Touch Technologies Examined: Resistive and Surface Capacitive

Resistive and surface capacitive are two common touch technologies in smaller desktop monitors and displays ranging from six to 24 inches. Both technologies have their markets and uses. The tricky part is discerning when one technology might be a better choice than the other.

Surface capacitive is sometimes called a “general purpose” technology even though its uses are somewhat limited in comparison to resistive’s. Surface capacitive is found in gaming and casino applications, particularly bar top and slot machines, as well as point-of-sale systems and kiosks. Surface capacitive is resistant to scratches and abrasions up to a Mohs rating of six. It also is unaffected by most wear and tear; the technology will continue to work despite dust, dirt, condensation, liquid spills on the glass, and contaminants. Most cleaning solutions can be used on the glass without risk to the touch technology. The glass panel can be sealed to meet NEMA 4 and 12 and IP 65 standards. Because of the capacitance technology, it only will accept a bare finger input.

Resistive touch technology has more applications. It overlaps with surface capacitive in the point-of-sale market; however, resistive touch can be found in markets such as PDAs, office automation, industrial, and medical. Resistive touch, in keeping with its name, is resistant to scratches and meets pencil hardness 4H per ASTM D3363. It also is resistant to abuse, misuse, and accidents. It is extremely resistant to contaminants, which is one of the reasons it’s a preferred technology in medical markets. Unlike surface capacitive, resistive touch can be sealed to meet not only NEMA 4 and 12 but also 4x and IP 65 standards. It also can work with a number of touch inputs: bare finger, gloved finger, stylus, fingernails, and even credit cards.

Which technology is better? It’s hard to say without considering the environment where the touch solution will be implemented and the expected use of it. Both points are crucial considerations, and we can help you figure out which technology you need. Give us a call at (512) 846-2424 to speak with our sales team today.