A resistor is a two-terminal component that is used for timing, voltage division and limiting current applications. They are used to complement various “active” components, such as integrated circuits, microcontrollers, and op-amps for several operations, such as pulling up I/O lines, filtering and biasing. The surface mount resistors can be used to change the unique properties of a specific circuit.

There are several options and types when it comes to resistors. They are differentiated by cost, performance, size and power rating. Some of the most common options are found here.

Shunt Resistors

Also referred to as a current sense resistor, these are used for monitoring currents in the circuit by translating them into a voltage drop that is easily measured. This is not considered to be a high power resistor. Some of the other applications offered by the shunt are the ability to limit the current with a stepper motor driver chip.

Chip SMD Resistors

This is a resistor that offers a size advantage over other options, which means they are often used for printed circuit boards. Some of the most common applications of these include pull-up and pull-down operations, which helps to ensure the signal is at a valid logic level when an external device is removed. It also offers the ability to filtering signals, current limiting, and voltage divisions.

There are two basic types of chip SMD resistors, which include thin film and thick film resistors. While this is not considered a high voltage resistor, it is still commonly used for various applications.

Through-Hole Resistors

Found in axial leaded packages, this is a common option for esp. while prototyping since they can be easily replaced and used with various breadboards. This type of resistor is used for pull-up and pull-down applications, filtering, current limiting, and voltage division. There are several types of these resistors with metal film and carbon film being the most commonly used options.

Wirewound Resistors

These feature high-resistance wire that is wrapped around the insulating core. They offer high power ratings and can operate at extremely high temperatures. These resistors also have superior stability. The wireround resistors are the best option for noise performance but can be more expensive than other options.

When a person knows what is available, they can easily make an educated decision about the type of resistor needed. The information here represents a basic overview of the options available. Being informed always leads to making an informed decision.