world, helping them maintain their equipment and keep their facilities humming.

Our company carries components from GE, Fuji, Horner, Reliance, Cognex, Eurotherm, and many others.